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What do you do in ER when spouse still works
Old 03-05-2014, 08:30 AM   #1
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What do you do in ER when spouse still works

I'm ER, DW still works, says she's not ready to retire yet, has another year or two before she's feels she's accomplished some work related goals.

I'd appreciate thoughts on ER activities while the DW completes her mission.

I feel this nagging drive to do "different things" than when I was working. Sure, I have more time for hobbies and stuff, and that's great, but it's not "different".

My list of "things to do in ER" is mostly centered on "things to do when we're both retired". I've traveled so much on business, vacationing alone holds little appeal.

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, point me to it, because search was not productive.
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What do you do in ER when spouse still works
Old 03-05-2014, 08:40 AM   #2
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What do you do in ER when spouse still works

On our house, DW retired a year before I did. She took up some exercise classes at the community center targeted for her age group, rode her bike, caught up on her reading, met still working friends for lunch, and started cooking more - something she enjoyed and I benefitted from lol. For the most part, it was a relaxing transition for her until I retired.

As for 'different', we travel in a camper truck, bought a folding canoe, and I'm taking up fishing, since we camp so much. Putting together a solar system and other upgrades for TC. I'm taking my old photography hobby, and trying to redirect it from portrait and weddings to landscape, street photography, and hopefully get into conservation related photojournalism (blogging, website, articles). Old hobby, different direction

Also have an old Kodak sports video camera, and got some great up-close manatee video last month. A different direction for me - video.

Looked for volunteering opportunities, but haven't found anything suitable. Also, looking for more educational opportunities. Really getting deeper into economics, investment and global news.

Hope this gives you some ideas....
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:55 AM   #3
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I am also retired and DW is continuing to work for ? mainly for health insurance.

We moved to a new community near my in-laws. Right away got involved in a committee with the property owners assn, some church stuff, learning some woodworking and fishing with FIL. Sad to say that at my age I have to learn how to fish, but it's true. Also a great group of retired neighbors that i hang out with occasionally.

It has really helped that we moved to a community with at least 50% retired folks. More people are around during the day. Not sure I would have had the same level of activity at our previous locale.

Like you I have little desire for any travel that involves a plane. Now on motorcycle, that's a different story .

Good luck in finding your groove.
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What do you do in ER when spouse still works
Old 03-05-2014, 08:58 AM   #4
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What do you do in ER when spouse still works

"Sad to say that at my age I have to learn how to fish, but it's true. "

Lol - I feel your pain. Just bought some basic equipment, and the local lake opens Friday. First attempt... If the lake un freezes.

Also, we're considering learning snowshoeing and cross country skiing, as we camp in all sorts of weather.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #5
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Think of the positive, waiting for DF to retire gives you something to look forward too! I am in similar situation but with a GF, not wife. A little tongue in cheek here, but I am amazed at how adept I have become at "the art of piddling". Which basically means staying busy doing not much of anything and when you look at the clock, the day is about over. Take today for example, got up at 7 and three hours later all I have done is drink coffee, read the paper, fix breakfast, and just now scanning the net. I frittered away 3 hours already and haven't even had time to shower yet! I never would have thought I would be a piddler when I retired, but it is working out quite well for me.


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Old 03-05-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
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I'm in the same boat as OP. ER'd 9 months ago. DW wants to keep working for a few more years, mainly because she's afraid she'll be bored all day. We are traveling a bit more than when I was working, but that's limited by DW's ability to get time off. So, for now, I spend my days doing the following:

- looking after 2 rent houses, and contemplating adding more
- working a very long backlog of home maintenance and improvement projects
- doing woodworking projects and getting my shop updated in a few areas
- playing guitar, piano, and writing some music
- digitizing and editing about 100 hours of old analog home video tapes
- looking after my aging in-laws and helping them with stuff they can't do anymore
- spending more time with my kids and their families
- exercising and trying to get myself healthy

Mostly, I'm just enjoying the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and take as much or as little time as I like. It's fun teaching myself new things or just "piddling", as Mulligan put it. But I am looking forward to traveling a bit more and spending more time with DW after she finally retires.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seraphim View Post
"Sad to say that at my age I have to learn how to fish, but it's true. "

Lol - I feel your pain. Just bought some basic equipment, and the local lake opens Friday. First attempt... If the lake un freezes.

