"When I began to think seriously about these questions, I decided to interview people." Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
I retired after a 37 year career as a tax expert in wealth transfer and spent five years retired. My wife told me that I failed retirement and it was time to do something about it. Some colleagues started a new firm and asked me to work with them on technical issues and training people and I initially balked; but we agreed on 20 hours a week and it was a great decision. I have meaning again.
I enjoyed reading Steve Lopez column when he was writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Great feature on Steve Lopez. Interesting content, but also a different angle. Thanks for trying different approaches and keeping it fresh.
One oopsie - I believe the author you are referring to is Nancy Schlossberg not "Nancy Slossberg". Further, you missed an opportunity here. You could have linked to one or two of her books on Amazon via your account. She has published quite a few, and recommending one or two would have been cool. This would have also given non-subscribers an opportunity to put a bit of dough in your pocket!
Great interview! I’ve learned to treat retirement like a job. Each day has a purpose and a plan. That includes managing my health. And volunteer your time; find a way to make a difference in an organization or in someone else’s life.
Interesting column and a position I’m sure is shared by many. I, too, once identified myself with my occupation.
When I decided to retire I realized I am me, and not defined by the job I do. It was so refreshing! My purpose is to enjoy life. My wife and I hike, bike, cook, read, and live on our own clock. Each day begins with coffee and our two newspapers (+understandably and a few other newsletters) then moves into our day. Whatever we had planned. It is so nice!
Everyone is different and to each their own. The main point is to be happy.
I’ve been retired for four years from active parish based ministry as an Episcopal Priest. I’ve posted comments from time to time about how retirement is something that begs continual review. Last August I turned 70. Entering the 7th decade has prompted a retirement review based on possible physical challenges along with what might be fulfilling as well as of use to others (an important part of my understanding of self as those who follow my guest preaching opportunities on WCT.coach know). I’m letting go some professional responsibilities while preparing to share in 2023 what it means to be of use through a web presence which in some small way has been inspired by Bill’s dedication to Understandably.com. Steve is quite correct to maintain good communication with his spouse. A shared outlook on “What Comes Next” builds a strong foundation for that “Next.” I’m grateful that in my household the surprise of booking a cruise turned out to be something appreciated. We depart December 3rd for 8 days 7 nights in the Eastern Caribbean as an early part of our 50th year of marriage celebration.
Well, I’ll definitely be in the minority among the fine readers here, with this comment: I don’t think I will ever retire.
I’m 57, going on 30. The only thing that makes me ever feel old is seeing what I look like in pictures now. YIKES! Oh, and the first 15 seconds of my day when I attempt to go from horizontal to vertical. Lol
Unlike most of the folks who read this wonderful weekday publication, I haven’t amassed enough money to retire on. I’m about to, as I finally…FINALLY made the right choice and struck out on my own, and it’s paying off.
Be that as it may, I don’t see myself ever quitting doing what I’m doing. For many years, I’ve joked that I’ll retire when I’m dead. That always meant I thought I’d need to work until then, because I’d have to. Now, on the precipice of opportunity, I believe it takes on a new meaning for me.
Work doesn’t define me, but it excites me. I can’t wait to get to my days “work” activities…to the tasks of making my clients’ lives and successes better. I go to sleep every night thinking of ways to do just that. I think of other things as I go to sleep as well…family, friends, gratitude…but I just can’t turn off the work stuff, either. Because it’s always part of my joy.
Joy and excitement are now why I won’t fully retire. Sure, I’m much closer to other joys…grandkids being the main one. I’m guessing I’m two years away from them, and they are bound to change my stance quite a bit. Being a dad brought me fulfillment, joy and excitement unlike anything else. Even still, the thrill of getting up each day and diving into the work that will change the lives of my clients is what propels me forward. It helps me see each new day not as “closer to death”, but as “What can I do TODAY?” It’s a great feeling, and truly keeps me young.
Having read Bill’s interview of Steve above, I now know I will be the guy who doesn’t retire, just “tapers back”. 20 hours a week sounds awfully good! I will effectively have my cake and eat it too, with the added luxury of not knowing which portion of my life is the cake. Awww, heck…it will all be cake. :-)
I have to say that for many, many, many years I felt that my.entire worth was my job. I was an officer in the military, I was later a nurse, then a nurse in the military, then a nurse leader….
Then I woke up and wondered who I really was and why I was so unhappy at work. I never unplugged and really got away. It wasn’t that I didn’t have good times at work over the years — I most certainly had some great times!
So, after finally feeling the extreme pressures of a high visibility position and trying to fake being happy I retired at 62 years old. Guess what — I was not my job and my job didn’t define me! I still get up around 5 or 6 and I still am engaged in my community and even have time to read books.
