What surprised you the most once you retired?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
pahkcah
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by pahkcah »

1. How much I enjoyed not having to work.

2. Prior to the pandemic, was surprised by how few people would be shopping during normal working hours on weekdays. Best day for grocery store shopping was Tuesday mid-morning. The guy at the cold cut counter provided the tip, and he was right. (With the previous comments on eating properly, or not, I probably should not have mentioned cold cuts.)

3. How easy it was to get a table at most restaurants. Not having to wait until our work day was over, DW and I can set up early reservations (again, pre-pandemic and on weekdays). This is really helpful at restaurants that do not take reservations.

4. How many new people I was able to meet. Playing golf 5 days a week, most often as a single, helps.

5. That it was easy to find the perfect volunteer opportunity (which also leads to meeting more people).

6. See number 1. :happy
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Flobes
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Flobes »

What surprised you the most once you retired?
I really like slow breakfast. And big lunch. And small dinner.
Wilderness Librarian
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

Probably the most is the difficulty (part physical and part mental block) of doing a lot of activity away from home base. Example being driving distances - setting up the tent at the trailhead and getting up early for hiking.

Another is that every day is not a Saturday. I still have to structure my time around business days (a mid week appointment or repair call can mess up the whole week if a person is trying to get out of town). Literal weekends and holidays are often awkward - many businesses are closed and outdoor activities not a whole lot of fun. Music concerts, live theater etc. are often restricted to busy times like Friday & Saturday night (pre-covid of course). In otherwords - retirement life is much more tied to a calendar than I anticipated.

Another is how little social contact I need or even want. I have always been a loner and had relatively little contact with people outside of work. I was worried this would be a retirement problem. Not so. In fact I greatly enjoy and value staying alone at home. I do get out and about with other people but I don't need much to feel comfortable or satisfied.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm What surprised me:
— I now prefer weekdays to weekends.
— My income went down, but so did my expenses, so I suddenly had more money.
— I quickly stopped caring about my former work. It was almost instantaneous. It was easy to turn down consulting offers.
— I only kept in touch with a few former co-workers despite all those promises to so many people to stay in touch.
— Medicare has turned out to be wonderful. None of the horror stories have been true in my experience.
— I have fewer tasks to accomplish, but somehow they fill the available time.
— Cooking has become more interesting.
— When you retire in your 60s, and your father is still active in his 90s, you have an expert to call with retirement questions.
— Interesting things happen in my neighborhood on weekdays between 8am and 6pm. Who knew?
— I now attend more funerals than weddings.
— Lots of bogleheads post often during the 9-5 workday. Either they are retired, or they're reading the forum instead of working.
I discovered the first time around too. Weekends were crowded and frustrating compared to weekdays when people were at work.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
walrusMN
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by walrusMN »

How much I do not care about how much we were going to change the world with our next software release. The world will get along just fine,
rich126
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by rich126 »

Conclusions
Transition to retirement was associated with unhealthier dietary intakes. These results may help defining interventions during this vulnerable life-period
I'm not retired but due to the virus I've spent a large chunk of the last 8 weeks working from home (recently returned to the office) and I've lost 10-12 lbs. I figured if I stopped eating out so much and ate more at home I'd lose weight because I don't fry anything at home, rarely ever drink alcohol at home (3 drinks since March) and the biggest thing is portion sizes. I still eat similar foods but if I get a burger at home it is maybe 1/4 lb instead of a 8-10 oz burger. I'll eat a hand full of chips but not a ton of french fries. And with the sandwiches I don't put mayo, bacon, etc. on them.

And I still do a lot of drive throughs/curbside deliveries so it isn't as if things are radical different but enough meals have changed to make a noticable difference. I'm hoping for another 5-8 lbs.

Unfortunately exercise hasn't been much of a factor since it is so hot outside now.
FireFool
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by FireFool »

How time is still in short supply - busier than ever and have no idea how I had time to work before. Less of a surprise is the lack of stress - I control what and when I do things, before I had to worry about keeping a whole department of people moving - now it's only me and there's usually always tomorrow to get things done.
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GerryL
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by GerryL »

How quickly I adapted. I thought it would take a few weeks, but it was more like fifteen minutes.
And how quickly time passes. I recently celebrated my 6th anniversary in retirement. I have to keep doing the math, because it feels like it can't be more than three years.
prairieman
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by prairieman »

(1) How good I feel being freed from having my work judged by others.
(2) How much I enjoy walking while listening to podcasts and audible books.
“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well.” Chauncey Gardner
AlohaJoe
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by AlohaJoe »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm — Lots of bogleheads post often during the 9-5 workday. Either they are retired, or they're reading the forum instead of working.
This is true for every single website. All the comments on Youtube videos are posted between 9-5. Same for all the comments on WSJ articles. All the Reddit posts. Etc etc etc. I live many, many timezones away from North America so the effect is very noticeable. If businesses actually blocked that kind of thing the internet as we know it would collapse, it is all massively (and somewhat unwillingly) subsidised by businesses. On the other hand, it isn't really that different than all the smoke breaks, coffee breaks, and water cooler conversations that happened pre-internet. People just don't actually work 8-hours solid.

