Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
GrowthSeeker
Posts: 884
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 10:14 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by GrowthSeeker »

When I was in my mid forties, let's say I was 43, I realized that every dollar I earned that year, after taxes had to cover not only my expenses that year, but then also for one year of my retirement, say age 73. No, not strictly accurate, but you work 30 or 40 years and then you're retired 30 or 40 years.

Another concept was that I were to purchase some expensive unneeded item, then some years in the future, that item would be lost broken or forgotton, but the money saved by not buying it could be invested and grow exponentially.
And a similar idea was that decisions made today can have a profound effect on your decades-later net worth.

A more recent epiphany was the Boglehead philosophy. For decades I thought I could beat the market if I could figure out a great trading system. The good news is that I did not invest much money into such investments because I was aware that I had not yet found such a system. The epiphany was realizing I was never going to find it and that buying and holding the haystack was better; and so much easier.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.
Dottie57
Posts: 9201
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Dottie57 »

Dead Man Walking wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:06 am
I view the chipmunks as the “investment professionals” on Wall Street.

DMW
Haha! I love the little chipmunks. So busy all the time.
User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 1672
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by WoodSpinner »

Dead Man Walking wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:06 am I am fortunate in that I have a defined benefit pension that will cover all of my necessities. My portfolio is my long term care insurance. I’ve lived longer than many medical professionals would have predicted. When you have to face your mortality, you can actually be at peace. Once you achieve your peace, life is a gift that you can appreciate everyday. I enjoy the birds that frequent my feeders and have learned to tolerate the squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits that steal the food intended for my feathered friends. My wife doesn’t appreciate the chipmunks that excavate our foundation plantings and eat her flowers in addition to the birdseed. I view the chipmunks as the “investment professionals” on Wall Street.

DMW
Thanks for sharing this, it resonates.

WoodSpinner
MandyT
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by MandyT »

I'm 58 and have been retired for three years.

I'm not sure if I'd call this an epiphany, but it's an observation. If you avoid lifestyle creep and forming expensive habits, it will pay you twice: you will save more during the accumulation phase, and what you accumulate will last you longer because you won't spend it as quickly.
FireHorse
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:03 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by FireHorse »

"childhood is like driving through a small town, you blink and it is over." If I had it to do over again I would like to be more on task with child raising.
100% agree with this statement.

The thing is that when kids were young we were young too, we had family to raise and mortgage to pay. Everything was new to us, get married, had kids, bought a house and then first child went to kinder garden, yay....all new experiences; on top of that, we still had a job and career to achieve; we were stressed and tried to handle everything at short period of time. All of sudden, the kids are grown up. During the chaos, some marriage succeeded and some failed.
btenny
Posts: 5419
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by btenny »

I am over 70 and long retired. I became an electronics engineer and stayed in that career my whole life. It was OK and I was good at it but it was not easy or that rewarding personally or money wise. So as I look back on my life I now know I could have been a doctor or business guy or gotten my PhD. Just something more rewarding and fun/social. I know I just took the first exit to a job with good pay. So now I wonder how rewarding some of those other careers would have been. Do others here wonder about paths not taken?

Likewise I learned when I retired young that a fun rewarding life is not that expensive and you do not need that much to live well. I found that "play or fun jobs" offer fulfilling days but little money and that is a great trade off.

I also rediscovered all the fun times my wife and I can have together when we have no jobs to soak up time and no kids to taxi or watch after.

Good Luck.
Last edited by btenny on Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rudedog
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:15 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Rudedog »

As Daryl Hall says "Life's too short." Enjoy every day you wake up.
flaccidsteele
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by flaccidsteele »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
I started investing in the 1990s at the age of 20 and I retired in my 40s with over $5m+. It took me 2 other tries to retire in the past

Although I understood the concept of the hedonic treadmill it took direct experience for me to realize that a life of leisure eventually resulted in boredom

I wouldn’t do anything different for my job. It was never my identity. Never cared about it personally. I used the employer the same way that it used me. It was a business transaction. I not an employee that indoctrinated themselves into “loving” their job.

