The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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tennisplyr
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The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by tennisplyr » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:31 am

The Wharton School has published an interesting article on retirement:

http://www.happilyrewired.com/2016/02/w ... ement.html
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Toons
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Toons » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:34 am

Lets see,,,retired here.
Up 5:30 AM
Coffee.
Scan Washginton Post,USA Today,New York Times,
Online Typing Tutor
Duolingo Spanish lessons.
Listen to music
Bogleheads
more coffee,
Starting to wake up now :happy :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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tennisplyr
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by tennisplyr » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:41 am

Toons wrote:Lets see,,,retired here.
Up 5:30 AM
Coffee.
Scan Washginton Post,USA Today,New York Times,
Online Typing Tutor
Duolingo Spanish lessons.
Listen to music
Bogleheads
more coffee,
Starting to wake up now :happy :happy
Guess you've figured it out
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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bengal22
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by bengal22 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:47 am

The article points out a very real problem in retirement. Many of us found some of our self-identity in work and when that goes away it can be a "very big loss." Besides financial plans one should also know that this could be an issue and be prepared to handle it. One can find their identity in serving others and using work skill sets to help others. One can find their identity in family or just learning new skills. But it is something to prepare for.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

truenorth418
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by truenorth418 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:08 am

I admit I had this problem when I retired a few years ago. I thought I needed a new "sense of purpose", and I was self conscious when others asked me "what do YOU do?" But that feeling faded over time and now I don't even think about working anymore. I love having my time to myself to do what I want whenever I want. It's a powerful feeling, much better than the lack of control I felt when I worked in a corporate job. If others don't get that about me, then that's their problem.

I think the more important question that Wharton should study is why do people tie their sense of identity and self-worth to their jobs in the first place? In today's world where technological change and economic forces can rip their job from them and quickly render their occupations obsolete, wouldn't it make more sense for people to find their self-worth and identity in something other than their careers?

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by rustymutt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:24 am

Retired, just got up showered, and reading Bogleheads with a cup of coffee. Did 10 swatts already, and will walk a few miles later today, if the wind lets up. Been very windy last few days. I must clean up the yard also. I'm looking forward to that walk. Looking at bass boats on craigslist, because I had to stop fishing with a full time job, and family of 2 boys. Man am I looking forward to fishing this spring. I also volunteer to help out at my church. Dinners, and what ever they need me for.
As far as a second career, no thank you.
I'm amazed at the wealth of Knowledge others gather, and share over a lifetime of learning. The mind is truly unique. It's nice when we use it!

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Toons
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Toons » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:24 am

rustymutt wrote:Retired, just got up showered, and reading Bogleheads with a cup of coffee. Did 10 swatts already, and will walk a few miles later today, if the wind lets up. Been very windy last few days. I must clean up the yard also. I'm looking forward to that walk. Looking at bass boats on craigslist, because I had to stop fishing with a full time job, and family of 2 boys. Man am I looking forward to fishing this spring. I also volunteer to help out at my church. Dinners, and what ever they need me for.
As far as a second career, no thank you.
Sounds Great!! :sharebeer
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:36 am

>>>>>>>>You take a busy executive who has had a successful career >>>>>

That, above, is from that article.
Many of us are not of that type of workforce. Maybe we are just the grinders who went in every day and did our job. The blue collar workers. The ones whose job was not what we had envisioned it to be. That we just fell into, or that changed over the years and became less than satisfying.
It is funny that the theme of working is so often based on executive or higher income white collar jobs. Work a little longer. That sort of thing. The reality for many is that while their job may be tied to who they are, no matter who you are, in the long run you do not matter and you will fade away.
It is not a question of what you will do with your time, but what you will do with yourself. If you are such a person that your self worth is tied so closely with your job, that is all your eggs in one basket. You should have diversified your interests and self value long before. A Boglehead approach to who you are. Many interests, not all in one self (fund). Then when you retire you can reallocate yourself.
It is a beautiful thing to retire today and have that most valuable resource, time. If you can't handle the time, you will not be very happy. Maybe you should have not been a 'busy executive' and should have been just an 'executive'.
I am all for getting up and having my coffee and watching the sun rise with the freedom to view it as long as I want.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by BTDT » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:11 am

"The Retirement Problem" Let me think?

