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3 biggest ER surprises
Old 10-07-2014, 08:03 PM   #1
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3 biggest ER surprises

One month into ER, these are the three things that have most surprised me:

3. Time goes by much quicker than when I worked full time.

2. I now know I'll never be bored. I was never bored before, but I wondered if that might change. I've come to realize that it's very easy for me to stay mentally engaged, and being an introvert (like most of us here), I don't even have to ramp up my socializing to do so.

1. I've stopped worrying about having enough money. This has been a shocker, considering how much energy I expended on financial planning for retirement and how many calculator simulations I ran. My attitude: I've done all I can, so now it just has to play out. It helps that I've come to realize that I think I can live simply on even less than I originally estimated.

What about you? What's your top 3? And do you think I'll change my mind about any of the above as I get further into retirement?
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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I don't think you'll change your mind about any of your top three. Or at least, I have been retired for 5 years and feel the same.

Here are some similar surprises:

(1) How outrageously wonderful retirement is!

(2) Lessened desire to move away or go on road trips or day trips, probably because I no longer have a job, so there is nothing I want to get away from any more.

(3) Competition with others has lessened; I don't feel that I have to justify my existence, or demonstrate how amazingly wonderful I am to anybody. I think this partly has to do with the fact that I am not competing with others at work any more, for promotions or "goodies" from management. But it extends to my social life, too. If some casual acquaintance doesn't like my appearance or taste in cars, for example, that's not my problem and frankly I couldn't care less. My self confidence is much higher.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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All good points.

1. After four months I still find myself wondering if I'll have enough, especially after a couple of weeks like we've recently had and my portfolio drops by $40K. But then I remind myself that's going to happen and there will be times (I hope!) where it also goes up that much or more and that I only need a fraction of my portfolio each year. I'm starting to get used to the idea and don't check the markets or my accounts multiple times a day like I used to.

2. I'm also not bored and find that the days go by very quickly for me as well.

3. The friends I've been making are a different kind of friends - strange how when I was working the friends I made were all somehow related to work. And that really concentrated the personality types and characters. I work out in the mornings and spend over 90 minutes at the gym, and I've met all kinds of people now and the things we talk about have nothing to do with work or the office. It's refreshing.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:23 PM   #4
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1. I'm surprised how much more relaxed I am. The commute to work, deadlines, and expectations got to the point where they used to used to stress me, even while working 1-2 days a week during the last year or 2 of work. The stress difference between semi-retirement and retirement is more significant than I expected. I didn't know how much work bothered me until I fully retired.

2. I'm surprised how busy I am. During the last year or so of semi-retirement, I geared up my hobbies to make sure that I wouldn't get bored in full retirement. It turned out that my hobbies take more time than expected. I may have to cut back a bit on the hobbies so I can do nothing more.

3. I'm surprised I get along with DW in retirement as well as I do. I retired 6 months ago, DW 3 months ago. I anticipated her hounding me all day long wanting me to do stuff for her. But she hasn't really loaded me down with honey-do projects. I pretty much do whatever I want to do whenever I want to.


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Old 10-08-2014, 05:43 AM   #5
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(3) Competition with others has lessened; I don't feel that I have to justify my existence, or demonstrate how amazingly wonderful I am to anybody. I think this partly has to do with the fact that I am not competing with others at work any more, for promotions or "goodies" from management. But it extends to my social life, too. If some casual acquaintance doesn't like my appearance or taste in cars, for example, that's not my problem and frankly I couldn't care less. My self confidence is much higher.


Reminded me of an image I saw - I tried to find it but came up empty. It is an older man at a job interview.

Interviewer: What would you consider to be your biggest weakness?
Man: Honesty.
Interviewer: I wouldn't think honesty would be considered a weakness.
Man: Well, I don't really care what you think.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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Reminded me of an image I saw - I tried to find it but came up empty. It is an older man at a job interview.

Interviewer: What would you consider to be your biggest weakness?
Man: Honesty.
Interviewer: I wouldn't think honesty would be considered a weakness.
Man: Well, I don't really care what you think.
Yeah, there you go! That's me.

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1. I'm surprised how much more relaxed I am. The commute to work, deadlines, and expectations got to the point where they used to used to stress me, even while working 1-2 days a week during the last year or 2 of work. The stress difference between semi-retirement and retirement is more significant than I expected. I didn't know how much work bothered me until I fully retired.
I should have included this one as my #1 surprise! You are SO right. I didn't think I was that stressed when I was working, compared with most people, but it took me a very long time to completely de-stress after retirement. It was like peeling an onion; one layer of stress would drop off, and I'd find another beneath it. I sincerely believe that working another 5-10 years would have shortened my life considerably, due to stress.
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Old 10-08-2014, 03:13 PM   #7
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1. I'm surprised how much more relaxed I am.
That surprised me as well, not to mention DW and my sisters. While I actually liked my job, I loathed dealing with traffic and the bureaucracy to get stuff done.

I remember six months after retiring and moving to WV we were meeting some other relatives at my sister's house. When we arrived my sister informed us that one would be a half-hour late. She was astonished that I just relaxed on the couch instead of griping about it and said she hadn't seen both of us looking more relaxed in years.

It was then that any lingering doubts about whether retiring had been a good idea vanished.
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3 biggest ER surprises
Old 10-08-2014, 03:34 PM   #8
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3 biggest ER surprises

1. I am surprised at how much less I care about "getting away" or doing stuff to relieve stress. I am happy doing very little (puttering) as I do not feel the stress, so I don't feel any need for stress relievers. This includes travel, going out to eat, and -actually disappointing in a way-even reading. I thought I would be reading more. I still enjoy reading, but I did not experience any big increase in reading as I expected.

