Hedonic treadmill in retirement

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Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:12 pm

I am planning to retire in early 2014. As the date approaches, I am realizing that I am not as nonchalant about it as I thought I was. And so I decided to force my hand by planning for 2014 time/effort/money-intensive activities that would be more alluring than the benefits of continuing working. I also decided to allocate some money to the "2014 fun fund" that would remove financial constraints from my choices of activities.

My 2014 schedule is developing nicely, but now I am thinking that it may work too well. Is it possible that by having a perfect year, I will step on a Hedonic Treadmill and won't be happy in the future years unless I match and exceed the 2014 experiences (and expenses)?

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill and retirement

Postby livesoft » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:16 pm

I think you will do just fine. Clearly, hedonism will be a constraint that you can rail against if you wish.

Also, your "best trip ever" should never really happen. It should be "one of my best trips ever" instead. And as you gain more experiences of what you like and don't like, you should continually improve upon what you call "one of my best trips ever".
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill and retirement

Postby bottomfisher » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:33 pm

Perhaps you'll just stop for second, catch your breath, reflect and anxiously await what 2015 brings. You're a knowledgeable and inquisitive individual as per your prior posts. I agree, you'll do just fine in retirement. Congratulations on your efforts!
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Re: Hedonic treadmill and retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:57 pm

Livesoft and Bottomfisher,

I appreciate the vote of confidence that I'll do fine. I am struggling with defining the baseline for what is "fine," when many attractive opportunities seem within reach. And I am wondering if a perfect year (2014) would make the rest of them anticlimactic.

I am interested if others had similar situations and how they dealt with them.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill and retirement

Postby livesoft » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:17 pm

VictoriaF wrote:And I am wondering if a perfect year (2014) would make the rest of them anticlimactic.

2014 could be your best year ever. Who knows? It could be all downhill after that. Or maybe not. You could just learn to live with it. :)
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill and retirement

Postby Mrxyz » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:16 am

It does not matter how much money you save, how you change your lifestyle to become a boglehead, you will keep returning to the norm.

norm = boglehead forum!!

Perhaps a variation of the Hedonic treadmill !!

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement!
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby cinghiale » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:11 am

Victoria,

Fact is, you will be a different "you" at the end of 2014 and your year of planned fun activities. Sometimes such a year does not raise the bar for all future perceptions of enjoyment and fulfillment (like getting used to the luxury car you had longed for and finally purchased) as much as it provides a comfortable and pleasing foundation of events, tasks, and activities that become part of your past (memories), present (perceptions), and future (goals and ambitions). My experience with two extended times away from work and everyday life-- both while on a sabbatical and living in Europe-- did not result in hedonic adaptation. Granted, these two stretches of time were bounded, and I knew that each would conclude. But each added so much to my storehouse of ideas and experiences that I had to judge my happiness and contentment from a very different standpoint at the end of the year.

Once other aspect: You will engage in your fun list, but you will also continue with many activities that are currently part of your life. You aren't going to curtail your reading, are you? The fun list will be added to your current fun-and-essential activities; it will not be a substitute for them. So, you can wisely fold the new items into your life in the year to come and incrementally raise your level of happiness. My guess is since you already know about and are confronting the hedonic treadmill, it will never appear at your front door.

I see nothing but upside to your 2014.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:39 am

cinghiale,

You are suggesting an excellent perspective: 2014 as a foundation rather than a one-off celebration. I think you have just solved my problem.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby midareff » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:49 am

While there will be rainy days in retirement only you can rain on your parade. It certainly is (last 16 months) the most peaceful and stress free time of my life. The feeling of freedom is everywhere. It is impossible not to enjoy it.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:51 am

midareff wrote:While there will be rainy days in retirement only you can rain on your parade. It certainly is (last 16 months) the most peaceful and stress free time of my life. The feeling of freedom is everywhere. It is impossible not to enjoy it.


When you were planning your retirement were you making specific plans for it? And if yes, are these plans still meaningful 16 months later?

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby SnapShots » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:21 am

Retirement is a huge adjustment. For some it's easier than for others. You suddenly or eventually become disconnected from the daily interactions of people you work with. At first I missed that. It's important to make new connections and find other activities you enjoy.

I, also, found it scary when the paycheck stopped and having to live off savings. But, we adjusted.

