June 13, 2012

What Does Living a Satisfying Retirement Mean To You?

My favorite posts are the ones that generate lots of comments. The BRITW (best readers in the world) are articulate, thoughtful, and not afraid to express an opinion or give a new twist to an old discussion.

So, while there are times when posts need to be more factual, like the one from Monday on retirement health concerns, I am always searching for an approach that will fill the comment space. In general there seem to be two ways to do that: write something rather personal from my life and tie it to your satisfying retirement journey. Or, ask a question that is open-ended and allows for all sorts of answers.

As you can tell from the title, this is the second type. One thing has become abundantly clear in the almost two years this blog has been published: there is no one answer to what a satisfying retirement lifestyle looks like. Also, what may have been a satisfactory answer just a few years ago, may no longer apply. The retirement landscape is continually shifting under our feet.

Even the "official" retirement age is under assault. Just last week the head of AIG (didn't they do well with bailout money after the 2008 implosion!) says he expects many folks won't be able to stop work until reaching the age of 80. Of course, I would guess that doesn't apply to the executives in his company, just the rest of us.

But, I don't want to be snarky and point out all the cases when normal folks pay for the excesses of the privileged people. What I do want is to ask you, the experts, what does a satisfying retirement mean to you halfway through 2012? 

  1. How do you define a lifestyle that is satisfying?
  2. How have you changed your view on this issue over the last few years?
  3. Is retirement still a valid concept, or are we destined to work until we drop?
  4. What is the difference between a satisfying retirement and just being retired?
  5. Can a satisfying retirement include going back to work?
  6. If you have not retired yet, do you still believe you will be able to and be happy?

OK, your turn. I am not going to answer these questions from my perspective at this time, though I may take your comments and turn them into follow-up posts. But, I really want to get a sense for how you are mentally handling the re-positioning of retirement. What leads you to believe that you can craft a retirement that is satisfying?


I get a strong sense from most of the comments  left on earlier posts that a strong majority of the BRITW are comfortable in where  life is at the moment. But, that doesn't include everyone, and it certainly doesn't mean a retirement that looks anything like the one your parents lived.

Fire away...and fill the page!

53 comments:

  1. Yeah, we do have things to worry about now as far as retirement but that doesn't change the fact that according to the statistics we continue to retire at about the same rate and age as always.

    I like a recently discovered Will Rogers quote about that:

    "It’s surprising how little money we can get along on." – March 9, 1933 Will Rogers

    We might not be able to do everything we dreamed of but, as you certainly know, you can have a satisfying retirement, with less money than you think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree completely, RJ. After an initial period of panic when I first stopped working, money has slipped way down on the list of things that are important to me.

      After the 2008-2009 period when I lost a chunk of money (on paper) from my IRA, I noticed I wasn't overly stressed. First, I knew I wasn't going to be tapping that account for several more years so it had time to rebound. But, probably more importantly, my faith in an ultimate plan for my life allowed me to put it all in perspective. I just felt a calm and peace that what happened had happened for a reason and it would eventually work itself for good.

      That may be naive, and certainly isn't true for a lot of people. But, I can only relate my experience: the "lost" money did not affect my feelings of satisfaction and joy. Odd, but true!

      Delete
  2. BobI'm not retired...yet, but thanks to the encouragement you've given in your blog, I plan to next year. I'm a teacher, so every summer for several years has been RIT- retirement in training- for me.

    A lifestyle that is satisfying to me is one that I have control over. It is NOT sleeping late, although if I want to that'd be nice. It is having the say on what I do and when I do it- barring "life" getting in the way!

    You have said before to not expect your parents' retirement. To me, that is the biggest mindset change that I've had. Actually, that has been quite liberating because my folks' and my inlaws' retirements are not what I want. I'm ready to downsize, make changes that they weren't. Because of this, they had to live what I considered less-than-ideal retirements. To paraphrase Thoreau, I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life!

    One more comment. I believe with planning and realistic expectations I and my wife will be able to retire and live a great life. We will most likely have to move to a smaller place- that's ok! I'm tired of keeping up with all the chores and obligations with an acre of land.