I created value for the company’s customers, profits for its shareholders, and in exchange they gave me the money that I needed to be financially free. Win win win

What would I do differently? I would’ve been more aggressive in buying during the dot com crash, credit crisis, U.S. housing downturn and virus crisis. I had increased buying during all the downturns since I became an adult, but I should’ve been more aggressive
Last edited by flaccidsteele on Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 1517
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by LilyFleur »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
I am profoundly grateful for the privilege of being my children's mother. Despite putting them through college as a single mom, I was able to retire early. In order to get the first one to college, I had to work at a very low-paying job that was demanding and didn't give me enough "vacation time" to drive my son 7 hours away to college twice a year. (I had sacrificed my career to be the stay-at-home parent, and I wouldn't trade that time with them for the world, even though it meant I re-entered the work force into a job that did not require a college degree and did not use my creative skills. It was difficult AND low-paying.) Nothing gave me greater pleasure than handing my boss my letter of resignation, and then taking my time moving my son into his first off-campus apartment the following week. All of this was made possible by a modest pension and a portfolio that was mostly company stock from a previous employer that had doubled my portfolio in one year. When the president began talking about tariffs, I diversified, BH-style. My life has had plenty of challenges, including health problems, but I cannot complain. I guess my epiphany is that my children are my greatest treasure, but having a comfortable retirement and the ability to help them is good, too. The way my finances worked out was based on advice from a close family member. I did keep a very small amount of the company stock. It is less than 2% of my portfolio after an extreme downward spiral. I feel very blessed.
flaccidsteele
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by flaccidsteele »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
People only want what they don’t have
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
Topic Author
Keenobserver
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Keenobserver »

flaccidsteele wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:07 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
I started investing in the 1990s at the age of 20 and I retired in my 40s with over $5m+. It took me 2 other tries to retire in the past

Although I understood the concept of the hedonic treadmill it took direct experience for me to realize that a life of leisure eventually resulted in boredom

I wouldn’t do anything different for my job. It was never my identity. Never cared about it personally. I used the employer the same way that it used me. It was a business transaction. I not an employee that indoctrinated themselves into “loving” their job.

I created value for the company’s customers, profits for its shareholders, and in exchange they gave me the money that I needed to be financially free. Win win win

What would I do differently? I would’ve been more aggressive in buying during the dot com crash, credit crisis, U.S. housing downturn and virus crisis. I had increased buying during all the downturns since I became an adult, but I should’ve been more aggressive
I too would like to retire in my 40s. Would appreciate if you could expand on your experience/ path and also the failed attempts to retire.
bearcub
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:54 am
Location: Twilight Zone

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by bearcub »

I would of majored in something different for a different career. I would not of bought a house, would of rented. May of worked less OT and spent more time with family + friends. Overall am grateful I got to retire early.
protagonist
Posts: 6693
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by protagonist »

I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
User avatar
Marmot
Posts: 396
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:44 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Marmot »

Your time is your own. Greatest thing, no alarm clock. My wife and I were working on one of our rental units yesterday (about 10am) and I looked at her and asked the big question..."would you prefer to be here doing this or on a conference call"? We always seemed to have 10am conference calls , just a thing I guess. You will always be doing something, you just get to choose it mostly. You can decide when to go somewhere when you want. Don't have to worry about vacation time or what mayhem "Johnny" at work will cause while you are gone. I certainly don't miss performance appraisals (ex HR director), reporting to people whom I can't respect, following policies that are ill thought out ...so ...my time is my own.
Marty....don't go to the year 2020....Dr. Emmett Brown
GlennK
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:20 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by GlennK »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
Yes. Stopping at two was selfish of me at the time. I see my brother and sister in law with their four kids and how their house is full at the holidays.
User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by bengal22 »

I regret not buying a bigger house when I retired and moved back to home state. How was I to know stock market would have an astounding 8 year run.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley
Topic Author
Keenobserver
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Keenobserver »