Anyway, my biggest surprises:

How many people are around 9-5. Go to a movie theater, a cafe, or a grocery store at 2pm on a Tuesday and....it isn't "full" but I'm always a bit surprised how many other people are there. I always wonder....are all of you early retirees? House-spouses with kids in day care? Unemployed? Secret agents currently on furlough due to covid?

Another surprise is that spur-of-the-moment travel is harder than I imagined. Not really a surprise if I had thought about it harder but....before you're retired you have fantasies about "maybe we'll wake up on a Wednesday and see there's a super-discount travel package for flights + 3 nights at a 5-star beach resort so we just pack and go!" In reality it works out like: "Oh but wife has that make-up course she signed up for on Thursdays and Friday I had told Brett I was going to help him with something. And, of course, we'd need to take the dogs over the in-laws for a few days. And....ah, forget it."
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GerryL
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by GerryL »

AlohaJoe wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:50 pm
Anyway, my biggest surprises:

How many people are around 9-5. Go to a movie theater, a cafe, or a grocery store at 2pm on a Tuesday and....it isn't "full" but I'm always a bit surprised how many other people are there. I always wonder....are all of you early retirees? House-spouses with kids in day care? Unemployed? Secret agents currently on furlough due to covid?
Not everybody works 9-5, M-F.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

FireFool wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:38 pm How time is still in short supply - busier than ever and have no idea how I had time to work before. Less of a surprise is the lack of stress - I control what and when I do things, before I had to worry about keeping a whole department of people moving - now it's only me and there's usually always tomorrow to get things done.
GerryL wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:43 pm How quickly I adapted. I thought it would take a few weeks, but it was more like fifteen minutes.
And how quickly time passes. I recently celebrated my 6th anniversary in retirement. I have to keep doing the math, because it feels like it can't be more than three years.
AlohaJoe wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:50 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm — Lots of bogleheads post often during the 9-5 workday. Either they are retired, or they're reading the forum instead of working.
This is true for every single website. All the comments on Youtube videos are posted between 9-5. Same for all the comments on WSJ articles. All the Reddit posts. Etc etc etc. I live many, many timezones away from North America so the effect is very noticeable. If businesses actually blocked that kind of thing the internet as we know it would collapse, it is all massively (and somewhat unwillingly) subsidised by businesses. On the other hand, it isn't really that different than all the smoke breaks, coffee breaks, and water cooler conversations that happened pre-internet. People just don't actually work 8-hours solid.
All the above is a textbook symptom of becoming inefficient and lazy. When you have too much time without much to do, you become less efficient and it is difficult to finish anything because you don't have any sense of urgency. Your frustration with unfinished tasks makes you feel busy, i.e., short of time. "I have to do this and that." Poor students are always short of time. In the short term, time goes slowly, but time seemed to have passed fast when you look back because you cannot recall much. You accomplish more when you are truly busy.

Nothing wrong with going easy and slow once retired. There is no need to bend the truth.
rickcrna
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by rickcrna »

Great discussion! Much of what has been reported already I can relate to. My biggest surprise to me has been how easy the transition has been from working to retirement. My wife comments on occasion how much more relaxed, happy and content I seem since I retired about 10 months ago. I've spent 30 years as a nurse anesthetist and hit my "wall" last Summer. I no longer enjoyed the work, stress, and getting called at 2am to place a breathing tube in a patient receiving CPR in the ER. Honestly, I thought giving up my professional identity would be much more difficult than it turned out to be.

To me, each day feels like a blank canvas to which I can fill in any way I choose. Of course, being home due to Covid has meant focusing more on home related projects being completed instead of traveling, but the projects need to be done and the travel will happen in due time. My wife and I enjoy afternoon coffee on the deck, maybe a few pickleball games during the week along with the pursuit of other hobbies. Some days are more productive than others, but I find ways to enjoy each and every one of them.

Much of the time, I reflect on the enormous sense of gratitude I have for our good health, financial security, a paid off house, and new found freedom from work schedules.
RetiredCSProf
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by RetiredCSProf »

I've been retired for 8 years. My biggest surprise was that, a week after I retired, I told my son's music teachers that I wanted to learn how to play a new instrument. I have no clue where that idea came from -- I just blurted it out without realizing I had been thinking about it. I have been taking saxophone lessons ever since -- virtually now, during the pandemic.

