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Non-financial preparation for ER
Old 07-14-2016, 12:37 AM   #1
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Non-financial preparation for ER

Hello, DH and I plan to retire later this year. We are not relocating and have a fairly new home. We have spent loads of time running scenarios, meeting with a financial advisor, etc. so we are confident we are financially ready. We are wondering for those already in ER, what do you wish you had done before ER to prepare (other than financial preparation)?


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Old 07-14-2016, 05:49 AM   #2
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Nothing for me, but I'll admit that I have been lucky. I did virtually nothing in preparation for retirement non-financially. I joined our local country club and met a number of retirees who play golf regularly. As a result, I now play with a group of 3-4 foursomes on Tuesday mornings at the club and a traveling group of 5-7 foursomes who play at courses within 1 1/2 hours on Thursdays and another group that plays a mixed couples scramble on Sunday afternoons. These groups have opened up some other things in that we now frequently socialize with a number of these people... dinner, cards, dominos, etc.
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:55 AM   #3
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I've heard it said that you not only retire from something, but you should also retire *to* something.

Think about what you want to do with or without your spouse in a typical day / week. Do you want to try a new hobby? Volunteer someplace? Start a new business? Work part time? Spend more time with family or friends?

You don't need to nail down a schedule yet, but have some ideas of what you'd like to do with the additional time you'll have.

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Old 07-14-2016, 06:50 AM   #4
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Hello, DH and I plan to retire later this year. We are not relocating and have a fairly new home. We have spent loads of time running scenarios, meeting with a financial advisor, etc. so we are confident we are financially ready. We are wondering for those already in ER, what do you wish you had done before ER to prepare (other than financial preparation)?
Nothing, really. Life after work is different that what I expected, I was viewing retirement through "work-colored glasses" which skewed the choices I was making. I'd say give yourself some time to recover and get some balance back into your life.

There is one thing - in retrospect, it might have been better to not tell some family members that I was retiring, because it somehow led them to conclude that my time was now their's for the asking.
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:26 AM   #5
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......I'd say give yourself some time to recover and get some balance back into your life.............
This. Retirement is something that I needed to grow into, not like a work related flow chart where one jumps in at the beginning and proceeds to follow the steps. Give yourself time to discover what makes you happy (or unhappy), now, then proceed accordingly.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:25 AM   #6
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You might read some books on the subject to get some perspective - Ernie Zelinski's The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free come to mind.

I overcommitted to volunteer activities at the beginning, but otherwise things have gone really well.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:08 AM   #7
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Nothing, really. Life after work is different that what I expected, I was viewing retirement through "work-colored glasses" which skewed the choices I was making. I'd say give yourself some time to recover and get some balance back into your life.
+1

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming retirement!

I was a little concerned as my own retirement approached because other than the financial, I hadn't really prepared at all. Everyone at work told me I would get terribly bored.

But you know what? It all worked out just fine and I haven't been bored once. I think it helps to not pre-plan a lot of activities for the first few months of retirement so that you have the time MichaelB is referring to. All I had planned was to get out of the house once each day, so that I didn't turn into a complete slug.

MichaelB is so right that life after work is way different than expected. It's better, really. Among other differences, my perception is that there's a lot less internal and external pressure for me to accomplish praise-worthy objectives, for example.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:05 PM   #8
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Didn't do anything. I just resigned at work and started an endless vacation.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:52 PM   #9
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I am pretty much where you are now. My date is next March. So far, I have: started joining social groups that share my interests that I did not have time for before; told my wife that all the outdoor projects that she wants to do will wait until next year; given some thought about converting my primary hobby (photography, photo editing, photo books) into a small side business. I also think we will do more travelling, especially local culture and film festivals, state parks, and photo excursions.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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A job does give you a certain structure and framework. Depending on your personal situation it can also provide a level of identity.

Many people get disoriented after the 'I'm on vacation' period is no longer relevant.

Regardless of what you intend to do upon retirement, my advice would be to go easy, not jump into any one thing straight off (or at least something you can't easily back out of) and see what happens in 10-12 months.

You have 30-40 years of dust that needs to settle.

What I planned to doing in RE and what I am doing are now two very different things.

Enjoy, have fun and take your time.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:26 PM   #11
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Didn't do anything. I just resigned at work and started an endless vacation.
Yep. As I told my doctor today, being "retired", at least for me, is just a seven day weekend.

