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Did your retirement "dreams" change a lot over the years?
Old 10-05-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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Did your retirement "dreams" change a lot over the years?

Not sure where this thread will go, but I was thinking about how drastically my plans have changed over the past 20 years.

20+ years ago, my plan was to have as much money as possible, to move to Mystic CT, to volunteer at Mystic Seaport Museum and sail our own boat in the area as often as possible. And that was the plan for many years, thought about it often and visited every year in anticipation.

Fast forward to now.

By the time I retired I'd come to the realization that 'the most important things in life aren't things' and I no longer hoped to pile up as much money as possible with such almost single-mindedness. Along the same lines, we decided Mystic was unnecessarily expensive (nice place to visit...), volunteering at MSM wasn't as appealing (all the folks I knew and admired there have moved on or passed), and owning our own boat was also an extravagance and more physically demanding at my age than I planned on (even more so for DW sadly).

Not sad, life happens and it's not what we want anymore - but it seemed like a very firm plan for so many years. Just reflecting yesterday on dramatically plans can change voluntarily...
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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As to the dreams, I guess I had envisioned a family oriented retirement, grandkids etc. As it turns out, daughter and 4 GK are in London and son is in Africa! Both highly mobile so even if they did return to states moving "there" would be dumb. So our family time is made by many trips overseas, especially now that travel with 4 kids in almost logistically impossible. Throw in the fact that we have the MIL living with us that restricts travel (which was a big dream, family travel as well as adventure) and it basically means it's hard to "realize" the dreams. OTOH we're both very health at 62 and spend a lot of time outside and exercising. I find endorphins essential. Financially and health wise we're extraordinarily lucky.

But what I really wanted to say is how great my memories are of .... MYSTIC! Grew up in Wilton CT, near Westport, and we made several trips there. Have a lingering desire to have a sailboat big enough to overnight on a few days, unfortunately I never learned to sail so that one is fading. That and the fact that currently we're tied to a house 4 hours from coast!
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:25 PM   #3
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I've decided that wanting less is better than working more, so I've embraced the idea of living more simply and cheaply to allow me to stay mostly retired for life. Sure, I've thought about a certain lifestyle, doing more traveling and all that... but there's nothing I'd like to do now (but can't really afford) that is worth having to go back to full-time w*rk to get.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #4
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Until I turned 50, I was still in immortality mode, thinking that I would live forever and work every day of my life.

But after divorcing my ex when I was 50, I began to feel older and began to think I would want to retire someday. Who knew? I still thought I would want to volunteer a lot, but now that I am retired that sounds too much like work to have much appeal.
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Old 10-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #5
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Dreams...
Yeah... for us, the thread could go on forever. 24 years now, since retirement.
We didn't retire on dreams but with great anxiety about whether we could actually retire at all. The first 9 years were a little "chancy", and we lived much more frugally than we do today. Always prepared to go back to work... just in case.

After living and working for 3 years in Falmouth on Cape Cod, and 3 years on Martha's Vineyard, in this place, which was at the time, a regular home rent $95/mo. (It now rents for as much as $8400/week.)The 1720 House - Home,
which we could have bought for $30K, but sold later for $1.4 Million... ( had been owned by W.R. Hearst niece at the time.) We too, loved swimming, and sailing, and then, after living in Saratoga NY, fell in love with the Adirondaks... Finally ended up working in Chicago, and living in the Chicago Suburbs... and spend less time in the other places.

We could have easily gone back to any of these places, but for the first 14 years of retirement, split our year, 6 months living in a campground in NCentral IL, and 6 mo. in Central Florida. Now we live in a CCRC in a regular home in IL.

So, did dreams change? I'd say as a function of age. At age 53, life was mostly go... go... travel, experience, see, take pictures, build memories. This morphed into making close friends and neighborhoods. Very, very social, with parties and adventures and keeping busy... At age 65, a little bit of a change, as we bought a regular home... still winters in Florida, but less of a social life in Illinois.

Age 75, was a turning point... Still healthy, but beginning to slow down. No wanderlust. The 7PM to 2 AM parties now still start at 7, but end around 8:30, after one (1) beer, instead of the 15 back in the "old days". More content to sit in front of the computer, or watch TV... and don't even drive at night.

So did our dreams change?... Guess we didn't even build dreams in the first place... Retired suddenly, for health reasons (now cured)... and just went along with the wind. Many years of playing and sailing in Narraganset Bay, and living in Maine and quiet towns in Massachusetts, and travelling and w*rking all over Upstate NY...

