Back on August 5, 2011, I wrote my first weekly blog for US News & World On Retirement. It is hard to believe it has been three years already but I am starting to get used to the lightning fast progression of the months and years.
My personal journey into retirement has been a steady progression as I have learned valuable information from industry pundits and first hand insight from readers of my blogs. Fearful predictions of dire trends have opened my eyes to some harsh realities that may play out over coming years. On the other hand optimistic energized comments from those already retired and loving it give me hope.
I feel that I am better prepared for retirement today than I was three years ago. But I am continuing to discover there is a lot to it and nothing is guaranteed.
Here is that first post from August 5, 2011. The journey continues – may we enjoy each step of the way.
There is no shortage of worries as we move into retirement. We all want to get there, but are unsure exactly how retirement life will ultimately look. Despite our best planning, scrimping, and hoping, we remain concerned about outliving our savings, maintaining good health, and even being bored in retirement.
However, there are plenty of people who have taken the plunge who are thoroughly enjoying retired life. They are finally able to do what they want to when they want to do it. Here are seven ways to tell if you are successfully retired:
1. Toss your alarm clock. You don’t worry about the snooze button because you no longer have to live in the oppressive shadow of your alarm clock. Each day starts when you decide it is time to get underway. Sleeping in is not a luxury, but a daily occurrence if that is your preference.
2. Financial freedom. You do not stress over monthly bank and investment statements. Whether you subscribe to the 4 percent withdrawal per year strategy or another spending program, you have done your part to financially prepare for retirement.
3. Personal calendar. Your calendar is filled with things you actually want to do. You no longer have to attend company events, work trips across the continent, or mixers where you do not feel like mixing. You decide how busy you want to be and who you want to be busy with.
4. Travel timing. When you travel, you do so during the week rather than on busy weekends. This allows you to take advantage of special deals on hotels and flights that only exist on non-weekends. Another perk of off-peak travel is that the traffic is tolerable and personal attention is the norm rather than the exception.
5. Fewer lists. Your to-do list that grew for years prior to retiring is now pretty much to-done.
6. A slower pace. You learn to accept limitations that creep into daily life ranging from sore knees to failing eyesight to diminishing stamina. Things could sometimes be better, but they could definitely be worse.
7. A new chapter. You face each day as a new adventure and a never-to-be-had-again opportunity to live. And you do not take it for granted. Whether you want to pursue hobbies, projects, trips, books, or quiet time, it is worth doing.
Crossing over the threshold into retirement is a time of great uncertainty. If you are able to arrive in the right state of mind and accept the good with the bad, you will have a better chance to experience some of these golden retirement moments first hand. Look around for successful retirees and find your place amongst the crowd. There is always room for one more.