    Thanks for your time and encouragement you give with each of your posts.
    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff, I am happy that you have found some inspiration and direction in the content on this blog...both from me and the great readers who add so much with their comments. You have hit the key...control. That's what retirment ends up being about.

      I have already downsized by cutting our house size in half 11 years ago. Like you, I'm ready for another cut that doesn't include yard and sprinkler work, worrying about painting and the roof, or cracked cement on the driveway! None of that contributes to my satisfying retirement!

      Delete
    2. I retired in June 2012 from teaching. Summers are not a stepping stone.. because you know you are going back in a few weeks. I am busy with house stuff, exercising and crafts and other things I never had time for.. because teaching was a lifestyle not just a career. Anyway what I do miss is the everyday contact with co workers. Im not a very outgoing person, so it is difficult for me to form new relationships. Im waiting to be able to volunteer with my dog. He has to go through training and then we can volunteer. Every month I miss the training because Im out of town. Yes, I love to travel and have done so alone and with friends. My hubby is still working and doesn't understand how days just go by. Its so amazing. I love my crafts but I sure would love forming relationships that I can enjoy during the day. My son is at college we only have one. Its wierd going to stores and finding myself having conversations with the store clerks. I still wake up at the same time I got up for work, read the paper, go to Starbucks and try and sit there before I go and exercise. Ah welll Im still getting used to the idea that Im retired and really can do what I want to do. It still feels wierd!!

      Delete
    3. Missing your co-workers is a very common feeling. In fact my new book will have a section about just that reaction.

      Also, relax...you are right on track. During the first year or so most new retirees struggle to figure out how to spend their time and adapt to a life with less structure. It does feeweirdrd to not have a specific place to go everyday.

      Delete
  3. I think many people find themselves disappointed when they set their mind on retirement (or any life event really) being a specific way. Life is fluid and I believe it's best to let it flow and change as needed. If we have sensible parameters in place and keep an open mind you never know what wonderful things might happen. It could be better than your initial 'plan'.
    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know my retirement has been quite different than I imagined it would be, and substantially better in ways I never had thought of. You are so right, Barbara: the "initial" plan is only a plan, not your real life.

      Delete
  4. 5. We are finding that by "retiring" we are able to work as we wish, when we wish. I(54) retired as a teacher (without a pension) substitute when I feel a bit weak in pocket change. I don't see this happening until about 65.
    My husband (62) woodworks about 3 hours a day. Two days ago he stated, "I could probably start selling some of these things so I can get more money for more wood." He has a pension (which he shares with me), but his allowance (we each get an allowance) is not quite large enough to purchase that amazing curly maple he spied at the lumber yard. His hobby will become his very part time work.

    2) When I was younger and looked at retirement I saw hours of walks on a beach and grandchildren by my side. We don't live anywhere near the grandchild- so my hours are often at the airport. We live near a beautiful lake- so the daily walks are in beauty.
    My thoughts have changed because "retirement" is just another phase. There are still things that need to be done and places to go. Not much different than full time work- except A LOT less stress and a bit less interaction.

    Last- does this retirement look anything like my parents? It looks a heck of a lot like my dad's. He retired around 55 and dabbled in his business until his late sixties. In between he wrote poetry, went for walks, took off to fish and learned to cook.He gave great advice, journeyed deep into his faith and just became content. His first five years he was rather isolated- but he eased into groups of people who liked the things he liked. My mother is the one who just sat- for 20 years- and finally at 82 she is beginning to enjoy her retirement!
    One thing they had that we do not have---- a much deeper pocket in which to retire within! They put everything into their business---and I contend some of the issues that my family face today are because of that role model.....
    I like that Will Rogers quote!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your dad is the exception to the retirement model of his era, and good for him. He is leading a life, not just watching it pass him by.

      If this blog can accomplish one thing before I run out of things to say, I hope it is to convince folks that what you stated is true: "retirement is just another phase" of life. It can be better or worse than other phases, but I believe it comes with more opportunities for us to determine its outcome.

      Delete
  5. Well this is funny, the comparison to my parents' retirement. Most people think of the previous generation's retirement as quiet, slow, and boring. Both my parents and my in-laws have a lot more going on in their retirements than we do!

