Retirement: what lifestyle changes?

softball_80September 21, 2012

I'm 62 and thinking about retiring. My question for those of you who actually are retired: what lifestyles , if any, did you change when confronted with living on a reduced amount? Did you go from a 2 car family to 1? Get rid of your cell phone or cable TV? I guess I'm just a bit reluctant to take that leap into the great unknown.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are you uncomfortable with the plans (and the result of those plans) you made for saving that first retirement dollar when you were initially able to do so and now with retirement looming in the not so distant future?

I don't minimize the "bigness" of the leap retiring can be, but if it was something you anticipated and prepared for all along, there shouldn't be much of a lifestyle change.

Doesn't really answer your question since people and their circumstances are different. Some want to talk about or hear about being reduced to a bare bones existence and feel it impolitic for someone else to say they're much better off in retirement than at any point in their lives.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've read that during the early years following retirement, many people spend more than they did when they were still working, perhaps due to doing a lot of long-postponed traveling and fulfilling that "bucket list".

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are you absolutely sure you'll be living on less?

DH retired about 3 months ago. We added up his pension, plus his social security, plus my SS (including my increased benefit for being his wife). When all is said and done, we're now making about $2000 MORE than his base pay when he was working--mind you, for the past 3 years, he's had a lot of overtime (your tax $$$ at work--we are pretty sure it was stimulous money). On top of that... his company is giving us a monthly stipend toward our health insurance. It's actually enough that we were able to up our coverage (cut our deductible in half) AND we still have $10 left after paying the premium for that.

We had no idea, until we actually discussed and got all the numbers--that we'd actually be doing so well at this point.

Lifestyle changes? Well, we don't go out to eat as often, but that's not because of his retirement. At the same time, we moved from a busy suburb, to a more rural area where there simply aren't as many restaurants.

DH thought it would be hard to get used to a life with no structure or schedule. 3 months later? He's doing quite nicely--sleeping until 7 or 8 every morning (he used to be up by 5:30, even on his days off), working around the house when he wants, taking a break when the mood hits. He's really enjoying himself, I find.

One thing I do insist upon is this--that one day a week, we put our 'work' aside, and go out for at least a morning, and enjoy ourselves. Might be hitting some farm markets, or sightseeing, we usually stop for lunch somewhere--but something to make a break in the routine.

We are keeping very close track of our income and expenses for now (I logue the income, he's a stickler for writing down every penny we spend). Just to see how we're doing.

I will add--the company he worked for was a large one. With accepting all that stimulous money, we suspect that there were strings--namely no mass lay-offs allowed. In the past several years, they've been trumping up all sorts of charges agains people so they can fire them for cause. It's usually someone who has been with the company for many years, who is in their early to mid 50s--just before they reach 55 which is retirement age. DH, being so much past that, and being the kind of worker who simply never gave them the slightest thing to hang their hats on, wasn't canned, luckily. But as you can imagine, he's actually glad to have left the company--the climate is so different now, and everyone feels as if they're treading on eggs every day. That may not be something you're dealing with, but he's so glad to be away from all the drama and angst.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As you can see from the posts above, there are specific issues to address when considering retirement.

#1 is the physical: what will your health allow you to do, and for how long? Then what? Do you have a plan for coping with the inevitable aging? Do you have a backup plan for that plan? What happens if you can't drive for a short period, say for convalescence?

#2 is the financial: have you done a budget? Are you free of excess debt? Have you reserved for large expenses: home maintenance such as a new roof or furnace, or the inevitable new/used car? How will you handle inflation if it goes above 5%? How long are you estimating your money will need to last (most people grossly underestimate how long they actually will live)?

How much do you need to pay for healthcare - Medicare covers less than 65% overall of total elderly medical expenses, and nothing for vision, dental, hearing, or long term care. What do you spend most of your money on now? What do you propose to spend it on after retiring? We travel just around the West Coast, so yes, our costs have gone up. But we will not be able to do this forever, so now is our time to 'get up and go'.

#3 is social/emotional: do you make friends easily? Do you have hobbies now or have you always focused on work and the co-workers around? Do you like spending time alone or are you willing to go out and make new friends? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions; but they can indicate what you may want to do with your time.


We retired at 55. All our friends/family are still working except for a few very wealthy friends and some who are much older and retired at the usual 65 age. So our weekends are still socially concentrated. We don't have a lot of friends, but that is our preference. We both have many hobbies and spend considerable time (and $$) every day on them.

