Could your inner 10-year-old help define your retirement goals?

Alan Spector

By Alan Spector

When my friend and coauthor, Keith Lawrence, and I were doing the research for our book, Your Retirement Quest, we identified what we came to call, the “10 key elements of a fulfilling retirement.” Having read every retirement book we could get our hands on, having reviewed the retirement-relevant research, and having interviewed hundreds of retirees, we learned that one of those 10 key elements is “Passions.”

If a retiree has identified what he or she is passionate about and then takes the steps to pursue those passions, they are more likely to live the retirement they worked so hard to deserve.  I have friends who are passionate about playing the piano, gardening, grandparenting, traveling, creating pottery, playing bridge, writing, RV’ing, bicycling, cooking…just to name a few.    

How does one identify one’s passions?  Ask yourself these questions.  What do I love to do?  What am I really good at?  What am I doing when I lose track of time or perhaps even skip a meal?  What do I love to discuss with others?  What do I love to learn more about? 

As we’ve interacted with thousands over the past decade, Keith and I have found that these questions may not be sufficient for some retirees and pre-retirees, as they strive to identify what they’re really passionate about. Some people have so dedicated their lives to their careers, they have not spent the time or energy to figure out what their passions are outside the workplace. Frequently, we’ll hear, “I’m really concerned about retirement—I don’t have any hobbies.”

There’s one more helpful question we then ask that often gets people on the right track, “What did you love to do when you were 10 years old?”

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Even though 10 years old seems like, and is, a long time ago, it frequently creates a spark.  When we are 10 years old, or thereabouts, we are old enough to know what we loved to do, but life hadn’t yet shown up in a way that dampens youthful passions. Perhaps rekindling those long-ago feelings will serve you well in retirement. 

When I was 10 years old, my passions were baseball and books.  If I had a bat and ball or a book in my hands, I was happy.  In retirement, I continue to pursue those passions.  I still play baseball, have coached youth teams, and lead community discussions about baseball history. And I have been fortunate to have written seven books, six of which are published.  Happily, one of those books is about baseball.

It’s worth some time to figure out what your passions are and then take the steps to pursue them, whether they be newly acquired or whether they answer the question, “What did I love to do when I was 10 years old?” 

About Alan Spector: Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored six published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement(  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives. Alan’s latest two books are Body Not Recovered, a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and After the Cheering Stops, which helps both elite athletes and baby boomers create a winning retirement game plan.