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Old 01-19-2021, 03:08 PM   #21
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Thanks for the list. I agreed with most of it.

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9. Favorite excerpt from a book about retirement. The author of "Get a Life" is talking about the characteristics that differentiate the retirees who do well in retirement, vs. those who don't:

"Throughout most of our lives, many, if not most of us, strive mightily to fit in, to be accepted by the people around us... Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, many of the most successful retirees I interviewed claim to have failed miserably at doing this, referring to themselves as wacky, weird, or a lifelong misfit. Indeed, having so many energized seniors tell me how socially inept they had been as younger adults caused me to wonder if the very fact that these people had to come to terms with being 'odd' earlier in life helped give them the strength to do well later."

"At first, it surprised me when so many life-loving retirees cheerfully described themselves as 'odd,' 'a little nuts,' or even 'a true deviant,' but when this theme kept cropping up, I took it more seriously. Eventually, I began asking my interviewees if they believed that odd or eccentric retired people do better than their more conventional peers. The majority answered with a resounding 'yes.'"
and
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12. Being independent and self-reliant serves you well in retirement.
are kind of related.

Quote:
16. Money is to be used, not hoarded.
Still working on this

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17. Keep a sense of evolving and exploring. Don't try to nail everything down.
I am finding out this is absolutely true in my case during my first year in retirement.

Quote:
26. I'm glad I kept some records that documented my dissatisfaction with work. They are helpful to review. Some things fade from memory. When I read about them, I go, "Oh, yeah, I remember that. That sucked." It helps me appreciate retirement.
I do not keep my work records and do not foresee any need to
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:29 PM   #22
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I do not keep my work records and do not foresee any need to
Is the smiley signalling a joke? It's hard to tell on the internet sometimes. In case you're serious, though... I wasn't referring to keeping actual work records. I was thinking about a pro/con list I made, prior to retiring. On that list, I wrote down a number of things I didn't like about my work. After I retired, as the time passed, I gradually forgot about some of those things. So it was helpful to be reminded -- it stokes gratitude. That's what I was saying.

I'd actually recommend people approaching retirement do that, or something similar -- maybe just a list of things they don't like about their work. Stick it in a drawer, then come back to it a couple years after you've retired. Although you'll remember most of what you didn't like, other things get forgotten over time, and it can help to be reminded.
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:02 PM   #23
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For me, not working and completely severing any work references/relationships is a major aspect. Staying healthy along with enjoying 6x weekly exercise along with a flourishing relationship with my DGF and nothing more is really needed.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:21 PM   #24
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It was not meant as a joke. I am smiling because I am happy that my mind is free from all work related stress. I only want to focus on my health and how to enjoy my freedom and money in retirement. YMMV as usual.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:41 PM   #25
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Good list.

On #24, I think this is an area where personalities differ. I'm a maximizer and I enjoy it. I have children who are satisficers and they enjoy their life. I think either personality type can be healthy, and trying to convert one type to another doesn't work very well.
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:15 AM   #26
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16. Money is to be used, not hoarded.
For some, I think a key consideration is having the confidence to spend after saving all one's life. I suspect those with a DB pension are likely to being more comfortable in spending more freely. For me without one, it's about creating a structure that I'm comfortable with to provide me with a base level income stream with protection to the downside and a bit of upside potential.
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:44 AM   #27
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So far our retirement has consisted of downsizing lots of 'things' and upsizing lots of experiences.

It works for us and we hope to continue to do so as long as possible. We would much rather spend 40K on travel rather than on a new vehicle to put in the garage.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:21 AM   #28
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Good list.

On #24, I think this is an area where personalities differ. I'm a maximizer and I enjoy it. I have children who are satisficers and they enjoy their life. I think either personality type can be healthy, and trying to convert one type to another doesn't work very well.
We may be seeing maximizer and satisficer in different ways. The research I'm familiar with shows maximizers are less happy than satisficers, and that it's not a matter of personality so much as a cognitive style of viewing the world. It's similar to perfectionism, which also tends to be associated with unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

If it's working for you, though, more power to you. I have a bit of the maximizer tendency, but I've worked on it, to the point where I can still have high standards, but it doesn't interfere in my life.

--

One thing I'd add here is that people definitely do have different standards for what constitutes a "happy, successful, and contented retirement." If you ask people what is needed, for them to be happy and contented in retirement, the answers will run the gamut from very little to quite a lot.

