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Periodic Contributor

What is a Meaningful Retirement and How do I know if I am having one?

Hello, I have been retired, not by choice, for about 3 years.  We are financially good so that is fine.  I am volunteering and honestly life is pretty good.   

 

What I have always wanted to know is what I am doing meaningful, should I volunteer more/less?  While I was working, I always thought that volunteering = meaningful.  I am not entirely sure that is the answer but I also don't know what the questions are!!!

 

I was wondering - what does meaningful mean to other retirees?  If I get a responses - I will try to recap and post.

 

Appreciate your input.  

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Gold Conversationalist

Travel, travel, travel!  Icelandthis month, New Zealand next month etc.  Make your own trip of the month club!

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Periodic Contributor


@2Papa wrote:

Travel, travel, travel!  Icelandthis month, New Zealand next month etc.  Make your own trip of the month club!



Great Idea!  Thanks!

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Social Butterfly

I think the big thing is being able to say that your working years were well spent with no regrets, freeing yourself up for that new chapter in your life without having to clean up a messed-up previous chapter. I think it's always better to do it right the first time. Retirement should be the time to really benefit from the fruits of your labor/lessons-learned/wisdom without having to answer to a boss/money-making-life. I think the real test of knowing, is being able to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I lived/am living a good life.", without regrets/redos. That's a freedom worth working for. Be true to yourself.

Periodic Contributor


@dl73698250 wrote:

I think the big thing is being able to say that your working years were well spent with no regrets, freeing yourself up for that new chapter in your life without having to clean up a messed-up previous chapter. I think it's always better to do it right the first time. Retirement should be the time to really benefit from the fruits of your labor/lessons-learned/wisdom without having to answer to a boss/money-making-life. I think the real test of knowing, is being able to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I lived/am living a good life.", without regrets/redos. That's a freedom worth working for. Be true to yourself.



Thank you.  It can be really hard to look at yourself as valued just as you are without paycheck validation.  I am getting there!

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Periodic Contributor

Do whatever makes you happy. Different strokes for different folks. It's your call. Pardon the use of the word strokes.

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Periodic Contributor

That seems to be the problem - finding that "Happy".  I am definately getting there.  Thanks.

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Contributor

It is different for everyone. I retired early. Fully retired just before turning 64. I was laid off and the temp jobs didn't pay the bills. I no longer have a car. But, I rent one once a month if needed. Saves a lot on insurance, maintainance and upkeep. I paid off all my credit cards and debt. I like to sew and crochet. I have done a lot of charity work over the years. I like riding the bus and letting someone else do the driving. It is a 20 to 25 minute walk to the bus stop. So, I get a lot of exercise there. I keep myself busy. I don't have any worries like I did working. I don't have to worry about the weather and can I make it to work. I don't have to worry about what I am going to do tomorrow or where the money will come from. I have SSI and some early retirement from 2 full time jobs. I have enough to live on and not worry about things. I feel like a teenager again. No real resposibilities. I don't have the responsibilities of having a job. When I was laid off, it was where is my next paycheck coming from? How will I pay the bills? Now, I know how much I have every month and budget it. I just feel so free. I am a Vietnam vet. I have seen how others live. I am very happy with my life. That means a lot.

You have to ask your self if you are happy, keeping yourself busy and enjoying your retiment? Do you have enough money to pay all your bills and a little more at the end of the month? Do you worry a lot? For me, I am busy, I am happy, I am enjoying my retirement and I have money left over at the end of the month. All my worries are gone. I thought that I would have to work until I died. I never thought that I could reitire. I thought that I would need a lot more money. I pay all my bills. I don't rely on assistance for anything. I'm 70 and just get the senior discounts. I don't get a discount on my rent or other bills. I don't need a car to get to work or go shopping. If I did have a car, I would be strapped for money.

Contributor

Kaye, its a great question! As I approached the retirement phase I noticed that there is a ton of advice on how to prepare financially for retirement but not about how we might choose to spend this time. With retirement now 15 - 30 years or more, the what am I going to do with this time is incredibly important! I think its more important than the financial question because what I am going to do is going to guide my financial goals.

 

As I think about this phase there are a couple of facts:

1) I will never be more capable than I am right now. I have a lifetime of experience (wisdom), I have skills, learnings and dreams accumluated from a long professional life. With some exceptions, I am as physically capable as I ever will be into the future. 

2) I know that relationships, meaning, and life purpose are going to be keys to my living the best life I can without the obligations of a full time career should I choose to leave that career now.

3) Contributing to my community in meaningful ways is critical to my well being and sense of purpose. I know our communities need our gifts to address their many problems.

4) I have full freedom to design my life with my wife, we are designing it together and reconciling our differences in vision.

5) If I am going to move, doing it earlier is better while I have the intellectual and physical capacities to create new relationships in a new community/and or residence.

6) I know I am on track if I feel a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Moments of joy should be frequent!

 

I hope this adds to the conversation!

