Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-13-2020, 06:52 AM   #41
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
jollystomper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3,868
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
By "honeymoon," I meant the initial feeling of giddy intoxication you get when you first leave work for good. The initial "high" you get when you realize, "Wow, I am finally retired!"

....

Anyhow, that's what I mean by "honeymoon." I see a lot of people saying they're still in the honeymoon period, which tells me I wasn't very clear. By honeymoon, I don't mean good feelings about retirement. I mean the initial intoxicating, giddy feeling produced by the contrast effect. That will fade with time. I think that's inevitable.
I would disagree about the high fading. I think whether on not that initial "high" fades" may depend on either or both of:

1) What one felt about their job/career
2) If they are retiring FROM something, rather than TO something

If you felt your job/career was a burden, then is of course than initial high when that burden is shed... but then soon you might be reminded that some aspects of that burden you actually enjoyed, and no you miss... something of the "grass always seems greener on the other side" syndrome.

If you are retiring TO something, that new something sustains the high. Otherwise, retiring FROM something can cause the high to fade, as you try to look for another something. The "if I retire, what am I going to do?" syndrome voiced by more than a few of my work colleagues when discussing retirement.

I enjoyed my career, and left it on a high note, and that leaves me with everlasting satisfaction. Meanwhile, I retired to a lot of things I can now choose to do. So, in my view, that high has never ended.
__________________
FIREd date: June 26, 2018 - wwwwwwhat a rush!
jollystomper is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-13-2020, 07:41 AM   #42
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ER Eddie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1,678
Quote:
Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
I would disagree about the high fading. I think whether on not that initial "high" fades" may depend on either or both of:

1) What one felt about their job/career
2) If they are retiring FROM something, rather than TO something

If you felt your job/career was a burden, then is of course than initial high when that burden is shed... but then soon you might be reminded that some aspects of that burden you actually enjoyed, and no you miss... something of the "grass always seems greener on the other side" syndrome.

If you are retiring TO something, that new something sustains the high. Otherwise, retiring FROM something can cause the high to fade, as you try to look for another something. The "if I retire, what am I going to do?" syndrome voiced by more than a few of my work colleagues when discussing retirement.

I enjoyed my career, and left it on a high note, and that leaves me with everlasting satisfaction. Meanwhile, I retired to a lot of things I can now choose to do. So, in my view, that high has never ended.
I agree with the first point. The high or sense of relief you might feel depends on a variety of factors.

As for the second point or your overall disagreement, I think you're confusing the "initial high" (or the initial sense of acute relief) with an ongoing feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction. The former is a product of the contrast effect, and it must fade over time, since it depends on a contrast which is temporary, and because brain chemistry adjusts to novel situations, good or bad.

I don't want to belabor it, though. If you see it differently and think you're in a perpetual, permanent "high," I won't try to harsh your buzz.
ER Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 03:40 PM   #43
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Brunswick
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Thanks for the post. #3 hits the mark for us. We want to retire next year and when I run the simulations with "normal" spending, we are good to go. Then I get the what ifs and convince myself that one more year would be a nice buffer. Then I simulate three more years and we would never worry about money. Then I simulate a market crash followed by stagflation. And on, and on, and on it goes until I can never retire. A $47k COLA pension and $55k SS @ 70 should be plenty. But what if....?
Did the same eval but bailed anyway. While another year would have been a LOT better, too many of my friends younger than me and my age have passed. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Ray
NXR7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 05:18 PM   #44
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,389
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
As for the second point or your overall disagreement, I think you're confusing the "initial high" (or the initial sense of acute relief) with an ongoing feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction. The former is a product of the contrast effect, and it must fade over time, since it depends on a contrast which is temporary, and because brain chemistry adjusts to novel situations, good or bad.
I find that in order to maintain the contrast, it's useful to never forget what it was like to be an employee.

This brings up some interesting questions:
ē how can someone appreciate money if they've never been without it?
ē how can someone appreciate being a business owner if they've never been an employee?
ē how can someone appreciate being a homeowner if they've never been a tenant?

I have distant relatives who have never been without money, never been an employee, and never been a tenant. Oddly, they don't seem overly thrilled with their relatively privileged status. On the contrary, they seem quite adept at finding ways to make themselves miserable.
socca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 06:33 PM   #45
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 54
Prep the spouse as best you can, too. I've been good but she's finding that lack of meaning.
__________________
Just left the game, well it's been 2 years, a little less nervous. AA=70/0/30
May the LORD bless you and keep you; may His Face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; May He give you His peace!
I am He is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 06:40 PM   #46
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
HI Bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,201
I'm hoping to get 'the high'. Since I don't particularly enjoy my j#b or my coworkers, I think it will be more of a 'relief' thing. But I fear that the uncertainties associated with financial performance of retirement assets over a 30+ year period will weigh on my mind, and negatively affect my outlook.

