April 27, 2023

Retirement Done Differently


A few readers have suggested I explore the journey of retirees who have lived their life a little differently than many of us. That sounded like a fascinating idea. The problem? My retirement has been pretty standard. While I left the working world earlier than planned, I live in suburbia and have a primarily predictable life. Something may go wrong at some time in the future, but I am not the person to act as an example of a "different" retirement style.

I can share some examples of what a less-than-traditional retirement may look like. Then, I will ask you to share your real-life experiences or about someone you know who followed a different path. 

Examples of a Retirement Done Differently

1. Retire to a foreign country

Becoming an expat is the choice of a growing number of retirees. The State Department estimates close to 9 million Americans live in other countries. Of those, 35% are 50 and older, and nearly 20%  are 65+. Social Security checks are sent to those who live outside the U.S., but Medicare does not apply. 

Of course, in places picked by retirees, good health care is often much more affordable than in the States. Plus, housing costs can be dramatically lower, too. For a look at some of the top reasons to retire in another country, click here.

If you'd like to read the stories of those who have chosen to spend their retirement years in another country, click here for some of the most popular blogs. 

2. Living Full time in an RV, travel trailer, houseboat, or sailboat

Living all or most of the year in an RV or trailer has been well documented. If you love to travel, don't mind small spaces, have few belongings, and can handle basic maintenance chores, living in a recreational vehicle may be the right choice for you. Check out this site for a quick overview of this lifestyle; thousands of retirees earn extra money each year by accepting one of the jobs listed in the Workamper News.

One of the best summaries of RV living can be found here.  Some of the better full-time RV blogs are available here  

Although not full-time RVers, Mary and Alan know most of the ins and outs of being road warriors.  Reflections Around The Campfire is well written and one I read quite often.

Living on a sailboat, houseboat, or motorboat is a little less usual but not unheard of I found a website with an excellent overview of what living on a boat full-time is like. Click here.

A relatively new phenomenon is spending most or all of your retirement on a cruise ship. Not for those on a limited budget, there are benefits: meals are provided, a doctor and medical clinic are open 24 hours a day, plus most entertainment options on board are free. 

Usually, there are a fully equipped gym, library, and classes to keep you busy and involved. Someone cleans your "home" every day. You visit fascinating foreign ports regularly.  I wrote a bit about this choice in a blog post, Unusual Retirement Options, several years ago.

3. Starting over in a dream location 

Six or seven years ago, I wrote about Brett and Laura, a couple who sold all their belongings and moved to the island of Kaua'i. Their blog, The Occasional Nomads,  continues to be an excellent overview of their life, day in and day out.

Importantly, the couple spent two years researching the idea of a move before committing to such an upheaval. They had family on the mainland and in Japan, so Hawaii was centrally located for them. Look at the blog post for insight into their decision-making process.

Not long after that post was published, the two travelers decided to sell almost everything and travel around the world for a year with just a few suitcases and a real sense of adventure. Their blog has links to that period; it takes a brave couple to do what they did.

Just in the last year or so, Laura and Brett made another abrupt change: They left Kauai again, moved to Tennessee and became used to not living out of suitcases. With a final, forever move still to come, this couple has set the standard for adventure. 

4. Volunteering overseas 

Linda Myers has been a blogging friend for over a decade. She and her husband spend part of the year in Arizona and the rest in their home not far from Seattle. Her blog, Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting, is one of my favorites.

She and her husband, Art, started volunteering at a refugee camp north of Athens several years ago. It wasn't unheard of for them to make multiple trips in one year. I find that type of dedication inspiring and encouraging. 

An overview of a 31-day stint is summarized here. Giving that much of yourself to those who really need your love and support is a unique way of sharing part of your retirement.

4. Living off the grid

Estimates are that roughly a quarter million Americans live without regular utility services. For our purposes, off the grid means not being connected to a regular electricity or water supply. It might also mean no Internet or cell phone services.

