October 22, 2014

Not A Lot Has Changed In 4 Years

One of the reasons I started Satisfying Retirement was because of the near universal focus on retirement finances on blogs available on the Internet. Of course I had financial questions, like when to begin Social Security, should I pay off my mortgage as soon as I could, would I benefit from consulting a financial advisor?

But, when I first began to think of closing my company and retiring I was also looking for practical help on all the issues that would affect my life if I stopped working: keeping relationships healthy, dealing with boredom and lots of free time, maintaining my health amidst the crazy world of American health care. Do you still take vacations after retirement? How about hobbies? I was looking for real life feedback from others who had retired and struggled, and from those who flourished and couldn't wait to begin each day.

I couldn't find any. I did find a handful of older books that dealt with all the aspects of retirement living, but nothing online. So, for the first several years I did a lot of on-the-job training. I struggled to find my footing and make the most of my time. I went back to part time work more out of boredom and thinking I needed the extra income (I didn't). Still, the Internet provided very little non-financial encouragement or solid feedback.

As I have recounted before, the opportunity to scratch my writing itch and to service a need that I felt existed prompted me to start blogging in 2010.

As an experiment, last week I spent some time searching Google for the top retirement topics, the top non-financial questions of retirees, and anything that seemed to fulfill the information gap that existed 5 or 10 years ago. Frankly, not a lot has changed. Ask Google about retirement issues and the first half dozen pages (That is dozens of web sites & blogs) are virtually all dealing with money.

Blogs that deal with the full range of topics that retirees, or soon-to-be-retirees, are asking about remain few and far between. There are a few recent additions, sites like Olderhood.com and Senior Forum. And, you will find several blogs I enjoy and read regularly listed on the left sidebar. But, for the most part if I were in the same position, after searching Google, I would come to the same conclusion I did 13 years ago: too many retirement blogs about money and not enough about life.

In one area there is much more information available than when I was looking for help: books. Considering the supposed death of publishing, I am not finding that true in this regard. Sure, most of them are available as e-book downloads as well as paperback and hard cover. But, book publishing about retirement seems to be holding its own.

The reason I am mentioning this is twofold: to encourage any new bloggers to start writing about retirement without the financial focus, and to feel good about my decision to continue this blog after my summer sabbatical.

As an aside, I am beginning work on my third book. Even though Living a Satisfying Retirement continues to chug along, with 6-8 books sold every week, I am feeling to need to tackle the subject again. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for reading and supporting this retirement approach. It took 3 1/2 years to reach 1 million page views. Now, just 11 months later almost 500,000 more have clicked on the blog. That level of readership is very much appreciated.

Life requires a handle on your financial situation, but a satisfying life is about so much more.



15 comments:

  1. I blogged before retirement and I continued to blog after. I just write about my life.

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    1. And our life after retirement is....our life. Good point, Nita.

      I did modify my direction just a bit earlier this year by "allowing" topics that were strictly retirement-oriented for the same reason. Besides making sense, it opened up many more topics to write about

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  2. I don't think much has changed. A person could go back to your first blog and read the whole series and be pretty well informed.

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    1. Maybe that's why I get so few advertising inquiries!

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  3. I think your blog is a wonderful place to get new ideas and learn from one another. We retirees or wannabes are also interested in our finances but that is just a small part of who we are. Our finances should serve us and not the other way around. When I found your blog, I found it very refreshing. Seems the other age groups have their niches in "blog-dom" and we should also. We aren't dead, afterall:) And it is good to hear your perspective on things, as well as the opinions and ideas of others. Thanks for the great blog you give us, Bob!

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    1. You mentioned something that is important to stress: what I write about is mostly just my opinion and take on an issue. Sometimes a commenter will criticize me for something I have written. I do not present myself as an expert, just as someone who has walked this walk for over 13 years. I want this blog to be open to all sorts of constructive ideas and perspectives. All of us can learn from each other.

      Thanks, Linda.

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  4. We're all so grateful you continue to blog. Your readership is certainly proof that our interest goes beyond the financial. I remember when my father retired from the phone company as a lineman, he struggled a bit to find his way. He wanted to help my mother with the housework (!), and she would have none of it. She would send him to the local coffee shop to get coffee and read the paper. Eventually he found his stride, and he spent more time with his grandkids and his adult children (how lucky we were!)

