People Say This Is No. 1 on Their Retirement Bucket List

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Senior retired man in a chair on the beach
Perfect Wave /

People often have a “bucket list” of things they would like to achieve or experience in retirement. For some, it could be a dream vacation. Others might want to build a business of their own or overhaul their house.

But 57% of people have a more modest goal: to find a new hobby.

Discovering a new pastime was the top retirement bucket-list item in a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S.. The survey — conducted by OnePoll — found that more than 40% of respondents age 59 and older have a list of tasks and goals they hope to achieve during their golden years. They aren’t the only ones planning for the future, either.

Across all generations, survey respondents most commonly said the following are on their retirement bucket lists:

  • Find a new hobby: 57%
  • Travel to other countries: 56%
  • Try more extreme sports: 53%
  • See more of the world’s sights: 46%
  • Learn to play a musical instrument: 46%
  • Try a new sport: 43%
  • Focus on health and well-being: 41%
  • Spend more time with family and friends: 31%
  • Try new foods/cuisines: 29%
  • Spend more time in nature: 28%
  • Read more books: 26%

Of those age 59 and older who were surveyed, 47% agree — at least somewhat — that creating a bucket list can help retirees to boost their mental health.

Interestingly, bucket-list goals appear to change with time. When respondents between the ages of 18 and 26 were asked about their retirement bucket list goals, an overwhelming majority mentioned finding new hobbies (80%) or traveling to other countries (79%).

Meanwhile, those between the ages of 59 and 77 said their top bucket-list item is spending more time with family and friends (55%) followed by prioritizing their health and well-being (52%).

Those who are 78 or older most commonly said they want to travel to other countries (87%) or find a new hobby (78%).

For more about the value of hobbies, check out “11 Hobbies That Can Help You Live Longer — and Better.”

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