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Retirement – What Comes Next?

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Retirement – What Comes Next?Are you thinking about retiring?  Are you getting close to the "Big Day?"  If you answered "yes," it's time to start making plans - your road map to retirement. 

What do you want to do after retirement?  Retirement sounds great, but you need to have a plan.  You don't just wander off into the unknown one day and expect everything to be the fairy tale, "and they lived happily ever after" kind of life.  In my case, I had exactly six months to figure out what I wanted to do. 

That is, after the initial shock wore off.  In fact, I had a very difficult time just making the decision to retire.  I loved my job but in the end the money figures couldn't be ignored. 

I could retire in six months or continue to work for ten more years and receive exactly the same amount of money. 

My employer was offering early retirement as a money-saving measure and I met all the requirements.  I experienced highs and lows but I knew retirement was inevitable.  Once I got used to the idea, I started working on my road map. You have a better chance of living a long, happy retirement if you set goals for things you want to accomplish after you retire. 

My suggestion is to do what I did -  make two lists:

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  1. One for the things you want to do
  2. One for the things you never want to do again (Very important!)

It is important for you to be clear about these two areas.  Once I had my way mapped out, all I needed to do was make plans to follow the map to retirement land.  I was ready to change my lifestyle and had a clear and concise idea of how this would come about.

Staying healthy should be on your list of things to do. 

This should include eating well but frugally (give up trips to fast food restaurants and expensive evenings out; instead start cooking at home), as well as getting daily exercise.  Becoming a couch potato at this stage of your life will only add dollars to your doctor's bank account. A healthy lifestyle equals savings in healthcare.

Remember when you were young and trying to learn a new skill like riding a bike or memorizing your multiplication tables?  For me, these things didn't come easily and sometimes I wanted to give up.  My mom, on the other hand, would give me some wise words of advice to cheer me on, "practice makes perfect, keep trying."  Well, those words of advice are just as valuable in your retirement years as they were in your childhood.

If your list of things to do includes a lifestyle change, you will save money by "practicing" the change before making a permanent change you might regret. 

You want to travel and think an RV would be the way to go?  Having never done this before, "practice" by renting an RV for a two-week trip.  If all goes well, you might consider buying an RV and traveling wherever and whenever you like.  However, if you discover this is not for you then you have not lost a great deal of money and you learned that RVing isn't what you thought it would be. 

The same is true for moving to a new location:

  • The mountains
  • A condo by the ocean
  • A home abroad
  • Someplace warmer or someplace colder

Go spend a few weeks at your "dream" location, living in a rented place, pretending to be a real resident.  If you find the change is not what you thought it would be, your money can remain safely in the bank or the jar in the backyard. 

Just like Mom said, "practice makes perfect;" keep trying until you get it right.

But, first and foremost, make sure you are retiring to something and not away from something.  Retiring because you don't like the boss or some of your co-workers is not a good reason.  If you say you only want to relax, you will soon become bored.  But, when you retire to something, you will be excited about each new day. 

Don't worry about what you will do after retirement.  With careful planning, almost anything is within your reach - just remember that "practicing" major changes will save you money and help you find what it is that you really want to do in your new after-work world. 

My main objective was to simplify my lifestyle and stop to smell the roses along the way.  It's been nine years since I retired and I'm very happy.  I feel my road map to retirement made all the difference. 

I encourage you to work on your retirement road map and see where it takes you.

Kimberly JohnsKimberly Johns

Kimberly has been on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP) for just under a year. Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, she is going to share how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in the My Journey out of Debt blog. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income, which Kimberly is generously planning to share in her new blog! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • Re: "(give up trips to fast food restaurants and expensive evenings out; instead start cooking at home),"  "Start" cooking at home?  Are you kidding?  The only way this sentence can make sense within the context of your article is for you to believe people never "eat in" if they have to START cooking at home.  Do you really believe this?  Are you totally unaware of the proliferation of grocery stores both "normal" and "specialty"?  Have you been in one on a senior discount day?  Why do you think they offer these discounts?

    Your article for the most part is pretty good, but with the one sentence referenced above you lose all credibility.

  • I appreciate your critique.  Having said that, I do believe that there are a great number of people in the work force who eat most of their meals out.  I was one of those people.  I grabbed a fast food breakfast on the way to work.  Lunch was eaten at work from either the cafeteria or a vending machine.  As for dinner, we ate five out of seven dinners out.  I rarely cooked.  So "Start" cooking at home makes complete sense to me.  Perhaps, I should have said, "start cooking more at home".  Thanks for checking out the blog - I hope to hear from you again.

  • Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts, especially the list of things never wanted to do again. I also like the idea of 'practicing'. I'm thinking about living full time in an RV and bought a cheap used one to see what it would be like. My first thought was to rent one for a month, but have you looked at what those things rent for? It is cheaper to buy used then sell it. You don't want to buy new, though, because then you are buying at retail and selling at wholesale prices.

  • Hi James and thanks for your kind words.  I agree with you about RV prices.  We looked for several years before we actually were able to purchase one - 20 years old but top of the line in it's time and in very good condition.  I'll talk about how we managed to get the RV in an upcoming blog.  You will get a laugh out of this one!  We recently replaced the carpeting with hardwood flooring and put a granite countertop in the kitchen area.  The project was under $500.00 due to the small size and some frugal bargain shopping.  Good Luck with your RV adventure.  I think it sounds like fun and also will be a great change of lifestyle.

  • You were extremely lucky you had 6 months to plan.  I had not one day.  One day, as I was fast closing in on age 60,  I was working at work (legal editing), that I loved, the next day I was, in effect, retired involuntarily.  At 60 no one will hire you unless you have an EXTREMELY rare skill that cannot be easily replicated. No one wants to hire a 60-yr old unless it's for scut work like a greeter at Walmart.  I had enough in retirement monies that I didn't have to do that, but not enough to begin to actually enjoy retirement.  So, here I sit, vegetating, waiting for the Grim Reaper to come and get me.  Retirement is HELL when you love your work and don't have enought to ENJOY retirement.  Don't let anyone tell you any different.

  • Hi Jim - Thanks for your comments.  I am glad I had the lead time to adjust my thinking and get used to the idea.  I can sympathize with you because the State I worked and the Department I was in at the time planned a State-wide layoff.  Our positions are union positions so seniority rules regardless of anything else.  My job was not targeted for layoff but I was bumped by a more senior employee and I had only 2 weeks to find another job.  We both lost our jobs through no fault of our own and that is a hard pill to swallow.  I hope you read my blog "Frugal Living on limited retirement income".  I share how my husband and I supplement our retirement income with other ways to make money.  We all have gifts and skills that can be used to make money.  It is all in how we view our situation and thinking out of the box to turn our skills and gifts into money for us.  I wish you much luck and hope that you start looking at your situation from a different standpoint.  Editing of any type is a skill so think how you might use this skill in a different way to add to your income.  Good Luck!

  • I retired in 2010' so far so mediocre,  I worked in a warehouse for 25 yrs..thevcompany gutted benefits and pension contributions. So I left..my advice is no advice it's your call. Remember your time is short..anyway ..adapt adapt?

  • Hi Kent - thanks for reading the blog.  I agree with you completely.  There is an old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade".  We must be able to adapt to many situations during our lifetime.  I wish you luck in your retirement and hope you see improvements.

  • i have 8 years to retirement and not sure were to put money in for retirement. an ira or something any advice

  • tiquie I appreciate your blogs on retirement. I am considering an early retirement myself and cannot figure out if I am doing the right thing. Health issues are making me want to move aside and allow someone to come in that will be able to fill my spot. I feel poorly a lot and it affects my attendance, which in turn affects my performance. Some may think this is not a reason to retire and would stick it out until they show them the door, I cannot work this way. I too have started cooking at home (more), looking at ways to save a little goes a long way. Before getting here I never thought much about that morning sandwich and coffee out, that afternoon sandwich/salad and snacks from next door, and the evening stop at the local pizzeria or fast food place to grab something quick so I could get the things done I needed to when I got home without cooking first. These things really add up and can destroy a budget. It was not something I thought about while I was handing it over a little at a time, once I pulled out the calculator all I could say was "WOW"! Any advice you could give me on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your blogs and keep up the good work.

  • For those who would like to work after retirement or need to work after retirement, here is what I plan to do.  In my state substitute teachers don't need a college degree.  Most schools are desperate for substitute teachers.  It's a great job, you can be around young people, you can choose whether or not you want to work when they call you to substitute, and it's extra money in your pocket.  Another idea? If you want to work full time, see if your local school has any positions open for tutors.  I have a college degree that is totally unrelated to education.  Due to a health problem, I couldn't work in that area any longer, so I applied to be a Special Education tutor.  I've been there 4 years now and I LOVE it!

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