How Prepared Are You to Retire?

Although not yet 65 I feel in my bones I am ready to retire – now. Why should I put off living that promising second act any longer than I have to? How wonderful would it be to awake each morning excited with the promise of a new day? Instead of dreading my return to the stressful stultifying corporate environment I have survived (at least to this point), I envision my retired day filled with doing what I actually want to do. And I am ready to get to it.

For the past almost four years, I have been doing my best to figure out what retirement is all about and how I can best prepare. I have focused on the non-financial side since there is no lack of helpful if sometimes conflicting advice on how to invest, save and build that all-important retirement nest egg. What financial preparedness ultimately comes down to is saving enough so when you are no longer generating an income you have more left at the end of each month than you spend. Not always an easy thing but pretty straight forward.

What intrigues me and has been the focus of my blogs and book writing efforts is the ongoing search to identify what I can do now to prepare myself for the retirement lifestyle I want. And what exactly will that lifestyle look like? Upon careful consideration and baring any unexpected roadblocks, I am optimistic that I have most of my ducks in a row when it comes to making the move to retirement.

I believe my relationship with my wife is ready for retirement. We talk about our future plans on a regular basis. Both of us realize it would be a mistake to retire prematurely. We recognize our need to stay busy and active so are always looking for interesting activities to replace the hours in the day normally occupied by a job. In addition to things we do together – travel, hiking, exploring new restaurants, backgammon, working out, gardening, watching obscure movies – we have our own individual interests. And we support each other in pursuit of these interests. While she works on a 3000 piece jigsaw of colorful villas along the Mediterranean, I explore my writing. Time spent alone is good for the relationship just so long as we also spend time together!

We realize that neither is responsible for entertaining the other. My wife’s happy routine could be rudely interrupted by a husband who tags along behind her not exactly sure what he should or could be doing. The best of intentions could be misconstrued should a recommendation be made to improve something that has been working just fine all along. As long as we are happy and engaged – either together or on our own – we do not fear becoming bored or discontent.

I believe I have enough to engage and entertain me for the next 20 plus years. I departed the working world back in early 2012 for what I initially expected to be a short term reprieve and recharge. Two years later I occupy the same position or more accurately lack thereof. Although I have been keeping my feelers out for possible jobs I have also been taking advantage of the time to test the retirement waters a bit. If I am never rehired full time, could I keep busy and find my life fulfilling? What would I do to stay engaged and involved so that my mind and body do not slow down prematurely? These two years have allowed me to experience the promise as well as challenge of keeping active and engaged with no job to fill the hours. A pleasant routine has evolved that keeps me occupied until about 4:00 each day. Now I just need to figure out what to do with that last 60 minute segment before 5:00 happy hour rolls around.

I am not averse to returning to the working world in some capacity. But as long as we can financially sustain ourselves, I do not think full time is what I want. My ideal would be to find a gig that occupies about four hours a day – preferably in the morning as that is when I am most energetic – doing something that matters, makes me think, and kicks in a few dollars to the retirement coffers.

I believe I have identified my retirement personality. I no longer feel the need to define myself based upon the job I do (or used to do). There are enough aspects of the life I plan to live that make me an interesting person I hope. I am just waiting for the next cocktail party when someone asks me “What do you do?” No longer a Director of Sales at a tech startup, the retired me is a blogging and authoring, world traveling, piano playing,  world-class-rose-growing, nature loving retiree and proud to be! Although it may be hard to fit my new “title” on a business card, I am satisfied that I am far more than the working person I once was.

I believe retirement will be a fulfilling experience. I am excited about what lies ahead. There are so many interests I want to pursue and new things to experiment with now that I will have the time to do so. I worry a little about how the effects of aging will play into our plans but we are doing our part to live a healthy fit lifestyle. My biggest challenge seems to be which of my many passions to pursue in what order. And after some serious thought, I believe I am well equipped and more than willing to handle that challenge!

This entry was posted in Aging, Family, Frugal Retirement, Keep Busy, Senior Lifestyle and tagged , , by LoveBeingRetired. Bookmark the permalink.

About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

9 thoughts on “How Prepared Are You to Retire?

  1. Hi Dave. This is a great post because it really answers some of the important questions about retirement that you don’t read in other places. I do believe that many of the big life changes tend to sneak up on many people and then they struggle to find their place in them. Your blog (and posts like this) can help bring up questions and issues that many of us don’t even know we will face! How you will relate to your spouse and what you will do with your time are both critical questions and your examples gave plenty of food for thought. Thanks! ~Kathy

    • Thanks Kathy. Since I am still trying to figure out the whole retirement thing myself, it is nice to share the journey. And I appreciate your words of wisdom shared on your blog. It ain’t necessarily easy but if we can get it right the first time kudos to us! 🙂

  2. Such great info as usual! I will be retired in less than two months. I think I’m ready for it, but I have to admit having a “24-hour spouse” is a little unnerving. We talk about it, but until we experience the reality, we won’t know for sure what adjustments we will have to make for each other.

    • Congratulations on your pending retirement! I think the fact that you are in discussion with your spouse about your soon-to-be 24/7 arrangement is the best way to prepare. Then enjoy the ride… 🙂

  3. Following the old adage that practice makes perfect, I’d say you are ready to label yourself officially retired.

    Your idea of wanting to work 4 hours a day in some paying gig is typical of those just about to retire. Like the rest of us, you may find you are to busy with all the things you want to do and love to do to squeeze in work!

  4. The fact that you are still ‘hunting’ for a part-time gig tells me that you are calling yourself retired but have not yet bought into the fact that you are completely retired from working life. It might be better to call your desire to work as a fun-retirement-job that you are hunting for instead of hoping for the feelers to turn into a job.

    I have not yet retired, but planning methodologically while still doing the corporate job, corporate politics, and bouncing around in the company. In the mean time I have taken my passion in life and trying to turn that into a profession that can keep me occupied during retirement for 2-5 hours a day. I am working overtime to learn this skill, master it as best as I can and practice is during the daytime during any slow moments of the job.

    When I give up my corporate job, I plan to do this with a lot of passion and call this my ‘fun-retirement-self-employment-job’. Practicing it in 2014 has given me comfort that I can pull it off and now I just await my golden parachute (or silver or bronze) in the next 1-2-3-4 years. In the meantime, honing my skills and perfecting that last x hours of time that I have free (out of 168 hours a week or 86,400 seconds) will just come naturally with time. I have prepared some spreadsheets too on all of the daily, weekly, weekend, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual activities that will consume my time during retirement. It is the BEST way to list your hobbies, interests and future plans, and allocate some time. ALL of that is theoretical (I know) and will change and get molded, but it is a starting point of a plan like a vacation plan that we make when we take a trip to Europe (from the US) for example, and then let the actual event alter it as it may.

    Just my rant and thoughts……Still learning a lot on Phase II of life that will need another 20-25 years or some form of exiting activities (beside taking care of grand kids every so often)!.

    Kenny

    • Thanks for sharing Kenny. I think you are right in your assessment of my hunting for a part-time job – it is not so much that I feel I need it just that I cannot quite cut the ties that bound me to my career for the past 30 years. Like you, I hope to find myself pursuing my various passions when I retire. If one of those passions should generate a bit of cashola along the way, so much the better. But the real motivation is not the money but rather doing what I truly enjoy with the free time I have earned. It sounds like you are doing a lot of thinking ahead of time which I believe is very important to help with a successful transition. Good luck and enjoy your journey! 🙂

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