5 Retirement Ideas to Plan for Your Future While Surviving the Present


Man coming up with Retirement Ideas

Retirement ideas to help plan for your future (while surviving the present) are typically about finances. But with all the news about the impact of the global health crisis, pre-retirees and those who are retired need concrete retirement ideas that are relevant to the times.

Thinking through possible retirement ideas helps you identify solid actions that:

  • will keep you positively engaged
  • boost your physical and mental health
  • add something to your family and community, and
  • potentially lead to a good retirement income in the future.

This is not an empty promise. These are all things to do in retirement that I’ve accomplished myself, or know someone who has.

Which of these retirement ideas resonate with you?

1. Write Down Your Memories

Photos of memories for generating retirement ideasMy young nephews tell me that my life is “history.” I never think of it like that (am I really that old?!). But for youngsters, our experience of having lived through a war, a time of economic depression, or even (in my case) the “Swinging Sixties” is history.

For the present: tell your story. Write it down. Or type and print it out. Give it to your family as a gift. It’s your legacy to your children and grandchildren, and more generations to come.

In the medium term: It may even prove valuable to the wider world. When my sister and I found World War II morse code messages in my late step-dad’s belongings (he was a radio operator with the British Army in Italy), we wrote a narrative around them, using the stories he had told us verbally. They were accepted by the BBC’s war archives. We contributed our family story to a wider history.
Could you do something similar?

Retirement ideas in the future: Enjoy writing? Turn your memories into a book. If a book feels like too much, consider smaller steps. Kathy Milano developed an entire online business around writing thank you notes.

And if developing an online business feels like too much — if you’re not even sure what it means — why not sign up for our simple, 5-day retirement business mini course?

2. Consider Storytelling

Woman reading a book Not confident in your writing ability? Record your memories.

For the present: Sit back, relax, and talk into your phone’s recorder. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, make videos. Envisage your audience. Tell them your story. Contribute to your family history.

In the medium term: If you enjoy it, why not use your new-found skills to benefit local groups? Offer to get a group of kids together online for a “history” lesson. It might just be your family, or your family plus friends. Or contact your local school — teachers could do with some help.

Retirement ideas in the future: If you’re looking for paid things to do with this in retirement, think about whether you could use your communication skills to become a classroom assistant. Or offer your legacy more widely. Publish your stories online.

Can you really earn money online by telling stories? It hadn’t crossed Rhonda Muir’s mind — until she moved to magical Orkney, in the far north of Scotland. There, she met her husband Tom, who happened to be a local storyteller.

The rest, as Rhonda would say, is history.

3. Earn Extra Income From Languages

Retired couple in France coming up with retirement ideas
Retired couple brainstorming retirement ideas while traveling

Do you speak a language other than English? If so, have you thought of using it even if, like me, you haven’t spoken it for a while?

Of course, travel at the present time is not possible. But learning to communicate with other nationalities is always an advantage, wherever you live and whether or not you travel.

For the present: Use this downtime to learn or brush up on your chosen language on any of a number of excellent free websites.

Think more widely than the spoken language. Have you ever considered learning sign language as a retirement hobby? Being able to communicate with those with a hearing impairment is an amazing gift.

You no longer have to go to a classroom to learn. Take an online course, or join a group to learn with others. You’ll find links on your country’s sign language website.

In the medium term: If you’re already confident in a language, even at an elementary level, why not offer to lead local online groups in basic conversation?

Both adults and children are searching for spare time activities. Keep it simple. Start with friends and family. Ask who’d like to learn [whichever language you choose]. And then, jump in.

I offered to have basic Spanish conversation via Skype with my youngest nephew who studies it at school. I was anxious, but found it more fun than you can imagine. And at the same time you’re strengthening family bonds without being in person with each other.

Retirement ideas in the future: Can you really make money from learning or teaching a language? I have a retired friend who learned sign language online when her niece had a hearing-impaired baby. Twelve months later, she was employed part-time (her choice) as a sign language translator at Court.

Or, if English is your first language, offer your services at a local language school to help those who need to develop their skills in English as a second language.

Tutoring, as opposed to teaching, generally involves simple one-to-one conversational learning. It requires few qualifications and can be done online via a video conferencing platform like Skype or Zoom, both of which have free plans.

And if you’re planning to travel after restrictions are lifted, think about teaching English as a second language in another country. It could at least partly fund your trip.

Do you need qualifications? To teach a class, you do — and there are online courses that give you that very thing. Start now, and you’ll be ready by the time you can travel.

Concerned that your age might go against you? No problem. Teach online.

That’s what Catherine Simonton decided to do. And now, she has an online business teaching English as a second language that helps people worldwide and supplements her retirement income.

4. Enjoy Gardening? Turn Your Green Thumb Into Retirement Ideas

Woman gardening
Retired woman gardening

You don’t need to be a master gardener! If you’re able to push a lawnmower or use a trowel, you have something to offer to your community now — and a potential for development later.

For the present: Look around your local community. Who iss vulnerable and in need of help? Is someone’s lawn looking overgrown and tired? Are once pristine flowerbeds full of weeds? Does anyone’s leaves need raking?