But I'm hoping that it's more like the first dozen times I landed at the airport in Kona to go diving, amidst the rolling pahoehoe lava fields, azure seas, and dramatic Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. I used to get excited just landing. Knowing that a weekend or week of diving, adventure, and eating out lay ahead. I've been going there for the past 26 years, and have wanted to move there since the first visit. Interisland travel just resumed in Hawaii today.

Hoping to make the move by the end of January!
__________________
Balance in everything.
HI Bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 06:50 PM   #47
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
jollystomper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3,868
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
As for the second point or your overall disagreement, I think you're confusing the "initial high" (or the initial sense of acute relief) with an ongoing feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction. The former is a product of the contrast effect, and it must fade over time, since it depends on a contrast which is temporary, and because brain chemistry adjusts to novel situations, good or bad.
Maybe what I bolded is the difference.

I did not feel "relief" at retirement. I felt like "I have completed a good career, well done". I do not need anything beyond that knowledge.

I like to build things, and for me the satisfaction of what I have built remains every time I view it. My plans, my handiwork - the object might be 40 years old, but I still feel the same satisfaction at completing it, and how it is still being used and enjoyed.

I completed a career that I never expected to have, was paid way more than I expected for a job that was more a hobby than work, gave my family a good life through it, and left behind items that people are still using to do their job and be productive. That type of satisfaction (or "high") never fades.

Our different views may just be based on different attitudes about our careers.
__________________
FIREd date: June 26, 2018 - wwwwwwhat a rush!
jollystomper is offline   Reply With Quote
1st year retirement.
Old 06-16-2020, 07:13 PM   #48
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: El Paso
Posts: 1
1st year retirement.

Thanks Eddie.

Iím in my 6th month and totally lost of what to do with my time. Retired in December with plans to visit and travel but then I remembered I have kids still young that require my attention. So waiting to see how the school will begin in August.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Lessons from the First Year of Retirement

Iím approaching my one-year retirement anniversary, so I thought Iíd share the main lessons Iíve learned. If youíre approaching retirement, you might find some of this helpful. If youíve already retired, maybe youíll relate to some of this, or perhaps your experience has been different.

1. Hey, an economic collapse. Neat.

The economy went into a tailspin 9 months after I retired. After only 9 months, my retirement felt like a newborn baby, and baby was getting smacked around pretty early in life.

But, as it turns out, economic catastrophes arenít so catastrophic after all. At least so far. The world is burning, but Iím doing okay. Sing along now: ďItís the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.Ē

2. I figured out when Iím going back to work: never

Approaching retirement, in the back of my mind, I had a fallback option of turning retirement into a ďgap yearĒ or two, if it didnít pan out. That is, I thought that I might choose to return to part-time work, after a year or twoís hiatus. That wasnít the plan, but it was a failsafe option.

I wondered, ďWhat if I miss the intellectual stimulation or challenge of work? What if I miss interacting with smart people in my profession? What if I canít find enough activities that feel meaningful and productive?Ē

Well, none of that happened. I am more intellectually stimulated and challenged now in retirement than I was at work. I occasionally miss some of the interaction with colleagues, but interactions in the workplace were narrow in scope, because of the professional roles and tasks. I interact with a wider range of smart people now, and I feel freer to express what I think about a variety of issues Iíd never talk about at work. And I havenít had any trouble finding meaningful things to do.

So, my career is over. It feels a little sad to say that, but also freeing. I donít say it with any negativity. I never got ďsick ofĒ my job or anything like that. I always liked it at least a little. I just know that Iím done with it. My career is part of my past now. Itís in the rear-view mirror, and Iím not going back.

3. I significantly underestimated my expenses

I tracked spending before I retired, but I sort of half-assed it. I used old, limited data from a time when I was in ďsaving for retirementĒ mode.

When I actually retired, I ended up spending a lot more money than normal, especially in the first 6 months. I opened the spigot. I was celebrating. I bought whatever I felt like buying -- a bike, camping gear, a dog, some furniture, a ton of books and music, clothes, some stupid ****. Also, once I retired, I noticed a bunch of stuff that needed replacing or upgrading, which Iíd been putting off while working.