    My parents are much more active than we are. My dad, who just turned 75 this week plays tennis several times a week, does his own yard work and home repairs, and he and my step-mom travel about 4 times as much as we do in a year. They just got back from a month-long trip to Miami, Mexico, Miami, London to New York cruise, and then back home. And there will be 2 or 3 more trips for them before the year is out.

    My dad just re-landscaped his back yard (yes, himself) with a beautiful dining terrace complete with fruit trees and an "art wall" he designed and built himself.

    This is no rocking chair retirement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is my idol...good for him! I've seen pictures of your dad on your blog and he looks very fit and younger than his years. Should we assume some of that vigor is do to his energy level and commitment to staying busy, along with good genes? That is, does activity breed activity?

      So, why do you think your retirement is "slower" than your dad's? More importantly, does that approach fit your needs?

      Delete
    2. Well, the truth is, my 75 year old father does, indeed, have WAY more energy than I do! While I do enjoy many of the physical activities that he does (a good, hard-day's work in the yard, a tennis match, home-improvement projects), I need a bit more down time than he does. (And I definitely enjoy an extra few hours of sleep each night--although, I think that's something that's supposed to change with age.)

      I would say we are also influenced a bit by our spouses--my step mom has boundless energy. My own husband enjoys a slower pace, which sometimes enables my more couch-potato tendencies!

      Having said that, I think we are each enjoying our respective retirements tremendously, despite our different activity levels.

      Delete
  6. I had always assumed that I'd have grandchildren to spoil in retirement, but this is looking more and more unlikely but I'm adjusting.

    We have our old home on the market at, what seems to us, a bargain-basement price with only two offers -- both extremely low and with sketchy financing. Early on we assumed that the proceeds from that home would give our savings a nice bump but that's not happening. I am hoping not to become reluctant landlords in retirement.

    If we are able to escape a few dreary Seattle winter months, we'll be happy campers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the housing market is slowly coming back in most places, but is going to be a long slog for many. I'm sure you read the report of a few days ago that the typical family lost 40% of its net worth during the Great Recession...and the bulk of that was in housing.

      Delete
  7. Although not yet retired at 58 (Deb is) I have had a retirement mindset for a few years. Part of that is a certain amount of success with work has given me options others may not have. Part of it is realizing that I do not want my work life to define my, well, life. We started our mutual journey to retirement by Deb going out two years ago, and our move to a state we really enjoy. We did not downsize (quite the opposite) but I look at retirement as giving me the chance to work on things I now get to when I can. We will also ride the motorcycles more, we'll work out more, we'll go out more, we'll help other more whether family or friends or charities - I guess retirement to us will be defined as the ability to do more of those things we have loved while working, without the pressure of work deadlines.

    I believe people need to get themselves to a place that they can be content in. Some of that is physical location; we truly believe we are living where God wants us to be. Some of it is emotional and spiritual; without a grounding in both life can oftentimes seem aimless. And I agree with what many say here. Finances did not define their retirements completely, nor will it ours. If we have some setbacks financially we will adjust; we always have, just as you did, Bob. I look forward to it in many ways. Deb has told me absolutely/positively that I will not work past 62. She will be very happy if I pull the plug earlier. Since I am thinking about it more and more that might just be the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "retirement to us will be defined as the ability to do more of those things we have loved while working, without the pressure of work deadlines." That is an excellent summary, Chuck.

      It is important that you didn't say "all we want to do." Retirement does come with its own set of limits that must be accepted to remain satisfied.

      Deb...yes, push Chuck to hang it up sooner rather than later. We aren't guaranteed more than the minute we are living right now. There is nothing sadder than someone who could retire, doesn't, and then suffers a health issue that changes everything.

      Delete
    2. Bob, I'll pass on your thoughts to Deb. I know what she will say :)

      Delete
    3. My husband (58) and I (59) are in this situation-- I retired recently, (though I still see some astrology clients--that's a family business I've been in for decades!! Got it from my Dad!!) and I am ready for him to retire, as I see his business affecting his health and happiness..I don't see that having him stay with it another 2-3 years would make that much difference.We've always lived beneath our "means" have no debt and enjoy a lot of life's simple pleasures.. But pulling the plug on a business is--scary and we are struggling with some fear about that-- We've been frugal-- we never took out home equity, we live in a moderate sized home, we live in a glorious state we love, (although open to change) and I believe quality of life is the most important thing, and HEALTH! In our youth we took some real chances to get to where we are today,so i KNOW we know HOW to be courageous and resourceful.. I wouldn't mind retiring to a mountain town and going back to being old hippies! Chuck,Bob, great ideas..thanks for sharing..