Well...I've got that base covered, been a fishin' fool for lot's of years! Plus, the area I'm gonna retire in has many great places to catch fish, so I'm ready to get after it! However, I'm pretty sure I'll need more than just fishing to occupy my time when I retire (soon). I'm telling myself I'll hit the fitness center at the local Air Force base (I'm retired AF Reserve) 3 days a week, so there's a few hours filled, if I actually stick to it. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the time, though. I imagine that as much as I love fishing, I could get burned out if I do it every day. I'm working on my list of activities, and hope to get some ideas from this forum. My wife will work at least 2 years past my retirement. She's 53 now and will go till at least 55. Says she's not ready yet. She has no pension or anything like that, just a modest 401k. Once I retire, she'll increase her contributions to that fund by as much as we can stand.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
Think of the positive, waiting for DF to retire gives you something to look forward too! I am in similar situation but with a GF, not wife. A little tongue in cheek here, but I am amazed at how adept I have become at "the art of piddling". Which basically means staying busy doing not much of anything and when you look at the clock, the day is about over. Take today for example, got up at 7 and three hours later all I have done is drink coffee, read the paper, fix breakfast, and just now scanning the net. I frittered away 3 hours already and haven't even had time to shower yet! I never would have thought I would be a piddler when I retired, but it is working out quite well for me.


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I'm thinking I'll be a first-class piddler as well. I've been practicing, and believe I nearly have it mastered. Somehow I hope to also find the time to fish, and of course, I'll do my best to annoy visit kids & grandkids, old friends etc.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:56 AM   #9
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I'm finding retirement a little less interesting in winter (especially this year with record snowfall & low temps), but more than enough to do Spring thru Fall. Some ideas...

Sports/Physical Activities
Go fishing
Go whitewater rafting
Hike the Appalachian trail
Hike every nature trail within a 2 hour radius
Run ultramarathons
Become a martial arts black belt
Win an amateur bodybuilding championship
Coach soccer
Swim across a large body of water
Go canoeing
Go kayaking
Go surfing
Go stand-up paddle boarding
Get in shape
Go geocaching (requires a GPS)
Learn how to rollerskate
Learn scuba-diving or freediving
Fly kites
Go kitesurfing
Juggling

Creative activities
Draw pictures
Learn ceramics or throwing on a pottery wheel
Learn to sculpture
Learn photography
Take a photo per day
Edit photographs digitally (Photoshop)
Publish artwork online (eg, DeviantArt.com)
Learn a musical instrument
Join a band and jam
Improve your singing and learn new songs
Write your own songs
Paint your own wall art
Study interior design
Write a book, blog, or play
Create a comic book
Knit
Crochet
Needlepoint
Design and make clothes
Make a quilt
Write a memoir
Record some memories and anecdotes from elders in the community
Host a podcast
Cultivate bonsai trees
Create/improve your garden
Try new recipes
Write, produce and direct a film
Produce short movies, or vlog
Start a Youtube channel based on your interests
Woodworking/carpentry
Wood carving

Social Activities
Spend more time with family and friends
Meet my working friends at their jobs on weekdays with a picnic lunch
Throw more parties
Write more letters
Join a book club
Volunteer to do social activities with other people
Find a partner
Join a club (for example a chess club)
Host couchsurfers

Spiritual Activities
Meditate
Attain enlightenment
Make a pilgrimage
Help other people (volunteer)

Intellectual Activities
Read the classics
Sit in on college lectures and audit classes
Learn a new language; travel to where it's spoken
Get a PhD
Offer free help to a scholar working on an interesting subject
Play chess
Play Go
Work crossword and other puzzles; create puzzles

