January 16, 2017

My Retirement Shortcomings

Satisfying Retirement is a pretty positive place to learn about retirement. If you are looking for help in preparing for your retirement, or want some ideas on how to make this stage of your life joyful and productive, there are all sorts of informational resources available here. These past 15 years have been a very positive time in my life.


Disclaimer


I would be less than honest, however, if I didn't admit when I have been wrong about some things retirement-related. Everything has not been a bed of roses. So, here is a list of how my retirement life has fallen short in some ways. If any of these have happened to you, know you are in good company. If you have avoided these screwups or missed opportunities, congratulations! 

* I was unhappy in my job for too many years before I had the gumption to make the decision to leave the work world behind. I wasn't bringing my best to my clients and I was shortchanging myself.

* I wasted the first two years worrying about everything, from finances to how I filled my days. I think that is rather common, but still, worry rarely solves anything and 95% of what I worried about never came to pass.

* While still a young retiree (early-mid 50's) I remained too conservative with investments. In hindsight, I should have taken a few more investment risks when I had plenty of time to recover any loses.

* I have let my physical condition deteriorate more quickly than it needs to because of my laziness toward regular exercise. The gym is 10 minutes away, we have half a dozen parks close to our home, and I have bought a bike. So, what's the problem?

* I still treat time as if it is endless for me. There will always be tomorrow to start, or finish something. My sense of urgency is lacking. 67 isn't ancient, but the clock is ticking.

* Sometimes I write a post that isn't completely honest about my feelings on a particular retirement topic. I fear offending readers. Is that silly? Occasionally should I throw caution to the wind? 

* I have a healthy retirement investment account but continue to live well beneath our means. I know I can't take it with me, but I have always lived this way, so it very hard to change now. That means I miss opportunities and experiences that I really could afford. 

* I don't know if my daughters and families will be able to retire the way I did. I fear for their future and the freedom that can come with retirement. 

* I wonder when I will run out of things  to write about. Then, I wonder what is next.

* I pray I never have to go back to work; I have no marketable job skills. There is little call for a 67 year old former radio announcer!


46 comments:

  1. LOL! This all sounds SO familiar to me!
    I think you should write honestly about what you feel! It's your blog! Unless you attack or denigrate people or groups you shouldn't offend anyone. If someone IS offended that you have an opinion/feeling different from theirs, that's on THEM and they should find something else to read.

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    1. I will admit that during this past political season and election I have kept some rather nasty opinions to myself. A retirement blog should be uplifting and supportive. But, if people start messing with Social Security and Medicare, the gloves will come off.

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    2. Considering the projections for SS and Medicare spending, I see changes to both programs as inevitable regardless of your political outlook. It remains to be seen as to how big changes will have to be.

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  2. I think most of the things mentioned are shared by many of us Bob. When I hit 70 recently my mortality hit me face on. I realized that if my genes hold true this will be my last decade on earth. That woke me up in that regard...

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    1. Beat back those genes, RJ. We need your feisty take on the world and its craziness.

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  3. Me too, I have the same shortcomings. But, in our defense . . . while I was also sick of my job long before I was fired/retired, with two kids heading to college I couldn't have afforded to retire any earlier. But, dammit, I'm going out to exercise today!

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    1. I have "gym"on my calendar today. I swear it will happen, unless......

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  4. Your honesty makes the rest of us feel like we're not so crazy!! Yes, as you know,we've made our share of boo boos. We've worried..just coming out of that one..as we reviewed the last year we're doing fine, more than fine, and making the hard decisions to just sell the big house we bought in the woods and moving on.. was a very wise decision in many ways. I think there is a theme in your post about not waiting so long to do stuff!! I agree. I wish I were more fit..I thought I'd go gangbusters on the hiking but I'm just at beginner level,still.I get lazy. I love my freedom and my "down" time. Work?? My nursing skills are hopelessly out of date-- so I also pray I never have to work again!! Real estate proved to be waaaay too much investment in money and effort to be a viable part time retirement career. Over all,I'd say MOST of retired life is NOT as I imagined, but the way we're doing it has evolved from just GETTING STARTED AND DOING IT! Day by day,we learn more about ourselves. Yes, go for it, be opinionated.I believe your readers respect you and enjoy your posts, and sharing your real opinions about topics would only make the blog even more enjoyable.

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    1. We can discuss some of the touchy topics at lunch on Friday!

