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June 08, 2010

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For my bride and me the biggest issue is where do we want to live. Currently we live in the snow belt (brrr). I hate snow, she hates cold. Problem is we haven't found a better to place to live than where we are.

So. Probably next year we'll sell our place, move into a rental, and then check out places around the country. We plan on staying longer than a standard one week vacation. I suggest that we go to targeted places during the height(depth?) of the off season. For example, we like Hilto Head Island. We go in September. What's it like to live there in January and Feb. ? And I don't mean temperature-wise.

- Work: Hubby wants to continue reffing and I want to do volunteer work in retirement. No "real" jobs. :-)

- Leisure Time: Other than the above, we plan to attend Curling Bonspiels (tournaments) all over the USA & Canada. We're actually starting this already instead of just waiting to retire. We also plan to continue vacationing like we do now...just more of it. While we are at home, we hope our friends will continue to enjoy board gaming, movie nights, and potlucks.

- Relationships: My coworkers and I get along but we won't keep up with eachother...we're just not that close. Hubby and I want to wait to retire until we both can be retired (mainly, that means I work until he gets his pension) since travelling alone or even just staying home alone all day would be boring. Even if I could technically retire tomorrow, I wouldn't want to give up my income until hubby could hang out too. :-)

- Benefits: Our current plan is to get benefits from his retirement plan for teachers. We're saving as if medical will cost more than our house.

- Planning: We plan to live off the interest of our retirement accounts and my husband's pension so that we can continue doing so for as long as we can stay alive.

I loved my work but nothing beats being retired. I actually retired at 58, about 6 months prior to my planned date, because my company was offering an early retirement incentive of one week's pay for each year of service and I had been with them for 32 years and that 32 weeks pay made it easy for us to eliminate our debt.

You have to ensure that you can fill the big void that's left when your responsibilities at work disappear along with many of the people that you worked with. I spent a lot of time the first year I retired making home improvements since I figured it was good to get them done while I was still fairly young - and 18 years later I am glad I did.

I also decided when I left work that there would be no more computers, but that lasted less than a year because I was now actively managing my investments and that took me right back into the world of programming and following the market intently. It turned out much differently than I ever expected because the database that I started subscribing to had a very active bulletin board (i.e. blog) called "Money Talk" of over 200 other database users and I quickly found myself immersed in technical analysis of the market and learning as much as possible from very experienced old timers. I started out writing very small computer codes and sharing them with all of my new friends who were giving me great suggestions of what they would like my code to be able to do. Soon I was receiving gifts from all over the USA in return for the coding I was sharing. Eventually the coding grew into a huge program with a 300 page manual and my wife and I were kept busy filling orders. After two years where I was working harder and putting in far more hours than I ever did when I was working my wife urged me to wrap up the development and get back to a more normal life. I then finished the final version and got my life back even though the orders kept rolling in. There were also enjoyable annual conferences we attended at major cities where I made presentations of my software, learned a lot, listened to leading market experts, and got to know many of my users. My wife was a great help since she is a "people" person and makes friends a lot easier than I do.

On a practical note a happy retirement requires that husband and wife enjoy each other's company since you're together a whole lot more than ever before.
A single story home is also very desirable as you get older because you may lose some of your mobility due to arthritis. You also want to pick the part of the country where you will be happy spending the remainder of your days. In our case a move wasn't required. You also have to realize that you may not be able to drive forever so think twice before you move out into sparsely populated areas. It's really nice to have all essential services very close at hand as you get older. We had a couple of friends that retired to an idyllic and remote location but they ran into things like their well going dry, losing power frequently because of fallen trees, roads blocked by mud slides, septic tank problems, a long drive for medical services, groceries etc. You also need to run some calculations of projected expenses and projected income from all sources to determine if you will be able to retire comfortably.

Old Limey
Good points, but especially regarding moving to remote areas. Certainly a big factor for us. I can't imagine moving too far from some soret of urban area. For me, the concerns you raise most likely rule out moving to a different country eg Costa rica, Panama, or the like.

BillV
Definitely by the time you reach our age you start thinking about one's mortality. We feel very fortunate being on medicare and able to be a member of the best clinic with the most up-to-date equipment on the peninsula and to already have established longterm relationships with several of the doctors and specialists, several of which no longer accept new patients.
So far all I have needed have been a couple of cataract surgeries which are very minor these days, and an arthroscopic cleanout of one knee to take care of a meniscus tear (also fairly trivial). My wife has had two hip replacements and a colon surgery, all uneventful. Our healthcare provider also offers an excellent on-line, mail order pharmacy that provides very fast delivery of a 90 day supply of any medications at prices of $20 (generic), $50 (brandname) so I definitely would feel that I would be making a big sacrifice in the outcome of our life by moving to any of the 3rd. World countries even though they offer much cheaper living, in fact we wouldn't even move back to England - their universal healthcare is certainly adequate but it's a far cry from what we now have. I also would be very worried about political instability - I have visited Bangkok five times, had three wonderful vacations in Thailand, and love the country and its people but just recently they have undergone serious politically induced riots in Bangkok with a lot of fatalities. As an ex-Brit, now a naturalized citizen, I feel that there's no place better to live than in the USA, for one thing our currency is the strongest in the world and our ability to produce food and new technologies are unmatched. We're also too old to have to start learning another language. John Mauldin's latest "Outside the Box" free market e-letter contained a comment about Rome, a city that he is visiting - he said, "Stop lights in Rome seem to be more of a suggestion than an actual statement". Believe me, it's a lot, lot worse in the 3rd. World.

I'm not close to being there, but am thinking about trying to get there! It's all about trying to grow the career, maximizing the income minus expense gap, and intelligently investing funds over the years. Financial freedom is what I'm working toward. Specific interests can change over time, and what sounds good now may not later (I'm 39 now), so my retirement lifestyle is TBD:)All I can say for sure is I want to be financially free and have time for family.

I'm retiring in less then 3 years and I can't wait! I plan to combine part time work, volunteering, visiting family more and spending more time with friends, and enjoying more outdoor pursuits. I'll be 65, will get my full pension, and Medicare.I'm not being cowed by the "nay sayers" who are saying that you need bazillion dollars to retire. That's just a ploy from financial planners, who if you listen to them, you'd never be able to retire, will eat cat food, and live in a cardboard box. We are all much more resourceful and better than that.

I agree with you, retirement for me isn't going to be a transition from 5 days a week to fun in the sun. I'm going to use the time to transition to working less, at something different while focussing on doing some of the activities I didn't have time for while in the constant 9-5.

Carol,
You will love it. Once in the last 5 years I thought I was bored. I took a nap. When i got up the feeling had passed. Zzzzz. I' joking here people.

I think I would love it.

I've been single for most of my life, and I've worked since 1974, so even though I like what I do, I'm just physically tired.

I would like to take a couple of years off to just rest, honestly.
Then, if I felt I absolutely had to work, perhaps I could approach it with a different attitude than I do now.

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