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A question for those who have ER'd.
Old 08-27-2008, 07:15 AM   #1
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A question for those who have ER'd.

A question for those who have already ERd. How does the way you actually spend your time compare with what you anticipated it would be like? Conventional wisdom would say do not ER unless you have a plan for how you will fill up your days and stay busy. But in talking to people who have retired, it seems like they are actually just as busy as when they worked only now it is the things they want to do. And Ive talked to many people who were only able to discover a new interest, hobby, or passion AFTER they had retired. It took some time away from the rat race to determine what they really wanted to do in retirement. Has this happened to you?
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
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Well I "retired" in 1979 and never "had a plan" except to do what I wanted to do and never have to answer to anyone else (except spouse). Still trying to figure it out and what to do now; even after almost 30 years of doing nothing but what I want to (or don't want to) do. I developed one hobby (Computer stuff) after I retired since the PC did not really come along until about 1980. The grand kids did not come along either until after I retired so that hobby was "developed" too. Seems to me "not working" is more "natural" than anything else; but then I have "not worked" for so long it has become natural to me. However, I have really become concerned with what I am going to do for the next 20 or 25 years - got to find some interests.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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In most respects it has been what I expected - a fair amount of volunteer work, a ton of reading, and no stress. Activity-wise it is different than I anticipated. I thought I would reconnect with golf, probably golfing once or twice a week. I did that for the first year but now only golf about once or twice a month - when some close friends go out with me. Instead I reconnected with cycling and now ride about 100 miles a week. It helps that DW likes riding as much or more than I do so we ride together. The fitness benefits have been great - I just hope I can keep it up into my 80s.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:35 AM   #4
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In ER everything is about as I assumed it would be, 'cept I'm somewhat busier and a bit more active than I figured I would be. But that's OK 'cause it's busier doing stuff that I WANT to do, and going places that I WANT to go.....so there's NO drudgery to it at all.

I spend the same amount of time in my gardens now as I did pre-ER, but instead of 'cram sessions' (cramming all the garden work into 1-2 hours in the evening and several-hour sessions on weekends) I piddle around at it throughout the week...a little here, a little there.....so it doesn't seem like I spend hardly any time out there at all, when in reality, I spend the same amount of time out there (maybe more).

I socialize about the same amount of time too, but instead of doing it in the evenings (when I'd rather be sitting outside enjoying the gardens, flora, & fauna), I do most of my socializing during the day when the temperatures are less comfortable outside.

And then there's my 'hobby' time......Which has GREATLY increased since ER. I have a LOT MORE time to devote to hobbies, and THAT'S what I planned for in ER!!!

Life Is Grand!!!!
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:36 AM   #5
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A question for those who have already ERd. How does the way you actually spend your time compare with what you anticipated it would be like? Conventional wisdom would say do not ER unless you have a plan for how you will fill up your days and stay busy.
Yes the silly conventional wisdom! This assumption that you must "keep yourself busy" as if your life will be miserable if you don't stuff your days full of things to do. As if idleness is the devil's playground. That's just a throwback from the puritan work ethic origins of American culture.

Well retirement is a time to contemplate the benefits of leisure. Leisure does not mean a couch potato lifestyle, or avoiding things that engage the mind or require development of skills. Rather it emphasizes doing things for the pure pleasure of them and doing no more than you care to do.

First of all, after retiring, you just need to give yourself time to "decompress" from the workaday world and lifestyle.

Then, give yourself time to experiment with the things you think interest you and explore new ideas as they arrive.

It's a process, and it's not something you can really figure out that well ahead of time, especially when your spirit is somewhat exhausted from the demands of working for a living.

I spend my time quite differently from what I imagined before retiring. It evolved. I discovered that some things I thought would engage me didn't after a while, and other things I had no idea I was that interested in became consuming passions.

Retirement is a time for discovery. Be open to the process and don't try to clutter it up ahead of time with all sorts of rigid plans. Give yourself maximum room for growth and change.

Audrey
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:39 AM   #6
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When I retired 6 years ago in the beautiful PNW I thought I would mostly hike and camp, go for motorcycle rides, read, listen to music, learn to play an instrument, take classes, maybe teach a class or two (financial background) practice yoga - in general learn and develop.

