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Trying To Get My Bearings In Retirement
Old 02-05-2021, 08:20 AM   #1
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Trying To Get My Bearings In Retirement

So I've been sort of retired now for 6 years. I say "sort of" because the truth of the matter is that I never truly totally retired.

6 years ago when I hit 51, I "retired in practice". I'm a dentist, and when my youngest went off to college I cut my hours back in my practice to 3 or 3.5 days a week and began to take frequent vacations. But I found that owning the practice while not actually being there full-time became burdensome, so I ended up selling the practice 3 years later at 54.

When I sold the practice I continued to help the new owner out for 2 days a week which quickly became 1.5 days a week, then 1 day a week. By the time I left the practice nearly 2 year later I was only going in a half day a week.

Knowing that I would be leaving my old office, I had ramped up my volunteering at a local charity clinic, providing care for the underprivileged. This went on for several months until COVID hit.

I then spent a few months hunkering down and doing nothing (like most of the rest of the world), and honestly, I can't say that I really enjoyed it. Then out of the blue a friend of mine called me and asked if I would be willing to help him in his struggling practice. I told him I would be willing to give him 1.5 days a week but would not want to work hard. He said "yes". So since June I have been helping him out.

But now I'm starting to wonder why I continue to press on. Part of it is because I enjoy being able to make an impact on this world as a dentist. In addition to the part time job, I still help out the charity clinic, and for many years I have been going on a few mission trips a year to serve in Central America and the Caribbean.

But part of my continuing on may be the fear that I won't know what to do with myself if I am not doing dentistry in some way anymore, that my life will become filled with boredom and my brain will turn to mush.

Anyways I'm looking for some insight from those who have successfully moved into retirement.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2021, 08:27 AM   #2
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You are fine.
Keep doing what you are doing.
I write this as an old fart of 72.2
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Old 02-05-2021, 08:41 AM   #3
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I've continued to work 8 or so hours a week for my son, who owns an HVAC company. I have really enjoyed it after working FT in financial services. I will continue to do so until it does not work for one of us.

I still consider myself retired because I can do the work on my schedule.
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Old 02-05-2021, 08:47 AM   #4
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I would find it enjoyable if I could continue working one day a week doing something I like but that option never presented itself for me (or I never went looking for it). Why stop if you are enjoying what you do?
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Old 02-05-2021, 08:59 AM   #5
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The beauty of retirement is that you can do what you want to do, not what you have to do. So if you like doing some continued dentistry work, that is just fine.


Do you have any other hobbies or activities, besides the vacations, that can also provide some mental stimulation or occupy your time? It sounds to me like you should take up something besides some dentistry work on the side.


I have my old cars that I work on as well as a motorhome that we take trips in. Those both can take time and provide opportunities to see new places and meet new people. I also have a small home based side business that I have had for 13 years now. Part-time is all it takes for my business, and it's related to my old car activities so that it is interesting to me.
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Old 02-05-2021, 09:06 AM   #6
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No two retirements are the same...nor should they be. It's what you want it to be.

When I'm asked about retirement by friends and family, I tell them for me it means not having to be at the same place, at the same time, doing the same thing 5 days a week. It doesn't mean sitting in a rocking chair or in front of a tv all day. I do volunteer work (less now with Covid) and spend lots of time outdoors with my dog. She has really appreciated my retirement. But if I had a skill or profession that I was really passionate about, I would do it. I would consider one to two days a week perfect.

There is no retirement police...do what makes you happy!
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Old 02-05-2021, 09:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post


Do you have any other hobbies or activities, besides the vacations, that can also provide some mental stimulation or occupy your time? It sounds to me like you should take up something besides some dentistry work on the side.

Yes actually I do. I love playing music. I have been playing electric bass, sax flute in various churches for 30 years now. But unfortunately COVID has shut most of that down. I also love to work out- do it almost every day, and I enjoy doing handyman work and yard work. Finally I love spending time with my family, especially my 2 grandkids who live only a mile away. I see them at least once a week.

But I'm the kind of guy who loves to stay busy and active. Before COVID hit we were doing a lot of traveling. I really miss that.
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Old 02-05-2021, 09:25 AM   #8
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One of the ER blogs is written by a physical therapist who stopped working in his early 40's. I urged him to keep his license current (which he could easily do) because it keeps options open. But he didn't. He's almost proud of the fact that he abandoned a profession that he devoted his entire adult lifetime to.