      Delete
  8. I am young into my retirement - just 14 months, so I certainly understand things may change, but at this point my husband and I feel we are in our Go-Go years, and are not looking for down time anytime soon. We are way under on our budget, other than travel, which we want to be spending at 100%, so money is currently not of concern. I would say that staying healthy and maintaining high levels of energy are probably our primary concerns, since most of what we hope to do in the years ahead requires that we be fit and active. If at some point one or both of us falters in either area, it will be a hard adjustment. Until then I'm not going to worry about it, but it is another reason we intend to go so hard during this early phase of our retirment.

    I may have inherited this urge to be on the go all the time. My dad, age 76, is right now in the midst of an eight week motorcycle trip up the east coast and into eastern Canada. He is towing a small trailer behind his motorcycle which opens up into a full size tent, and he intends to sleep in it every night for the entire trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your dad and Syd's dad should exchange notes!

      Ever since I started following your blog and have become a blogging friend I have been both amazed and envious of all you accomplish. I need to remind myself that you are quite a bit younger than I. But still, you (and Mike) are quite inspiring.

      Delete
  9. I haven't retired yet and don't expect to for more than 10 years, most likely at Medicare eligibility age (I hope that doesn't get raised!). If there's a change in medical insurance coverage/affordability some day I may be able to retire earlier, because between paying off my mortgage, my expected pension (yes, so happy to have one of those!) and my savings, I expect normal expenses won't be a worry in retirement. Medical expenses are a different matter. I have a pre-existing condition that I expect would make individual insurance fairly costly.

    My step-father's retirement was somewhat different than planned because he was laid off in his early 60s at the beginning of the recession and unable to get another job. He and my mother moved into my house for three years while they regrouped financially. Along the way he took a much lower paying job that worked him so hard that he had to quit for his health. Now they are doing fine financially again, and he does volunteer work three afternoons a week to feel useful.

    That's one difference between a satisfying retirement and just being retired: not having to worry all the time about how to pay necessary expenses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lack of worry about paying for necessary expenses is an important component of a satisfying retirement. Your step-father's ability to go through all he did and manage to get back on his financial feet is good to know. Perseverance and support from family are so critical. Thanks, CB.

      BTW, everything I read says any major change to Medicare won't happen for those within 10 years of retirement. But, that doesn't mean rates won't keep going up and provisions tightened. Our current medical approach isn't sustainable for either the government or the individual.

      Delete
  10. Great question! I suppose a satisfying retirement means the same thing as a satisfying life--contentment. What will make us happy and fulfilled? I have a friend who is not particularly happy at work, but hasn't developed much of a life outside of work. I think he feels caught--not really enjoying work anymore, but not able to envision a life without it.

    Seeing him makes me wonder if our life changes that much when we retire. What I mean is that if you are unhappy before you retire, will you be happy after you retire? Do we build up unrealistic expectations about retirement, thinking that retirement will bring us happiness that has eluded us in our work lives? I don't know. For me it was a smooth transition because I loved my job. I was sad to leave it, but I was ready. Now I love my retired life.

    Hmm, very good thought-provoking questions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You raise a very important question, Galen. If someone is unhappy at work will he or she be happy when retired? Certainly, if the job was one that required long commutes, lots of stress, unfulfilled potential, and a rotten boss, then the answer is probably retirement must be better!

      But, if we leave work just because it is "time," and we don't have something pulling us forward then will we be necessarily better off? Will we be any happier?

      There are certain personality types that will be happy no matter what and unhappy regardless. But, does retirement come with a built-in expectation of improvement? I don't know but that is an interesting question to think about.