My husband and I fully were engaged in full-filling careers while working. Neither of us yearn to go back to those days.

DH was born to be retired. He's never looked back and loves it!

Have a blast in 2014. After that you'll probably settle down to a slower, enjoyable pace.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Levett » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:59 am

Victoria,

External circumstances are not going, ultimately, to drive how you feel.

It's going to be your personality type.

When you have leisure (e.g., retirement) you will simply become more of whoever you are.

I found it incredibly useful to take some personality tests (some of which I had done in the past) to confirm how I was likely to respond retirement.

For me, the most useful was the MBTI:http://www.myersbriggs.org/

All the best with your plans, which will evolve. :wink:

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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Fallible » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:10 am

Hi Victoria,

I like the advice you’re getting: livesoft on "ONE of my best trips ever"; snapshots on "born to be retired"; cinghiale on a "different you" at the end of 2014, and levett on "more of whoever you are" and plans that "evolve." Those last two are my favorites and as a 12-year retiree, I know you can trust in that advice, so much so that it renders hedonic treadmill irrelevant.

I do have one piece of advice: stay with your plans for next year, especially Europe! :thumbsup

Fallible
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby chaz » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:26 am

Retirement is freedom - enjoy every day of it to the max.

Good luck.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby momar » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:28 am

I know why you are worried about it, but you should try to have your best year ever. And then try to top it. Eventually things will get worse, so why hold back if you can afford it?
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Barefootgirl » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:57 am

I see your point, but as a student of Buddhism of Positive Psychology...it sounds my alarm sabout predicting happiness and contentment too far out into the future...we are encouraged to focus on only the nearer term and warned against over-analyzing, better to breathe and just live, each moment into the next.

Not always easy, I understand...but congratulations to you on ability to retire and have some degree of self-determination.

Enjoy!

BFG
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby heyyou » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:23 pm

Many good suggestions, already posted.

Once upon a time here, someone suggested that I had merely traded the busy-ness of my paid work for my preferred volunteer activities in retirement. Are you planning your first retirement recreations as intensely as you planned at work?

With your new luxury of time, you can have spontaneous activities, whether they are travel or just taking a day to read a new book. Having the choice is sublime.

Wishing you good luck on your journey to the new part of your life.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby baw703916 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:12 pm

Hi Victoria,

The last time we talked in person at a DC Bogleheads meeting, I remember you told me about visiting the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. While arranging the visit certainly involved some consumption (of airline tickets, hotels, food, etc.), the visit to the museum itself doesn't seem part of a hedonic treadmill. It was pretty clear that watching former Nobel Prize winners at the museum standing for hours waiting for their picture to appear in random order interested you more than buying a first class plane ticket or a top-of-the-line Volvo. You had an interesting experience and something to remember afterwards (and I really enjoyed hearing the story!). So, you don't seem like a hedonic treadmill type of person...

Early congratulations on your retirement, and I hope your 2014 trip will provide many interesting experiences.

Brad
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby midareff » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:23 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
midareff wrote:While there will be rainy days in retirement only you can rain on your parade. It certainly is (last 16 months) the most peaceful and stress free time of my life. The feeling of freedom is everywhere. It is impossible not to enjoy it.


When you were planning your retirement were you making specific plans for it? And if yes, are these plans still meaningful 16 months later?

Victoria


Yes, travel and activity plans. Wife's Green Card is taking a little longer than expected and I have been temporarily (I hope) slowed by health issues. I am optimistic that issues should be resolved or meaningfully improved by Thanksgiving and things can get back on track. While I have done Africa and Asia extensively there is lots of Europe and former Soviet Republic states I want to see as well as Israel and Jordan. Have camera will travel (sorry Paladin).

Perhaps the whole retirement thing was easier for me than most?? I called my last day at my 64th B-Day and had bank vacation and sick time to use, which resulted in my spending very little time in the office the next few months. Due to a shrinking tax base, Commission and senior leadership created morale issues, pay cuts, staff reductions, etc., the work place had become a generally hostile environment at all staff and management levels. It was easy to leave behind. After the official "R" day, I stayed in town about 8-9 weeks to be sure my IRA's and Deferred Compensation accounts rolled properly to VG, that my AA was implemented and that my state pension and SS started properly. After getting all that buttoned down I left to spend the summer in Thailand with my wife to be, waiting for her Fiancé Visa to be issued which took longer than expected and was finally issued almost three months after I had returned home, some 11 months after the application was filed.