      I must tell you that your approach to retirement is one that motivates me. You and hubby have a very encouraging mindset, one that rubs off on others. I will always make sure Betty reads your comments about how you fill your week and then suggest we try to follow suit.

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    2. It took some practice! I have tried to balance my week with activities I love and down time too. I love to read for hours on end.I have a few TV series I am catching up on, and I like just hanging out by the pool in warm weather,too. A few things I tried flopped miserably--like a yoga practice.Hurt myself and paid the price for MONTHS.. but I am an Eternal Optimist, and never afraid to change it up when I am not feeling fulfilled...

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  5. Thanks for sharing your worries and "shortcomings." Who ever said that retirement would be easy? And there's no Martha Stewart who will show up to your home to scold you about not exercising, not taking more trips, and not being "totally honest" about your feelings in some of your blogs. You are a free man with independent means. Go for it and stop worrying!

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    1. So far, after 6+ years, I have managed to avoid most Internet trolls, those ill-mannered and mean people who delight at throwing rocks at others. Being a bit more open about my feelings on particular topics might open this blog up to some nastiness. But, you are right, I am free to delete or respond as I see fit.

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  6. Please stay the Bob we know and love! Most of us identifty with nearly all your observations and experiences and it sure helps to know we are not alone. Your blog provides support and encouragement for all of us.

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    1. Thank you, Bruce. I enjoy being part of so many lives and having those same people give me ideas and support. I learn as much as anyone after a particularly lively exchange of comments.

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  7. Glad you are normal! Everything you outlined is exactly what every retiree thinks or goes thru. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is what we call it.

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    1. I am very normal, I think. Or, maybe like the line in the movie, Young Frankenstein, I am A-B-normal.

      Thanks, Jack.

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  8. I am in my first year of retirement. I found your blog when I realized I needed help thinking about my day-to-day schedule. Google brought me to a helpful post of yours and I have become a regular reader through RSS. On the subject of this post, I am pleased that I have avoided some of your mistakes and still have the opportunity to avoid others. Some, of course, I have also made. With regard to your question about whether to be more frank about your opinions, I would say that it depends on the subject. If it relates to retirement -- how much to save, where to travel, how to make friends in a new location, and so on -- definitely, take a side. When it comes to politics unrelated to retirement, I would say you should omit your opinions. If you feel the need to defend or attack Republicans or Democrats, start anther blog or post on another site. I find your thoughts on retirement helpful and am not bothered when I don't agree on a retirement subject. I have never been so angry about our national politics, however, and I don't particularly want your blog to remind me about it. Some of my friends have stopped watching the news over breakfast and started watching Burns and Allen reruns. I understand their choice. Thanks for a writing a helpful retirement blog.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with the approach that this blog is focused on retirement and, in most instances, needs to remain apolitical and centered on the topic at hand. Only when something in the political or governmental world has the potential to affect retirement would I feel compelled to take a stand.

      I have played with the idea of starting another blog that allows my political flag to fly. That idea was rejected since it would keep my mind stuck in a negative place. Then, I thought about a blog of positive stories and uplifting messages, but didn't feel I had the time to give that approach adequate effort.

      So, I have added a positive or heart-warming story to the upper left of the blog that I freshen every 4th day. Hopefully that will cause some folks to smile or feel better about things. Otherwise, Satisfying Retirement will remain as it is!

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    2. Thanks for mentioning your upper-left up-lift :-) As a reader through RSS, I almost never go to your actual blog and never saw it.

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  9. I have enjoyed your blog and learned a lot from it. And while I agree with your politics (as much of a peek as you've given us), I'm torn re: adding them to this blog for the reasons you state, i.e. I think it will attract more nasty comments. You can, of course, delete them, but it seems that would create more work for you and add some bad energy to your day. We are SO divided in this country right now, it's just sad (to quote you-know-who). Sometimes it's nice to avoid the conflict and just chat with folks about things we can all agree on. And I'll be with you in the streets if they mess with my SS and Medicare.
    --Hope

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    1. See the comment I added to the reader just above you. I think that is my best approach for now. But, like you, if Social Security or Medicare are in someone's crosshairs, then my "mighty pen" will take action.

      My wife is dependant on The ACA for the next two years. That is another topic that might require my attention as things come into focus. But, for the most part, steady as she goes.

