Michael E. Leonetti , CFP, is the president of Leonetti & Associate, a fee-for-service financial planning firm based in Buffalo Grove, Ill. .


Tim from CA posted over 7 years ago:

I've been retired 3 years and agree that this article makes many good points. The one about the myth of living on less was especially applicable in my case. Our expenses definitely grew as we used our new-found free time to travel and take avantage of entertainment opportunities in our nearby community.

William from OR posted over 7 years ago:

My wife and I have been retired more than 25 years. The first eighteen years were spent traveling the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, in travel trailer and motorhomes. Seven years ago, we moved into a retirement facility, where we are free to be as active as our abilities will allow, or as dependent upon assistance as our gradually decreasing energy and abilities require.
The traveling years were the best years of our lives. But, we disposed of the old homestead before we started off to travel.
We believe that a happy retirement requires doing what you really want to do, and can afford, and disposing of homes, properties, and activities which are inconsistent with your plans. If you don't enjoy doing it, do something else.

Arthur from CA posted over 7 years ago:

It is difficult to understand why so many people who have over sixty years of life experience when they face retirement have so much difficulty reaping the rwards they worked so hard for. My wife had retired from her 26 years teaching elementary school.kids. Three years later, I passed my 65th birthday with 40 years of working for only two employers; 25 years with the federal government and 15 years for private industry. Both of our kids were well started in their own careers. We moved into a condo so we could just turn the key in the lock and go travelling. We travelled to far away places; one or two countries a year for at least a month at each place so we could really learn about the region, the people,the life styles. But we rarely stayed at fancy hotels and only sampled gourmet restaurants as an adventure treat) For lunch we searched the local delies, bakeries,charcuteries, etc., for a few treats to go with some wine of the country and found a quiet place by the river
a shady park or a beach. Not once did we go home not feeling it was a rewarding experience. We continued until my companion ran into some health problems. When she
recovered, it was time to do the easy stuff; travel close to home. We had had a ball, walking on the Great Wall of China,cliimbing over the ancient ruins of Greece,hiking the biblical paths in the Holy Land, the tombs of Egypt. How the years ran by. Now, more wonderful years getting to know our own country better and our neighboring peoples to the south.

My wife, now in her mid-seventies and I a few years beyond, moved to an active-adult community, a golf and country club in our
area in California. I soon declared to my
partner decisively, "This is as close to heaven as I will ever get!" But after 23 years of a modest but rewarding retirement,
Lil left me; at 87 she just ran out of energy. At 93 I can appreciate how lucky we were we had agreed to live on my income and save almost all of hers except what we paid out for the kids' education. We had done due diligence on all major expenditures and on every investment entered (we made mistakes too.) We accumulated zero long-term debt.
"Paygo" as it is now called, worked for us.
I pray the present generations will learn
some of what we and our kids did.

Jay from AZ posted over 7 years ago:

I retired 15 years ago from a busy engineering business life and suffered depression after 6 months. I had to find meaning in my life. I found it when I started focusing on caring for myself and my family. I also developed many new hobbies that are nourishing me spiritually.

Diane & lee from Az posted over 7 years ago:

My wife and I (mid seventys) are living in an active style retirement community for the past 5 yrs. We are busy as ever. I work pt time in summers for the same co I was with for 32ys. We are busyier than ever and love the activities we are in. We have been blessed with good healt and work out and stretch daily if possible. We have been able to travel to one foreign country/ year for 10-15 days. In addition, we love to see some part of the USA every year too. I believe the secret is to keep busy; It's amazing how little time one has to complain about the aches and pains we all encounter!

Bart from AZ posted over 7 years ago:

The article and comments that followed have been thought provoking, inspirational and instructional. particularly Arthur's comments. I have been "semi-retired" for a few years, waiting for the right time to retire. My wife and I have been blessed and have enjoyed benefits of retirement, such as traveling, without retiring. I can't seem to bring myself to fully retire. This article and others have certainly shed light on how others are doing it(retiring).

Allen from AK posted over 7 years ago:

Unlike most of the previous comments, I've yet to retire. It's looming on the horizon in the next two to four years, yet I will be elledgable within 7 months for full benefits from the US Government, if I so choose. I enjoy my job, expecially the friendships I've established over the years and have to say nearly all the points mentioned in this article have come to mind already. I enjoy a few hobbies but don't want them to become my retirement "job". I'm content with my current job but don't want to become ineffective because of neanderthalism. I'm sure the answer as to when and what afterwards will come soon. Thanks all for your comments.

