Planing to Live in Retirement Edition 1

      Several retirement seminar speakers spoke about the actual living once retired. One presenters full presentation was this specific topic. Points were reiterated over and over that in retirement, certain needs must be nurtured and well maintained to really have a successful transition to retirement. After fiscal preparation, these fall in four additional broad buckets. 

  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Social 
  • Purpose

     Without balance and intentionality in all five, not only may retirement be unfulfilling, but it could also contribute to a premature death. I can see that happening, especially for circumstances like mine where a person is used to a crazy busy work life and the original plan was scrapped by the loss of retirement partner. I'll be honest and say, while fiscal worry is there a bit, I do worry I'll be engaged enough to feel I'm healthy in all four other areas. I'm going to work through several of the exercises the speaker shared, most of which cross over two if not all four, critical areas. 

     Travel is a huge goal for my retirement time. I know a ton of research and planning needs to happen before travelling; that's half my enjoyment. Plus, I'm not content doing nothing but sitting in a chair with a drink, though that can be part of it. I also would like to go with, or meet up with people, and learn new things. So, in planning, then going on trips, I've checked mental, physical, and social categories. Add a trip that fulfills a sense of purpose, such as to an ancestral place of origin, or historical or cultural interest, maybe all four get checked. 

     Home improvement, yard care, and gardening seem to check several. Substitute teaching does as well, and hits that fiscal bucket too.  Volunteer work, depending on what, could hit a lot of buckets. I might sound a bit selfish though, after a career in a combination education/social and public service, I don't know how much volunteering I want to do if not a real personal passion or interest. At least in the starting years I feel this way. 

      I've got more than another year to prepare, read, and work through the exercises. Seasonal changes need to be accounted for. My family's situations and needs will factor in. While I don't have my parents, I have an 83 year old mother-in-law, and three siblings already over 70. I'm the only one in town for MIL, so at some point soon she's going to need more help with regular things like getting to places (so she stays mentally and socially fulfilled herself), shopping, and more involved chores. 

     The final point was it takes a good two years to really settle into retirement. A fact shared was that as many as 20% of retirees actually go back to work full time within that period. While some surely was economic, it was said that the majority just didn't know how to live as a retired person. I'll keep that in mind when preparing. Of course I can delay retirement, but not forever. 

Comments

  1. Absolutely those four pillars are critical. I have friends who made a smooth transition to retirement because they had already thought ahead to "what will my life look like?" before their last day. I know others who didn't look ahead and then announced loudly and often, "Oh, I am SO bored! Oh, this is awful!" From what you write about in sharing your thoughts, I think you have those pillars, those tools, to be in the former group. Hugs.

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    1. There's a fine line I think between relaxing and boredom when you e been a full time working for others person. I get that. I need to change my brain that those hours now can be spent working for myself. ( Someone else's expression). I think the library will be a big part of my retirement plan. Now, if I even get the chance to go, it's run in, grab my books and leave. But there's book clubs, and speakers, and shelves to explore.

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  2. I've pondered some solo travel (as M is working & I have a lot more schedule flexibility) & there are a lot of great options. I'm interested in adventure travel, and am considering things like a hiking tour of New Zealand, etc. They have them for all different fitness levels. I never thought I'd be a planned tour type of person, but for solo travel, I definitely think I will consider it. (Hawaii Planner)

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    1. Solo travel of course needs to be part of my plan as I can't assume others will want to do and go where I do. I 💕 me reading Treaders trips as ideas and advice on the group tours.

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    2. When I was young with a young family I planned all our trips and we very much did things on our own. But like Hawaii Planner said, on a solo tour I want someone else to do all the worrying - just ferry me about and let me loose! I just looked today and since my husband left in 2010 I've done 17 trips so far! I reckon I might be slowing down a bit now but I would definitely recommend!