      Delete
  11. While I am not currently retired now, I expect my retirement will be a satisfying one. As long as I have enough to cover the basics, a little savings and can attend a play or movie on a monthly basis, and take a trip annually, I'll be satisfied. For me the important thing is to not HAVE to work in retirement unless it's volunteer work. I've never liked working and at 54 I'm am now comfortable telling people that without feeling guilty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cliché wanting what you have instead of having what you want really fits. If you can be satisfied with the resources you have your retirement will be a good one.

      Using your time to volunteer pays huge dividends,too. Best of luck, Gail.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Bob. I love this site!

      Delete
  12. Our retirement came with less money and less-than-sterling health than we had expected, but we're both still reasonably satisfied. We are in our mid-to-late sixties, and are lucky that he has a government pension and I'm about to collect an extremely modest amount of social security, so we do have a steady income that doesn't depend on our own savings/investments, which more-or-less evaporated in the real estate collapse.

    Still, we have the little house we bought thirty-odd years ago as a place to retire to, good health insurance, and interesting hobbies. We have enough money for all of our absolute needs, and some of our wants, if we're careful. We're not going to sail on the QE2, but we do manage season tickets to a regional theater and the occasional lunch or dinner out, plus supplies to keep our hobbies active. I volunteer a couple of days a week to feel useful; he teaches/practices archery weekly. It's better than OK.

    In important ways, it's better than my parents' retirement. Neither of them had a life outside of their work, and when work ended, they had no idea what to do. They had much more money than we do now, but we're having a lot more fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That OJean, you have described a satisfying retirement. It may not be everything you dreamed of, but it is a life you enjoy. To still be able to be so positive even after losing so much in the real estate collapse speaks volumes.

      Your parents' retirement was the norm, I'm afraid. I still know a few men who have nothing but their work to define them. That does not bode well for a happy retirement.

      Delete
  13. Bob I feel as though, at 59, I'm almost ready to retire. But my wife is 8 years younger than me. While that's not a problem in life, in retirement it presents real challenges for affording health care insurance until we both hit 65. What do other people in my situation do? It's a real retirement killer. We're looking at quotes upwards of $12 - 15k per year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be eligible for Medicare in another 2 years, but my wife is still 7 years away from 65. We have had individual policies for all 36 years of our married life and have faced constant increases in premiums while coverage decreases.

      We both retired 11 years ago, when I was 52 and Betty was 47. We kept our fingers crossed health care wouldn't bankrupt us. So far we are OK. But, we have never faced rates as high as you are. I don't have a magic answer but maybe someone else does.

      Delete
    2. Bob, not yet quite fully retired but I focused on your statement about being retired 11 years and I am wondering: Did it go by fast? Is retirement "time" the same as working time?

      Delete
    3. Nik,

      It has gone by about the same as working time. As I get older, though, time does seem to have speeded up. Weeks just seem to fly past. I am busy but not overly so in the summer since most groups take a break until fall.

      That is an interesting question that I hadn't thought about before, but I feel time in retirement not really different, though I am spending it in totally different ways.

      Delete
  14. Like Denise commented above, I always thought we would have grandchildren by the time we retired and I would be spending a lot of time helping with daycare and kid stuff. However, we don't, and have no prospects of grandchildren now. That is a disappointment for me and does leave an empty spot in our lives. How to fill the time? We are not big travelers and I feel the pressure from others to "hit the road" even tho that is not my inclination. I am basically a home body, love my gardening, read a lot, but it's getting kind of old already (one year retired). Financially we are okay but we're careful anyway because future costs are so uncertain. So, I would say I haven't found a "satisfying" retirement yet. Still struggling a bit. I know it's up to me and I find inspiration from this and other blogs. Thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might help, Jane, to know you are not alone in struggling a bit to find your retirement stride. Frankly, I think some folks travel a lot because that helps fill the time they aren't sure how to fill. Travel is an easy choice.

      Like you, I am more of a homebody though we will take a few trips a year. I have found my satisfaction in this blog and my volunteer work. I had to stumble around for 3 years before finding a good balance of activities and rest. If you are feeling some unease after one year you're right on schedule!

