Retirement marks the end of a person's working career, but retirees in recent decades have radically redefined what it means to be retired. Today, retirees are often active in a variety of areas and may even pursue part- or full-time employment after leaving behind a career of many years. Whatever form it takes, there are several major advantages of retirement.
Jobs are a major source of stress for many people, and retirement may offer relief. By removing the need to perform to a high standard and meet specific targets, or the anxiety that may come from interacting with superiors and customers, retirement can be good for a retiree's mental and physical health.
Because it usually occurs late in life, retirement is often associated with a time of poor or fading health. However, retirees have more time to sleep, exercise and choose or prepare healthful foods--making retirement an opportunity to actually improve overall health. Many retirees take up an athletic hobby, such as golf or walking, which can easily be carried over into later life and promote longevity.
Many retirees use their new-found free time and accumulated wealth to become involved in philanthropic activities. From making charitable donations to serving on the board of a community foundation, this type of activity provides a chance for retirees to use the skills and experience they developed over the course of a lifetime to meet the needs of the community.
Retirement offers the advantage of allowing more time and energy to spend with family members. The classic instance of retired grandparents serving as babysitters is only the most common example. Retirees can use their new lifestyle to spend more time with adult children, distant family members, retired siblings and close friends.
A New Lifestyle
Finally, retirement has the advantage of being one of the few times in life when many people can freely rearrange their lifestyle and its priorities. Spending more time on a hobby, following an intellectual pursuit or traveling can define an entirely new way of life, especially if a career dominated much of a person's time commitments prior to retirement.