hobbies in retirement

Hobbies In Retirement With the Highest Return on Investment

Hi friends, are you retiring soon or already retired?  Or are you simply dreaming of the day you can finally say sayonara to your corporate 9-5?  Unfortunately, I’m in the later camp.  I have a long way to go before I can enjoy retirement.  But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming!  Today, I’ve compiled a list of 7 activities that I believe would make fantastic hobbies in retirement.

These retirement-friendly hobbies are perfect for older folks, yet they’re all activities I enjoy now, while in my 20s.  So, yes, believe it!  These hobbies really do transcend decades!  And by the time I reach that golden age where I’m able to retire, I hope to devote even more of my time (and of course, my money) to these hobbies.  

Are you open to trying any of these hobbies in retirement? 

Because time and money are arguably two of your most valuable resources, I also went through the effort of ranking these 7 hobbies based on which ones I believe provide the highest return on investment.  I’ll reveal my ranking later on in this post.  

Are you retired and living on a fixed income?  Check out my free excel budget template to help you manage your finances.

Before we dive into my favorite retirement-friendly hobbies, I want to first take a moment to discuss why it’s so important for retirees to find meaningful hobbies that they enjoy and what kinds of hobbies are perfect for retirees.

Why You Need Hobbies In Retirement:

From what I understand (I’m not speaking from experience here, since I’m not retired), retirement is tough on folks, since it takes them outside of their usual routine.  Once retired, you may decide to start sleeping in.  After all, that building you’ve been going to for the last 5, 10, 15+ years, no longer expects you to show up at the crack of dawn.  And soon you’re forgetting to shower, brush your teeth, etc.  Suddenly, one morning you wake up and realize you just wasted months or years of your life you’re never getting back.  Even worse – you’re completely unhappy.  

No thanks!

I don’t want that type of lifestyle, and I’m sure, neither do you!  That’s why you need hobbies in retirement.  Hobbies keep you busy and help set you up to maintain a routine.  Hobbies in retirement are also a great way for retirees to feel like productive, valuable members of society.  Plus, hobbies provide innumerable mental and physical benefits!  I’ll discuss some of these benefits later on in this post.

What Makes A Retirement-Friendly Hobby:

Before I go over my picks for hobbies in retirement, please be advised that not all hobbies are retirement-friendly.  Let me elaborate on what I mean with a personal example.  

My grandparents have been retired for as long as I can remember.  They also immigrated from two neighboring towns in central Italy in their youth.  Despite the decades they’ve spent in the U.S., they’ve upheld many of the same customs they had back in the rural Italian countryside.  This includes maintaining a garden.

gardening hobby in retirement
hobbies in retirement gardening
gardening retirement hobby

Gardening is very physical.  It requires squatting down, leaning forward, and even kneeling to tend to crops.  This isn’t easy when you’re in your 80s!  If able to perform these feats, it can leave you feeling sore, or worse yet, it could lead to an injury.  In this sense, depending on your mobility, gardening may not be a retirement-friendly hobby for you.

Here are a few things to think about when selecting hobbies in retirement:

  1. Is the hobby physically demanding?  Retirees may not have the mobility they once had.
  2. Is the hobby affordable?  Retirees are on a fixed income and need to be mindful of costs.
  3. Is the hobby congruent with desired lifestyle?  For example, if you live in Minnesota and want to take up golf as a hobby, that might not be congruent with your lifestyle year-round, as golf is typically an outside sport and based on the weather, you’ll be unable to play for the better half of the year.  

I believe all activities suggested below are retirement-friendly based on the criteria I’ve set out above.

Hobbies In Retirement For You To Try:

Here’s my ultimate list of hobbies for retirees to try:


Sewing is my newest, favorite hobby.  It’s so incredibly fulfilling to see your little project come into fruition right before your eyes.  Although this hobby does require some level of skill, there’s countless free tutorials that make learning to sew is a breeze.  Not sure where to start?  Check out this free video tutorial from Made to Sew.

Personally, I love sewing gifts for friends and family members, including this apron you see below:

hobbies in retirement sewing

Sewing little projects like this can also be super affordable!  For this specific apron, I spent $10 on fabric (and I didn’t even come close to using all of it!), less than $1 on thread, and $1.50 on bias tape used for the straps.  Add all that up and total project costs come out to $12.50.  And trust me, by the time I was done, a beautiful apron of that quality would’ve sold for double or triple that.

So, unleash your creativity and learn to sew!

