retirement

The 24 Best Retirement Songs

Jacob Ammentorp Lund / iStock images

Are you looking forward to retirement or terrified of what awaits you post-career? Have you sacrificed the enjoyment of your younger years in a tiny cubicle to be able to live comfortably in your later years? Whether you’re excited to retire, scared of not being able to afford it, or already retired, you’re going to need some music along the way.

Obviously, you don’t need to replace your regular listening favorites with only retirement-related songs, but if you’re struggling to save for retirement or find yourself bored or depressed in your twilight years, these songs can help set the mood and think about retirement in a new, helpful way.

For this list, we avoided picking songs simply based on their title. There are thousands of songs that can fit the “theme” of retirement just based on their name. Instead, we picked songs that deal with many of the thoughts, issues, and complicated feelings that are often associated with retirement. We also avoided including songs just because they are popular among retirees.

Additionally, we split our list into three sections: songs to help you get motivated to save for retirement, songs to listen to as retirement approaches, and songs to enjoy during retirement. Here are 24 of the best retirement songs we could find.

Songs to Get Motivated About Saving for Retirement

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A couple enjoying retirement.

Finding it hard to wake up every morning and go to a job that underpays you with a boss that doesn’t respect you as a human being? Unfortunately, in order to retire in America (in the traditional sense), you need to tough it out. It can be hard, and many people can’t take the pressure. If you dream of an IRA worth millions when you turn 65, here are some songs that can help you enjoy the rat race.

#1 When I’m 64

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The Beatles on tour.
  • Artist: The Beatles

The retirement age in the United States is 65, but many financial experts recommend you begin saving for retirement long before then. This song looks forward to the time when retirement is looming, imagining what life might be like at that age, especially when you’re with someone you love and look forward to spending retirement with. If you have a goal like this, then saving up for those years can be much easier.

#2 My Mind is for Sale 

Source: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
Jack Johnson performing.
  • Artist: Jack Johnson

It is too easy to lose ourselves to the rat race. It is easy to conform to the people that surround us in order to just make it through the day, week, or decade. In America, that conformity often includes a me-first, selfish struggle to get ahead and make money. When we’re old, however, we might look back on such a life and feel like we wasted our time. Don’t forget the reason why you’re working and lose yourself to conformity while you worry about retirement.

#3 The Dance & The Wonder

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Dance and music: the true purpose of life.
  • Artist: Sam Garrett

Why are you saving up for retirement in the first place? Are you excited to travel the world when you’re too old and frail to really experience some of the most adventurous destinations? Do you want to sit in an armchair all day watching reruns of your favorite shows for twenty years? For those who have lived their lives properly, retirement will be a time of enjoying the company of those they love, hopefully, a person they have built a family with and fallen in love with. Your retirement is for them as much as it is for yourself.

#4 When You Are Old and Gray

Couple, dance and kitchen with a senior woman and man dancing while happy together in their home. Retirement, smile and love with elderly pensioners being romantic in a house in the morning
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A couple dancing in retirement.
  • Artist: Tom Lehrer

A comical look at how love might evolve through the years. Bodies will change, brains will change, and relationships will change. If you can’t find the humor in retirement and in getting old, you’re probably going to be in for a rude awakening when you wake up the first morning of retirement and it’s not what you expected.

#5 C.R.E.A.M.

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Wu-Tang Clan during a performance.
  • Artist: Wu-Tang Clan

Simply having the opportunity to retire is a blessing, even if you don’t manage to save up as much as you would have liked. The title of the song, C.R.E.A.M.stands for ‘cash rules everything around me’ and highlights the struggles that some people have to go through just to make ends meet without even a flicker of a dream of being able to enjoy retirement. No matter how hard you work, you sometimes might forget the value of the money you earn and how much it controls your life.

#6 If I Had a Million Dollars 

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images
Barenaked Ladies With Violent Femmes In Concert.
  • Artist: Barenaked Ladies

Every online guide you read will recommend you save up at least $1 million for retirement, even more, if you don’t plan on using Social Security. So, what do you want to do with all that money? If you need a few ideas of what to spend your hard-earned money on, look no further than this song.

Songs to Prepare for Retirement

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Get ready for the last few years of life!

As you get closer to retirement age, you get a clearer look at exactly what your life is going to be like post-career. Did you save enough money? Do your kids want to visit you at all? Did you take care of your body? If retirement is already in sight, it’s probably too late to change many of these things. We might feel satisfied, proud, or full of regrets.

However you’re feeling, these are the songs we picked to help you get through those last couple of years before you clock out for the last time.

#7 Take This Job and Shove It 

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Some people have to resort to working through retirement.
  • Artist: Johnny Paycheck

Humans are not meant to slave away in an office building their entire lives, only to enjoy a few free hours on the weekends and a handful of years at the end. It is natural to feel frustrated, angry, and resentful about the job that you worked at for so long. Allow this song to express everything you might want to say to your boss so you don’t have to.

#8 The Best is Yet to Come

Source: Photo by Daniel Rosenblum/Keystone/Getty Images
Frank Sinatra on tour.
  • Artist: Frank Sinatra

You’re so close to the finish line, play this song to remind yourself that freedom is just around the corner and what are supposed to be the happiest years of your life are coming up soon. You can keep it together just a little longer, you can sell your blood, sweat, and tears just for a few more days until you can retire.

#9 Intolerance 

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A view of retirement.
  • Artist: Tool

It’s never too late to believe in yourself and express yourself. It’s never too late to reject societal norms and embrace who you feel you truly are. This path to self-acceptance can be hard and long, and nothing helps us through those times more than some great metal music. Get absolutely pumped to live your true self during retirement.

