As one considers retirement

joyfulguyJuly 16, 2009

Someone wrote to ask for some suggestions with regard to guiding/offering suggestions to their parents on their ongoing retirement ... it seems that they're a bit inclined to get in one another's hair.

Here's part of my reply.


Different people deal with retirement in a wide variety of ways. Before they retire many think of it as giving one much anticipated freedom.

The trouble is that a substantial number of people haven't been used to freedom ... and maybe it becomes boring ... or drives them crazy ... or they drive their spouses (or should that be "spice"?) close to crazy.

Some time ago a lady whose husband had been promoted to management, where he was managing a number of people, wrote to say that, at 55, he was finding it very stressful, and she was wondering whether he should retire.

I said that if he had more than one string on his violin ... and if she could stand having him underfoot (she had thought that the house was hers ... well, during the day) ... and if they'd have enough to live on (and for sure not to forget the ravages that inflation wreaks on the value of one's assets) ... that he should give serious thought to retiring soon.

Some people think that they can think ... but find it hard to actually do it, and on a focussed, sustained and structured basis.

Actually, when one retires, one does have that freedom.

And it's a good time to do some serious thinking about what one wants to do, if one hasn't been doing some of that serious thinking on that issue, earlier.

Many people spend heavily in the first year, or few years, of their retirement - doing that travelling that they've been wanting to do for years. While they're in good enough health to be able to get full enjoyment from it.

On the other hand, my Dad wasn't much for travelling, unless there was someone, usually a relative or long-time friend, that he wanted to see at the other end.

Also, barring serious ongoing illness, often we find that major spending is involved in the last year of life, due to the need to fund various health care issues that may not be covered by one or other kind of medical insurance.


What suggestioons do you wise folks have to offer with regard to planning and managing one's retirement?

Let's get a good discussion going.

Granted, of course, that everyone's lifestyle, desires and inclinations are different.

Hope you're enjoying good health ... and if not, are able to cope with the problems reasonably effectively.

ole joyful

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OJ, I think this is a great topic. I hope we get some good responses to it. (You might have to invite some of the other forums)

My husband's place of work closed the end of March, but he had an extended "contract" to work other locations until the end of July. This has been an experience I must say. I wrote of this some time ago so will not expound on it here.

What we have going for us is a strong committment to take care of each other; what we have against us is different personalities. I am an early bird, he has slept in late on his days off. I enjoy the arts (I paint), music, etc. He likes to watch baseball and football mostly on tv, since his favorite teams are from his youth and not of this area.

(Fortunately we had planned for him to retire in a few years. Our home is paid for and we have no debt. I was fortunate to not have to work, mainly due to his encouragement and financial planning; and therefore able to care for my ailing mother for 2 years before her death.)

We traveled while we were "young" and got the wanderlust pretty much out of our system. We don't want to buy/rent an RV to travel, or go on ocean cruises.

However, I am wondering with anticipation and excitement what the new lifestyle will bring. I know it will take him some weeks to adjust - this is more than a vacation from work.

Retirement planning is more than quitting work. It is creating a change of habits. Financial planning is only part of it. I will continue to paint. Maybe I can get my "Type A" husband to become my agent!

I will leave with "more to come"....

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Anyone with some fresh ideas to offer?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 7:16PM
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Not a fresh idea but one that has come up recently in my life is you need to watch that your financial planning does not end up as the old saying goes shooting you in the foot. When I retired I discovered I have to pay additional taxes of things like health coverage. I had worked where we had a cafeteria plan for benefits. As such it was not fully taxable. I set up my retirement payment based on the previous years taxable income. Wrong. This year rather than receiving a refund we are paying additional taxes. Because I tend to put things off paying estimated taxes is not in our best interests I am scrambling to change things so taxes will be paid by witholding. Now to convince hubby to change his witholding because he is hard headed about things like this.

The other shoot first and ask later was that I had planned that when our house got below 30 thousand I was going to take 401 funds and pay it off. Because of hubby's income if I do what I had planned I would have to draw more than twice the amount needed to pay the taxes. Sounded and looked good on paper before I retired but not now.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 10:03PM
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We did as much financial planning for retirement as we could. We're terrible savers, actually, but as DH has a good pension and health benefits we knew that was our 'fallback'. It was just a question of whether we could live on 80% of his current salary, especially as costs rise and inflation threatens to return.

Fortunately, he had been contributing large pre-tax amounts to his retirement plan two years prior to retirement, so it turned out we were living on a net 80% amount anyway, pretty much. So that took a load off our minds, as well as negating any need to withdraw from his retirement savings on a regular basis.

He was cashed out of his vacation time so we got a nice large check (minus a 35% hit for tax withholding). That's what we're using for our heavy schedule of trips over the next couple of years. Yes, we're doing the cliche of traveling before we get too old to do it, LOL. We just finished a trip to New Mexico which was exhausting but a lot of fun; I posted a thread on it in the Travel forum. Still to come is the CA wine country, a Buddhist retreat, and a big Alaskan cruise. Next year will be quieter, though, with just vague plans for a railway trip to the Smithsonian in Wash DC; a drive down Central and Southern CA to visit some relatives; and possibly a visit to my DH's relatives in Canada to discuss some family issues with his mom.

DH and I are one another's best friends. We love spending time together, even though we have friends we will see separately. We're very fortunate to have no disagreements about what we want to do in life, whether day to day or special goals. And even luckier to be able to afford our lifestyle, because many of our friends and family have struggled to stay afloat these past few years.

Our home is paid for and comfortable enough, and as long as I can keep up with the gardening, it's a great place to live. Location is good, amenities are close-by, neighbors are wonderful. My family is only 20 min away and they all live within 2 miles of one another, although everybody owns their own home.

We have made plans for what to do as we get older or disabled. One of them is to systemically (no rush, we hope!) investigate the various senior living alternatives in our urban area. There's a lot of them, and we'd like to know what's available to us beforehand, at all the various price points.

Part of our financial planning included sufficient insurance, so unlike many Boomers we have not only good retirement health insurance but also our own long-term care insurance. As it turns out, having that insurance gives us a few more options when it comes to retirement and continuing care facilities.

We have some health issues, so this was a big reason why I didn't want my DH to postpone his retirement any longer. It's been great to see him more relaxed and rested. Our only issue is his mother lives with us, and he gets frustrated dealing with her, although in a different way than I do. She's a nice lady, but the epitome of what one should NOT be in retirement - dependent, lost, ignorant, fearful, unwilling to do anything for herself or make any effort to enrich her life. She has no family nearby except us, is slowly losing all her old friends but refuses to make new ones, and dementia is narrowing her world every day.

Tragically, this is a type of dementia she could have possibly avoided, but she has become incapable of comparative analysis and logical thinking through sheer disuse. At least she can function on a daily basis, but even that is slowly beginning to falter as she becomes more forgetful and absent-minded.

We feel fortunate to know many elderly people around her age that are the opposite - alert, vital, interesting, and active. These are the people who are our role models for aging gracefully.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:42PM
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