My parents set the example and had retired at 62, making 30 years afterwards and sending me to a private college retired. It was never a surprise to me that I would reach retirement age and "get out", so serious savings and investing had started in my mid/late 30's. Unfortunately it was awhile until I found Jack, but that's water under the bridge.

You are going to love retirement. You will have time to devote to all the things you could not get to, or get involved in while working. The funniest thing is I have been so busy I don't know how I ever had the time to go to work. What's funnier is that friends and friends wives who have retired in the last several years all feel the same. There is so much to do and it is so enjoyable without that pesky employment hourly schedule to muck it up. :greedy :P :D :happy 8-) 8-)
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby reggiesimpson » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:46 pm

Methinks you will "adjust" to any difficulties that may arise. Meaning you have the ability to refocus and not dwell.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:58 pm

SnapShots wrote:Retirement is a huge adjustment. For some it's easier than for others. You suddenly or eventually become disconnected from the daily interactions of people you work with. At first I missed that. It's important to make new connections and find other activities you enjoy.

Hi SnapShots,

A significant part of my self-image is based on my professional achievements. Retirement will abruptly remove everything I have been working towards since I remember myself. I have started building new connections, but it's not easy while I am still working.

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:00 pm

Levett wrote:When you have leisure (e.g., retirement) you will simply become more of whoever you are.

Hi Lev,

And if I am not what I think I am? It's a serious question.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:02 pm

Fallible wrote:Hi Victoria,

I like the advice you’re getting: livesoft on "ONE of my best trips ever"; snapshots on "born to be retired"; cinghiale on a "different you" at the end of 2014, and levett on "more of whoever you are" and plans that "evolve." Those last two are my favorites and as a 12-year retiree, I know you can trust in that advice, so much so that it renders hedonic treadmill irrelevant.

I do have one piece of advice: stay with your plans for next year, especially Europe! :thumbsup

Fallible

Hi Fallible,

It's a very perceptive summary. Thank you!

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:03 pm

chaz wrote:Retirement is freedom - enjoy every day of it to the max.


Hi Chaz,

Isn't
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
?

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:05 pm

momar wrote:I know why you are worried about it, but you should try to have your best year ever. And then try to top it. Eventually things will get worse, so why hold back if you can afford it?


Momar,
It's a good perspective. Thank you,

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:15 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:I see your point, but as a student of Buddhism of Positive Psychology...it sounds my alarm sabout predicting happiness and contentment too far out into the future...we are encouraged to focus on only the nearer term and warned against over-analyzing, better to breathe and just live, each moment into the next.

Not always easy, I understand...but congratulations to you on ability to retire and have some degree of self-determination.

Enjoy!

BFG

Hi Barefootgirl,

I agree that predictions of happiness are futile. I am familiar with this from Behavioral Economics, which cinghiale picked upon. People notoriously mispredict what will make them happy and what will make them miserable, the most vivid example of which is provided by Dan Gilbert when he describes a lottery winner and a paraplegic a year after their respective events. Gilbert also suggests that the best way to prepare to how various eventualities will make you feel is to ask people to whom these events have already happened.

My questions in this thread are motivated by Gilbert's advice.

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Levett » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:17 pm

"And if I am not what I think I am? It's a serious question"

Yes, Victoria, it's an extremely serious question--one for which I have neither a glib answer nor for which you would like a glib answer.

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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby chaz » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:23 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:Retirement is freedom - enjoy every day of it to the max.


Hi Chaz,

Isn't
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
?

Victoria

You will have the opportunity to travel, to study, to read more, and do other things that you enjoy. But you are right that there will be a change in self-image, but you will adjust.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:23 pm

heyyou wrote:Once upon a time here, someone suggested that I had merely traded the busy-ness of my paid work for my preferred volunteer activities in retirement. Are you planning your first retirement recreations as intensely as you planned at work?


Hi heyyou,

Guilty as charged. But is not it natural to use whatever tools I have at my disposal at any given time?

heyyou wrote:With your new luxury of time, you can have spontaneous activities, whether they are travel or just taking a day to read a new book. Having the choice is sublime.