I have not finished the wiring in my new garage addition because I'm hurrying to finish preparation of my pilot-house boat for a C-Dory get together on the St. Johns river. I just asked the Alumaweld factory to put a hold on shipping two patio covers until April when I get back from Florida. I have all the materials sitting in my wife's garage awaiting me to enlarge the old shower next to the 'new' master bath addition I finished a year ago...... and here I sit typing on the Boglehead's forum awaiting the sun to warm up the great outdoors before I go to 'work' on the boat. I love retirement because I can do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it :sharebeer
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by CABob » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:21 am

Every morning I wake up and realize I have nothing to do.
Then at bedtime I realize I only got half done.
Bob

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:23 am

Anything I want, and that's the beauty of it.

For example, I am not retired and here's my schedule for today:

Woke up at 6:00. Showered until 6:20. Blow dry hair until 6:35. Flat iron hair until 6:45. Got dressed, ate breakfast, packed my bag. Out the door at 7:10. Scrapped ice off my car until 7:15. Arrived at work at 7:45. I will stay at work. Until 4:45 today. Then I will drive directly to my university campus, where I will sit in a lecture from 5:30 until 6:45. Then I'll get home at 7. Then I'll eat dinner until about 7:20. Then I'll do homework from 7:30 until 10pm. Then I'll go to bed.

Some free time, any free time, would be most welcome.

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rustymutt
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by rustymutt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:27 am

BTDT wrote:"The Retirement Problem" Let me think?

I have not finished the wiring in my new garage addition because I'm hurrying to finish preparation of my pilot-house boat for a C-Dory get together on the St. Johns river. I just asked the Alumaweld factory to put a hold on shipping two patio covers until April when I get back from Florida. I have all the materials sitting in my wife's garage awaiting me to enlarge the old shower next to the 'new' master bath addition I finished a year ago...... and here I sit typing on the Boglehead's forum awaiting the sun to warm up the great outdoors before I go to 'work' on the boat. I love retirement because I can do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it :sharebeer
And the BassMaster classic is coming to Grand. That should be a fun week for fishermen.

:sharebeer
I'm amazed at the wealth of Knowledge others gather, and share over a lifetime of learning. The mind is truly unique. It's nice when we use it!

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:34 am

This Is a very serious concern I have for myself. I should be pretty good to retire by mid 40's and at latest 50, but have no clue what I would do. My wife is 5 years younger and loves to work so she is not looking to retire before mid 50's at the earliest so can't hang out with her or travel (which I don't like anyway). The kids will be in school so no company there. All our friends are our age (mid-late 30's) so they will all be working so no luck there. Don't have any burning desire to learn something so no luck there. So not sure if I retire what I would be doing other then sitting at home and play on the computer even more.

I work for myself for the last 2 years and likely will just keep working on my schedule knowing I financially could hang it up whenever I want. I have found work is not bad IF 1. You don't have anybody telling you what to do, 2. Like what you do, and 3. Have the financial position to quit whenever you want if it becomes a nuisance. Since I have none of these are feelings I will just keep on working and just cut back on the workload which I can do since I am my own boss whenever I feel like it.

Either way I think someone else on here on a similar thread commented with some wisdom (paraphrasing): You should not retire to run away from something, but towards something. Good advice.

Good luck.
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:46 am

I am retired, and I have a problem getting enough time to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish.
  • - I am writing a book about behavioral economics of the Camino de Santiago.
    - I am conducting independent research of applications of behavioral economics.
    - I am planning to teach a course on behavioral economics at a local organization.
    - I will be walking the Camino again in April-May of this year.
    - In June-July, I will spend three weeks in the Western US.
    - In August, I will spend three weeks in France and Poland.
    - In the next two months:
    • - I will attend a 3-day R&D workshop on cybersecurity
      - Continue taking improv courses and will perform on stage
      - Watch 12 films at the Washington Jewish Film Festival
      - Attend a Smithsonian seminar on European dictators in the 20th century
      - Take various other courses
      - Fly to Chicago for a family event
Victoria
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:57 am

