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

Post by palanzo »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:03 pm
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-)
+1 It's worse for me. Garbage pickup is only once a week :mrgreen:
palanzo
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by palanzo »

MarkBarb wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:51 am 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.
+1
friar1610
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by friar1610 »

- How well we could get along (financially) on our guaranteed income streams w/o tapping our portfolio. (Coulda retired earlier than 58 if I'd known but the cushion is very nice too.)
- How quickly I left behind my work-associated identitity.
- How much I've enjoyed various volunteer pursuits (and the ability to "work" on my terms rather than the organization's).

Many of the other observations above resound with me as well.
Friar1610
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:04 pm 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.
For some people, their work is their life.
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ruralavalon
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by ruralavalon »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:30 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:04 pm 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.
For some people, their work is their life.
Some people enjoy the work they do, so are in no hurry to quit.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

ruralavalon wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:09 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:30 pm
livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:04 pm 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.
For some people, their work is their life.
Some people enjoy the work they do, so are in no hurry to quit.
Some people see things in the one dimension :thumbsdown while others in the multi-dimension. :thumbsup
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

TravelforFun wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:36 am
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
You're welcome, TravelforFun.

I was just trying to show others that if they want to retire early like I did, or even if they choose to retire at the "normal" retirement age, there's still another whole world out there to explore. They can be as busy as they want (like me) or choose to do nothing, whichever works for them. Or perhaps some balance between my craziness and doing nothing might be their choice.

It's certainly nice to have choices.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
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celia
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by celia »

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.
Or those aren't their work hours/days!
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

celia wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:08 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.
Or those aren't their work hours/days!
Maybe, but probably not. I used to be a boss, and my IT guys would show me lists of the non-work-related websites that our staff was logged into at 10am in the morning from within the building.
sailaway
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by sailaway »

Or they write code:


Image
Chuck107
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
scrabbler1
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by scrabbler1 »

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.
Seven years after I retired at 45, I had some significant health issues which landed me in the hospital for 12 days back in 2015. While being retired allowed me to be able devote 100% of my time and effort into getting myself well, having enough money to pay for high copays/deductibles and some uncovered medical bills and being able to take that for granted was also rather comforting. Money surely wasn't useless.
flyingaway
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by flyingaway »

I guess that I am surprised that the OP is finally retired.
palanzo
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by palanzo »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:26 pm
celia wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:08 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.
Or those aren't their work hours/days!
Maybe, but probably not. I used to be a boss, and my IT guys would show me lists of the non-work-related websites that our staff was logged into at 10am in the morning from within the building.
Did you account for the 3 hours time difference to the West Coast? Time difference to UK and Europe etc?
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jimmyq
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by jimmyq »

Some things that surprised me...

1. I'm spending more than I originally thought I would. I was so accustomed to denying myself luxuries and saving every penny prior to retirement that I wasn't sure I'd be able loosen the purse strings. Turns out this concern was unwarranted as I have no problems spending a extra money to enjoy my retirement now.

2. Adjusting to retirement was easier than I thought. I was initially worried that I'd get bored and want to return to work. Again, not a problem.

3. Volunteering can be more of a commitment that I thought. While volunteer work is great, it's also easy for this to become a burden rather than a fun activity if you're not careful. I recommend learning exactly what a position entails before volunteering, as it can be difficult to "quit" once you have accepted the role.
av111
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by av111 »

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.
[/quote]
palanzo wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:27 pm I was expecting an academic paper or at least a paper from a respected organization.
Is this reliable?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593658/
AV111
UpperNwGuy
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

palanzo wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:31 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:26 pm
celia wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:08 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.
Or those aren't their work hours/days!
Maybe, but probably not. I used to be a boss, and my IT guys would show me lists of the non-work-related websites that our staff was logged into at 10am in the morning from within the building.
Did you account for the 3 hours time difference to the West Coast? Time difference to UK and Europe etc?
Of course I did. I used to have three clocks in my office. Los Angeles, Washington, and Geneva.
palanzo
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by palanzo »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:53 pm
palanzo wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:31 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:26 pm
celia wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:08 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.
Or those aren't their work hours/days!
Maybe, but probably not. I used to be a boss, and my IT guys would show me lists of the non-work-related websites that our staff was logged into at 10am in the morning from within the building.
Did you account for the 3 hours time difference to the West Coast? Time difference to UK and Europe etc?
Of course I did. I used to have three clocks in my office. Los Angeles, Washington, and Geneva.
How do you know where all the BHs live? How do you know a 4pm West Coast posting is not an 7pm East Coast posting?
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:03 pm
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-)
Thankfully my phone lets me know what day it is. (Trash goes out Monday night for Tues. am pickup.)
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
chipperd
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by chipperd »

palanzo wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:27 pm
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.
Yup. Solid information is an hard to come by commodity these days.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
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bhwabeck3533
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by bhwabeck3533 »

"Some of them drink a lot (this may be me someday, if I'm not careful), but even those drinkers exercise a lot to make up for it."