I am familiar with the paradox of choice when too many options, or even two equally appealing options, tend to paralyze decision making. It is, in fact, one of my concerns. But I think you are talking about the sense of comfort that is brought up by the ability to choose whatever is best for you.

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:31 pm

baw703916 wrote:Hi Victoria,

The last time we talked in person at a DC Bogleheads meeting, I remember you told me about visiting the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. While arranging the visit certainly involved some consumption (of airline tickets, hotels, food, etc.), the visit to the museum itself doesn't seem part of a hedonic treadmill. It was pretty clear that watching former Nobel Prize winners at the museum standing for hours waiting for their picture to appear in random order interested you more than buying a first class plane ticket or a top-of-the-line Volvo. You had an interesting experience and something to remember afterwards (and I really enjoyed hearing the story!). So, you don't seem like a hedonic treadmill type of person...

Early congratulations on your retirement, and I hope your 2014 trip will provide many interesting experiences.

Brad


Hi Brad,

I am impressed that you remember this! Just to clarify, I spent four hours in the museum but have not met a single Nobel Prize winner there. I spoke with a curator who he said that when Nobel winners visit the museum they stand under a moving conveyor of portraits and wait until their own comes up. That conveyor is the ultimate hedonic treadmill.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:39 pm

midareff wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
midareff wrote:While there will be rainy days in retirement only you can rain on your parade. It certainly is (last 16 months) the most peaceful and stress free time of my life. The feeling of freedom is everywhere. It is impossible not to enjoy it.


When you were planning your retirement were you making specific plans for it? And if yes, are these plans still meaningful 16 months later?

Victoria


Yes, travel and activity plans. Wife's Green Card is taking a little longer than expected and I have been temporarily (I hope) slowed by health issues. I am optimistic that issues should be resolved or meaningfully improved by Thanksgiving and things can get back on track. While I have done Africa and Asia extensively there is lots of Europe and former Soviet Republic states I want to see as well as Israel and Jordan. Have camera will travel (sorry Paladin).


Hi midareff,

I hope your health issues get resolved soon. You have posted some of your travel albums, and I enjoyed looking at your pictures. You have a beautiful wife. Best of luck to both of you.

midareff wrote:You are going to love retirement. You will have time to devote to all the things you could not get to, or get involved in while working. The funniest thing is I have been so busy I don't know how I ever had the time to go to work. What's funnier is that friends and friends wives who have retired in the last several years all feel the same. There is so much to do and it is so enjoyable without that pesky employment hourly schedule to muck it up. :greedy :P :D :happy 8-) 8-)


Thank you!
Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:41 pm

reggiesimpson wrote:Methinks you will "adjust" to any difficulties that may arise. Meaning you have the ability to refocus and not dwell.
Life is short...........go for it.


Thank you, reggie, ... but I am afraid what I am doing now is dwelling.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:43 pm

Levett wrote:"And if I am not what I think I am? It's a serious question"

Yes, Victoria, it's an extremely serious question--one for which I have neither a glib answer nor for which you would like a glib answer.

Lev


Do you have any recommendations for how to look for the answer?

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Calm Man » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:58 pm

Victoria,
For all of us, none of us ever know what day, forget what year, will be out last. You will never run out of things to do and as livesoft suggests, trips can be one of your best instead of the best. In retirement I think every day will be one of the best regardless of what you day and the special trips will be gravy. Don't overanalyze.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:14 pm

Calm Man wrote:Victoria,
For all of us, none of us ever know what day, forget what year, will be out last. You will never run out of things to do and as livesoft suggests, trips can be one of your best instead of the best. In retirement I think every day will be one of the best regardless of what you day and the special trips will be gravy. Don't overanalyze.


Calm Man,

Don't you think that having every day "one of the best" would create a one-of-the-best-days inflation? Life satisfaction depends to a large extent on pacing and contrasts, no? Perhaps, I am overanalyzing again, but that's me.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby Fallible » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:18 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Levett wrote:"And if I am not what I think I am? It's a serious question"

Yes, Victoria, it's an extremely serious question--one for which I have neither a glib answer nor for which you would like a glib answer.

Lev


Do you have any recommendations for how to look for the answer?