VictoriaF wrote:I am retired, and I have a problem getting enough time to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish.
  • - I am writing a book about behavioral economics of the Camino de Santiago.
    - I am conducting independent research of applications of behavioral economics.
    - I am planning to teach a course on behavioral economics at a local organization.
    - I will be walking the Camino again in April-May of this year.
    - In June-July, I will spend three weeks in the Western US.
    - In August, I will spend three weeks in France and Poland.
    - In the next two months:
    • - I will attend a 3-day R&D workshop on cybersecurity
      - Continue taking improv courses and will perform on stage
      - Watch 12 films at the Washington Jewish Film Festival
      - Attend a Smithsonian seminar on European dictators in the 20th century
      - Take various other courses
      - Fly to Chicago for a family event
Victoria
You are my hero.

Seriously, for many years, I've had things I wanted to do but couldn't because of work commitments. I am looking forward to having time to do some of the personal projects that are limping along, backed up behind my work schedule. I also want to be able to take the daytime yoga classes at the gym. And I want to do some more longform travel.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by midareff » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:07 am

VictoriaF wrote:I am retired, and I have a problem getting enough time to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish.

Without the list, I have been retired just short of 4 years now. I have been so busy I don't know how I ever had the time to go to work. Perhaps one afternoon one day I will have time for a nap. Been up since 4 AM reading news, running errands, getting activities for tomorrow and such organized and just stopped to read "heads" and do breakfast. I think I have time now for another coffee.

2/11/2016 edit added: Heard through the grapevine that my name has been cited to come back as a consultant. Went to a work friend's retirement party last Friday and six or seven people asked me when I'm coming back. .. which I think is way too funny. Worked all together for 46 years in two careers and saved conscientiously throughout so my/our retirement is secure. The feeling of freedom from responsibility is as uplifting and rewarding today as it was four years ago.
Last edited by midareff on Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Bustoff » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:07 am

Wish I had Victoria's retirement life but I am a terrible planner.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by FCM » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:39 am

One of the happiest days of my life was when I retired at the age of 66 from "megacorp" after 31 years in sales and marketing management. I never felt that my raison d'etre/identity was wrapped up in my career. My wife and I are financially secure, and I now have the time to build the model railroad that I always wanted to build. That activity keeps me busy for several hours every day. In addition, my wife and I can take in a movie matinee several times a month since we have a wonderful theatre complex 5 minutes from our house and we only pay $6.50 each for tickets. I log onto Bogleheads nearly every day with my second cup of coffee. We visit friends occasionally and can take trips whenever we want. What's not to like about the retirement lifestyle (at least while we are healthy and financially secure)?

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by montanagirl » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:58 am

Mornings are fine, afternoons drag on. The days are long. I was in better shape to bike or ski all day in my 50s than I am now.

So I took a seasonal winter job doing tax prep...it's kinda fun and when it's over you get closure. I wish I had something comparable for summers but am very reluctant to get involved in any kind of work grind again.

I'm only 67 so hopefully I will figure it out eventually! :P

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by blueblock » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:58 am

What I've found a bit surprising nine months into retirement is that I still have moments where it hits me: I'm not working! I don't ever have to work again! I read somewhere--here perhaps?--that this can be called "decompressing," and that it can take a long time. Fine by me, because it feels great.

I loved my career, and was lucky that it wasn't especially stressful, but life now? Zero stress is even better. Related, I am strongly appreciating the absence of commitments. Maybe in time I'll take some on, but not right now. Like some in this thread, a perfect day is getting up early, reading, walking the pooches, planning menus, experimenting in the kitchen with New Gastronomy techniques, enjoying a glass or two of wine before dinner. Little stuff. Even though I'm "doing nothing," the days fly by, and I go to bed happy.

I would add that, if there's an area of self-improvement I've focused on, it's been learning to better manage my finances, especially when it comes to tax efficiency. It's an area of inquiry that interests me, since what I have now has to last the rest of my life.

