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5 Years - Reflections and Observations
Old 03-09-2015, 01:44 PM   #1
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5 Years - Reflections and Observations

It has been 5 years since I retired and I thought I would share my experience with others on this forum. As I look back and assess the many events and evolutions of the past 5 years I can identify several of the more profound effects . I will qualify the following remarks by stating that I am a HNWI with several multiples of the resources necessary to live comfortably. I will further qualify the remarks by stating that I have no interest in golf, country clubs, and lavish vacations - maybe that is why I am a HNWI?. During the first year of retirement I vacillated between euphoria(Free at Last!) and sheer terror (You fool! What have you done!). As I entered the second year of retirement I mellowed into anxious anticipation as I contemplated the many opportunities that had become available to me now that I had an abundance of free time. Curiously, as I explored these new opportunities I found that I was doing the things that the many experts/pundits said a retiree was supposed to do (travel, hobbies, volunteer, etc.) but those things were not providing much, if any, pleasure for me. The things that I was supposed to do were not the things I actually wanted to do. I found that what I wanted to do was to take my time and catch up on some home improvement projects, meet friends for lunch, work in the garden, etc. I found that happiness in retirement is an evolutionary thing, and for me it took about 4 or 5 years to get to my happy place. This next statement will probably be considered blasphemy for this forum, but I also found that I liked having a j*b !!!! Not a j*b like the one I used to have at megacorp, but 4 or 5 days a month, a j*b where I show up, punch in, do my thing and go home. No responsibilities, no stress, no corporate BS. So – that is where I am now – very content, enjoying being retired, and learning to understand myself….. and the longer I am retired the better it gets.
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:25 PM   #2
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I take it HNWI means high net worth individual?

Financial independence and retirement/leisure is a very individual thing. You have to figure out what you like to do the most.
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:52 PM   #3
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I guess the grass is always greener on the other hill. I can imagine going through similar scenarios althought I am about 5-10 year out. DW is now retired and is happily organizing the house and her craft room. I had to laugh when you remarked about alternating euphoria and sheer panic. When I run our revenue streams when I retire (there is a little voice in my head that asks, "Wait , we have to spend some of our nest egg?"). I guess there is a difference between saving and investing for the future and actually spending it. I wasn't clear about what you are doing now, are you in fact working now? Easy, low stress job? Congratulations on being voluntarily unemployed.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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Interesting. I'm also about 5 years into retirement now, and my experience has been very different than yours. I planned my early retirement for years before I pulled the plug, and when it happened, I felt immediate relief and joy. The transition to my new life was not difficult at all. After the first few weeks (when I was still waking up at my usual early hour, and thinking about work stuff at times), I started getting into my new routine, and haven't looked back since. I have a wide variety of activities that I enjoy in retirement, and there has been no problem keeping as busy as I want to be. I have zero desire to go back to any kind of paid work again (if work means reporting to a designated place and doing what they tell me to do).

My experience may not be the norm.........YMMV.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MN317 View Post
It has been 5 years since I retired and I thought I would share my experience with others on this forum. As I look back and assess the many events and evolutions of the past 5 years I can identify several of the more profound effects . I will qualify the following remarks by stating that I am a HNWI with several multiples of the resources necessary to live comfortably. I will further qualify the remarks by stating that I have no interest in golf, country clubs, and lavish vacations - maybe that is why I am a HNWI?. During the first year of retirement I vacillated between euphoria(Free at Last!) and sheer terror (You fool! What have you done!). As I entered the second year of retirement I mellowed into anxious anticipation as I contemplated the many opportunities that had become available to me now that I had an abundance of free time. Curiously, as I explored these new opportunities I found that I was doing the things that the many experts/pundits said a retiree was supposed to do (travel, hobbies, volunteer, etc.) but those things were not providing much, if any, pleasure for me. The things that I was supposed to do were not the things I actually wanted to do. I found that what I wanted to do was to take my time and catch up on some home improvement projects, meet friends for lunch, work in the garden, etc. I found that happiness in retirement is an evolutionary thing, and for me it took about 4 or 5 years to get to my happy place. This next statement will probably be considered blasphemy for this forum, but I also found that I liked having a j*b !!!! Not a j*b like the one I used to have at megacorp, but 4 or 5 days a month, a j*b where I show up, punch in, do my thing and go home. No responsibilities, no stress, no corporate BS. So – that is where I am now – very content, enjoying being retired, and learning to understand myself….. and the longer I am retired the better it gets.
The part above in red, exactly the state of mind I am in now . I hope it ends soon . Good to know others have had the same thoughts. Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:03 AM   #6
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I'm a bit over 1 year RE , and I still feel not quite panic, but certainly wondering if it was the right choice ?
I have hedged my decision a bit, as I do very occasional work on my schedule and get paid well for it, I'm not sure I'd consider doing something for minimum wage, as I'd rather watch the grass grow.

