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What is "Retirement" Really Like?

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What is "Retirement" Really Like?

Old 01-03-13, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent
But retirement is fantastic. Again you have the freedom of a teenager in the summer!!!!
That cracks me up. I wish it were true for me, but, from 13yrs old on I worked every summer for my entire work life...Yikes! What was I thinking! My dad owned a machine shop so I worked in that in my early teens, then I crawled out of that dark and grease covered world and became a lifeguard for the second half of my teenage years....Mucho better
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Old 01-03-13, 08:58 AM
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I have my exit interview tomorrow at 10 AM after 32.5 years with a state related non-profit. A severance package made it possible for me to leave about 18 months ahead of schedule. I have some plans--more freelance writing, give guitar lessons, work in a bike shop--but it's been great to read comments here. It's a bittersweet exit. Lots of friends here, challenging work. To be honest, though, the last few years have been tough (I knew this was coming) and cycling helped a lot. I've appreciated everyone's comments...

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Old 01-03-13, 09:33 AM
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I've been retired now for seven years and I'm just turning 60 this year. Working was good to me, I had lots of challenges, good colleagues, decent money etc.

But, working controls all aspects of your life. Where you live, when you awake, what days of the week you can relax. I wanted out, off the hamster wheel!

Unlike the majority who examine their lifestyle and determine income required, we designed a lifestyle around our projected income. So far everthing has worked out great. Some new skills that I have learned like doing laundry, preparing meals and fixing up our home have made both of us very happy!

Riding bikes together is something we can do a lot now that we have the time.
We are what we reflect. We are the changes that we bring to this world. Ride often. -Geo.-
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Old 01-03-13, 11:08 AM
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Isn't retirement like being fired by Father Time?
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Old 01-03-13, 01:21 PM
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Retired 15 years ago at age 57 after 30 years with a multinational company. Made sure beforehand, using the services of a fee-based financial planner that I would be financially OK till age 90! Don't believe those who tell you will spend less in retirement. It might be more, as you have more free time to spend it in.

My job entailed constant travel and I've been to over 60 countries, but I don't miss that at all. In fact air travel is now a chore.
I surprised myself in that going from working one day to retirement the next was like passing through a door and closing it behind me. I have not missed work for a second. The only error I made was to forget to turn off the alarm clock, so on my first day I was awakened at 6.00 am! After less than a year, we moved to Florida, as we were heavily into power boating.

Because of the demands of travel, family etc, I had more or less laid off cycling for about 35 years, but restarted by participating in a few MS 150s and eventually joined up with groups of oldies and not so oldies here. We had tandemed a bit over the years, but my wife became very enthusiastic and we upgraded and upgraded and now ride 50-100 miles per week together. Now that I'm retired, I obviously spend a lot more time with my wife and fortunately we get on very well together.

We participate in a number of bike and tandem rallies each year and spend about 3 months in the UK/Continent. We keep a Trek T2000 tandem over there, so we can keep in shape, weather permitting.

We travel to GA several times per year to visit one son and his family; the other son lives close by, so I have a drink or three at a local bar with him once per week.

I have no qualms about doing absolutely nothing on some days or taking a siesta most afternoons.

I read cycling magazines, newspapers on the web, some political books, some crime stories and watch more TV than I've ever watched.

I was president of our HOA and will go back on the board this month.

I make sure I have regular physicals, visit a dermatologist each year and have my heart checked regularly as I have had a-fib, and still do on occasion.

We sold our 40ft boat 18 months ago as we were not using it much because of the cycling, so that is a worry off my mind. If you don't use a boat, there is always something to fix when you want to use it and that was becoming very expensive.

All in all, I've never felt more relaxed and the Florida environment agrees with my asthma. My breathing is the best it's been since I was 4!!
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Old 01-03-13, 05:26 PM
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There has been a lot of good advice and info offered here. I would like to just add this:

If you don't need to retire and you have a bunch of questions or doubts of the kind brought up by the OP, my sense is that you're not ready to do it yet and you probably shouldn't. When it's really time to do it, I think that you'll know it, not just suspect it.