Chris from NJ posted over 6 years ago:

Thanks to all for the postings (especially Arthur). I'm beginning (albeit a bit late) to take a harder look at retirement, as far as when to retire, the financial situation required, and what to retire to. At 53, after 35 years with a large engineering company, 55 is mighty close, and 62 and 65 aren't that far off. The insights posted here have great value to me and I appreciate you folks taking the time.

Tom from AR posted over 6 years ago:

Someone told me that retirement was not biological. I had a friend who had worked for the railroad for 35 years, and after he retired he fell ill for 3 months until he reinvented his schedule and life style. I have another friend who hated his job with the state and could not wait to retire and get out from under a his boss.On the other hand, at 63, I like what I do and am able to provide the income I need on three days work a week. I feel like I'm partially retired but still have a purpose and can contribute to others as well as my income. So I have the best of both worlds for now.

Janice from FL posted over 6 years ago:

I am kind of scared of retiring. I derive a lot of satisfaction from my job. I was unemployed for 6 months and, besides job hunting, looked for fulfilling low-cost activities. I am still doing the volunteer work that I started during that period, but I have not found anything yet that provides the satisfaction I get from my job. A successfully retired friend wrote me that, "retirement is a shift from 'doing' to 'being'."

David from NC posted over 6 years ago:

I am approaching retirement age and have heard many times most of the comments posted here. The challenge I find myself in, is my health enables me to continue working but the challenge of working full-time at a high level position is becoming increasingly difficult. It would be great if work could slow down and accomodate a slower pace but staying in the work force full time doesn't allow one to phase themselves out of a demanding full time job. The forces of competition and survival in this difficult economic environment means you have to stay on top of your job day in and day out to keep your organization successful. Moving from this environment to that of retirement is nothing short of shock therapy. I don't know how you structure a more satisfying transition to retirement,but I'm determined, to put the same level of effort as I do my job, to finding out.

Shahul from GA posted over 6 years ago:

Great comments.Enjoyed reading them.

Paul from WI posted over 6 years ago:

I retired at age 60 11 years ago. It was tough at first financially, but early SS and good money management make retirement a time when I can give back to the community. Giving to others who need help, advice or friendship is a rewarding service that keeps me healthy and fulfilled.

I thank God everyday for giving me the time and energy to live each day for the future. Geting old isn't great, but it sure beats death and giving to others beats depression. Try it, you'll like it and you won't have time to wonder what you will do next! :)

Elizabeth from TX posted over 6 years ago:

My husband is 14 years older than me so I continued working full time when he transitioned from a full-time to a satisfying part-time job with minimal pay. We were able to do this because we made it a priority to become debt-free first. Four years later we built our dream house on the bay and I transitioned to part-time work. After another six years, we tired of high insurance and running from hurricanes. I fully retired and we took proceeds from selling our house and built another one in the country. We now farm and garden and are still debt-free. We don't live extravagantly but buy what we need and discuss major purchases before we buy. So far our diversified retirement savings have held up through some pretty frightening market downturns. With 90's-100's becoming the new life expectancy, we're trying to become more knowledgeable about investing ourselves rather than relying on others to make our money last.

Debora from MA posted over 5 years ago:

I am 47 and lucky enough to be able to stay home even though we don't have kids. I quit my job as an Employee Benefit Specialist to follow my husband to a new city for a job. The transition has been hard because I didn't know anyone in my new city. But it sure beats the inflexibility of non-stop work. Now I plan adventures for us for the weekends so that we truly see our new region. My house is clean for the first time ever. We never waste any food because I have time to plan meals and to shop accordingly. Two spouses both working in corporate America is absolutely exhausting. You are never away from your email and texts. Going on vacation is torture when you return because it all piles up while you are gone. The pace is inhumane! I am working on finding a career where I am not "owned" by my company. Until then I am enjoying my "temporary retirement". Full retirement no longer scares me in the least.

