December 30, 2013

New Year, New Plans

2014 is shaping up to be a year of milestones and some tribulations.

*I turn 65 in May and become eligible for Medicare. How can that be? Medicare is what my parents qualified for because they were old. 

*My cute, pixie of a wife turns 60 in February. That's even harder to believe than my 65th. When I met her she was only 19. When we married her she was only 22. 

*I have daughters older than the amount of time I spent in my radio career.

*I have a father turning 90 in February...90! 90!

*Betty and I will embark on a 21/2 month RV trip this summer, our longest by far.

*And, on the upsetting side of the ledger, my youngest brother has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Even though his type is curable he faces a long and not very pleasant battle. My little brother has cancer? That is a huge wake up call.

Time absolutely does not stand still or slow down. I am flipping pages on the calendar faster than my arthritic fingers can manage. I have so much I want to do, so many people I want to meet, so many trips I am aching to take.

Satisfying Retirement will pass 1 million views sometime today, Monday December 30th. I had set a goal of passing that milestone before the end of 2013 and I will make it with a day to spare! Since I began writing this blog in June 2010 I have written somewhere in excess of 400,000 words for the posts and the two books that it has spawned. I have fielded well over 10,000 comments (plus another 2,000 spam comments that never saw the light of day) I have learned more from my readers than I could possibly have imagined, made life-long friends, and been honored to be part of your life.

There has been one rather surprising non-development: virtually no advertising support. Even being active with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, two well selling books, regular contributions to other blogs, and all the blogging hints and "tricks" I could absorb, this blog has been a labor of love but not a viable commercial enterprise. 

So, what do I see when I look ahead to next year? Do I keep doing all the social media stuff and hope advertisers see a benefit in being connected to such a loyal and literate readership? Do I accept that this blog is not destined to be a source of extra income but serves a readership need? 

I see a time for some changes and adjustments. After lots of thought this is what I plan on implementing:

1) I will continue Satisfying Retirement. With 10,000 Boomers retiring every day for the next decade there are plenty of opportunities to reach people who would benefit from the mistakes I have made and the journey we are all on together. I can't promise how long I will keep this blog active, but as long as I feel the urge to write I will be here. I will no longer expect the blog to generate much income, just personal satisfaction.

2) I believe it is time to broaden my focus. While retirement will remain in the blog title and be the subject of many of my posts, there is so much more to a satisfying life than remaining centered on only one topic. 

I want to write more about relationships, all the great books and music we can experience, movies I find worthwhile, financial concerns from a wider perspective, travel and RV thoughts, spirituality in all its various shapes and expressions, lifetime learning, and observations of our life and times.

3) I need to free myself from the rigors of three fresh posts every week. Maintaining a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posting calendar puts me under more pressure to write and produce than I am comfortable with at this point in my life.

So, starting with the New Year I am going to try a twice-a-week fresh posting schedule: Monday and Thursday. I think this will allow me to write better posts, with more substance and certainly more thought. I can be a bit more inventive in the topics I choose and feel I am bringing something a bit fresher to you.

4) I will likely end my active involvement with the various social media sites as a form of blog promotion. I will stay in touch with friends and follow those I enjoy, but stop spending the extra time to attempt to boost blog posts and activities. It isn't paying off.


You may have noticed I changed the blog title a few weeks ago by adding ...Leads To a Satisfying Life after the main title of Satisfying Retirement. The addition of those five words indicates there is more to this blog than just retirement issues. 

Together, let's see what happens. I am retired but that isn't adequate to fully describe my life and my thoughts. I am interested to see where an expanded direction will take me, and for how long.

I hope you join me on the journey.



57 comments:

  1. This is really informative post and I personally would like to appreciate the efforts. We are also dealing in same field hence found this informative to add in our process also. Once again thanks for your post.

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  2. Wonderful post! I'm not yet retired, but i plan to follow along, wherever you lead. Your blog is relevant to all of us, no matter where we are on this journey.
    Blessings to your brother and his family.

