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Three Years In
Old 04-05-2021, 09:28 AM   #1
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Three Years In

I just realized that its been three years since I retired. I actually don’t know the exact day, but sometime around April 1, 2018 I stopped receiving a paycheck. So much has happened since then, much of it unexpected.
• My health improved dramatically. I was recovering from a very bad flu, overweight and sluggish when I left the working world. Today, my energy levels are high, my weight is somewhere close to the healthy range, I walk in the sun every day, my stress level is low and I am feeling good.

• I travelled, till I didn’t. Shortly after quitting in 2018, I went to Barcelona for ten weeks, to Spanish Language School. This had been a lifelong dream of mine. I learned enough Spanish to pass the B1 exam, but also learned that I am exceedingly poor at languages. I learned a lot about myself, traveling alone for an extended time, and got to explore part of Spain I had only seen on a brief tour before. In the fall, I spent a week in Cambridge at the Festival of Ideas. In 2019, I started by going to a Mardi Gras Ball in New Orleans, then flew across the pond and met some friends who were hiking Hadrian’s Wall, across northern England. I then spent a few days in London, a couple of weeks in Prague, followed by a month in Paris, a month in Edinburgh for The Fringe Festival and the Book Festival, a few weeks in Venice for the Biennale, and finally home. Lots of plans for 2020 had to be scrapped, but I still have the travel bug.

• I moved. Only 25 miles, but after returning from my adventures in 2019, I realized that I didn’t want to take care of a single family home, I didn’t use the pool, and I wanted something I could lock and leave. I also wanted to live someplace where I knew my neighbors, and I could walk to restaurants, shopping, etc. So I sold the house that had been my refuge from stress when working and bought a condo in a vibrant neighborhood about 25 miles south. It was not in the best of shape, but I loved the location. I can walk to the beach and to lots of restaurants, the neighbors are (mostly) friendly, there’s a community pool, a book club, etc. I’m still building my tribe locally, and hang out with my old friends a lot.

• 2020 wore me down. The stress of the pandemic, plus everything happening in the US at the time, really got to me. I needed something to do other than sit inside and watch the news. So I decided to renovate the bathroom in my new (to me) condo. It had roman columns that annoyed me, and no door between the bedroom and bathroom. Then I added new kitchen cabinets and counters, a wine fridge and new floors throughout. Which meant I had to move out. I stayed at a friend-of-a-friends place for three months. My new home is lovely, exactly what I wanted. It ended up costing about 5 times my original budget, but I get about ten times more happiness. I took a bunch of Zoom classes – writing, cooking, history - and learned a lot. I also started exploring a Plan B for where I might live part of the year long term. I won’t get into how the political environment affects my life but having been the “only” in almost every professional environment in my life and in every neighborhood I have lived in, I wanted to have a refuge someplace where I might not have to be on the alert all the time. I did a lot of research, and finally chose Portugal and started applying for their Residency by Investment Program (Golden Visa). Still in process, hoping for approval before the year is out. If approved, I will spend about a third of the year there, a third here, and the rest traveling.

• Financially, I am performing as expected. My withdrawal rate has averaged just under 2%, even with the major renovation project. My portfolio is up 27% from April 1 2018, so its time to Blow some Dough! I expect decorating the new place and spending time in Portugal will take care of that.
Overall, I am really thankful to have had the luxury of retirement through the last three years. It hasn’t all been great, but it beats working and being stressed out all the time by a long shot. I feel blessed.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:36 AM   #2
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Wow, you have been busy and really enjoying retirement. Good for you, that is definitely the goal!
Keep us updated on your adventures and move to Portugal.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:39 AM   #3
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Wow, Lagniappe, what great travels! Looking forward to hearing more about your move to Portugal. Perhaps you should have studied Portuguese! (Although Spanish has a lot in common.) Thanks for the update.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:49 AM   #4
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Nice summary. Appreciate you sharing some insight.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lagniappe View Post
I just realized that its been three years since I retired. I actually don’t know the exact day, but sometime around April 1, 2018 I stopped receiving a paycheck. So much has happened since then, much of it unexpected. [...]
Wow! I am amazed and impressed with all that you decided you wanted to accomplish and then DID accomplish during your first three years.

