Types of Retirees: Diversity in Retirement Lifestyles

a group of older canadians enjoying art

Table of Contents

The advertisers continue to try to convince us that a successful retirement is one filled with leisure and consumption.

They would like us to believe that retirees are a homogeneous group who all want the same things in retirement.

For years they have promoted the “ideal couple” living the “ideal lifestyle” on the beach or golf course. But this is nonsense. Not every retiree wants to live like that, nor can every retiree afford to.

Playing golf, frolicking on a beach, taking care of the grandkids, won’t be enough for some retirees.

Retirement is not a one size fits all journey. There are many possible paths and countless variations in retirees timing, experiences, dreams and financial circumstances. The goal is to thrive in retirement and retirees take different paths to hit this goal.

Three Types of Retirees

Through our research we were able to identify three distinct types of retirees based on the degree to which they are driven by certain needs and values.  

Comfort-Oriented Retiree (Relaxers)

Relaxers are the people usually pictured in the retirement  commercials you watch on tv.  

They just want to relax and enjoy a safe, comfortable, less stressful life with more time for leisure and family.

They are content living out their lives repeating the same day over and over.

They feel that retirement is the best thing that ever happened to them, and they view it as the payoff for all those years of hard work.

One of their biggest goals in life was to make it safely to the retirement finish line; now that they have accomplished that, they never plan on working again.

Growth- Oriented Retiree (Growers)

Growers are people who have a constant need for personal growth and are driven to realize their potential, to become everything they can be.

For them retirement is not a finish line, it’s the start of something new; not a goal in itself, but full of new goals to be conquered and accomplished.

They are vibrant and optimistic and look forward to enjoying another thirty-plus years of active living ahead of them. They don’t want to waste precious time sitting on the sidelines, stagnating and watching others have all the fun.

Challenge, variety, and surprise are key elements to happiness for growers. By seeking out new adventures and taking some risks, they stretch themselves and discover their true capabilities.

They are using their newly found freedom to live the kind of happy, healthy lifestyle that they could only dream of back when they were working full-time.


Givers are growers that grow through giving. They have a strong need to live for a purpose greater than themselves.

They derive personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement and significance through contributing to society and helping others.

As you can see what makes one retiree feel happy, content and fulfilled is very different from what makes another feel the same way.

What type of lifestyle works for a relaxer will not work for a grower. 


The take away here is to understand that people have differing psychological needs and because of that there is not only one right way to do retirement.

What works for your retired friend Fred might not work for you.

Spending some time to figure that out for yourself will help you design a retirement lifestyle that works for you.

About the author  

Mike Drak is an author, public speaker and recognized authority on retirement. After having spent 38 years in the financial services industry, Mike retired and personally faced what he called “retirement shock”. During this time, Mike found himself on a journey of self-discovery and authored three best-selling books on retirement; Victory Lap Retirement, Retirement Heaven or Hell: Which Will You Choose? and Longevity Lifestyle By Design. Mike is a Senior Contributor at Booming Encore and dedicates his time to helping other retirees design a fulfilling, meaningful retirement lifestyle for themselves.

Download your FREE copy of Longevity Lifestyle by Design, a practical how-to guide for anyone facing or contemplating retirement.

Related Post