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    1. Thank you for the kind thoughts for my brother and his family. He is facing an unpleasant several months, but he's a strong guy and will come through with flying colors.

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  3. Congratulations on this milestone of one million views! This is quite incredible. Good for you on cutting back to 2 posts a week! This is simply confirmation that you are committed to creating a satisfying life for yourself. I often wondered about the stress created by the responsibility of 3 weekly posts. It's all about maintaining a proper balance in your life, making sure that you are taking care of yourself as well. I look forward to your broader focus.

    So sorry to hear about your brother. When those close to us become ill, it's hard not to imagine "will this happen to me?". As proactive as I am about my healthy lifestyle, I'm reminded that as hard as we try, we can't control everything. Living life to the fullest and maintaining healthy habits is the best we can do. Then we have to not worry about the rest. (Easier said than done.)

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    1. I passed 1,000,000 views around 6:00 AM this morning. I remember when I started this blog how excited I was when I had a day with 50 visits! Importantly, it is a measurement of the loyalty of the blog's readers and the fact there is an audience for a retirement blog that isn't focused solely on finances.

      My next colonoscopy will occur in 2014, 10 years after my last. clean bill of colon health. I hope everyone over the age of 50 has this done, especially now that the Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that they be free of deductibles for those covered by Medicare. Of course, if a polyp is found the doctor will likely remove it and that does trigger costs, but they will be substantially less than the $1,000 this procedure used to cost. In any case, regardless of the charges, it is so much better than allowing cancer to go undetected.

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  4. Sounds good to me. Looking forward to your new focus. I have been thinking that Retirement talk is getting a bit old. And I am glad that you will not be focused exclusively on travel... although I like to hear about your trips. There is so much more to life than playing tourist. I think you have a good plan and I will certainly be hanging in there with you. Happy New Year!

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    1. It has become more of a challenge to think of topics I haven't written about several times before, so a broader focus should certainly help. I had played with the idea of making the blog RV focused, but there are thousands of them already covering all possible aspects of that lifestyle.

      Happy New Year to you, too, Judy.

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  5. I love all your thoughts on the new year and the directions you want to take the blog,Bob! I am also sorry to hear of your brother's challenges.Yes, a wake up call. So much to do,. so many people to connect with,music to listen to, books to write,places to see, family to love..

    I can't wait to hear of your RV trips, and I welcome posts on spirituality and other topics,Bob.

    You're right-- a satisfying life is about much more than just being retired!!

    Happy New Year to you and Betty!

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    1. Before I forget, thanks for suggesting that Betty and I visit Usery Park. We did go this past weekend and loved it. In fact, we will probably schedule a 1 or 2 night stay sometime in January. With 30 miles of hiking trails, very nice RV spots, and it being only an hour from home, it was a great find.

      Happy New Year to you and Ken. 2014 is going to be an exciting one for you two.

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  6. Congrats on a million views. I am not surprised. You bring real topics into the light for discussion.
    I like that you will broaden- especially music. What are "we" reading, listening to and watching. It should be a good addition to all of our lives.
    Happy New Year Bob. I'll keep your brother in my New Year prayers.

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    1. Thank you for keeping my brother in your prayers. I firmly believe prayers do help.

      I have a post coming in the next few weeks that will ask for topic suggestions. I am excited to see what readers would like me to take a stab at.

      Happy New Year, Janette. Stay warm!

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  7. Hi Bob, I picked up on your blog a little more than a year ago and I have found it to be one of the most insightful blogs there is on what it actually like to be retired. I am 2 years away from retirement and I needed to answer the question - what will you do in retirement?

    I had no idea and figured I’d just see what happens when I get there but I find that mainstream media is all about “You’ll be bored, or broke, or both, if you don’t keep-working or be-an-entrepreneur” (and a lot of them say “My dream was to be a writer” which I guess is why they write articles on retirement). Anyway, it’s all kind of scary when my main plan was to stop working and live life on my own terms. It what my parents did and both say retirement is fantastic.