Maybe being well invested and with a couple of pensions making me able to leave the day to day grind is what now makes me so happy and relaxed. I have gone to visit so many National Parks, National Monuments and been hiking in some of the most beautiful country in the last several years that I can not imagine my life differently. Do I miss work? Honestly, never.
I want to retire like my parents. They worked hard, dealing with disabilities and other road blocks throughout their "contributing" years; volunteered throughout their lives and now, in their early 80s, still volunteer, but have spent their retirement also traveling around the world. They have become snow birds, living in Florida for a few months in the winter, and love to party. The pandemic brought loss of life to their very tight circle of friends, but those who remain celebrate life, they don't wallow in it. When the job goes away, you can still matter to those who love you, and those who are the beneficiaries of your volunteerism. Attitude is everything.
A career in the federal government, a Fortune 200 company and "Big Law", took me all over the world and at 50, a client convinced me to start my own firm with him as my main client. He bankrolled the whole thing and I went from 60 hours a week to 20 and now at 75 work about 10 hours a week. I am lucky to have a wife whose parents were missionaries and took her with them all over the world so we both love travel. The client is a close friend and I have helped him start and sell companies over the years and continue to do so. The computer has changed the way people work and both my wife and I work remotely all over the world spending weeks at a time at difference locations to experience the culture. I know my story is unusual and my partners were shocked when I quit to start my own firm but I guess my point is be bold and take a chance before it is too late
I’m what many called retired too. I’ve had 4 careers. A professional in corporate America. A teacher (I left my profession to homeschool). A farmer (the pandemic killed that for us). And now. A career of being retired? Every day it’s “what do you want to do today?” (Except when we have something planned. ) and so far it’s been great!
“and what things surprised you about retiring? ”
To other retirees - how many times in a day do you say “they don’t make things for us anymore?” or how many things wrapped up in modern packaging can’t you open?
John D. MacDonald's famous private detective Travis McGee took his "retirement on the installment plan". He worked at his dangerous "salvage consultant" job only when he needed money, and spent the rest of the time on his house boat, the "Busted Flush", at slip F18, Bahia Mar Marina.
Many of us feel that retirement should not be reserved for a future that may not come.
The comment about spouses and different dreams ring true. At one point I worked for an outplacement firm dealing with mostly upper level executives who are in their mid-50s and being laid off. One of the sessions they did was an assessment of retirement that included their spouses. At least 80% discovered that while they might be envisioning a home in the mountains, their spouse wanted a lovely relaxed home at the beach. Significant disconnect. Highlights the need to really understand what the two of you want as a partnership.
Great Topic! I work FT am 66 yrs old with a retired spouse whom I look forward to spending time with some day...the spouses being on the same page or the being able to give and take together is a skill that evolves with time. I have been married 35 yrs and do worry about what our daily schedules will look like when I do retire. My issue is that I love to work, it does give me a reason to get up in the mornings and I see a problem with that, except when I get into work and begin to interact with my Team. I will confess that I have tremendous independence at my job and am not truly bound by time constraints. This is probably a factor in why I choose to continue working.
Anyway - I agree that everyone is different, and we all need to be happy. I also believe that my happiness directly affects my health which is a natural concern as I age, and I will make a list of the books mentioned in these comments.
Thanks to Bill for this insightful and timely "article"? Is that what these dailies are called??? Haha!
I retired a sooner than I thought I would, basically because we decided we could. We made a three year plan when I was 61. My 25 years at the company I worked for was losing its luster. The corporate culture was horrible, my new boss was the worst manager I’ve ever worked under. He was the type that was quick to take all the credit when things were good, and throw his people under the bus when things were bad.
Without saying a word to anyone, we built a retirement house in Arizona which was completed in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit. I gave a months notice and we moved in March, just as the country was shutting down.
Once we got settled in I started volunteering, I got certified to substitute teach, I’ve been an election worker for the past three elections, I bought a Harley and now I really enjoy retirement.
It may not be right for everyone but when you stop allowing your work to define you, you’ll find the freedom to be exhilarating!
I’m in my 70’s, an introvert and unmarried. At 45, I changed careers and for the first time in my life I felt not only relevant, but serious joy with work. I’m one who can’t retire, and actually have no interest in doing so. I take a vacation week every 5 weeks (10 weeks/year), the have 3 clients/day for 5 days/week. For me this is wonderful.
I’m learning something new this year to do video tapes on a lot of lessons that I’ve learned. Lots of my clients are interested in them. If I can sell them, then I’ll have more money for the unexpected.
I always tell my clients to “retire TO something, not FRoM something” and discuss it with your spouse. Lots of spouses who are at home are petrified when their partner retires. I’ve had many a long talk with both sides. The only not happy retirees that I see the most are those who suddenly realize they have serious health problems now and can’t enjoy retirement. Hopefully they enjoyed working.