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So how do you tell 'when' you are retired?
Old 06-08-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
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So how do you tell 'when' you are retired?

I know silly question for most of the people here, but it isn't as cut and dried for some of us. Some people seem to have a simple transition, working one day and retired the next. My situation (and I have to assume I am not alone in this) is a bit different. Officially I plan on retiring at 55 (2 years from now) when my wife has her 20 years in at her job where she then qualifies for a pension. We are FI now, but it is hard to walk away from the pension she would get in 2 years, so that is our initial goal.

I worked for several big architectural firms for 25+ years and last year started my own office and consult with several of my old firms, and I do my own stuff and consult with other firms on occasion. Even after 55 I plan on doing some jobs because I actually like my profession, I just don't want the stress of working big jobs and or mega corp thought processes.

However I find myself even now only doing what I want to do. I turned down two jobs this week so it started me thinking--am I retired now? The first job was with my old office, working with a bunch of people I recalled as being big a$$holes--and I just said, no thanks, not interested. Felt great! The second was a consulting job with another firm I know, and I turned it down too as it would involve too much commuting, etc.

The money from either of these jobs would be nice, but I don't 'need' it. I am actively pursuing other work, but only work that fits into my lifestyle that I want now. I know for some folks here any work (or w*rk as many write it here!) is bad, but I can't be the only one who enjoys what he does for a living am I?

So does 'retired' mean doing what you want, even if that includes working (on your terms)? For all intents and purposes I feel retired. I get up, go to the gym, come home and play with the dog, fiddle around on some issue on one of my projects, then take a nap, etc. Sure there are some deadlines, but they are all sort of self imposed. I make money at what I do, and it is good money to be honest. What I enjoy about my job now is that the work I do helps people and that is very self satisfying.

Or if you work at anything but retirement, then are you truly not retired?

So what you do guys think? Am I retired or not? Just something that I have been thinking about lately and was curious as to what people here thought.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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Retired is what you want it to be! Sounds like you are doing what you want, when you want to, and don't have to for the money. That's where most people would love to be.

Your description of your career sounds a bit like my observations of my own. I enjoyed it greatly for the most part, but now that I'm largely out of it, I would find returning to it distasteful to say the least. I miss the people, and to some degree the purpose, but as I move into full retirement on those days when I'm at loose ends (I have plans to do volunteer work but am delaying pursuing till after a big trip here end of month) all I have to do is remember the asses I had to put up with, endless nonsense email strings, abusive customers, meetings that had no purpose, and politics that made my stomach turn. I've had two professional jobs lasting long periods; I thought I had it great in the first one. Then I moved to the second and thought I'd died and gone to heaven; how had I put up with the first And then it deteriorated. Which is just an example of how things change based on perspective. And I know I have certainly changed in the last five years.

So don't worry about what is full retirement. If anyone asks and you feel you have to give an answer, just say semi-retired! Good luck!
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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My husband is an architect also. He enjoyed the lessened hours that came with the recession and has been reluctant to add the hours back in. He's been cruising along at half time hours for a few years now. It really works for our household because he can do more with the kids.

Here in San Diego billable work is still pretty slim pickings for architects... and the big firms are putting in bids at a loss, just to keep employees working. My husbands former firm folded up because they kept getting underbid - by far less than the actual costs of the job (let alone profit).
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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From a dictionary standpoint, no. But if you are happy, that trumps everything else!
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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Retired is what you want it to be! Sounds like you are doing what you want, when you want to, and don't have to for the money. That's where most people would love to be.

So don't worry about what is full retirement. Good luck!
+1, sounds like a good answer to me. There's no rule, that's the point!

After 11 months retired, I'm still evolving. I may seek an encore career, but I don't have to and no plans toward working so far. But I'm not worried at all, and what anyone else thinks really isn't very important...
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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.... I am actively pursuing other work, but only work that fits into my lifestyle that I want now. ...
I think I would describe you as very happy being between positions rather than retired.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:41 PM   #7
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I've been retired twenty four years now so it getting to the point that every day is the same. First you wake up and wonder what day it is. Then I lay in bed and wonder what I'll do today, except for Tuesday, which is my golf day. I know what I'm doing that day but then I have to make sure it's Tuesday. DW gets up about 7:45AM to watch her sewing shows and asks me what's on her calendar for the day. Then I have to find the calendar. In the meantime, The Keurig is heating up, just in time for my Cappuccino. It's really a tough life!