#10 If I were a rich man 

Source: David Redfern / Redferns via Getty Images
A fiddle player.
  • From: Fiddler on the Roof

As mentioned earlier, you should have a couple million saved for retirement, at least according to wealthy investment bankers and rich financial gurus. This is more money than most people in the world could ever dream of seeing their entire lives. During retirement, you have the choice of living like a rich man, so you can be forgiven for sitting back in your tiny, grey cubicle daydreaming about what you would do if you were rich. Hopefully, that day (retirement) comes sooner rather than later.

#11 Congratulations 

Source: Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
Post Malone during a performance.
  • Artist: Post Malone

For better or worse, making it to retirement is still an achievement. Doubtless, you had your fair share of critics, enemies, and detractors during your life. Now that you’ve made it, it’s time to congratulate yourself and gloat that you proved them all wrong. You worked hard, maybe you sacrificed your sanity, family relationships, and other things to get where you are today. You deserve a happy song to celebrate. 

#12 Grandma’s Hands

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
A portrait of Bill Withers.
  • Artist: Bill Withers

What kind of retiree do you want to be? If your family still talks to you and spends time with you, your impact on the younger generation can make a big difference. Retirement is a time to enjoy life, not check out of it entirely. Take your responsibility, along with your new free time, seriously and spend it with those who need some wisdom, care, and attention.

#13 Can’t Forget About You

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A group of retirees.
  • Artist: Nas

While it might sound like a love song, this song is actually referring to Nas’ past, the streets where he lived, the block, and the lifestyle he grew up with. Wherever you end up in retirement, take a moment with this song to look back on where you came from and admire how far you’ve come, and don’t forget all the things you went through, and all the people that helped you get to where you are today.

#14 I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore

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Arizona is a popular place for retirement.
  • Artist: Snake Oil Willie Band

Your body is going to change. No matter how much you work out or how healthily you eat, some things are beyond your control. There’s not much else you can do, then, than laugh at yourself and enjoy life in the meantime.

#15 Still Crazy After All These Years

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Retirement in New Jersey.
  • Artist: Paul Simon

Are you going to spend your retirement looking out the window and reminiscing about the good old days? Or are you going to make the most of the time you have left and actually have some fun, regardless of the consequences? Time is going to pass, and we’re all going to die, so stop worrying about it and just enjoy it.

#16 Hey Look Ma, I Made It

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images
Panic! At The Disco in concert.
  • Artist: Panic! At The Disco

Don’t let those who dislike you take away from what you’ve accomplished. You worked hard and now you get to enjoy a couple of years of relaxation. It’s acceptable to brag that you made it to 65 with some money to throw around. If, somehow, your mother is still alive, feel free to play this song together at your retirement party.

Songs to Listen to During Retirement

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Retirement in Minnesota.

You can play your favorite songs on repeat all you want during retirement. We don’t judge. But if you’re looking for something to give you some alternate perspectives on life, comfort you when you start thinking about your own mortality, or commiserate with you during those hard days, here are a few of our favorite suggestions.

#17 Famous Last Words

KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas
Source: Matthew Simmons / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
My Chemical Romance in concert in 2004.
  • Artist: My Chemical Romance

One of the hardest-hitting and recognizable songs from one of the best punk albums in history, Famous Last Words is a defiant conclusion to this rock-opera album and an anthem to continuing to live life no matter what. If you need a dose of punk in your later years to keep going, this is the song for you.

#18 Without Question

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
Elton John in concert with Ed Sheeran.
  • Artist: Elton John

At the end of all things, what really matters? All of your possessions, personal achievements, awards, and money will all dissolve into meaningless nothing, and all we’ll be left with is the memories and the love we have with those close to us. Without Question reminds us that the only true thing we have is the love we share with another.

#19 Storm Boy

Source: dentok / Getty Images
Pelicans flying over the ocean.
  • Artist: Xavier Rudd

Sure, you could spend your retirement on cruises, but you can waste it on manicured golf courses. There are a thousand ways to spend your last few years, but whatever you choose, take time to appreciate the world you live in and the things that really matter. What use is it to spend thousands on fancy hotels and dinners if you don’t have anyone special with you to appreciate it?

#20 Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die

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The legend himself: Willie Nelson.
  • Artist: Willie Nelson

Your retirement, like your life, should be a celebration of existence. Don’t spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and worrying about what will happen after death. What has happened is in the past and can’t be changed, and you can’t know what will happen after you die, so there’s no point in stressing about it.

#21 I’ll Fly Away

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Alan Jackson in concert.
  • Artist: Alan Jackson

Whatever you believe will happen after you die, you’re probably wrong. Whatever awaits you, there’s nothing to be gained by trying to avoid it. Death comes for us all, so might as well sing songs about it and be happy anyway.

#22 Better Together

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Everything is better together.
  • Artist: Jack Johnson

Whether you’re spending retirement with a spouse, friends, children, grandchildren, fellow inmates, or someone else, it will always be better when you’re together. Don’t waste your final years in petty fights and disagreements. Learn to let go of such things and enjoy the company of those you love. 

#23 My Generation

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Isle of Wight Music Festival, 1970.
  • Artist: The Who

Want to alienate your children, grandchildren, and everyone of the younger generation? Talk about how your generation is better than theirs and how their generation is lazy, entitled, and weak. Who wants to sit around and listen to an old, out-of-touch retiree complain about the younger generation? Nobody. There’s nothing to be gained from comparing generations, so simply don’t do it.

#24 When Men Grow Old

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A retired couple.
  • Artist: Babyface

What kind of person did you imagine you would be when you retired? Or, rather, when you grew old? Are you meeting your own expectations? Did you slip into old stereotypes about grumpy, loveless people? It’s never too late to change if you want to be the kind of person you always wanted to be.

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