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What do retirees do all day?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

In my neighborhood, the parade starts shortly. Happy July Fourth to everyone.

Many people call this Independence Day. I like that because it has a special significance for those of us who are retired or nearing retirement and the freedom it brings to spend more time doing the things we like to do.

Here are some key findings about how people older than 65 spend their days, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics' analysis of "American Time Use." Factor these numbers into your retirement planning.

Having fun. On an average day, 75 percent of people older than 75 spent 7.4 hours engaged in sports and leisure activities. People 65 and older spend 6.9 hours. How many are playing more than one round?

Phone calls and email. People 65 and older spend an average of 24 minutes communicating via phone or email. That's a low estimate of those activities at my house.

Eating and drinking. People 65 and older, including those older than 75, spend an average of one hour and 48 minutes at the table. I wonder if that counts cocktail hour.

Working. No surprises here: People 65 and older spend one hour and 45 minutes working, while those 75 and older devote only 25 minutes to work.

Household chores. I'm amazed this number is so high: an average of two hours and 43 minutes for people age 65 and up. How much vacuuming can one person do?

Shopping. Ninety minutes for people 65 and older and 83 minutes for those 75 and older. Looks like retail therapy still works no matter what your age.

How do you spend your time in retirement?

Enjoy your holiday.

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Diane Hansen
July 09, 2012 at 9:31 pm

What I love the most about retirement is the precious gift of time. For the first time in my life, including my childhood, I can pretty much do what I really want to do. The first thing I've noticed is the uninterrupted creativity. Writing, drawing, experimenting with recipes, poetry, etc., etc! Rainy days are for phone calls and DVD's. Sunny days are for being outside whenever you want. I can spend more time with the family especially the grandchildren, helping out when needed. I have more time to do housework and organize so it isn't such a drag as when I worked. To be completely honest it is not a priority in my day. What is a priority is what do I feel like doing today. It is truly wonderful!

July 09, 2012 at 8:43 pm

You must compare apples to apples. Many seniors, myself included, just do not move as fast as our younger counterparts as we complete common household chores (grocery shopping, simple housework from doing wash, emptying dishwasher, watering plants, meal preparation regardless of how simple and the most painful of all for me is changing sheets.) And heaven forbid the reseach I must do to correct a computer or other electronic glitch!
Thank you to those of you who recognize all of this as abnormaly time consuming!

July 09, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Except on the days when I pay bills, I surf the net, discussing politics with others on the web. I also read books if I can't find something worth commenting on of a political nature that day. I have limited mobility so don't do a lot of housekeeping, which isn't a problem since all of my friends left town a long time ago.

July 07, 2012 at 11:14 am

I volunteer 15 hours a week answering phones and doing misc task at our church in the afternoon. This is the killer, I am up when the stock market opens in NY at 6:30 am (Pacific Time) and monitoring and trading a few stocks (weekly) until it closes daily. LOL

July 06, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Holy snark, Batman!
I work 15 hrs a week, commute 4 hrs., volunteer 6hrs., take care of pets, a house and yard singlehandedly, and do things my kids don't have time to do. I hope little Ms. Jennie respects whatever time her parents spend helping her out. I vacuum rarely,btw...

July 05, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I am 66 and spend most of my time caring for my 90 year old mother. This includes, but is not limited to, doing the cooking, preparing her medicine,taking her to many doctor appointments, managing her money, and interpreting the world to her as needed. Right now she is having health problems and I spend the night with her to help out if she awakens. In addition, I keep 8 acres and two lawns mowed as well as care for flowers that we all enjoy. I clean my house and do the laundry, preserve and freeze food from our garden and from local farmers,and try to find time for my dear husband. I am grateful for the ability and strength to do these tasks. For the record, I don't watch TV, go to the movies, play games. I do get to go the Sunday School and sometimes to church if Mother is doing well. Life is good!

July 05, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I am recently retired, while my wife is still employed, I spend about three hours cleaning and cooking. I am only 69yrs old but would like to do more social things. That is my retirement challenge.I spent 44yrs. As a psychotherapist and need other activities. Paul

July 05, 2012 at 3:52 pm

What a twit. It can take me 1/2 hour to fold a small load of clothes. That doesn't count the time I need to stop, to allow pain to subside. Then that can take an hour or more.

This young woman needs sometime over a knee. Disrespectful and dismissive without the slightest bit of understanding.

July 04, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I agree with Lucille. Vacuuming is only ONE chore if you want to run a healthy household. Retirement gives you the opportunity to do the things you could not do on a regular basis when you were working full time, such as cleaning out drawers, cabinets, organizing clothes and mending and altering of those, babysitting for working children, doing laundry, healthy cooking and baking, and on and on. When one retires one can catch up on all other activities too like writing, ushering, volunteering, carpentry, and exercising one's brain by going back to school and taking other courses. No-one I know sits around and is happy with drinking, emails and phone calls and having fun. Having led an active life if that should be the case you might as well close up shop and wait to die. This generation of retirees is much to alive to give up without a fight. As long as we are healthy we will do our part.

July 04, 2012 at 6:39 am

I found this article snarky and unappealing. The amount of time spent on household chores is higher because it can take more time to do these chores as we age, the comment on vacuuming is dismissive and does not show an appreciation for the longer times needed.