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View Poll Results: Did you plan your post-retirement life or leap?
I planned the structure and activities of my post-retirement in advance. 19 23.17%
I thought it best to figure out my post-retirement life once I was away from the daily grind. 63 76.83%
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Poll: Did you plan or leap?
Old 08-06-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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Poll: Did you plan or leap?

I've often heard the advice that one should create a post-retirement structure in advance -- that is, plan activities and figure out which interests to pursue in advance -- rather than simply retire and then figure out what works.

I fall in the latter camp. I'll be retiring in a few weeks, and all my planning has involved getting me to this point. I know I won't be bored, and I don't feel the need to figure out my post-retirement life in advance. I've got a bucket list, but that's it. My sense is you have to be away from the full-time corporate job for a while before you can figure out what you really want to do, and pre-planning too much could close your eyes to some unforeseen opportunities.

What was your experience?

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Old 08-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #2
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I planned most of my activities out a few years in advance. I enjoyed woodworking, hiking, biking, boating, and travel while I was working, so I planned on doing more of it during retirement. But I have picked up new interests in retirement. So I can see the mix of activities evolving as I go through retirement.

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Old 08-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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I never really accomplished much if any psychological preparation for retirement at all. I didn't even have a plan, except to first catch up on my sleep. Also I made a point of getting out of the house at least once every day, although I had no plans as to what I would do during my daily adventures.

I was a little "at sea" for the first few days, but that wasn't necessarily unpleasant. I went to the gym a lot, and shopped. Somehow I worked out a somewhat loose temporary routine. Three months later F retired too, and together we worked out our present routine which was have stuck with since then.

It all worked out, for us.
5/17/2018: Retired a second time, this time from my volunteer Admin duties. After 10 years of being on the team, and 40,000+ posts, the time just seemed right. It has been such fun to work with all of our Mods and Admins and I plan to stick around as a regular member.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:29 AM   #4
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I just left. Didn't do any figuring at all for about a year. After that ER was just so much better than any work option I decided I could make it happen.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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I went through a 4-month period of unemployment back in the day. Going from full speed to stand still with no planning was overwhelming for me. I remember feeling so lost and panicky on my first day of unemployment. So, I developed some self-imposed structure to cope and I found myself some hobbies (wood working, gardening, etc...). After a couple of months, I had found my groove.

So when I retired for good, years later, I knew exactly what to do. But the coping mechanisms I had developed were merely retirement training wheels. Now in my 5th year of retirement I don't need much structure anymore. And the hobbies have changed or evolved. My life today is nothing like I had anticipated. So while some amount of planning can be good, I think that it's important to keep flexible.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:36 AM   #6
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I had a general idea of the things I wanted to do, but I definitely did not develop goals, schedules, etc. That's too much like w*rk! I did join a social club which I find great, but I participate selectively. I am now feeling ready for a bit more structure and am thinking about making a flexible schedule for myself. Maybe tomorrow........
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:42 AM   #7
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I was working part-time for 7 years before I ERed, so I already had several activities in place, some of which I could expand upon. But even when I first switched from working FT to PT in 2001 I had a plan in place to begin some of those activities. One required some lead time including saving an enrollment form for 6 months before I knew I would be ready to use it. IT all went very well and I am still involved with those 2 activities 13 years later.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 08-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #8
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After 30+ years of project deadlines, I found myself highly resistant to anything where I had to commit to being any place or doing anything on a schedule. That's still somewhat true almost two years in. But I knew I'd be taking some of that unstructured time to travel (about 40% of the time so far), and more time to play the sports I like (mostly baseball and tennis, and added pickleball.)

That schedule resistance is still true to some extent, but I'm looking around for something of longer term interest - political or technical/scientific, as well as expanding my volunteering in disaster recovery. It just has to be something that I really want to do, and it's a bit of a challenge to isolate onto what I want to do when I grow up.

But boredom hasn't even slightly been a factor for me.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:27 AM   #9
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I certainly had an idea for a few things I wanted to do, but no plan.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #10
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In that exciting period after I knew I was going to give work the heave-ho, but before it happened, I read Ernie J. Zelinski's book and did that exercise with all of the activities. It was massive! That was all I needed. Right after kicking megacorp to the curb, I took some advice to just chill a while. I've done a bit of travel, hit a few minor bucket list items. I'm ramping up just a bit now, with much more planned next year.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:48 AM   #11
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No plan... But I did add some activities that I didn't have time for before. Walking the dog on the beach, daily... Signing up for a language class at the community college.