Solar panels, a wind turbine, or generators for electricity, propane as a source for cooking or heating,  a well, or hauling water from another source are alternate ways to maintain a liveable environment. 

A composting toilet or septic system would be involved. The house may be tiny, on wheels, or even a canvas Yurt, though none of those options are required for disconnecting.

Why would some do this? I would suspect cost savings is one of the primary motivators. With climate change happening right before our eyes, wanting to have as little a negative impact on the environment as possible and living closer to nature are reasonable motivations. For some, a survivalist bent means being more self-reliant than most of us.

If this subject interests you, a beginner's guide on how to live off the grid might be a good place to start. 

5. Joining a co-housing community

 A co-housing community is a group of people who come together to share resources, support each other, and form a community. For singles or those who have lost a partner or spouse, this choice offers companionship and a sense of community. If your interest is piqued, click here.

We are an adventurous bunch! Retirement can be a time of shaking up the normal, pushing ourselves, and taking a different path.

Do you have stories or dreams to share?  

April 23, 2023

It Has Been Years (and not long enough)

The last time I had food poisoning was several years ago. In fact, I think that time I blamed it on a can of tuna. 

It is amazing what power exists in one small can. After a a day, the nausea and other effects had passed (!) so I began to eat some solid foods again, A day later I allowed myself a baked potato. The next morning, I was back to normal. 

Well, I ate something a week or so ago that should have been marked, 'Bob, stay away." This time it was a can of chili. I found it on the floor at the very back of the pantry. Only after eating it for lunch and realizing a few hours later that something wasn't right, did I look at the expiration date on the bottom of the can: "Best by June 2019." 

A side benefit: in 24 hours I lost a few pounds. As a diet, I wouldn't recommend it, but the body is an amazing machine that rids itself of whatever is causing problems as quickly and efficiently as it does.

This most recent bout of intestinal upset impressed upon me the absolute blessing of good health. It is almost a cliché that you don't realize what feeling good is, until you don't. To not feel your stomach doing its job or to not feel too weak to get out of bed, are too easily taken for granted when healthy. 

At almost 74, I have the usual aches and pains that come with age, but nothing significant. Very few pills live near the bathroom sink. I have no serious issues that restrict my ability to go about my daily life pretty much as I see fit. 

Experiences like the tuna or the old can of chili make me appreciate that blessing. I am well aware that too many people, including lots of readers of this blog, have ongoing physical limitations that make each day a push through their infirmities. They do it because they choose to live as fully as possible and fight against the pain and problems. 

I hope that as I begin to face the health complications that are certainly waiting for me I can show the same grace and determination that these folks do.

Just two little cans with a warning to be heeded. Isn't it amazing how life gives us so much to learn from even the smallest triggers?

Oh, after this, I did check all the edible stuff in the pantry and found nothing as old as that can. I guess those expiration dates are there for a reason.

April 19, 2023

Your Retirement Stories

Following up on a reader's suggestion a few weeks ago, I posed some questions about retirement from your perspective. Several insightful responses later, I would like to give you a glimpse of what a few folks said.

If you didn't have the time to read the comments that were left on the original post, I urge you to click the link above to take a look at what was shared. In addition to tackling several of the questions I asked, CJM ended her comment with this candid look back:

"If I had to do it all over again, I would have pursued a career in graphic design. I also would have never married in my 20s, and I would have rented my own apartment in a top fashion metropolitan city (Paris, Milan, or NYC)."

Reader Jack, besides winning significant points for giving his wife the titles of crucial inspiration and mentor, noted after all was said and done:

"Yes, my career was satisfying and fulfilling. I would pick the same career path. I was fortunate it came along at a time when certifications were all which is necessary."

A few shared their answers by email. For this post, I invite you to read part of what Ellen had to say:

Q: If you are fully retired, what would you have done differently in your last five years of work (part or full-time)?

