Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Ted Carr, founder of Retirement Journeys. Our conversation was recorded for his podcast series. Many of his previous podcast guests are among the elite of retirement experts and bloggers, so I am honored to be included in their company.
You can listen to the podcast here. We talk about the benefits of envisioning your retirement lifestyle while you're still working, taking an early retirement package, why it's advantageous to have a financial adviser, the challenges faced by LGBT retirees, and much more.
Be sure to check out the rest of Ted's website, RetirementJourneys.com. There's lots of good information that should be of interest to Retire Fabulously! readers.
Hopefully, that will allow this website to reach a much wider audience.
Under my agreement with them, I am allowed to re-post articles I write for U.S. News on this website four days after they are published there, so you will be able to read them on either site. This also holds my feet to the fire to write an article every week!
I grew up with U.S. News & World Report (the magazine). It was my parents' news magazine of choice. I subscribed to it for many years after I reached adulthood. They (and I) felt that it was more impartial, in-depth, and insightful than Time or Newsweek.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be writing for it. Of course, back then I couldn't conceive of the internet and web-based publications in my wildest dreams, either.
Look for my first article on the U.S. News "On Retirement" blog late next week (August 18 or 19), and on this website early the following week.
I started writing it while I was still working and contemplating taking an early retirement package which would have me exiting the workforce 3 1/2 years sooner than planned. Obviously, I took it.
It has been a fabulous journey (both writing the articles on this website and my retirement), but I'm not going to spend much time looking back. I'm looking forward! More on what's to come in a moment.
If you’re like most of us, at some point you will face the prospect of downsizing.
Perhaps you want to move to a smaller house. Perhaps you want to move overseas or wander the country in an RV. Perhaps you just don’t want to leave a lifetime of stuff behind for your survivors to deal with.
In my case, I reached a point several years ago when I looked at all the stuff that fills our closets, our attic, and our garage, and I wondered, “Where did this crap all come from?”
It seems that we spend the first half of our adult lives accumulating things (bigger homes, nicer cars, better furniture, more clothes, grown-up “toys”), and then we spend the rest of our life getting rid of it.
Although I’ve toyed with the idea of going through all my stored items and eliminating much of it, up to this point my good intentions haven’t led to much action. Throughout 2015, I’ve sold some CDs on Amazon, but that’s about it.
For some people, discarding obsolete possessions seems to come easily. Usually, it takes a tangible event like an upcoming move to a smaller home to provide the sense of urgency required to downsize possessions.
Jeff and I have decided that we’re going to remain in our current house for at least five to ten more years, but we’re ready to start downsizing our possessions now. We’re serious this time. But we will only be successful if we really want to do it and stick to our goals.
As 2015 draws to a close and I look forward to 2016, I’m planning to make some fairly significant changes in my life.
Many of these changes aren’t typical “new year’s resolution” changes, like resolving to lose 20 pounds or become better organized. They are more oriented towards shifting various aspects of my life to better align with how I envision my renaissance, or my ultimate retirement lifestyle.
You probably have, or will, go through similar lifestyle adjustments at some point, either as an intentional effort or as a response to changing circumstances or priorities.
Creating a satisfying retirement lifestyle that fulfills your needs and desires involves not just the activities you add into your life, it also involves letting go of things that no longer serve you well.
In my last article, I wrote about letting go of responsibilities and obligations that no longer benefit you. Next week, I will write about letting go of possessions you no longer need. In this article, I am going to write about letting go of some people, while enriching your connection with others.
Letting go of people?
That may sound cold-hearted and rash, but I’m not talking about severing ties and cutting off communication entirely. (Although in the case of a few toxic people, that might be a good idea.) I’m talking about adjusting your focus and priorities. Allow me to explain.
In many of the other articles on this website, I write a lot about all the possibilities for what you can do with your life once you no longer have to work (or at least, work full-time).
You can spend more time doing things you’re passionate about, such as writing, playing music, creating art, or volunteering.
You can travel more, without being limited to a finite number of vacation days a year.
You can allow more time for physical activities, such as hiking, biking, or playing golf.
You can spend more time for taking courses, reading, or enjoying cultural events.
I often suggest that you should strive for a balance of physical activities, mental stimulation, socialization, and fulfillment.
All of these are things you can add into your life.
After almost two years of being retired, I often seem to be busier than I was while I was working. (I’m usually not, but it seems that way.) I still don’t have enough time to do all the things I envisioned doing.
While my life is rich with fun, rewarding activities, most of which I enjoy, part of me also wishes my life was simpler. Not boring – just simpler. I still find that some of my time is either being wasted or is being taken up with things that don’t really bring me joy. Finding ways to eliminate the “noise” and the needless complications should make for a much more satisfying life.
I am starting to realize that the key to living a happy, fulfilling retirement is not just about what you add into your life, it’s also about what you let go of.
Much has been written about the “Millennial” generation – those born between the early 1980s and 2000 (definitions vary), who are between the ages of 15 and 35 today. They may be the most researched and reported on generation to date.
I identify with many of the Millennials’ values. Sometimes I feel like I was born thirty years too early, but then I remind myself that I would have missed out on experiencing first-hand the great music that came out in the 1970s. (I’m serious about that. But the fashions? Not so much.)
One of the most often cited characteristics of the Millennials is that they value experiences over things.
I think they are absolutely right. Looking back on my life, I see that I have prioritized the acquisition of things over opportunities to experience what the world has to offer.
People have a lot of misperceptions about retirement. I’ve heard a lot of them over the years, and I’ve become especially aware of them since I started reading and researching extensively in order to produce content for this web site.
Where do these misperceptions come from? Generally, misperceptions thrive wherever there is a lack of knowledge or awareness. And many people rarely think about their retirement during their working years.
The average 50-year-old in the United States has saved $43,797 for retirement. 36% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement at all.
Whenever I think about this sobering statistic, it leaves me sad and perplexed. Why are we, as a nation, so underprepared? I am convinced that this situation exists because these misperceptions exist.
Financial preparedness aside, I have observed that many people either view their retirement with dread or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, with an overly simplistic and rosy outlook.
Let’s take a look at twelve retirement myths, and then consider the reality that undermines each of them.