Yearly expenses were $5000/yr. higher than expected. Not a lot in actual dollar terms, but looked at as a percentage, thatís 15% higher than what I projected (38K vs. 33K/yr.). Thatís not a problem Ė I jacked up my spending on purpose, and Iíve got plenty of headroom -- but it is substantially higher than what I estimated.

In retrospect, I think I unconsciously kept the estimates as low as I could, because by doing that, I could feel safer and more secure when pulling the plug.

Weíll see how this plays out over the next few years. I feel better now that I have a more realistic estimate of my spending. And I take some comfort knowing that I can dial back expenses 15% if I need to.

However, if youíre approaching retirement, be aware you might tend to underestimate expenses, just like I did.

4. The honeymoon lasted about 6 to 9 months

I was very happy in retirement for the first 6 to 9 months. Gradually, though, that feeling ebbed, and eventually, I returned to my baseline levels of happiness.

I think itís called hedonic adaptation. If I remember right, most people who win the lottery are back to baseline levels of happiness in about 6 to 12 months, and so are most people diagnosed with cancer. So, itís not surprising that something similar happens with retirement. We adjust to changes. Retirement becomes ďthe new normal.Ē

One distinction, though: If you ask me whether Iím more satisfied with my life now that Iím retired, Iíd say ďYes, absolutely.Ē Iím just saying my day-to-day mood is not all that much better than it was before I retired. Probably a little.

So, just be aware that retirement doesnít put a permanent smile on your face. If my experience is any gauge, youíll have a honeymoon period where everything feels great, and then youíll gradually return to baseline. You might feel a little better on a day-to-day basis, but donít expect huge changes.

Two caveats:

1. I always enjoyed my work (at least somewhat), and I had already been working in a very easy part-time schedule for years prior to retirement, so I didnít experience what many people here do -- a miserable/stressful work life, contrasted with the blissful release of retirement. If you have the latter, Iíll bet your honeymoon period will be more enjoyable and long-lasting.

2. Itís possible that the virus and economic collapse took a little wind out of my sails. That might be a factor, too. Itís hard to say.

I donít want to leave the impression that Iím unhappy in retirement. Not at all. Iím enjoying my retirement and have no regrets.

5. I needed ďmeaningful workĒ sooner than I expected

Once, on another retirement forum, I got blasted for suggesting that people need a sense of meaning/purpose in retirement. Some guy got really pissed with me for saying so, and despite my assurances that if it didnít apply to him, never mind, he continued to rant and rave about it in all caps. Apparently, some people get very upset with the suggestion that having a sense of meaning in life is important.

So, if this doesnít fit for you, junk it. Iím talking about me. Iím not talking about what you or anyone else ďshouldĒ do. Iím just speaking for myself.

I need a sense of meaning and purpose in life. That doesnít mean I need to be engaged in meaningful activities all the time or even most of the time. I can fart around and waste time with the best of them, and I spend plenty of time just resting, relaxing, and doing nothing in particular. No problem with that.

However, at the end of the day (or life), I need to also feel like I did something meaningful with some of my time. I canít just fart around all day, every day, and feel good about myself. Iím not wired that way.

So, I knew that part of what happy retirement meant for me was to eventually find ďmeaningful work.Ē By that I donít mean paid employment Ė I mean an enjoyable project that uses my skills/knowledge and that also, hopefully, makes the world a little better place, even in a small, minor way. My career supplied some of that, so I knew that eventually, Iíd need to find something else that scratched that itch.

I didnít expect to feel that need for a couple years into retirement, though. It was way down my priority list, when planning. I had other sources of meaning (e.g., learning, growth, taking care of animals, etc.) which were more important to me than my career, so I didnít think Iíd feel the need for ďmeaningful workĒ right away.

And I didnít. For the first six months of retirement, I wanted nothing to do with anything that even remotely resembled ďw*rk.Ē Yuck. I just wanted to do whatever I felt like doing, day to day. I wanted to be completely free and unencumbered.

However, after about six months, I felt the need asserting itself. Iíve pondered and experimented quite a bit, and Iím still experimenting, but blogging is working out well for me so far. Itís a good fit for me. I get absorbed in it; the subject (animal afterlife) feels worthwhile to me, and I feel better after doing it.

I am usually able to keep a pretty good balance, where I work on it a couple hours a day, then have the rest of the day ďfree.Ē If I go for long stretches (which I can do sometimes, because I lose track of time), I will take a break for as long as I need. I want it to stay enjoyable and not turn into a ďjobĒ or an obligation.

So, for anyone whoís like me, the issue of meaningful work may pop up sooner than you expect. It has been a significant piece of the puzzle for me.