No change in my final 5 years. My first year of retirement however? I’d have fulfilled all my plans for 2020 that were covid-canceled:   3 trips, including a 40th anniversary trip hubster had planned, and 4 concerts here in the valley! Three did not reschedule, and I couldn’t attend the 4th as it was right before a knee replacement, and I didn’t want to risk a covid infection even though I was vacc’d and masks were required.

Q: If your parents have passed, what role did you take in their last few years?

My parents were fully independent until near life-end. Dad died first in ’94 after a 4-month battle with lung cancer. Mom was just 71 and fully able. As long as he was independent for personal care, they got along fine (I visited every weekend along w/lil sis). When he was unable, I set up hospice visits and, when that wasn’t enough, we had in-home 24h care. That was only 10 days until his final breath. He wanted to be home, and I’m so grateful it could happen.

 Thirteen years later, Mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She ignored complaints, resulting in a soccer ball size tumor, and her death came in 7 short weeks. I told (yes TOLD) her Dr what I wanted and that we would be leaving the hospital in 5.5 hours (he knew he neglected her, and he was lucky Mom made me promise not to sue him).

 Lil sis and I cared for her at home with 2 short breaks from out-of-state sisters.Our hospice RN was awesome. Sis worked 2d/week (her business is slow in Nov/Dec) and I worked 3d/week (I’m an OR RN and we’re slammed end-of-year). I did weekends as she had 2 young children. Mom was surprised and immensely grateful to be home, and she thanked us each and every day until she became nonverbal.

Q: Who was the greatest inspiration/mentor in your life?

My parents were inspiring. Dad had a 4th-grade education and was a long-haul truck driver in Europe, then a dairyman in the US. Mom was an accountant for a small store after WW2 until they married; Dad wanted her to quit. They are very intelligent people, well-read, and raised 6 kids, 5 of whom graduated college and one entrepreneur who has done very well for himself. We could accomplish anything we wanted and ya just don’t quit!

By no means were they perfect, nor was my childhood spoiled or idyllic, but I was given sound values/morals/a roof/food/clothing, so a great toolkit for adulthood. I had some great professional mentors as well in healthcare. Great support from surgeons as I built a business for them and directed it for an amazing 8y run. Best time of my professional life!

Q: What were you taught about money and finances in your youth? How has that advice changed as you got older?

Mom said save half. I wasn’t very good at that after turning 18 and the first 7y of marriage with in-law influence, but we pulled out. I was, however, grateful to have $1500 when we got married. That was equal to 38 weeks of full-time work back then. Dad was great at math, and I spent much of my childhood sitting at his business table, doing math for transactions and listening in general.

Best advice ever? “The dollars spend themselves; it’s the pennies you have to watch. Don’t forget that”. I borrowed money once and paid off the note to him 15 months early. And he was sooooo right! The house payment, utilities, cars….those were a no-brainer. But saving the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters instead of saying, “But it’s only $2”, THAT made the difference in our world after the 1987 wake-up call.

By 2010 we were debt free, including a small 2nd home in the mountains. To this day, we watch the pennies and make conscious decisions. And we have no qualms about dropping $10k into a vacation. We earned it, we saved/invested in it, and we’re enjoying it.

For the next post in this series, I will share the rest of Ellen's answers and those from reader Marian.

Finally, in the third round, I will answer the same questions from my point of view. No, I don't get to hide!

Thanks so much to all who passed along parts of your experiences. After nearly 22 years of retirement, your answers and insight continue to educate me.

April 15, 2023

What Legal Documents Should I Have Prepared?


Several readers asked me to provide a quick review of the essential legal paperwork we should consider preparing well before it may be needed. Since health emergencies are never predictable, having the legal side of things ready for family, friends, and doctors is both wise and considerate. The time to ask, Are You Ready, is now.

Since I am not an attorney what is listed are suggestions for you to consider. To determine if one or more of these documents is right for you, please talk with a lawyer, your primary care doctor, and family members.

