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Old 04-30-2010, 03:50 PM   #21
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Things I like to do:
Surfing (but not really around here in TX), traveling to new places, cooking, fishing, yardwork, dancing, reading, riding motorcycles, shooting skeet, watching over finances, hanging out with the family.
Looks like a good list of things to do. Maybe you just need more time to find your new groove. Perhaps some struggle is appropriate for such a big change. You can tell I sure don't know....but I think retiring early is great.

For myself I've only been really good at one thing in my life....my old career. I decide I'd like to be really good at another thing or two in my life. This aim gives me more drive, even some passion, for some of the new things I'm spending time on.
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:57 PM   #22
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I'm embarrassed to admit this, but after only one year in ER I'm getting bored and antsy. I've done every project I can think of, and now I'm running out of ideas of how to fill my day.
Surfing (but not really around here in TX)
I think I'm beginning to see the problem. You need to move to somewhere with good surf!

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I don't understand why I can't come up with any good ideas. It's like I've lost much of my imagination or something.
Any ideas? Anyone else go through something like this in ER?
First question, and it's a serious one: Do you have enough money? Yes or no?

If you don't feel that you have enough money then working for profit might ease your concerns about ending up sleeping beneath a highway overpass.

But if you feel that (by most reasonable estimates) you have enough money to make it through the rest of your life, then why do you want more money?

Because if you have enough money for the rest of your life then (as you've already mentioned) there doesn't seem to be any rational reason to risk your current capital. Loss aversion is very strong in people and especially strong for ERs who might "lose their freedom".

Do you see money as a way of keeping score? If that's the case then I guess you'd have to figure out what game you're playing and with what team or opponents. And why.

The challenge of ER is that you have to be responsible for your own entertainment. If you can't figure out what to do with your time then you either have to go find someone to schedule your time for you, or you have to restart your creative process.

The office environment is a wonderful place to find people who will be willing to schedule your time for you.

Restarting your creative process can be aided by Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree" in his books.*

Another alternative to the office environment would be charity/non-profit work. That would give you a chance to "get back in the game" without risking capital while still having the justification to take a few months off during the summer. Spouse has found her enjoyment by physical labor at a food bank and at a local military memorial, along with the usual board meetings and committee stuff. Treat it as a new version of the dating game, where it might take a few false starts to find the right combination of charity mission and co-workers/co-volunteers. Charity work is unfulfilling without the right mission or the right people.

You may be interested in "business mentor" services at your local SBA, SCORE, Lions, or Chamber of Commerce-- or even joining a local organization of angel investors to help the entrepreneurs. Good places to learn more about that would be Paul Graham's YCombinator website or the Angel Capital Association. Or find a local university's business school and offer to help with their business plans. The professors there will be mighty happy to see fresh meat volunteers like that.

* I've had one of those on my desk for nearly eight years, but I've been too busy to get around to filling it out...
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:28 PM   #23
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I really think that if I were retired, and well off enough that my spouse didn't have to work either, and still raising kids, I would take them off on some kind of wonderful 2 year world traveling adventure, and deal with home-schooling requirements on the way.

If I could afford it, I would want to give that kind of gift to my children. Children grow up so fast, and if the parents don't have to work, then you can spent so much more time involved with your children. This is such a luxury that most modern parents don't have!
If this idea appeals to you, get to the library and check out Fred Carlisle, Journey with Caravel: We Ran Away to Sea (1971); Fiona McCall and Paul Howard, All in the Same Boat (1988) and Still in the Same Boat (1990); and Diane Stuemer, The Voyage of the Northen Magic: A Family Odyssey (2002). Those books should provide plenty of inspiration.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:44 PM   #24
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The surfing fantasy brings up another option for you since you your children have many years of school left: decide where you would really like to live, and move there!

