One of the recent changes in approaching retirement has been a shift from a complete exit of the labor force to a partial one. Retiring for many may mean the freedom to work only the amount of time they want, and for work to become an optional part of their lives.
This may be because transitioning into retirement can be such a difficult process. Restructuring one’s finances from the lifelong accumulation model into a lifetime distribution phase, and the new worries of running out of funds, may contribute to a piecemeal transition.
Another part is that the retiree will have an abundance of unstructured time on his or her hands. Everyone has things to do on their bucket list, but some of those things may be inaccessible due to travel being restricted or other social avenues being shut down due to the pandemic.
Hence, the idea of giving someone a special gift at retirement, one that targets the newly available and unfamiliar free time.
Many of the great retirement gift ideas are specifically enjoyable time sinks, and may be more appropriate than ever to consider for friends and family getting ready to retire.
Gift Idea #1: The Joy of Painting – Startup kit
The idea of painting without formal training or classes has long been popular. Bob Ross was one of the most successful of the “TV art teachers” with his Joy of Painting. Bob’s gentle voice and approach created a relaxing environment in which to give it a try, giving amateurs the confidence that they might paint something to be proud of. With his step by step instructions, even though every participant is following the same directions they each create something that is uniquely theirs.
Best of all, the startup kit has all the needed materials included, so you don’t have to hunt separately for brushes or paints or canvas. The kit is available on Amazon and other retailers, though the bobross.com was under maintenance at the time of this writing. If the hobby works out, more videos are available on different streaming sites, so more paintings could be done after the startup kit is finished.
Gift Idea #2: Gear for outdoor hobbies such as golfing, gardening, or hiking
Spending time outdoors and staying active and fit become more important as we age. Some retirees actually find that they become more fit than ever before, because they devote time to hiking, gardening, golfing.
Initially during the pandemic, golf courses in NJ were shuttered. However, we have now found that being outdoors has a lower risk of transmission, and the courses have now reopened with additional safety precautions in place. Similarly, many state parks have reopened as well.
If the prospective retiree already enjoys these hobbies, the gift may not create a new time sink, but it still encourages the activity. Some don’t realize the impact that quality hiking boots can make it terms of the enjoyability of a hike. Stability and support can be the difference between wanting to do the activity again, or shying away completely.
Gift Idea #3: iPad or Kindle, preloaded with games and books
Baby boomers are not as unfamiliar with modern technology as the “greatest generation,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a hassle to wade through the thousands and apps and entertainment options to find what is pertinent. Getting an iPad or Kindle and preloading it with books in the retiree’s favorite genre, or games they might enjoy, both provides a platform for further exploration and creates an additional use for free time. If the retiree doesn’t seem like someone that would enjoy video games, choose digital versions of things they may do already, such as jigsaw or sudoku puzzles. Many Jigsaw apps allow you to create your own jigsaw puzzles, so you could load in family photos to surprise them.
Gift Idea #4: Babysitting Job
If you think the retiree really wants to keep working, but doesn’t have the opportunity to, one of the best gifts you can give them is just that, work. Ask them for help, and specify the jobs in which they could be of service and feel valuable.
One job that is often requested of retirees is babysitting their grandchildren. You could consider asking for that service on a regularly scheduled basis, instead of only during special occasions, if the interest is there. There are many other ways to ask for help too.
At Garden State Trust Company, we help people with retirement income planning, and understanding whether or not they are ready to retire and how they would need to budget during retirement. If you’re approaching retirement and would be interested in a consultation, please let us know.