Anne from TX posted over 5 years ago:

I retired from 23 years in real estate to take
care of my lovely mother for four years until she turned 100 and passed on. She wanted to go all the time so we had a wonderful 4 years
together and a huge 100 year birthday party.
She didn't spend a day in bed until her last.
Then I spent 3-4 weeks a year travelling to
China, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, Great
Britain, Tanzania/Kenya on high the whole time. I also travelled in the U.S. I retired at almost 70 after loving my job and
moved to Texas to be near my daughter at 79.
Now I am in charge of my church outreach program and volunteer in other capacities, too. At 84 I began learning about investing
and am having a wonderful time. I can't
imagine how anyone could ever be bored. There
are so many books I would like to read. Just to help out, I take care of a 2year old every
Friday and am involved with the other young
people in this church family. I didn't see
much of my grandchildren's growing up as they
were out of town so I am especially enjoying
this good little boy. I have been a widow since my mid-40's. I should add that I enjoy
tremendously the three people I play bridge with once a week too. My Dad held me under his thumb very closely all my growing-up life.
Though I had wonderful friends, I never felt
I had a happy childhood. Once I left for
college and was out from under his control, I
haven't stopped enjoying life even though there have been difficult times just as most
people have.

Frank from AR posted over 5 years ago:

My wife worked for me so 3 years ago when I retired at 69, she was forced to also. Since then we have gone slow, kind of seeing how we are doing. She does as she has bridge games and children and managing our home, while I do my hobbies, photography, genealogy, tennis, fishing and sailing (which I would love to do the US coast). She has become afraid of the water. I have kept us invested as I think we need to plan on another 20-35 years. I am now 72 and our problems seem to be more different desires than financial, provided we don't have another major downturn..

Robert from MO posted over 4 years ago:

Being 71 and retired for 5 years I have found retirement as a transition from working at a job to working for yourself through projects you enjoy and volunteer activities helping others. My wife retired at the same time as I. She enjoys reading, writing, meeting with girl friends and preserving the memories of our lives. What ever you take up in retirement it must give meaning to your life. While the thought of never having a schedule to follow in retirement is appealing, I find without establishing some schedule I will not get things I feel are important done, such as regular exercise, long walks and routine visits to a gym.
One of the nicest things about not being tied down to a job is the ability to pick up and go when your needed by a relative or a vacation trip you want to take.

My wife and I enjoy our retirement and we have found satisfaction in the way we spend our time.

Robert from MO posted over 4 years ago:

Being 71 and retired for 5 years I have found retirement as a transition from working at a job to working for yourself through projects you enjoy and volunteer activities helping others. My wife retired at the same time as I. She enjoys reading, writing, meeting with girl friends and preserving the memories of our lives. What ever you take up in retirement it must give meaning to your life. While the thought of never having a schedule to follow in retirement is appealing, I find without establishing some schedule I will not get things I feel are important done, such as regular exercise, long walks and routine visits to a gym.
One of the nicest things about not being tied down to a job is the ability to pick up and go when your needed by a relative or a vacation trip you want to take.

My wife and I enjoy our retirement and we have found satisfaction in the way we spend our time.

Patrick from KY posted over 4 years ago:

I am 62 and not retired yet. The thought has me as indecisive as the last downturn in the market. My advisors tell me that i can retire and be OK financially.
I do have hobbies but not consuming ones. Travel seems like the avenue many take initially in retirement but my wife is not inclined to take trips longer than one week or more than twice a year. What tools do others use to find the mix for a happy retirement? I can continue to work but my job does not allow slowing down and aspects of the work are trying at my age. (night work)
Making this jump is foolish to me without a plan. I would like to find the tools to create the plan. Any suggestions.

Ali from New Jersey posted over 3 years ago:

I am new to AAII and I hope to learn a lot about investing and saving for retirement.
I am 62 and want to retire in about a year. I am a consultant in pharmaceuticals. In New Jersey there are several large pharmas so I usually find work. My husband is still working but plans to retire next year. We have no children. We've been pretty careful about saving in our 401Ks and he has a pension too. I think we will be okay financially if healthcare costs don't drain us. I fear that congress may try to limit Medicare funding causing my costs to rise. We both are concerned but don't let it affect our daily lives. We also are thinking about moving out of this state because property taxes are ridiculous!
That's about all that's on my mind today, thanks.

Jim from New Jersey posted over 3 years ago:

I decided to take an early out from a major aerospace company last fall. My long term plan was to retire early, find part time work, spend more time travelling and with family, and more time with hobbies of music, model railroading and gardening, and possibly pursue adjunct teaching at the college level. Having a vision and a plan has been essential!