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Old 04-30-2010, 08:46 PM   #25
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If this idea appeals to you, get to the library and check out Fred Carlisle, Journey with Caravel: We Ran Away to Sea (1971); Fiona McCall and Paul Howard, All in the Same Boat (1988) and Still in the Same Boat (1990); and Diane Stuemer, The Voyage of the Northen Magic: A Family Odyssey (2002). Those books should provide plenty of inspiration.
You can run away on land too! Quite a few families decide to take their kids on a one year tour of the USA and integrate the homeschooling into the trip with plenty of "educational tourism". RV recommended.

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:15 PM   #26
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You can run away on land too! Quite a few families decide to take their kids on a one year tour of the USA and integrate the homeschooling into the trip with plenty of "educational tourism". RV recommended.
I read a book a few years ago called One Year Off. Amazon.com: One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children (0692077211658): David Elliot Cohen: Books In it, the author, his wife, and three kids (the youngest of which is two) head off for a trip around the world for a year. They homeschooled the school age kids. That is what got me to thinking this idea could actually work.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:29 PM   #27
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Oh good point! Was not an option when I was a kid, so I forgot about that. But this would make a huge difference.

Audrey
Just recently my sister was telling me that her 12 yr old daughter didn't want to go to the Canary Islands next month because she would be away from her friends and her iPod Touch wouldn't work. I told my sister that it would work, she just needed an adapter for the pins to fit - told her to check the voltage ratings on the iPod power supplier.

She did check and it will work, plus where they are staying has free WIFI. My niece is now REALLY keen to go.

Our kids used to complain at many of the exotic vacations we took them on. At 16 DD refused to go to Australia and when I said "but your Uncle Les has all sorts of plans including hot air ballooning, white water rafting, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and he's going to take us down his coal mine". The reply was, "I'm not going down no coal mine or up in a balloon and the salt air and water will be terrible for my skin, I can manage here by myself while you're away". We had to 'force' her to come and she tried her best to appear to be miserable even though it was a magical vacationthat we could tell she was really enjoying. One day we had to drag her out to a gem field "fossicking" and of course she dug up the find of the day. It only cost $20 to have it cut and polished and she was the owner of a 4.5 carret blue star sapphire later valued for insurance purposes at $5.5k.

These days they both go on and on about all the great vacations they've had and all the places they have lived (England, Scotland, Texas, Louisiana).
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:53 PM   #28
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Can you coach youth sports? Do you like kids? Do your kids play sports? Do your kids like you?

I used to spend about 15 hours a week coaching and another 15 trying to stay in shape.

You can become president of the school PTA.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:00 PM   #29
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Yeah - getting older teenagers (16 or so) to travel is tough. But a few years younger, they are usually game.

I'm still kicking myself for refusing to go with my parents to Aspen CO for the big classical music festival one summer when I was a senior. They had several other adventures in CO and I had never been. I guess I wanted to work instead - hah!

But there were four of us kids! That made travel a bit of a chore when I was older (and the eldest).

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Old 05-01-2010, 12:24 AM   #30
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As usual Nord's insight is spot on with his advice.

Only you can determine what will work for you and it may or may not be what you have done in the past. We have become so acclimated to a sense of worth based on our careers that doing something "out of the box" feels very different and uncomfortable.

Our hobbies have always been something that filled the time in between work yet on retirement we think that they can fill the void that used to be work. In some cases this works and that is great, those folks have found what they need but for others it is still just something to do in between something bigger. The problem is now that you are not working you don't know what that bigger thing is.

Step back and think about what tends to draw your interest. It could be several things so don't limit yourself. This does not have to be something that you know much about today but is something that you just naturally are interested in and enjoy spending time on or even better yet are passionate about. Don't worry about if it brings in any income or not and don't worry about failing, it's all about setting a future course. Once you have this figured out then you can focus on how to spend more time on it or how to earn some income from it or worst case that its not for you and then you can just go another direction.

Best of luck in figuring this out. I have been thinking about this alot lately and it is helping me determine what I want to do when I do pull the trigger on retirement, hopefully in the very near future.
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:44 AM   #31
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I can understand how it might be difficult to adjust (if you did not hate your j*b).

