Retire to Play and Purpose: Retire to Hobbies

Updated: Apr 28


Own your own bookstore! What a great excuse to read.


Retire to Play and Purpose Review: Retire to Hobbies

Do you have a hobby? Maybe you’re a photographer? Or you love baking or painting? So many options, so little time!

Maybe one of your cherished dreams is to take that hobby to the next level when you retire—spend more time at it, perhaps invest in further training. You may even be interested in converting that hobby into a part-time job or a new career. You don’t even have to be retired to make that work for you. That’s not a bad plan. Many have done that successfully.

Kim Carrier, for example, loves pets. She was so alarmed by the idea that people with shrinking means might lose a valued source of love and devotion, she established an organization that helps feed pets. Much like a food bank, folks can come and get much needed supplies. Click Here for more.

I like to think of Sam Bowman as the smiling volunteer man. His interest in volunteering took him to a job where he helps people take their volunteering to a new level. Click Here for more.

I know a little about moving a hobby into a vocation. In fact, here are two published authorities who offer good advice for moving that hobby to a different level: Kerry Hannon, author of Great Pajama Jobs and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+, and Kimberly Palmer, author of The Economy of You and Generation You. Here are a few things to consider:

Early Start

A hobby can morph into a full-time or part-time retirement job. But to take it that far usually requires some preparation. For example:

  • Do you want or need more training?

  • Would a mentor be helpful?

  • Have you created a business plan?

All of these preparation steps can be done prior to your actual retirement date, which is good news on many levels. We often need a way to make the mental shift from full-time work mode to something else. Taking a course, finding a mentor, or doing some planning are all great ways to get one foot into retirement ahead of time. Eventually, you can move more weight to the retirement limb and reduce the pressure on the working one, as it were. The transition goes more smoothly that way.

A Part-time Job as Experience

I’ve read about or talked to many retirees who used the “part-time job” as a means of gaining experience in a particular business. The man who wants to start his own restaurant and feature pizza waits table at a neighborhood pizza place to see how the business works. The woman who wants to start a kennel works at the dog shelter on weekends.

These people are turning their love of pizza and animals into something different. They are exploring a dream.

Keep in mind too that this early experience can also help you discover aspects you don’t value. I talked to one lady who was all set to push the retirement button and pursue an another degree, this time in marine biology. A savvy friend suggested she check out a place like Marine World. Our heroine created a “work-cation” where she could see marine creatures in action. A month later she came home and cancelled her plans for school in that field.

It’s not as though she lost her interest in marine life. She didn’t lose her concern for the habitats or environment. But she discovered she didn’t feel comfortable doing the kind of things expected in that line of work. If she had retired, invested her time and money in schooling, and then made that discovery, she would have been devastated. Because she had not yet retired, she had work to fall back on and could still explore other possibilities.

What’s Next?

Some hobbies are hard to monetize. Some people don’t want to put in the effort or don’t need to earn money pursuing their interests. But perhaps they are not as happy as they once were doing the activity. Or, in fact, they can’t do that activity any more. For example, long distance runners eventually have to slow down or stop. What then?


Turn your interest into service. I know one lady who loved knitting; through her church she pulled together a circle of knitters to make blankets for newborns at a nearby hospital. The knitters were excited about being able to serve and their enthusiasm spread. First one and then other teenagers wanted to knit. The older ladies enjoyed having the teens, and both groups—as well as the newborns—benefited from their expanded circle of friends.

As you plan for your retirement, pull out your hobbies and look at them carefully. Can they be money makers? Can you share what you know about the skills? Can you serve others?


I wish you well in your planning.

Ed Zinkiewicz

…the retired guy

p.s. If you want to know more of what retirement has to offer, please read my book Retire to Play and Purpose: How to have an amazing time going forward. Find it at Amazon.


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