Welcome to our Living in Retirement blog, where a couple is writing about their real-life retirement journey.
From the moment we announced we were going to sell our downtown Toronto home and retire in the sunny Ontario town of Kingsville, people have been asking us: “What will you do with yourselves all day?”
Before we retired, we weren’t sure ourselves what our days would look like. But a big part of the reason we chose our Kingsville house was the large garden, as well as its proximity to a flourishing local arts community and a great golf course. Both of us are in our early 60s so being able to spend time doing things we had always dreamed of was a priority.
In our initial retirement planning, we included in our budget the amount we thought we would need for our hobbies and entertainment. At the time, we estimated that leisure costs would amount to roughly 15 per cent of our monthly spending.
Peter loves to cook and bake, something he struggled to fit into his schedule when working full-time. Since moving to Kingsville, Peter has more time to plan and prepare more gourmet meals and we are eating better. Of course, eating better does not necessarily mean spending more on food, so happily this hobby doesn’t drag down our finances.
Peter’s other passion is sports. He joined the Kingsville Golf & Country Club and is eagerly awaiting opening day on March 27. Although golf is not a cheap pastime, it is a great way to stay healthy and the cost of joining a club here is substantially less than playing in Toronto. Peter will golf in about 15 tournaments across the province this summer. In most cases, we will drive to these tournaments together and stop to see some sights or visit friends. We are lucky to have family and friends in various parts of Ontario, which helps reduce the cost of accommodations.
Astrid‘s passion is making crafts, things like fused glass pendants and earrings. Recently, she has been making rings using lovely Italian glass pieces. Later this year, her creations – jewellery, mosaics, and collages – will be posted on a website under the name Chicory Glass. (That site is currently under construction but stay tuned.) By scouring the Web, Astrid has been able to source some of the raw materials for her jewellery at wholesale, which helps keep costs down. Astrid’s creations will soon be sold in a local store, The Green Goose. She is also experimenting with creating “upcycled” – or recycled – jewellery which is good for the planet and her craft budget.
Since we moved to Kingsville, Astrid was introduced to the craft of making cards. She now enjoys attending the Papercraft Cafe‘s weekly card-making classes. This is a recent addition to our budget but the costs are very reasonable so we made it fit. This spring, she has been invited to make cards at a friend’s Tennessee cabin, a great opportunity to explore another arts and crafts community.
In addition to our individual pursuits, we also go to horticultural meetings, as well as arts and cultural meetings in the Kingsville area. This week we will polish up our cooking skills during classes at nearby Oxley Estate Winery.
Once the weather warms up, we will be spending a lot of time in our new garden. This will be our first spring here so we are busy germinating various perennials in the basement. This will help keep the costs down when we start planting outside.
There is no doubt that hobbies are a central focus of our retired life. Through these pursuits, we have met wonderful new friends with similar interests. Most of these activities have costs associated with them – and that requires us to think before we spend. We realize we can’t afford to go to all of the events that are available.
But our hobbies are important to us, a large source of joy in our lives and a big reason why we wanted to retire young. So far we have kept our hobbies and passions within our budget but we will revisit our budget again this year and see if we need to tweak it.
These days when friends ask us what we do all day, we run through the list above. They nod their heads and jealously say, “OK, I get it.”