GlennK wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:51 am
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
Yes. Stopping at two was selfish of me at the time. I see my brother and sister in law with their four kids and how their house is full at the holidays.
Appreciate your honesty. I also 2 kids and was pondering if I should have more. I grew up in a big family and crave interaction/ commotion from family. I easily become depressed/ lonely due to my upbringing of always having brothers and sisters around. I felt unsure, but didnt want to have just 1 girl and 1 boy. I felt they deserve more playmates. That being said, we are expecting our 3rd. I was nervous when i found out, but am kind of looking forward to it now. I believe every soul that is meant to born, will be born regardless of our plans.
GreenLawn
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:58 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by GreenLawn »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
No kids. Never really enjoyed the company of children so I certainly wasn't going to sign up for the job of parent. Now that I'm retired, I am a little curious as to what the appeal is, I may attend a Little League game as an observer and see how that goes:)
flaccidsteele
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by flaccidsteele »

Keenobserver wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:36 am
flaccidsteele wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:07 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
I started investing in the 1990s at the age of 20 and I retired in my 40s with over $5m+. It took me 2 other tries to retire in the past

Although I understood the concept of the hedonic treadmill it took direct experience for me to realize that a life of leisure eventually resulted in boredom

I wouldn’t do anything different for my job. It was never my identity. Never cared about it personally. I used the employer the same way that it used me. It was a business transaction. I not an employee that indoctrinated themselves into “loving” their job.

I created value for the company’s customers, profits for its shareholders, and in exchange they gave me the money that I needed to be financially free. Win win win

What would I do differently? I would’ve been more aggressive in buying during the dot com crash, credit crisis, U.S. housing downturn and virus crisis. I had increased buying during all the downturns since I became an adult, but I should’ve been more aggressive
I too would like to retire in my 40s. Would appreciate if you could expand on your experience/ path and also the failed attempts to retire.
Send me a DM. I’m on a social media platform where I already created over 1000+ videos about what I did to retire in my 40s
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
mtmingus
Posts: 442
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:15 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by mtmingus »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:
Thanks for sharing!
Topic Author
Keenobserver
Posts: 457
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Keenobserver »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
What a beautiful and well thought out post. Thank you for letting us sneak a peek into your private experiences/ reflections. This is the sort of self reflecrion i was hoping for when I started this post.
protagonist
Posts: 6693
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by protagonist »

Keenobserver wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:25 pm
protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
What a beautiful and well thought out post. Thank you for letting us sneak a peek into your private experiences/ reflections. This is the sort of self reflecrion i was hoping for when I started this post.
Thank you , Keen, and good luck with your retirement decisions. I suspect you will be happy with them.
User avatar
NearlyRetired
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:56 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by NearlyRetired »

I am recently retired (early), but I would say, from this end of life, is how quickly it goes by. A lot of things I thought were important at the time, weren't really in retrospect. So my take away is to enjoy life while you can and don't stress or worry about things outside of your control
To err is to be human, to really mess up, use a computer
B. Wellington
Posts: 240
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:10 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by B. Wellington »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
Nice post, thanks for sharing.
B. Wellington
Posts: 240
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:10 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by B. Wellington »

I have always found it interesting when people get together and the conversation leads to "what type of work do you do?" How is work going? etc.

A good friend reminded me of what really is important and if later in life you are unable to answer those types of questions in a positive light that you should try to reconnect with family and friends. Reconnect with "old" hobbies that you may have not engaged in when *work* became your major focus or start engaging in new ones. Volunteer and/or get a pet. Retirement will be here before you know it. Enjoy today. :beer
chipperd
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by chipperd »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
No regrets, but as a parent of 3, that third kid is much more expensive as the "need" for a minivan or larger vehicle comes into play, along with, once they are older, often a second hotel room for travel, larger home once older for privacy, etc...In order of child expenses for us, #3 was the most expensive, #1 was second most expensive and #2 the least expensive. I wish I had known that; not sure if it would have changed anything, but would have been good to know for planning purposes.
hudson
Posts: 3266
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by hudson »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction,
So...all the numbers are good and still that happens....double ouch.
My numbers aren't that good, but they are OK. An online assessment says that my chances of a heart problem are 10-15% in the next decade. (Age 72) I guess that you just do your best, but sometimes you have to take a lick.

Back to the epiphany:
After I started reading Bogleheads, it hit me that I needed to stop spending and start saving.
Then it hit me that I needed to learn how to save.
Then I read about people that actually paid cash for a vehicle....no loan? No one that I knew ever did that.
What would I do differently? Nothing, because I wouldn't want to change where I've ended up. I don't have any control over the past except to learn from it.
Escapevelocity
Posts: 189
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Escapevelocity »

delamer wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:00 am Unusual for a Boglehead, but I wished we’d saved less money.

