19 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2009 3:02 PM by emeflag

    Life After Retirement?

    Bammer
      I'm fairly new to the site and have been reading with interest the various discussions.  I have not, however, seen a discussion line about people who are ready to retire but hesitant about the "so-what-do-I-do-with-my -life-now" question.  As the second income in our family (no children) and 63 next year, I have never not worked.  I don't know how to do anything else.  Sure, I can clean the house, prepare fabulous meals, have beautifully manicured gardens, and mow the grass, or paint the house . . . but is having the option to do all that worth giving up a well-paying job with benefits just for the opportunity to enjoy a little R&R?  Admittedly, I'm scared to death of life after retirement.  Is anyone else dealing with this?  I'm tired of the 9-to-5 monotony, but know myself well enough to realize that within a few months I'm going to be climbing the walls looking for something more "meaningful".  With no college education it probably doesn't make sense for me to take on a part-time job, and I can't afford to go to "work" as a volunteer and not receive compensation.  Anyone else in the same boat?
        • Re: Life After Retirement?
          vs_rolemodel
          Hello, Bammer.  I can appreciate your post on several levels:  the work I do is  of the 'bean counter' variety, a continuous
          treadmill of financial cost recovery and reporting.  I am looking forward to the day when I can jump ship and not have to
          worry about moving money around all day long or meeting monthly/quarterly financial deadlines.

           Your descripton of finding time in retirement to have a perfectly manicured abode, garden, etc., actually sounds great to me
          ...in my current 40-hour workweek (plus volunteering 3 hours a week,) time is a coveted commodity.   However, I do suspect
           that, as you say,  the thrill of catching up on all those home projects, etc. when I have retired will be relatively shortlived.

          I am generally ambivalent about whether I will want to work part-time in retirement.  My goal, cash-flow-wise, is to work full-time for another 3.5  years 'or so' [the 'or so' being an indication of my mld trepidation at actually retiring];  but there are an increasing number of days when I find that prospect--working another 3.5 years--rather grim.  As an antidote to this I have, for the last year or so, taken to scanning the want-ads for part-time work which I might find interesting/rewardng.  I think if I were to find an intellecturally or socially rewarding part-tme job before my projected retirement date  I would retire from my full-time job earlier than planned.

          Regarding finding one's life interests/passions in work, it's a continuing act of self-discovery, even in retirement.  I periodically will sit down and brainstorm a list of what in life captures my attention, what interests me, what I feel strongly about..  While it doesn't necessarily bring the perfect job to me, it keeps me aware of who I am and what clicks for me so that when something good comes along I will be quick to recognize it and seize the opportunity.

          Thanks for this topic--I will be interested to read what others have to say about  it.
          Best wishes,
          vs_rolemodel
            • Re: Life After Retirement?
              caaahern
              I am enjoying this thread, I too, am about three to four years away from retirement, I manage a library department, sometimes the thoughts of doing one more schedule is enough to make me scream.  I will probalby want to work on some sort of part time basis, but would sure love to pursue other passions as well. Thinking of ways to jump into them is the issue.  I do think that once all of the house projects are done I will be quite itchy to do something more.  I enjoy travel, also work with animals, an people for that matter so I need to toss all of this around.

              Cathy in CT
                • Re: Life After Retirement?
                  vs_rolemodel
                  HI, Cathy.  I'm just picking up your post today as I've been off-line for four days enjoying myself [a trip to Mt. Rainier--one more thing to look forward to doing for a longer stretch when I retire].

                  One thing I've begun doing in anticipation of my retirement [also a few years away] is to try to identify things which I might enjoy doing in retirement and then segueway'ing my way into that particular pursuit as a trial or foot-in-the-door now.  I have done this with a volunteer position at the Seattle Art Museum which I will continue to do after retirement.