6. The lure of social media

Iím single, donít have a family to occupy my time, and Iím not into watching TV or movies, travel, going to sporting events etc.. So, now that I am retired and donít have a career, I have a ton of free time. I like it that way Ė lots of freedom, peace, and spaciousness. But along with that comes the temptation to waste that time on social media.

Social media has its upsides, of course, but the downsides are pernicious and covert. I have to keep an eye on my consumption, or I end up wasting too much time and energy on it. Iíve been aware of the problem for many years, but retirement has made it more salient, because of all the increased free time. I have to keep an eye on it.

For example, itís very easy for me to go on a Facebook or Reddit group and spend an hour reading threads and making posts. Then I get sucked into discussions that donít amount to a hill of beans. On Youtube, itís very easy to spend a lot of time scrolling through the recommendations or subscriptions. News/politics in particular are very toxic and distracting.

So, in retirement, Iíve had to become pretty vigilant about my use of social media. If Iím not careful, I can end up wasting too much of my time and energy on it, and my life suffers. It may sound like a trivial thing, but it has a huge impact on the quality of my day to day life.


------

So, those are my main lessons from the first year of retirement. I learned some other things, but they only pertain to me, not others, so Iíll leave them out. Hopefully, you found something to relate to or some food for thought. Cheers.
Olejoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 07:36 PM   #49
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 878
Interesting thread for sure. First, we are ALL different people. Keep that in mind.

I am around 3.5 years out from FIRE at age 54, but DW is still working 2+ more years (her choice). Here's my thoughts:


Honeymoon is over, and it was great. When you get yours, ENJOY it. Don't second guess your decisions. If you want to go wild, do it. I hitched our RV trailer to my SUV, loaded up our two dogs and when DW said when will you be back??, I said "not sure".... I was back home after visiting distant family and friends in about 21 days I think. Your honeymoon will NOT be your norm. But just let it flow, you earned it. Enjoy it.



I am never bored. Not while working, nor not now. I have far more interests than I have time for, has always been that way. I'll spare the details, but I have to "do stuff", make stuff, be productive BUT, the best thing about being FIRE, is when I feel like grabbing a cold drink, and snack, or an adult beverage... and sitting down, I do!!!! But this is where we are all different. Not all are like me. I easily can find my own "meaningful work".

When I am going back to work? NEVER. Period. Even more so than the day I FIRE'd. I tell DW, I will "live in a van down by the river" before I go back to work.


Expenses? We have done OK. Reasonable budget, recent isolation has helped.

Social Media, look at it every day, enjoy it, but take it for what it is. Don't get sucked in. My basic rule is that after coffee, e-mail and social e-mail, I have to be on my feet and doing something productive by 10 am.

I know this not health/weight related, but stepped on the scale a couple days ago after getting up, and was happy to see my High School senior year weight show up on the display.....
__________________
Well of course it is my opinion, why would I express someone else's??
doneat54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 10:46 PM   #50
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Portland
Posts: 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Lessons from the First Year of Retirement

I wondered, ďWhat if I miss the intellectual stimulation or challenge of work? What if I miss interacting with smart people in my profession? What if I canít find enough activities that feel meaningful and productive?Ē

Well, none of that happened. I am more intellectually stimulated and challenged now in retirement than I was at work.
This is my fear too. Glad to hear you found it unfounded. In what ways are you more intellectually stimulated now? What are you doing?
pdxgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 01:31 AM   #51
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,501
Quote:
Originally Posted by socca View Post
I find that in order to maintain the contrast, it's useful to never forget what it was like to be an employee.

This brings up some interesting questions:
ē how can someone appreciate money if they've never been without it?
ē how can someone appreciate being a business owner if they've never been an employee?
ē how can someone appreciate being a homeowner if they've never been a tenant?

I have distant relatives who have never been without money, never been an employee, and never been a tenant. Oddly, they don't seem overly thrilled with their relatively privileged status. On the contrary, they seem quite adept at finding ways to make themselves miserable.
This 10000X. That is why I try to maximize my life experiences so I am able to better judge or compare things/experiences/situations/places/ideas/etc.

A large part of this discussion has been about relative perceptions. I'm an engineer, so won't talk about relative positions unless absolute zero is understood, however, if that has been established, then the larger range of relative positions can give great depth to one's life and aid (hopefully) in better decision making.