Costs of Learning to Sew:

Benefits of Learning to Sew:

  • It’s a creative outlet
  • Easy, affordable gifting
  • Create your own clothes or adjust the fit of your existing clothes
  • Countless home decor ideas
  • Although it can be an expensive hobby to start, many of the charges I listed above are one-time expenses and it’s very affordable once you get into it
  • You can sell your creations and earn some extra cash


Reading is a hobby I’ve enjoyed since childhood.  Whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll pick up a book and suddenly I’m transported into another world.  I recently read the entire Game of Throne series, including The House of the Dragon series.  Now, I’m on to the Lord of the Ring series.  No spoilers, please!

Admittedly, I’m a huge nerd with my sci-fi books, but there are so many other genres worth exploring; there’s mystery, historical fiction, thrillers, romance, biographies, and much more!  With so many options to choose from, there’s surely something for everyone.

Grab a book today and make reading your new hobby!

Costs of Reading:

  • The cost to purchase the book; oftentimes this is $20 or less, but may be as low as $0 if you’re an Amazon Prime member
  • Alternatively, visit your local library for a free reading options

Benefits of Reading:

  • Keeps your mind sharp
  • Limitless learning opportunities
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

And more!  Check out this in-depth list of reading benefits by Markham Public Library.

Playing Outside With A Dog

It’s no secret that my dog is one of the most important mammals in my life.  She’s actually tied with my fiancé as my #1.  She’s so important to me, I went through the effort of writing a whole post about the cost of owning a dog.  One of our favorite things to do together is spending time outside!   

hobbies in retirement playing outside with a dog

She loves lying in the grass with the sun beating down, sniffing all the smells and listening to all the noises.  And this is easily the most relaxing part of my day!  Without her, I would never make the time to pause, and quite literally, smell the roses.  

Aside from simply taking a nap in a grassy patch, playing outside with a dog may involve playing fetch or going for walks around the neighborhood.  Both of which are great motivators to get off the sofa!  And if your dog happens to be lazy and stubborn (like mine) a game of fetch quickly becomes a form of physical activity for you as well.

Costs of Playing Outside With a Dog:

  • To own a dog you might expect to spend $4,512/year (USA today), but it could be more, could be less; check out my article for more info
  • Alternatively, this hobby could cost you nothing with these 2 alternative options to owning a dog:
      • Volunteer at your local animal shelter
      • Sign up to watch dogs during the day on Rover and get paid

Benefits of Playing Outside With a Dog:

  • It’s fun
  • Improves mental health and reduces stress
  • Improves physical health through exercise
  • Increased opportunity for socialization with neighbors and the community at large
  • A sense of fulfillment that comes from caring for and being loved by another living being


Puzzles are an easy way to bring people together.  Who isn’t tempted to help with a puzzle when seeing a bunch of loose jigsaw pieces?  However, working on puzzles can also be a great activity if you’re seeking some alone time.  They don’t require any specialized skills and are an easy way to pass the time.  Plus, physical activity is at a minimum, so it’s a perfect activity for retirees.     

Personally, 1,500 piece puzzles are my sweet spot, but I’ve also done others as high as 2,000 pieces and as low as 500 pieces.  I’d recommend puzzles between 1,000 – 1,500 for novices, but you’ll figure out what size puzzles you like in due time.

Another thing to love about puzzles is that they make great wall decor!  All you need to do is glue the backing together one you’ve completed it and frame it in a frame of your choice.  Here’s a photo of a puzzle I framed:

hobbies in retirement puzzles

Special shoutout to my exceptionally talented grandfather who built this frame for me!

Costs of Puzzles:

  • The cost to purchase a puzzle; oftentimes this is $25 or less

Benefits of Puzzles:

  • Exercises your brain
  • Promotes feelings of accomplishment
  • Easy way to bring a small group of people together
  • The end product can serve as a new decoration and conversation piece


Traveling is another one of those hobbies I’ve loved since I was a kid.  Growing up, I was very fortunate to travel across the United States and visit a number of the National Parks.  I’ve also traveled abroad to countries including Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Austria.  

Traveling allows you to see the world’s wonders, meet new people, and experience cultures different from your own.  Although, I recognize traveling may be difficult from a physical mobility standpoint, there’s a whole host of options that make traveling a doable hobby for retirees.  For example, consider a river cruise that caters to older clientele.  It’s easy and hassle-free!  What more can you ask for?  And it’s not only for “old people”.  I love cruising so much, my fiancé and I have a cruise of our own booked for our honeymoon.

With endless accommodation options, traveling in retirement has never been easier!  So, what do you say?  Is it time to check off some of those bucket list items and go see the world?  Make traveling your new hobby!  

Costs of Traveling:

  • Costs will vary depending on the trip, but you should expect to spend $1,000+ for fare, lodging and food

Benefits of Traveling:

  • It’s fun
  • Experience new people and cultures
  • Long-lasting memories
  • Exploration can provide physical exercise

And more!  Check out this list of benefits from Memphis Tours for more information.