Just imagine... never even been on a cruise...

We have memories... yeah... pretty nice.
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Old 10-05-2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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But after divorcing my ex when I was 50, I began to feel older and began to think I would want to retire someday. Who knew? I still thought I would want to volunteer a lot, but now that I am retired that sounds too much like work to have much appeal.
Heh. I still cling to the idealism of wanting to do local volunteer work, not *only* for altruistic purposes (which are a major factor) but also be in a position to support my wife's ministry and local visibility. But I need something flexible -- if I want to do it that day, I go in and do it; if not, I don't. If it's something with rigid hours, it's w*rk.

I've kicked around the idea of doing free drop-in after school tutoring at the church once in a while, say from 3-5 a couple days a week. It would be a good thing for the community and connect us with young families. But I'm paranoid about being the only adult around other people's children.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 10-05-2013, 04:25 PM   #7
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But I'm paranoid about being the only adult around other people's children.
Yeah... Understood... After 35 years in scouting, decided to give it up. Am not the "grandfatherly type", and couldn't stand the climate of overprotective moms, who are expecting Jeffrey Dahmer everywhere.
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
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I always thought I would never quit working....then as 50 arrived, I started seriously thinking about retirement. Always thought I would do a lot of volunteer work. That now seems like a giant PITA...too much like work. I find that I hate being scheduled and really enjoy the free, open time. I had always planned to play more golf, and that I am doing. I joke that the golf course is my adult day care center - I go there five days a week.
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:37 PM   #9
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Not sure where this thread will go, but I was thinking about how drastically my plans have changed over the past 20 years.

20+ years ago, my plan was to have as much money as possible, to move to Mystic CT, to volunteer at Mystic Seaport Museum and sail our own boat in the area as often as possible. And that was the plan for many years, thought about it often and visited every year in anticipation.

Fast forward to now.

By the time I retired I'd come to the realization that 'the most important things in life aren't things' and I no longer hoped to pile up as much money as possible with such almost single-mindedness. Along the same lines, we decided Mystic was unnecessarily expensive (nice place to visit...), volunteering at MSM wasn't as appealing (all the folks I knew and admired there have moved on or passed), and owning our own boat was also an extravagance and more physically demanding at my age than I planned on (even more so for DW sadly).

Not sad, life happens and it's not what we want anymore - but it seemed like a very firm plan for so many years. Just reflecting yesterday on dramatically plans can change voluntarily...
What really changed? The dream or the price you were willing to pay?
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #10
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Twenty years ago, I wasn't really planning a retirement. I was just putting money away in my 401(k) towards retirement.

Ten years ago, I thought I would want to do more traveling. I've realized over the past few years that I don't really enjoy flying someplace to spend a few days trying to see all the sights and then going home. I'd rather explore local events and not feel rushed or pressured to "do it all" in a short time frame. Heck! I live 45 minutes away from NYC and don't travel to the city because it's too much hassle to deal with train schedules or find parking if I drive.

I retire from my job in ten days. The things I'm most looking forward to are spending time with my family (I've lived half way across the country from them for 25 years), having the kids over after school and on the weekends to cook, bake, and do crafts with, making dinner for my siblings to take some pressure off them with their crazed work schedules, and spending time with my parents. I can't wait for summer to come so everyone can jump into the pool and relax on our deck with bar-b-q and some alcoholic beverages. I'm excited to have time to bake again. And make home made candies and scrap book and make cards, and do cross stitch, and learn how to crochet, and try some needlework kits I have, and to have a garden, and to sew again, and to read a book in less than two months, and to relax and listen to music, and to hear my dad's stories about growing up, and to learn how to make mom's awesome apple butter and peach butter, and to can produce, and...... and...... and.

I've recently realized I want a lot less than I thought I needed. Events the past few months have brought a lot of emotions up that forced me to re-evaluate what I wanted and needed. My biggest blessing through all of this has been my wonderful DH. Without him, nothing I am looking forward to would be happening.

I'll keep you all posted on how it turns out!
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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Not sure if I should reply to this thread as we are currently living the dream. When we first seriously started to think about and plan for retirement we were 20 years out and had just opened our first 401k's and IRA's. The target was age 58 and the plan was to be able to travel a lot. Progress in savings was excellent and about 7 years out we fine tuned the travel plans to be able to rent places for month(s) at a time to really experience different places. We decided that it would be too onerous to maintain a house during long absences, and that we weren't the RV types, so we sold our house and rent in a complex where we can "lock and leave".