For example, at the "very little" end, you've got people who are happy and contented just to be free of work and be able to do what they want. Many people are happy and content if their primary relationship is going well and they have good health. I've heard some retirees say they don't need a sense of meaning or purpose in their lives. Some are happy watching TV, playing golf, and playing with the grandkids. That's all they need. That's cool.

Other people, though, have higher standards (that sounds judgmental, but I don't mean it that way; I just mean more requirements) for a happy, successful, contented retirement. Me, for instance. I have a list of about 15 core values, and I can only feel good about myself and my retirement if I'm behaving congruently with those values and moving towards them. I don't mean I have to attain perfection in those areas. I just need to know I'm moving towards them with a certain amount of diligence and consistency. I actually spent some time last night grading myself in each area, which was illuminating.

Anyhow, my point is that people can have very different standards for what qualifies as a happy, successful, and contented retirement.
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:04 PM   #29
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Thank you for taking the time to put these thoughts down. I will reference this in 15 months when I retire!
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Old 01-20-2021, 04:49 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
We may be seeing maximizer and satisficer in different ways. The research I'm familiar with shows maximizers are less happy than satisficers, and that it's not a matter of personality so much as a cognitive style of viewing the world. It's similar to perfectionism, which also tends to be associated with unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

If it's working for you, though, more power to you. I have a bit of the maximizer tendency, but I've worked on it, to the point where I can still have high standards, but it doesn't interfere in my life.
Personality could very well be not the best or most appropriate word.

The example I understand is when we used to go to Blockbuster Video to rent a movie. My satisficer kid would randomly scan some random part of the selection available until they came across one that they thought they would like, and then they were done..."Let's get this one, Dad"

When choosing for myself, I would start at "A" and move towards "Z", grabbing each potentially good movie case. Once reaching "Z", I'd go through the six or so I had selected, comparing each in terms of genre, length, rating, rental cost, previews, and probably some other criteria. Sometimes I would do head-to-head matchups and eliminations, until getting down to the One Movie For Tonight.

My method takes longer, but I think it results in me seeing a better movie. My kid's method is fast, and they are happy with the movie they get to see.

It was harder when we both wanted to rent a movie at the same time and our methods clashed. "C'mon, Dad, let's just get this one!" "Hang on, kid, I'm only on 'C'"

...

It could be that we each maximize and satisfice in different areas. The same kid who satisficed on movies now maximizes on his beautiful, clean, well-apppointed and excellently-maintained car, whereas I satisfice on mine which needs a wash and gets me from point A to point B.

And I enjoy my retirement without much need to document it in long numbered lists or 15-point grading scales. I do find that I need to balance how much I do and also between productive stuff (learning, exercising, philanthropy) and fun stuff (movies, golf, vacations). So perhaps that is an area where I satisfice and you maximize.

I have been accused of being a perfectionist. Sometimes it bothers me and in those cases I work on it, but most of the time I like myself the way I am. I do recognize the need to compromise in situations (like the movie selection process) where differences exist.

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Anyhow, my point is that people can have very different standards for what qualifies as a happy, successful, and contented retirement.
Agreed.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:56 AM   #31
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What I've found is that your personality doesn't change just because you retire. Personally, I have to fight living in the future (Things will be great when Covid is over; Whan I get past this (fill in the blank) crisis, things will be great; etc.)

Live life in real time before and after retirement.

I DO like your list. Words to live by, though YMMV.
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:58 AM   #32
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16. Money is to be used, not hoarded.

I could use some coaching on this, as a newbie at 6 months FIREd. We have good budgeting practices and the calculators show very high confidence of portfolio success. Still, the projected trend lines are for a classic “Retirement Portfolio Smile Shape” for several years down until financial changes happen later in life while we live on our portfolio. It’s all to be expected but it is still a bit deflating to expect to drift downward in net worth after being so focused for decades on enjoying it drifting up.

Assuming your projections show a similar smile shape, how do you cope with it? If your portfolio is only part of your income or only shows future growth, congrats, but I’m not asking you this question.
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:04 PM   #33
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16. Money is to be used, not hoarded.

I could use some coaching on this, as a newbie at 6 months FIREd. We have good budgeting practices and the calculators show very high confidence of portfolio success. Still, the projected trend lines are for a classic “Retirement Portfolio Smile Shape” for several years down until financial changes happen later in life while we live on our portfolio. It’s all to be expected but it is still a bit deflating to expect to drift downward in net worth after being so focused for decades on enjoying it drifting up.

Assuming your projections show a similar smile shape, how do you cope with it? If your portfolio is only part of your income or only shows future growth, congrats, but I’m not asking you this question.
5 years FIREd, single 51M here.