All in all, I feel more fortunate than I ever have. Even a modest bit of wealth guarantees a level of freedom and opportunity that many do not enjoy.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Ged » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:38 pm

bengal22 wrote:The article points out a very real problem in retirement. Many of us found some of our self-identity in work and when that goes away it can be a "very big loss." Besides financial plans one should also know that this could be an issue and be prepared to handle it. One can find their identity in serving others and using work skill sets to help others. One can find their identity in family or just learning new skills. But it is something to prepare for.
I can see this being a problem especially for someone who only had one career or one employer over his working life.

That was me for my first 25 years of employment. When I got my first layoff I went through a lot of readjustment - no longer was my identity tied to my job - the job was gone.

After having made that adjustment going into retirement was much easier. My self image wasn't tied to my job any more so it was far easier to separate my life from work.

A lot of people ask me what I do in retirement, if I'm bored etc.

I tell them that I'm not the kind of person that gets bored, and that I can't imagine how I had the time to work before I retired. When you think about it, people who really do work are constantly putting off things that they really would rather be doing, or have other people do them for them. Once you retire all that stuff comes home.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by flyingaway » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:40 pm

If I retire, I will be really retired. I will be spending money to feel and be free and relaxed every day and all day.

Otherwise, why should I give up my 6 figure easy "job" (with four month non-work time per year)?

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by celia » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:56 pm

Yesterday: Drove a relative to the doctors, had breakfast at a take-out place, drove another relative to doctors, visited with a sibling and had lunch, changed a wound dressing, hand-watered the landscaping and potted plants, interviewed someone for family history info, took shoots of plants for cuttings to be rooted today, booked seats for a theater show using free tickets I won, walked to church for a fundraiser, went out for dinner, searched for a new location for a polling precinct that will be assigned to me, submitted contact info for 2 past poll workers to work with me again, edited http://www.OpenStreetMap.org for locations I visited earlier in the day to identify places I passed by and re-aligned some roads, watched some primary results and comedy TV.

Today should be more exciting!
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:17 pm

If you have found yourself in a career that is not just a job but a lifestyle (and perhaps an enjoyable one at that), I'm a big proponent in cutting back to part-time in order to get a glimpse what full retirement might be like. Some people may find that retirement comes naturally, some people might benefit from "practicing" first, and others won't like it at all. If you're used to working 60+ hours per week, it could be more difficult to go to zero hours per week than you might expect.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Watty » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:25 pm

I just spent two hours fixing a toilet and that was more satisfying than 90% of my work time the last few years that I worked at a Mega-Corp.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by rustymutt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:37 pm

Watty wrote:I just spent two hours fixing a toilet and that was more satisfying than 90% of my work time the last few years that I worked at a Mega-Corp.
And just think of all the money you saved DIY, instead of hiring out a plumber. Well done sir!

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by warrends » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:41 pm

Very interesting reads above on how many of you handle or plan to handle retirement. When my Dad started talking retirement ~23-ish years ago (he died about 11 years ago) I told him that he'd be bored out of his mind within 2 months. He was such an innovative guy and though he hated his work at the time it at least gave him another outlet (aside from his many hobbies ... see below) for thinkery. But he went ahead and retired a couple of years later anyway, sometime around '96 or thereabouts. And he loved it. I was really surprised at first, but then realized that work wasn't him at all --- it was all his passion for his hobbies. They included:
- Wargaming. Take little soldiers/tanks/ships/planes/whatever, put them on a large table, roll dice, move men/tanks/ships/planes/..., see some die, let the other players do this, repeat. He was an avid wargamer for decades. And he was a founding father of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Society (http://hmgs.site-ym.com/). After retirement he went from weekend wargaming to 5-6-7 day/week wargaming. That was nirvana for him.
- Computer stuff. Though he already knew it all, he took some PC courses at the local community college. He decided to become the teacher's pet. He'd come before class and stay after, to help set up, clean up and maintain the PCs. He also had several PCs at home for play. One of them he never bothered putting the cover on, as he'd play with it trying to overclock it and see how fast she could go, so he put a box fan next to it for extra cooling.
- Languages. Just for fun, he took both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Just for fun.
- My Dad had a BSEE (Electrical Engineering, same as me), Master's in EE, and a JD (doctorate in Law). So he went to a local Electronic Technician school for fun. Took him around 2 years and he got his ET certificate. For fun.
- Bunches of other stuff. Hobbies and innovation were what he was all about.