      Delete
  15. I grew up with very little in terms of things that money could buy but I never thought of myself as poor. We were a happy family with two hard working parents who loved us. They provided a safe, secure and loving environment in which my three siblings and I thrived. We learned our work ethic from our parents, along with lessons about charity, community and faith. My Dad never got the chance to retire (he died at 52), but my mom did. She has heart problems- mostly genetic, but also brought on by a lifetime of traditional southern cooking and lack of exercise. Even so, she still enjoys being retired – church groups, volunteer work, friends and family. Those are the riches of her world. I have had a good role model for a satisfying retirement.

    As an only child of middle income parents Malcolm had a childhood very different from mine, but he was raised with similar values – our common ground. His mother and father retired in their early 40’s and lived a quiet, comfortable life filled with simple pleasures. His mother, now 83 and in excellent health, lives near us and still bike rides several times a week. Her garden is the envy of the neighborhood. Last year she traveled to Europe with us for six weeks and there were days when she out-paced us.

    Having wonderful role-models on both sides, we learned to manage what we earned based on need, not want, to avoid credit if possible and to save for our future. Like the old commercial says – “we earned it.” We met our goal of providing for our daughter’s education and saving enough to enjoy a satisfying retirement. So, nearly seven years ago we sold our business and hung it up. We could have worked longer, and truth be known, Malcolm still has some regret that he didn’t. He needs a certain amount of cerebral stimulation that he has not yet found in retirement. Even so, we are still doing this thing our way and love retirement life.

    So, to answer your question - what makes this a satisfying retirement for us is the knowledge that we were good stewards of what we were blessed to receive. We relied on the example set by our parents as our foundation and focused our energy on quality of life, not quantity of stuff. We had common values and principles that guided us through our work years and still guide us to this day. Sure, there are days when we worry that the money will run out, or that our health will deteriorate but we also know that we are living a well-balanced lifestyle and will adjust to pitfalls as need be.

    Our focus these days is on staying healthy, managing what assets we have in these uncertain economic conditions and providing our daughter with the tools for success that our parents passed on to us.

    Sorry for the long-winded post, but this was a thought provoking question. Thanks for asking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answers like yours are so helpful to everyone, me included! You have taken the time to give us an excellent overview of how you and Malcom got to the place you are now. Thank you.

      One part I can relate to are the comments about your mom. My mom's life was shortened and the quality affected by her refusal to exercise, drink enough water (in Arizona that is crucial), and live on macaroni and hamburger casseroles. She did volunteer as a school aide for years that kept her mind active, but really suffered from poor health choices.

      You and Malcom have done a good job of modeling a satisfying retirement. The next time I am in Florida I'd love to meet you two!

      Delete
    2. Bob, There is so much more I could have shared about what has shaped us and our choices, but I'll save that for another time. You are welcome to visit us in Florida any time. And, if we ever make it out your way again we'd like to meet you and Betty as well. Again, thanks for giving all of us the opportunity to ponder this question out loud.

      Delete
    3. Steve in Los AngelesThu Jun 14, 08:45:00 PM MST

      Bob, Suzanne, and Malcolm, all of you gave me much "food for thought". Thank you. I also had excellent role models with my Mom and Dad. My Mom was a voracious saver and my Dad had a keen interest in money and investing. My parents had strong work ethics throughout their adult lives until they retired. I got a lot of exposure to my parents' work ethics and the importance of saving and investing throughout my life. Even though my parents passed away several years ago, what I learned from them continues to influence my life to the very present time.

      One thing I have done that probably is much different from most other financially well off people is that I never got married. In my case, staying single was a good decision, because too many women I met had a poor work ethic and/or did not understand the importance of saving and investing for the future. I enjoy my way of life. If I never get married, that is no big deal to me.

      Staying healthy is of major importance. My lifestyle proves that point. I eat well, get a lot of exercise, and avoid tobacco completely. I feel bad for cigarette smokers. Unfortunately, they may learn the hard way just how bad cigarettes are toward their health. Emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease are painful and often are slow killers. Talking good care of my heart and lungs is of major importance to me.

