Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

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willyd123
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Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by willyd123 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm

I am 56 and am considering retiring in about a year but am concerned I'll regret the decision. Whenever I mention my plans to others, some will look at me like I'm crazy and tell me I will be bored out of my mind. I feel like I am the kind of person who will stay engaged but their reactions make me second guess myself.

The other thing I struggle with is that if I do regret my decision and I want to go back to work, I may have a very difficult time doing so due to my age and the fact that I was out of the workforce for a period of time. The thing that makes this issue more significant is that I make a very good living so in a sense, my career is an investment and if I let it go I won't be able to salvage it later.

I have enough to retire on pretty comfortably so the income is not that big of a deal but it still is a big decision.

Was wondering if there are other bogleheads who've experience in this that they can share?

123
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by 123 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:16 pm

For those that have their job/career as a major component of their life it can be difficult to leave it behind if the majority of their friendships and associations are connected with their job.

For those with outside interests/friendships/hobbies that are not really connected with their jobs other than the 8-to-5 routine it can be very easy to retire. If you usually have no contact with "work people" outside of work it should be pretty easy to just jettison those relationships, they just end when you stop working.

If "the gang at work" is a major part of your life it can make the transition to retirement more difficult. Once you're no longer part of the "team" it can make it difficult to fit into the "gang", they may no longer see much purpose in dealing with you.

Retirement can be like when you left your family and moved out on "your own".
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

invst65
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by invst65 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:26 pm

My decision was easy because it was made for me about 1 1/2 years ago at age 67.

Boredom is a factor, especially since my wife is still working and we can't travel much. When somebody asks me if I'm getting bored however I always tell them that it does get boring at times but I'm not as bored as I was during the last 10 or so years on my job. At least I can find something else to do to try to alleviate it which was something I couldn't say before when I had to just sit and stare at the computer screen all day. I've taken up hobbies of fishing and boating but I actually get more satisfaction doing projects around the house. Makes me feel productive.

I would have retired sooner if I could afford it like you say you can. Another thing I can tell you is that if you wait until my age you might not enjoy yourself as much as you will now. I'm still in pretty good health with no major problems but time does start to catch up with you at your age and beyond.

GCD
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by GCD » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:27 pm

What 123 wrote is pretty true. You'll have to adjust as necessary.

For myself, I keep in touch with a few of the people from work that I really liked, but the rest don't matter. I've made a couple good new friends since retirement and my relationship with some of my previous co-workers has gotten stronger. Several of them who are still working say they live vicariously through me.

I had a post-retirement plan and threw it out after a year and reset. So don't be afraid to mix it up. I feel like I am 18 again with a whole world of options and too much to choose from. Filling my day is not a problem. I feel a little sad for the people who so lack creativity they can't figure out how to fill their day without a boss telling them what to do.

Another factor is you don't have forever. A friend of a friend just died of the flu at age 45. He was physically fit and left 2 kids and a wife. You don't know how many good years you have left. You gonna wait to retire until it's straight into assisted living?

I highly encourage retiring as soon as you are comfortably able to. Retirement without money would suck.

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mhadden1
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by mhadden1 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:38 pm

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm
I am 56 and am considering retiring in about a year but am concerned I'll regret the decision. Whenever I mention my plans to others, some will look at me like I'm crazy and tell me I will be bored out of my mind. I feel like I am the kind of person who will stay engaged but their reactions make me second guess myself.
Do you have particular satisfying things that you plan to do? If so I would not worry about this aspect.

If you really enjoy your work, your colleagues, the value that you create and that others gain from your efforts, then I would stick with it. I certainly know people that are really tied up with their jobs and might be a bit lost in retirement.
if I do regret my decision and I want to go back to work, I may have a very difficult time doing so due to my age and the fact that I was out of the workforce for a period of time.
This is certainly true for many people.

At 58 I was ready to leave MegaTech and I was confident there was "enough" for me and DW. After a couple of years I don't miss working for the man. For me every day is Saturday. I like that.
Oh I can't, can I? That's what they said to Thomas Edison, mighty inventor, Thomas Lindberg, mighty flyer,and Thomas Shefsky, mighty like a rose.

