The 10 Types of People You’ll Meet in Retirement

No matter when or where you retire, expect frequent run-ins with these 10 key types of retirees.

senior friends posing at beach vacation
Updated June 6, 2024
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Once you retire, your social circle starts to shift. Since you’re no longer going to work every day, your most frequent interactions won’t be with your coworkers.

You’ll probably spend more time with the people in your immediate vicinity, including your partner, neighbors, and family members. You should also expect to see more of the demographic who has the same amount of free time as you do: Your fellow retirees.

If you’re planning for retirement and wondering what kind of people you’ll be encountering, check out our list of people you’re guaranteed to meet throughout your next phase of life.

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The non-stop traveler

Prostock-studio/Adobe romantic senior couple having coffee outdoors

Plenty of employees spend their working years dreaming of ramping up travel in retirement. In fact, the average retiree spends around $11,000 a year on travel, according to the annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. 

So if you plan on becoming a non-stop traveler yourself, you’ll need to budget for the lifestyle. Some retirees have itchier feet than others, so be on the lookout for seniors who refuse to stay put.

Even if you’re more of a homebody, it’s always worth learning about intriguing destinations, including some you might want to add to your own bucket list.

The carefree beach bum

stokkete/Adobe Senior tourist riding electric scooter

Florida is one of the top states for seniors to retire to, and the beach lifestyle is one clear reason why. The year-round sun and white sand beaches can have a particular appeal to former workaholics who secretly hated the hustle and hassle of a busy career.

If you love the beach yourself, you might be considering a move to Florida once you retire. Before you list your house, though, make sure you’ll be happy interacting with fellow beach bums on a nonstop basis.

According to U.S. Census projections, 6 million seniors might be living in Florida by the end of this decade, so you should know ahead of time that you’re not likely to have the beach to yourself.

The year-round golfer

littlewolf1989/Adobe senior couple with golf gear at club

Speaking of Florida, the Sunshine State’s beaches aren’t the only retirement-centric draw. With more than 1,100 golf courses, Florida has more tee-time opportunities than any other state in the U.S.

Obviously, you don’t have to love golf to retire to Florida, but you might want to brush up on your golf lingo before you move.

You’re sure to end up in frequent conversations with passionate golfers, especially if you move to a retirement community on one of the sunny coasts.

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The lonely recluse

InsideCreativeHouse/Adobe depressed senior man sitting on couch

Issues like hearing loss, the death of a lifelong partner, and physical limitations keep plenty of seniors isolated and alone. And since isolation can increase the risk of developing conditions like dementia by as much as 50%, loneliness becomes a type of vicious cycle, isolating individuals even further as they age.

If you feel up to it, keep a lookout for retirees who fit into the lonely recluse category. Developing strong social connections will benefit both you and anyone else who ends up in your social circle, and creating your own community can keep your life interesting and meaningful after you finish working.

The outdoorsy campsite host

Areerat/Adobe retired couple having tea outdoors

If you’ve spent any time camping, you’re familiar with the type of senior who pulls up stakes immediately after retiring, invests in an RV, and sets off to see every state and National Park in the country.

While hosts at state and federal parks don’t usually get paid, they do get their own campsite with utility hookups. And the National Park lifestyle is particularly appealing to frugal seniors: A lifetime National Park pass costs a one-time fee of just $80, and it’s available as soon as you turn 62.

The dedicated volunteer senior male volunteer holding donation box

For some adults, leaving the workforce can feel like losing their sense of purpose. They fill the gap by volunteering, which benefits both the organizations that need volunteers and the seniors themselves, who now have a built-in social community.

If you aren’t a frequent volunteer yourself, you might find this type of retiree a bit tedious, especially those who constantly prod their friends and acquaintances to join them in their volunteer work.

But if you feel like something is missing from your life once you stop working, you might want to set your skepticism aside: Volunteering can definitely improve your overall sense of satisfaction with your life.

The retired workaholic

Ron Dale/Adobe senior woman working on laptop

After spending decades in the workforce, transitioning to a job-free life can be a major challenge. For some, it’s simply too challenging, so they opt to work as long as physically possible. This may annoy friends and family members who were looking forward to finally spending some time with their workaholic spouse or parent.

Of course, plenty of retirees have to keep working to support themselves once they lose their main source of income. Others are simply bored and pick up an interesting side gig to pass the time and build up a discretionary fund.

Whichever category you fall into, do what you can to steer clear of the non-stop grind. Work can definitely bring meaning to your life, but it isn’t the only way to find friends or contribute to society.

The golden grandparent

bobex73/Adobe senior woman with grandchild watering plants

You’ve seen them in countless movies and TV shows, or maybe you’ve experienced them in your own life as a child or grandchild. But as a retiree yourself, you finally get a front-row seat to the specific subset of retirees whose lives revolve entirely around their grandkids.

This type of retiree might move across the country so they can see the grandkids on a daily basis. Others may spend most of the year traveling from household to household to enjoy time with every grandchild.

Either way, make sure you’re prepared for an earful if you ask one of your fellow retirees how the grandkids are. This conversation could last a while.

The fitness junkie

Joaquin Corbalan/Adobe senior couple doing exercise

Once they no longer have to spend 40 hours a week at work, some seniors start spending at least as much time a week on a rigid exercise regimen. These seniors usually appear at the gym or hit the streets for a jog at the break of dawn, and they’ll stick to the same routine day in and day out.

If you aren’t too active yourself, you might want to consider joining one of your extremely fit friends on a walk once a week. It’ll give you a built-in way to socialize and help you stay healthy.

But if you don’t want to make working out your whole life, make sure you have an exercise exit strategy. Fitness junkies can be as passionate as dedicated volunteers about converting everyone else to their lifestyle.

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The generous donor

Halfpoint/Adobe volunteers collecting funds from senior woman

The generous donor is a variation on the dedicated volunteer, though they might have more money squirreled away to bestow on different organizations (or they’re at least more comfortable spending the money they’ve saved).

While it can be great to consistently donate to an organization you support, be cautious about peer pressure from this type of retiree. No one knows for sure how long they’ll live, and burning through your savings too quickly is a definite concern in retirement.

Bottom line

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe senior friends dancing together at beach

Of course, retired life is full of far more types of people than we can list here. One of the most enjoyable parts of this new phase of life is figuring out which type of retiree you most enjoy spending time with — as well as which type of retiree you are yourself.

Regardless of how you will spend your time in retirement, be sure you can afford the lifestyle you choose. Continuing to build your wealth in retirement is as important as when you were working. 

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Author Details

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.