I was also surprised by the following:
1) I didn't realize how much I wanted to spend more time with my family -- when I retired, my Mom was in her late 90's; my son was in high school -- I really enjoyed having extra time to spend with them as they were both facing transitions in their lives
2) My expenses have not decreased in retirement -- my health insurance premiums are higher; I've taken care of deferred maintenance on my house
3) My income is higher than I expected -- I am paying the price (income taxes) for investing in a traditional 403B and IRA instead of switching to Roth
4) I am still checking off my "to do list" items that I had postponed for retirement -- things I thought I would finish in the first year.
Miriam2
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Miriam2 »

TheTimeLord wrote: The biggest surprise to me is that my risk tolerance seems to have increased quite a bit. I think before I always hoped my plan would work and now that I am retired I can see my plan is working and working well. Granted the sample size is only 3 months, the market is doing well and Covid helps control spending, still things seem more real now and less theoretical.
TimeLord, nice to hear you're doing well with your plans and enjoying your new retirement 8-)

Are you surprised at the amount of free, unstructured time you have?
John Bogle, "The Twelve Pillars of [Financial] Wisdom"- Pillar 5: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify.
dewey
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by dewey »

Several—but the two most important surprises are one, with less income we have more discretionary money, and two, Covid 19. We are very fortunate to be retired in all this. We have income, healthcare, a house, etc. Our retirement is disrupted but despite that we’re fine but we feel terrible for all those who are suffering as a result, whether financially through loss of income or the kids who miss school and their friends and their teachers and coaches, Those who are ill, the healthcare professionals being over run, etc. Very difficult times but unless we contract the virus we’re beyond fortunate.
“The only freedom that is of enduring importance is freedom of intelligence…” John Dewey
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

David Jay wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:46 pm
Toons wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:30 pm I am so busy
There is never enough Time in the day
This!

I have no idea how I used to fit 50 hours of work into my week.
So true! I can honestly say that I'm so busy now, I don't know how I ever found time to run a business. Lots of interesting opportunities just seemed to come my way, many because of my relationship with Jack Bogle.

Since retirement, I've:
1. Worked with Taylor and lots of others to help build the Bogleheads Community for the past 22 years, first on Morningstar and then here at Bogleheads.org. Currently serve as a forum Moderator.
2. I led a "dream team" that organized and ran the annual Bogleheads Conferences with Jack Bogle, starting in 2000 and running through 2019. Planning and executing those were about an eight- or nine-month behind-the-scenes job, leading up to the actual Conference date.
3. Become an author of The Bogleheads' Guides. (The publisher called us and asked us to do the books. We initially declined, but they persisted and we finally agreed. Glad we did.)
4. Became a Forbes Columnist (They approached me.)
5. Traveled to Europe and cruised the Caribbean several times with good friends. (Highly recommend.)
6. Served on the City's Historical Board which included organizing the City's 50th year celebration.
7. Became Chairman of the City's Board of Adjustments.
8. Was Vice President of The Daytona Beach Shores Community Foundation.
9. Served as the President of the HOA for about 10 years (I don't recommend it). :-)
10. Founded and served as the President of The John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy for 10 years.
11. Was elected and then re-elected as a City Council member, and currently serve in that position. (Declined a request to run for Mayor.)

The nice part about all of this is that I was able to pick and choose things that interested me and to say "No" to things that didn't. That's the real joy of being financially secure after a lifetime of working hard and living below one's means.

In addition to all of that, I took up pickleball, do four or five miles on the beach every day and play golf and fish whenever I can find time. Other than that, I just chill out and try to find time to do nothing.

Come on it; the water's fine!
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
Wricha
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Wricha »

DebiT wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:34 pm I am in a weird position of being newly retired but waiting to (hopefully) find out what being retired but not In covid feels like. To add to the strangeness, I moved to a new area on 5/4 to be close to grandkids, and I was suddenly widowed in March 2019

Most of the ways I thought I would structure my time as I made decision to retire early this year aren't open to me right now (classes, lectures, clubs, church activities, travel)

Very pleased to not be working, finally have time to process my feelings, very much enjoy time with 3 young grandsons. Would like to meet more people in my neighborhood (happening slowly), find some low-key volunteer activities, hope to be able and not afraid to travel eventually.

Very strange time in my life. I know I'm not alone in that
DebiT,
Being retired before Covid and being retired in Covid are two different experiences. Pre Covid much more opportunity to meet/talk to folks. Also, the freedom of going places, entertainment and restaurants made everyday exciting and different. During Covid things feel very much like “ground hog day” routine, not boring, just routine. I also bought a house in a new place in March 2020. Have not really meet neighbors just a wave and minor chat at a distance. So hang in there things will get more interesting.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:06 pm All the above is a textbook symptom of becoming inefficient and lazy. When you have too much time without much to do, you become less efficient and it is difficult to finish anything because you don't have any sense of urgency. Your frustration with unfinished tasks makes you feel busy, i.e., short of time. "I have to do this and that." Poor students are always short of time. In the short term, time goes slowly, but time seemed to have passed fast when you look back because you cannot recall much. You accomplish more when you are truly busy.