Yikes! I thought I was the only one who walked 4-8 miles a day or bike 15-25 miles a day to permit the extended Happy Hour each and every night. Actually, glad to know I'm not alone!
iamblessed
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by iamblessed »

palanzo wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:29 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:03 pm
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-)
+1 It's worse for me. Garbage pickup is only once a week :mrgreen:
I track that carefully. I try not to go out on weekends. That is when the other folks are out.
LunaLauren
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by LunaLauren »

TravelforFun wrote:

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.



Do you mind providing examples of how paying more attention to your investments has paid off for you?

This same thought crosses my mind - that if I could pay closer attention, I would find more opportunities for TLH, for example...but then I keep going back to the adage that the more we tinker with our portfolio (I guess this only applies to rebalancing?) the more we risk a loss?

Thanks
iamblessed
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by iamblessed »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:04 pm 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.
Me to livesoft I don't get that at all. I don't even understand relatives than have money and no children working to an old age when I know they have enough to retire. I know one women that worked 25 years past her pension date and she has no kids. She says she will make less money retired.
My first thought was yeah but they are paying you all that money even if you spend all your time on your rear.
Arabesque
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Arabesque »

Lots of people like their work because it is multidimensional and fits their values and worldview. Working past retirement age and/or 25X isn't necessarily a pathology.

I understand bad, draining, controlling jobs. In fact, I never kept a full time job for a full year until I became a professor. Work interfered with life, but then all of a sudden I was loving 60 hours/week of work: writing, teaching, traveling. Yes, I will be fully retired from the university before 70, I'm currently moving out of my office on the tenth floor, but I will still be in the game, just not on the payroll. I thought I would be traveling and teaching, but covid is going to send me deep into research (my surprise).

Work poses an ontological question, a question about being. If I can travel the world, be paid for creating my visions (written or material), and engage people of all ages, classes, races, nations, etc., why would I rush to retirement?
flyingaway
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by flyingaway »

Arabesque wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:41 am Lots of people like their work because it is multidimensional and fits their values and worldview. Working past retirement age and/or 25X isn't necessarily a pathology.

I understand bad, draining, controlling jobs. In fact, I never kept a full time job for a full year until I became a professor. Work interfered with life, but then all of a sudden I was loving 60 hours/week of work: writing, teaching, traveling. Yes, I will be fully retired from the university before 70, I'm currently moving out of my office on the tenth floor, but I will still be in the game, just not on the payroll. I thought I would be traveling and teaching, but covid is going to send me deep into research (my surprise).

Work poses an ontological question, a question about being. If I can travel the world, be paid for creating my visions (written or material), and engage people of all ages, classes, races, nations, etc., why would I rush to retirement?
Another professor here. What you said was true for me in the past. I liked to travel to some places, give a seminar or conference talk, do some sightseeing, be welcomed as an expert, and be paid for those things.

But now I feel to be bothered to do those things and to be accompanied by the hosts (waste of my time), if I have my own money to travel and eat and see things on my own. (I am 56 now).
nguy44
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by nguy44 »

I have been retired a little over 2 years now. The surprising things:
- So far we overestimated our expenses. We had enough cash for 5 years of planned spending, but at the current rate it is closer to 15. Even removing the "pandemic factor", has we spent what we planned the first six months of the year, we would still have spent less than half of our plan. It is one reason we chose to pay off our mortgage.
- I am using my home theater/gaming room less than when I worked. While working, even when working for home, I would use the things I had setup in it on a daily basis. Since retiring, I use it 1-2 times per week. My explanation is that it helped me de-stress from work issues, but with that stress gone in retirement, and having the time for activities I choose, I do not "need" it as much.
- My work desire is gone. I love technology and my job, and I thought I might consider some part time IT consulting. I even went to the steps of setting up a LLC for it. But now I have no desire for work. I am getting job opportunities sent my way 5-10 times a month.
- My wife's increased, shall we say, "enthusiasm" 8-) . We have had a great marriage and physical intimacy with each other is #1 on our "mutual interests" list. But since retiring it has gone off the charts. It is an inspiration for both of us to stay in shape, and she just retired from her college professor job, with the view of "we are in our early 60s, still in good physical shape, still attractive to each other, and do not need anything other than the visuals and attitudes of each other for "inspiration" - so let's not let this time go to waste!". :mrgreen:
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VictoriaF
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by VictoriaF »

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.
This is a fantastic comment. Because it hurts.

