Artist at Work

Think about what your retirement will look like, on a day-to-day basis.  Do you think you will be happy?

Are you concerned that once you leave work, you will feel that you’re not contributing anything of value?

Are you worried that retirement will be boring and depressing?

There are four components to a happy retirement:  physical activity, mental stimulation, socialization, and fulfillment.  The first three are pretty easy to understand, and it’s pretty easy to find activities that satisfy those needs.  But the fourth one, fulfillment, is a little less tangible and may seem more elusive.

Fulfillment comes from many sources, internal and external.  It means something different for every one of us.  It may be hard to define, but we know when we feel it.

What is “fulfillment?”

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Map with Push Pins

The internet is consumed with list-mania!  It seems that top ten lists (or twelve, or twenty, or…) are the magic formula to attract viewer traffic.  Some web sites are comprised of nothing but top ten lists, and some major news web sites publish lists frequently as well.

There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of "Best Places to Retire" lists on the internet.

Can you trust them?

With so many contradictory lists, how are you to make sense of it all?

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When you think about what your retirement lifestyle will be like, what comes to mind?  What adjectives would you use to describe what you hope your life will be like?

I’ll bet one that’s high on your list is “stress-free.”  Like practically everyone else, I’m sure you hope that your retirement years will be more relaxing and less stressful, since you will no longer have to deal with work, your kids will be grown, and you can spend your time doing what you want to do.

Stressed eggs

Ultimately, it should work out that way, but I’ve got some bad news for you.  The transition into retirement might be one of the most stressful times of your life.  Let’s look at why.

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How many things are you putting off until you retire?

Sure, your life is busy. There never seems to be enough time to do the things you really want to do. It’s easy to think, “When I’m retired, I’ll have all the time I want for <insert activity here>.”

Hiker at Grand Canyon

To an extent, you’re right. You will have a lot more time to do the things you want after you retire. And it’s good to use these things as incentives to help you look forward to retirement and to better plan for it.

But why postpone happiness until sometime in the future? There’s no lifetime quota on happiness and enjoyment – you can have as much as you want.  If you put things off for too long, you may never get to do them, or you may no longer have as much physical or mental capacity to do them.

I’m going to suggest seven things that people often postpone, thinking that they will be able to devote time and attention to them once they retire. And I’m going to present a case for why it’s in your best interests to start doing them now, rather than wait.

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After you retire, what will you do with all of your new-found time?

Are you concerned that you’ll be bored?

I’m always bewildered when I hear people say that they think retirement will be boring.  I’ve heard many people say they don’t want to retire and they would rather keep working, because they have no idea what they would do with all that leisure time.


This is totally foreign to me.  I never seem to find enough time to do everything I want to do.

In my Retirement Visualization Guide, I ask you to list things you really enjoy doing, things you have enjoyed doing in the past, and new things you want to try.  If you have undertaken this exercise, chances are that there are more things you just haven’t thought of - yet.

The list below will stimulate you to come up with some more possibilities for activities you might pursue after you retire.  It is by no means a complete list, but it should provide some good starting points for brainstorming and possibility thinking.

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It’s December in Phoenix.  Our daily high temperatures reach into the upper 70s, and our nighttime lows are in the lower 50s.  The days shift between sunny and partly cloudy;  it rains only occasionally.

The freeway traffic is heavier, the restaurants are more crowded, and the grocery check-out lines are longer.  Why?  The snowbirds are here!

Retire Fabulously Snowbirds Crowded Freeway Heavy Traffic Retirement
Snowbirds add millions of dollars to the local economy, but also clog the freeways, restaurants, and check-out lines.

Snowbirds are people who migrate from colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny spots in Florida, Arizona, and other Sunbelt states every year.

But to the millions of people who migrate every year, it offers the best of both worlds – an opportunity to maintain ties to your family, friends, and the familiarity of the place you’ve called home for much of your life, as well as an escape from cold, wintery weather and a change of scenery.

Why is seasonal migration so popular among retirees?  What are the drawbacks and the costs?  What do you need to plan for, and what challenges must be confronted?

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The Old Home

Are you planning to move after you retire?  While top ten lists of retirement havens are a staple of today’s list-happy internet, there are still many people who plan to retire right where they are.

My most recent reader survey indicates that over 60% of respondents are considering moving or have already moved.  Only 15% say they aren’t planning to move, and the rest are unsure.

(By the way, the survey is still open.  It’s only 7-8 multiple-choice questions and it should take you only 3-5 minutes to complete it.  You can participate here.  Thanks!)

On the other hand, a recent article on CNN Money claims that 63% of Baby Boomers plan to stay in their own homes when they retire.  In the October, 2014 issue of Consumer Reports, 65% of retirees surveyed had not moved.

Of course, you can find statistics to prove anything.  Regardless of what some percentage of people is planning to do, what really matters is what you want and what makes the most sensible choice for you. ...continue reading

Where's Your Ideal Place to Live

I would greatly appreciate just a couple minutes of your time for a very brief survey about what would make an ideal place to live for you.

I'm looking for people of all ages, single or coupled, LGBT or straight, working or retired - everybody!

Here's the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WP2TCK2

Your inputs will enable me to give you useful content, both on this web site and in my upcoming books.

Thank you!

Please feel welcome to share and forward this survey.


(c) 2014 Dave Hughes.  All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Palm Beach Island: Kim Seng
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain: Pedro Szekely

Mountain cabin at Echo Lake: Junaid Dawud
La Playa de Las Canteras, Gran Canaria, Spain: El Coleccionista de Instantes
All photos from Flickr.com, some rights reserved.


Man at overlook

I have been retired for nine months now.  In some ways, it seems as though the time has flown by.  In other ways, it seems like my life has been like this for a long time and work is now a distant memory.

When greeted by friends, I’m often asked, “So how’s retirement?”  My stock answer is “Great!”  And overall, it really is.

I’ve long been amused by this definition of the word “affirmation:” An affirmation is when you lie to yourself repeatedly until you actually believe the statement to be true.  Therefore, whenever I answer an inquiry about how my retirement is going, when I answer “great!” I am reaffirming to myself that it actually is.

In fact, during retirement I’ve had happy, blissful days and I’ve had depressing, frustrating days – much the same as when you’re living any other phase of your life.

Here are seven things I have learned about being retired and about transitioning from work to retirement, followed by three key takeaways for you.

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Will working be part of your retirement?

Perhaps your answer is not just “no!” but a resounding, “HELL no!!!”

It may seem like an oxymoron to see “working” in the same sentence as “retirement.”  By definition, isn’t retirement what you do after you stop working?

Not necessarily.  Retirement comes in many shapes and sizes, and encompasses a wide range of possibilities.  Ultimately, it means whatever you want it to mean.

Working during retirement

You may find yourself working in one way or another after you retire. 

I’ve seen statistics that claim that as much as 72% of all people (in the U.S.) are expecting that they will work after they retire, in one form or another.

This could be driven by financial necessity, the need to feel productive or relieve boredom, or the desire to do something you’re totally passionate about.  Hopefully, your decision to work will be part of the retirement lifestyle you choose as opposed to being forced to work.

For whatever reason, if you anticipate that working in some manner will be part of your retirement, here are several factors to keep in mind.  Then, I’ll share a dozen possibilities for work that are well-suited for retirees.

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