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  10. I don't think others or myself should dwell on mistakes, wrong courses, inactions, and so on, but I prefer honest accounts rather than camouflage. If I'm reflecting on or re-examining my choices and decisions, and questioning my wisdom about some of them, it is helpful to me when others share honestly their own mistakes or mis-directions. I don't think this is a version of "misery loves company," but it lessens my inclinations to self-condemning and self criticism when I find that others have trod the same path.

    As far as politics, so many other places exist on the internet to specifically comment on these topics, that hopefully this would not become an excessive focus here as well.

    As far as Medicare, about a year ago a physician in my town decided to offer a "direct care" option for health care. I don't have space here to explain this model and its advantages, but anyone who feels shaky about Medicare continuing to be an option, might want to look into any local options they have for this. The model is very patient-centric and no Medicare or insurance is involved, but most services that would have been billed out are either free or at minimal cost, thus side-stepping lots of rigmarole.

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    1. I am aware of so-called "concierge medical care" but am not familiar with "direct care." If you'd like to drop me an e-mail I would like to learn more to see if it is something I'd like to explore further in an upcoming blog post.

      As far as politics, yes, there is enough of that available elsewhere. Something would have to cross a rather important line to cause me to expose it here The recent post on fake news is an example because it has such dire consequences to us all.

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    2. Concierge practices work when you need to go to a physician many times during a year. If you don't, the price tag on TOP of what you pay for health insurance seems steep to me.

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    3. Betty looked into it at one point. But the $1,500 annual charge seemed rather steep. That doctor dropped the concierge approach after a year or so. I guess his other patients agreed.

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  11. I relate so well to what you have said here, especially the worrying in the first two years. My husband and I retired two years ago and we are still learning to adjust to this new lifestyle. I spent so much time worrying and feeling guilty about leaving a good job at 62 but I left because I was so unhappy it was changing who I was and making me miserable. I absolutely love being retired and the freedom it gives me but I still worry a lot about finances, medical care and such.

    We do not turn 65 until this summer so we are both depending on ACA for health insurance. The number of plans in our area were so reduced for the new year that we could not get one that our doctor is on so we now use it for prescriptions and hospital only. Prescriptions alone could be another complete post for you! It blows my mind that these days even generic prescriptions with insurance are often not affordable. My husband and I both have had to stop taking our arthritis medication because even the generic would be over $1000.00 for three months for just one of us! We can't pay that especially since my husband has a stent and takes at least nine different heart medications.

    I find your blog very helpful Bob as we maneuver this new lifestyle. We appreciate your honesty, good research and helpfulness.

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    1. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, Bonnie. That is why I still enjoy tackling a new post every few days.

      The unbelievable mess we find ourselves in with medical insurance in this country is a problem that seems almost unsolvable if it is approached the way we have tried over the last few decades. I honestly don't know what the solution will be.

      The ability of companies to charge whatever they choose for prescription drugs is downright criminal. Your situation is horrible, and all too common. There is no excuse for how profits are placed above peoples' well-being by the drug industry. I don't quite understand why we aren't well past the breaking point.

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  12. What a sad sack of %&@! Bob, buck up!! Where's your spunk? How's that for straightforward? Your money won't run out, your kids will be fine, and the only regret you will ever have is not taking that wildly extravagant vacation with Betty that you have dreamed about. Don't beat yourself up about the gym, but do pay better attention to movement, even if it's just a short daily walk. Thanks for all your words of encouragement throughout the years. I will always read your posts, totally honest or not. Take care.

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    1. I think that was a positive comment, Suzanne? !!! My spunk? Let me check.

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  13. Totally positive Bob! You know I am a fan. Just my way of reminding you that life is good and you have no reason to be down on yourself. All the best.

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  14. Speak your mind, unless it's political. I already get more than I can bear on FB ��.

    Yes to almost all of the above. I kept saving for a couple of years after I retired. It was habit. Then it dawned on me, the thing I was saving for was now.��.

    Arthritis severely limits what I can do, but I focus on what is doable. God didn't put us here to mope around.

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    1. Yes, I will keep politics to myself (unless it involves something as crucial as Social Security or Medicare). Opening the purse strings to add experiences: I think this will always be a struggle for me. I worry about the financial future of my children and grandchildren, so I would like to leave a decent estate. That means I have to balance what I can do now and their future.

