Making the Most of Retirement: Newfound Freedom

28 Nov 2023

Making the Most of Retirement: Newfound Freedom

Congratulations on reaching the pivotal milestone of retirement! After dedicating so much of your time to your career, this accomplishment reflects your investment in time, education, and sheer determination. As you transition into this new phase, the question arises: What will you do with your newfound freedom? While financial planning is our forte, we understand that retirement is about more than just numbers. The purpose of this blog is to get you thinking about the future and what you can do to best utilize your free time.

It is important to keep in mind that retirement is a beginning as well as an ending. It is a new chapter in your life, and it will come with great joys and great challenges just like life has up to this point. Everyone has a different vision of what their retirement looks like. You are now at the point where that vision will soon be your everyday reality.  A great first step is to intentionally make time and think about what is most important to you and begin to plan on how to use your time. Crafting a vision for retirement allows you to strategically allocate your time, enhancing both your well-being and life satisfaction.


Reflect and Plan

Clients who work closely with BentOak Capital have spent time thinking through what they ideally want retirement to look like. If you have not, take a reasonable amount of time to write down how and with whom you ideally would like to spend your time and your money during retirement. You should have at least a rough idea of what your normal monthly spending level is, as well as some thoughts on other important goals you have during retirement. BentOak Capital advisors can help walk you through that process, as well as provide some guidance on what spending levels might make the most sense for you, using your personal financial situation as a guide.

Pursue Hobbies and Interests

For some people, this newfound free time will be a chance to focus on hobbies and interests. For some people it may mean reconnecting with your creative side, reading books, painting, writing, creating, etcetera. For others it may mean finding new hobbies and trying out new activities and experiences. Pickleball seems to be at the top of that list for many people now. More importantly enjoy those hobbies and interests with others – people that you love or people that share those same interests.

Travel and Adventure

For some of you it may be traveling with your spouse or partner or with a group of friends. Try to visit every National Park in the U.S. Take one or more trips abroad. Rent an RV (or buy one) and hit the road to see America. You may find enjoyment exploring different cultures and cuisines. All of these are great ways to experience joy during retirement. Sometimes the destination isn’t the best part. The best part may be the journey and the people you travel with.

Give Back and Volunteer

Spending time giving back to your community is one of the best things that you can do with your newfound free time. The value of community engagement during retirement is crucial to retiring the right way for a multitude of reasons. A key piece of this is social interaction. Being out in the community can help provide opportunities for meaningful relationships and can contribute to your emotional well-being. It also helps provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose during retirement.

One key to community engagement in retirement is finding meaningful volunteer opportunities. A great way to begin is by reflecting on your skills, interests, and passions. What causes or issues are you passionate about? Consider how much time you can commit to volunteering. Are you looking for short-term or long-term opportunities? Research organizations in your area to determine a good place to volunteer, even if you’ve lived in the same place for many years. It is very possible that you are currently unaware of organizations or opportunities that might be a good fit for you.  Ask people who know you well to suggest community engagement opportunities they think might be of interest to you. Look for social or professional networks related to your interests so you can learn more about what’s going on in your community. Don’t be afraid to try different volunteer roles or causes, even if they are initially unfamiliar to you. You may discover new passions and interests along the way. Once you have started volunteering, it is always important to regularly evaluate how your volunteer work is making a difference and if you are happy with your contributions. Your activities should not only benefit the organization that you’re providing your time, resources, or expertise for; they should also provide benefit to you as well. There are many health benefits to volunteering, both physical and mental, therefore it is something we encourage most retirees to look into.

Stay Active and Healthy

Staying active and healthy during retirement is a key component of a successful retirement. It is important to do your best to remain physically as well as mentally active in some way. It is also important to do regular checkups with the doctor. They can help with things related to preventative care, nutritional guidance, mobility and functionality, health education. They can do a fall risk assessment, mental health assessment, and provide guidance about medication management. All of these things are crucial and can provide great Peace of Mind for you and your loved ones. Doing regular checkups will promote overall well-being, quality of life, and the ability to age gracefully with optimal health and independence.

One often overlooked aspect of a successful retirement is your mental health and well-being. Numerous scientific studies have pinpointed that a key component to mental health during retirement is staying socially connected. This contributes to a fulfilling and purposeful retirement and enhances the overall quality of life. It will help with social and emotional well-being, mental stimulation, emotional resilience, and the list continues. Staying socially connected with friends and family helps combat negative emotions and contributes to overall happiness. It can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. As mentioned above, staying connected can involve contributing to society or helping others through volunteering or mentoring. This sense of purpose can be a powerful driver to provide a meaningful and fulfilling retirement.

Learning and Personal Growth

Continuing to learn and grow your knowledge is an amazing thing to do during retirement. Enroll in classes at a local college or attend workshops to learn new skills. Online classes offer another, and very convenient, way to learn more about a specific subject area. Book clubs and niche interest groups can fill the dual purposes of community involvement and mental stimulation. Expanding your knowledge and skills during retirement only continues to keep your mind sharp, keep you active, and socially connected to those around you.

Building and Maintaining Relationships

Intentionally work to strengthen your friendships, your relationships with your family, and your relationship with your spouse. Reach out to people you used to know well but haven’t seen in a very long time. Anecdotally, as well as scientifically, the happiest people we know in the retirement phase of their life are the ones who always strive to stay connected and nurture these relationships and friendships.


Finally, I want to end with spirituality being a key piece to these different areas during retirement. We are firm believers that being connected to our Lord Jesus Christ can be the best thing you can do during retirement. He will open up all these doors to help you live spiritually full. Being connected in your church means opportunities to connect with your community to be socially connected. Being connected in your church provides almost unlimited volunteer and service opportunities. Being connected in your church can also support your mental and physical wellbeing.


BentOak Capital advisors have collectively spent decades talking to people of all life stages. From those dreaming of a retirement far in the future, to those on the precipice, to those who have successfully made the plunge, we have seen and talked through all of the emotions people feel when facing a great change in their life – relief, excitement, nervousness, anticipation, uncertainty.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it represents some of the very best ways we have found to make the most of the next chapter of life.


Please remember to contact BentOak Capital (“BentOak”), in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you want to impose, add, to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services, or if you wish to direct that BentOak to effect any specific transactions for your account. A copy of our current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request or at

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member: FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through BentOak Capital, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.

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More about the author: Hayden Hill