Disclaimer: These observations are not backed up by personal experience. I was ready to retire as soon as I was eligible, did it, and haven't regretted it for a second.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:22 PM
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Old 01-03-13, 07:35 PM
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I turn 54 in ~3 weeks and retirement (although possibly not unemployment ) seems like a distant haze that always stays at that distance. I can go online, look at the numbers and they say that I'll be OK all things considered, but that's just a forecast. I'll have what I'll have, no more, no less. I certainly don't look forward to retirement as doing nothing, but it sure would be nice to be able to (more) decide what I will or won't do on a given day. Even at ~10 years, it still seems too far away in so many ways to even be something to consider. Far too much water to still go under the bridge, best I can tell.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:46 PM
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Joe - The planning and questions here have begun as I am a few years behind you with the girls, college, weddings etc. But I can offer a few suggestions. First, try to decide and agree upon the where(s) of retirement. You know (I think) about the recent mountain house acquisition, and we've planned that to be the 2 -3 season retirement home. We've already decided to launch the RR home when the girls head off to college, as we don't need nor want the drain that a house this size requires. Don't get me wrong, I love my house, but at now 20+ years old, the upkeep is constant and costly to keep the home sufficently updated to the neighborhood and marketable. A smaller townhome or condo in town will be the other home. Just not that hung up on a big home.
As to stopping work, no just doing what I want, P/T teaching, charity work, helping one of our Charlotte LBS with business planning (I've been asked already) would all be potentially in the cards. Doing what makes me feel good, not just to provide a living.
Other hobbies I've picked up and put aside along the way could keep me plenty busy. That's the least of my worries.
Financially, as others have indicated, I believe you need to focus on the expense side of the ledger. Money is easy to spend, hard to save, and markets and unforseen circumstances have a way of biting you in the tail. Perhaps finding a fee-based financial planner who can look at your present situation (i.e.- insurance, savings, investments, available health insurance options upon retirement, personal "balance sheet", etc) would be a worthwhile investment. That way you pay him for the work he does, not get drained by ongoing commission for "managing" your financial affairs. I'm sure you have the ability to mange those things on your own, once you get some comfort and clarity
That's about as far as I am in the process, as I'm likely 5-7 years behind you (God willin' & the creeks don't rise). I'm envious, Good Luck!!!
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Old 01-03-13, 10:36 PM
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I retired a little over a year ago at 55. I spend my time playing banjo, guitar, ukulele and mountain dulcimer. I run a chess club, mess around with photography and write short stories (here's one: https://leastbest.com/stories/enchanted-luncheon-meat/) Now I'm getting back into cycling. Now that I'm not hopping out of a UPS truck every day I have unlimited energy.
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Old 01-04-13, 04:23 AM
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If you've got a brain and a positive outlook retirement is great.

I worked for 45 years after leaving university, including 16 years self-employed. Had several changes in career direction, made some lifelong friends and enjoyed nearly all my work.

Do I miss it? Not for one minute, there's a future to look towards.

This year I'll be getting a bike mechanics qualification.

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Old 01-04-13, 05:51 AM
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I retired 10 years ago at age 58 because I was a victim of The Peter Principle, the stress was getting to me, I hated to go to work. Coincidently a severance was offered and I was free. The only advise I can give is stay busy, boredom is the enemy of a healthy attitude.
I ride, volunteer at my local Yellow Bike , travel to see grandkids and stay out of my wife's way. There are other things but you get the idea.
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Old 01-04-13, 06:28 AM
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Retirement is an opportunity to catch up on some of the things you wanted to do but didn't have time for. My job was terminated last January and since I was retirement age, I retired. Today I work 2 days a week in a hobby shop and can ride or go flying whenever I want and whenever the weather favors it. It's much nicer out there on weekdays than on the crowded weekends.

Edit: one other thought is that some use retirement to start another carreer, one that they always wanted to be in but couldn't afford. That might include working in a bike shop or hobby shop, or becoming an artist (without the starving part) or teaching skills acquired over the years to the young.

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Old 01-04-13, 09:49 AM
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So far, my retirement lifestyle has been much like my pre-retirement lifestyle except I'm not interrupting the good parts with a 9 hour hole five days a week at a job I was increasingly not enjoying. Part of it was declining work conditions since the latest corporate takeover and part was my changed attitude and abilities since my bout with cancer in 2008. (Chemo brain is a real thing). Without that I have no doubt I would still be working full time. My part time job at the bike shop is something I look forward to doing instead of dreading.

I now have more time to ride and work on my bikes. More time to work on family finances which are a little tighter now. Since my wife continues to work full time and secure the benefits for the family, my share of the house work has increased, but I work that around the hours I choose for other stuff. More time for working on bike club and bike advocacy projects.

With my wife still working and my son so active in his senior year of HS, we have not done much travel yet, but we do have plans for some nice vacations in the coming years. I'll work it out so I can do more bike adventures taking several days. I have several things in mind.