I had said to a friend of mine one time that in order to appreciate the 'highs' in life, one has to have had some 'lows.' Your relatives can't appreciate their position because they've never had to be without what they have. It's the water in their fish bowl....
__________________
Deserat aka Bridget
ďWe sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.Ē
deserat is offline   Reply With Quote
Lessons from the First Year of Retirement
Old 06-17-2020, 05:02 AM   #52
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: McMurray
Posts: 22
Lessons from the First Year of Retirement

Hello ER Eddie,
I really appreciate the post. You hit on a lot of topics that Iíve been thinking about. I am not yet retired but considered retiring at 62YO. One of the topics you mentioned is a big consideration for me. That is, engaging in meaningful activities. I do have hobbies that I would like to explore more deeply. Such as, musical instruments and community service. I have worked in the healthcare system for 30 years and I would like to continue some humanitarian service. What speaks most loudly to me is the ability to structure my time and using that time purposefully. As you stated in your post, that may not be for everyone. And I get that. But for me it would be important. Currently I am off work due to COVID-19 and a health-blip. All is good. And I feel in better shape than I have in 20 years. Thanks for the post.
Jakob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 08:18 AM   #53
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ottawa and Fort Myers
Posts: 728
The fundamental problem is how to fill the hours.

Like the highschool graduate who keeps showing up at highschool parties, the college grad who keeps getting more degrees or never finishes that thesis, most will be tempted to solve the problem of too many hours with a return to what they know.

Back at my office, the retired guys coming back would get thankless projects nobody wanted to do, it was not a pretty picture, so I left in a manner that closed off post retirement contracts, which I came to slightly regret.

I registered with the contract agencies in town but it never led to anything.

I observed that retired professionals had some success as real estate agents, suggesting that self employed commission sales could work. I had some experience investing in sub prime real estate lending, saw what the brokers did, so got my mortgage broker license and made some failed efforts.

The split life of the Snowbirding lifestyle blocked that and other things. I had at least two firm professional gigs in Florida that got awkwardly blocked at the last step due to me being Canadian, notwithstanding NAFTA treaty provision for my profession having the right to work in the US.

I started looking into online gigs.

A big part of my job was analysis and editing, so I joined the Cactus marketplace of contracts to edit academic papers written by non English speakers. It was fascinating, but yielded only a couple of dollars per hour at my speed level. Could work for someone who built up to high speed who lived in a very low cost country, or who didn’t care about low pay.

None of this was sad or depressing. There is no money pressure and I enjoyed the novelty and learning of each new experience.

I started to accept that I was not going to find a use for my professional education or training. There was no way to cure the snowbird aspect given Canadian winters and a widowed mother back in Canada.

In Florida I had a chance to observe all the varieties of how retired people filled their time. One category was comparatively rich persons who took relatively menial but social, minimum wage jobs. This stretched my thinking of possibilities.

When Uber became insurable but not totally legal in my town I was fascinated by the new technology and the economics of it. My wife was appalled that I was considering becoming a taxi driver. The flexible schedule worked on many levels including that you could do it seasonally.

It eventually became boring but the three summers I did it were a blast. It was social heroin, like those conversations you have on planes but speed dating intensity. It did start to become less fun, the financials worked less well, my car aged out and darling wife did not want the new car stunk up with strangers. I might have gone back to it this summer if not for the pandemic. Sitting in the car was not a health positive.

One thing that does work is renting out idle empty real estate. VRBO and Airbnb. I created an apartment section off in our Canadian house. We have driveway tenants. My mothers vacant condo in the winter, the parking spot and storage unit that sat empty for a decade, all get rented.

[more to follow]
Kroeran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 09:00 AM   #54
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olejoe View Post
Thanks Eddie.

Iím in my 6th month and totally lost of what to do with my time. Retired in December with plans to visit and travel but then I remembered I have kids still young that require my attention. So waiting to see how the school will begin in August.
I too left at the end of December with young kids at home. I didnít have plans to travel, but I also never planned to become a preschool teacher, which has basically become my new job. Not having the kids in school has definitely meant a change in my expectations, but itís also meant I have way more time to enjoy their company. So while part of me is totally antsy with all the stuff I want to do, Iím more and more appreciating that I now have plenty of time to do it Ďtomorrowí and my time right now with the kids I canít get back. DD theoretically starts kindergarten in the fall, so Iím trying make the summer count. Just a different perspective. ĎRetiringí with young kids is very different than a typical retirement.
tb001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 09:41 AM   #55
Full time employment: Posting here.
Willers's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 621
Interesting post, thanks! My experience after 4+ years of retirement


1. Hey, an economic collapse. Neat. - the market dropped 10% the month after I gave my notice. That was a good lesson to keep my AA where I could weather a drop easily. At the end of last year we were up enough that I went to a rising glide path plan since SORR was really our only risk (other than the asteroid and civil war). Sleeping like a baby now.