I've read books about productivity and habits. I've eliminated some sources of bad habits (I don't have a TV) and I have created short-, medium-, and long-term plans. I am making daily schedules and tracking what I do. And still I have too many things that I want to do and I am not completing many things I have started.

I am trying to optimize my use of time but I am reluctant making time-sensitive commitments and having hard deadlines. In a way, your comment is liberating.

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

Post by tarheel »

flyingaway wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:50 am
Arabesque wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:41 am Lots of people like their work because it is multidimensional and fits their values and worldview. Working past retirement age and/or 25X isn't necessarily a pathology.

I understand bad, draining, controlling jobs. In fact, I never kept a full time job for a full year until I became a professor. Work interfered with life, but then all of a sudden I was loving 60 hours/week of work: writing, teaching, traveling. Yes, I will be fully retired from the university before 70, I'm currently moving out of my office on the tenth floor, but I will still be in the game, just not on the payroll. I thought I would be traveling and teaching, but covid is going to send me deep into research (my surprise).

Work poses an ontological question, a question about being. If I can travel the world, be paid for creating my visions (written or material), and engage people of all ages, classes, races, nations, etc., why would I rush to retirement?
Another professor here. What you said was true for me in the past. I liked to travel to some places, give a seminar or conference talk, do some sightseeing, be welcomed as an expert, and be paid for those things.

But now I feel to be bothered to do those things and to be accompanied by the hosts (waste of my time), if I have my own money to travel and eat and see things on my own. (I am 56 now).
Super interesting to hear from the professors on here. I am currently 40 and tenured in the physical sciences and while I love what I do, it is a lot of effort. I couldn't imagine not being in the profession at this point, but as a gift to my future self I am socking away money like crazy to at least have options down the road. Impossible to say if I'll love the job as much in 10-15 years. Money = options. :happy
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Watty
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Watty »

What surprised you the most once you retired?
One thing that may not have been mentioned is that some people are surprised at is how quickly and well the company gets by without them once they leave. Some people feel like they are indispensable and it can be a bit of a letdown to realize that they were actually easily replaced.
flyingaway
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by flyingaway »

tarheel wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:59 am
flyingaway wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:50 am Another professor here. What you said was true for me in the past. I liked to travel to some places, give a seminar or conference talk, do some sightseeing, be welcomed as an expert, and be paid for those things.

But now I feel to be bothered to do those things and to be accompanied by the hosts (waste of my time), if I have my own money to travel and eat and see things on my own. (I am 56 now).
Super interesting to hear from the professors on here. I am currently 40 and tenured in the physical sciences and while I love what I do, it is a lot of effort. I couldn't imagine not being in the profession at this point, but as a gift to my future self I am socking away money like crazy to at least have options down the road. Impossible to say if I'll love the job as much in 10-15 years. Money = options. :happy
To be honest with you, most professors I saw do not retire before 70s. The two who retired from my department (a science field) recently: one was to run his own company, another was sick with Parkinson's disease. Some told me that they don't know what to do if they retire. Others (some of my friends) are obviously not good at managing their money and do not have enough.

(When I was at the top of my career with 5 funded research projects and supervising 12 Ph.D. students concurrently, I did not even know the difference between bond funds and stock funds. I paid IRS Alternative Minimum Tax every year. That was the day that I made a lot of money but did not have time to manage my money.)
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Arabesque »

I think for many professors it’s not a matter of not knowing what to do, but a matter of not knowing what would be better to do. At 69, I actually still like 85% of my job. Covid creates some problems for me, and my university’s location isn’t ideal for family connections, but I might have worked into my 70s if I lived closer to family and was not restricted by Covid (travel and online teaching).