*Will: a document that states how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass away. It is important to have a will even if you do not have a lot of assets, as it will help to ensure that your belongings are distributed according to your wishes. If you die without a will, a probate court will decide how your assets and possessions are distributed.

*Power of Attorne gives someone the authority to act on your behalf in certain matters, such as managing your finances or making medical decisions. That person, or persons, act as your agent. Their duty is to have your wishes carried if you are unable to do so. It is vital to have a power of attorney in place in case you become unable to make decisions for yourself. 

A power of attorney can give your agent the authority to do a variety of things, such as:

* Manage your finances

* Make medical decisions

* Sign legal documents

* Operate your business

* A Living Will:  states your wishes for medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate them during a terminal illness or condition. It is important to have a living will in place in case you are ever in a situation where you are unable to speak for yourself. 

A common example is including a reference to a DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate. If you are in a medical condition that shows no positive resolution, a DNR tells medical professionals your wish is that they not take extraordinary steps to prolong your life. Organ donation directions are also part of a typical living will.

*Trust: a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to another person or entity. Trusts can be used to protect your assets, to provide for your loved ones, or to minimize taxes. 

If your financial and property ownership is such that you want to have more control over what happens to them and when, trusts are worth investigating. Most trusts are rather complex and more common if one's wealth and assets are substantial.

* Advance Medical Directive: states your wishes for medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate them. Unlike a living will, a medical directive is for your future medical care as you are treated, enter rehab or a long-term care facility, or are likely to recover.  

It is also important to keep copies of all of your important legal documents in a safe place where they can be easily found. Your loved ones, lawyer, or the person charged with overseeing your care must know where to find these documents.

Betty and I have all of these documents, except a trust,  prepared, reviewed, and updated as needed on a regular basis and stored where our daughters can find them quickly. In our case, the will provides for the distribution of all assets upon our passing, so a trust is not required.

I hope this quick overview helps. None of us wants to think about this part of our future. But, to not do so leaves those left behind with an emotional, legal, and financial mess.

For a more detailed review of documents and paperwork that might come in handy at some point, here is an excellent article from A Place for Mom website.

April 11, 2023

My Banned Books Project: Update #3


The project I took on for the new year continues.  The American Library Association has published a book of the 52 titles that most often provoke an urge to ban those publications. The ALA challenge is to read every book on the list and record your reaction to each.

A recent report says that the last twelve months have shown a tremendous surge in groups advocating that thousands of books be restricted or outright unavailable at school and public libraries. Concerns over sexual content, LBGTQ issues, racial history and depictions of violence fuel this uptick. 

School and public librarians are under fire. Some library board meetings open to the public have become shouting matches, with threats of shutting down a town's public library not unheard of. In fact, a few communities have eliminated all library funding over this issue.

While I believe book banning is a horrific option, I understand that not everything published is appropriate for everyone. In most cases, we should defer judgment on appropriateness to the parents of a child. 

When I get my hackles up is when a group of people (or just one) decides their choices for their offspring must be applied to all, regardless of age or circumstances. It strikes me as ironic that some groups that are most vocal about restrictions include the word "Liberty" in their name. 

Now into the fourth month of this project, I want to update you on my progress. As noted in previous posts,  I promised to approach each with an open mind, attempting to understand why a listed book would generate such opposition. 

I am also interested to see how many books on the list are available at my library. As an additional benefit, the ALA notes that keeping these books in circulation helps deflect attacks and complaints.

After my last report in early February, here is a progress report:

* I have read seven more of the listed books. My reaction to each will be noted below.

* So far, every book has been readily available in my library. That tells me minority pressure has yet to limit everyone's choices in my town.

* The bulk of the books in this challenge are YA, or Young Adult, in orientation. I would select very few of them as a personal choice, not because of their content but because the narrative is not meant to appeal to me. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Hannah is a teenage girl who committed suicide before the story begins after having her self-confidence and self-image destroyed by a series of events. She leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes that the thirteen people who were instrumental in her decision to die are meant to listen to.