You say you get satisfaction and fulfillment from the part-time dentistry that you currently do. So keep doing it. Maybe even work a little harder until you're sure that you're ready to be done, which you clearly aren't at this point.

You've been ramping down for 6 years, and it's only now that you worry about boredom? If you didn't develop a single hobby or interest during your 6 years of part-time work, now is the time.
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Old 02-05-2021, 09:27 AM   #9
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I understand completely. I was semi retired but still doing a bit of consulting, then went back to full-time work and still did a bit of consulting on the side and will be leaving employment very soon but still doing a bit of consulting. The consulting takes a few hour to a couple of days a quarter every 3-6 months. Perfect to keep my brain occupied, bring in some side money (add to Roth &#128077 but not drudgery like being an employee.

It can be hard to direct your energies to other interests when you've been doing something you know and possibly like for decades. I've found that I shift that time to other goals, etc. When semi-retired before, a larger part of my day was dedicated to recreational/gym activities...that many times ate up 2-4 hours and sometimes longer if social activities were tacked on. Then shopping and food preparing took a bit of time as well. There was no need to rush and you can go at off peak times. Add long travel and perhaps some studies in areas you may have set aside when in your profession, and your time can fill up. Notice I haven't mentioned any family, faith or charity time.

You're fine. Great thing about retirement is you get to choose your curricula and what grade you wish to attain 😉. No one else's matters anymore.
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Old 02-05-2021, 10:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by novaman View Post
So I've been sort of retired now for 6 years. I say "sort of" because the truth of the matter is that I never truly totally retired.

6 years ago when I hit 51, I "retired in practice". I'm a dentist, and when my youngest went off to college I cut my hours back in my practice to 3 or 3.5 days a week and began to take frequent vacations. But I found that owning the practice while not actually being there full-time became burdensome, so I ended up selling the practice 3 years later at 54.

When I sold the practice I continued to help the new owner out for 2 days a week which quickly became 1.5 days a week, then 1 day a week. By the time I left the practice nearly 2 year later I was only going in a half day a week.

Knowing that I would be leaving my old office, I had ramped up my volunteering at a local charity clinic, providing care for the underprivileged. This went on for several months until COVID hit.

I then spent a few months hunkering down and doing nothing (like most of the rest of the world), and honestly, I can't say that I really enjoyed it. Then out of the blue a friend of mine called me and asked if I would be willing to help him in his struggling practice. I told him I would be willing to give him 1.5 days a week but would not want to work hard. He said "yes". So since June I have been helping him out.

But now I'm starting to wonder why I continue to press on. Part of it is because I enjoy being able to make an impact on this world as a dentist. In addition to the part time job, I still help out the charity clinic, and for many years I have been going on a few mission trips a year to serve in Central America and the Caribbean.

But part of my continuing on may be the fear that I won't know what to do with myself if I am not doing dentistry in some way anymore, that my life will become filled with boredom and my brain will turn to mush.

Anyways I'm looking for some insight from those who have successfully moved into retirement.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Why not just continue that if/when your friend doesn't need you anymore?

That's what my old dentist did after he sold his practice & "officially" retired...he kept up the volunteer work he was already doing.

And leaving his "day job" left him with plenty of time to travel/pursue other hobbies as well.
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Old 02-05-2021, 12:00 PM   #11
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It seems like you have a pretty decent life balance, as can be expected w/ COVID. If you are happy doing what you are doing, then keep rocking it out.

With COVID, I think it's wise to not make any drastic changes. I made the ill advised decision to go back to w*rk due to COVID induced boredom, and realized that was a terrible mistake. Thank goodness, I only accepted short term contracts...if it permanent/long term employment...well, that would have sucked.

Once this COVID madness is over, I think that you will find a good groove that works for you and that will probably include being social...that seems to be the part you are missing out on.
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Old 02-05-2021, 12:24 PM   #12
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I've gone back "on call" 4 times to help out at my prior workplace. I still consider myself retired. I work only 1-2 days a week for however long is needed to do a short job.
To me, retirement is all about doing what I want to do every day, not what I have to to
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Old 02-05-2021, 09:25 PM   #13
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Retirement means you can do what you want. There is nothing wrong with utilizing you skills to help others until you find something else you would rather do.
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