    With your blog it really was “Here’s what it’s like” (I have also read both your books). You also point out that retirement is also kind of what I figured it would be in that we muddle along trying different things, those that work for us we keep doing and those that don’t we discard - which is pretty much how my pre-retirement life has gone and it’s worked out just fine. I suspect my retirement will work out fine too and I have a few ideas of things I want to do.

    I am not surprised that you are making changes to your blog. I have noticed a change in your writing since you bought the RV and it seems to me that you are now actually becoming “retired” rather than just “not working”. You stopped working quite young (52?) and it’s hard for people to really retire at that age. I think there is a reason that age 65 is considered the “normal” retirement age and it’s not just because Otto von Bismarck thought he wouldn’t have to pay out any money because average life expectancy was below 50 at the time (heck, he could have made it age 55 with the same result).

    I think the reason retirement is normally around age 65 is because that is when we are truly ready for it. It’s why few who hit it big by age 30 or 40 retire and also why even people that have few resources more or less stop working at age 65 even if it means social assistance. I think that as you are approaching 65 you are now ready to retire in the true sense of the word. Sure you will keep writing your blog because you enjoy it but you will scale it back, stop with the promotional activities, and take those RV trips with your wife that you’ve been dreaming of.

    Sounds like retirement to me. Enjoy!

    - David

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    1. You are very right, David. The RV purchase and a decision to open ourselves up to new experiences and choices is really the first time I have felt fully retired. The freedom from work is something I have truly enjoyed; the freedom to choose a different lifestyle is a new experience. That decision has given me the "permission" needed to shift this blog a bit, too.

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  8. Hi Bob- I have been following your blog and your books for the last two years. They have been such a help to me. I retired on 12/31/12 from the healthcare industry and needed to consider the aspects of time management and social relationships when making the retirement go/ no go decision. I very much enjoy your views on spirituality and the value of music and the arts in our lives. Thank you to you and Betty for allowing us to benefit from your experiences.

    Blessings and prayers for your brother and family as they journey through the cancer experience. It is not a smooth road - I am a 4-year cancer survivor.
    Diane from Long Beach, CA

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    1. Thank you, Diane, for your heartfelt thoughts and support. I am always happy when someone has found something on these pages to help them make their own journey a little smoother.

      My prayers for you. I know that surviving every year after cancer has been dealt with means you are one step closer to being judged cancer-free. Four years means you must be feeling more confident that this hurdle has been cleared.

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  9. Good news about putting a truly satisfying life ahead of the blog! I don't know how you do 3 posts a week. I'm down to 1 every 5-7 days, and to my surprise it hasn't hurt traffic. I'm also planning to start another one, which will have all my political rants and opinions on it, in order to try and get some compensation for zero to 60.... The Party Politic will, hopefully, be up and running by Feb. It's a collaborative effort, so all the writing isn't on me. You're welcome to contribute anytime!
    I'm really sorry about your brother. I will keep him in my thoughts. Since I live with a miracle I am very hopeful for him.
    Happy New Year to you and Betty!
    b

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    1. I look forward to your edgier political blog. I'd love to participate. There are a lot of opinions I have that aren't appropriate for the focus of this blog.

      The best to you and Dave for 2014.

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  10. Looking forward to the new changes in your blog. For what it's worth, I personally prefer the posts that are more first person style. And yes, we are all more than just "retired".

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    1. The first person posts tend to generate more comments and views though I'm always wary of sharing too much information!

      Have a great 2014 in your new hometown, Barb.

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  11. Sorry to hear you are reducing to two posts a week, because when I open my laptop everyday I always ask myself, "Is it Monday, Wednesday, or Friday?" so I'll know whether to check your site. But I certainly understand. And will now retrain myself to ask, "Is it Monday or Thursday?"

    Personally I love to read about retirees traveling as my husband and I travel around like there was a sheriff on our tail. But we don't RV as it has always sounded absolutely exhausting to us. To each his/her own.

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    1. Ha!...I never thought of the blog acting as a calendar and reminder of what day of the week it is.

