October 17, 2014 was a very special day – one I have been anticipating for years. At times, it seemed like it might never arrive. Even now, the full effect is still sinking in.
As of October 17, my husband Jeff and I are fully legally married in Arizona, the state we call home.
Jeff and Dave cutting the cake at their wedding on August 13, 2005
We held a ceremonial wedding for family and friends in Mesa, Arizona, on August 13, 2005. Five days later, we got legally married in Vancouver, British Columbia. At the time, Massachusetts was the only state in the U.S. in which same-sex couples had the right to marry.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re still five, ten, or even twenty years away from retiring, why worry about it now?
You’re busy, and you’ve got your career to worry about. If you’re a parent and you still have kids at home, it’s all you can do to keep track of all their activities and needs. And you’ve got a to-do list a mile long. What’s the big hurry?
If you’re stuck in a job that’s unpleasant, stressful and not particularly fulfilling, you are probably thinking of retirement more in terms of being able to permanently escape from the hell of your day-to-day work, rather than as a period of your life when you can enjoy more leisure and spend your time doing things that are more enjoyable and fulfilling to you.
You may be thinking of retirement more in terms of what you will be retiring from, rather than what you’ll be retiring to.
This is a recipe for boredom and unhappiness. Being able to eliminate that which is causing you pain and suffering is good, but if you don’t have something meaningful to take its place, you’ll just be replacing one form of suffering with another – and one that doesn’t pay nearly as well.
I believe it’s important to take time every now and then to dream about all the possibilities that lie ahead for you after you stop working a full-time career, and start formulating some plan for what you’re going to do with all the time you’ll have available after you stop working.
I recently received a comment from a reader who wrote, “Most people look forward to not having a schedule when they retire. I like structure, I take comfort in schedules. That is my concern about retiring.”
The issue of how tightly I want (or need) to schedule my time has been something I’ve been wrestling with since I’ve been retired. It’s also a topic that Jeff and I have different opinions on.
There is not a “one size fits all” answer to this question. It all has to do with what kinds of activities you wish to fill your day with, and what goals you have for how you want your retirement to play out. A lot also depends upon your personality type.
The short answer is: If you will enjoy your life more with a schedule, have one!(Share on Twitter)
It was just over one year ago, July 14, that I published my first article on RetireFabulously.com. As I re-read that initial post, it felt good to review the vision and reinforce for myself the reasons I continue to develop this site and add new content and resources. Since that article was pretty far down in the stack (at the bottom, in fact) when you first discovered this web site, you may not have read it. A year later, many of the points I made in the article are still relevant. You can read it here. Enjoy!
But before you go off to read that article, I'd like to ask you one quick question:
When you think about your retirement, what concerns you the most?
Please take just a minute (or less) and reply either in the comment field below, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will help me focus future content on topics that really matter to you.
Any other feedback or suggestions you would care to offer would be most appreciated, too.
Whether you're a new reader or you've been on board since the beginning, thank you for your interest in Retire Fabulously!
For many years, Spain has enjoyed a reputation as a fantastic vacation destination. It’s warm climate, sunny Mediterranean beaches, history, art, and culture, as well as its friendly, easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, have delighted travelers for years.
More recently, Spain has emerged as a top-tier retirement choice. Let’s look at why. (Share on Twitter)
If warm weather is your preference, you’ll find most of Spain to your liking, especially along the Mediterranean coast.
Malaga at Night
All along the Mediterranean coast, summers are hot but not oppressive. Malaga (a coastal city in the south) records average highs of 30oC (86oF) in summer. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing in Barcelona (at the north end of the coast), coastal cities farther south never experience freezing temperatures, and it never snows. ...continue reading →
Do you dream of retiring early? If you can make just a few small changes in your day-to-day life, you can. (Share on Twitter)
Are you concerned that you won’t have enough money saved to retire at all, or that you won’t be able to enjoy the kind of retirement you would like? If you can make just a few small changes in your day-to-day life, you can.
So, what’s the secret to retiring early? It’s simple: save more.
I can already hear you saying, “Well, duh...” But if it’s this simple, why aren’t you (and most people) doing it?
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>.”
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. (Share on Twitter) 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.
Today 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.