Two suggestions:

1. Time and experience helps. It's a little freaky at first, but seeing things worked out the way you planned, or probably even better, over time will help you build confidence that this FIRE thing actually works.

2. "Who you gonna believe - me or your lyin' eyes?" Not sure where the quote came from, but for me it reminds me that I can either believe my feelings about how things or going, or I can believe the math and the spreadsheets about how things are going. If you're confident in your math and your assumptions and contingency plans about FIRE, then logically you should be able to conclude that having confidence makes sense. The feelings are just feelings.

(Unless of course, they aren't. If your feelings of concern are rooted specifically in poor planning, a shoestring FIRE budget, ignorance of risks or additional expenses, then you should address those underlying real issues.)
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:44 PM   #34
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Thanks. I’m sleeping just fine and the numbers work but it is a mental shift from the accumulation years. I guess it’s the price one pays for not w*rking and it is definitely worth the price.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:51 AM   #35
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Notes from my retirement refresher course

Eddie- Fantastic Post! I "retired" 32 months ago and much of this resonates with me, especially the points I've quoted below.



I put "retired" in quotations because to many people, by the strictest of definitions, I've never totally retired. After I sold my dental practice in May 2018, I continued to help the new owner out, eventually dropping to just 4-8 hours a week.



This came to an end at the end of 2019. I then ramped up my volunteering at a charity clinic to provide care for the underprivileged, but that came to a halt in March when COVID hit. In early June, a friend of mine called me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in helping him in his struggling practice. I told him I would be willing to give him 1.5 days a week and that I would no longer be willing to work hard. He sad “yes”.



It has now been 8 months and it has been a wonderful arrangement. The staff and my friend are so grateful that I am there and have all said that I saved them and got them through a very difficult time. The funny thing is that I feel like I have gotten more out of the arrangement then they have. I get to continue to care for people and impact the community around me in the way I know best, I have the opportunity to pour into the younger staff members and help them gain wisdom and direction in their lives, and I get to spend time with group of young and attractive women a day and a half a week!



Some of my dental colleagues give snarky comments saying that if I am still picking up a handpiece and seeing patients then I am not really retired. But I'm not going to let them define what my retirement should look like. I am living the dream life now. I have ample time to do all the things I want to do, I had been able to do a lot of traveling (Before COVID), and I am still keeping my mind sharp and engaged.



I can see where some of those authors that advocate never totally retiring are coming from. But I think the main thing is to know yourself and do what is best for you and not let others determine how you should be living your life in retirement







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2. Avoid becoming like the people who decline in retirement. Many stories of these people can be found. Ten years into retirement, they are shadows of their former selves -- more pessimistic, sedentary, isolated, even depressed.





4. The main themes of happy retirement keep coming up over and over, and they're pretty clear and obvious: follow your interests, have plenty of interests, find useful ways to connect to the world/community, cultivate warm relationships, take care of your physical health, be a lifelong learner. Stay interested in and involved in lots of activities -- not just to "stay busy," but because the activities are genuinely interesting to you, feel meaningful, or contribute to your sense of self-worth.





11. Define your own criteria for success in retirement. Don't buy into social programming about the good life or even research, which is generally just based on population averages.


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Old 01-26-2021, 04:48 PM   #36
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Ten years into retirement, they are -- more pessimistic, sedentary, isolated, even depressed.
Is that supposed to be a bad thing !
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:04 PM   #37
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Thank you so much for the insight and wisdom.
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:35 PM   #38
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I am heading into retirement in April and the question of what to do all day looms large for me. My two main retirement activities are on indefinite hold due to the pandemic, so I have started a list of alternatives and your post is very helpful. I especially like #26. Now that I've made my decision and told my boss, I'm ready to be done with work and start the next chapter of my life.
IMHO, you will never have a problem filling your days. You will wonder how it was possible to lead a successful life with a job taking up all that time! I still don't know how I had time to work.
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:46 PM   #39
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Some of my dental colleagues give snarky comments saying that if I am still picking up a handpiece and seeing patients then I am not really retired.
As long as you are doing what you want to be doing, who cares how other people define your activities? Ignore those comments from folks who are likely jealous of you.
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:14 PM   #40
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It’s all great, but COVID...

We retired and a month later it hit. There went most of our plans. We tried to make the best of it. We did more than many other people because we were determined to live life as much as possible.

But still.....a lot of things were cancelled and travel on hold.
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