2. I figured out when I’m going back to work: never - yup

3. I significantly underestimated my expenses - We're the opposite. I'm having a hard time spending anything above 60% of what FireCalc says I can. I thought we'd spend so much more. I guess I need to spend more time on the Blow That Dough thread.

4. The honeymoon lasted about 6 to 9 months - my true honeymoon, as you describe it, lasted about 4 months. I had a very high stress job at a challenged business so I literally did little but reading and working out for those first few months. It was like being reborn (yeah, that sounds corny but it is a pretty good description)

5. I needed “meaningful work” sooner than I expected - thought that would be me. I was always thought I'd need that, but then I joined our HOA to get involved. All of the memories of drama and corporate politics came rushing back. I can't wait until my term is over. Maybe I'll volunteer for a social organization at some point, but I'm in no hurry.

6. The lure of social media - Overall, yuk. I retired just before the 2016 election season heated up and I couldn't believe the hate projected from people I thought were reasonable. I deleted all of my Facebook friends and now only participate in a few forums, while avoiding any "ideology threads" like the COVID one on this forum. The less time I'm on any SM platform the happier I seem to be. IMHO everyone would be better off if they walked over and talked to a neighbor instead of arguing with strangers on the internet about who the "good" and "bad" people are.
__________________
ďIf you don't do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.Ē - Warren Miller
Willers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 09:58 AM   #56
Recycles dryer sheets
Boose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 160
Eddie, thank you so much for your update - food for thought, as we sound like we are of similar temperament. I'm treating my COVID-19 "emergency worker" reassignment (working a call center for senior meal delivery, from my laptop at home) as a dry run for retirement next year. I see that I desperately need to get away from the computer and do some physical work every day, whether at home or in the community. Living in a high-rise condo, which has been great during tiring full-time employment, doesn't offer many options for home activities like gardening and fixit projects. It's just as well that we're planning to sell and move somewhere with more room after we give notice. Until then, I am a loyal public servant for my county...
__________________
Done 1/5/21, age 49
Boose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 10:36 AM   #57
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Out-to-Lunch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 1,366
Quote:
Originally Posted by socca View Post
I find that in order to maintain the contrast, it's useful to never forget what it was like to be an employee.

This brings up some interesting questions:
ē how can someone appreciate money if they've never been without it?
ē how can someone appreciate being a business owner if they've never been an employee?
ē how can someone appreciate being a homeowner if they've never been a tenant?

I have distant relatives who have never been without money, never been an employee, and never been a tenant. Oddly, they don't seem overly thrilled with their relatively privileged status. On the contrary, they seem quite adept at finding ways to make themselves miserable.
"For sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed, they must be interrupted." -Jean Paul Richter, writer (1763-1825)
Out-to-Lunch is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 10:30 PM   #58
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: monroe
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Lessons from the First Year of Retirement

I’m approaching my one-year retirement anniversary, so I thought I’d share the main lessons I’ve learned. If you’re approaching retirement, you might find some of this helpful. If you’ve already retired, maybe you’ll relate to some of this, or perhaps your experience has been different.

1. Hey, an economic collapse. Neat.

The economy went into a tailspin 9 months after I retired. After only 9 months, my retirement felt like a newborn baby, and baby was getting smacked around pretty early in life.

But, as it turns out, economic catastrophes aren’t so catastrophic after all. At least so far. The world is burning, but I’m doing okay. Sing along now: “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

2. I figured out when I’m going back to work: never

Approaching retirement, in the back of my mind, I had a fallback option of turning retirement into a “gap year” or two, if it didn’t pan out. That is, I thought that I might choose to return to part-time work, after a year or two’s hiatus. That wasn’t the plan, but it was a failsafe option.

I wondered, “What if I miss the intellectual stimulation or challenge of work? What if I miss interacting with smart people in my profession? What if I can’t find enough activities that feel meaningful and productive?”

Well, none of that happened. I am more intellectually stimulated and challenged now in retirement than I was at work. I occasionally miss some of the interaction with colleagues, but interactions in the workplace were narrow in scope, because of the professional roles and tasks. I interact with a wider range of smart people now, and I feel freer to express what I think about a variety of issues I’d never talk about at work. And I haven’t had any trouble finding meaningful things to do.