Second Careers/Volunteering/Semi-Retirement
Volunteer at the library
Go into politics
Become a mentor for start-up entrepreneurs
Develop open source software
Become a visiting professor
Open a bar
Open a coffeeshop
Become a tour guide for your favorite place
Drive the SAG wagon for amateur cyclists
Become an activist for a cause you care about
Become a movie star or an extra
Join the road crew of your favorite band
Tutor students
Teach English (or other language) abroad
Volunteer at an animal shelter:
Walking dogs
Socializing cats
Cleaning cages
Sell your crafts on Etsy
Become a quant trader/researcher

Other
Make a bucket list and start doing all the things on it
Make bird houses
Become a master gardener
Become an expert Starcraft player
Sail, backpack, walk[1] or cycle around the world[2]
Enter ham radio competitions (contact every state, etc.)
Read trashy novels
Have a lot of sex while your body is still in full working order
Fix up cars or motorcycles
Build a boat
Build a log cabin
Research your family tree
Watch birds
Amateur astronomy
Finally get adequate sleep
Become as healthy as possible
Build the Gingery series, a metal working workshop from scratch[3]
Keep the house cleaner (ambiguous phrasing :-D )
Save the world
Rebuild civilization from scratch
Live very well without money for a year
Go to the top of a high building and throw away $100.000
Burn $100.000 on a public place
Spend the last day in the job speaking all the truth to clients

from the now defunct Early Retirement Extreme
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:03 AM   #10
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That's quite a list Midpack. I don't think I have enough time to do all that.

If you are an outdoors person, I think it makes a major difference in ER if you live in a warm weather year round climate. I have a few days here and there where it's cold and rainy, and I find myself getting much more frustrated with my free time. But when the sun comes back out, the days can't last long enough.

I think I would still be working if I was living in a cold weather climate.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:19 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=Midpack;1423548]Some ideas...

Ok....but what about the 2nd day?
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:23 PM   #12
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I have been out of the workforce for almost 4 years now. DW still works, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. My days seem to go by pretty quickly. A typical day for me looks like this:

I rarely leave the house in the morning, unless I have an appointment. I get up at ~8:30am (sometimes later if a cat is asleep on my arm). By the time I eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, straighten up the house, and spend a bit of time on the computer (read the forum, catch up on the news, check out the market, pay the bills, etc..), it's pretty much noon already. I usually go out for lunch. Afternoons are dedicated to outdoors activities and hobbies (for example, I might listen to an audiobook while walking, go on a photo tour, etc...). By late afternoon, I have figured out what we are going to have for dinner and I go grocery shopping. Then DW comes home from work.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:09 PM   #13
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Here's what I'm doing while DW is still working.

getting into photography, going on photo shoots almost daily
woodworking
home repair *
yard work *
snow plowing / shoveling (for the last 3 months) *
hiking, biking
watching TV
surfing the web
brewing
boating, kayaking
reading
napping

* denotes honey do projects

I'm almost always doing one of the above.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:21 PM   #14
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I've helped a few former co-w*rkers escape Megacorp. I find that very rewarding. Number 3 just announced her date this week!

There's a lot I want to do, but right now balance therapy is my highest priority.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:50 PM   #15
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I feel this nagging drive to do "different things" than when I was working. Sure, I have more time for hobbies and stuff, and that's great, but it's not "different".
I hear ya......

The first couple of years of my retirement, DW was still involved in some professional pursuits and not available for most of my crazy ideas and wild schemes. (Like you, I had a strong drive to do some "different things" not just more hobbies or tinkering.)

I found the solution by re-establishing some long neglected friendships with some old buddies from college. We had done semi-wilderness trips in our youth and managed to work up some excitement about getting that sort of thing going again. We started with a fly-in and paddle-out canoe trip into Canada's Quetico Provincial Park. For geezer guys (late 50's), that was quite an adventure and it excited us to do more things. We still get together and talk about the trips to this day.