      RV travel is not as carefree and simple as auto travel or flying, staying in motels and eating all meals at restaurants. But, it seems to be more satisfying to us because we have so much freedom to go where and when we want, stay as long as we please, and then move on.

      Make no mistake - the planning, packing, and unpacking/cleaning up afterwards is work. The costs are not insignificant and the hassle factor can be high. Living in such a small space takes compromise and flexibility. But, so far, we are more than willing to pay the price.

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  12. Congratulations on the 1 million milestone. I came to your blog less than 1 yr ago and appreciate it immensely, especially the non-financial aspects. Retirement isn't a state in and of itself. It's one phase of life with commonalities that infiltrate many life phases. For example, isn't time & money management an issue in all phases of life? Your blog will need to appeal to the "newbies" and those well into their retirement. I think you cover the bases. Thanks, Bob. Happy New Year to you and Betty. I wish you and your family well.

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    1. Thanks for the well wishes, Mona. 2013 has been a good year for us though it went by much too quickly. I am looking forward to 2014 being different in how we choose to spend our time and the activities we engage in. Some of them should make interesting posts!

      Retirement has many of the same challenges as any phase of life. You are quite right in that many of the things we deal are not substantially different from other times in our lives. To me, that means someone who isn't retired may still find some useful takeaway from what happens here.

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  13. Congrats on having such a well-regarded blog, Bob. Funny that you mentioned some of your milestones, since we had some parallels. My younger brother was diagnosed with cancer and beat it, my 88 year old mother passed (88 years old!!), and I turned 60 this month. When my daughter asked me I told her I did not feel 60, or what I imagined 60 would feel like when I was quite a bit younger. These milestones are passing incredibly fast.

    I for one will appreciate the frequency of your blog, whatever the number of times per week, month, or whatever you ultimately decide upon. I consider it a privilege to be a reader of yours, and will continue to view you as a friend as well. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas (we can still say that down this way) and will enjoy a very Happy 2014!

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    1. Such nice comments...thanks, Chuck. As our future wanderings take us to your part of the country Betty and I will make an extra effort to meet you face-to-face. Tennessee is already on our short list for the next few years of trips.

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  14. Bob,
    I can't think of a better subject than life experiences and look forward to your new, broader focus in 2014. Congrats on your milestone of 1M views.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. The best to you and Malcolm for the new year.

      I have no intention of shooting for 2 million. In fact, now that the goal is met I probably will stop looking at the daily stats page for quite awhile. It can become a bit of an obsession.

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  15. Bob, I saw your scamming post. Another one that I keep seeing is the "your free home alert device is ready to ship" scam. I now listen to these jerks and when they finish their talk, tell them they should be ashamed and to get a real job!

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    1. Bonnie,

      That post actually was posted by mistake. It isn't scheduled to go live for another few weeks but I clicked the wrong button. Scamming of seniors is an important subject, so look for it to reappear on January 16th.

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  16. I can totally understand you wanting to cut down on your writings to two day a week - I thorougly enjoy your writings. I've been (forced) retired for a little over two years and my husband has 15 more months until he will be FREE from his job. We're looking forward to doing a bit of traveling and seeing what our budget will allow. He'll be 66 1/2 at retirement and I'll be 65, so we have a few years ahead of us.

    A cancer diagnosis isn't wonderful, and I'll certainly be praying for your brother. In February of 2014, it will be 19 years since I had breast cancer. The chemo treatments aren't all that "fun", but your brother will get through it with all your support.

    My husband and I are looking forward to 2014 and we will pay off our car and one small credit card, so we will have few bills when he retires in 2015. It will be a year of frugality, but excitement too. Thank you for your writings! Sue in Colorado

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    1. Thank you for your support and encouragement for my brother. I am very confident he will do as well as can be expected with both the chemo and the operation(s) later in the spring.

      Paying off your remaining debts is a great "resolution" for the new year.