So far, so good. Our next dream is to rent and set up a permanent vacation home in Yorkshire. Target year for this is 2016.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:13 PM   #12
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What really changed? The dream or the price you were willing to pay?
The price was part of it, but probably not the primary change. We could afford to live in Mystic after all, but we don't want to anymore. For us at least, it showed us that we really didn't know what we wanted 20+ years ago, though I was sure we did then...
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #13
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Thought I would be able to do Ironman again. Really finding it difficult to get back into shape, been having niggling injuries and, well, I've gotten lazy. I'm really liking sleeping late.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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The price was part of it, but probably not the primary change. We could afford to live in Mystic after all, but we don't want to anymore. For us at least, it showed us that we really didn't know what we wanted 20+ years ago, though I was sure we did then...
Fair enough. Clueless as I am now, I was much more so 30 years ago. It was fun to dream, though, and still is.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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DW and I are still working on that retirement dream, which is quite different now from what it was only 2 years ago. Back then, we hoped to retire in a suburban environment, close to family, in the south, using a RV for the occasional vacation. Then life happened and our dream changed quite radically. Out is the RV, in are the vacation homes and extended travel. Who knows what the dream will be two years from now...
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:57 PM   #16
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If anything, the 'dream' has improved as I am still in the accumulation phase.

Before finding this amazing forum, I had spreadsheet projections with assumptions for assisted living facilities, healthcare in retirement, budgets, etc., and merely assumed I would work until 60. for lack of a better guess, I just picked 60 because that's when my grandparents retired (my dad still is somewhat active at 72, being the type that finds it hard to sit still).

I simply made conservative estimates for budgets, etc. that were mostly guesses. Perhaps because I was still living at my parents house, I didn't have true "real world" budgets to go off of. I also took relatively conservative assumptions of 6% annualized, nominal returns, despite many pundits citing the 11% annualized return stocks provided since 1900.

Having become a homeowner and finding more about assumptions of investment returns and the SWR studies - as well as the portfolio getting some boosts from some good earnings years and good returns - I am able to realistically chart a course for an ER at (hopefully) 45 or thereabouts.

So in that perspective, it's greatly improved, as it gives me more time to enjoy life without a work schedule getting in the way.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:03 PM   #17
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Even though DH and I saved money during our w*rking years, we really didn't get serious about early retirement until about ten years ago. We put our plan into action and thankfully we were successful.

We thought of moving back to MO (our home state) once we were both retired. A smaller home in the country with a few acres would have been perfect.

Then DH was diagnosed with cancer about two years after he retired. Treating his cancer was our top priority...all thoughts of moving were put on hold.

This summer, once again we toyed with the idea of moving back to MO. After some house hunting and further consideration we came to the conclusion we should stay where we are.

Medical facilities close by are important to us. Even though we won't get that house in the country, we won't have to maintain the property. We're finding we're both built for comfort now instead of speed.

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Old 10-05-2013, 08:41 PM   #18
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I never really had a dream - I guess I thought my retirement would be similar to my parent's retirement - summers in Vermont and winters somewhere warm (theirs were in Florida and I'm partial to Florida bu like Arizona too).

I thought we would travel more than we have but it is still early and I think we will be traveling more over the next couple years.

I'm enjoying not working and playing a lot of golf too much to fret over what else I might do in retirement.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #19
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I really didn't start "dreaming" about retirement until 2005, when I had an inheritance and FIRE suddenly became a possibility. I visualized myself moving to a luxury home at a scenic location, traveling extensively to exotic countries I have never seen, in luxury, and becoming a philanthropist. During the financial crash of 2008-9 I realized that such extravagance was predicated on continuing portfolio growth that would be sustainable only by working insanely hard for at least a decade more. I concluded that I would rather RE even if it meant some compromises. I do live at a scenic location but my home is modest. By the end of my first year of ER I will have completed 4 trips, none of them exotic on the scale I had envisaged, but still very enjoyable. Philanthropy is taking a back seat to "charity begins at home" although if I leave an estate it will hopefully do some good.
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:24 PM   #20
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Even though we won't get that house in the country, we won't have to maintain the property. We're finding we're both built for comfort now instead of speed.

I always though I might like a cabin type house in the country with a few acres. But now that I am retired with the freedom to do so, the thought of maintaining property kind of turns me off. Now I'm thinking small patio homes with little upkeep. Maybe a short drive to the beach for those nice morning walks.

Dreams do change, but all is all good. Retired early.....so living that dream.
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