Victoria


Victoria,

I believe for you this may be an especially serious question, though not an uncommon one. Can you consider part-time work to ease into full-time retirement? I recall you said at one time that you had that option. This will give you more time to deal with the very important questions you're asking and begin to find the answers.

Fallible
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:22 pm

Fallible wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Levett wrote:"And if I am not what I think I am? It's a serious question"

Yes, Victoria, it's an extremely serious question--one for which I have neither a glib answer nor for which you would like a glib answer.

Lev


Do you have any recommendations for how to look for the answer?

Victoria


Victoria,

I believe for you this may be an especially serious question, though not an uncommon one. Can you consider part-time work to ease into full-time retirement? I recall you said at one time that you had that option. This will give you more time to deal with the very important questions you're asking and begin to find the answers.

Fallible


Fallible,

I have that option, but I don't think I will exercise it. I think, at least in my case, the barbell approach works better. Either I should continue working full time or I should completely refocus on other things.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby cinghiale » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:28 pm

Victoria,

I'm not surprised that you framed your original question with Daniel Gilbert in mind. You may have noticed that I used his construct of past/memory and present/perception while substituting goals and ambitions for "imagination" in looking at how we encounter the future. Gilbert works well in one other regard: His concluding point is one that he thinks will disappoint the reader. Why? Because the markers for happiness for each of us end up awfully similar to what makes most all of the rest of us happy. In regards to happiness-- no matter how elusive and difficult to define-- we humans are far more similar than different. There's a nice tie-in with James Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds here. Advice, especially from trusted sources who are obviously invested in your welfare, can be quite helpful.

So, what about the input and advice from those here at Bogleheads? You have posted over 8000 times. You have, steadily and incrementally, said a whole lot about yourself. You have revealed yourself as very well read across many disciplines, deeply interested in human action and the global/cultural context in which it happens, and an excellent communicator. Do people here on this thread know you are going to do great in retirement? No. But I suspect most think you have all the tools (the paramount one being intellectual curiosity) to quickly and successfully move out of your work environment and then thrive within whatever locales and situations your choices and travels take you.

Back to Gilbert: You already know that the future will not be a stylized version of the present. Completely new, different, and unanticipated things will happen. You have internalized Gilbert's arguments and evidence for this, and this will not end up being an unpleasant surprise for you. But that still leaves the "but what, then?" I think this thread is an attempt to think out loud about that questions with a few others looking over your shoulder.

Someone quite close to me once had the following quote over her work desk, "I have learned to be content with the well thought-out decisions I have made in life." Written by a satisficer to be sure. But it leads into what I hope is a clear conclusion: A wide knowledge base, the wisdom of your years, and the discipline to make well thought-out decisions should provide you with a very high degree of confidence going into 2014.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby wilpat » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:30 pm

I was/am one of those people whose work was my vocation and my avocation. I fully retired about a year ago (at age 72) and am still trying to figure out what to do with my time. I worked for 58 years and went on vacation for more than a few days only two times.

One time I went to New Zealand for 3 weeks and enjoyed it very much. The reason I took that trip was because I was between wives and it was one of the low points in my life. The other time I drove around the US for 7 weeks and saw lots of stuff --- but like the idiot I was I called my office every day to check up on what was happening.

Many people tell me to travel, but I traveled a lot in my work (I have been in 49 states and on 6 continents.

Health caused me to retire and it drives me nuts! I would like nothing more than to go back to work (part time).
There is one plus about all this though -- I get to see my 16 grandkids and 1 Great Grandson A lot!

To end this long tirade I would simply say that you are doing it right to plan ahead!
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby The Wizard » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:44 pm

I retired in March after 40 years of employment. The tyranny of "time off" was something that I was/am determined to address. With only 5-6 weeks a year off, I had to pick & choose between certain activities, but now I can do them all, subject only to financial considerations.

I wisely stayed around home base through April to make sure transitions of all my insurance coverages and my retirement income streams happened properly. Just a few minor hiccups there.
June had a week-long driving trip to a lake in Michigan (via Niagara Falls), staying at a large rental house with my brother and his grown kids.
July had a 23-day driving trip to New Mexico, with a six-day backpacking trip up into the mountains with a bunch of other former staff members. Lots of sightseeing to & from as well.
Just after Labor Day, we have a 13-day trip to The Netherlands and Belgium which should be interesting. First European trip in about 30 years!
End of Sept, there's a short week's trip flying to Kansas for a HS class reunion and a visit at my sister's place for two days.
End of Oct into early Nov, we have a 10-day trip to Jamaica for our 8th (or is it 9th?) visit to our favorite all-inclusive beach resort.
Day after Christmas, we fly to San Diego for 10 or 11 days, focused initially on decorating floats for the Rose Parade, the third time we've done this.