Nothing wrong with going easy and slow once retired. There is no need to bend the truth.
Who's bending the truth? That's quite an accusation! I want to be lazy now that I am retired. I freely admit it. Retirement is living up to my hopes, dreams, and expectations.
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tennisplyr
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by tennisplyr »

How working is overrated and that time seems to be accelerating.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
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burt
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by burt »

dewey wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:33 am Several—but the two most important surprises are one, with less income we have more discretionary money, and two, Covid 19. We are very fortunate to be retired in all this. We have income, healthcare, a house, etc. Our retirement is disrupted but despite that we’re fine but we feel terrible for all those who are suffering as a result, whether financially through loss of income or the kids who miss school and their friends and their teachers and coaches, Those who are ill, the healthcare professionals being over run, etc. Very difficult times but unless we contract the virus we’re beyond fortunate.
Regarding Covid in retirement....
I think the exact same way.
I feel very fortunate to be retired during Covid.
carolinaman
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by carolinaman »

I retired at age 66 almost 10 years ago. The first couple of years were incredibly busy as I was doing lots of remodeling, caring for ailing mother, volunteering 2 days a week at a global ministry, and still involved with a couple of professional organizations. We also did some major trips and I played golf once a week.

Once I retired I did not try to keep up with my office very much. A couple of visits back in the first year and an occasional lunch with a colleague. Work seemed to be the most important things for so many years, but after I retired I moved on and really had little interest in maintaining ties with it.

Since then things have gradually slowed down. I do some volunteer work at our church and am the treasurer of a retiree organization with 200 members. I have a 46 year old house on 2 acres of wooded land so that keeps me busy just maintaining things. I stopped playing golf because of hip and shoulder issues. Prior to Covid 19 I went to the Y 3 times a week and exercised at home other days. Now I exercise every day at home and may never go back to the gym. My health is still pretty good and we look forward to some travel once the pandemic is over.

Financially, we are in good shape with 2 pensions and social security plus investments. Our investment account has grown about 50% since retirement as we have not withdrawn much except for RMDs which get reinvested. We have very good health insurance with Medicare, medigap and prescriptions plans. We have been blessed in both areas.

There are different seasons to a long retirement and we have transitioned from the early phase into the middle phase. Things have slowed down but I am still pretty busy doing various things that I need to do or that interest me. One thing that encourages me is the number of people I know who are in their 80s who are still sharp and active and seem to be enjoying life. Many of these are in our senior Sunday school class which has more than 100 members.

In retrospect, I could have and perhaps should have retired sooner than 66 but 2008 happened and delayed my retirement. Also, the last 5 years of my work were some of the most satisfying and enjoyable, so it made it easy for me to hang in there a few more years.
chipperd
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by chipperd »

Surprises:
After one year in, biggest surprise was, not all that intentionally, losing 25 lbs. Having time to really enjoy movement (walk, bike, swim, do lots of yard work), and to cook and eat better, all seem to have gotten me to that logical result.

I'm into birds now. Never saw that coming.

Not nearly as concerned about finances after retirement as I was before.

Having time to go sailing weekly (weekdays only please) with one or more of my young adult kids is a nice surprise and partial result of Covid. Wasn't sure they wanted to spend that much time with the "old man".

That wife still wants to work her 3 part time gigs. I'm a kept man!

Still consulting 4-5 hours per week for fun since FI. As a result I'm surprised how little concern I have about what I say, or what others think about what I say, which has lead me to turning down tons of opportunities.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
chipperd
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by chipperd »

av111 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:58 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:13 pm
av111 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:52 pm This thread is interesting. Most people would probably watch TV and eat unhealthy food all day after they retire. The impact of this lifestyle on health can be imagined
Do you have a reference for this? Since it is "most people" I am sure you have a study available.
Good question. I googled for studies on "how does a retired person spend his time".

https://intentionalretirement.com/2012/ ... their-day/


And about dietary habits
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5450356/

Conclusions
Transition to retirement was associated with unhealthier dietary intakes. These results may help defining interventions during this vulnerable life-period.

Also someone shared a medium link about Ikigai. Interesting read

https://www.google.com/amp/s/medium.com ... 71d01992b7
I was interested and started reading the first reference cited :(https://intentionalretirement.com/2012/ ... their-day/) but stopped as soon as I saw "To get an idea, I compared two groups of people from the study: those in their prime working years (55 to 64) and those in the years typically associated with retirement (65 to 74)."
Comparing a working person aged 55-64 to a retired person my age (53) doesn't seem all that applicable. I would dare say assuming those 55-64 to be in their "prime working years" and still working reveals the bias of the author and doesn't jive with the average age of retirement in the U.S., which is just under age 60 (https://dqydj.com/average-retirement-ag ... ed-states/).
In addition, many folks who are F.I. ( which is different that retirement, I know, but allows for drastic cut back of working hours and therefore the time to get healthy) achieve that status prior to age 55.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
TravelforFun
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TravelforFun »

For someone who had worked non-stop for decades and always loved his jobs, what surprised me the most is that my biggest concern did not materialize at all. 11 months into retirement and I've not missed work nor thought about any of the projects I was involved in.