So, my career is over. It feels a little sad to say that, but also freeing. I don’t say it with any negativity. I never got “sick of” my job or anything like that. I always liked it at least a little. I just know that I’m done with it. My career is part of my past now. It’s in the rear-view mirror, and I’m not going back.

3. I significantly underestimated my expenses

I tracked spending before I retired, but I sort of half-assed it. I used old, limited data from a time when I was in “saving for retirement” mode.

When I actually retired, I ended up spending a lot more money than normal, especially in the first 6 months. I opened the spigot. I was celebrating. I bought whatever I felt like buying -- a bike, camping gear, a dog, some furniture, a ton of books and music, clothes, some stupid ****. Also, once I retired, I noticed a bunch of stuff that needed replacing or upgrading, which I’d been putting off while working.

Yearly expenses were $5000/yr. higher than expected. Not a lot in actual dollar terms, but looked at as a percentage, that’s 15% higher than what I projected (38K vs. 33K/yr.). That’s not a problem – I jacked up my spending on purpose, and I’ve got plenty of headroom -- but it is substantially higher than what I estimated.

In retrospect, I think I unconsciously kept the estimates as low as I could, because by doing that, I could feel safer and more secure when pulling the plug.

We’ll see how this plays out over the next few years. I feel better now that I have a more realistic estimate of my spending. And I take some comfort knowing that I can dial back expenses 15% if I need to.

However, if you’re approaching retirement, be aware you might tend to underestimate expenses, just like I did.

4. The honeymoon lasted about 6 to 9 months

I was very happy in retirement for the first 6 to 9 months. Gradually, though, that feeling ebbed, and eventually, I returned to my baseline levels of happiness.

I think it’s called hedonic adaptation. If I remember right, most people who win the lottery are back to baseline levels of happiness in about 6 to 12 months, and so are most people diagnosed with cancer. So, it’s not surprising that something similar happens with retirement. We adjust to changes. Retirement becomes “the new normal.”

One distinction, though: If you ask me whether I’m more satisfied with my life now that I’m retired, I’d say “Yes, absolutely.” I’m just saying my day-to-day mood is not all that much better than it was before I retired. Probably a little.

So, just be aware that retirement doesn’t put a permanent smile on your face. If my experience is any gauge, you’ll have a honeymoon period where everything feels great, and then you’ll gradually return to baseline. You might feel a little better on a day-to-day basis, but don’t expect huge changes.

Two caveats:

1. I always enjoyed my work (at least somewhat), and I had already been working in a very easy part-time schedule for years prior to retirement, so I didn’t experience what many people here do -- a miserable/stressful work life, contrasted with the blissful release of retirement. If you have the latter, I’ll bet your honeymoon period will be more enjoyable and long-lasting.

2. It’s possible that the virus and economic collapse took a little wind out of my sails. That might be a factor, too. It’s hard to say.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m unhappy in retirement. Not at all. I’m enjoying my retirement and have no regrets.

5. I needed “meaningful work” sooner than I expected

Once, on another retirement forum, I got blasted for suggesting that people need a sense of meaning/purpose in retirement. Some guy got really pissed with me for saying so, and despite my assurances that if it didn’t apply to him, never mind, he continued to rant and rave about it in all caps. Apparently, some people get very upset with the suggestion that having a sense of meaning in life is important.

So, if this doesn’t fit for you, junk it. I’m talking about me. I’m not talking about what you or anyone else “should” do. I’m just speaking for myself.

I need a sense of meaning and purpose in life. That doesn’t mean I need to be engaged in meaningful activities all the time or even most of the time. I can fart around and waste time with the best of them, and I spend plenty of time just resting, relaxing, and doing nothing in particular. No problem with that.

However, at the end of the day (or life), I need to also feel like I did something meaningful with some of my time. I can’t just fart around all day, every day, and feel good about myself. I’m not wired that way.

So, I knew that part of what happy retirement meant for me was to eventually find “meaningful work.” By that I don’t mean paid employment – I mean an enjoyable project that uses my skills/knowledge and that also, hopefully, makes the world a little better place, even in a small, minor way. My career supplied some of that, so I knew that eventually, I’d need to find something else that scratched that itch.

I didn’t expect to feel that need for a couple years into retirement, though. It was way down my priority list, when planning. I had other sources of meaning (e.g., learning, growth, taking care of animals, etc.) which were more important to me than my career, so I didn’t think I’d feel the need for “meaningful work” right away.

And I didn’t. For the first six months of retirement, I wanted nothing to do with anything that even remotely resembled “w*rk.” Yuck. I just wanted to do whatever I felt like doing, day to day. I wanted to be completely free and unencumbered.