This is my 12th year of retirement, and I have not traveled anywhere (except one hurricane evacuation to Eustis, Alabama, not a very thrilling destination). But this is because I have no desire to travel.

Personally I have not done any indoor home renovation at all. However in 2015 (my 6th year of retirement), I did buy my "Dream Home" which I hope to live in from here on out. It is only 3 miles from my previous home but it is a really nice home for retirement and aging in place. Also I did a complete yard/landscaping/drainage renovation so that my Dream Home would have a Dream Yard too, back in 2015-2016.

Mostly I have been doing whatever I want to do each day, a novel experience that I have been enjoying for the entire 12 years. I really like being retired. Glad to hear that your retirement has been going so well, too.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:52 AM   #6
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You have traveled and accomplished so much during the short time you have been retired. Congrats and I would be interested in hearing about Portugal or any other traveling also.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:27 PM   #7
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Everything sounds great overall. 4 more months for us to hit 4 years.
I will add that you are a really nice person, having met you in person in our FLA get together.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Wow! I am amazed and impressed with all that you decided you wanted to accomplish and then DID accomplish during your first three years.

This is my 12th year of retirement, and I have not traveled anywhere (except one hurricane evacuation to Eustis, Alabama, not a very thrilling destination). But this is because I have no desire to travel.

Personally I have not done any indoor home renovation at all. However in 2015 (my 6th year of retirement), I did buy my "Dream Home" which I hope to live in from here on out. It is only 3 miles from my previous home but it is a really nice home for retirement and aging in place. Also I did a complete yard/landscaping/drainage renovation so that my Dream Home would have a Dream Yard too, back in 2015-2016.

Mostly I have been doing whatever I want to do each day, a novel experience that I have been enjoying for the entire 12 years. I really like being retired. Glad to hear that your retirement has been going so well, too.


Part of the reason I wrote my 3 year update is because when I was slogging through work days in the frigid north, every now and then I would see an update from W2R, TomboneAl, Alan or Nords living their retired life in exactly the way they wanted. It kept me going, knowing that they had all managed to build a great post-work life for themselves, on their own terms. Just hearing about the bliss that you still feel 12 years in makes me smile, and look forward to more happy, retired days. I hope reading about how happy my life is, even though it is different from all of yours, will inspire someone to take the plunge, just as you all talking about your lives did for me.

I don't post very much on this forum, but I read it all the time, especially when am concerned or discouraged. It's like a retirement security blanket. We all have really different lives, but we are all happily retired and are proof that almost anyone can do it in their own way.
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:12 PM   #9
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Great story. It's nice to hear what life is actually like for folks after retirement.
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Old 04-05-2021, 02:29 PM   #10
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Part of the reason I wrote my 3 year update is because when I was slogging through work days in the frigid north, every now and then I would see an update from W2R, TomboneAl, Alan or Nords living their retired life in exactly the way they wanted. It kept me going, knowing that they had all managed to build a great post-work life for themselves, on their own terms.

You mean The Fantastic Four?
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:50 PM   #11
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I did a lot of research, and finally chose Portugal and started applying for their Residency by Investment Program (Golden Visa).
Quite a while back I enjoyed the Netflix series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which is set in the seaside resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal. If you'd like to soak up the ambiance of this part of Portugal, this is an opportunity without leaving home. (There have been some recent developments in this case that do not appear in the series).

Relocating to Portugal sounds like a great adventure - keep us informed!
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:40 AM   #12
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I did a lot of research, and finally chose Portugal and started applying for their Residency by Investment Program (Golden Visa). Still in process, hoping for approval before the year is out. If approved, I will spend about a third of the year there, a third here, and the rest traveling.
Thanks for the update, Lagniappe. It looks like you've found your pace.

I could spend a third of the year in Coimbra!
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:01 AM   #13
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I really like to read other people's retirement life. Thanks for sharing.
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