The other pleasant surprise is that I'd expected my portfolio to gradually decline until my age 70 when I start withdrawing my SS benefits but in reality, my portfolio has grown even after a market crash and through a pandemic. I credit this to the fact that I have more time now to pay attention to my investments.

A big disappointment is that I had to cancel all my travel plans for this year but 2021 is right around the corner.

Retirement has been great!

TravelforFun
TravelforFun
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TravelforFun »

Mel Lindauer wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:05 am
David Jay wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:46 pm
Toons wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:30 pm I am so busy
There is never enough Time in the day
This!

I have no idea how I used to fit 50 hours of work into my week.
So true! I can honestly say that I'm so busy now, I don't know how I ever found time to run a business. Lots of interesting opportunities just seemed to come my way, many because of my relationship with Jack Bogle.

Since retirement, I've:
1. Worked with Taylor and lots of others to help build the Bogleheads Community for the past 22 years, first on Morningstar and then here at Bogleheads.org. Currently serve as a forum Moderator.
2. I led a "dream team" that organized and ran the annual Bogleheads Conferences with Jack Bogle, starting in 2000 and running through 2019. Planning and executing those were about an eight- or nine-month behind-the-scenes job, leading up to the actual Conference date.
3. Become an author of The Bogleheads' Guides. (The publisher called us and asked us to do the books. We initially declined, but they persisted and we finally agreed. Glad we did.)
4. Became a Forbes Columnist (They approached me.)
5. Traveled to Europe and cruised the Caribbean several times with good friends. (Highly recommend.)
6. Served on the City's Historical Board which included organizing the City's 50th year celebration.
7. Became Chairman of the City's Board of Adjustments.
8. Was Vice President of The Daytona Beach Shores Community Foundation.
9. Served as the President of the HOA for about 10 years (I don't recommend it). :-)
10. Founded and served as the President of The John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy for 10 years.
11. Was elected and then re-elected as a City Council member, and currently serve in that position. (Declined a request to run for Mayor.)

The nice part about all of this is that I was able to pick and choose things that interested me and to say "No" to things that didn't. That's the real joy of being financially secure after a lifetime of working hard and living below one's means.

In addition to all of that, I took up pickleball, do four or five miles on the beach every day and play golf and fish whenever I can find time. Other than that, I just chill out and try to find time to do nothing.

Come on it; the water's fine!
Thank you, Mel for all that you do for this community.

TravelforFun
MikeG62
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MikeG62 »

ruralavalon wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:51 am
TheTimeLord wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:09 am The biggest surprise to me is that my risk tolerance seems to have increased quite a bit. I think before I always hoped my plan would work and now that I am retired I can see my plan is working and working well. Granted the sample size is only 3 months, the market is doing well and Covid helps control spending, still things seem more real now and less theoretical.
My biggest surprise was how easy it was to switch from working to doing nothing whatever I pleased.

I am pleased to say that our portfolio is larger now than on the day I retired almost 10 years ago.
Same for me (and in my 5th year of retirement). I never, ever think about what I'd be doing if I were working today. It's almost as if I never had a job before.

It's exceeded all of my high expectations.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

TravelforFun wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:23 am 11 months into retirement

The other pleasant surprise is that I'd expected my portfolio to gradually decline until my age 70 when I start withdrawing my SS benefits but in reality, my portfolio has grown even after a market crash and through a pandemic. I credit this to the fact that I have more time now to pay attention to my investments.
Interesting. Could you elaborate more on your doing something with your investment? Doesn't it go against the following Jack Bogle's advice in 2011:
“My rule — and it’s good only about 99% of the time, so I have to be careful here — when these crises come along, the best rule you can possible follow is not ‘Don’t stand there, do something,’ but ‘Don’t do something, stand there!’”
557880yvi
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by 557880yvi »

Planned out retirement to the penny - helped much by Bogleheads (forever grateful for finding this forum). Retired early and factored in pre-medicare health insurance/medical costs so yes, we can "afford" it (and still years to go). But shocked at how painful it is to pay that much every month and see the annual cost (over $20k just in premiums - then high deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance etc. and thank goodness we are extraordinary healthy). It really is "catastrophic" insurance. Have to stop thinking about what we would do with that money if it weren't going to the insurance company - wish tax laws would allow this a medical deduction - think many more would retire early, creating upward mobility for younger workers. :moneybag

My husband never looked back for one minute (Engineer), I miss work and my profession (CPA) every day. - still do my CPE's and keep up my license as I love the courses. But able to care for our 2 grand children (2 under 2!) because daycare is not open and would not feel safe having them go. Hope when things return to a new normal (still does not feel like any kind of normal yet) will try to do some volunteer board work.
soundwave
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by soundwave »

Freedom from time schedules!

