Monday, January 12, 2009
My first attempt
Well I've been retired now for 8 months and I think I have something to share about my experience. I retired as soon as I was eligible which in my case was age 55. But it was not a spur of the moment decision. If you want to retire early you have to plan for the occasion. I started when I was 45 yrs. old. I knew then I wanted to retire as soon as I was eligible. In order to do that the biggest decision to make of course was how much do I need to live on. After analyzing my situation it was obvious that having my house paid for was the first priority. So I upped my mortgage payment to an amount that would have my house paid off by the time I was 55. I know it's not that simple for everyone, but this blog is about my situation, how I got there, and how much I'm enjoying the results. This is just an example of the planning needed to arrive at the date when you can retire. Everyone's plan will be different. So first, plan! Second, don't listen to anyone but your spouse. Everyone has a different idea about how good or bad retirement life is to them. I had a lot of men tell me that they wish they had never retired. People told me I needed a hobby to retire. I have none. People told me I would be bored and looking for work in 6 months. I have turned down 2 jobs since I retired. But what about listening to your spouse? If you are married this affects you both. If she works she might be envious of your decision to retire if she's not able. She might wonder about health care. She might wonder how much you will have to curtail your lifestyle. She might even worry about you and what you will do with all your free time. These are all valid concerns and you should be ready to answer his or her questions and allay his or her fears or concerns. Planning takes time and THOUGHT. Not just about you but all those who depend on you. You need to be able to answer your spouse's questions not just for them but for yourself! What about health care? What will you do with your time? If he or she still has to work, what benefits can you point out that will make their job easier because you are home all day? Retirement takes a lot of planning and prayerful thought if it is to be successful. Now I know I used the word prayerful and some of you may be seeing red flags go up. Oh No! He's some kind of Christian nut. Well let me tell you right now that is not the case. I am a spiritual person yes, but not a "churchgoer" so to speak. I do believe that positive thoughts (another set of words for prayer or meditation) can create a positive outcome. That's what we all want right? A positive outcome. So positive contemplation will lead you toward that positive outcome. More about my beliefs later. Just don't get turned off by my use of the word prayerful. So anyway, think long and hard about retiring and what it will entail for you and yours. The end result will make it all worthwhile. More about that in my next post. Till then, Happy trails.