In reality, started a little goat ranch with other critters too chickens, geese, ducks etc) started a garden, started making goat milk soap, started selling it at local growers markets (this is a lot of fun). I am reading and listening to music a lot, do practice yoga. Only occasionally hike or camp or ride the motorcycle. Took classes at first but haven't for a couple of years now. I think I have learned and developed. I'm certainly a lot mellower and happier now.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:06 AM   #7
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I did not have a plan. It was the first time in my life that I didn't have one, and it felt good.

I take care of the things that need to be done, and delay or dismiss what doesn't. If I feel bored, I try something new. When I'm tired, I sleep. It's all good.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:39 AM   #8
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It's kind of like planning out your strategy in a football game. After the first few plays you have to react to the game as it unfolds. I enjoy art and painting in oils. It took time to develop myself and it's a continuous process of discovery. Also I blow hot and cold. When I come back to it after a few months off it's with a new passion and perhaps a slight change of direction.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:08 AM   #9
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Well I "retired" in 1979 and never "had a plan" except to do what I wanted to do and never have to answer to anyone else (except spouse).
I haven't been retired that long, but almost. My life has changed completely several times. When I retired I didn't have a plan for what I would do, I was just tired of what I had been doing. Back then I had 2 small children, a wife and a little homestead. I maintained the place, gardened extensively, and maintained 2 cars and a pickup. Much of this I really didn't know how to do, so I learned along the way. Much of my time was taken up with my kids and their interests, their friends and the friends families-all the things that keep parents hopping retired or no. I also actively invested and spent quite a bit of time sourcing and reading filings.

One son grew up, then wifey left. So I had pretty much everything the same, but one fewer kid and no wife for a while. Not too long after that younger son went to live with his brother so he could start Comm. College early and get an inexpensive jump on college.

I started a lot of commuting to the city for social life which was fine for while, but ultimately I realized that I was going to have to bite the bullet and move.

That is where I am now. If we retire early, many of us will experience many changes over the years. How could it be otherwise?

Ha
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:27 AM   #10
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I usually have a plan for everything but I've learned that plans can be derailed so I went into retirement without a plan . I just knew I was ready to quit working (mentally & financially ) . The first few months I rested then I joined a gym ,started selling on ebay ,taking some cooking classes & working on delayed projects around my house . The only plan I had is how to add some social contact .I did not need a lot as I have a SO but he's still working . I joined a gym & started making small talk with a lot of the women . Voila ! Instant social contact . I see them at classes three times a week & we all do lunch on Friday .
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:53 AM   #11
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Well lets see. In my first year of ER, my dad decided to move from the east coast to california, so I spent most of that year showing him around, helping him find a house and moving him in/getting him settled.

In my second year of ER, I decided to downsize, fixed up my old house, found and bought a new house, moved and fixed up my new house.

In my third year of ER, my girlfriend wanted to do a major renovation on her house. She moved in with me and we spent four months working on the house, then we decided to get married and sold it. I had to get rid of half my stuff and move all her stuff into my house.

In my fourth year of ER, we had baby Gabe. Suffice it to say the next two years were plenty busy.

In my sixth year of ER, we decided to upsize and move to a nicer neighborhood with better schools. So we fixed up our old house, found and bought a new house, moved in and have spent the last year fixing up the new house.

So basically I traded my pre-ER job for a job as a mover, home renovator and real estate flipper. : All my free time has been eaten up doing for myself all the things I used to pay people to do when I was working...landscaping, house cleaning, home repair, car maintenance, etc.

And of course my wife has regularly pointed out that I could have just married her from the get-go, stayed in my old mcmansion, and saved all this trouble.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:42 PM   #12
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I did not have a plan. It was the first time in my life that I didn't have one, and it felt good.

I take care of the things that need to be done, and delay or dismiss what doesn't. If I feel bored, I try something new. When I'm tired, I sleep. It's all good.
Listen to this one; this is enlightenment.

I've been retired since 31 Dec '04.

I had no plan other than to not have to go to work (sort of a 'run screaming into the night' retirement).

Spent several months 'decompressing' and letting all that accumulated stress go away.

I noticed I was losing weight and started experimenting with different foods and recipes and portion sizes and when to eat; started some exercising.