                  Regarding paid part-time work, if I can find a weekend 'gig' that really interests or inspires me, I will apply for it now, in hopes of the same sort of trial/foot-in-the-door advantage to be working the position up to and after retirement.  I recently accepted a
                  pollwatcher position for our state [Washington] 19 August primary and the 4 November general elections.  My intent was to
                  try it out to see if I liked it, and get myself on the list of people wanting to regularly work the elections if I did like it.   Unfortunately in my case, I was told after signing on that the King County elections board will be switching over to an all mail-in ballot
                  election process in 2009.  But for retirees in regions which still provide open polling places for elections, this can be another part-time income opportunity.  In my case I will also be paid for a three-hour trainng class and my transportation to/from it.

                  Best wishes,
                  Edna
                    • Re: Life After Retirement?
                      caaahern

                      Hi Edna, and my apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I have been forgetting to check this forum regularly. If you are still on I will say that as you  indicate, I am reviewing other ideas for what I might like to do when I leave full time work. I do already have a small part time job that I have taken on, still in a library setting but without the baggage of management type stuff, so much more low key.  I have been thinking or what else I would like to do, for "fun" I have registered with Indeed.com, and plugged in other types of work that I might enjoy, such as working with animals, and other kinds of outdoor work that would be a nice change of pace from what I am doing now.

                      Thanks for your tips, and best of everything as you plan for your retirement.  By the way, I also stumbled on a site called vocation vacations, a bit costly but you can sign up for a few days to work with people in various vocations, kind of to test the waters.

                       

                      Cathy in CT

                       

                        • Re: Life After Retirement?
                          vs_rolemodel
                          HI, Cathy in CT, and I'm a bit late getting back to you too here...have just returned from my annual vacation to Scotland.
                          It was good to get away for a while.  I will definitely look into the vocation vacations site  you mentioned.

                          Best wishes,

                          Edna [aka vs_rolemodel]
                    • Re: Life After Retirement?
                      Harmon
                      Elderhostel, special programs on community campuses, a social environment to learn a language, teach literacy through the library, send winter items to Native American reservations and the South, get a low-paying VISTA position in the city, seek out reading for the blind service ...
                    • Re: Life After Retirement?
                      radrians

                      You don't really have to "retire" other than give up your 9-5 job.  Keeping working if that's what you like.  Find a part-time job so you can be active and around younger people.  Many retail businesses prefer to hire older Americans because of their knowledge, experience, and dependability.  Check out your local community college.  Most have "lifelong learning" curricula which, for very nominal fees provide a host of interesting courses and/or events to participate in, i.e. guest presenters, classes on senior aerobics, Tai Chi, aroma therapy, scrapbooking, etc. etc.  Take a course in PhotoShop and learn how to scan and archive all your precious photos electronically.  Get a tape recorder or video camera and start recording your oral history.  Your children and grandchildren will love these.  They make great gifts.  Have them burned onto DVDs to distribute to your family.  Find a totally new hobby.  Get involved in the local soup kitchen, the nature center, the garden club.  Retirement is only a state of mind.

                      Radrians

                      • Re: Life After Retirement?
                        gpjohns

                        What to do when you retire. A question that scares many and confuses others. I can retire in 1 year at age 57. But I won't. I have a 13 yr old daughter that will need the extra income I produce until she is through college. However that's not my point. Here are some observations I have seen from watching my father in his retirement and believe that these are true for all people;

                        1. Never stop moving. If you stop moving you'll start slowing down and your health will deteriorate. I have seen this happen first hand with my mother. My father on the other hand is 86 and a cancer survivor as well as 3 major health issues that involved surgery in the last 4 years. And he takes care of my mother daily.

                        2. Keep your mind functioning. Another hobby...reading more...anything that exercises your brain will keep you from becoming bored.

                        3. Trying new things not within your sphere of experience. Learning how to install crown molding or cabinetry in your home allows you to learn something new and improve the value of your place. To date I have 3 or more hobbies and continue to add to them all the time. Some I quit...some I don't. But I've still learned new stuff and have enjoyed the time while I did them.

                        My plans when I do finally retire are to use the hobbies I've learned (cabinetry, tiling and furniture making) to help people in my area by building homes for them to live in. I don't expect to get paid for it, just the enjoyment of helping people earn through sweat equity their piece of the "American dream".