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  17. who won the prize for number one million? just joking... I had my 4th scope job last year, have to go every 3 years, bummer. But considering what could happen if I didn't go... Looking forward to the RV travel posts. Still want a Casita or something, maybe never happen but a boy can dream, can't he? And... congrats on the marriage; my wife and I met at age 17 in a grocery store where I was working, then married at 19. Number 41 is next month.
    later, dude

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    1. 41 years...that is worthy of praise. Congrats.

      There will be plenty of RV posts when our trips start up again, plus retirement thoughts, more on marriage, religion and reality, and whatever I can think of that might be of interest. Just don't expect much on politics. That is the third rail of blogging that I don't need to touch.

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    2. So glad that you are avoiding politics. Unfortunately, no matter which side of the "fence" you are on and no matter how diplomatically and thoughtfully you approach a subject, your readership would change and things would turn nasty in your comments. Too bad, since what we all need is more open-minded discussion. I am looking forward to the music part...you certainly have the knowledge and music is the most positive universal language.

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    3. The few times I have written anything that is even remotely connected to politics the spam mail increases and the number of people who visit the blog drops. So....I'll leave that to others.

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  18. Hi Bob, I have been reading your post for the past 6 months or so - and I have gone back into your archives quite a bit. My husband and I are still a ways from retirement since we are in our 40s and have 4 kids at home with college on the horizon. We do, however, talk about retirement a lot, and I love reading your thoughts as a way to help me inform my thoughts about this exciting upcoming phase of our lives. I love your common sense approach to things, and I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on the new topics you will be delving into in 2014. I pray your brother's treatment for cancer is not too arduous and ultimately successful. And enjoy all those milestone birthdays your family is looking forward to in the coming year.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts with the rest of us. I love your blog!

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    1. Betty made the comment today that seems to fit a situation like yours. She said that much of what I have written really can apply to anyone, not just retired folks, and I guess she is right. Financial common sense is common sense if you are 16 or 60. Making the best use of your time left on earth applies to anyone since any one of us can die at any moment. Not messing up an important relationship is rather important during any phase of your life.

      I guess what the take away for me from her comment is that if I write what I have been but not put it into a box labeled retirement then maybe a wider audience will find something of value here.

      We will find out.

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  19. Bob, Congratulations on passing the 1 million views mark! Your new plans for the blog sound great and I'll look forward to following along as you take it in new directions. -Jean

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    1. I will be looking for ideas on subjects from everyone and everywhere, so if you, Jean, ever have a thought on something you think might be fun or entertaining, please drop me a note.

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  20. Dear Bob,
    I read your musings about upcoming changes to your blog and was struck by several things. First congratulations on reaching such mass in such a relatively short time. I had no idea the blog was begun as recent as 2010.
    Second, and the real reason for this note, was your comment about the blog not really attracting advertisers. I just wanted to say THANK YOU so very much for the blog. It has helped me transition into retirement in a way that nothing else could. LITTLE exists for the huge mass of us making this transition with no advice, except from the financial wolves out there. I know you have done a prison ministry and I would say that for me your blog has been as noble an act. You have FREELY given so much and it has made an immense difference for me and countless others I am sure. You may not have attracted advertisers, but you have succeeded in attracting those whose attention you really sought. For me personally I began the year in a state of confusion with days of pain and fear, but an inner voice that knew I was on the right track. Your blog has been like a lifeline. It has reassured me that what I feel is normal. It has helped to give me direction. It has helped me to be a better person and to better use my platinum years! Yes platinum, the most valuable, and perhaps the most productive in terms of making a meaningful difference. Thank you!
    On another note, I would once again suggest that you consider getting on the speaking circuit. There are many companies, like American Speaker’s Bureau, that event planners at companies use to speak at conventions. With your personality and radio background I have to believe you must be a great speaker. I can see some speaking gigs combining with your love of travel nicely and adding come cha ching cha ching to your life as a result, though indirectly, of the Satisfying Retirement blog. You’d be in control and could pick and choose and name your price. The cool part is that you have some ready-made vehicles that all speakers need: a blog for your audience to check out later (as well as those considering hiring you) and a BOOK! (or is it books? I only have the one.) Anyway I hope you will munch on this idea.
    Thank you again and Happy New Year.
    Ellen C, Crawfordville, Florida

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    1. I second the speaking tour. I think it would be a blast to listen and laugh and take notes on what you have transitioned from and to. Maybe even a couple's look as well....