JoeRetire
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:58 pm

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm
I am 56 and am considering retiring in about a year but am concerned I'll regret the decision.

The other thing I struggle with is that if I do regret my decision and I want to go back to work, I may have a very difficult time doing so due to my age and the fact that I was out of the workforce for a period of time. The thing that makes this issue more significant is that I make a very good living so in a sense, my career is an investment and if I let it go I won't be able to salvage it later.

I have enough to retire on pretty comfortably so the income is not that big of a deal but it still is a big decision.

Was wondering if there are other bogleheads who've experience in this that they can share?
If you have run the numbers and are confident in the financial aspects, then it's irrelevant how good a living your current salary provides today, and you don't need to worry about getting back to it after retiring. You don't need this job.

You might be able to go pack part-time, or consult. When money is no longer an issue, many folks find a new "career" - either full time or part time that help alleviate boredom or provides fulfilling activities. You don't need to go back to your former job. You could do something you always wanted to do. You could volunteer, etc, etc.

When I retired, I found plenty of things to do that filled my days. I did miss my co-workers and I missed some of the challenge of my former job (although I didn't miss the stress and politics at all). After being retired for about 6 months, I was asked if I would go back and do some consulting to help out my replacement. I agreed to do so for 16 hours per week - 2 days per week - but no more.

It was actually a lot of fun! Without the stress, politics, and tedious administrivia, the hours flew by. I got to help out my former coworkers by doing only the "fun" parts of the former job. I did that for a little over a year. If they called again, I'd be happy to help again.

Another approach is to see if you can do a "trial run" at retirement. Some companies will let you take a sabbatical, yet still guarantee your job at the end. In other companies, you can stack many weeks of vacation together. That might give you a chance to see what retirement would be like before you commit.

Either way, you'll almost certainly retire eventually, right? So why not now. It's normal to be apprehensive - you've never retired before! And many of us put a lot of ourselves in our work and wonder what we'll do without that job.

Just remember that the best thing about being financially independent is that it gives you the chance to try things - things where it will be okay to fail and try something else.

Think it through and consider what you would like to do. If at the end of it you are still fearful, that may be a signal that you just aren't ready yet. I'm retired, but my wife isn't ready yet. She'll get there eventually. So will you. Don't worry about it either way.

delamer
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by delamer » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:11 pm

The key question that you need to answer is why you are considering retirement.

No one can guarantee that you won’t be bored or feel disengaged, at least while you are transitioning out of work and into a new lifestyle. It may take time to make that change.

But, assuming that your health is good, those conditions can be overcome. Try new things — like volunteering — and promise yourself that you’ll give commit to them for 6 months (or whatever) before deciding if you want to continue.

btenny
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by btenny » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:53 pm

I retired younger than you. It was one of the best decisions of my life. My co-workers also thought I was nuts. They could not believe I was going to retire and not go somewhere else to work. They all thought I was going to go to Silicon Valley or Seattle to work. I had deep skills in communication technology. I was just glad to get out of all the work politics and related junk. I threw away my phone and watch and beeper for over a year. I loved sleeping in many mornings and then going for coffee. I goofed off a lot but did chores around the house as well. My wife was still working and both kids were grown so I had the whole house to myself. It was wonderful.

After a year I took on a winter play job part time. It kept me busy and was great fun. It paid almost nothing. I loved it. After three years my wife joined me after she saw how much fun I was having. I did it for 6 years on and off. It was lots of physical labor outdoors so it was radically different than my former work life. I learned about a whole new way of living. I never went back to my old line of work even though I had lots of offers.

I do not think you can predict all the things you will want to do or see when you retire. The key is having enough money to support your whims and appetites. Then you just have to go for it.

Good Luck.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm

As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
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livesoft
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:06 pm

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm
Whenever I mention my plans to others, some will look at me like I'm crazy and tell me I will be bored out of my mind.
I think you need to tell only retired people you know about your plans. Everyone wants to self-validate their decisions, so ...

If you tell only working people who are not retired that you will retire, they will want you to be like them.

If you tell only retired people who are retired that you will retire, they will want you to be like them.
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randomizer
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by randomizer » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:12 pm

Become a consultant. Keep working, a bit. Profit.
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heyyou
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by heyyou » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:34 pm

Yes, you are entering an unexperienced portion of your life, but most of those who have preceded you, did figure it out. Consider how many get married then stay married for a few decades after a series of much shorter relationships. Is that a valid analogy for finding the good part of retirement?