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  15. I worried about finances for about 6 months when I retired 22 years ago. The fear was unfounded. Before I opted out early, my wife and I had lengthy discussions basically about whether we would be content to live out our days with the lifestyle we then were following. The answer was yes, I took the plunge, and we've done well merely spending just a tad less than our income. We do that because we were giving our son some financial assistance before I retired, and part of our plan was to continue that and be sure he is secure when we depart. I look at retirement as one long vacation. Why worry about the small stuff?

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    1. I always worry about the small stuff!

      Like you, my wife and I are dedicated to leaving our kids a healthy amount to help their future. It won't be nearly enough to take care of their retirement needs, but enough to take away some of the worry. That means we are doing less than we could, but that is a choice we are comfortable making.

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  16. Cloudy in Phoenix?
    I really enjoy your blog. I, too, care strongly about many of the issues that you have mentioned. Maybe you should write about them. How will my children do? Why aren't I more aggressive with our funds?
    If you have solutions for the healthcare or Social Security crisis- let's hear them.
    I stopped reading "the sky is falling" "he/she is evil incarnate" blogs long ago. What ever happened to civil debate? Why don't we hear both sides anymore? IF status quo is not working, what is the next step? I miss real newpapers and have resorted to CSPAN.
    As Nana used to say, "wringing hands never helped anyone". She lost my grandfather in 1945- leaving four girls at home and a son off the coast of Japan. Yes, things could be worse- much worse.
    Time to go to the Y for a swim. I do miss my Phoenix childhood outdoor pool (even on cloudy days)!

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    1. This has been a cloudy, wet, and cooler than normal January. I feel sorry for the tourists who are spending big money to sit by the resort pool on days that barely reach 60 and are mostly cloudy! The next 10 days will be mostly in the 50's with showers.

      Absolutely, things could be worse, much worse. My "disappointments" are trivial compared to much of the world's issues.

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    2. It is going to be in the 50s here in PA for the next few days...we are getting cloudy and wet here today...

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  17. It is our "rainy season!" (One of them! ) But all the events in January and February--would be nice if the sun came out.For me too, I start getting gloomy after this many days of clouds.

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  18. It's your blog and you can write what you want, but I prefer as little political comments as possible - unless it is a call to action.
    I don't like that you said you have no marketable skills. Maybe you wouldn't be able to get a job as a radio announcer, but I am sure you could get some kind of work. I am also 67 and was offered a job as a hostess in a restaurant and I'm not even looking for work. I was a customer and saw they were shortstaffed and just helped out for fun.
    I also live well under my income. It is just my lifestyle - I don't feel deprived. I don't have children, but do want to leave some money to charity.
    I think you do it because you are concerned about your children. As long as you things that you and your wife feel are really important, you will probably have no regrets. It's all about balance.

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    1. Yes, it is about balance. My wife and I are both on the same page regarding leaving money to our kids, so there are no regrets over that decision.

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  19. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

    Based on my past screw-ups and misfires, that is what I've suggested Mary put on my tombstone.

    Always appreciate your candor. Isn't it about time for another outdoor lunch where we can solve the worlds problems? Cloudy here in AZ still beats 20 below zero.

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    1. It is time for another lunch. Let's give it a few weeks to warm up!

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  20. Well we all have a list of shortcomings, but I think you are doing great. I've been reading your blog for many years. Although I am generally a positive person and very blessed in my life, a couple of times I have felt a little "down" for one reason or another and expressed it to you in a comment. Everyone's retirement seemed to be perfect except mine. Poor pitiful me! Each time you assured me that I was not alone in my feelings and that you had experienced some of the same problems. Don't know if that is a "marketable skill" but it is greatly appreciated. Seems that we still have "problems in common". We are comfortable financially but I hate to spend money because I want to leave it to the kids, although they don't expect it. I think you never get over enjoying giving to your kids more that doing for yourself. As for exercise, some say that if you mentally see yourself exercising you get some of the same benefit as actually doing it! That means I had a great workout today. Keep up the good work, Bob.

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    1. My daughters have told us to spend what we want on ourselves. Whatever is left will be great but they don't want us to skimp on ourselves. We love them for that thought, but can't bring ourselves to loosen the purse strings too much.

      The exercise saying sounds great, but I don't buy it!

      I'm glad some of my comments helped you over the years.

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  21. One way to look at it Bob is that when you are gone they will remember you, not your money. Spend it on experiences that enriches your life and those you love. That they will remember!

    - David

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    1. Yes, that is absolutely true, but......

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