      Delete
  16. These are questions my husband Joe and I ask ourselves every day.He is 57 and says he will retire @ 62.I myself will never retire, I don't care for the idea.I will try and manage more freedom and control over my work hours and already I see my priorities shifting since a new grand baby came on the scene 1 month ago.Health care is a major issue, we both work in the health care field for a hospital but when retired it does not continue we have to provide that ourselves.That will probably be me since I will continue to work.Our home is paid for(has been for awhile- I think in 2005)so as I run budgets it does not seem like we need alot of money but the unknown is scary.I really appreciate reading specifics on how people do afford a satisfying retirement.It is that wisdom shared that is so valuable plus enjoyable to read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A question for you: why do you not plan on retiring? You describe a money situation that seems pretty stable. I'd be interested in your motivations.

      By the way, you are certainly not alone in wanting to keep working, but I think others might benefit from your reasoning. Thanks!

      Delete
    2. Steve in Los AngelesThu Jun 14, 08:24:00 PM MST

      Bob, I certainly can understand why she wants to continue working. However, people should start Medicare at age 65. After a person reaches age 65, why would health care be an issue with regard to the decision to continue to work?

      Delete
    3. Well Bob my motivation since you asked here goes, I am a nurse.It's not just what I do it is who I am.And before you think of me as some "angel" or any other usual term used for nurses ...that is not me.I went into nursing for the science - of the body/mind/spirit.I am the patient advocate.Here is my analogy(been using this 30 plus years)medicine is very much like a baseball team.Pitcher doesn't want to be the catcher,first baseman doesn't want to play short stop..you get my drift.BUT each position is crucial and especially for each team member being at "the top of their game" the whole team wins AKA the patient, imagine that? So in my case I can not imagine not staying in the game because my mind likes being busy and I can change the game or how much time I give to the game but it is always on my mind.I have other interests like new grand baby,painting projects and some classes to take like welding and learn to bake bread.Can you tell I like being busy?

      Steve in Los Angeles here in NY yes I will qualify for Medicare @ 65 how ever it pays for very little so next comes paying for a "supplemental insurance plan" like MVP,Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield,Aetna etc etc.I work in the health insurance game by day, work at a hospital at night.Having the two perspectives I know how expensive insurance will be and there is no end in sight for health care costs believe me.My Mom has lung cancer and WITH good supplemental insurance(and Medicare) her 2nd round of chemo is 6K per month-insurance pays all but 2K per month.So paying for supplemental insurance is very expensive and if I can defray the cost by working - here we have to commit to 20 hrs of work per week to purchase insurance at the employers rate- seems like the thing to do.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for your follow up. I understand completely. You find completeness, satisfaction, and a strong sense of serving others through your job...oh, and you like being busy! All of those (plus the financial incentive) make it very reasonable why retirement in the traditional sense doesn't meet your needs.

      Thanks, lita1857 for your explanation. I know you are not alone.

      Delete
  17. Steve in Los AngelesThu Jun 14, 08:20:00 PM MST

    Bob, I am going to answer these questions one at a time.

    1. How do you define a lifestyle that is satisfying?
    A satisfying lifestyle is a lifestyle in which I can devote all of my time to doing what I want to do. That would include eating at restaurants, such as Japanese all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants and other types of all-you-can-eat restaurants, that I enjoy; not having to answer to anyone; sleeping late into the mornings with no alarm clock; and traveling, including going on bus and train rides to see the sights of Los Angeles.
    2. How have you changed your view on this issue over the last few years?
    My view on this issue has not changed. I continue to view this issue as doing what I want to do when I want to do it. All of my time would be my time. I would not have to answer to anyone with regard to how I spend my time.
    3. Is retirement still a valid concept, or are we destined to work until we drop? Retirement still is a valid concept. However, people have to plan for retirement and must save and invest for retirement. There is no free lunch for retirement or for any other worthwhile goal.
    4. What is the difference between a satisfying retirement and just being retired? Just being retired to me means no longer working and having the income just to survive. People receiving just Social Security can be retired, but they may be just barely making it financially. Consequently, since many satisfying things may cost money, having enough money just for bare essentials, such as food and shelter, may not enable a person to have a satisfying retirement. A satisfying retirement means that a person's overall life is satisfying AND the person no longer needs to work for a living.
    5. Can a satisfying retirement include going back to work? If a person enjoys their work and gets meaning from their work, then a satisfying retirement can include going back to work. In my case, as long as I remain healthy, I will continue to be an American Red Cross blood platelet donor every two weeks as my platelet donations give me a lot of satisfaction.
    6. If you have not retired yet, do you still believe you will be able to and be happy? Although I continue to work part time, the income I get from work generally goes toward paying off the mortgage on my residence faster. Having no debt whatsoever AND having a high retirement income from investments (including annuity payments) AND Social Security combined, I know that I will retire (probably sooner rather than later) and that I most definitely will be very happy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks, Steve for answering all the questions! You have one of the most detailed approaches to preparing for retirement I have ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  19. pasopamela@charter.netFri Jun 15, 09:47:00 AM MST