So grabbing from my Dad, and seeing as how I'm a good decade away from retirement myself, I'm already planning on things to do. They may/will include:
- Charity work. What? No idea. But I want to help people.
- Go to school. Up until 1 1/2 years ago I owned a gigantic full-bagger Harley. Then someone kindly knocked me off of it at 50 MPH. Harley was totaled but I walked away, thankfully (and unusually --- it's not very often that a 900 lb bike gets totaled and the rider can just walk away). Haven't replaced it for several reasons (including the fact that I still have little kids to take care of, and I decided to put the insurance money into a refi for our house (during all-time low rates) instead of a replacement bike, all making my wife very happy). But I still have the Harley bug bad. So when I retire I'm gonna take a bunch of courses at a local place that teaches you how to become a motorcycle mechanic. I miss getting my hands dirty. Will also probably take advantage of my AARP and senior citizen discounts and go to "real" school in other topics (math, sciences, ...).
- Buy another Harley.
- Travel. We joined the Disney Vacation Club about 8 years ago. Expensive, but well worth it for us. My goal with this has been to go to Disney World/Land for the first 10 years or so with our kids while they are young, and then boot them out of the house come college time and once every year or two take full advantage of our vacation club points and travel the world with just my wife. It's Disney, therefore it's as good as it can get.

I have no idea what else I'll do. But the list will grow. Please keep the ideas coming.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by dpc » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:44 pm

The cliche I heard most often from retirees was "I don't know how I had time to work". Now that I've been semi-retired for a year, I understand the sentiment.

Everyone is different and the age of retirement and overall health are factors as well. My (strictly anecdotal) observations are that it is not much of a problem for most people. Some people retire the first day it becomes feasible, while I know other people who say they will never retire because they like working.

If you are nearing retirement age and really can't imagine what you'll be doing in retirement, maybe that's an indication you should keep working.

Cheers,

Dave
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by cinghiale » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:50 pm

I'm not sure everyone needs such a detailed list as Victoria's. But, I do think some planning and some structure is good. I'm not deep enough into retirement to be an expert, but I like the idea of each day containing ample times of freedom and serendipity and some daily commitments (exercise?, social commitments?, classes?) that provide opportunities to discover, explore, connect, and grow. Not too much of the latter, mind...just enough to keep things positive and meaningful.

We have gone international (hmmm...maybe change my username to javeli?), and I now have the built-in social challenge of upgrading my language skills. Then, all sorts of difficult challenges await: finding the best marketplaces, walking the beach, listening to the local symphony orchestra, finding great hole-in-the-wall restaurants, figuring out the most appealing wine and olive oil vintages, expanding our social circle, and watching the local/regional news each evening. That's the starter list.

That said, retirement and early retirement isn't for everyone.
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by tennisplyr » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:46 pm

Am 66, retired and snowbirding on the Suncoast of Florida. Tomorrow I have a tennis match against the #1 team in our division. Now that's my kind of stress. Wish me luck.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by dpc » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:57 pm

But, I do think some planning and some structure is good.
You are still the same person upon retirement. If you liked structure and making plans before you retired, you will continue to do so. Otherwise, it's unlikely that you'll suddenly become more organized when you retire.

As for me, I plan to be spontaneous between 10:00 am and noon everyday. 8-)
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by white_water » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:49 pm

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GerryL
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by GerryL » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:58 pm

Retired 18 months and am a lot less busy than I expected to be. No, I'm not bored. I'm just finding that I treasure my down time. I've even held off on making commitments for weekly volunteer opportunities*. The list I began compiling before retirement still has more than enough projects and activities to keep me engaged -- if I ever feel like I need to get off my duff. But for now I am enjoying NOT feeling guilty for not being as productive as I could be.

* As I write this I am waiting to hear back from two places where I have agreed to commit a half day a week each. I am not knocking down any doors to find out why they haven't gotten back to me yet.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Peter Foley » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:16 pm

I recommend reading What Color is Your Parachute in Retirement. There are a couple of chapters devoted to identifying what is important to you and helping you to translate that into post retirement activities.

