Globe with Europe facing

2013-08-20 Franz Kafka

One thing that is clear from the responses I have received to my recent readers poll is that most respondents are either giving serious consideration to moving, or at least considering the possibility.  Over a third are considering either moving out of the United States entirely or maintaining a second residence (perhaps an apartment or condo) in another country.

Moving anywhere is a big decision involving a lot of factors, but the decision to move overseas adds several new dimensions.  The biggest of these is immigration laws.  Immigration laws vary widely from country to country, and in many cases it’s harder to immigrate as a retiree than it is for a younger person who has some years of work life remaining.

Several countries, particularly several in Central America, are very welcoming of American retirees.  Others, such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada don’t want retirees at all, unless they have a sizeable amount of money to invest.  Countries such as these are no doubt concerned about the impact of retirees on their more socialized health care systems.

...continue reading "Thinking of Retiring Abroad? Here’s What You Really Need to Know"


Leap of Faith - Aug 05 2013

2013-08-05 Andy Warhol

Most days, we can comfortably stay on course throughout the day without having to make choices that are any more difficult or consequential than where to eat lunch or which shirt to wear.  (For me, the latter choice is especially easy.  If I’m having any trouble at all deciding, I just go with purple!)

But every now and then we arrive at an inflection point, where the choice we make will have a profound impact on the course of our life.  Such monumental decisions include whether to move to a faraway place, whether to take a new job, whether to commit to spending the rest of your life with someone, or whether to end a relationship.

I have been confronting such a choice for several months now.

...continue reading "Today I Took a Giant Leap of Faith"


Hiker relaxing in New Zealand

2013-08-02 Laurence Peters

I like the word “retirement.”  I always have, because the more I plan for and anticipate my retirement, the more optimistic about it I get.

Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be a panacea, any more than everyday life during our working years is.  There will be good days, bad days, and average days.  Good things will happen, bad things will happen, and sometimes it will seem like nothing is happening.

More than anything else, I am going to cherish my freedom, which will be there no matter what kind of day I might be having.

But the word “retirement” carries baggage for many people.  For many people, “retirement” screams “has-been.” 

Many people visualize retirement as those sad last few years of life, when your health deteriorates, you have little money, nothing to do, no reason to live, and you ultimately move into an assisted living or nursing home and die.  Most of the people you see are doctors and caregivers, and your primary mode of transportation is a motorized wheelchair.

People of this mindset would rather not think about their retirement at all.

Others have a hard time believing they will ever retire at all, probably because they believe they’ll never be able to save enough money.  To them, retirement is a cruel joke;  it seems like that luxury item in the store window that they will never have.

One of the main reasons I write this blog is to encourage people in either of the latter categories to visualize their retirement in a more optimistic, possibility-filled light.

...continue reading "Is It Time to Retire the Word “Retirement?”"

Two guys juggling

2013-07-23 Brian Dyson

I discovered this quote about ten years ago.  It resonated with me then, and it resonates with me now, but in a whole new way.  (By the way, this quote came from a commencement address that Brian Dyson gave at Georgia Tech in 1996.  Read his entire address here – it’s full of wisdom.)

In my last post, I spoke of men and women (but especially men) who are miserable in retirement because they derived all of their sense of self-worth from their work accomplishments.  After they left work, they lost their validation and reason to exist.  They devoted so much of their time, energy and focus on their work that they abandoned all of their hobbies and interests, and their non-work talents atrophied and died.

The same is true of parents who devote themselves so much to their children that they lose themselves.  Then they suffer from “empty nest syndrome” and purposeless retirements.  They may claim that they have no time for themselves, and they may feel selfish and neglectful if they allow any time for their own interests and not their children’s.  A recent article on Gay Star News refutes that belief by claiming that “gay or straight, if you want happy kids, be a happy parent.”