It takes so long to build a research empire that it’s hard to walk away. The job gets easier once the empire is built. All of those decades of hard work, and then it gets to be play and splash.
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tarheel
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by tarheel »

Arabesque wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:06 am I think for many professors it’s not a matter of not knowing what to do, but a matter of not knowing what would be better to do. At 69, I actually still like 85% of my job. Covid creates some problems for me, and my university’s location isn’t ideal for family connections, but I might have worked into my 70s if I lived closer to family and was not restricted by Covid (travel and online teaching).

It takes so long to build a research empire that it’s hard to walk away. The job gets easier once the empire is built. All of those decades of hard work, and then it gets to be play and splash.
Right - but my question is always do I want to play and splash with my research group or with my family? I know it doesn't have to be either or, but I would say with a group the size I have (12 students or so) it is not so easy to have time for everything/everyone. But I could see having a smaller group later and starting to change my focus. But what's going to be interesting is let's say 15 years from now when I'm 55 and have probably hit FI what do I want to do then. As a relatively young academic all I know so far is the slog to get tenure and the subsequent climb up the ranks to full in recent years.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Arabesque »

As my career unfolded, I became less involved with my students, and more involved with other scholars. I like students, and all my administration has been directly involved in student services, but the job kept evolving. I love traveling and discussing ideas with friends at the top of the game.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by coffeehubcap »

How rich I was, and that I had enough to buy whatever I wanted until I die.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by IMO »

Watty wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:25 am
What surprised you the most once you retired?
One thing that may not have been mentioned is that some people are surprised at is how quickly and well the company gets by without them once they leave. Some people feel like they are indispensable and it can be a bit of a letdown to realize that they were actually easily replaced.
Absolutely. It's interesting how many people erroneously perceive themselves as irreplaceable. If someone where to drop dead, life will go on, even if your Elon Musk, etc.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by IMO »

What surprised me most was that it seems like no one else is working. Things are often still crowded, and I say either to myself or my spouse, "doesn't anyone work anymore?"
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by flyingaway »

tarheel wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:16 am
Arabesque wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:06 am I think for many professors it’s not a matter of not knowing what to do, but a matter of not knowing what would be better to do. At 69, I actually still like 85% of my job. Covid creates some problems for me, and my university’s location isn’t ideal for family connections, but I might have worked into my 70s if I lived closer to family and was not restricted by Covid (travel and online teaching).

It takes so long to build a research empire that it’s hard to walk away. The job gets easier once the empire is built. All of those decades of hard work, and then it gets to be play and splash.
Right - but my question is always do I want to play and splash with my research group or with my family? I know it doesn't have to be either or, but I would say with a group the size I have (12 students or so) it is not so easy to have time for everything/everyone. But I could see having a smaller group later and starting to change my focus. But what's going to be interesting is let's say 15 years from now when I'm 55 and have probably hit FI what do I want to do then. As a relatively young academic all I know so far is the slog to get tenure and the subsequent climb up the ranks to full in recent years.
I like the idea of getting yourself to financial independence first and then reevaluate. If you still like the game, keep playing. I regret that I did not pay attention to the financial and investment part in my early career and paid a lot of taxes and did not invest correctly. (Mostly I did not contribute a lot to my retirement funds and did not choose the index funds). Otherwise I could be $1M richer at 56.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

I saw a saying recently that I thought was cute and appropriate for this thread:
The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Dottie57 »

GerryL wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:19 pm
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.
Agree. I am done with efficiency. I feel i am very efficient when dishwasher, washer and dryer are running while I nap or read.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Dottie57 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:50 pm
GerryL wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:19 pm
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.
Agree. I am done with efficiency. I feel i am very efficient when dishwasher, washer and dryer are running while I nap or read.
Power of an engine = efficiency * fuel_burn_rate
(Real) life = efficiency * calendar_year
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by protagonist »

What surprised me the most was how much less money I spend and yet maintain my lifestyle.
Nothing else I can think of was very surprising. I'm very happy I retired at 55, though it was a year of extreme financial insecurity (2008).
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by protagonist »

Mel Lindauer wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:20 pm I saw a saying recently that I thought was cute and appropriate for this thread:
The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
Funny, Mel. Of course....The flip side is that you have a lifetime off.
(going back to the glass of water and how full it is...)
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by protagonist »

Arabesque wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:06 am I think for many professors it’s not a matter of not knowing what to do, but a matter of not knowing what would be better to do. At 69, I actually still like 85% of my job. Covid creates some problems for me, and my university’s location isn’t ideal for family connections, but I might have worked into my 70s if I lived closer to family and was not restricted by Covid (travel and online teaching).