About the other option, no one here cares if you just stay at work, commuting in rush hour traffic, dealing with other people's problems, making money that you don't need, to spend on more new stuff, while we retirees happily live a placid life of leisure.

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by walterbird » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:59 pm

The other thing I struggle with is that if I do regret my decision and I want to go back to work, I may have a very difficult time doing so due to my age and the fact that I was out of the workforce for a period of time.
Don't worry about this.
Companies everywhere are struggling to find competent workers. Unemployment is at 4.5%, lowest in 45 years, and its expected to drop below 4% this year.
Re-entering the workforce should not be a problem

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Nestegg_User » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:04 pm

OP

it’s typically called “One More Year” syndrome (“OMY”), and I wish I had a dollar for each of these (do a search on the forum, it comes up ALL the time)

check your numbers, giving a huge “fudge factor”, to see if there’s any issues- - do you have health insurance in retirement? any pensions, and if so any vesting thresholds that might give you more in a short period? do they still pencil out if one passes early? etc. {see any number of those threads for a list of questions}

after that, are you gonna stay in place or move? if you decide to move- to where? if you are in new england and are planning to move to florida, for example, winter ain’t the best time to do it...rather go in spring or fall (depending on whether you have options vesting or max out 401k then or whatever.

if you don’t know WHERE you are going to go, but know that you are heading elsewhere, take some time off , in multiple seasons, to explore various locations... is it beach or lake or mountain or even downtown major city? Are you gonna need to stay near kids?

The change from w@rking to retirement will take some time... but if you’ve accounted for the eventualities that will come up (major surgery? replacement of HVAC or roof?, ...) the lower stress can help you relax and enjoy new opportunities, like volunteering, that you might never have had time for in the past. Hey, you might even finish that novel you’ve been thinking of....


[for us, I retired later than you are thinking, but that was for pension and health insurance in retirement. We had spent years looking for different locations and, once we located where, we spent a few years trying to find the house we wanted...got it less than a year before retirement. ]

EDIT: remember that “retirement” is NOT guaranteed to anyone...it’s a choice with which we retirees paid ($ for time). Look around and you would find most would love to be able to retire...some may only get to in the most unfortunate way and not be able to live in the way that they envisioned.

If in doubt, especially since you said you were well compensated, stay another year... For me, and I would hope others well situated financially, I have NO need to w@rk part time, especially in a minimum wage type job, when others are in dire need of that income to survive. another $1k / month isn’t gonna change us ... but could substantially affect a younger worker as a second job.

invst65
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by invst65 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:20 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm
As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
J🌺🌺🌺
This is very true as I alluded to in my previous post on the subject. As I said, I'm still in pretty good health but the difference between retiring at 56 or at my age (67) can be pretty significant. Just look at average life expectancy for a man - 78. At 56 you still have 22 years. At my age I had 11, now 9 (My Dad died at 92 and my mother is sill alive approaching 100 so I do expect to live a lot longer than average).

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Nestegg_User » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:31 pm

{Invst: neither of mine survived past 62... one was gone at 52....
still, we needed to wait until all the “stars aligned” as it were to pull the plug and are at 2% or below WR now, before SS. we planned, then executed the plan}

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Sandtrap
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:40 pm

invst65 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:20 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm
As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
J🌺🌺🌺
This is very true as I alluded to in my previous post on the subject. As I said, I'm still in pretty good health but the difference between retiring at 56 or at my age (67) can be pretty significant. Just look at average life expectancy for a man - 78. At 56 you still have 22 years. At my age I had 11, now 9 (My Dad died at 92 and my mother is sill alive approaching 100 so I do expect to live a lot longer than average).
Dying is easy. It's the disabilities and pain along the way that's tough.
Modern doctors don't call "pain" , "pain" anymore. It's called, "discomfort".