One thing for sure. There has not been one single time that I wished I had waited longer to retire.
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Old 01-04-13, 04:33 PM
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Maybe it's just me but I don't think moving to the perfect location is the right step. I can't imagine leaving a neighborhood full of fantastic friends to go somewhere I know nobody.
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Old 01-05-13, 04:41 PM
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It is a huge re-adjustment to life!

And it is different for everyone!
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Old 01-05-13, 06:04 PM
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I started with a company right after I graduated from high school and then worked there for 37 years. Three years ago I retired the day after Christmas at 56 years old. The only reason I retired then was because if I did not I would have had to do another ten years. The financial crisis put a hurt on the pension plan and changes had to be made. My lovely wife is eight years younger and she actually has to work about 14 more years. When I did retire it was with the idea of getting a part time job and my former employer offered me a cushy position three days a week.

Four days off three days on works great for me, it's because of that I am riding my bike more than ever and I have time to pursue my life long hobby of photography. If you can do it then by all means go for it, you will not regret it
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Old 01-05-13, 07:35 PM
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I retired in 2010 at 59. When I was younger I often wished I could afford to do the things I liked without working. I worked for 37 years at a union company and now have that life.
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Old 01-09-13, 01:01 PM
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I'm working on it.

Maybe itís just because of where I am in the changing seasons of my life, but I have found this topic to be one of the best in the 50+ forum in some time. I am 62 and plan to retire at the end of April. I have also been giving a lot of thought to what will the days be like in retirement. Iíve been doing some research and asking a lot of my retired friends about it. This thread has provided some very valuable information, so I say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have added your comments! For me, I believe planning is paramount. Finances are the foundation of a happy retirement. But you have got to have a plan or at least a good idea how you are going to spend your time. That is what I am working on now.

Ride On!
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Old 01-10-13, 08:42 AM
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Well let me refine that a little. You have the freedom of a rich mans teenagers son. Without the the pimples of course.
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Old 01-10-13, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent

Well let me refine that a little. You have the freedom of a rich mans teenagers son. Without the the pimples of course.
I like that
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Old 01-11-13, 08:22 AM
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To boil retirement down even more-----------------free, free at last!!!!!!!
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Old 01-11-13, 08:26 AM
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I'm 66 and retired a bit over 3 years ago. I think that your enjoyment of retirement depends on how invested your identity is in your work and how many outside interests you have. Although I thoroughly enjoyed what I did for a living and had a high-paying technical job, I never really enjoyed working for other people, so the decision was a no-brainer for me and I never looked back for an instant. Here are some of the things that I've been doing:

- I'm an avid runner as well as a cyclist and thoroughly enjoy being able to go out any time, any day of the week when the weather suits me. I was already in good shape, but lost almost 10 lbs. and now weigh about what I did in college (at least pre-beer!).

- I never had that many friends outside of work, but now have a wide circle of other retiree runners and cyclists with whom I have much in common. There's always someone to run or ride with, or I can just go out alone if I feel like it.

- I deliver Meals on Wheels once a week.

- We have a great local "senior center" with workout facilities in addition to other programs for a variety of age groups. I've been taking a class to increase my Italian language fluency.

- My list of books to read was always growing faster than my time to read them. Now I'm staying more caught up, but barely.

- My wife and I can travel any time we like for any length of time. Right now we've got reservations for a trip to Arizona in March, and I'm signed up for a week-long bike trip across Missouri on the Katy Trail in May. Last year I did the Allegheny Passage-C&O Canal Towpath trip and the Michigan Shoreline West road tour.

- Household and yard maintenance is no longer as much of a "chore" since I don't have to squeeze it in on weekends or evenings or in bad weather.

- To keep my mind sharp and my knowledge up to date, I started a little software "business" with a couple of Android smartphone apps. Then I use the income as a personal spending account. Hey, it just bought me the new bike that I recently posted pics of here!

I could go on, but you get the idea. With the right circumstances and especially frame of mind, you will enjoy it immensely!
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Old 01-11-13, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent

Well let me refine that a little. You have the freedom of a rich mans teenagers son. Without the the pimples of course.
I don't know about the ""rich mans teenagers son" part, I'm more of a kid with pocket money.
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Old 01-11-13, 10:56 AM
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Don't know how I had time to work. Fishing, biking, building R/C planes, puttering around house, BS'ing with other old farts.
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