How awesome would it be to give something to your community? All it takes is a simple “I’d love to …”

Make that call. It could be the start of something big!

In the medium term: If you’ve always been interested in gardening but never sure about the theory behind it, now’s the time. Did you know that every U.S. state has free master gardening training? Find details at the American Horticultural Society website. And of course, there are dozens of videos on YouTube, all offering free tuition.

Try your favorite TV celebrity gardener, or a well-known website like the Royal Horticultural Society. Or take a walk through the manicured gardens of a stately home.

Evenings learning online; mornings wandering virtually through the gardens of Versailles; afternoons spent in blissful isolation in your garden.

What could be more soothing to the soul?

Retirement ideas in the future: Unless you’re extraordinarily talented, you can never hope to compete with professional gardeners — nor should you try. Too stressful by half, and stress is not what you hope to get from retirement!

But you can become an expert in a particular type of gardening.

Which plant or tree do you love the most? Which flower makes your heart sing when you see it from your bedroom window?

Do planters on your patio give you particular pleasure? Which herbs do you know add peace and serenity to your home? We could all do with a bit of that!

Share your passion, globally. Create a website. Write about it there. What tips can you share with others that would help them make their gardening thumbs glow green? How could you share the sense of calm gardening gives you, with others who haven’t yet experienced it?

Think it’s impossible? Take a leaf (see what I did there?!) out of Steve Masley’s and Pat Browne’s book and grow some tomatoes into a business!

5. Find Your Inner Child to Generate Retirement Ideas

Close your eyes for a minute. Relax. Let your mind wander, back to your childhood.

What hobby did you really love as a youngster? And what did you want to be doing when you had to go to school? Why did you love it?

Above all, how did it make you feel?

Now, fast forward to the present. Wouldn’t you like to feel that thrill again? To wake up in the morning elated that in the day ahead you will be “working” on what gives you absolute pleasure?

Here’s some good news: you can!

For the present: Indulge yourself. Take some time to really think about what you would love to do.

Whatever that hobby might be, work out how you can learn more about it. Maybe you can find an online course — there are many available. Perhaps you have books that have lain unopened for years. Dig them out, dust them off. Find videos. Discover authoritative websites.

In the medium term: Do more of the same. Spend time really getting to know your subject. Dream about how you’d like it to progress. If it sounds a bit weird, don’t put it away. Take it out and examine it.

Woman caring for her backyard chickens
Woman who chose raising chickens as her retirement business idea

Mine was keeping chickens. You can’t get much weirder than that, especially when you know that I was born and brought up in inner-city Liverpool, UK. When I did my dreaming I had no idea why that came to mind. But I went with the flow.

I read books and blogs. I learned what I could. And then — I bought some chickens. Every day then was spent in the sunshine (well OK, and some rain!). I learned how to make a coop. How to care for my hens.

In return, they gave me entertainment value you’d pay good money for. And as many fresh eggs as I could eat. They made me smile.

My idea of heaven. Probably not yours — but you’ll have your own. Let your imagination run riot!

Retirement ideas in the future: Use those dreams and ideas to become an entrepreneur in retirement.  Look forward to getting up each day knowing that you can write about something you love. Put your time into learning more about a “hobby” that has now become a business.

Is that even possible?

I’m here to tell you it is. I retired ten years ago (early, of course!). My chickens’ website, started in almost blissful ignorance of either chickens or how to build a website, at least doubles my monthly pension income.

Most days I can’t believe my good fortune. Because from that dream (via a lot of chicken poop!) has come achievement. And profit. Both are important to me, as I suspect they are to you, too.

Not sure you can learn that technology stuff? Neither was I. But I did. And if I can do it, so can you.

Retirement Ideas — The Ties That Bind

So there they are. Your first five retirement ideas with multiple benefits:

  • spending time now developing an interest and using it for your own benefit and that of your family, friends and community.
  • expanding that interest into skills that both further your own development and continue to benefit a potentially wider audience
  • evolving your knowledge and skills to a point where, via a website, they offer enormous potential benefits both to a global like-minded audience, and to your retirement income (especially important if you have to retire on little money)
  • in the process, building new skills, widening social contacts (yes, even online!), avoiding boredom in retirement and building a true asset for your future.

What’s the tie that binds?

PHand holding phone camera with beautiful sunsetThe potential to turn any one of these retirement ideas, and many others, into a successful, profitable online business. It’s been done in each of these examples and many others — not just once, but multiple times.


With the tools and guidance of a solid, proven process.

So you can be using your potential, planning to enjoy a healthy retirement and earning money, all at the same time.

There’s never been a better time to join us.

Not sure you’ve found what you’re looking for?

No problem. Get started today with Solo Build It! and make your way through the Action Guide. You’ll be guided step-by-step through brainstorming potentially profitable topics to start a business around. 

5 Retirement Ideas to Plan for Your Future While Surviving the Present
Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews

Having taken early retirement from work in social care, Cath Andrews describes her "day job" – her online business, Raising Happy Chickens – like this: I spend my time doing what my mother calls “playing on that blasted computer all day” – and I love it. Having started from a nil knowledge base and now able to share my knowledge globally to people who really appreciate it gives me great joy. And that’s as important to me as the money the business makes.