In a compelling format, Hannah's words on the tapes are presented in italics, while the narrator, a boy who doesn't know why he was one of the thirteen, is printed in regular font.

The story stresses how seemingly inconsequential events and actions can have long-lasting, life-altering consequences.

My Thought: Not only should this book not be removed from library shelves, I believe it should be required reading for all teenagers. Suicide is a significant problem in this age group. This book could help lift the taboo over its discussion and awareness. 

Note: Netflix has a series based on this book, but reading it should come first.

I Know Why Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou

This critically acclaimed 1969 autobiography tells of growing up young and black in Arkansas, where rampant racism and discrimination are simply a fact of life. Maya presents her story in a way that highlights how the unthinkable and unacceptable are just how things are. There is virtually no emotion or anger in her story, which makes it much more terrifying and gives the story its strength. Maya simply knows hows the world works and does her best.

The sex situations are pretty tame by today's standards, and nothing someone entering puberty has not wondered about.

My Thoughts: This story is open, honest, and memorable. It is part of this country's history and must be told. It is entirely acceptable for anyone 10 years and older. 

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

If this book is considered pornographic, I shudder to think what those same folks think of what is on TV, movie screens, The  Internet, and many social media apps.

At least at my library, this title is shelved in the adult section. It describes a world that is not all cotton candy and bunny rabbits. Mike, the lead character, meets various personalities in his quest to leave the world of lawn care and pet poop collection behind.

While I finished Lawn Boy for this project, I had difficulty, investing myself in Mike's life. It wasn't the language or sexual situations that bothered me. I simply wasn't captured by his struggles and life narrative.

My Thoughts: Not appealing to those younger than twelve. No problem for older teens and adults who find the story engaging.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I enjoyed this book enough to want to read the two other books in the trilogy. A young adult fantasy adventure story about a young girl who lives in a world very different from ours, where youngsters have demons attached to their minds and bodies. 

These demons represent free will, companionship, and the ability of children to figure out what they believe. As they age, their demons eventually disappear, representing the loss of childhood innocence and dreams. 

The lead character, Lyra, discovers a much darker universe: witches, shape-shifting animals, reptiles, birds,  amour-wearing polar bears who talk, and adults behaving badly. 

Children mysteriously disappear from neighborhoods around a college in England. They are taken to a "research lab" in the far north, where the childhood demons are cut off, eliminating the desire to question authority and to eliminate sin. 

The force behind these "cuttings" are authority figures of the church who are determined to stamp out any challenge to their interpretation of how the world operates. 

The Golden Compass is also a 2007 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Read the book first, or the film won't make as much sense.

My Thoughts: the author has very strong feelings about the church's power to influence individuality and freedom. His opinions are the driving force behind this novel. Those who have this book in their banning sights object to the religious and political positions espoused by the characters and their actions. There is no sex and only cartoon-type violence.

I see no valid reason why Golden Compass should be banned. Most YA books of today contain much more graphic violence and disturbing images. This book is in trouble only because of its position on organized religion.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jackson Reynolds and Ibram Kendi

"This is not a history book," declare the authors upfront and often. It is not a  chronological retelling of America's story. Instead, I found it more like a conversation among friends. The writing style is chatty, witty, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek, but always clear in communicating the reality of where we have been and where we are going.

My thoughts: There is absolutely no rational reason for this book to not be fully available.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

A study of human resilience and adaptability while growing up in a seriously dysfunctional family. This is the true story of Jeannette's youth and young adulthood as she navigates life with a flighty, self-indulgent but loving mother,, and a father whose dreams and lack of practicality affect the whole family in ways that are shocking, sad, funny, and honest.

I  had to remind myself that this was an autobiography and not a work of fiction. How the family normalized daily life in such a haphazard, topsy-turvy manner seems almost unbelievable. But, The Glass Castle strongly portrays the power of individualism, commitment, and family.