2. I am amazed at how easy it is for the day to pass. This is good and bad as I have not gotten around to many honey-do projects, yet. It does mean boredom is highly unlikely.

3. I have become very quickly, perhaps too accustomed to a slower pace, so much so that when there are time pressures, they stress me out more now than they used to. I have lost the callouses on that part of my brain.

4.(edited to add because I forgot!) I am shocked at how little I care to think or hear anything at all about my old profession. I change the channel if something medical is on TV...I seem to have less than zero interest in ever going back. I forgot this in my original post because not only do I not think about my old job, I do not even think about the fact that I do not think about it!


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Old 10-08-2014, 05:25 PM   #9
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I fully expected to either work part time or have a structured volunteer gig after I retired (at 54). I was surprised at how quickly I wanted to have no regular commitments. These days, I resent a dentist appointment.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:33 PM   #10
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4.(edited to add because I forgot!) I am shocked at how little I care to think or hear anything at all about my old profession. I change the channel if something medical is on TV...I seem to have less than zero interest in ever going back. I forgot this in my original post because not only do I not think about my old job, I do not even think about the fact that I do not think about it!
1. That's my experience too. I did a couple of consulting and volunteer projects the first year, but every time I had contact with the healthcare world, I became stressed. Therefore I have concluded that I should avoid it as much as possible.

2. I was surprised at how easy it is to develop new friendships when you have the time.

3. Time flies. I'm not getting as much done as I had expected. I've become lazy!
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:39 PM   #11
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I still worry about if we really have enough to ER, but then I see day after day people dying in their 40s and 50s. I wonder if they were just saying OMY?
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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I found much of previous posts to be true. More broadly, I am just amazed at how much richer life is without all the greyed out cube time.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:12 PM   #13
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I'll add one. I'm very surprised at how easy it is to say no to alcohol and unhealthy foods. I'm shedding pounds like crazy and going to the gym is becoming a routine I'm enjoying. I have probably added years to my lifespan by making the move to ER quite young.

Work stress wreaked havoc on my health.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:24 PM   #14
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I'll add one. I'm very surprised at how easy it is to say no to alcohol and unhealthy foods. I'm shedding pounds like crazy and going to the gym is becoming a routine I'm enjoying. I have probably added years to my lifespan by making the move to ER quite young.

Work stress wreaked havoc on my health.
Sea Kayaker, you seem to be in a euphoric phase at the moment. Long may it last!
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:26 PM   #15
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Sea Kayaker, you seem to be in a euphoric phase at the moment. Long may it last!
Yep, EUPHORIC pretty much sums it up!
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:34 PM   #16
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Yep, EUPHORIC pretty much sums it up!
Now go easy on that BC Bud!
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:23 PM   #17
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One month into ER, these are the three things that have most surprised me:

3. Time goes by much quicker than when I worked full time.

2. I now know I'll never be bored. I was never bored before, but I wondered if that might change. I've come to realize that it's very easy for me to stay mentally engaged, and being an introvert (like most of us here), I don't even have to ramp up my socializing to do so.

1. I've stopped worrying about having enough money. This has been a shocker, considering how much energy I expended on financial planning for retirement and how many calculator simulations I ran. My attitude: I've done all I can, so now it just has to play out. It helps that I've come to realize that I think I can live simply on even less than I originally estimated.

What about you? What's your top 3? And do you think I'll change my mind about any of the above as I get further into retirement?
Yes, I agree with all 3 of your observations, and I have been retired for 4 1/2 years now. If anything, as the years in retirement go by, it's actually hard for me to find the time to do all the things I want to do. I seem to have acquired some new hobbies/interests in retirement (all of which I enjoy immensely), and when you add these new things to all the things I was already doing, there is not enough time in the day to do it all! Boredom is something I can't relate to at all. Money is not a major concern either, everything seems to be working out okay in that department. Someone mentioned their health improving after retirement, and I've had the same experience. I'm eating better, exercising more, sleeping better, and in general I know I am in better health than when I retired. It's all good....
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:41 PM   #18
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1. I am surprised at how much less I care about "getting away" or doing stuff to relieve stress. I am happy doing very little (puttering) as I do not feel the stress, so I don't feel any need for stress relievers. This includes travel, going out to eat, and -actually disappointing in a way-even reading. I thought I would be reading more. I still enjoy reading, but I did not experience any big increase in reading as I expected.
That is interesting, isn't it? Soon after retiring, I realized that a surprising amount of what I used to do in my spare time was specifically meant to act as a counterbalance to work-related stresses. Very little of that has actually carried over, and yet I still don't lack for things to do.

I also greatly enjoy reading. It has picked up a bit, but not as much as I expected either. I find I have to consciously make the time.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:36 PM   #19
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I can't wait to add to this list! I'm down to 20 w+rk days left and the excitement is really overwhelming!

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
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Old 10-08-2014, 08:44 PM   #20
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1. I've stopped worrying about having enough money. This has been a shocker, considering how much energy I expended on financial planning for retirement and how many calculator simulations I ran. My attitude: I've done all I can, so now it just has to play out. It helps that I've come to realize that I think I can live simply on even less than I originally estimated.
+1 Huge unexpected surprise for me.

Thinking about it in retorospect -- I was previously afraid that a market correction would put off my ER for years and I did not find that acceptable at all. I was timing the market etc.

Now that I am ER and have taken the plunge, I am certainly not going to go back to work if there is a market correction. I have converted my investment strategy over to Balanced Funds so there is no need to attempt to time the market or worry about re-balancing etc.

I was also surprised at how busy I have managed to keep myself, both with projects and interactions with family & friends.

-gauss
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