                          • Re: Life After Retirement?
                            TXretired

                            The short version is not to retire in one year at age 57.  With a 13-year old, along with the cost of her education, and the many financial unknowns today, I strongly recommend that you consider to keep working in higher education..

                            After an early career as a former human resources officer with Texas universities, I have been a financial advisor working primarily with individuals nearing or in their early retirement time.  My experience relates most directly with financial aspects of retirement, but you must have meaningful activities and focuses to enjoy those golden years.

                            Financially, especially if you live as long as possible today and for your own wellbeing, age 70 may be the best age to actually retire.  Social Security will be at your maximum along with your pension, 403(b)s, IRAs, etc. at age 70.  Unless you are wealthy, keep on working as long as you can  enjoy the work and your colleagues.  You can already retire, but you can not always go back to work once you leave.

                             

                              • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                gpjohns

                                Sorry I guess I didn't make my point clear.

                                I was replying to an earlier statement and using my own situation as a reference. I do not plan to retire next year at all. I definitely will continue on until at least age 62. I've worked at a college university for the last 25 years and it has been an exciting job.

                                The points I was making were what I had learned from my father who retired at 62 himself. 1. Never stop moving, 2. Keep your mind active, etc.. I said it poorly but what I really want to do is work with Habitat for Humanity after I retire in order to help build homes for other people.

                                  • Re: Life After Retirement?

                                    My situation is alittle different and i am still confused. I turn 66 in a few months. My two kids are grown , out of the house and earnong a living. Tha is all good. On the bad side I have a new Boss who is making life difficult. Many people have had their jobs eliminated and she is bringing in new younger people.

                                    When my fater retired at age 67 he and mom(both lived to 92) move to florida nd he took up ceramice, she read and played cards. I have no hobbies, my wife isn't ready to re tire but i don'tknow how much longer i can hold on to my job. After 38 years in TIAA-CREF and not being greedy I shhould be able to lve comfortably.

                                    What should I do?

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                      • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                        I agree that you shouldn't retire until you're ready.  However, I never understand people who think that their job is their entire life and they ask "What would I do?.  So here's my list:  read, travel, volunteer, join a group to exercise or play cards, or do anything!, visit your kids and grandkids, see the world, garden, relax, etc., etc.  I can't wait to retire and do all the things I've listed.  We plan to relocate because we don't want to waste our retirement on a yard and pool that takes up too much of our time.  If you don't have a hobby, then start one now!  Don't wait to retire until you're too old to get around.  It takes good health to be able to travel and I plan to do it now before I can't. 
                                          • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                            suetje
                                            I have had a great career, and am getting a bit tired of the 5 day a week thing.  I am still young enough that I can't imagine not working at all, but if I did, I would do 1-2 days a week (I am a ncritical care nurse, not hard to find work!)  But at the same time, I want to feel comfortablethat we are not going to run out of $$ by age 75 if we cut back or stop working at 60.  I have evaluated all of our assets, and funds, but with the economy so uncertain, who in the world knows what it will be like even 5 years from now?  I have seen people retire at age 50 (kind of early and not too clever, it seems) and at age 78 they are thinking it was too ealry, they are getting low on money.  To late now!!  My hubby and I want to cruise in the sailboat all over the place, buteven with careful attention to spending, I worry.  Our retirement people say, "you are in good shape!" but everyone thought the economy was too, till last year!!  Any thoughts out there?
                                        • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                          Lobo

                                          I just joined "myretirement.org."  This is a very, very interesting topic.  I especially appreciated the person who stated that they  were "afraid" to retire. Me, too, I think.  I am 69 and haven't retired.  People keep asking me "when I am going to retire?"  I was a late bloomer; raised my children about half-way through school; got a divorce; went to college and became a professional student; graduated, with plenty of education;  went to work for a Fortune 500 company at 40 with a very successful  job experience; then taught at the university level.  Then I thought I would retire.....that lastesd about two years. Then I decided I want to do something really different....so went through all of the complications of teaching in public school...to make a difference.  Have ended up teaching on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, NM...on Tribal lands.  And, I love it!