Additionally, I try to pick a fair-weather mid-week day each week for a day-trip around New England, such as last week's southern Maine excursion to bike a new rail trail or next week's probable trip to the White Mountains to do a little hiking.

Mentally, there are times I have thoughts, flashbacks or dreams about my engineering work career, but so what?
And as far as worrying about 2013 setting the bar too high for later years, no, not at all. My main thrust thus far has been to get on with it...
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:00 pm

cinghiale wrote:Victoria,

I'm not surprised that you framed your original question with Daniel Gilbert in mind. You may have noticed that I used his construct of past/memory and present/perception while substituting goals and ambitions for "imagination" in looking at how we encounter the future. Gilbert works well in one other regard: His concluding point is one that he thinks will disappoint the reader. Why? Because the markers for happiness for each of us end up awfully similar to what makes most all of the rest of us happy. In regards to happiness-- no matter how elusive and difficult to define-- we humans are far more similar than different. There's a nice tie-in with James Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds here. Advice, especially from trusted sources who are obviously invested in your welfare, can be quite helpful.

So, what about the input and advice from those here at Bogleheads? You have posted over 8000 times. You have, steadily and incrementally, said a whole lot about yourself. You have revealed yourself as very well read across many disciplines, deeply interested in human action and the global/cultural context in which it happens, and an excellent communicator. Do people here on this thread know you are going to do great in retirement? No. But I suspect most think you have all the tools (the paramount one being intellectual curiosity) to quickly and successfully move out of your work environment and then thrive within whatever locales and situations your choices and travels take you.

Back to Gilbert: You already know that the future will not be a stylized version of the present. Completely new, different, and unanticipated things will happen. You have internalized Gilbert's arguments and evidence for this, and this will not end up being an unpleasant surprise for you. But that still leaves the "but what, then?" I think this thread is an attempt to think out loud about that questions with a few others looking over your shoulder.

Someone quite close to me once had the following quote over her work desk, "I have learned to be content with the well thought-out decisions I have made in life." Written by a satisficer to be sure. But it leads into what I hope is a clear conclusion: A wide knowledge base, the wisdom of your years, and the discipline to make well thought-out decisions should provide you with a very high degree of confidence going into 2014.


cinghiale,

I am humbled by your words and hope to live up to your assessment and the wisdom of the Bogleheads crowd. I should also re-read Gilbert in a new frame of mind.

Thank you,

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:02 pm

wilpat wrote:There is one plus about all this though -- I get to see my 16 grandkids and 1 Great Grandson A lot!

To end this long tirade I would simply say that you are doing it right to plan ahead!


wilpat,

Thank you. Enjoy your family!

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:09 pm

The Wizard wrote:I retired in March after 40 years of employment. The tyranny of "time off" was something that I was/am determined to address. With only 5-6 weeks a year off, I had to pick & choose between certain activities, but now I can do them all, subject only to financial considerations.


Hi The Wizard,

I knew that you have recently retired and hoped that you would respond.

The Wizard wrote:I wisely stayed around home base through April to make sure transitions of all my insurance coverages and my retirement income streams happened properly. Just a few minor hiccups there.


This is an excellent point. I am planning to walk el Camino of Santiago de Compostela in spring, and I probably should allow a few weeks before that for my own hiccups.


The Wizard wrote:June had a week-long driving trip to a lake in Michigan (via Niagara Falls), staying at a large rental house with my brother and his grown kids.
July had a 23-day driving trip to New Mexico, with a six-day backpacking trip up into the mountains with a bunch of other former staff members. Lots of sightseeing to & from as well.
Just after Labor Day, we have a 13-day trip to The Netherlands and Belgium which should be interesting. First European trip in about 30 years!
End of Sept, there's a short week's trip flying to Kansas for a HS class reunion and a visit at my sister's place for two days.
End of Oct into early Nov, we have a 10-day trip to Jamaica for our 8th (or is it 9th?) visit to our favorite all-inclusive beach resort.
Day after Christmas, we fly to San Diego for 10 or 11 days, focused initially on decorating floats for the Rose Parade, the third time we've done this.