I don't consider it blasphemy to decide to work in retirement, its just like volunteering except you get paid and don't get the approval of the old church ladies.

As long as you are content/happy with what you are doing, it will make retirement a lot more fulfilling than watching tv all day.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:42 AM   #7
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Interesting. I'm also about 5 years into retirement now, and my experience has been very different than yours. I planned my early retirement for years before I pulled the plug, and when it happened, I felt immediate relief and joy. The transition to my new life was not difficult at all. After the first few weeks (when I was still waking up at my usual early hour, and thinking about work stuff at times), I started getting into my new routine, and haven't looked back since. I have a wide variety of activities that I enjoy in retirement, and there has been no problem keeping as busy as I want to be. I have zero desire to go back to any kind of paid work again (if work means reporting to a designated place and doing what they tell me to do).

My experience may not be the norm.........YMMV.
RAE...You took the words right out of my mouth. But I am a newby. Just a little over one year. I think my adjustment period is over and I have begun to find real fullfillment.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:49 AM   #8
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I am also 5+ years into retirement and pretty much meet the HNWI retiree scenario. We have no pensions, and live off investments and SS. Retirement for me was determined when the start up company I left my last megacorp position for, went under in 2008. I decided at that time to just retire. I have since been consulting part-time for the engineering side of that old company (new start-up) involved with product design/development. I work from home (or where I am located at the time).

The 1st year was rough, as I was having problems adjusting to not working full-time at a corporate level position. Doing things like grocery shopping in the middle of the day/week with my wife was uncomfortable (I felt there was a fine line between being seen as unemployed publicly, and actually being retired at the age of 58). I didn't tell people I was retired or currently not working. Took awhile for me to openly admit to relatives that I retired early when at family gatherings. This appeared to cause them to distance themselves from us - especially when they discovered (by accident) that we winter in Florida. We've always followed a LBYM's lifestyle.

As the years have gone by - I too find my interests lie in travel, golf, dining out, and puttering around the house or in the garden (hard to do in a single family home in a SFH/twnhme retirement community with all the restrictions). The start-up engineering company has asked me to work full time. I have told them I wasn't interested, but would help select a full-time candidate, and work with that person to get them up to speed (replace me). I will continue to consult for them part-time until they no longer need me. Puts me in the I'm retired, but working "very" part-time boat, while turning 64 this year.