When you wake up not knowing what day it is and furthermore, don't really care, then you know you are etired.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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You sound like you are extremely happy and that is far more important than the answer to whether you are retired or not.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:48 AM   #9
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You sound like you are extremely happy and that is far more important than the answer to whether you are retired or not.
+1
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:18 AM   #10
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Although I have things to do almost every day, there are only a few that require my attention at a particular time. The rest I handle when I feel like it. Rental real estate can take me away from a most pleasant activity, but even that can be contracted out as needed. To me retirement means not answering to a boss, other than maybe your own spouse, getting up in the morning when the body feels like it, and taking a trip any time you feel like it. You can fill in all the rest of the schedule to suit your natural need to work or not.
When people ask me, like yesterday when I bumped into two former co-workers, I just say I'm not working for anyone any more, which is the simple truth for me.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hakuna matata View Post
I know silly question for most of the people here, but it isn't as cut and dried for some of us. Some people seem to have a simple transition, working one day and retired the next. My situation (and I have to assume I am not alone in this) is a bit different. Officially I plan on retiring at 55 (2 years from now) when my wife has her 20 years in at her job where she then qualifies for a pension. We are FI now, but it is hard to walk away from the pension she would get in 2 years, so that is our initial goal.
However I find myself even now only doing what I want to do. I turned down two jobs this week so it started me thinking--am I retired now?
The money from either of these jobs would be nice, but I don't 'need' it. I am actively pursuing other work, but only work that fits into my lifestyle that I want now. I know for some folks here any work (or w*rk as many write it here!) is bad, but I can't be the only one who enjoys what he does for a living am I?
So does 'retired' mean doing what you want, even if that includes working (on your terms)? For all intents and purposes I feel retired. I get up, go to the gym, come home and play with the dog, fiddle around on some issue on one of my projects, then take a nap, etc. Sure there are some deadlines, but they are all sort of self imposed. I make money at what I do, and it is good money to be honest. What I enjoy about my job now is that the work I do helps people and that is very self satisfying.
Or if you work at anything but retirement, then are you truly not retired?
So what you do guys think? Am I retired or not? Just something that I have been thinking about lately and was curious as to what people here thought.
This is the nice thing about retiring from the military-- I get an impressive-looking certificate that I can frame on the wall to remind myself that I really am retired, no matter how badly I screw up my time management or how hard I'm working on my investments.

I think you're financially independent, and the rest is just semantics. For example, you could say "I'm retired, unless one of my old clients throws a lot of money at me"...
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:21 PM   #12
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thanks for the various insights, much appreciated!

I personally think of myself as retired but I also recognize that I always will dabble in the architecture field as I enjoy the job.

I feel very fortunate to be in this position, especially in my profession as it has been decimated by the recession. I was just lucky that my wife and I save very well and live well below our incomes. Luck and good strategy also played into it I think, so I consider myself fortunate.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:28 PM   #13
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I agree with Nords, its just semantics. I consider myself retired even though I work part time. my friends all call me retired. When I tell them Im still working some, they don't consider that part of the equation. They see it like I do. I quit working in my chosen career and am drawing a pension.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #14
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I've been retired twenty four years now so it getting to the point that every day is the same. First you wake up and wonder what day it is. Then I lay in bed and wonder what I'll do today, except for Tuesday, which is my golf day. I know what I'm doing that day but then I have to make sure it's Tuesday. DW gets up about 7:45AM to watch her sewing shows and asks me what's on her calendar for the day. Then I have to find the calendar. In the meantime, The Keurig is heating up, just in time for my Cappuccino. It's really a tough life!

When you wake up not knowing what day it is and furthermore, don't really care, then you know you are etired.
Be careful with this. There are two questions on the "mental acuity" test that covers the calendar/day of the week. It also asks who the current president is. These are used to help diagnose Alzheimer's.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:41 PM   #15
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Be careful with this. There are two questions on the "mental acuity" test that covers the calendar/day of the week. It also asks who the current president is. These are used to help diagnose Alzheimer's.
We sometimes get confused about what day of the week it is, too. But still, gym is MWF, trash collection is TF, and our favorite restaurants are closed on different days, have weekday lunch specials, and so on. So although we discuss the day of the week question, we do eventually figure it out.

As for knowing when one is retired, I think it is whenever you think you are retired. After all, a retired person finally has control over his or her time and can do whatever he or she likes, so who would dare boss around a truly retired person by telling him that he is wrong, and is not retired? And why would that retired person even listen to such foolishness?

It was crystal clear to me when I retired because I worked for the federal government and everything is documented. I submitted my retirement forms, went to a retirement party, started getting my FERS bank deposits, got my CSA card and blue booklet, and so on. Also I have never had a desire for a second career at all. So, other than a weird recent desire to once again begin awakening early each morning, it has all been black and white for me. Sort of like stepping out of the darkness into the light.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:14 PM   #16
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Be careful with this. There are two questions on the "mental acuity" test that covers the calendar/day of the week. It also asks who the current president is. These are used to help diagnose Alzheimer's.
As a retiree, me thinks that the correct response to either question is: Is there a particular reason I should care? Prefaced by I am retired.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:50 PM   #17
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These are used to help diagnose Alzheimer's.
Would these diagnostic exams be administered by people who are still working?

Like W2R, I still take my day-of-the-week cues from the way I feel and the neighborhood environment. I can almost always detect when a morning was preceded by a taekwondo evening. Luckily green waste/recycle day is a different day from trash day, or I'd be standing among cans of three different colors trying to decide which one to move...
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:30 AM   #18
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I've retired 2X and returned to work. Once at 54 yo because I wasn't mentally prepared for it and 2nd time after a lay off and seeing my son go on to grad school and DD going to private college. I guess I will consider myself retired when DW stops her part time library job and I stop once and for all. Hopefully sometime soon.

You on the other hand have a creative profession that I would almost liken to an art form, so it seems to me, you can consider yourself retired and pick and choose when and what you want to work on. In other words, you have the best of both worlds
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:57 AM   #19
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Retired is what you want it to be! Sounds like you are doing what you want, when you want to, and don't have to for the money. That's where most people would love to be.
+1
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:21 AM   #20
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I would consider you to be FI and semi-retired since you still do some w*rk. Or perhaps you can think of yourself as between jobs until you get comfortable with being fully retired.

Your OP indicates that you DW will retire in two years when she has 20 years in. That made me wonder why she wouldn't be fully vested already since most pensions plans vest after 5 years, but perhaps the benefit structure optimizes at 20 years and that is what she is waiting for.
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