It takes so long to build a research empire that it’s hard to walk away. The job gets easier once the empire is built. All of those decades of hard work, and then it gets to be play and splash.
On some level I understand that. I really liked my job as well. There were things I definitely missed about my career when I retired at 55. I want to emphasize "missed"....past tense...it didn't last long. 12 years later I never look back or miss what was.

It's wonderful that you like 85% of your job. The question you are not answering (and one that may be impossible to answer if you don't take the plunge) is how much you will enjoy not having to do it. As with just about everything (investing, love, adventure, career choices), the potential reward is directly proportional to the potential risk. There are few absolute truths in the universe. That might be one of them.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

protagonist wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:21 pm
Mel Lindauer wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:20 pm I saw a saying recently that I thought was cute and appropriate for this thread:
The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
Funny, Mel. Of course....The flip side is that you have a lifetime off.
(going back to the glass of water and how full it is...)
Yep, it all depends on how you look at it. Is the glass half full or half empty?
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
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Watty
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Watty »

protagonist wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:21 pm
Mel Lindauer wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:20 pm I saw a saying recently that I thought was cute and appropriate for this thread:
The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
Funny, Mel. Of course....The flip side is that you have a lifetime off.
(going back to the glass of water and how full it is...)
My last day of work was on a Thursday. Someone thought that was a bit odd and asked me why I chose a Thursday to retire on.

I replied that I wanted to start my retirement with a three day weekend. :D
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by fastrock »

The many activities I did around the house and community were no longer needed. IOW, I did them for stress relief.

That I always drove 15-20mph over the speed limit, but after retirement, I'd look down an realized that I was now one of those who drove 5-10mph below the speed limit.

Ended up in ER following Sunday Mass bez the blood pressure meds I had been taking for 20 years was giving me heart attack symptoms due to low blood pressure.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by JBTX »

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.

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."

As to your 9-5 comment, I have often thought, based upon what I saw and what I did at work (in staff environments) that a lot of time is spent on the internet. Some message boards would be by far most active during work hours. Message board participants came from all different types of professions. I also came to the conclusion that most people greatly exaggerated how much work they actually did and how many hours they actually worked.

As to thread topic, I am working again, but didn't work for about a year. I guess biggest surprise was how days run together. Weekend or weekday didn't much matter. Like others actually preferred weekdays. I often forgot what day it was.

The biggest advantage of working to not working is not worrying about money. As long as we are saving all is good. I just couldn't get used to concept of depleting liquid funds, even though overall investments were increasing.
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by Limoncello402 »

Another professor here, retiring this year at 63. I guess that's early for some professors, but I can say that I loved my academic life -- until I didn't. My field (liberal arts) has changed dramatically since I entered the academy, and so have the students. It is all but unrecognizable to me. Yes, you adapt but the field got (and is) so heavily politicized that it no longer held my interest. I'd say this happened in my late 50s, when my career suddenly felt far more draining than stimulating, and I started to feel classic burn out. Made it to now, but am ready to go. I'm looking forward to getting back to some of the original things that drew me to the field in the first place -- but on my own time and with no obligations.

I intent to do some volunteering in retirement in completely different areas, as well as a lot of physical things (ie. travel, biking, hiking) that I never had time for in all those long, cerebral years....
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Re: What surprised you the most once you retired?

Post by VictoriaF »

Limoncello402 wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:49 am Another professor here, retiring this year at 63. I guess that's early for some professors, but I can say that I loved my academic life -- until I didn't.
Ironically, this thread provides me with more insight into professors than retirees. I spent over 25 years taking courses in academic institutions (regular school, BS degree, two MS degrees, numerous non-degree courses). I admired some of my professors and thought that an academic career would be best for me. The way my career turned out, I never pursued a PhD. But I have been writing papers, giving talks, and teaching professional seminars. Now, in retirement I give one or two talks per year at social events. In 2018, my topic was behavioral economics; in 2019, Black Swans, antifragility, and Taleb's own story. In 2020, I was going to revise and repeat my Black Swans talk, but the events were cancelled due to COVID-19.

While in retirement I am doing what I enjoy, I feel somewhat deficient in not having a doctorate. Reading about professors not being completely happy with what would have been for me the top achievement gives me some (perverse?) satisfaction.

Victoria
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