The Challenges of a Challenging Bucket List

Some days we may feel as if we’re still 18 years old, while other days we feel exactly our age. It’s on those youthful days that we may get a hankering to complete one of those tasks on our “bucket list.”  Unfortunately, just because we’re feeling young and confident doesn’t mean we’re ready to hike up a mountain, especially if we’ve never climbed one!

It’s one thing if we take the time to train properly for a focused, long-term goal. However, even then we must face the fact that as we age, our bodies may suffer from wear and tear. Our joints may get less lubrication and are therefore less elastic. For some, balance may start to go, or eyesight, hearing and reaction time change.

These less-than-perfect conditions can mean that we may be more prone to injure ourselves as we age, particularly if we try to pursue activities from our youth. Even worse, when we do suffer an injury, it can take longer to recover.

With all this said, it’s important to have goals. There’s nothing wrong with starting a bucket list; it’s just that we may want to tackle the more physically demanding activities first, when our bodies are younger and healthier. Also, it’s important to be realistic not only about what we can and cannot do, but about what we should and should not do. For example, in 2016 there was a 21.5 percent uptick in the number of motorcycle fatalities among baby boomers age 60 and up.1 It’s likely that every one of those riders believed they would be just fine riding their motorcycle. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what we don’t know, even about ourselves.

It’s good to have goals. If you haven’t already, consider starting a bucket list and adding to it throughout your lifetime. Just be realistic about what you can do from both a physical and financial perspective. While regular exercise is important, think about adding books you’ve never read, places you’ve never been and movies you haven’t seen.

1 Alexandria News. Oct. 16, 2017. “Motorcycle Fatalities Up 21.5 Percent Among Baby Boomers Who Are 60 Years Old And Older.” Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Money Saving Tips

Creating a “Happiness To-Do List”

During retirement, it’s important to have activities to look forward to and that make you happy, including opportunities for exercise, socialization and intellectual challenges. It’s a good idea to put these ideas on paper (or on your digital device) so you have a reminder of all the activities you want to try.

Think of it as your “happiness to-do list.” As you develop it, remember projects you didn’t have time to do when you were building your career or raising a family. Items on the list need not require a lot of money or physical prowess — they just need to be activities that have the potential to make you feel happy.

Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read or movies you missed when they were in the theater. Consider visiting local shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums you haven’t been to before. Pull out old photos you have stashed in boxes, and enjoy the memories as you put them in photo albums or scan them to upload to the cloud.

The following are suggestions for your happiness to-do list — but don’t limit yourself. Use these ideas as a launching point for activities you’ll want to pursue on a regular basis.

  • Saturday morning flea markets — don’t just go for the finds, go for the people watching
  • Take a walk in a nature preserve
  • Join a club or civic organization
  • Learn a craft, like calligraphy, knitting or quilting
  • Plan a trip to the beach, lake, etc.
  • Join a local chess game in the park
  • Get out and take lots of photos
  • Learn a new sport, like pickleball
  • Karaoke!
  • Try food you’ve never eaten before, or visit a new restaurant
  • Find a local gym that offers SilverSneakers (, a free fitness program for people on Medicare
  • Try yoga or tai chi
  • Volunteer at a local charity, animal shelter or hospital
  • Get a massage, manicure or pedicure
  • Take certification classes to become an umpire or referee
  • Plant a garden
  • Try out new recipes
  • Make regular visits to the library
  • Join or start a book club
  • Adopt or foster a pet
  • Learn how to play a musical instrument
  • Join a theater group — try out for a part, volunteer as an usher, etc.
  • Go fishing
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take dance classes
  • Correspond regularly with a penpal — a faraway friend or relative or someone you’ve never met (search penpal websites online)
  • Take a trip in a rented RV
  • Check out activities at your local senior center

Planning Tip

Classic Rock Concert Tours in 2018

If you love music, think about adding some concerts to your bucket list this year. Elton John has announced he’ll be playing his final tour, so it may be your last chance to catch this iconic rocker. Check your local venues to see if any of these other favorite classic artists will be touring in your area:1

  • America
  • Billy Joel
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Chicago
  • Creedence Clearwater Revisited
  • Doobie Brothers
  • Eagles
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Jethro Tull
  • John Fogerty
  • Journey
  • Peter Frampton
  • Pretenders
  • Rod Stewart
  • Steely Dan
  • Steve Miller Band
  • Steve Winwood
  • Three Dog Night
  • U2

1 2018. “Classic Rock Tickets.” Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.