The Glass Castle was made into a movie in 2017. Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts are the leading actors portraying the real-life Walls family. The film is rated PG-13 and is a somewhat sanitized and much less powerful retelling of the book.

My Thoughts: I can find no reason this book should offend. There is a sexual occurrence and a few "adult" words occur, but nothing graphic or particularly shocking. I doubt someone younger than early teens would be attracted to the story, but if so, they would certainly be mature enough to be gripped by the key messages of the power of the human spirit. 

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

A  family immigrates from China to Anaheim, California. They find a job managing a motel; Mom and Dad take care of all the maintenance while their young daughter, Mia, must learn to handle the front desk. The family endures long days and interacts with a mix of customers, both short and long-term residents of the motel.

The motel owner is a nasty, penny-pinching racist who treats the family poorly. He will stop at nothing to increase his financial situation by taking advantage of the Yang family at every opportunity. Of course, he passes his worst traits onto his son, who makes Mia's life even more unpleasant.

The story is semi-autobiographical: the author had similar experiences during her youth after moving with her family from Hong Kong and managing several hotels in California.

My Thoughts: For the life of me, I have no idea why this book is objectionable to anyone on any level. It portrays racism as hurtful and demeaning, yet that is the criticism leveled by those who want this YA title removed: it is accused of teaching anti-racism. 

There is no sex, no violence, and no objectionable language. Anyone old enough to read would find important lessons of tolerance and persistence in Front Desk.

Your thoughts and reactions are encouraged!

April 7, 2023

Is This Our Future?

I have been invited to beta-test Google's new AI chatbot, Bard. Named after Shakespeare, I assume, this response generator has been fascinating, a bit scary in its abilities, and also not that different from an answer found on Wikipedia. 

As an experiment, I randomly picked three questions that those in our age group often ask. After hitting Enter, responses appeared within seconds. In each case, Bard gave me three different draft answers to select, each with a slightly different tone and style. 

In a follow-up test, I asked for 500 words on a particular subject; Bard produced exactly 500 words as requested.

Maybe this is an early glimpse of the future of writing, reporting, and...blogging?  In any case, what follows are my questions and the chatbot's answers.

Q: Should I move after retirement to be closer to family?

Whether or not you should move after retirement to be closer to family is a personal decision that only you can make. There are many factors to consider, such as your financial situation, your health, your interests, and your family's needs.

Some people find that moving closer to family after retirement is a great way to stay connected and to have more support. They may also enjoy spending more time with their grandchildren or other loved ones. However, moving can also be stressful and disruptive, and it's important to make sure that you are prepared for the change.

If you are considering moving after retirement, here are a few things to think about:

  • Your financial situation: Can you afford to move? Will you be able to maintain your current lifestyle?
  • Your health: Are you able to travel? Do you have any health concerns that might make moving difficult?
  • Your interests: What do you like to do in your free time? Are there any activities or amenities that are important to you?
  • Your family's needs: Do your family members need your help? Are they in good health?

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to move after retirement is up to you. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Q:What are some good hobbies for seniors?

Here are some good hobbies for seniors:

  • Arts and crafts: This is a great way to express your creativity and to relax. There are many different types of arts and crafts, so you can find something that you enjoy.
  • Cooking: This is a great way to save money and to eat healthy. It can also be a lot of fun to experiment with new recipes.
  • Gardening: This is a great way to get exercise and to enjoy the outdoors. It can also be a rewarding experience to grow your own food.
  • Exercise: This is important for staying healthy and active. There are many different types of exercise, so you can find something that you enjoy.
  • Learning a new language: This is a great way to keep your mind active and to meet new people. There are many different ways to learn a new language, so you can find something that fits your schedule.
  • Reading: This is a great way to relax and to learn new things. There are many different types of books, so you can find something that you enjoy.
  • Volunteering: This is a great way to give back to your community and to make a difference in the lives of others. There are many different types of volunteer opportunities, so you can find something that fits your interests.