I was purely retired for the first 4 months and started to get just a little bit bored. I resolved to find the right part time job and/or consult. An alternate or second plan was to teach part time at a major university either in engineering or management. So the one thing that really helped me achieve that balance was LinkedIn. After building up a decent set of contacts, who certified my abilities, the opportunities started to flow directly to me. A job opportunity that exactly fit my background - part time. And having made several contacts in the academic world, I am now seeing the exact opportunity I was looking for as an adjunct professor. It's been a wonderful balance - enough free time to pursue my 'non paying' interests, and now the perfect work and teaching opportunities. So having the dream, and then a plan has worked out for me. I can see living this way for a long time, much lower stress, much more learning, and income for part time work that matches my full time 60/hr week job. Can life be any better?

Steven Stark from ID posted over 3 years ago:

I retired two years ago at 56. I ran several "Monte Carlo" evaluations. I set a budget for us and I keep track of it on two formats; bank software and Quicken. I met with a fee only financial planner to look over my plans before retiring.
Learning to invest was time consuming at first until I gained confidence on my strategy. I WAS confident of my strategy until the market went down 10%. So, I suggest if you plan on doing your own investing, you start running a portfolio before you retire.
My wife and I are very busy having fun with our grandchildren and helping our adult children who all live in our area. We have other interests also that keep us busy.

Dave D. from Texas posted over 3 years ago:

My wife and I have both been retired for 19 years. We sometimes find that there aren't enough hours in the day, but our activities are not "meaningless." We really enjoy most everything that we do. We positively expect to enjoy our activities, rather than negatively expect to be bored. The one phrase that really irks us from our grownup children and others is, "With 'all of your free time every day.' (when we really don't because we're busy doing what WE want to do.) You need to be doing such and such." This points out one big problem in retirement that you do not mention. We must learn to politely ignore people when they seek to coax us into activities that THEY want us to do if we truly don't want to do those particular activities.

Richard from TN posted over 3 years ago:

After graduation from THE Ohio State Univ 1961 we lived in 7states and 6 cities Both employed in the computer industries. Stopped working in 1998 and moved to great state of TN.

My job in retirement is to make money in the stock market. My wife's job in retirement is to spend that money--she makes quota every year.

This life is better than doing that dirty 4 letter word-----W--O---R---K.

Charles Stephenson from OH posted over 3 years ago:

I'm 54 and really glad i found AAII years ago. I have followed both portfolios with my own funds and i can't completely match their performance but i'm close. I'm shooting for 62 as my retirement age and maybe it will happen. Kids are doing well on their own and we have no debt. After reading the great comments here i realize my wife and i will have an even better time being retired. The main reason. She loves me dearly and likes most of the things i do and we like being together. It makes anything doable for me. Just how it is for us.

Mel from WY posted over 3 years ago:

Agree with Richard from Tn..

Advice to someone working for a major corp., if you are planning to retire don't be Mr Nice Guy and discuss it with your fellow employees or clients/customers.
Check your employment contract and do no more or less than what is required. If you are important to them they will make it worth your while to help out with the transition.

Bill from NY posted over 3 years ago:

I think that one of the most important aspects of a successful retirement in terms of mental/emotional/spiritual health is to either already have an ample supply of innate curiosity or be able to somehow develop it. Several recently retired friends/relatives seem to be adrift without any sense of direction simply because they never addressed this issue while working. Sadly, their work substituted for any interests, hobbies, or curiosities they might otherwise have developed. One of them, out of sheer boredom is now employed at a rather dull part-time job. What a pathetic way to spend a "happy" retirement. I retired two years ago and have never had that problem. Rather, my problem (which is really not a problem at all) is how to find the time necessary to devote to a plethora of new learning experiences every day of the year. As time passes, my curiosity regarding so many things grows by leaps and bounds, thus there is no time for boredom. Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has enormous untapped potential for self-development and knowledge building. All it takes is a trickle of curiosity to begin a landslide of lively interest. The trick to begin in one direction; one single area of interest and see where it takes you. I assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised and amazed if you do.

Paul from Texas posted over 2 years ago:

After living, studying, and working in 4 different countries before retiring at 62, my conclusion is that unless absolutely necessary it is probably better to keep working until you cannot. Keep your job and your home, that's free advice for what it is worth. While you're working, the tempting and alluring idea of retirement seems to be a worthwhile goal. But after watching colleagues, friends, and family after they retired, it seems that retirement never ends well. Just keep on truckin'.