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    2. Ellen, I am deeply touched by your comments. I appreciate your words more than you can know. And, I promise to give some thought to the speaker idea.

      Blessings to you in 2014.

      Janette: Betty said the same thing!

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  21. Congrats on ONE Million, Bob! You write a great blog that is so easy to read and feel a part of. You are relevant to multi-generations. Good luck on the new direction.....I sure will be following you!
    Your brother and family will be in my prayers. I know God will be holding all your hands as He walks you through this trial....not an easy one indeed.
    Your new ventures this new year sound exciting....Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I'm glad you will be along for the ride, wherever it takes us.

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  22. Happy New Year Bob and Betty! Wherever this blog ends up taking you next, thank you for letting us tag along. Mike and I have learned so much from you both over the years, and we are excited for where it sounds like life may be taking you both next. Yes, life is indeed short, and we need to grab it by the horns while we can. Hugs to you both.

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    1. Likewise, you two have been a tremendous inspiration to us to become and stay more active and look for new experiences. Have a great time in Palm Springs. We will definitely make plans to be there next year.

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  23. I remember how concerned you were about making the RV decision. It was a big change. And now look at you!

    I'm with you on the two-times-a-week post. I think it will free up your mind and spirit. Also glad you have decided to forego the expectation of making money from it.

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    1. I'll probably keep the Amazon sidebar ads for awhile. They produce a few hundred dollars a year. But, otherwise, making money is a ship that has sailed.

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  24. Happy 2014 and I am looking forward to your new posting dates. I'm just very grateful you will keep posting! You and your readers always have something interesting for me to think about. I appreciate all of your work and effort into publishing something that so many people can benefit from. There is so much out on the internet that is not even worth reading!

    I will keep your family, especially your brother, in my prayers. Cancer is a very scary word but there is lots of reason to hope. I am a 2 time winner - breast cancer in 2009 and colon in 2012. A rough couple of years but here I still am. I know you will be a big support for him.

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    1. Thank you for the personal insight on your battle with cancer. You are certainly a winner to have beaten cancer twice.

      I have enough ideas that don't tie directly to retirement to fill most of January's post. I'm anxious to see what kind of feedback they get.



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  25. Happy New Year, Bob! Congratulations on passing one million views! It just proves that your topics are always interesting and relevant.
    I discovered your blog about a year ago and always look forward to those days when I know you're posting something new. I've learned a lot about what to expect in this journey from you, Betty and all your readers.
    Today, my husband officially joins me in retirement. We're anticipating a fun year rediscovering some of our suppressed talents, traveling a bit and seeing what it feels like to be free of work stress. (Even though I retired several years ago, I've still felt the affects of his demanding job.)
    Your financial posts gave us the push we needed to accept his company buyout offer and your posts on retirement living have given us some insight into what we might expect in the future.
    Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences with others. I'm looking forward to tagging along as you discover where this new direction in writing takes you and your readers!

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    1. Thank you, Glenda for your kind words. Today is quite an important one for you and hubby...the beginning of both of you retired. It is a great ride that can be one of best parts of your life. Take it slow and relearn to be together full time.

      Happy New Year.

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  26. Retirement certainly is not a stagnant place. And I don't just mean you like your RV travels a lot. My best for you and yours in 2014.

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    1. It is shaping up to be a stimulating year, Ed.

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  27. Congrats on the 1 million visits Bob! I would encourage you to keep one stream of social media open. There are tools that will automatically post to social media once you've posted. I only say this because that's actually how I found this post...through your Google + page! I wish you the best!

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    1. I agree, Brandon. I will probably keep all three open, but only to post a link when a new post is added to the blog. If I don't spend time reading everyone's posts and trying to stay active, maintaining Google+, FB, and Twitter only takes a few minutes after a fresh post.

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