There's also the fact that after a certain age, one ages in "dog years", or "cat years".
This can't be put on a spreadsheet.
j

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tennisplyr
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by tennisplyr » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:44 pm

I retired at 61, 7 years ago and so glad I did it. Hated my job and had passion of tennis. Things are going great. Do some reading on retirement and try to talk to some retirees. No doubt there will be challenges like all phases of life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained....don't let fear control your life!
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

Calli114
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Calli114 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm
As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
J🌺🌺🌺
I agree with this philosophy, especially having cancer and dementia in the family history.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:10 pm

Calli114 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:03 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm
As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
J🌺🌺🌺
I agree with this philosophy, especially having cancer and dementia in the family history.
Absolutely.
There's a tendency to measure with what is quantifiable, what can be entered on a spreadsheet, graphed, curved, predicted.
Financial black swans are generally recoverable. Personal black swans not so.
j

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Mlm
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Mlm » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:21 pm

I was unemployed at 61 and decided to just retire at that time. I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with my time although I knew that financially I would be OK.

I had a lot of friends that were able to retire in their 50's due to government pensions who told me that it might take a year or so but that I would wonder how I ever found the time to work at a 9-5 job.

It's been almost two years since I left the work force and I have to tell you that they were right. I'm sure if I had had the time to think about a retirement date I would have been left with much more fear and probably worked longer.

I'm now happy that things worked out the way they did. Sometimes over thinking things is the worst part.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you are having some fun doing it.

Mary

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burt
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by burt » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:57 pm

You are going to retire at some point... guaranteed.
Best to retire on your terms and your choice... if possible.
Best to retire at the top of your game... if possible.

burt

Shallowpockets
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:59 pm

Same unknown as when you were 5 years old and let your mother's hand go and got on the school bus.

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Watty
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Watty » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:02 pm

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm
I am 56 and am considering retiring in about a year but am concerned I'll regret the decision.
If you wait until you are 65( or whenever) to retire then what will be different then?

Whenever you retire it might take a while to get used to it but if you do it sooner rather than later you will have more time to enjoy your retirement.

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cfs
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by cfs » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:12 am

Do not retire until you make the commitment to:
- Stay mentally active.
- Stay physically active.
- Have fun.
Only 3 items, like the 3-fund portfolio. I know about this, today I had my best workout of the year. Good luck with your planning, y gracias por leer / cfs
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visualguy
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by visualguy » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:59 am

If you get some satisfaction and enjoyment from your job without too much stress, then why not keep working for a few more years? No point in rushing into early retirement unless you really don't want to work anymore.

The perception of the passage of time really depends on how much you do with your time. If you don't do much, time disappears quickly without leaving a trace.

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by MikeG62 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:47 am

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:05 pm
I am 56 and am considering retiring in about a year but am concerned I'll regret the decision. Whenever I mention my plans to others, some will look at me like I'm crazy and tell me I will be bored out of my mind. I feel like I am the kind of person who will stay engaged but their reactions make me second guess myself.

The other thing I struggle with is that if I do regret my decision and I want to go back to work, I may have a very difficult time doing so due to my age and the fact that I was out of the workforce for a period of time. The thing that makes this issue more significant is that I make a very good living so in a sense, my career is an investment and if I let it go I won't be able to salvage it later.

Was wondering if there are other bogleheads who've experience in this that they can share?
In my third year or early retirement (retired at 53). DW is also retired. We are “far from bored”.

Having said this, I think this is a personal thing and different people have different experiences. For example, my father-in-law retired in his late 60’s. Shortly thereafter he was bored silly and went back to work as a consultant. He turned 80 in January and is still doing consulting - he has stopped a few times and just hates being at home. Then there is my wife and I - happy as can be fully retired. We travel a lot (our travel plans have us taking ~ 8-9 trips a year and sleeping away from home ~ 60 days a year). So between being away and planning all these trips (which takes “a lot” of effort and time) we don’t have as much free time as you’d think. Also, I am a gym rat. So I’m at the gym for 90 minutes every day (Mon-Fri mid-morning’s). I also take my time getting going in the morning (so a few hours spent before even leaving my house for the gym). By the time I am back home it’s already late morning. So really only afternoons free.

With regard to your second worry (would be hard to go back to work at a similar rate of pay should you decide to do so later), I think this is probably true.