Thank you, Nisiprius, for this wonderful passage:

"S'pose they was a carnival or a circus come to town, or a ball game, or any damn thing." Old Candy nodded in appreciation of the idea. "We'd just go to her," George said. "We wouldn't ask nobody if we could. Jus' say, 'We'll go to her,' an' we would. Jus' milk the cow and sling some grain to the chickens an' go to her."

Since I retired August of 2019 I have become (largely but not entirely) a caregiver so my commitments have changed. I do, however, have the freedom to go to the carnival or circus once I "milk the cow & sling some grain". And this, my fellow bogleheads, is a beautiful thing :sharebeer
"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste..." Max Ehrmann
TravelforFun
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TravelforFun »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:58 am
TravelforFun wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:23 am 11 months into retirement

The other pleasant surprise is that I'd expected my portfolio to gradually decline until my age 70 when I start withdrawing my SS benefits but in reality, my portfolio has grown even after a market crash and through a pandemic. I credit this to the fact that I have more time now to pay attention to my investments.
Interesting. Could you elaborate more on your doing something with your investment? Doesn't it go against the following Jack Bogle's advice in 2011:
“My rule — and it’s good only about 99% of the time, so I have to be careful here — when these crises come along, the best rule you can possible follow is not ‘Don’t stand there, do something,’ but ‘Don’t do something, stand there!’”
Yes I went against the Bogle principle. I converted a large portion of my small cap index funds to individual stocks, mostly tech stocks in late March. I'm comfortable with the additional risk because I have at least 10 years worth of expenses in bonds, money market, CDs. and cash which should carry me through future dot.com busts.

TravelforFun
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grobertj
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by grobertj »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm What surprised me:
— I now prefer weekdays to weekends.
— My income went down, but so did my expenses, so I suddenly had more money.
— I quickly stopped caring about my former work. It was almost instantaneous. It was easy to turn down consulting offers.
— I only kept in touch with a few former co-workers despite all those promises to so many people to stay in touch.
— Medicare has turned out to be wonderful. None of the horror stories have been true in my experience.
— I have fewer tasks to accomplish, but somehow they fill the available time.
— Cooking has become more interesting.
— When you retire in your 60s, and your father is still active in his 90s, you have an expert to call with retirement questions.
— Interesting things happen in my neighborhood on weekdays between 8am and 6pm. Who knew?
— I now attend more funerals than weddings.
— Lots of bogleheads post often during the 9-5 workday. Either they are retired, or they're reading the forum instead of working.
I nominate you for best post so far!! :sharebeer
The only constant is CHANGE!!
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TheTimeLord
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

Miriam2 wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:43 am
TheTimeLord wrote: The biggest surprise to me is that my risk tolerance seems to have increased quite a bit. I think before I always hoped my plan would work and now that I am retired I can see my plan is working and working well. Granted the sample size is only 3 months, the market is doing well and Covid helps control spending, still things seem more real now and less theoretical.
TimeLord, nice to hear you're doing well with your plans and enjoying your new retirement 8-)

Are you surprised at the amount of free, unstructured time you have?
No, not surprised since I basically did a trial run 8 years ago. Surprised at how much better I am handling and managing it this time, and to be honest Covid has helped by keeping me away from some time wasting traps. Over the past month I have started to settle into a nice obsessive routine and trying to set out things I want to accomplish or participate in over the next 5 or 10 years. Also getting more and more motivated to change things, be it my fitness, the color of the walls or reorganizing. Things that would sometimes be pushed aside by work are now emerging as priorities. I have no idea where life will take me but I can prepare for where I want to go.
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quantAndHold
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by quantAndHold »

- That I still don’t have time for all the things I want to do.
- That I still need structure. I have to create it for myself, now, though.
- That I have no trouble finding other people with free time during the day, who have the same interests that I do. It’s actually easier to meet people and get them to say yes to my harebrained schemes for entertainment than it was when I was working, because the people I meet now have more flexibility in their schedules.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by mickroark »

I learned fast that my health was more important than my money. Without good health money is useless.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

TravelforFun wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:23 am For someone who had worked non-stop for decades and always loved his jobs, what surprised me the most is that my biggest concern did not materialize at all. 11 months into retirement and I've not missed work nor thought about any of the projects I was involved in.

The other pleasant surprise is that I'd expected my portfolio to gradually decline until my age 70 when I start withdrawing my SS benefits but in reality, my portfolio has grown even after a market crash and through a pandemic. I credit this to the fact that I have more time now to pay attention to my investments.