These are just a few examples of good hobbies for seniors. There are many other possibilities, so find something that you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.

Q: How do I make friends after retirement?

There are many ways to make friends after retirement. Here are a few ideas:

  • Join a club or group. There are many clubs and groups for seniors, such as book clubs, hiking groups, and volunteer organizations. This is a great way to meet people who share your interests.
  • Take a class. Many community colleges and universities offer classes for seniors. This is a great way to learn new skills and to meet new people.
  • Travel. Traveling is a great way to meet new people and to experience new cultures. You can join a travel group or travel on your own.
  • Get a pet. Pets can provide companionship and can help you to meet new people. You can volunteer at an animal shelter or adopt a pet from a rescue organization.
  • Get involved in your community. There are many ways to get involved in your community, such as volunteering, attending local events, or joining a neighborhood watch program. This is a great way to meet new people and to make a difference in your community.

The most important thing is to be open to meeting new people and to put yourself in situations where you can make friends.

Finally, just to see how Bard would respond to a much more subjective request, I asked:

Q: How long should I keep blogging?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on your goals for your blog, your audience, and your own personal preferences.

If you are enjoying blogging and you are finding that it is a rewarding experience, then there is no reason to stop. However, if you are finding that it is taking up too much of your time or that it is not fulfilling your goals, then you may want to consider taking a break or even quitting altogether.

Ultimately, the decision of how long to keep blogging is up to you. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and make the decision that is best for you.

or, in another attempted answer to the same question, the AI computer wrote:

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the length of time you should keep blogging will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your goals for your blog, your target audience, and your level of commitment.

However, if you are enjoying blogging and finding that it is a rewarding experience, then there is no reason to stop. Blogging can be a great way to share your thoughts and ideas with the world, to connect with other people, and to build a following.

If you are not finding that blogging is fulfilling or that it is taking up too much of your time, then you may want to consider taking a break or quitting altogether. There are many other ways to express yourself and to connect with others, so you should not feel obligated to continue blogging if it is no longer enjoyable for you.

Ultimately, the decision of how long to keep blogging is up to you. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and make the decision that is best for you.

As a simple statement of fact, I have no intention of having this blog written by an AI chatbot. The writing aid I do use, Grammarly, found all sorts of things it disapproved of in Bard's answers. So did I. I thought it was redundant, somewhat flat in style, lacking in variety, and felt like reading an old encyclopedia, or a junior high research paper. Of course, as Google collects more data, writing proficiency should show steady improvement. But for now, I don't think it is ready for prime time.

I do not plan on stopping this blog anytime soon. But, as an experiment and a peek into our future, this is where chatbots are today. There is much work to be done.

April 3, 2023

Tell Us Your Retirement Life Story

 After nearly thirteen years of writing, your thoughts and ideas are always welcome. I am working through the topics you suggested in my post from a month or so ago. Reader, Rick, has sent me another great idea that appears here:

What if you developed some questions about the retired life: personal history, financial outlook, philosophy, the wisdom of life, etc, and have your readers respond to the questions via email.  Then, over time, you could feature the questions and responses of a blog reader.  There are so many of your blog readers/contributors I would like to know more about.

Some questions that come to mind:

Who was the greatest inspiration/mentor in your life?

What were you taught about money and finances in your youth? How has that advice changed as you got older?

What did you think about old age as a youth, and how do you feel about it now?

What wisdom has come to you in your advancing years?

What do you miss about your career?

Did you have a career that was very satisfying and fulfilling? If you could do it all over again would you pick a different career path?

Thank you, Rick, for what could be a fascinating look at our thoughts and lives and how they evolved. If you'd like to participate, answer as many or as few of the above questions and email your responses. I will use your thoughts in a future post or two.

Use this address (remove the spaces..they have been added to cut down on spam):

satisfyingretirement @ gmail . com

Learning more about each other sounds fun and helpful to us all.