We could have done more traveling with the kids or bought a beach place or purchased a primary home with more privacy.
This is refreshing. I am a big believer in LBYM, but there are also way too many people on this forum who over-save and are way too risk averse. The real trick is to moderate your spending but do not oversave as you are sub-optimizing your lifetime value gained from those savings.
DCChak
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:41 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by DCChak »

B. Wellington wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:49 am
protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
Nice post, thanks for sharing.
+1
mailman781
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:38 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by mailman781 »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
Being an old man I, like so many others, can think back and wish I had done some things different, but that is life. There is one thing that I regret the most.

When young we often put off things we wanted to do, places we wanted to go, etc. We always said that "we will do this or that when we retire", then only a few years into retirement due to health issues, we could not do those things. I regret that we did not do all of those things when we were young.
am
Posts: 3525
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:55 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by am »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
Sorry to hear that but I’m not sure what your point is? Long winded way of saying, sh*t happens, no guarantees, etc? Perhaps if you were overweight and diabetic you wouldn’t be telling us about your misfortune...

I think most of us here live with an optimistic attitude that things will work out, but still have doubts. Especially when you see posts like yours or those absurd SWR debates where people argue back and forth about what’s “safe” not knowing how the future will be.
ScooterBob
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:21 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by ScooterBob »

DCChak wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:41 am
B. Wellington wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:49 am
protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
Nice post, thanks for sharing.
+1
Best post I've ever read on Bogleheads.... I read many posts here with people arguing- "your portfolio is too conservative, you'll run out of money at 95 years old." This post is REALISTIC. It's great to be optimistic and always looking forward but you also have to be realistic. Saving every single dime for some "day in the future" is not living. Save, plan, but live while you're here. I have many acquaintances that are older but would I want to "live" like that? NO! They sit around in the house 24/7. That's all they CAN do at this point in their life. When I was younger I thought I would live forever- I think everyone has that mindset. Once you are "seasoned" you see that isn't going to happen- at least not in the same sense you think it will.

Great post!

Bob
realclemsongrad
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 16, 2020 4:37 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by realclemsongrad »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 am I'll share this post of mine from 2015, hoping it may be helpful:

by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am

I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.

I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I work out regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.

I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.

Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.

My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth more than my car.

(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)

I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.

I made money. Money didn't make me.

I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.

I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest. The vast majority of that subset dies or winds up with a permanent serious disability.

Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there by relating my story.

I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends and relatives know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.

You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live a good and happy life and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?
Well said. Great perspective. Thank you!
james22
Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:22 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by james22 »

cinghiale wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:49 am I’m going to plagiarize from a recent post. To wit:
My biggest surprise was in realizing how satisfying “negative freedom” was, in recognizing and celebrating all the pointless, meaningless, and inane work-related tasks that I no longer had to do or ever consider. That realization was as equally satisfying as “positive freedom,” having the time and energy to do all the things I dreamed of doing. But what bliss it was to know that all that busy work was a thing of the past.
This is the difference between “freedom to” (No one can stop me from doing something) and “freedom from” (No one can force me to do this.). What an exquisite condition it is to realize that “No, thank you” is a complete sentence and that no further comment is needed.
I've *just* retired and this has been my biggest surprise as well. :sharebeer
james22
Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:22 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by james22 »

protagonist wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:53 amYou can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it...
My second biggest surprise is the relief knowing that if I've a heart attack and keel over tomorrow, I'll at least have experienced retirement. The risk of dying in the saddle is now gone.
flaccidsteele
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by flaccidsteele »

“If you’re ready to die, then you’re ready to live.”

“Fear of death is ridiculous, because as long as you are not dead you are alive, and when you are dead there is nothing more to worry about.” - Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” - Mark Twain

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up... now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep. That was when you were born.” - Alan Watts
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
shess
Posts: 676
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 12:02 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by shess »

delamer wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:00 am Unusual for a Boglehead, but I wished we’d saved less money.