    Bob, thanks for some good questions & MOST OF ALL for the comment that it took 3 years or so to get your feet on the ground, retirement wise. I just retired a few months ago & love it! but I am finding that my natural inclination to overbook & overdo followed me to my retired state. It's been a shock to find out that retirement does NOT mean I have 40 hours in one day, I say with a rueful smile. There are so many things I want to do that it is taking me awhile to realize that saying yes to one thing I really want to do means saying no to something else I really want to do. For example, I read & enjoy your blogs but have not stopped to comment until today. I had more time to read them while I was working.

    I'm the person who lives in cohousing in California & I absolutely love it! Ours is multi-generational & there is enough going on here that I would never have to go outside this community if I didn't want to...book clubs, a pool & hot tub, community dinners & outside community involvement. It is awesome that I can know & feel safe with 35 other families.

    With medical costs rising, we will have to be aware of finances, but will have enough to live on if we are careful, (including some travel, when we are ready) so that is a huge blessing. I DO need to get exercising & eat better (there's always so much else going on I don't slow down to do that) & THAT has to be a priority. It was a help to remind me of that.

    A satisfying retirement to me is a balance (which I am obviously working towards!) of health, things we want to do, travel, projects I want to finish & volunteering (last but definitely not least!) It's also doing what I want to do & (this is new for me) what fits my priority list.

    Thanks again for blogging; I appreciate your taking the time to connect.

    pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the world of commenting! Thanks. Pam, for your readership. That makes you one of the BRITW.

      Learning to say "No" in retirement is a skill that should be taught before leaving work. Not only do we have to learn to say "No" to ourselves when we overbook, but to friends and volunteer opportunities. The assumption is that we have unlimited time to help others...after all we aren't working!

      But, of course we are working, just in a different way. The first definition of work is "physical or mental effort exerted to do or make something; purposeful activity." Notice it says nothing about being paid. Being retired and not working are not the same thing.

      The more I hear about cohousing the more interesting the concept becomes. My wife and I need private space and private time. We are not big social animals. But, we like to interact with other interesting people and stay mentally stimulated. The typical retirement community doesn't provide the variety of a cohousing environment.

      Delete
  20. I seem to have a much different perspective than most of the people I see who share their concepts of retirement. First, I have lived my life trying to not wait until retirement to do non-work things I want to do. I am 65 and still working, and probably will for a few more years. I have been fortunate to have a career that has been very satisfying, so I feel less pressure to quit. I think that working a little longer will give me more financial cushion and a better transition.

    My work involves very left-brain activity while my non-work activities are heavily in the arts and music. I have always enjoyed that mix, and am trying to figure out what retirement activities will provide the stimulation and challenge that I have enjoyed at work. I will of course continue the arts and music and traveling I do, and am auditioning new activities that will provide the left-brain stimulation that for me provides that desirable balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not waiting until retirement to do non-work things you like....excellent. You may be right that too many folks wait to do what they really enjoy after work instead of while working.

      I am certainly living proof. While working I was too busy and too tired to do anything but the bare minimum. It almost cost me my marriage but I woke up in time and will celebrate 36 years together in a week.

      Left-brain activities to keep you engaged after work: something logical and analytical. Interesting. What are possibilities? Your desire to keep a healthy mix of logic and creativity is to be admired.

      Delete
  21. I have just retired. Today to be exact..My first task is to clean my house spin and span...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations and welcome to an exciting new phase of your life!

    ReplyDelete