However, after about six months, I felt the need asserting itself. I’ve pondered and experimented quite a bit, and I’m still experimenting, but blogging is working out well for me so far. It’s a good fit for me. I get absorbed in it; the subject (animal afterlife) feels worthwhile to me, and I feel better after doing it.

I am usually able to keep a pretty good balance, where I work on it a couple hours a day, then have the rest of the day “free.” If I go for long stretches (which I can do sometimes, because I lose track of time), I will take a break for as long as I need. I want it to stay enjoyable and not turn into a “job” or an obligation.

So, for anyone who’s like me, the issue of meaningful work may pop up sooner than you expect. It has been a significant piece of the puzzle for me.

6. The lure of social media

I’m single, don’t have a family to occupy my time, and I’m not into watching TV or movies, travel, going to sporting events etc.. So, now that I am retired and don’t have a career, I have a ton of free time. I like it that way – lots of freedom, peace, and spaciousness. But along with that comes the temptation to waste that time on social media.

Social media has its upsides, of course, but the downsides are pernicious and covert. I have to keep an eye on my consumption, or I end up wasting too much time and energy on it. I’ve been aware of the problem for many years, but retirement has made it more salient, because of all the increased free time. I have to keep an eye on it.

For example, it’s very easy for me to go on a Facebook or Reddit group and spend an hour reading threads and making posts. Then I get sucked into discussions that don’t amount to a hill of beans. On Youtube, it’s very easy to spend a lot of time scrolling through the recommendations or subscriptions. News/politics in particular are very toxic and distracting.

So, in retirement, I’ve had to become pretty vigilant about my use of social media. If I’m not careful, I can end up wasting too much of my time and energy on it, and my life suffers. It may sound like a trivial thing, but it has a huge impact on the quality of my day to day life.


------

So, those are my main lessons from the first year of retirement. I learned some other things, but they only pertain to me, not others, so I’ll leave them out. Hopefully, you found something to relate to or some food for thought. Cheers.
Gee you sound like me. Next month will be my 2yr er. Occasionally miss it but when I see how miserable my former colleagues are I get fine. I agree find something meaningful. Its the guy who turns into a couch potato who dies soon. And stay off social media. Expressing your opinion is not kosher these day and and just wasted karma.
hanginthere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 10:52 PM   #59
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: monroe
Posts: 26
I agree with you and Gazelle. Would love to do volunteer work but you must be truly passionate about it. Spent my career in the medical field mainly servicing lower socio-economic groups which can become depressing at times but a lot of volunteer work involves just that. Would enjoy working with kids who are desperate for hope but the restraints that are placed upon you are a disgrace.
hanginthere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2020, 10:15 PM   #60
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
Maybe what I bolded is the difference.

I did not feel "relief" at retirement. I felt like "I have completed a good career, well done". I do not need anything beyond that knowledge.

I like to build things, and for me the satisfaction of what I have built remains every time I view it. My plans, my handiwork - the object might be 40 years old, but I still feel the same satisfaction at completing it, and how it is still being used and enjoyed.

I completed a career that I never expected to have, was paid way more than I expected for a job that was more a hobby than work, gave my family a good life through it, and left behind items that people are still using to do their job and be productive. That type of satisfaction (or "high") never fades.

Our different views may just be based on different attitudes about our careers.
Interesting perspective. I was sad to leave my career, but quite glad to have the opportunity to enjoy more younger retirement years than many/most that retired with me. Bittersweet. The things I engineered and built were often still used and favored even 35 years later. I loved that. On the flip side, I also had to watch work that I toiled and was proud of and worked better than anyone expected to, get demolished even just 10 years later, once the bean counters got what they wanted out of it. Heck, one project was demolished and sold for scrap a year later! In retirement, my hobby is also a side hustle where the demand for restored vintage gear bas been consistent. I don’t need the money, but if someone wants to pay me to have fun, then I’m all for it. So I think I also need a meaningful purpose in retirement. And I also agree with the “unfortunately the end is really close” attitude. I’m not depressed about it, but it is way more real now (especially since both parents and some friends passed away) that I have been retired a full year and it literally flew by. I always wanted to cycle around the US, since the Bikecentennial in 1976, & It dawned on me that is never going to happen. Just commonsense stuff like that.
Perryinva is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Retirement Housing Lessons Learned Culture Life after FIRE 74 01-29-2012 10:48 PM
struggling with lessons from Hurricane Katrina Caroline Other topics 31 09-05-2005 09:45 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:07 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.