Retirement lifestyle planning questions

Key Points

  • Having a retirement vision may help you plan for your retirement goals.
  • You're more likely to achieve your retirement goals if you write them down.
  • Refining expectations is an important part of the financial planning process.

Planning for retirement should also include how you want to live when you retire. Considering the possibilities can help you envision and plan for your retirement lifestyle. Remember, people who write down their retirement goals are more likely to achieve them.

What do you want to do in retirement?

Consider the following things to do in retirement, and remember, these ideas are just thought starters. There are many ways to spend your free time that could add meaning and value to your life in retirement.

Second career Hobbies Volunteer work Learning Relaxing and enjoying life

Non-profit executive

Patient representative

Celebrant/ religious leader

Public school teacher or college professor

Financial advisor


Retail sales

Restore an old car

Make quilts


Write a novel

Build homes for the homeless

Volunteer for a political party

Teach people to read

Go back to school

Learn another language

Get your pilot's license

Travel with the family

Read more

Savor quiet time

Who do you want to spend time with in retirement?

Maintaining social connections can be challenging throughout our lives. The loss of work friends is the most unforeseen challenge of retirement. It's important to take an active role in building and maintaining your support network of friends, family and acquaintances now that you're retired.

  • Spouse or partner. Consider new activities you may participate in together.
  • Family. How far away are your parents, children and grandchildren? What activities do you like to do together? Do you desire or need to travel to see family members?
  • Friends. How much do you like to entertain and stay socially active?
  • New friends. How can you meet new people? Consider classes, clubs and organizations.

Do you dream of traveling in retirement?

Travel can provide solitude, companionship, adventure or relaxation. The possibilities are endless.

  • Destination. U.S., overseas, historical sites, places from your roots, homes of friends or family
  • Transportation. Motor home, car, bicycle, motorcycle, plane, train, bus
  • Frequency. Number of trips each year, duration
  • Travel companions. Spouse or partner, friends, children, tour groups

Where do you want to live in retirement?

Do you want to stay in your current home? Do you want to be part of a community? Do you want to try a new climate or lifestyle? Do you want to live in multiple locations?

How do you intend to stay healthy and active in retirement?

As your lifestyle changes in retirement, it's important to think about how you will take care of yourself. This includes mental and physical well-being, and a nurturing environment.

Physical fitness Mental fitness Health care: Learn about and make the most of your benefits

Join a health club

Take walks

Learn martial arts

Play golf

Buy a home gym

Practice yoga

Take classes

Go to concerts

Play chess or cards

Write a book

Practice meditation

Health insurance

Health savings accounts (HSA)

Medical help lines


Long-term care

Prescription drugs

How do you want to make a difference?

Retirement goals can include helping others. Think about the people who matter to you, what you hope the future holds for them, and how you might help them realize their own dreams. What organizations or causes represent your values? How do you want to support them?

  • Family. Fund education, instill values, or teach personal skills
  • Community. Serve on a board, provide volunteer outreach, do fund-raising, or donate money
  • Friends. Form support groups or be a mentor

What do you want your legacy to be?

We all have a say in how we're remembered. Our legacy is formed by the ideas, actions and causes to which we dedicate ourselves today. What's important to you? What do you want to pass on to others?

  • Family and friends. Children, siblings, parents, friends, or pets
  • Spiritual interests. Your place of worship, religious organizations
  • Schools. Your alma mater, your family members' schools
  • Charities or causes. Food banks, shelters, arts, research organizations

What brings you happiness? Having a retirement vision is as important as money in achieving a fulfilling retirement. An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you look at how to use your retirement income to help support your retirement lifestyle goals.