A big disappointment is that I had to cancel all my travel plans for this year but 2021 is right around the corner.

Retirement has been great!

TravelforFun
Because I am a planner by nature Covid has given me a chance to step back and say what do I want to do in 2021 and what steps do I need to make it happen. I am hoping to take some epic, at least to me, trips in 2021. One of which a friend implied, flat out stated, that I might be overestimate might stamina and fitness in my schedule. That was a month and 12 pounds ago. Talk about giving me a mission in life. What has worked for me is find things to take the energy I poured into work and finding goals to pour it into in retirement. Haven't got it perfect but I like the trajectory I am on.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

rickcrna wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:00 am Great discussion! Much of what has been reported already I can relate to. My biggest surprise to me has been how easy the transition has been from working to retirement. My wife comments on occasion how much more relaxed, happy and content I seem since I retired about 10 months ago. I've spent 30 years as a nurse anesthetist and hit my "wall" last Summer. I no longer enjoyed the work, stress, and getting called at 2am to place a breathing tube in a patient receiving CPR in the ER. Honestly, I thought giving up my professional identity would be much more difficult than it turned out to be.

To me, each day feels like a blank canvas to which I can fill in any way I choose. Of course, being home due to Covid has meant focusing more on home related projects being completed instead of traveling, but the projects need to be done and the travel will happen in due time. My wife and I enjoy afternoon coffee on the deck, maybe a few pickleball games during the week along with the pursuit of other hobbies. Some days are more productive than others, but I find ways to enjoy each and every one of them.

Much of the time, I reflect on the enormous sense of gratitude I have for our good health, financial security, a paid off house, and new found freedom from work schedules.
I didn't need my wife to tell me that when I retired. It was one of the first things I noticed; I thought I was probably unique in that respect so I didn't include it in my earlier post itt.

I loved what I was doing, but my work environment had become toxic. I looked around for other things, but nothing came close to meeting what I wanted. When I was willing to take no more, I hit the door early. Within a week I realized that I had no idea how depressed and angry I had become due to that job and was even more oblivious to how much that bled over into the rest of my life. It was a pleasure never to look back!
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TheTimeLord
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:58 am
TravelforFun wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:23 am 11 months into retirement

The other pleasant surprise is that I'd expected my portfolio to gradually decline until my age 70 when I start withdrawing my SS benefits but in reality, my portfolio has grown even after a market crash and through a pandemic. I credit this to the fact that I have more time now to pay attention to my investments.
Interesting. Could you elaborate more on your doing something with your investment? Doesn't it go against the following Jack Bogle's advice in 2011:
“My rule — and it’s good only about 99% of the time, so I have to be careful here — when these crises come along, the best rule you can possible follow is not ‘Don’t stand there, do something,’ but ‘Don’t do something, stand there!’”
I too feel I have benefit from more time with my investments. Don't know if violates any rules but enjoying the process.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MarkBarb »

The pandemic. I retired shortly before it.

One of our biggest retirement plans was to travel. As a result of the pandemic, we are traveling less than we ever did when I was working.

So far, I'm enjoying the free time, but I kind of miss the work.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

mickroark wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I learned fast that my health was more important than my money. Without good health money is useless.
Try being in poor health without money, while money is definitely less important than health it is always useful.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by jabberwockOG »

Retired at 60 and biggest surprise was how much fun it was to be retired. I knew it would be good but had no idea that it would be an absolute joy, so many new activities, new friends, lots of fun exercise (play) with new friends, really meaningful volunteer work, way more time to pursue my music and hobbies and interests that I deeply care about. Also feel very lucky to have retired late in 2015 with strong investment portfolio but knowing bull market was old and sagging, then surprised to have 4 more years of excellent performance on investments.

A major portion of our retired bliss came to an abrupt end in early March 2020 due to Covid19 disaster sharply curtailing 90% of our sports, social, and volunteer activities. Still we feel bad about complaining since so many people have it far worse, or have suffered tragic consequences. We are sitting out the pandemic (house arrest) in a nice home, wanting for nothing, and with zero financial concerns. Having said that we are hoping 2021 and an available viable vaccine gets here ASAP.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TheTimeLord »

quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:37 am - That I still don’t have time for all the things I want to do. And hopefully you never will. We always need one more thing to move us forward.
- That I still need structure. I have to create it for myself, now, though. So do I. I need structure or I became lazy and accomplish little of what I want
- That I have no trouble finding other people with free time during the day, who have the same interests that I do. It’s actually easier to meet people and get them to say yes to my harebrained schemes for entertainment than it was when I was working, because the people I meet now have more flexibility in their schedules. Still have some trouble with this but I am developing some more solitary pursuits like photography and cooking, as well as, practicing and perfecting some of the things I participate in with others.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by WoodSpinner »

Interesting thread!