I love to write!  And that’s why I started this blog.  Writing is a great way to pass down stories and experiences from a life well-lived.  So naturally, it’s a perfect hobby for retirees who want to capture those memorable moments in their lives for the next generation.  

Retires may consider writing a book, possibly a memoir.  Or, if they’re more technically advanced, they may even think of starting a blog.  In either format, writing is a great way for retirees to share their thoughts with the world and engage with their community.  

writing hobbies in retirement

Costs of Writing:

  • Nothing!  Or, more accurately, the cost of a pen and paper
  • To self-publish a book, however, you should expect to spend between $100 and $5,000, depending on the book’s quality and your marketing strategy (Kindlepreneur)
  • To create a blog (like this website!), you may reasonable expect to spend a few hundred dollars; read more about my blog startup costs in my recent article Six Lessons I Learned in Six Months of Blogging

Benefits of Writing:

  • It’s a creative outlet
  • Allows you to share your experiences and wisdom, thereby leaving your legacy
  • Help others by writing on subjects you’re knowledgeable on
  • Potential to make money

Learning to Play an Instrument

I’ve played musical instruments for just about half my life, from the time my mom pushed me into joining band class in middle school.  I started on clarinet, then switched to oboe, and then in college I picked up a guitar for the first time.  I’ve also dabbled in playing saxophone and flute.  Today, I namely play guitar.  And I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t practice nearly enough to be very good!

Despite this, there is something very soothing about plucking a few guitar strings after a long, stressful day and listening to your emotions laid out in song.  

hobbies in retirement guitar

I taught myself guitar by watching YouTube videos from my friend, Justin.  However, I also received formal music lessons during my adolescent years when learning to play clarinet and oboe.  Whether you sign up for music lessons should be based off of personal preference, including how serious you are about wanting to learn an instrument and how much money you feel comfortable spending on such a hobby.            

Costs of Learning to Play an Instrument:

  • The cost of the instrument
    • For most instruments, expect to spend $100+
    • If you’re looking to save money, consider buying it used
  • Accessories needed (reeds, cleaning implements, cases, tuners, music stands, etc.): $10-$100
  • The cost of music lessons (optional): $100-$500

Benefits of Learning to Play an Instrument:

  • It’s a form of self-expression
  • Brings people together
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves memory and exercises your brain
  • Builds confidence

And more!  Check out this list from Piano Power for additional information about the benefits of learning to play an instrument.

Hobbies In Retirement RANKED For Highest Return on Investment

#1 Playing outside with a dog: Can you really put a price on love?  Dogs provide so much unconditional love that having the opportunity to play with a little pooch is priceless.  That’s why I rank this hobby #1 as providing the highest return on investment.

#2 Writing: As you get older, documenting your thoughts, experiences, and personal stories becomes even more important.  Through your own written records, you’re preserving your legacy.  How cool is that?  Plus, writing is one of the most inexpensive hobbies on this list!  

#3 Traveling: Of all the hobbies listed above, traveling will arguably be the most expensive, but also one of the most worthwhile.  You’re sure to make countless memories that are “once in a lifetime” type experiences.

#4 Reading: Keep your mind sharp and relax by picking up a good book.  Not only is reading another inexpensive hobby, but there’s so much you can learn!

#5 Learning an Instrument: Learning an instrument is one of the more expensive of the hobbies on this list, but there are also countless benefits to learning an instrument.  That’s why I rank this hobby as middle of the pack in terms of hobbies with the highest return on investment.  

#6 Sewing: As much as I enjoy sewing, the benefits provided from this hobby may fall short when compared to others on this list.  But don’t be fooled – sewing is still a great hobby to try in retirement.

#7 Puzzles: Puzzles round out my list of hobbies in retirement with the highest return on investment.  Puzzles are fun and inexpensive, but similar to sewing, I believe the benefits from pursuing this hobby do not trump other hobbies’ benefits.

Alternative Hobbies in Retirement For You to Try:

In addition to my favorite hobbies, here are some other ideas for hobbies in retirement you may decide to try: 

    • Carpentry and woodworking
    • Cake design
    • Knitting or crocheting
    • Photography
    • Growing an herb garden
    • Building model ships or model trains
    • Making your own soaps
    • Volunteering as a park ranger at your local national park
    • Learning a new language

Which Hobbies In Retirement Will You Try?

Hopefully this article gave you some great ideas for new hobbies in retirement!  Are you open to trying any of these hobbies?  Please leave your comments in the space below.

And, if you liked this post, please share it with a friend and subscribe to my newsletter for more awesome content.  

Thanks for reading!  Until next time, friends.  

Hi! I'm Mikaela, a blogger, CPA, soon-to-be bride, dog-mom, and self-proclaimed finance enthusiast. Join me on my journey to uncover some of the best financial practices and investment opportunities.

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