I also re-kindled friendships with some grad school friends that I formed an investment club with.

I think having interests and close friends apart from your DW makes for a good retirement for both of you, especially if friends participate in activities DW isn't up for.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:50 PM   #16
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I've been retired with DW working for about 6.5 years now. I'm happy to surf the Internet, watch Netflix, and watch the markets just to make sure they don't go crazy. In the afternoon I play video games and exercise. That's enough for me.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:06 PM   #17
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I'm in the same situation, OP. Wife is still working, with the caveat that she will have 2.5-3.5 months of paid time off each year in 2014 and 2015.

I have 3 young kids, so I'm basically a stay at home dad from an outside perspective (ignoring our finances and FI).

I find myself doing a lot of the stuff I did when I was working, except way more of it. More reading, more learning, more walking, more fun time with kids and DW and hanging out with friends. More cooking, more fixing stuff up around the house. I also started a blog about early retirement, and occasionally I'll spend a couple hours throwing some thoughts on the page.

I don't really have a typical day, except I walk the kids to school 8 to 8:30 (1 mile) and then walk up to get them from school at 3:00. I usually have dinner ready by 5:00-6:00, which is no problem because I like to cook (and eat). The time between 9 am to 2:30 pm inevitably gets filled with some activity from the preceding paragraph. I'll be curious to see how bored I get once the 2 year old is in school all day, and then in another 16 years, once the kids are out of the house completely.

We like to travel, so my wife negotiated five extra weeks off, fully paid, this summer. We'll spend a few days getting to and from Canada, hopefully hitting NYC on July 4th for some fireworks, and then stay a month in Canada (1 week per major city along the St Lawrence river).

Why is my wife still working? Easy money with lots of time off and work from home when it's convenient. We're comfortably FI, and the extra money from her continuing to work will go toward discretionary spending (probably travel) and college for the kids.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:42 PM   #18
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My husband is going to retire very soon, while I will work another year or two. I like a organized, neat home and he is messy. This is what I dread if he's home all day. Otherwise, I think I will be happy that he won't have the stress and can do things he has wanted to do for years. I am envious that he will be home and I won't, but he has a good pension and it's time to retire. It's going to be an adjustment. He plans to volunteer more at the dog shelter, finish projects at the house, spend more time with our grandchildren and things like that.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:10 PM   #19
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I'm thinking I'll be a first-class piddler as well. I've been practicing, and believe I nearly have it mastered.
I'm getting pretty good at it too. Haven't done a thing all day except grill some sausages. Tomorrow I have to go to the gym, Lowes to get some home maintenance stuff, and replace a sheer pin in the snow thrower and that's probably all I'll do all day.

If the weather ever gets decent I'll be out on the motorcycle more and out with the camera more. In the winter both of us just kind of go into hibernation mode.

DW was previously occupied about half time with dealing with FIL issues for several years but since he passed away she will be dealing with what to do. I'd like to take some driving trips for 2-4 days at a time and she's agreeable to that.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:23 PM   #20
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The early years of my ER were very rewarding. I spent loads of time with family, not just our children but siblings, parents and cousins. Friends too. In total, probably more time in the first 3 years of ER than the previous decade combined.

Even though I was suffering from "work travel burn out" there was still lots of travel. Road trips with the (college age) kids, a cross country trip with my brother, winter snowbird trips south with DW. We also took a few good int'l trips, including a delayed second anniversary trip (we never had a first) now that I had the time to plan them well. It was totally different than the work travel I was used to, and once I adjusted, it made travel something once again to enjoy. Getting away is still possible when one works, as long as the other takes the time to search for interesting destinations.

I re-started two passions that had been sacrificed due to lack of time: reading and listening to music. I was a fixture at the local library and the audio forums. Not everything went well. I attempted to learn to cook, and spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen, but it didn't work out. My best efforts didn't compare to an average day for DW, so despite the encouragement and support from all I stopped.

DW and I also started going out again and enjoying each others company.
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