I still have minor age kids - so there will still be plenty of schedule to my life... driving them to/from school and various activities.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:03 PM   #12
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I had a few ideas - learning to play golf was the big one - but nothing really firm other than some volunteer commitments I signed on for in the months before I ERd.
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
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Not voting since I haven't retired yet. I guess I would think I have a plan since I've been planning it for ages, including what I would do. The activities would be more flexible because I'd have the time but daily ones would include dog walking, music and exercise (riding or lifting). Most days will have some yard work particularly in the spring. Plans are to read more (again) learn a language??...I suck at language learning but want to give it a try and do more work on the house since I have the time to learn how to do things and do them myself
If money is the root of all evil I want to be a bad man
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:26 PM   #14
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I had two main objectives:

1. Get out of the DC area and having to plan life around traffic.
2. No stress. Not ever again being in a position where if I screw up, people might die.

So I goof off, take some photography classes, relatives like the photos I do at family gatherings, go for a walk, I take photos of flowers, peaceful stuff. Putz around the house and take all day to do something simple. It's relaxing for me.

I was really active with radio control model airplanes and I planned on continuing with that. We moved to WV, I put together a decent shop, built one airplane, never flew it, and eventually sold/gave away all of it. Perhaps I plateaued with the hobby, or it was a stress reliever from work. I have no idea and it really doesn't matter.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:41 AM   #15
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I put much more thought into the financial side of retirement than I did a post retirement plan to occupy my new found freedom. We decided a long time ago that we wanted to re-locate after retirement so we have been busy getting the house in shape and put on the market to sell. Once relocated there will be much to do to get settled in, so it is a bit premature to worry about a typical structured retirement day.

I have only been retired for about 6 months but we have already been on two scheduled vacations with another coming up next week. We take a 2.5 mile brisk walk each morning and have plenty of projects around the house to keep us busy. I suspect when the colder weather arrives their will be a lot less outdoor activity so we will spend time planning a few week winter get-a-way further south.

So far retirement has been far from boring, it sure beats w*rking.
My motto is.... "a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned. I don't pay tax on the dollar I saved."
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:39 AM   #16
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It wasn't much of a transition for me. I voted "planned" since it wasn't unplanned, but the plan was pretty much "same as it was, just less work, more fun".

I had been working from my home office for maybe 10 years, so was used to being around the house.

I had a flexible schedule, so I was used to doing non-work things midday anyway. For example, DW and I go the Y at midday after lunch. A "long lunch" wasn't noticed by my remote coworkers and the Y is pretty empty then, so that was a huge plus.

Obviously, I cut out the work part of my day, but the other parts just filled in the vacuum.

I no longer need a monthly trip to the "office" to see people in person, which I kind of miss (expenses paid!), but then I travel on my own whim now.

The money situation has not changed either - I pay myself a monthly "salary" into our checking account. Pretty much it's equivalent, though the allocations are bit different (mainly more for travel).
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:11 PM   #17
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I continued the activities I enjoyed pre-FIRE, with more gusto. I also focused on developing outside of work friends and mostly neglected my coworkers while working.

Then suddenly I found out I was fired (as in "here's a box, pack your $hit, your're outta here under escort"), and realized within a day that I was also FIRE'd. It was certainly quiet the first few days but it didn't take me long to get the swing of things. I had planned on working another couple of years, but that didn't happen.

Honestly the biggest shock on day 1 was becoming the full time caregiver of our one year old son. I figured that out pretty quick though.

I'm still not in the "I'm so bored, must go out and find new activities" phase of ER (if it ever strikes me at all!).

edit to add: I voted LEAP mainly because I didn't plan any specific post-FIRE activities (other than staying the course).
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 11, and 13).
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:01 AM   #18
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I have a plan, but am going to wing it as far as execution.

My plan is to move back to Colorado after I quit so I can do all the things I've wanted to do for years but never had the time nor money, and always had a job hanging over me.

But I'm going to wing it in the sense that after I quit, I might drive to Colorado to scout for houses, I might fly, I'll probably just go on the spur of the moment and not plan it in advance. I might stay for a few days, I might stay for a couple weeks. I might buy a house, I might rent, etc.

I'm not going to structure things too much, I'm going to keep it flexible and go with what I feel like at the moment. I'm sure I'll approach the rest of my free time in the same way. I have some high-level plans for things I'd like to do (one big one is getting my pilot's license, something I've wanted to do for a long time) but I'm not going to bog myself down in the minutiae. I'm just going to let things unfold as they happen, and what I feel like at the moment.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:00 PM   #19
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Original plan was to leave early 2016 and get my 40 years in. Got fed up and retired 8/1. One week in and it feels like vacation. Time will tell how I adjust since I've always worked.

I have lots to do - prep house to sell next year and taking care of elderly mom.
Also will continue with hobbies and interests that I was cramming into weekends. DH will join me 6/2016.

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Old 08-10-2014, 07:43 AM   #20
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Kinda planning.

We are planning ours to some extent because we plan to move once retired. Heading toward the mountains for hiking, fishing, skiing, etc. We'll rent there for the first year or so and then settle somewhere but no plan beyond that.

Our house goes on the market tomorrow as part of the plan to give us flexibility when the time comes.

“If you don't do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.” - Warren Miller
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