Slowing down and living a private/anonymous life in retirement suites me fine now, but it took time to adjust and to realize that I was "on my own" as to figuring out what retirement would mean for me/us. Forums like this have been very helpful as a guide.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:50 AM   #9
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I take it HNWI means high net worth individual?
Thanks for "translating HNWI", Audrey! My efforts were not making sense
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:16 PM   #10
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This next statement will probably be considered blasphemy for this forum, but I also found that I liked having a j*b !!!! Not a j*b like the one I used to have at megacorp, but 4 or 5 days a month, a j*b where I show up, punch in, do my thing and go home. No responsibilities, no stress, no corporate BS.
I'm not clear on whether you actually found a job like this or would like one. I keep hearing this from other retiree friends: They'd like to do some "meaningful" work, but just a little and with a lot of flexibility in terms of schedule. And, like you say, with no stress and no BS. Does that type of job really exist?
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
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I take it HNWI means high net worth individual?
Thanks for "translating HNWI", Audrey! My efforts were not making sense
It took me a little while. Not an acronym used around here much, although many ERs would qualify.
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Old 03-10-2015, 04:57 PM   #12
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I'm not clear on whether you actually found a job like this or would like one. I keep hearing this from other retiree friends: They'd like to do some "meaningful" work, but just a little and with a lot of flexibility in terms of schedule. And, like you say, with no stress and no BS. Does that type of job really exist?
A little clarification regarding the j*b mentioned in my original post:
The motivation for taking on a (very) part time j*b was partly to retain some of the social benefits of the workplace and also to keep in touch with the working world. I have no family so just being around people is important to me. The j*b is a part time dispatcher for the safety and security department at a large metro hospital. Usually 4 or 5 days a month. In comparative terms, there are no responsibilities, no stress, and no BS. I am very proficient at what I do and management is acutely aware that they need me, and I do not need them, or the j*b. The realization that you are financially independent is very liberating when dealing with workplace stress – there just isn't any. I also find cheap entertainment in just sitting back and watching as others struggle with the dynamics of organizational politics.
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:06 PM   #13
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The j*b is a part time dispatcher for the safety and security department at a large metro hospital. Usually 4 or 5 days a month. In comparative terms, there are no responsibilities, no stress, and no BS. I am very proficient at what I do and management is acutely aware that they need me, and I do not need them, or the j*b.
This is interesting. Thanks for elaborating.
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:26 PM   #14
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I didn't tell people I was retired or currently not working. Took awhile for me to openly admit to relatives that I retired early when at family gatherings. This appeared to cause them to distance themselves from us - especially when they discovered (by accident) that we winter in Florida. We've always followed a LBYM's lifestyle.

Interesting – I also experienced this reaction. Not sure why others reacted that way – but I became very deliberate about avoiding the subject. Like you, it is better now, but I am still careful.
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:10 PM   #15
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Doing things like grocery shopping in the middle of the day/week with my wife was uncomfortable (I felt there was a fine line between being seen as unemployed publicly, and actually being retired at the age of 58).
Coincidentally, while I was at the grocery store this afternoon, I had the following thought: Do the other customers think I'm unemployed, or independently wealthy?
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:44 PM   #16
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Coincidentally, while I was at the grocery store this afternoon, I had the following thought: Do the other customers think I'm unemployed, or independently wealthy?
Maybe they think you work nights like they do.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:23 PM   #17
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Coincidentally, while I was at the grocery store this afternoon, I had the following thought: Do the other customers think I'm unemployed, or independently wealthy?
Maybe I'm different than most "early" retirees (I retired at age 54.5), but I never even gave a thought to this. Since I retired, I do all the grocery shopping in our household, and I always go during the week (early mornings, usually) to avoid the crowds. I really don't care what people I don't know think of a guy my age shopping for groceries during the week. If someone looks at me and guesses that I must be unemployed, that's fine with me
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:02 AM   #18
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Maybe they think you work nights like they do.
Used to work late evenings with an odd rotating shift, so I would often at age 26 be shopping or in the parks in the middle of the day. Or sit out on my balcony enjoying the sun.

I often wondered what the neighbors or others thought about me.

Nowadays, I don't even think about it, I suppose as I got used to it from before.
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:18 AM   #19
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Exactly what keeps us from even considering an older-folks community. Everything is so small-scale and every activity or impulse is restricted. What is the point of declaring "freedom from work," when you have to worry about the HOAs and rules and neighbors watching and twittering over every move you make.

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I puttering around the house or in the garden (hard to do in a single family home in a SFH/twnhme retirement community with all the restrictions). .
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:21 AM   #20
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I don't know how old you are, but I believe the general population is completely uninterested in anyone over the age of 50 and in most cases, doesn't even "see" them (unless we block their path with our carts or something). So I would not give it another thought.

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Coincidentally, while I was at the grocery store this afternoon, I had the following thought: Do the other customers think I'm unemployed, or independently wealthy?
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