Continued donating blood and noticed my blood pressure was dropping along with my weight; all sorts of other stress/health problems started tapering off.

Started spending more time feeding and watching local wildlife, and gardening and composting.

I love playing with spreadsheets and have several years' history of utilities, groceries, car stats, health spending...

Spent a great deal of new 'free time' thinking and remembering and evaluating.

In the last several months I have actually started seeking out some social interaction.

A few days back I learned how to cook okra.
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:14 PM   #13
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I am only Semi retired and that was in December of 07. I have a small business that I really enjoy doing part time and it keeps the SWR very low. We also have two kids so we feel better about having some income.

Since I ESR'd in December of 07 we have spent two weeks in Florida, fifty days at our lake house in the summer and will spend two more weeks this fall in Florida. That covers the travel and also demonstrates that my work really is very part time. This gave us a lot of family time when the kids are not in school and we have throughly enjoyed it.

DW and I have also replaced my Mom's kitchen floor, painted her house inside. Stained her fence and kept her yard mowed. We have also done similar work for her parents. What has gotten me in trouble is the list of items DW wants me to do around our home for her. That list is not getting completed near fast enough.

During the first few months away from Mega Cr*p I went through decompression. By summer I was getting the hang of the new life and really loving it.

After eight months in this market the plan has worked very well to date. The budget was well padded for replacement items and maintenance along with health care.

Now I really need to go fishing again.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:19 PM   #14
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I had no plan other than to not have to go to work (sort of a 'run screaming into the night' retirement).

Spent several months 'decompressing' and letting all that accumulated stress go away.

I noticed I was losing weight and started experimenting with different foods and recipes and portion sizes and when to eat; started some exercising.

Continued donating blood and noticed my blood pressure was dropping along with my weight; all sorts of other stress/health problems started tapering off.

Started spending more time feeding and watching local wildlife, and gardening and composting.
That's interesting. I retired last March, with my withdrawal from the company being fairly well planned and worked out in advance with my group and supervisor. I really didn't have any detailed plans for retirement, past 'not work.'

I suppose I'm still in what folks have been calling the decompression phase. It's working. BP is down to around 118/75 (with no drugs; Doc wanted me on hypertension meds, I suggested that I wanted to try something else - retirement), I've dropped a fair amount of weight (BMI at 25, working to get it a bit lower), and I'm doing an hour of cardio and whatnot on the evil elliptical 5 days a week.

The garden is in great shape, and the cat is entertained. I still haven't gotten around to cleaning out the garage.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:47 AM   #15
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My experience is somewhat similar to many who have responded. I had no plan of what to do when I retired.

I did have the goal of relocating to Hawaii which took 2 years after retirement - prepare house, sell house, settle the kids into college, sell "stuff", actually move.

Many on the board, over the years, have warned that you should retire TO something as well as FROM something. I'll be honest that I worried as much or more about this aspect of ER as the financial. Also, honestly, I admit to spending much more of my time on the financial and ignored (put off) the question of "what will you DO every day?"

So far, it's worked out pretty well. I'm rarely bored and I've found lots to do. Full disclosure, I'm not ecstatic about my retirement, either. I so envy those of you who have a true passion (whether it's golf, volunteer work, fishing, posting, etc.)

I've just never been that person who is passionate about anything (with the exception of Hawaii.) I'm committed to many things, just not passionate. I keep hoping someday to find that passion. Until I do, I guess I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not at all dissatisfied. Maybe more like "slightly disappointed". Retirement should be (and is for many) that perfect time of life when you can do anything you want, go anywhere, develop that passion you had when you didn't have time to be passionate. It just hasn't happened for me yet. I remain hopeful. If it never happens for me, this is still a lot better than wo*k!! (Being FI doesn't hurt, either, heh, heh.)
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:05 AM   #16
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I retired 2 years ago at 48 after a programming career. I had carefully planned the financial aspects, and not worried about the rest. I expected to fill my days and weeks as needed. I was definitely retiring FROM being forced to work, and not TO anything.

It has worked out well. Financially everything is going smoothly. Timewise, I am not bored but not hurried. Some days I do nothing all day, some days are filled up. I am extremely satisfied by retirement so far.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #17
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So far, it's worked out pretty well. I'm rarely bored and I've found lots to do. Full disclosure, I'm not ecstatic about my retirement, either. I so envy those of you who have a true passion (whether it's golf, volunteer work, fishing, posting, etc.)