As a partial summary, here are a couple of paragraphs from an early draft of the first chapter of The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement.

Retirement is about what you are retiring to, not what you are retiring from. In addition to your financial goals, your retirement plan goals should include the elements of health, social interaction, intellectual stimulation, and happiness. In their book What Color Is Your Parachute? In Retirement, Richard N. Bolles and John E. Nelson present some of the findings of Charles Morris who attempted to define approaches to a good life. His characterization of “ways of life” are purposeful synopses of what you might aspire to “retire to.” Some ways of life described are: Improvement – Working for realistic solutions to specific problems; Service – Devoting yourself to the greater good and to others; Enjoyment – pursuing pleasures and festivities; Contemplation – Introspection to achieve a more rewarding inner life; Action – using physical energy to accomplish things.

If you are retiring as a couple, it is very important that you agree on a common vision for the future and the strategies that are needed to reach your financial goal. Without consensus, there is the chance that you may be at cross purposes, a potential recipe for conflict. Planning for the future involves tradeoffs; you should agree on what you are willing to give up today in return for your shared vision of a life tomorrow.

And a couple more paragraphs that did not make the final cut:

Happiness is a fairly universal goal. Bolles and Nelson also examine happiness in retirement and describe approaches to happiness, pleasure, engagement and meaning, based on the scientific studies of Martin Seligman. Paraphrasing from their book:

Pleasure is the immediate positive reinforcement you get from doing something you like. Its duration is usually short, lasting as long as the activity itself. Enjoying a good meal, tasting a fine wine or hitting a good golf shot, are three examples of positive reinforcement resulting in very short term pleasure. Engagement is the happiness that results from losing yourself in something you are doing. The positive reinforcement often does not come until after you have finished. Engagement involves effort on your behalf to successfully overcome some challenge and it is likely that that additional reinforcement imprints the feeling of the experience more strongly and gives the resulting happiness a longer duration. Meaning is an approach to happiness that results from using your abilities in service to something larger than yourself. Common examples of service include actions done on behalf of family, friends, your community or a host of social or religious causes. The positive feedback from these pursuits is often amplified by the recognition of your efforts by others. This type of reinforcement can last a lifetime.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:26 pm

cinghiale wrote:I'm not sure everyone needs such a detailed list as Victoria's. But, I do think some planning and some structure is good. I'm not deep enough into retirement to be an expert, but I like the idea of each day containing ample times of freedom and serendipity and some daily commitments (exercise?, social commitments?, classes?) that provide opportunities to discover, explore, connect, and grow. Not too much of the latter, mind...just enough to keep things positive and meaningful.
Sometimes, I feel like a 10-year old signed by her parents for all kinds of athletics, arts, sciences, and other activities. On one hand, I am self motivated to do all these things; on the other hand, I may need more down time. But not yet.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Adam11
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Adam11 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:21 am

What a great thread for some inspiration on staying the course. I truly enjoy both my job and the many people I work with on a daily basis, but I can think of a hundred other things I'd rather be doing besides working for a paycheck. Only 9,970 days to go!

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by BigJohn » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:28 am

I looked at retirement as an opportunity to reinvent myself a bit. I retired from a job as an executive at Mega-Corp just over a year ago. I spent several months before that trying to decide how I would change my lifestyle for the better. I read a few books on how human beings develop habits and decided that I needed to make those structural changes like more sleep, more exercise and healthier eating from day one. The time required to do these things was always hard to find before I retired, now it's far easier and the results have been good. My BP and bad cholesterol are down, my good cholesterol is up and for the first time in 15+ years I'm not taking any prescription meds to control either one!!.

It terms of other activities, I knew I would miss the people I worked with so I've had lunch with someone from work at least once or twice a week every week. I got a lot of benefit from ready this book http://www.thejoyofnotworking.com/ebook ... E-book.pdf. It has a fairly structured approach to helping organize your thoughts on how to discover/redicsover activities you will enjoy. I've taken some classes and learned some new things in areas that have always intrigued me. I love music and have been exploring and investing in the really nice stereo system I always wanted. Plenty of yard work and house improvement projects which I enjoy doing and now don't have to squeeze into a few free hours on the weekend.