    I read an interesting article: http://assetbuilder.com/scott_burns/are_we_(still)_quitting_at_the_wrong_time
    Essentially, in 1965, 23% collected social security at age 62. Fast forward to 2004, and 57% collected social security at age 62. This would suggest that we are retiring earlier. And with a longer life span, a healthier life style, and a need for a better quality of life, we are looking to improve on the quality of the years we have left. Your blog is a good place to start to explore these issues!

    Can't wait to hear more about your book!

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    1. Many of us will spend as much time retired as we did employed. For some that might sound scary, but for others that opens up such a tremendous opportunity of growth and exploration.

      I have a rough idea for the book. The tentative timetable is sometime late winter or early spring of next year.

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    2. Deciding when to retire can be a very tough call, especially daunting because the amount of time on the average we will live in retirement as you pointed out. I am still working by choice at 65 in the aerospace industry. Our contract was up three years ago, been on extensions since then. The new company will be chosen very soon, be it ours or a new company where I would have to apply for my own job. This is not new in our industry, been through it before, but something different this time. To be honest, I really am indifferent as to whether I stay with my company, get hired by a new company or just get laid off. I am thinking this could be because the decision to retire would be out of my hands, thus I won't be kicking myself for walking away from a good job before I am ready? At any rate, I do think about all the good things the wife and I could do if I (or they) retire me. Look forward to your book coming out.

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  5. I've been happily retired for 19 months. I entered retirement with 2 years left on my mortgage. Property insurance and taxes continue to rise annually so I am housecleaning to supplement my retirement income so I can leave my savings alone. The freedom I enjoy in retirement is worth the trade off of living within my means until the mortgage is paid. There's an advertisement that lists the costs of various things and ends with "priceless". That's how I feel about my retirement freedom - priceless. The homeowner that I worked for today wondered how much he would need in retirement. I replied, "It depends how you want to live." In all stages of life, there are various socioeconomic levels. What's frugal or extravagant for one may not be so for another. I continue to have more than I need. This summer I shared my vacation plans with my son and he asked "Vacation from what?" From the routine, that's what. I appreciate that you blog about life, not just finances. That's just one consideration in life. I'm satisfied in my retirement.

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    1. Vacation from routine...that is an excellent way to explain why retired folks need a vacation every now and then.

      What I find so fascinating with my life now is how often it shifts or adjusts to changes in me, my attitudes, and my interests. When I was working to support a family I don't remember as many changes. Sure, I changed jobs, we moved,....there were adjustments but the basic structure was the same. It was my attitude that remained unchanged.

      Not true now. That freedom you refer to is part of every day and gives each 24 hours the potential and freshness that it is hard to describe.

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  6. SO glad you continued blogging----I agree with the readers above; yours in one of the blogs I check in on, no matter how busy I allow myself to get. There's always something interesting going on & I learn something new, even if it's a new way to look at a current issue.

    Your comment about how often thing shift if amazing. I've just realized that; I think it's a product of the fact that I'm not scheduled into someone else's priorities, but am sorting out my own. I do notice, however, that I circle around a couple of priorities I THINK I should have. I'm realizing I need to l look at that habit and take those priorities off the list, decide to do something about them, or accept that I'm enjoying beating myself up because I am NOT doing something about them. I would not have come to that conclusion without the time to be retired and without your blog & reader's comments.

    Thanks for making MY retirement more satisfying!

    pam

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    1. You are very welcome, Pam, but give yourself plenty of credit in all this. I may write something that you can relate to, or a reader leaves a comment that touches you. But, you are the one who must take whatever step is required to do something constructive with that insight. An idea without implementation is just an idea.

      I know enough about your situation to know you are proactive and a strong person who has overcome a lot. Give yourself a loving pat on the back!

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  7. Thanks, Bob ~ Your post gives me some encouragement! See, I just recently started An Encore Voyage because my husband and I were sort of thrust into this journey of early retirement/reinvention. In reading blogs, I was afraid that I was pretty late to the party. But now I realize that the things that happen to us are unique. We're sort of making it up as we go along, and I want to share the adventure. I completely agree with you that we all learn from each other, so I'll just keep on adding to my little corner of the blogosphere. Thanks for making me feel like it will be worthwhile!

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    1. You are welcome, and thanks for being part of our on-line family.

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