We could have done more traveling with the kids or bought a beach place or purchased a primary home with more privacy.
I feel this. I grew up in a hardscrabble household, and had no time to waste on taking it easy, it was all pedal to the metal, 110% effort, etc. No vacations, only visits to family, because when I was young we never really had vacations, only visits to family (few and far between for distant family). Then, one day, I realized that with kids, there were many experiences which wouldn't really be the same while managing kids, and also wouldn't really be the same once the kids were gone because I'd be another 15 or 20 years older and more set in my ways. I mean things like (but not restricted to) walking the Camino and staying in hostels. It took me until well into my 40's to REALLY take this lesson home and try to improve my approach.

Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy being retired early. I just don't think taking a summer vacation in my 20's to bike the north shore of superior would have materially messed with that.
User avatar
marklearnsbogle
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:56 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by marklearnsbogle »

Sheepdog wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:03 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
May I be philosophical? My personal thoughts may be different after having already lived happily for over two decades in retirement and into my late 80s.... Finances are important in retirement, of course, but your spirit is most important. Don't live alone. Alone at 70, 80, 90 would be awful for me and my health. Live with a person who shares your values and wishes, especially your time and space. Be prepared to lovingly assist each other as you age. Live together, travel together, share the things you each enjoy together.
And, say "I love you" often to all you care about....living companion, friends and family. Even if one of you leave before the other, your memories will carry you through.

Woof Woof
Thank you for sharing these wise and comforting words. I have to agree with Suze Orman’s tag: people first, then money, then things.
"Nothing is simpler than owning the stock market and holding it forever, and that’s essentially the idea behind the index fund.” - Bogle.
User avatar
marklearnsbogle
Posts: 174
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:56 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by marklearnsbogle »

babapanda wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:59 am 1. Live below your means
2. Have an asset allocation that allows you to stay the course
3. know your expenses more than your income

I've been retired for 2 years now and am glad to have found bogleheads 10 years ago. Probably would have become FI earlier if I would have known about Boglehead philosophy earlier in my career.
+ 1 !!
"Nothing is simpler than owning the stock market and holding it forever, and that’s essentially the idea behind the index fund.” - Bogle.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6672
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Kenkat »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
There’s been a lot of posts around this and although I am not yet retired (getting very close however - I have a semi-official countdown clock running), I thought I’d add a perspective.

I have two children. Love them both to death.

My oldest son has (very) high functioning autism. I say very because in many ways he is typical. You might not even notice on meeting him briefly. But this has greatly influenced his life and consequently ours as well. He has some associated mental health issues (anxiety being a big one, also organizational cognitive issues) that limits ability to work, live on his own, etc. This has greatly affected our course in life. In some ways it has made me a better person, but has also limited our ability as a couple to take trips alone, the types of trips we could take as a family, school, social interactions with friends, etc. We’ve focused on making our home a sanctuary and devoted to family. Choices were made in terms of careers as well. We are very blessed to have a nice home, some good friends and a good life.

As I said, I love both of my children and think they are wonderful and amazing, but life is different than maybe I expected when having kids as I never thought about them not being 100% typical, hey dad, let’s toss some ball types. My wife and I have talked about this extensively and I don’t have regrets but we both agreed you never know what you are gonna get as Forrest Gump would say.

I know others who have situations that make mine look easy for many reasons as many kids struggle with different issues and so by extension so do the parents.
The Outsider
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:07 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by The Outsider »

LilyFleur wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:41 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
I am profoundly grateful for the privilege of being my children's mother. Despite putting them through college as a single mom, I was able to retire early. In order to get the first one to college, I had to work at a very low-paying job that was demanding and didn't give me enough "vacation time" to drive my son 7 hours away to college twice a year. (I had sacrificed my career to be the stay-at-home parent, and I wouldn't trade that time with them for the world, even though it meant I re-entered the work force into a job that did not require a college degree and did not use my creative skills. It was difficult AND low-paying.) Nothing gave me greater pleasure than handing my boss my letter of resignation, and then taking my time moving my son into his first off-campus apartment the following week. All of this was made possible by a modest pension and a portfolio that was mostly company stock from a previous employer that had doubled my portfolio in one year. When the president began talking about tariffs, I diversified, BH-style. My life has had plenty of challenges, including health problems, but I cannot complain. I guess my epiphany is that my children are my greatest treasure, but having a comfortable retirement and the ability to help them is good, too. The way my finances worked out was based on advice from a close family member. I did keep a very small amount of the company stock. It is less than 2% of my portfolio after an extreme downward spiral. I feel very blessed.
RESPECT
protagonist
Posts: 6693
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by protagonist »

flaccidsteele wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:11 am “If you’re ready to die, then you’re ready to live.”