This makes perfect sense.  Kids look to their parents as role models in everything they do.  If their parents are living full, happy lives, their home environment will be happy, and the kids will learn how to live full, happy lives.  If kids see their parents as workaholics or empty, unfulfilled shells of people (or both), the kids will be less likely to grow up to be happy and well-adjusted.

What does this have to do with retirement?  If you choose to live a balanced life during your working years, you will allow time for and nourish your talents and interests.  You’ll have rewarding things to do during retirement.  You will already be in the habit of balance and happiness.  You will have learned to define yourself and value yourself in ways beyond your work accomplishments.  You will be living for your family, health, friends and self more than for your work.

...continue reading "Happiness Today AND Happiness Tomorrow"

Niagara Parkway - Jul 20 2013

2013-07-20 Thomas Nichols

Much has been made about the fact that the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is now starting to retire.  Boomers are now ages 49-67.  Combine this with the facts that this generation was characterized by a high birth rate and our life expectancy is longer, and you have a formula for retirements that may last three decades or more.

Many employers across the United States are responding to this challenge in several ways.  Some realize that they will suffer a “brain drain” of experience-based knowledge, and are offering a part-time work option.  Some, including my employer, are offering incentives for people who qualify for retirement based on various age-plus-years-of-service formulas, to go ahead and retire early.  They realize, correctly, that some of us are just hanging on a few more years in order to reach age 59 ½, when we can start tapping into retirement savings, 62, when we can start collecting social security, or 65, when we qualify for Medicare.  (These are U.S. milestones; programs differ in other countries.)

To sweeten the incentive, my company has also engaged with Encore.org, whose purpose is to encourage people to have “encore” careers – second careers that generally involve civic involvement and non-profit work.  Their web site waxes excitedly about “inventing a new stage of life and work – the encore years – between the end of midlife and anything resembling old-fashioned retirement.”  Their goal is to “build a movement aimed at making it easier for millions to pursue second acts for the greater good.”  Their motto is “Encore careers – purpose, passion and a paycheck in your second act.”

...continue reading "Encore! Encore!"

Red rose with water droplets - Jul 17 2013

2013-07-17 Desmond Tutu

You’ll probably notice, in just about every article I write, that I am excited about what lies ahead for me in retirement.  My goal in writing this blog, and my hope for you, is that the information and commentary I provide will help you look towards your retirement more enthusiastically.

I have been looking forward to retirement for a long time.  That’s because I have a long list of things I wish I had more time to do – things I would really like to do with my life – if it weren’t for the fact that so many of my waking hours are taken up by my job.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful for my job.  I work for a company that is creating amazing products that have changed, and will continue to change, the world.  They offer great pay and great benefits, and I work with many wonderful people.  I live a nice, comfortable life because of all that.

But it’s not what I really want to do.  It’s not what I’m passionate about.

I look forward to retirement because I envision it as a period of many years in which I can spend my time doing what I want – not what my employer wants.

Over the past few years, as my retirement grows closer, I’ve become an information sponge.  I read books, magazines, web sites, and anything else I can find that talks about planning for a successful retirement.

I realize that most people aren’t going to immerse themselves in learning about retirement to the extent that I have, so in this blog, I’ll pass along all the useful bits of knowledge and wisdom I come across so that you don’t have to.

I have found that 95% of all the information out there is about financial planning for retirement.  And it’s true that we should all be saving money for retirement.

But most information sources stop with that, as if to imply that having sufficient funds is all that is required to have a happy retirement.  We all know that money does not necessarily result in happiness during our work lives, so why are we to think that having enough money to fund retirement will result in a happy retirement?

...continue reading "What Do You Truly Want to Do?"


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2013-07-14 Simone de Beauvoir

I’m convinced that for many people, their retirement years end up being a lot like the preconceived notions of retirement that they held during their working years.

If you look forward to your retirement years as being vibrant, fulfilling, and happy – they will be. 

If you think retirement will be dull, boring, and beset with declining health – it probably will be.

...continue reading "Welcome to Retire Fabulously! How This Blog Will Help You Live Happily Ever After"