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  3. I have been semi-retired since March of 2020, but because I was not completely retired, I felt compelled to check my e-mail multiple times per day until quite recently. I still had some work until very recently and am still getting paid a (very) little bit to be available to share my expertise. I use whatever pay I get to pad my 401(k). I’m now at the point where I refer to myself as being retired. Here is what I have done: (1) increased my exercise. I try to take a mile and a half walk or ride my Peleton bike/lift light weights at least 4-5 days per week. I also do short hikes with our local park system. Sometimes I fall off the wagon (especially right before, during, and after travel), but I keep persevering. (2) take classes through the Osher Living Learning program. These are classes offered by universities and colleges all over the country and are geared towards older adults. I have taken everything from wine tasting to the poetry of Robert Frost. It has really enriched my life. Many classes are offered via Zoom, although some are also in person. Duke University’s program is my favorite (even though I am not an alum and don’t live near the school). If you Google Northwestern University and Osher Living Learning, you should be able to find a list of programs. (3) travel, travel, travel. We did a 6 week baseball themed trip through the Midwest (which is how I discovered the Leinenkugel tour), and have taken several longer cruises. I’m one of those crazy points and miles hobbyists, which helps cut down on costs somewhat. (4) I experiment with new recipes sometimes. (5) I teach an online class once or twice a year in a local University’s graduate program. I typically only have 3 or 4 students, and the pay (which is per student) is not great, but I kind of feel that it’s my form of volunteer service. I don’t want to be tied down to a weekly volunteer commitment. (6) I try to connect with a friend in person at least once every other week.(7) I am in 2 book clubs, and recently joined 2 meetup groups that are populated with people in my age range. This is new for me, so I will see how it goes. One is also book themed. I love to read, and I am definitely reading more now that I have more time. I hope this helps you generate some ideas.

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    1. Goodness! You gave me a manual to help prepare. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yes, I have friends, but I think I will look at interest groups too.

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  4. Personally, I think "purpose" is overemphasized. I am nearly 5y into retirement. I worked a very stressful 4 decades in healthcare. Last thing I want/need is a packed schedule. Volunteering around here means a schedule. I am more than willing to volunteer but I want to call and say "I am available next week M-F, when/where do you need me?" Nope, every single agency I've contacted wants a schedule. It's sad.

    My purpose: live a healthy active enjoyable life each and every day, caring for mental, physical, emotional, social well-being. I don't need to see people daily. I don't need to jump in my car daily.

    I enjoy gardening, walking, hiking, biking, reading, sewing/quilting and other handcrafts.

    If you haven't found her, check out this blog and read back a year or 2. She's working through some of these "shoulds" this year.
    https://retirementtransition.blog/

    I know we are all different and some may not thrive without fulfilling all the shoulds. They are not my people :-)

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    1. I get what you mean- the volunteer gig that acts like a job is not for me either. Purpose is general I think. Not recreating a sense of who we are, but not getting sucked into monotonous activity. I think you describe purpose- just in summarizing your retirement.

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    2. I think purpose can mean many things. Like you my mother spent time enjoying her passions: cooking, baking gardening and canning. She was a nurse preretirement and she did some respite care after, but it wasn't for her long term. She was content and if she wanted to travel she just went ahead can did it.

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  5. I think you are very wise about only wanting volunteer work you are passionate about. TheHub already volunteers with an organization echoing what he has done in his work life forever. He plans to spend more time with that, after we have a summer of travel and fun. We have not taken a vacation where he he did not hole up in the business center of a hotel for more than half a day in decades. It is going to be interesting to see if he can actually take a trip without his computer.

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    1. Good luck to you and him on that! You both deserve the flexibility and travel freedom that his retirement brings. His expertise is no doubt going to be a huge asset to the organization, but he can also let it be on his terms.

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  6. I remember wondering what people did at home all day long after I had Bailey, but I figured it out and I know you will too. You are so smart to think of this now instead of later. :)

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    1. I'm sure I will, as long as I have realistic expectations about my time.

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  7. Subbing is often grueling. I found a great deal of personal satisfaction in tutoring. I made sure two boys (at different times) made it from 8th grade to high school. One was at extremely high risk for dropping out of school since he would be 16 with little girls in 8th grade. I traveled to Huntsville to help a child in poverty get back on track since he was so far behind he was not going to move to next grade. Some days, I rushed home from subbing, stuffed food in my face, used bathroom and made it to library to tutor. School, house, and public library were in same neighborhood, so travel was no problem. Tutoring for me scored high on the satisfaction scale. One on one tutoring is the way to go.

    Some of my tutoring was volunteer work and I did it just to help people, children. I did tutor nurses for free, too. So, you could volunteer without a schedule that was so tight. Some GED students need tutoring, too, beyond their regular classes.

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    1. Volunteering in education is probably low on my list- I did enough under paid work in the field. I said it might seem selfish to others.

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  8. I'm only just starting to figure things out. For now I'll just garden and sort out stuff at home. Volunteering my usual on call as a driver for elderly medical appointments, but only what I want to do. I agree with your thoughts on volunteering in education. I've also done enough of underpaid work in education, and have no desire to do more. I don't think this is selfish at all, but self- aware.

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    1. Thanks for reframing self centered to self aware. I just can't commit to much in my head right now, especially when I'm making the decision to retire early to give myself time to figure out a new way of living my life.

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  9. Some good points for retirement to think about. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I can't take any credit but found them a good starting place.

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