Okay, so you’ve successfully wrapped up your fed job, you’ve finally got some time on your hands, and you’re ready to put those FERS benefits to use. The only question: what to do now? Fed retirees earn benefits that provide immense flexibility, and last until well after the work is over. Here, we’ve compiled a list of things most feds do to utilize that extra post-career time.
It’s no surprise that one of the most popular activities fed retirees pursue is travel. And one of the most popular means is long-term trips that wouldn’t have been as feasible while working full-time. Retirees use this time to take long cruises, road trips in RVs around the US, or tours of Europe by train. There are often discounts for those age 65 and above, so travel becomes more affordable, and without having to be back for work, more enjoyable — because walking the streets of Paris, or sailing around the Virgin Islands is not a bad way to spend your retired years.
A second act doesn’t have to mean starting an entire new career (although that’s certainly an option). It could just be about pursuing a passion or interest that may happen to supplement your annuity payments. Whether it’s carpentry, architecture, or photography, there are a number of activities you can do to make your second act fruitful. Do you like fishing? Consider becoming a guide, or owning a fishing lodge. Are you crafty? Try selling your wares on Etsy, or opening a gift shop. There are an infinite number of ways to have an enjoyable, profitable second act.
Retirement for feds can also mean the opportunity to donate your time. Non-profits are always looking for extra hands to help out, so no matter what causes you’re interested in contributing to, there will likely be an organization with space for you. Create an account at a site like Volunteermatch.org, where you can usually find thousands of openings, across all kinds of charities and non-profits that operate near you.
You could do worse than spending your retired years exploring a new city, state, or even country. Many fed retirees choose to move away to be closer to relatives, take advantage of a different climate, or just to enjoy a change of scenery. This option is especially good for those who like to travel, as you can suddenly find yourself in a new region, where the food, sights, and experiences may be completely new.
Picking up a sport is by far one of the healthiest — and most fun — things to do when you retire. Exercise is the cornerstone of longevity, so staying active is incredibly important for retirees. Cycling, tennis, swimming, golf, running, or skiing, are all super popular activities among those whose full-time working days are over. Consider joining local leagues, becoming members of country clubs, or taking advantage of community centers — all of these places offer not only facilities, but the opportunity to meet like-minded athletes/retirees.
Be a Mentor
Passing down wisdom you’ve gained from years of career or life experience is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your retired years. If you found that you lacked the time while working to help tutor, teach, or mentor others, this may be the perfect moment for you to impart your knowledge. Whether it’s helping teach a skill, career counseling, or just life advice, mentoring is a great way to continue to utilize your expertise, while meeting new people.
Begin/Pursue a Hobby
One of the most popular ways retirees choose to spend their twilight years is by either starting a new hobby, or continuing to pursue an existing one. It can be as involved as restoring an old muscle car, or as simple as going on hikes at local trails. No matter the hobby, visit meetup.com, where you can find groups and classes for all types of different activities, and get to know others who share your interests.
Go Back to School
Many retirees take their extra free time to go back to school, either by enrolling in a degree program, taking online courses, or just auditing classes at the local university. Fed retirees can utilize some of that pension money by learning a language, a skill, or a subject that they hadn’t gotten around to studying while working. Going back to school is a great way of keeping your mind sharp, while staying apprised of the latest developments in whatever field you’re interested in.