Having been retired now for 20 plus years, reading articles about how to prepare for retirement (other than the usual financial aspect of retirement) often amuse me.
Most of us go through life concentrating on our jobs, family, day-to-day projects that come up whether good or bad, planned or unplanned. By the end of the day, the only thing on our mind tends to be – an hour or two of relaxation before retiring for the evening knowing we will be doing it all over again tomorrow.
While I do not dispute what is being said in these retirement articles, I must admit, due in part to the way my retirement came about – none of the things that I supposedly should have considered ahead of time came to mind, leastways not in a “pre-planned retirement sort of way.”
For instance, one thing we all should think about prior to retiring is deciding where we want to retire to. In our situation, first thought – due to being unemployed/retired was where to move because the house as well as the size of the mortgage payment was okay if we wanted to stay there and be “house poor” (meaning we would not be able to travel or do much else as all our funds would be spent maintaining our house). As a result, we decided to take the same approach as my company did – down-size. We purchased something smaller and less expensive so that we could do more than just live in our house. By down-sizing ourselves we have been able to enjoy our retirement as well as do some of the things we wanted to do in retirement.
Another thing people refer to when discussing retirement is that they should put together a “Bucket List” – you know – a list of those things you want to do before leaving this earth. This one has me stumped – mainly because I guess I am too simple a type of guy. For the life of me, I cannot think of one thing I must do before I die and so I do not have a “Bucket List” of sorts.
Another biggie on most pre-retirement lists is: Continue being sociable. This is one activity I would not have included when preparing for retirement but I must admit we are more sociable now that we are retired than we ever were in all our married lives even when my wife was President of the PTA and I was President of the Dad’s Club back in Jacksonville, Florida.
I would be remiss not to mention exercise as s pre-retirement thought. Why, because one cannot be active during his or her working life and then just sit around eating donuts and drinking coffee once we are no longer working. In our case, while we remained active once retired, eight years into retirement, line dancing entered our lifestyle and to this day our exercise is done in the form of line dancing both teaching and doing. By the way, there is a completely different story that could be told regarding how line dancing came into our lives – but that is for another day.
Both of us are quite wary of how one’s health changes as we age and so we eat appropriately, paying attention to what is good and what is not good for both of us. But that is not to say that we will not have the occasional donut (Saturday mornings you will usually find us socializing with friends within our community eating donuts and drinking coffee. Besides we would not want to avoid our social responsibilities – now would we?
Another item on the pre-retiree list of things to do once retired is learning new things. Learn a foreign language, begin painting or some other hobby that used to excite you but took a back seat to your family and career, become involved with puzzles or some other activity to engage your brain. We need to keep both the body and brain active if we are going to live in retirement as many years as we were employed.
Other lists I’ve read talk about volunteering and getting a part-time job. While I cannot speak to the volunteering activity – I can discuss part-time jobs. Shortly after we retired we needed additional income to cover that span of time between our retirement date and the date Social Security payments kicked in. We went to a job fair held by Busch Gardens and through some great negotiating, landed a job for both of us with scheduling to match – meaning we worked the same hours and the same days – the only catch was that we could not work in the same shop. It was a great three years and we learned new skills – how to operate a cash register.
There you have it – bottom line – whether you plan for retirement or do some fancy finagling should it sneak up on you when you least expect it – putting your heads together and taking into considering some of the topics just mentioned – you will be in for a great adventure. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
Until next time!