I wonder if when you tell your employer you want to retire whether they might offer you some sort of consulting arrangement (like 2-3 days per week). That’s one way to transition into retirement (and would give you some sense as to whether you’d like being fully retired or not).

Good luck! As I said, DW and I have never been happier. I hope your experience is similar.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by carolinaman » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:32 am

As our bodies age. most people find they are more limited in doing physical demanding things like some sports, international travel and others. Retiring at age 57 should give you more time to do things with less physical limitations. Also, serious illnesses tend to beset people as we get into our 60s and beyond.

If you are financially ready for retirement, the aforementioned reason is a good one to go ahead and retire. If you find you are bored or are dissatisfied with retirement for other reasons, you are still young enough to re-enter the work force. You may not be at the same level or salary, but if you are set financially, that should not matter.

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by midareff » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:49 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:58 pm
As long as finances are in order, retire while you have health and quality of life because both are fleeting things.
Mahalo
J🌺🌺🌺
I'm totally with Sandtrap on this. I started my retirement 6 full years ago April 1, 2012, although my last day in office was March 18th. I had a good career, lots of "lunch buddies" and a great staff. Although the workplace had become increasingly political I was still left alone to get it done. I too was concerned about the expiration of human capital and had done the retirement math a couple of zillion times in my head and on paper. Finances were fully in order. I've had a couple of major surgeries since retirement, nothing I have not been able to bounce back from, and kinda wish I had gone out earlier. If I would have known what the market would do I would have left earlier. My office was on the 10th floor of a large building and I think I was over all of it before the elevator got to the lobby on my way to my retirement party. There is travel, movies, music, books, photography and more hobbies you can enjoy than there is time in the day, week, month or year. Go forth young man, the world is waiting for you.

willyd123
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by willyd123 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:20 am

Just wanted to thank all the folks who provided feedback and suggestions. Much appreciated. I think I will go ahead with my plan to retire next year.

retire57
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by retire57 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:43 am

Get a pen and paper. Make a list of some activities you would engage in rather than working. If the list flows easily, you'll be fine. Me - I could have filled up a legal pad without even trying.

People who can't imagine what they will do when retired have no imagination.

2015
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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by 2015 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:04 pm

Some people (my best friend, for example) should never retire, as they enjoy pursuing goals set for them by something (an organization) or someone (boss, shareholders, investors), etc. Others (like myself) are entirely self-generating, enjoy pursuing their own self-identified goals, and can't recall ever being bored in their life. Where do you fall on that continuum?

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by Whatyear? » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:04 pm

willyd123, thanks for posting this - I've really enjoyed reading all the responses. I'm 58 and go back and forth with the idea of either A) retiring as soon as I hit age 62, or B) working for as long as possible after 62, taking solace in the fact that I *could* retire if, for example, I were to lose my job involuntarily. After reading this I'm back to "A". Life is just too short and too unpredictable. If you can swing it financially, go for it! I'm talking to both you and me, of course :).

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Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by mhadden1 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:20 pm

Whatyear? wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:04 pm
If you can swing it financially, go for it!
Once in a while I see forum posts from people who are unhappy about retirement. The number of these seems to dwarfed by those who are happy as clams. Probably some kind of selection bias.

So far I am a 100% "clam". :happy
Oh I can't, can I? That's what they said to Thomas Edison, mighty inventor, Thomas Lindberg, mighty flyer,and Thomas Shefsky, mighty like a rose.

invst65
Posts: 644
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:04 am

Re: Retirement - Fear of the Unknown

Post by invst65 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:42 pm

mhadden1 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:20 pm
Whatyear? wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:04 pm
If you can swing it financially, go for it!
Once in a while I see forum posts from people who are unhappy about retirement. The number of these seems to dwarfed by those who are happy as clams. Probably some kind of selection bias.

So far I am a 100% "clam". :happy
I liked the reply I once saw to a thread with the title of "Do you enjoy retirement to working" or something like that. It said "Is this a trick question?"

When you figure all the major transitions your have to deal with in your life like graduating from various levels of school, entering the work force or joining the military (and going to war like I did), getting married, having kids, etcetera ... I would think that having to adjust to not having to get up and go to work every day wouldn't rate too high in terms of difficulty. There are apparently exceptions for some people but most people seem to cope with the challenge pretty well.

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