10 ways retirees spend their newfound free time

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MONEY's Best Places to Retire

Retirees enjoy more leisure time than any other age group. People between ages 65 and 74 have nearly seven hours of leisure time each day, and it jumps to over eight hours among those ages 75 and older, the most of any age group, according to the 2014 results of the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall population gets just over five hours of free time each day. People in their peak career and child-rearing years, those between ages 35 and 44, have the least leisure time of just four hours per day. Here is how retirees are spending their newfound free time.

Watching TV. Watching television is the most popular leisure activity among all age groups, but especially among retirees. People between ages 65 and 74 spend nearly four hours watching TV each day. And those ages 75 and older get four and a half hours of screen time. That's over an hour more than the 2.6 hours the overall population uses to view shows and movies.

Reading. Retirees are more likely to immerse themselves in a good book than any other age group. They spend about an hour each day turning pages, about three times as much time as the typical person spends reading.

Thinking. Some people become more contemplative as they age and take the time to reflect on the life they have lived. Seniors ages 75 and older say they spend 42 minutes per day thinking and relaxing, which is significantly longer than the 16 minutes the overall population and even the 20 minutes younger retirees spend doing this.

Eating. Retirees linger over their meals a little longer than the rest of the population. People ages 65 and older spend 12 to 15 minutes more per day eating and drinking, stretching out their meal times to a little over an hour and 20 minutes each day.

Home improvements. Many retirees like to spend more time in their gardens or making improvements to their home. And there's plenty of housework and cooking to be done at any age. People ages 65 to 74 spend nearly two and a half hours per day on household activities, the most of any age group and 40 minutes longer than the overall population.

Shopping. Retirees can take the time to comparison shop and search for the best deal. Or they can linger in the store to chat with salespeople or other shoppers and thoroughly test out the desired product. The amount of time spent purchasing goods and services increases steadily with age and reaches a peak of nearly an hour among people between ages 65 and 74, compared to three quarters of an hour among all Americans.

Volunteering. The typical American spends a third of an hour each day volunteering or engaged in civic or religious activities. But the time spent volunteering jumps to nearly half an hour among people ages 65 and older.

Corresponding with others. Retirees are often better than their younger counterparts at returning phone calls or e-mails that aren't work-related. Retirees ages 70 and older say they spend about 15 minutes per day engaged with telephone calls, e-mail or writing letters, twice as much time as the eight minutes the typical personal spends engaged in correspondence.

Working. Relatively young seniors between ages 65 and 74 continue to spend an average of over an hour each day working. But most people stop working prior to age 75. The time spent earning income drops to an average of only 20 minutes among those 75 and older.

Sleeping. People ages 75 and older say they spend nearly 10 hours per day sleeping or engaged in other personal care activities such as bathing or dressing, 23 minutes more than the overall population. But they don't spend as much time sleeping and primping as teens and early 20-somethings.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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10 ways retirees spend their newfound free time
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 27: The Auckland CBD city skyline including the Sky Tower and to the right Devonport, as seen from North head on the North Shore, Auckland New Zealand, Wednesday, May 26 2004. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)
Dark clouds hang over a harvested corn field near Biebelried, southern Germany, on August 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DPA / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND / GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
 A picture taken on June 26, 2014 shows the landscape and Dolomite mountains near Bolzano, Italy, home and playground to a large number of brown bears. Brown bears were reintroduced in parts of western Europe in 'rewilding' programs, in the east they never died out. They have wandered far and wide and have created antagonism with attacks on livestock. AFP PHOTO/JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A charming little hostel in Stocken on the west coast of Sweden.
Old windmills, meadows and water in Holland
A man meditating in front of Kirkjufellfoss waterfalls, Kirkjufell, Iceland
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 30: Waiting for the new year fireworks, Australians set their tents up at Sydney harbour, December 30 , 2013. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Northern light (Aurora borelias) is seen near Tromsoe, Northern Norway on October 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NTB scanpix/ JAN MORTEN BJOERNBAKK NORWAY OUT (Photo credit should read JAN MORTEN BJOERNBAKK/AFP/Getty Images)
ST MORITZ, GRISONS, SWITZERLAND - 2015/01/24: Town centre of the ski resort in Winter. (Photo by Olaf Protze/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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