                                          Had anyone asked me what I might do even 20 years ago when I retire, the answer certainly would not have been this. I find that each year I have different perspectives.  Teaching in public schools (2 years) was not satisfiying at all....but teaching somewhere really, really needed is, (not that public school teaching isn't today). And, the Grandmothers I have met are absolutely terrific....I've learned about Navajo weaving, started a business club for Seniors; taught them how to start a business (and how to run it)...this has been satisflying. And, I did not have to give up air conditioning, sleeping on a bed, etc.  The Teacherages are quite nice on the Rez, Navajo Bingo is offered in the evening at the schools,with sight-seeing all over Canyon De Chelly (National Mounment) and the 200 yr old trading posts (weavings, carving, artwork).  And, I don't have to leave the country...although, one could this this in Belize, Costa Rica, etc. Fun, adventurous, rewarding and safe.

                                            • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                              Rubiosa
                                              Ah, New Mexico -- D.H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge, Tony Hillerman, etc. DHL renders the beauty of NM lyrically, and Hillerman just the opposite -- starkly, nakedly. Don't know which I like best.
                                              • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                                erstwize
                                                Lobo, I just joined and discovered your post in early exploring. I admire your choice of teaching on the res. My wife and I were in NM some ten years ago when my older son was in the young artists' program at the Santa Fe Opera. Astounded by the beauty of the desert around Abiquiu (Drove out to the Christ in the Desert Monastery). We then drove up through Denver to Iowa, and the northeast where our families are concentrated.
                                                She, a hermit at heart, might love to retire there. I, while delighted in that visit, think I'd find it tough to be several days' drive from any other family. I'd be proud to take on something like your teaching though, were I not congenitally abstruse. We discovered Tony Hillerman not long after that trip and find ourselves comfortably infused with his perspective on the land and people. Any comments on his portrayals from one now newly resident?
                                        • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                          kilgoretrout

                                          Bammer,

                                          I would NOT retire until you're ready (if ever).

                                          I've seen way too many cases of folks retiring and regretting it.

                                          Some are ready for retirement, and some are not.

                                          See if you can inject some variety in your current position.

                                          Best wishes, KT

                                          • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                            jkom51

                                            Is there any way you can "ease into" retirement? Any chance you can work part-time, job-share, or even take a part-time with your employer's competition? Working isn't always about money - it's just as important to have the mental stimulation and social interaction it offers.

                                            There's no reason to just stop working, if you still enjoy it and find it fulfills you. Life doesn't stop after retirement, but yes, it does sound as though you'll be bored if you don't find something to fill your time with.

                                            Why not try doing some volunteer work right now, in your spare time? See if you find it satisfying enough to replace working 9-5 - it might be fine, or it might not. Either way, you'll have helped out for a few months and the experience can help you further define your needs.

                                              • Re: Life After Retirement?
                                                emeflag
                                                Being 60+ years old,  in June/2009 I entered into semi-retirment by retiring from a full-time management position and taking a half-time position doing technical development, the part of my job that I have always enjoyed. The benefits from this change have been working from home and being free of management responsibilities which feels like a great burden taken off my shoulders.

                                                I'm not ready for full retirement as the financial markets have wreaked havoc on lifetime retirement savings. Also, I am the father of an 8 year old son needing regular contributions to a 529 college fund. I'll be 70 when my son is ready for college so I'm saving as much as I can now.  With my pension and part-time salary, I won't need to draw from retirement savings for a few more years. I'm even continuing to add to savings so hopefully I can make up some or most of the losses sustained in the last year.

                                                I recently attended my son's open house at school. As with most schools,  I learned that my son's school is facing financial problems. To meet financial shortfalls, his school has cut back on staffing and programs, and is in need of volunteers to help out.  So I've decided to become a school volunteer helping as needed, details still to be worked out.

                                                I'm certainly not bored and I'm finding the 1/2 time position is allowing me to stay connected to colleagues but also have time  to do things long neglected like painting the house, fixing the woodpecker holes in the siding, and cleaning out the garage and backyard. It is also great to be at home when my son returns from school.  With his mom and dad both at home, he'll have little chance to get into trouble.  I also have optimistic plans for visiting the National Parks next summer now that I can take off work for extended periods.