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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 1 of 38

When I was in my 30's, I often had a similar discussion with my boss who was 15 years older than me. Should you deny yourself during your early working years to save for retirement or should you experience life to the fullest when you are physically able and let tomorrow take care of itself. This was an interesting discussion because both of us had married women who took the latter approach for different reasons (e.g. his wife had lost her mother and two sisters to breast cancer and none of the women in her family had lived past 55). 

 

In the end, you have to strike a balance between saving for retirement (or a rainy day) and living a full life. This isn't always easy to do, particularly if you have children. There is no substitute for both short term and long term planning.

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 2 of 38

Not so much "regrets" as "lessons learned" after 10+ years of retirement...

-- Before you retire, have some idea of how you want to spend your time.  Whether it's volunteering, traveling, working around the house or starting a new hobby really doesn't matter.  But have some idea what you may want to do or how you may want to spend your time.  The fellow-retirees I know who are the most miserable in retirement are the ones who walked away from work with no ideas and no plan; who now find themselves wondering how to spend their days and feeling sorry for themselves.

-- Realize what a wonderful opportunity your retirement is once it finally arrives,  For most of us, the early days, months and years of retirement represent,for the first time since childhood, a wonderful chance to start over.  No expectations from our employers; no "must-do's" or "have-to-do's" besides the ones we put onto ourselves.  At retirement, life can become a clean, empty white-board (or blackboard if you're old enough to rememeber those); one on which we can write as much or as little as we want about how we plan to spend the rest of our days.

-- Learn to say "No".  For many of us, as soon as other folks learn we're about to retire, the requests start coming in: "You''re retired. Will you serve on this committee at church?"; "Now that you're retired, will you help volunteer with this local non-profit?"; "Hey, you're retired. Come to the local service club luncheon with me and think about becoming a member."; and the list goes on-and-on. Unless you learn to say "No" (diplomatically and politely of courses), you'll quickly find yourself so busy pleasing others that you have no time left for yourself and all the things you wanted to do in retirement.

-- Adopt a new personal motto: "I will not 'should' on me today."  Give yourself permission to delay, postpone or even just never do things you don't find critical to your own life and happiness. Then don't regret not doing them.  A retirement full of "I should do" or "I should have done" means you're wasting valuable time that could be spent in more satisfying ways.  Decide whether to do something or not, but don't beat yourself up if you've decided not to do it -- after all, it's your retirement because you earned it!

-- If you want to do something, do it now (while you still can).  As we age (and that is one part of retirement common to us all), our health and financial situations can change dramatically and suddenly, sometimes when we least expect it.  Saying "I'll do that someday" is really just another way of saying "I may never get around to doing it (because I am no longer physically or financially able to do so)".  Far better to look back and say "Boy am I glad I did that when I did" than to have to say "I wish I'd done that when I had the chance."

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 3 of 38

No regrets at all!  When I retired I took a vacation on my bucket list as a gift to myself.  I spent a couple of weeks enjoying my freedom after that.  When I got bored I volunteered at our local hospital.  We moved 6 years later to be near one of my children and keep busy with community activities, volunteering for a hospital and the USO.  I have time for my hobbies as well.  Whoever says retirement is boring is nuts!  My advice is don’t sit in the house.  Get out and do things and get involved.

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 4 of 38

Many of my friends, including myself, have made the misstake of injuring ourselves in the first 6 months of retirement.  Broken bones, twisted ankles and falls.  Not because we are old, but because we think we are younger than we are.  Ease into your next phase in life.  

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 5 of 38

Re: Volunteering...

It was thirty years ago in my early 50's, but I remember well.  It was easy to get involved.  Everything I liked... Joined the SBA, and ran a small business class for newbies.  This led to speaking engagements and one on one counseling, that was very enjoyable and satisfying.  

Also, having been involved with scouting for 30 years, a continuation as a senior leader, for camping trips.  And... a wonderful ten days of leading a church group of girl and boy teenagers on a canoe trip through the Canadian Boundary Waters.   

Many, many more things that were easy and enjoyable... all for my own enjoyment, and never a sense of "Having" to do it because it was my duty. 

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 6 of 38

My only regret was not retiring sooner.  I waited until I was 66 and able to collect full SS.  My advice is to work out a budget and know in advance how much you need on a month to month basis to live comfortably.  I created a spreadsheet and kept track of all our spending for about 6 months.  Then I figured out our monthly income with SS and added in a monthly allowance from our investments.

That is what we live on, knowing that there are reserve funds to travel, buy things, etc.

 

The point I want to strongly make is that all of the reading and research I did on retirement, most of all the articles are focused on income.  Once I developed the budget and the spreadsheet I realized that portion of retirement was overplayed.  The key, for me, was finding something useful and meaningful to do with my time.  I mean for 50 years I speeded through my working career at 90 MPH and then suddenly hit a brick wall.  The first 6 months was adjusting to every day is Saturday. Once the errands run dry and the chores are done I needed something to do.  

 

I never thought throughout my working career that I would ever get into volunteering.  After all, the race was making as much money as possible.  Now that I know I have enough funds to carrying me for the rest of my life, I have found that volunteering brings a new joy to my life. Try a few different organizations and see if it fits.  I volunteer at the local hospital and have met many wonderful people  One is even a retired MD! Helping people who are scared and maybe even alone in life is fulfilling for me.   I tried other things but in somehow I felt I was enabling people to be helpless.  Whatever. I also volunteer at a science center and have joined a marine docent organization visiting schools and presenting talks about marine science.  The training was free.  I love it.

 

My advice is to find something that fills your time with meaning and is enjoyable. Take a part-time job only if you need the money.  I worked at Lowe's for 3 days!  Getting up to go to work on a Monday morning or Sunday was not my idea of retirement. As a volunteer, I come and go as I please. I set my own schedule and don't have to worry about taking time off to travel.  

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 7 of 38
We must have the same Father. My Mom was no better either. My Sister and I decided we would educate ourselves and did. It was a good thing. Both our first marriages ended and there were children. I went to school, got a R.E. Brokers license and started a career. My dear Son has a disabled wife and Son and I intend to be there for them. He is such a hard worker, but it is so much harder for them.
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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 8 of 38
That is one of the reasons I still work part time. Husband is retired, gets bored and wants to do $$ and it never works for long. Better to find meaningful ways to spend your time.
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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 9 of 38

Try to keep your self busy after you retire. My husband and I both retired together. We love golf and play through all the months we can. But when winter sets in, and golfing isn't possible, it gives an opening for cabin fever. We take advantage of our membership at the YMCA and grateful that it comes free with insurance coverage. Make sure you get out as frequently as you can. It's easy to pick spats with your spouse if you bored.

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Re: Retirees Biggest Regrets?

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Message 10 of 38

Retirement has been great, YET you must have hobbies or a side job to keep you busy and your mind from turning into mush.

 

I play golf, fish, bowl and do yard work along with enjoying personal time with my wife of 36 years.

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