I retired on August 24th, 2017 and maybe some of my experiences from the first year will help others in their pre-retirement planning.
First of all, I hear this a lot: “I will never retire. I’ll work until I die!” And half of the people who told me this have retired, and are still alive.
Or, “I’ll work until I can’t work anymore, then I’ll retire.” Where’s the fun in that? My advice is to retire when you still have enough zing in you to enjoy it.
A little background first: I worked my last job for twenty years and started my 401k from day one. When I did retire, I had a nice fat sum in there. With Social Security and the IRA, I can live comfortably. It also helps that the house and truck are paid off. These are goals I suggest you work toward before cutting the corporate cord.
Also, although Medicare is pretty good, you need to research some add-ons, such as Medicare Advantage or Medigap programs. These cover drugs, vision, dental, etc., that Medicare does not. Search this site for Medicare to find some articles I wrote on these.
Although I had a lot of plans for what I would do when I retired, I managed to not do many of them with great vigor. I was going to learn Spanish, but I found I do not like Rosetta Stone, so I’m still looking for something else. I needed to spruce up my yard, but with 100+ degree days for the last few months, that one is on hold. And while a lot of folks like to travel, I do not. I also haven’t spent enough time on this blog.
What I did find enjoyable was working on projects inside the house, where it’s nice and cool. Built new shelves in the kitchen, cleaned up the garage, started a new aquarium, cleaned out the spare bedroom (it had become a storage room…OK, a dump). I do spend a lot of time in front of this computer (mainly video games), but not nearly as much as when I worked, answering emails and phone calls. And I can get up and go to the bathroom, get a drink and watch Let’s Make A Deal whenever I want.
But, there were some pitfalls. Yeah, it’s Wednesday and I can have a beer or six if I want! And It’s Monday, but I can stay up all night playing Fallout 4! And, what the hell? I can drive up to Liberty Hill and stare at the meteor shower until 3 AM. And yeah, I can have that extra brownie. Or three or four.
Yeah, I can do all of those things. And did. But I found that I had too many days where I was strung out and worthless by varying from schedule and anything I had planned to do went down the river. I missed a doctor’s appointment; it came up on my calendar, but I was asleep. I also found that NOT keeping a daily schedule made it harder for me to sleep at night, requiring too many doses of Ambien.
But I ramble.
So lessons learned from Year One of Retirement:
Make a daily schedule and keep to it, as much as possible. (Things will come up, learn how to deal with them).
Alcohol is OK, but schedule it, too. And be moderate, so you don’t feel like shit the next day. You are NOT in your 20’s any more.
Get some exercise. I’ve been walking in the morning and evening. It builds stamina and is helping me lose some weight.
Set some goals, and put back some money to enable them.
Get out of the house every chance you get.