“Fear of death is ridiculous, because as long as you are not dead you are alive, and when you are dead there is nothing more to worry about.” - Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” - Mark Twain

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up... now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep. That was when you were born.” - Alan Watts
Very cool. Mark Twain was a funny dude.
User avatar
Portfolio7
Posts: 888
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:53 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by Portfolio7 »

Kenkat wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:23 am
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:28 pm Does anyone here regrett not having kids, or not havijg enoguh kids ?
There’s been a lot of posts around this and although I am not yet retired (getting very close however - I have a semi-official countdown clock running), I thought I’d add a perspective.

I have two children. Love them both to death.

My oldest son has (very) high functioning autism. I say very because in many ways he is typical. You might not even notice on meeting him briefly. But this has greatly influenced his life and consequently ours as well. He has some associated mental health issues (anxiety being a big one, also organizational cognitive issues) that limits ability to work, live on his own, etc. This has greatly affected our course in life. In some ways it has made me a better person, but has also limited our ability as a couple to take trips alone, the types of trips we could take as a family, school, social interactions with friends, etc. We’ve focused on making our home a sanctuary and devoted to family. Choices were made in terms of careers as well. We are very blessed to have a nice home, some good friends and a good life.

As I said, I love both of my children and think they are wonderful and amazing, but life is different than maybe I expected when having kids as I never thought about them not being 100% typical, hey dad, let’s toss some ball types. My wife and I have talked about this extensively and I don’t have regrets but we both agreed you never know what you are gonna get as Forrest Gump would say.

I know others who have situations that make mine look easy for many reasons as many kids struggle with different issues and so by extension so do the parents.
Wow. I could have written this almost word for word. Drop anxiety and add depression, and that sounds like our oldest. The changes between what one might have expected and what we actually experienced were significant. I don't regret having kids, but it definitely has created unexpected challenges.

I once calculated that without the two boys, we could have a couple Lamborghinis in the garage by now. Not that we would, just an example of the financial sacrifices of parenting. Sacrifices I'd make again and again.

It's given great purpose to my life to raise these two boys. It was costly to support them, especially when you factor in the many medical costs incurred by our oldest that were not covered by insurance.... and there was a point not so long ago when I was convinced it would soon mean my grave. I was overweight, low energy, deteriorating health readings, overworked, and several other issues I won't list out. I still don't regret my choices.

Happy to say that in the past year things have turned 180 degrees - energy up, weight declining, health improving, getting a full night's sleep instead of working half the night. Also getting very close to vesting my retirement benefits. I have a plan to get to my college weight before I become retirement eligible, and am on track to do so. I hope to get there on schedule, and maybe have a few grandkids to play with at some point in the future.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest" - Benjamin Franklin
likegarden
Posts: 3024
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by likegarden »

When or before I retired I made a budget to see where exactly all the money is (will be) going in retirement on an Excel spread sheet.
Those sheets were easy to modify to see effects, i.e. when we planned a vacation, or when I decided to continue working half-time, or when we decided to help raise our grandson.
PartIrish
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by PartIrish »

Sheepdog wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:03 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
May I be philosophical? My personal thoughts may be different after having already lived happily for over two decades in retirement and into my late 80s.... Finances are important in retirement, of course, but your spirit is most important. Don't live alone. Alone at 70, 80, 90 would be awful for me and my health. Live with a person who shares your values and wishes, especially your time and space. Be prepared to lovingly assist each other as you age. Live together, travel together, share the things you each enjoy together.
And, say "I love you" often to all you care about....living companion, friends and family. Even if one of you leave before the other, your memories will carry you through.

Woof Woof
Thank you, Sheepdog, for this wisdom and all the rest you have so generously provided this forum. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and have taken your advice to heart more than once.
TheNightsToCome
Posts: 615
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
I had a good friend in high school and college. He was a brilliant guy, and I've never met anyone so insightful. It was such a delight to talk with him.