One can always say "I could have done all this while working" but there was just too much stress and too little discretionary time to do what I really wanted. After a year I can tell you that I'm never bored and now understand the frequently heard comment "I don't know how I ever found time to work!" In my experience the people that struggle with this the most are the ones have difficulty breaking the tie between self image and their career but it's really not that hard if you try. :beer

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by FreeAtLast » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:09 am

The workplace I retired from asked me twice this month to come back. The guy they hired as my replacement turned out to be a disaster and they had to let him go. They were prepared to pay me some very nice money. It took me about one minute of thinking about it to respond (twice) with a polite, but very definitive NO.

Unlike others, I was burnt out by the time I retired. Just thinking about the "agita" I would experience again had me heading for my Tums bottle. My life now is very slow and very quiet and that's the way I want it until my thread is finally cut by one of the 3 witches. To do whatever you want whenever you want to at your own selfish pace - priceless!
Illegitimi non carborundum.

heyyou
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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by heyyou » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:59 am

Note that the article did not interview retirees, just those who are far past retirement age, but are still gainfully employed at their pre-retirement jobs. Regardless of their specific reasons for continuing to work, they are not retired. They just think they are, due to their age.

The poorly researched article is based on the assumption that big wheels cannot adjust to not being important so they should continue to be managers in order to stay happy. The age 92 professor thinks that what suits him about continuing to work, is what would suit everyone else.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by SGM » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:50 am

I am surprised at the statement in the article that “The least successful [people in retirement] are those who hated what they did to earn a living, and looked forward to a retirement when they could begin to do what they enjoyed." I read on this site about so many people who hated their work and our now happily retired.

As far as retirement for a college professor, I have seen it written that "I've been working and I've been professorin' and it ain't the same thing." :wink:

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by fishboat » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:44 am

truenorth418 wrote: I think the more important question that Wharton should study is why do people tie their sense of identity and self-worth to their jobs in the first place? In today's world where technological change and economic forces can rip their job from them and quickly render their occupations obsolete, wouldn't it make more sense for people to find their self-worth and identity in something other than their careers?

Amen.

I've been retired officially for nearly 6 weeks...unofficially since July 1 of 2015...worked for 45 years. While work is necessary and one needs to put their time in, in the end it's a distortion of life...real life.

If anyone latches their identity & self-worth to their job, odds-are, they are setting themselves up BIG correction at some point.

I could offer some interesting, perhaps eye-opening, examples and experiences..but I'm done with all that.

Now..back to cup of morning coffee, finalizing plans for a 7 mile hike with friends later today, and working on some travel plans.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by carolinaman » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:58 am

I agree in large measure with the article. I had a stressful, demanding senior management job and worked long hours during most of my career. The demands of my job made it difficult for me to spend as much time as I would have liked with other interests, including volunteer efforts. I retired at age 66 and I realized I had to have a meaningful purpose for the remainder of my life. I enjoy self indulging activities but do not want to do those all the time. One of my goals was to give back by volunteering. The past 5 years I have been involved in various volunteer efforts but I try to be careful to not be consumed by these efforts so that I will have time for leisure activities, traveling, etc. I seem to be most content when I have some intellectually stimulating and challenging activities to do. That may sound like work to some, and it can be, but I enjoy it.

I think a lot of guys, myself included, have a lot of their social life intertwined with their work. You need to take steps to address that in retirement because a lot of those social contacts at work will go away in retirement.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by heyyou » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:16 am

because a lot of those social contacts at work will go away in retirement.
I'm pleased that they did stay at work, made my retirement even better.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by fishboat » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:38 am

carolinaman wrote: I seem to be most content when I have some intellectually stimulating and challenging activities to do. That may sound like work to some, and it can be, but I enjoy it.
+1

I continue to look for something like this, but so far haven't found a good fit. Last year I sent an note to Erin Brockovich and offered to do some volunteer work. ( I have a chemistry & numbers-analyst background..) She's still doing the same work, with the same chromium 6, this time in Texas somewhere. I didn't receive a response. :(

She might have thought I was looking for a job..heavens no! :)

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Snowjob » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:17 pm

truenorth418 wrote: I think the more important question that Wharton should study is why do people tie their sense of identity and self-worth to their jobs in the first place? In today's world where technological change and economic forces can rip their job from them and quickly render their occupations obsolete, wouldn't it make more sense for people to find their self-worth and identity in something other than their careers?
fishboat wrote: Amen.