Larry Hardebeck from UT posted over 2 years ago:

Great comments. I am 64 and getting very tired of the stressful job I am in. I plan to retire in a few years. It is really helpful to see the importance of planning out your retirement. Finances are definitely a very important aspect but having a fulfilling life after retirement seems to be just as important.

Arthur from SC posted over 2 years ago:

I retired in May 2013 after 38 years with the same company. I worked towards this retirement all of my life and I invested for it.

My wife and I are enjoying it and having fun.
I fish some days, she yardworks some days, we read everyday, travel occasionally, go see the granddaughters, eat out some and sometimes just have a sandwich or soup. I go to the Y and swim. She likes to get up early and go walking with the girls.

It's everything I hoped for...

Isle of Palms John from SC FL OH posted over 2 years ago:

Even if you are eligible, don't just retire because you can. Many hit the "retirement age" of their employer or Social Security and are brainwashed into the Retirement Myth" If you like or can stand what you're doing, keep working. If not, keep an open mind to other possibilities. I didn't like what I was doing and figured, I would rather be H&R Block Tax Preparer, a Walmart Greeter, a Delivery Truck Driver, or a McDonald counter worker. I had hobbies that were fun but they were kind of fillers between what I thought I really wanted to do. Turns out that I treated people well during my working career and some called after I retired and asked me to consult for their companies. I've become so busy that I have started my own business and hired employees to help out. Treat other people well, keep an open mind, and be willing to try anything. You would be surprised haw far a can do attitude can take you.

JR from WI posted over 2 years ago:

For many one of your greatest financial assets is Social Security. Thoroughly look into the myriad of claiming options available particularly for couples. Don't be too eager to claim when deferring adds 8% a year plus an inflation adjustment.

norman from california posted over 2 years ago:

i worked for 51 years. i was mostly self employed. for 40 years i owned a business with a partner and it was great. we decided after 20 years of partnership that time was more important then money. we then basically worked 6 months a year. we paid and benefited our employees very well. i loved my work and time off. in the 40th year my partner and i had a major disagreement that could only be solved by my leaving or him leaving. i left. i was in good financial shape thanks to our joint efforts. my wife and i also bought an apartment in new york 20 years ago. we spent 5 months in ny enjoying the city and all it has to offer. my wife works part time which is not very lucrative but she enjoys. we have a lot of friends on both coasts. our kids married people we love. our health is good. we traveled a great deal. i would have preferred to work at least another 10 years. i am not starting another business and could not work for any body. i took a long rest from much communal work. everyday i write a check to a charity. i have lunch almost every day with a close friend. i always read a lot but more so now. i wrote a history of my family for my kids and nieces and nephews. i feel blessed. i sometimes think i could be more busy. when that happens i go for a walk to clear my mind. i have started to invest on my own for the past 4 years and like it. i know i will never be as good as my investment manager. i have never been envious of other people and that will not change. i am seeing a number of former clients and friends who died, are very sick and have other problems. i wish the world was not so screwed up. i feel lucky to live in the usa. i wish you all the best.

Steve from Penna. from PA posted over 2 years ago:

I worked until I was 72, and am very glad I was able to do so. I would have been quite pleased to continue part-time, but unfortunately that option was not available at the place I worked. Before I retired I read much about the process of retiring. Some was helpful but much was not. Perhaps some individuals waltz into retirement with multiple activities which they love, but that has not been the case with me. It took 6-12 months to come to grips with being home without getting up every morning with a place to go to (the job). I have since found some activities which suit me, some volunteer work and courses available from a local college. But there is still a certain amount of free time without much to do. Fortunately, we have enough to live on, and I spend time with our investments. My wife and I get along very well, but our children live out of the area and unfortunately there are no grand children. If I was more sociable, things would be easier for me, but we can't change our personality (I was an engineer). The only advice I can offer is to be prepared for what may be a difficult transition, I wish you all the success in this process.

Marvin Perkins from TX posted about 1 year ago:

Nice surprise - upon retirement I had more spendable dollars because I didn't realize how much it cost to work. I'd planned on a certain percentage of time for recreation, time for following stock investments, and time for labor. After a year I realized that not once had I gone fishing. So much for planning. I was driven to retire early because of sad experiences of close acquaintances who retired and died without enjoying the fruits of their labors. I retired at fifty-three in 1988, twenty-eight years ago. This octogenarian's advice - stay physically active.