1. How stressed I was from my daily commute.
2. How much Enjoy long walks with my wife or with a good Podcast (doing twice a day 3 mile loops).
3. How much of my weight issues evaporated as I shifted from working lunches to much smaller portions. Down about 90lbs so far and have 20 more to go!
4. Exploring this country in an RV has been so much fun! Just love the a freedom and Flexibility of being on the road with the comforts of home.
5. Love shopping, exploring, kayaking during the week when everything is so much less crowded!
6. How well my wife and I get along since I am now home much more often!
7. Confess that some of my co-workers have political/religious opinions diametrically opposed to mine. These issues never really came up at work (we had a great corporate culture) but they become more apparent now that I spend more time on FaceBook and Reddit. Having a much harder time being friendly and social with some now that I understand their viewpoints better.

As others have said upthread, I am so grateful to be retired, healthy and financially secure in this crazy time. It really is a blessing to not have the added stress of work and worry.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by flaccidsteele »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm — I now prefer weekdays to weekends.
I don’t even know what day it is or whether it’s a weekday or weekend. There’s no point for me to know
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

flaccidsteele wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:57 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:26 pm — I now prefer weekdays to weekends.
I don’t even know what day it is or whether it’s a weekday or weekend. There’s no point for me to know
+1

About the only thing that keeps me oriented is knowing that garbage pickups are on Monday and Thursday 8-)
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by livesoft »

I think what surprised me most and still surprises me every day is all the very wealthy people who are still working. You know who they are as their names are often in the news. Sure, there are some wealthy people who are not working and their names are in the news, too, but I'm surprised by all the folks who embrace anxieties and headaches when they really don't have to. I'm suspicious and distrustful of every single one of them.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by TravelforFun »

TheTimeLord wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:51 am
mickroark wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:40 am I learned fast that my health was more important than my money. Without good health money is useless.
Try being in poor health without money, while money is definitely less important than health it is always useful.
Try being old, in poor health, and without money.

TravelforFun
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by theplayer11 »

Brianmcg321 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:31 pm
av111 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:52 pm This thread is interesting. Most people would probably watch TV and eat unhealthy food all day after they retire. The impact of this lifestyle on health can be imagined
Most people eat unhealthy food and sit at a desk all day. Not much change for most probably. LOL.
I know very few people who sit at a desk all day. Most of my peers are self employed though.
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GerryL
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by GerryL »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:27 am
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:06 pm All the above is a textbook symptom of becoming inefficient and lazy. When you have too much time without much to do, you become less efficient and it is difficult to finish anything because you don't have any sense of urgency. Your frustration with unfinished tasks makes you feel busy, i.e., short of time. "I have to do this and that." Poor students are always short of time. In the short term, time goes slowly, but time seemed to have passed fast when you look back because you cannot recall much. You accomplish more when you are truly busy.

Nothing wrong with going easy and slow once retired. There is no need to bend the truth.
Who's bending the truth? That's quite an accusation! I want to be lazy now that I am retired. I freely admit it. Retirement is living up to my hopes, dreams, and expectations.
+1
Now that I am out of the workforce, my motto: Personal productivity is highly overrated.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by palanzo »

chipperd wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:06 am
av111 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:58 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:13 pm
av111 wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:52 pm This thread is interesting. Most people would probably watch TV and eat unhealthy food all day after they retire. The impact of this lifestyle on health can be imagined
Do you have a reference for this? Since it is "most people" I am sure you have a study available.
Good question. I googled for studies on "how does a retired person spend his time".

https://intentionalretirement.com/2012/ ... their-day/


And about dietary habits
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5450356/

Conclusions
Transition to retirement was associated with unhealthier dietary intakes. These results may help defining interventions during this vulnerable life-period.

Also someone shared a medium link about Ikigai. Interesting read

https://www.google.com/amp/s/medium.com ... 71d01992b7
I was interested and started reading the first reference cited :(https://intentionalretirement.com/2012/ ... their-day/) but stopped as soon as I saw "To get an idea, I compared two groups of people from the study: those in their prime working years (55 to 64) and those in the years typically associated with retirement (65 to 74)."
Comparing a working person aged 55-64 to a retired person my age (53) doesn't seem all that applicable. I would dare say assuming those 55-64 to be in their "prime working years" and still working reveals the bias of the author and doesn't jive with the average age of retirement in the U.S., which is just under age 60 (https://dqydj.com/average-retirement-ag ... ed-states/).
In addition, many folks who are F.I. ( which is different that retirement, I know, but allows for drastic cut back of working hours and therefore the time to get healthy) achieve that status prior to age 55.
I stopped reading when I saw the first "reference" was a random blog from a random guy who is monetizing his blog.

When I asked for a reference for the posted assertions I was expecting an academic paper or at least a paper from a respected organization.
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