I've just never been that person who is passionate about anything (with the exception of Hawaii.) I'm committed to many things, just not passionate. I keep hoping someday to find that passion. Until I do, I guess I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not at all dissatisfied. Maybe more like "slightly disappointed". Retirement should be (and is for many) that perfect time of life when you can do anything you want, go anywhere, develop that passion you had when you didn't have time to be passionate. It just hasn't happened for me yet. I remain hopeful. If it never happens for me, this is still a lot better than wo*k!! (Being FI doesn't hurt, either, heh, heh.)
Well, you are passionate about Hawaii - tap into that!

For some of us, it takes time and lots of experiments and discoveries to find our passion(s). If you had told me before I retired that I would be crazy about travel, and that I would use nature photography/photojournalism as an organizing principle for that travel, I would have said - really?!?!?

For those seeking to consciously tap into what makes life meaningful for them - try this book (online version) Welcome to the home of Barbara Sher's WISHCRAFT! at least through chapter 4. Chapter 4 has some great thought experiments/exercises to help clarify what really matters/brings joy excitement into one's life. A lot of the book is how to live your dream while still making the tradeoffs to survive financially, but for those of us FI, we can focus on the just the live your dream part!

Audrey
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:46 PM   #18
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A question for those who have already ERd. How does the way you actually spend your time compare with what you anticipated it would be like? Conventional wisdom would say do not ER unless you have a plan for how you will fill up your days and stay busy. But in talking to people who have retired, it seems like they are actually just as busy as when they worked only now it is the things they want to do. And Ive talked to many people who were only able to discover a new interest, hobby, or passion AFTER they had retired. It took some time away from the rat race to determine what they really wanted to do in retirement. Has this happened to you?
Well, according to MyNextPhase.com you'll need a life coach, an aggressive POA&M, and a stern sense of discipline in order to survive retirement-- before you alienate your spouse & kids and end up as a lonely & pathetic figure who's accosting strangers in some public park.

Or, in real life, you could take your time to explore things the way you want to. Sort of like seeing the Smithsonian on your own instead of with a tour guide.

When I was working I never "had the time" to learn to surf. Now that I know how to surf, I feel like I hardly "have the time" to do anything else.

As Goonie says, it's nice to be able to work on a project for a hour or two a day rather than having to cram it into a weekend or a "vacation". And it's nice to be able to follow your interests instead of having to make a deadline-- or to run errands because it's Saturday.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:49 PM   #19
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I had plans, man did I have plans! I was going to pick up my various instruments again, maybe get a band together. Woodcarving, hiking, kayaking, getting in shape, learn to speak spanish, through-hike the Appalachian Trail, produce biodiesel from waste vegetable oil, travel, and a bunch of other stuff.

I've haven't done hardly any of that, I've been so busy with life. The weight loss/getting in shape seems to be happening on it's own, just due to a decrease in stress and the walks we now do for pleasure vs. exercise. But we've built a new house, moved, had a granddaughter born, gotten a couple new puppies, had tons of visitors to the new place, and just generally are enjoying life. DW and I are happier together than we've ever been.

I think the theories about needing to retire TO something are based on type A people. But go ahead and make some lists. If you need to find something to do, knock a couple of them out. But I suspect you'll find plenty of fulfillment just in the day to day things you do. I have so far. And if I ever get bored, I have a list.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:08 PM   #20
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So Harley, are you (were you) a type A? I am (vacations planned to the minute, who's bringing what foods and what amounts when we vacation with other families...alll planned, etc). But, I want to slow down in retirement. I want to wake up in the morning and be able to decide what I want to do that day, whether it is a day trip or a week trip, or just putter (longer trips do require a bit more planning, but even then I want to keep the initial plans high level so they can be changed with minimum notice or hassle). I dream of hiking, kayaking and camping...because I like doing them, but I also think they will help me to be more healthy. I haven't actually gotten to making a list of things to do yet, but I will. I will force myself to limit the structure and deadlines, taking my time at each of them.

Can you actually transform from a type A personality to an easy going lifestyle in retirement? I sure hope so...
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