I don't do volunteer work, for example. I tried it before my spouse retired but didn't really enjoy it. Right now we have very full lives and I don't want the weekly commitment. But I'm willing to try it again at some future date, perhaps when our lives slow down a bit more. Retirement comes in phases because your health changes. Flexibility of mind is perhaps the biggest key to happiness.

We are financially stable although certainly not rich (I wish, LOL), and able to afford living in a very expensive but beautiful area. Because my spouse did the "catch-up contributions" to his 401k for the last few years before retiring, we actually were living on a bit less than what our post-retirement income is. Although unintended, I now recommend this to people because it is really the best way to figure out if you can financially manage a retirement. In a three or four-year period you are going to experience 'bumps' that will show if you can manage on a specific amount. Once you are retired, there are no more performance bonuses coming in!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Because I knew of the dollar income difference, I lived on only what I anticipated my retirement annuity would be for two years before I retired. Then there was really no adjustment to my new income when I retired. One of the best determinations I ever made to make actual retirement not stressful to me.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Want to also mention that several years before actual retirement, I replaced old equipment for the house because it was 30+ years old and I did not want to have those kind of expenses when I retired. Replaced heating/ac system, replace water heater, had flooring in the house replaced, etc. So you might think about those kinds of things also.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been 'practicing' retirement as much as I can ahead of time. I have done much of what has been mentioned here. Kept a monthly budget, and added up each month of expenditure to see what I come up with yearly. So far, it's been under my potential retirement income. I got the house in better shape (siding, attic insulation, new ducwork, etc., paid down some bills). I've also cut back on certain things, just to be more mindful of my spending habits.

There hasn't been a raise at work for the past 4 years. Yet, the county manager just got a 5% raise from the commissioners recently! It has affected the already low morale. A lot of the older workers are leaving, and many younger ones are looking for jobs elsewhere. We've all had to do more work, for basically less pay after there were layoffs a few years ago.

I was going to retire in late 2015, but I will retire on FEB 1, 2013. I'm tired of the stress of work, the drama and dismal atmosphere.

I've already had an interview for a pt-time job. I teach water aerobics at night at the local YMCA and will continue to do so if not more of it.

Lay out on paper what you WANT to do in retirement. Do you want to continue to work some type of part-time job? Volunteer? I would recommend some books to buy. Not so much for financial planning but other areas.
GET A LIFE, You Don't Need a Million to Retire by Ralph Warner and HOW TO RETIRE Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie Zelinski. It's a fun book to read and can help you with any work identity that you may carry forward.

I've worked since 1971 and I am looking forward to putting the full-time jobs behind me. It's somewhat scary as I feel I will wake up thinking I need to get to work. That in itself will take some adjustment! It's a transition and I will do my best to adapt.
Good Luck in your decision!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our life style did not change we went on living as we always did due to my good money management and my husband's 37 years at the same company. He also waited until he was 65 to retire so he would have medical insurance. His company even paid for my medical as a dependent until I turned 65. My husband's company had seminars for the retiring employees. The list covered just about everything regarding, insurance, death information, etc.. I learned there are two ways you can loose your life savings, one is to be under insured for medical and the other is being sued. We were covered for medical and we bought an umbrella policy to protect our savings from lawsuits, it is not expensive. We also retired without debt.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My hubby retired 2 years ago and I LOVE IT!!! Like azzalea we have more income on retirement than when we worked. The best thing I enjoy is NOT getting up at 5a.m.. I sleep till about 7 or 8 then have coffee in bed watching morning news. One thing we did the year before retirement was to buy all new appliances. Ours were probably 30 years old so we got it all. Stove, fridge, washer, dryer, even hot water tank and tv. We hit it just in time when all the electric companies were giving rebates for buying energy saving items. Bought 1 at a time with gift cards from grocery stores which earned us tons off on gas. I love not having a schedule though we still have a "sort of" schedule but it's a lot less strict than when you have to be at work. We also go more places. Afternoon movies, flea markets, exploring places we always wanted to see but never had time, etc. It's a freedom not to have to be home early to get to bed for the next day's work. My hubby does have to work though when we don't go anywhere, he gets too bored watching tv. He repairs stuff, everyone's stuff - for free, mowers, cars, trucks, just small stuff to keep busy. I am so thankful we got to this age, both our fathers passed away before they retired, that's sad now that I realize how great retirement is.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:17AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Life in the Villages
Betty, My hubby and I are thinking about moving to...
Need your advice on our Plan
Thank you for your advice and suggestions. We do not...
Retirement Property in PA
looking for retirement property in Pennsylvania, preferably...
Can I draw SS on my husbands SS before he draws? SS...
anyone have two homes in retirement
dh and i have been having trouble deciding where to...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™