Can you go back into the car biz and hire decent help such that you just manage the business (as an owner/investor)? If you have a competent manager on the lot to manage day to day activities... that should free you up to travel in the summer.

Since the car biz is what you know, it is more likely that you can be a success at it and make money (as opposed to lose money). If you have good competent management on the lot, you can make them a part owner (where their portion of ownership grows with the success of the business) and be willing to sell it to them when you want to exit.

You could consider doing that for a few years until your kids are out of the house.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:08 AM   #32
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I have not retired yet. I am almost positive my experience will be just like cardude, in fact it's one of the main reasons I have not retired yet. I have been reading all the books, How to Retire Happy Wild & Free; Work Less, Live More (both great IMO) and many others and they help but none have provided a-ha activities/jobs. I expect to take a 3-12 month sabbatical and then go back to work at least part time. The only caveat is, I won't do a job that I don't enjoy and I won't have to worry about how much it pays. If I lose interest in whatever that job is, on to the next one.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:31 AM   #33
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Well, you live in Texas and you like to cook - why not join or start a cooking team? Texas Events Calendar - Texas Festivals, Cook-Offs, Rodeos

Barbecue, chili, steak, wild-game, it's all here. The only downside might be that events are usually on weekends - but you're retired so that's just another day of the week.

I play on and off again with a group that does it for charity. There is always something to be done, the people are a blast, the public that comes to the events are great people, and your cooking skills, creativity and competitive side all are in demand.

Here's one of my former co-workers who retired after I did at one of the events I've participated in (we are on different teams).

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Old 05-01-2010, 09:35 AM   #34
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Thanks all for the great replies and ideas!

As for traveling for a year or two and home schooling, DW and I discussed that when we were thinking of moving to CR last year, but decided against it. Mostly because we thought the CR move could actually be detrimental to the kids growing up in a 24/7 party environment. Basically, we decided it could be an interesting place for us to move to after the kids were out of HS, but not before. The thing is, DW LIKES where we live, loves our house with pool and all that stuff, and is involved with work and friends here, so I just don't see a move happening. That's why I've got to get my act together and get something going that will keep me involved and interested for the next 8 years.

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Can you go back into the car biz and hire decent help such that you just manage the business (as an owner/investor)? If you have a competent manager on the lot to manage day to day activities... that should free you up to travel in the summer.
The car biz takes too much capital and involves too much liability risk IMO, so that's non an option. It is, unfortunately, pretty much all I know so that's why I'm struggling.

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Can you coach youth sports? Do you like kids? Do your kids play sports? Do your kids like you?
DW says I'm not patient enough, and she's right. I've tried. It didn't go well. I coached my kids Y basketball team last year and had a few too many Bobby Knight type moments.

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Do you have enough money? Yes or no?
Yes, according to the SWR rules I do, but the first year was pretty much a panic year for me trying to get adjusted. I'm getting better dealing with living off the portfolio now. I think the work idea is just a knee-jerk reaction because that's what I'm used to doing. I've got to admit I'm feeling a little strange doing "nothing" all day while DW is working. And the deal is, she is working so she can have plenty of "funny money" that she can spend on whatever. If she quit it would raise the SWR by very little. Plus, she also works to keep her "involved" in what's going on. She was a housewife for 15 years and likes being out talking to grown ups.

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Restarting your creative process can be aided by Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree" in his books.*
This is what I think is my major problem. I've lost much of my creativity, and it's been a struggle trying to get it back. All of my focus was on work for so long that I let my creative, fun side slip. Plus, all my friends revolved around work, so it's been hard getting back into a friend group. Most everyone is working my age, so that's been a struggle. As someone said, I have not found my new groove yet.

OK, enough whining. I'm out to do some cooking for our neighboorhood party. Thanks again for the ideas and input! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:33 AM   #35
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Just recently my sister was telling me that her 12 yr old daughter didn't want to go to the Canary Islands next month because she would be away from her friends and her iPod Touch wouldn't work.
I don't know what an iPod Touch is, but your story makes me glad I decided not to reproduce.