I've been retired officially for nearly 6 weeks...unofficially since July 1 of 2015...worked for 45 years. While work is necessary and one needs to put their time in, in the end it's a distortion of life...real life.

If anyone latches their identity & self-worth to their job, odds-are, they are setting themselves up BIG correction at some point.

I could offer some interesting, perhaps eye-opening, examples and experiences..but I'm done with all that.

Now..back to cup of morning coffee, finalizing plans for a 7 mile hike with friends later today, and working on some travel plans.
Totally Agree 100%,

I think sometimes its easy to associate work as another family structure -- I know I did (and still do to a degree) however I went through an event about a year ago where it really made me question that relationship and it certainly has reinforced my view that identity outside of work (and outside of money for us investing junkies) is critical. I want to build a life where work is a temporary 25 year nuisance and that is all.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by duplin county » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:25 pm

I think my main problem has been I planned to travel with my wife of 35 years. She died and I am having to adjust my retirement traveling plans.
Seeing my retirement through a couple's eyes was very different.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:25 pm

fishboat wrote:Last year I sent an note to Erin Brockovich and offered to do some volunteer work. ( I have a chemistry & numbers-analyst background..) She's still doing the same work, with the same chromium 6, this time in Texas somewhere. I didn't receive a response. :(
I did not know that Erin Brockovich was a real person, not just a film. You sent me to Google. Helping her is a wonderful noble endeavor!

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:38 pm

duplin county wrote:I think my main problem has been I planned to travel with my wife of 35 years. She died and I am having to adjust my retirement traveling plans.
Seeing my retirement through a couple's eyes was very different.
I'm sure. Part of why I'm pushing hard to retire early is because my wife is significantly older than me, and already retired. I want to be able to travel with her while we're both still young enough to do the adventure travel that we like to do.

I think if she died, I don't know that I'd retire so soon. I like my job, I just want less of it so that I have time to do some other things.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by fishboat » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:42 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
fishboat wrote:Last year I sent an note to Erin Brockovich and offered to do some volunteer work. ( I have a chemistry & numbers-analyst background..) She's still doing the same work, with the same chromium 6, this time in Texas somewhere. I didn't receive a response. :(
I did not know that Erin Brockovich was a real person, not just a film. You sent me to Google. Helping her is a wonderful noble endeavor!

Victoria

Oh, she sure is. And the movie was true, as movies go. She looks to be now pretty much what she was in the movie..a front person-researcher-advocate working with attorneys that carry the cases forward.

http://www.brockovich.com/

If memory serves..I think when I wrote her she was working on a case in Midland(??) Texas where the groundwater was contaminated with Cr6+. Same as the movie..same issues with people living there. I thought..how could this possibly still happen?? Local industry doesn't have any idea how such a thing would happen. My degree is in chemistry..Cr6+ is really a bad actor.

While I'm enjoying retirement so far..I'd work my butt off for something like this that matters.

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Re: The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?

Post by Fallible » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:43 pm

The last paragraph of the Wharton article says it all: "But in the end, says Lauber, the financial planner, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. “There is no one formula. Retirement can take a lot of shapes. There’s a lot of different ways you can be successful in retirement."

My 15-year retirement (most from full-time work) has taken many of those "shapes" and nearly all have been a surprise - happy and rewarding ones. If (thankfully) my good health holds, I expect there will be many more of those shapes and they may be just as surprising. What I think this says is that the time retirement provides is an opportunity to know ourselves better and develop interests we may not know we had. Where our careers largely defined us and dominated our time, retirement (at least a sufficiently-financed one) offers freedom to define ourselves more on our own terms and on our own time, find out what else we can do for ourselves and others, what we're good at and not so good at. A long and reasonably healthy retirement can become another way of life altogether. :happy
"John Bogle has changed a basic industry in the optimal direction. Of very few can this be said." ~Paul A. Samuelson

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