Marvin Perkins from TX posted about 1 year ago:

Nice surprise - upon retirement I had more spendable dollars because I didn't realize how much it cost to work. I'd planned on a certain percentage of time for recreation, time for following stock investments, and time for labor. After a year I realized that not once had I gone fishing. So much for planning. I was driven to retire early because of sad experiences of close acquaintances who retired and died without enjoying the fruits of their labors. I retired at fifty-three in 1988, twenty-eight years ago. This octogenarian's advice - stay physically active.

Dick from MD posted about 1 year ago:

I worked until I was almost 79 (as of this writing I'm 80): I have the good fortune of being very healthy, I needed the time to build my IRA while paying off alimony from my first marriage and I enjoyed my work as an engineer. My current wife and I have vacationed in the US and abroad every year since we were married, sometimes on our own and sometimes with good friends. We have always enjoyed traveling, and plan to continue as long as our finances and our health permit. I took up a new musical instrument at 71 and currently play in a college orchestra (the rest of the musicians are the age of my grandkids!) and a community orchestra. I also got myself elected to the BoD of our community. We have a good group of close friends whom we see regularly, and our kids are well-launched. We own our home, are debt-free and have enough to live on, though our two cars are 8 and 9 years old. They'll have to be replaced soon, one at a time, and that will definitely put a dent in our spending. My IRA investments have mostly been in Vanguard mutual funds and have done reasonably well, to date. I am about to convert some of that money into stocks based on the AAII Dividend Investing portfolio and on the Stock Superstars portfolio. Obviously, I'm hoping they're successful. I plan on keeping separate track of how the two approaches compare. I have tried several financial planners with varying results. I dropped the last one only because their fees (1.2%) were high enough to make too big a dent in our investment returns. Over the last year, Though my wife has been having health challenges, I feel we've been very fortunate. I hope it continues!

Neil from GA posted about 1 year ago:

My thanks to all that have shared their experience and views here. I plan to retire at the end of 2016 at age 62. My wife just retire a few months ago. Work has been less rewarding personally but the people I work with are reason to continue in a positive way while I am here. I have been planning for retirement for years and managing my own investments as well. I am comfortable with where we are and our future. Looking forward to doing the creative things I get the most satisfaction from.Key learnings so far for me.....stay out of debt, it gives you options. Spend time on the relationships that give you meaning and purpose. Don't love anything that doesn't love you back.Learn about investing early so you can manage your finances yourself or be a better customer of a trusted advisor. May you all be well. May you be safe. May you be happy.

James Greenebaum from IL posted about 1 year ago:

I have been retired for 22 years and in agreement with others who are retired we wonder how we ever had time to work!
Initially I had been employed by a company that touted its wonderful profit sharing retirement plan. Then I was laid off and paid out. I vowed never again to put my retirement financial planning trust in an employer. I invested carefully and reinvested my earnings and bonuses now in retirement my income is four times my annual salary at the time of my retirement. We now live well, travel two or three cruises a year, and pretty much do as we wish between doctor's appointments!

Michael from NY posted about 1 year ago:

This is the first article on the psychological impact of retirement that I have seen. Fortunately I had come to realize this and more before I retired at age 52.

I retired because I am primarily a technical person. I could not bring about the changes in my job without advancement, and with it I found myself in a political arena far away from the technical work that I loved.

I had sufficient funds and a retirement plan to provide me with the ability to do as I wished, and transited to retirement by consulting an average of one day a week for five years. Although it paid extremely well, and I never had to look for work, I found that clients were more of a pain than bosses. So I stopped the consulting.

I had to wait for six years for my wife to reach retirement age so that we could more into the exurban environment that we both wanted. During that period, and for the last ten years I did a lot of physical work as well as technical work that tends to be indistinguishable from the technical portion of my career.

Health and arthritis has eliminated the physical work, but I continue the technical "hobbies." I start at 07:30, and often work until 22:00 or so. No boss, no clients -- so I get to set my own goals. I have always been a self starter, and my interests increase more rapidly than my ability to pursue them. I truly love retirement. My commute is one flight of stairs which is almost as good as it can get. My only complaint is that the days are far too short.

OTOH, my wife has made no such plans, does not seem to be able to become absorbed in any type of hobby, and is somewhat depressed.

I very much agree with the writer that retirement can be wonderful or a horror. That depends on much more than the financial aspects. But takes an honest knowledge of self, a willingness to acculturate, and most of all the ability to pursue a wide variety of interests.