So, if I can offer anything, it is to just plan on doing whatever you want whenever you want, without any pressure. You'll see.

_B
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:02 PM   #12
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You might read some books on the subject to get some perspective - Ernie Zelinski's The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free come to mind.
+1

Both books highly recommended here too.

Also agree that you should cut yourself some slack. You'll figure it out, most likely. It will probably take some time though.

I've been free, in the wild of ER for a year and change and thought I was really settling in. This week I've had a bit of a tough time on some of the non-financial aspects, ie what the hell am I doing with my life.

So, DW and went for a brisk bike ride and a nice meal. Now the world is a wonderful place again! Just needed to get outside and move... I'm now learning to address what I need, not what I need to do for someone to pay me. It's the precious gift of FIRE.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:27 PM   #13
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Congratulations on your almost retirement.

When I pulled the plug, I was worried about going from very long working hours to zero working hours cold turkey so I continued to do some part time consulting (which I still do - the arrangement works for me) and made sure I had a few things to do (volunteer work, part time study, writing a novel among others). Retirement is great but everyone is different and will have different ways of making the most of it.
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:46 AM   #14
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Thank you all for the great perspective. I am SO excited about having time to figure out what I want to do each day. Think I'll take your advice and not plan on anything too intense and see how life evolves. I can't wait!!!


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Old 07-15-2016, 05:40 AM   #15
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This previous thread might help: Think you'll do that in ER? Maybe not
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:47 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
You might read some books on the subject to get some perspective - Ernie Zelinski's The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free come to mind.

I overcommitted to volunteer activities at the beginning, but otherwise things have gone really well.
+2. Completing the Get-A-Life-Tree exercise gave me a lot of peace of mind re: the non-financial aspects of (early) retirement. I probably couldn't have pulled the trigger and walked away from a very well paying career otherwise. To me, the financial was the simple (but not easy) part.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:33 AM   #17
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You might read some books on the subject to get some perspective - Ernie Zelinski's The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free come to mind.

I overcommitted to volunteer activities at the beginning, but otherwise things have gone really well.
To OP - above +1, from start to finish.

Totally over-volunteered at first, in my fear of not having enough to do to fill my time. Quit them all within months because I quickly found myself resenting other people having any input on how I spent my time. I did eventually find myself back to volunteering, but it was several years down the road, after I had fully and completely decompressed.

For me, the ER part of FIRE'ing was a process that took several years. Many emotions during the first few weeks - elation, brief bout of depression as I struggled to fill those precious 40 hours of work time, then a growing sense of satisfaction as I found things to become involved in, or to simply enjoy.

Ernie Zelinski's Tree of Life exercise, featured in both books above, was a real game changer. Though I struggled initially to come up with his required minimum of 50 activities, I think I ended the exercise at around 65 items. So, it was pretty exciting to re-do the exercise in Year Five of FIRE, and come up with 150+ activities without really trying. A testament to how much I have grown and developed since Day One.
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:29 AM   #18
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I overcommitted to volunteer activities at the beginning, but otherwise things have gone really well.
+1 Got a reading tutor parttime job and joined a church right after retiring because I thought I should. That was 6 months ago and I ended up quitting them both. What a relief.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:30 PM   #19
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I've heard it said that you not only retire from something, but you should also retire *to* something.

Think about what you want to do with or without your spouse in a typical day / week. Do you want to try a new hobby? Volunteer someplace? Start a new business? Work part time? Spend more time with family or friends?

You don't need to nail down a schedule yet, but have some ideas of what you'd like to do with the additional time you'll have.
+1. I had no problem with this, as I dreamed for years about all of the things I would do with my free time in retirement (I have a lot of hobbies and interests). After 6 years of retirement, I find that I am busier than ever, but it's great because I set my own schedule, and most of the things I do are enjoyable.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:27 PM   #20
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Thank you all for the great perspective. I am SO excited about having time to figure out what I want to do each day. Think I'll take your advice and not plan on anything too intense and see how life evolves. I can't wait!!!
That is exactly what I did. Initially I was still waking up at 7am, so I started to go to daily 8am Mass. After a year my normal wake up time is now 10am. I am enjoying the extra time in bed. I suspect that by this time next year I'll be doing completely different things than I am doing today. While I am "always busy" I am busy doing things I want to do. When I don't want to do those things anymore I'll do another thing I want to do. I feel like a kid on summer vacation. Life is wonderful and God is Good
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