Retirees enjoy significantly more free time than the rest of the population. People ages 65 to 74 spend 6.78 hours engaged in leisure activities on the typical weekday, and those ages 75 and older get 7.35 hours of leisure time daily, according to the 2013 American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The entire population ages 15 and older gets an average of 4.74 hours of leisure time per weekday. Here's how retirees are spending their surplus of free time:
Watching TV. Retirees spend over half of their leisure time watching TV. People ages 65 to 74 watch 3.92 hours of TV on weekdays, and those 75 and older tune in for an average of 4.15 hours each day. That's over an hour more than the 2.57 hours of TV the overall population watches daily.
Reading. Retirees ages 75 and older spend nearly an hour each day reading, and people ages 65 to 74 read for three quarters of an hour each day. Younger people typically spend less time reading, averaging about a third of an hour daily.
Relaxing. Some people become more thoughtful and reflective with age. Seniors ages 75 and older spend nearly three quarters of an hour each day relaxing and thinking, compared to 22 minutes among people ages 65 to 74 and 18 minutes among the population overall.
Lingering over meals. Working people sometimes need to rush through meals, while retirees get a few extra minutes to enjoy them. Retirees 65 to 74 spend an hour and 25 minutes each day eating and drinking, compared to an hour and 14 minutes among all Americans.
Shopping. Retirees are less hurried in their shopping for groceries, gas and other consumer goods, spending 49 minutes per day shopping in retirement, compared to 45 minutes among everyone else. This shopping time includes purchases in a store, via telephone and online.
House and garden projects. Gardening and do-it-yourself home improvement projects are common retirement hobbies. Seniors ages 65 to 74 do household activities including housework, cooking, vehicle maintenance, pet care and lawn and garden work for 2.45 hours per day, versus the 1.78 hours daily the overall population spends on household chores.
Working. Seniors ages 65 to 74 continue to spend over an hour per day working, but that number drops to an average of just 23 minutes of work for pay each day after age 75. Americans ages 15 and older spend much more time at work, averaging 3 and a half hours each weekday.
Volunteering. Retirees participate in volunteer, civic and religious activities for over half an hour each day, compared to about a third of an hour for all adults. Civic activities include jury duty and court appearances as well as voting or attending town hall meetings. Religious activities could involve attending services, participating in affiliated choirs or youth groups and engaging in personal religious practices such as praying.
Sleeping. You can finally toss your alarm clock in retirement, and perhaps some retirees do. Seniors ages 75 and older spend over 10 hours per day sleeping or engaged in personal care activities such a bathing and dressing, compared to 9.5 hours per day for the population overall.
Retirees spend below average amounts of time caring for children and other household members and working. Instead, they gain several hours of leisure time as well as time to linger slightly longer over meals, shopping and household chores.
Emily Brandon is the senior editor for Retirement at U.S. News. You can contact her on Twitter @aiming2retire or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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