We were best friends, but also rivals. We competed in school, on standardized tests, on the basketball court, and in the weight room. If one of us voiced an opinion, the other would often take the opposing point of view, just for the sake of it. Young men can be very competitive.

In those days, I always had a girlfriend, but my friend never did, not one. I was not insightful enough to realize how much that affected him, or maybe I was too wrapped up in my own life to notice. In retrospect, this became an issue as college progressed, and we became less close over time.

After graduation we went our separate ways, but I knew that he remained in our hometown and I have always planned to retire there. I envisioned us as old men sharing a drink and talking late into the night the way we did when we were young.

He died four years ago at 57 with no family of his own, just his brother. I found out after the fact with no chance to say goodbye. I'll never talk with him again, and I wish now that I had been more generous with compliments. He was the most intelligent and interesting man that I've ever met, and I'm certain that I never told him so. I wish I had been more empathetic, more like a brother and less like a rival.
hoops777
Posts: 3299
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:23 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by hoops777 »

As you get older do not put things off like trips you want to take. Do not assume you will still be able to do it in 2 or 3 years. #4@@$&* happens and it happens more the older you are.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
prairieman
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by prairieman »

An old guy sitting in a chair watching TV can make more than a young person who works hard every day. I am glad I didn’t really understand this when I was younger.
“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well.” Chauncey Gardner
flaccidsteele
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by flaccidsteele »

FireHorse wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:35 pm
"childhood is like driving through a small town, you blink and it is over." If I had it to do over again I would like to be more on task with child raising.
100% agree with this statement.

The thing is that when kids were young we were young too, we had family to raise and mortgage to pay. Everything was new to us, get married, had kids, bought a house and then first child went to kinder garden, yay....all new experiences; on top of that, we still had a job and career to achieve; we were stressed and tried to handle everything at short period of time. All of sudden, the kids are grown up. During the chaos, some marriage succeeded and some failed.
Being retired in my 40s and raising my child as they go through elementary school is interesting. Especially watching them see things with fresh eyes

I hear a lot of parents wish that they could’ve been more present during their child’s upbringing

I spend all day every day with my child

On the one hand I don’t think I’ll be one of those parents who say that they wish they had spent more time with their child. I can’t spend more time with mine even if I wanted to

On the other hand I try not to take it for granted, but I sometimes do

When I hear parents of adult children talk about how much more time they could’ve spent with their kids growing up, it sounds like they’re describing a life that could have been. For me, what they’re describing is just my life

Most of my peers are too busy working to hang out. And many in my parent’s cohort are busy looking after grandkids
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
confusedinvestor
Posts: 894
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:04 am

Re: Retirees, share your epiphanies..

Post by confusedinvestor »

TheNightsToCome wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:18 pm
Keenobserver wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I m looking for some wisdom from retirees and asking are some of your realizations. What would you do differently? What would you approach differently not only in job/ career or finances, but in life in general now that you are retired and have opportunities to reflect.
I had a good friend in high school and college. He was a brilliant guy, and I've never met anyone so insightful. It was such a delight to talk with him.

We were best friends, but also rivals. We competed in school, on standardized tests, on the basketball court, and in the weight room. If one of us voiced an opinion, the other would often take the opposing point of view, just for the sake of it. Young men can be very competitive.

In those days, I always had a girlfriend, but my friend never did, not one. I was not insightful enough to realize how much that affected him, or maybe I was too wrapped up in my own life to notice. In retrospect, this became an issue as college progressed, and we became less close over time.

After graduation we went our separate ways, but I knew that he remained in our hometown and I have always planned to retire there. I envisioned us as old men sharing a drink and talking late into the night the way we did when we were young.

He died four years ago at 57 with no family of his own, just his brother. I found out after the fact with no chance to say goodbye. I'll never talk with him again, and I wish now that I had been more generous with compliments. He was the most intelligent and interesting man that I've ever met, and I'm certain that I never told him so. I wish I had been more empathetic, more like a brother and less like a rival.
+1

What a powerful story. I will remind myself your words '...I wish I had been more empathetic, more like a brother and less like a rival...'....we should all keep trying to be more empathetic, thank you for sharing your story and wisdom.
Locked