Additionally, I try to pick a fair-weather mid-week day each week for a day-trip around New England, such as last week's southern Maine excursion to bike a new rail trail or next week's probable trip to the White Mountains to do a little hiking.

Mentally, there are times I have thoughts, flashbacks or dreams about my engineering work career, but so what?
And as far as worrying about 2013 setting the bar too high for later years, no, not at all. My main thrust thus far has been to get on with it...


Have you planned these trips to make the separation easier? Or you take them as opportunities come?

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby alisa4804 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:25 pm

Victoria, I met you at Bogleheads 11 last year, and have followed your thoughtful posts and retirement questions; I have some of the same concerns about "what next?" I have the financial aspects of retirement figured out, many thanks to this forum. And for the past couple of years I've read a variety of "preparing for retirement" books, some of which I also got from Boglehead forum recommendations. One favorite is How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski. One suggestion I read somewhere was, leading up to retirement, to gradually test out and fill your life with additional activities, trying them on for size, seeing how you enjoy a group, activity, volunteer service, etc. Evaluate how you feel and which additional activities/groups fulfill you, and which are just blah or not what you hoped for. The goal is to develop a pretty full life, so when you finally do retire, you are just stepping out of your job, just one thing in your life, and it isn't such a big transition. Anyway, just a suggestion, and it is working for me. Actually I'm enjoying the additional activities so there is less dependence on satisfaction from my job, so I may "work" even longer!
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:37 pm

alisa4804 wrote:Victoria, I met you at Bogleheads 11 last year, and have followed your thoughtful posts and retirement questions; I have some of the same concerns about "what next?" I have the financial aspects of retirement figured out, many thanks to this forum. And for the past couple of years I've read a variety of "preparing for retirement" books, some of which I also got from Boglehead forum recommendations. One favorite is How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski. One suggestion I read somewhere was, leading up to retirement, to gradually test out and fill your life with additional activities, trying them on for size, seeing how you enjoy a group, activity, volunteer service, etc. Evaluate how you feel and which additional activities/groups fulfill you, and which are just blah or now what you hoped for. The goal is to develop a pretty full life, so when you finally do retire, you are just stepping out of your job, just one thing in your life, and it isn't such a big transition. Anyway, just a suggestion, and it is working for me. Actually I'm enjoying the additional activities so there is less dependence on satisfaction from my job, so I may "work" even longer!


Hi Alisa,

Hope to see you again at BH12. I have started several additional activities earlier this year. The main reason was that I was bored, but I also look at them as possibilities for retirement. Some of them are more satisfying than others, but when I actually retire I will have more time to explore.

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby The Wizard » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:41 pm

Victoria asked whether I planned my travel agenda to make my separation from employment easier.

Hmm, no, I don't THINK so. There was an element of pent up demand that was waiting for a green light, mostly. Many of the events were planned by others for a specific date-range, so those were yes/no decisions. Others were unconstrained, just a matter of finding a good time to go to wherever.

One thing that I find from my various travels is this: I almost always come back with one or two good ideas for a followup trip. This could turn into a full-time obsession with any luck...
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:43 pm

The Wizard wrote:One thing that I find from my various travels is this: I almost always come back with one or two good ideas for a followup trip. This could turn into a full-time obsession with any luck...


I hope it would happen to me, too!

Victoria
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby alisa4804 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:30 pm

I am planning to walk el Camino of Santiago de Compostela in spring


Victoria, I'm really looking forward to hearing about your experience on this walk. I hope you have checked the weather and learned that spring is not too early (weather?), but suspect you have done your research!

One item on my bucket list is being at the Pantheon in Rome at Pentecost to see the rose petals dropped thru the open oculus, as a sign of the Holy Spirit - apparently the local firemen climb the building to assist with the rose petals.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby chaz » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:31 pm

Everyone needs a bucket list.
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Re: Hedonic treadmill in retirement

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:36 pm

chaz wrote:Everyone needs a bucket list.


I want my list to be expanding--like The Wizard's.

Victoria
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