Periodic Contributor

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.  Retirement is such a huge change to our lives.  I am considering changing my volunteer hours to Habitat/Restore as a result of some of the feedback.  However, my approach is going to be different.  I think I will ask to "volunteer shadow" to see if this is a good fit for me.

 

Thanks again.

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Kaye, don't be afraid to negotiate a volunteer job you really want to do. You have identified needs, and analyzed what you wanted out of a position all your professional life. You have amazing gifts. I encourage you to figure out what your favorite non profit needs, decide what you would like to do to address it, and then make a proposal to the management. You may be surprised at how much happier you will feel. Good luck and thank you for your post!

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Periodic Contributor


@ay1113 wrote:

Kaye, don't be afraid to negotiate a volunteer job you really want to do. You have identified needs, and analyzed what you wanted out of a position all your professional life. You have amazing gifts. I encourage you to figure out what your favorite non profit needs, decide what you would like to do to address it, and then make a proposal to the management. You may be surprised at how much happier you will feel. Good luck and thank you for your post!



Thank you!  I am doing just that.

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Honored Social Butterfly


@KayeS262390 wrote:

Hello, I have been retired, not by choice, for about 3 years.  We are financially good so that is fine.  I am volunteering and honestly life is pretty good.   

 

What I have always wanted to know is what I am doing meaningful, should I volunteer more/less?  While I was working, I always thought that volunteering = meaningful.  I am not entirely sure that is the answer but I also don't know what the questions are!!!

 

I was wondering - what does meaningful mean to other retirees?  If I get a responses - I will try to recap and post.

 

Appreciate your input.  


OK  question,  recap and repost what?  What other people think a "meaningful" retirement is?  That is like asking what a "good" retirement means to someone.  That is  a totally personal evaluation and I don't see any value in it? and I am wondering why you do.  Wouldn't it be better time spent deciding what is important and meaningful to you?  Life is not a contest to see who is living a more meaningful or better life.  That is a strictly personal evaluation.  

 

So how do you determine whether you want to volunteer and where and whether it is doing any good and whether you are getting any satisfaction or joy from it?

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
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Periodic Contributor

Years ago, my husband began reading to 1st & 2nd grades in our neighborhood schools. I joined him. We have had exstudents, 19, 22, younger and older, come up to us and say "You don't remember me, but you read to me in the 1st grade and I started to love reading." Doing volunteer work has rewards not only in the present but in the future. 

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Periodic Contributor


@Sarank wrote:

Years ago, my husband began reading to 1st & 2nd grades in our neighborhood schools. I joined him. We have had exstudents, 19, 22, younger and older, come up to us and say "You don't remember me, but you read to me in the 1st grade and I started to love reading." Doing volunteer work has rewards not only in the present but in the future. 



How very special - clearly you and your husband are making a difference.  Thank you!



 

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Periodic Contributor

I guess this is a real hot topic for you.  I was looking for insights on how other's managed their retirement to help me.  If enough people responded, I was going to recap and post for others that are interested.  

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Periodic Contributor

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@KayeS262390, Hello, Kaye! Thank you for initiating this conversation.  I retired three years ago by choice --I was BORED to the Teeth!!!  Anywhoo, my retirement experience is ever evolving.  In just three years, so much has changed in my life.  The retirement lifestyle that I had planned for was no longer viable--I had already outgrown it/evolved from my original plans. I just didn't realise it until I retired.  I was lost for a while until I had a courage-for-truth moment.  

I've volunteered and supported organizations/causes all my life and when I retired, I looked forward to doing more of the same.  That was a BIG mistake!  Just because I had more time didn't mean that I should volunteer more. Huge learning experience.  Fortunately, I've always been an exceptional student. As more and more demands on my time started wearing on me (emotionally and physically) I had to finally accept that I had allowed MY retirement to be hijacked by others. I took a break from the demands--all forms of communication.  Quality over Quantity is what I decided was best use of my time/LIFE for volunteer commitments.  I now only volunteer on projects that I know will have the results and meaningful experience worthy of my precious and valuable time.  I'm now on some Red Pencil lists and don't get invited to certain events anymore.  Surprisingly, I don't miss them.  Who knew?

My retirement lifestyle is more meaningful than ever because I 'm constantly re-evaluating what I really want to get out of my volunteer experience.  Volunteering my expertise, time and money is great for those receiving, but, I now know that I have to benefit from it as well.  When I experience that sense of "I helped make this happen" and "it was worth every effort I expended"...I know it's meaningful.

 

Fey Lady
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YOU GOT SUCKED RIGHT IN DID'NT YOU. I AM GLAD YOU FOUND A WAY OUT. I T6HINK OF MYSELF FIRST,  THEN MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY AND GRANDCHILDREN. INEED TO BE HAPPY TO MAKE OTHERS HAPPY. I ALSO HAD TO LEARN TO SAY NO NO NO  TO THE HYJACKERS.

    LIVE IN PEACE.

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you so much for your wonderful response.  I thought that any volunteer experience would be good, but not so,  I am copying your response to file so I can revisit it in 6 months to see if I have taken the right steps.  If you would like to share the "how" I did it I would appreciate it. Again, thanks. 

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