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You can run away on land too! Quite a few families decide to take their kids on a one year tour of the USA and integrate the homeschooling into the trip with plenty of "educational tourism". RV recommended.
Good point, Audrey.

In her book Managing Your Escape: taking care of personal business so you can get away, Katy Burke refers to the generic "escape vehicle". Whatever floats your boat!
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:28 AM   #36
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Restarting your creative process can be aided by Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree" in his books.
I had something similar going prior to reading "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free". Mine was more of a list with items in different categories (Daily Routine, Work (paid or not), Recreation, Travel, etc.). It keeps growing. Ernie suggested at least 50 items. I have 49 so far. Honestly, I had so many things in my head, I could foresee the possibility that I would sit around wondering what to do because I couldn't remember any of them. It will help me remember what I want to do and if I feel bored and I can just reference the list and do whatever piques my interest.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:40 PM   #37
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Surfing you say! My wife and I home schooled our son in Costa Rica during his senior year in high school. The experience was, well, let's just say - he graduated. He and I also learned to surf. I also spent half my childhood growing up overseas.

I also like bestwifever's idea of going back to college. Why don't you give the whole travelling, living overseas, home schooling thing a test run? Spend this summer overseas, in a place like Costa Rica where you can surf, while your kids are taking an online summer course, and you and they are taking Spanish classes? See if they make friends and adapt to a new culture, or if they get home sick, and can't wait to go back home.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:52 PM   #38
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Cardude, you sound a bit like me. It's not that I don't enjoy leisure activities because I do! I just need some kind of challenge where I'm really stimulated which doesn't happen for me so much with things like travel and just hanging around. Actually, I don't even really like to travel that much continuously. I would miss working on projects and having goals.

Back when I was going through a career transition, I read a few interesting books to figure out what direction to take, and I think their advice can apply to leisure activities as much as they could for some kind of side income if you were so inclined. The basic premise of them is that if you are not using your 'strengths', you will be under-stimulated - or overwhelmed. It sounds to me like you're under-stimulated.

Here's a couple of books you might want to look at - or look at the genre anyway:

Amazon.com: The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (9780684823997): Nicholas Lore: Books

Amazon.com: Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career (9781591394136): Herminia Ibarra: Books

Amazon.com: Unique Ability: Creating the Life You Want (9781896635620): Catherine Nomura, Julia Waller, Shannon Waller: Books

I like Herminia Ibarra's book even though it's more career oriented, it could help any of us that are feeling a little less creative even with our leisure to try things on. Here's an article by her and I think the advice applies to leisure as much as it does to work:
Working Identity - Nine Unconventional Strategies For Reinventing Your Career - HBS Working Knowledge

I guess I believe that unless we're using some of our real gifts, we don't really feel fulfilled.

I'd also suggest looking at whether you have some kind of outdoor club in your area that has activities that you can try? Here's an example of the one where I live:
Calgary Outdoor Club
For new groups to meet people that you might have shared interests with you could try this:
Do something, Learn something, Share something, Change something - Meetup.com
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:51 AM   #39
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Thanks again for the ideas and input! Keep 'em coming!
How about selling cars at someone else's business? There are really nice places around here that sell several makes of deluxe or exotic cars- some new, but mostly used. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, nice BMs, Mercdes AWG, maybe a Rolls or two. Seems like it would be fun for anyone who liked cars and likes the sales process.

I have an uncle who worked the low end of the car business his whole life. After he gave up his lots he worked some auctions and resold to dealers to keep his hand in. He always had a good time and I think he would still be doing it today at age 90 had he not been hit and killed by lightning.

Ha.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:42 AM   #40
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If you like the idea of volunteering, try VolunteerMatch - Where Volunteering Begins to look for something that interests you.

Although I am still working, I found an organization through them that I volunteer with that uses my skills, and is flexible enough to work around my seemingly very busy schedule.
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