To return to the five year old scientist that lives in all of us, and be driven by the wonder of the world that can be found wherever one chooses to look. Unlike the real five year old of course, that can take effort for many. But the joy and sense of self-satisfaction is more than worth the investment.

David Dudley from CT posted about 1 year ago:

I have retired at least 2 times already. The first at 49 to take advantage of Health Insurance Guarantee. The second at 59 to start my own company and begin reducing my work hours. My wife has been retired on for over a decade. I am down to 60 to 80 hours a month. My wife says I will never fully retire as it not me. We go camping in the month of July each year and now we are thinking of cruising. She likes that I can work anywhere there is a internet connection. We will be increasing our time with the grandkids. We have many now and our biggest thrill is to be part of their lives and memories.
As far as the money goes we do alright as we chose cash balance instead of traditional pensions and 401K/IRA's. My wife gets a kick out of the fact that I funded an IRA for her since I created my own company. Her friends that are home makers did not do this in their family financial planning. Our focus is not that grandiose but very family orientated.

Donald Myers from AZ posted 10 months ago:

One "myth" that wasn't mentioned, that your friends and even some family will begin to die off while you are still surviving. That means you have to begin to acquire new friends and new activities. Being flexible both physically and mentally is important. But look around you may see some others not doing as well as you, maybe you can give a helping hand. Do good for others and enjoy every day.

David Camp from CA posted 10 months ago:

I retired at 59 from a big aerospace company. After 2 years of taking care of family illnesses, I went back to work part time with folks I'd worked with previously. I have continued managing this engineering consulting company. I'm 73 now and hope to continue for the next couple of years at about half-time.

Our staff consists of early-retired engineers, all of whom like to work part time (and can afford to) and stay mentally engaged. They tell me "you can't play golf all day, every day" etc. Frankly the extra money has been useful too. We have 2 guys who are 81, but most are in their early 60's.

My advice: don't retire too soon, but do think about paid post-retirement work that you'll enjoy.

Harry Rich from OH posted 7 months ago:

I think the most dangerous myth is that expenses will be lower in retirement. It not only results in inappropriate financial planning, but, probably worse, causes people to think in terms of a retirement where they sit at home and do little.

A few years into retirement I heard the myth from someone touting himself as a financial advisor. I replied to him that while we no longer had to budget retirement savings, we were spending plenty on the arts, life long learning programs and travel. His response was a disparaging "Well, if you go in for those entertainment kind of things..."

You have your choice. You can plan on doing the things you want to do, or you can plan on not doing them.

Donald Myers from AZ posted 5 months ago:

What I glean from all the comments is that retirement is likely different for each individual/couple but that doesn't make one plan or system better except maybe for that individual or couple.

What we haven't heard about are those who retired with insufficient resources or whose health put them in difficult circumstances or perhaps the health/financial condition of family.

We need to keep those people in mind when we are voting.

David & Marilyn Craig from IN posted 5 months ago:

Lots of good advice from others above. Listen to others. Overconfidence is a problem in this age bracket. Having lived through several market downturns, I worked till age 70 to be sure of my nest egg. It's fine. My wife ( 9 yrs younger ) and I are in good health and devote time needed to keep in shape. We live in the country and are busy every day with gardening and seasonal chores. Having friends and family to do things with is very important. Having a financial advisor and other professionals on your team is your responsibility. Seek out ones who work best with you. A bit tricky. Especially when is comes to understanding things like medicare and investing and Wills. Homework is involved. We play in two old time bands year round. We've travelled over a period of years knowing that waiting until after retirement was chancy. My parents did not get to do that when ill health cut off that possibility. My advice is not wait till you are too old do some things. It can be done. Like others, I've lost dear friends. Do something that continues to honor their memory. It's wonderful to enjoy grandchildren. I still believe in the solid religious roots my family provided. Lots of common sense. Old Sunday school teachers where amazing roll models. As were Scout leaders. I still keep in touch with my old Troop 4 buddies, my high school friends, and my Navy shipmates. It's helped to keep it all in perspective. A proper balance.

Andrew from Chiriquí posted 4 months ago:

I was satisfied with my lifestyle while I was working, so I decided I would retire when I could maintain the same lifestyle without working. Eventually I got laid off right as I turned 55 and lo and behold I was right at that point.

I took six months off completely and then worked part time for two more years, then threw in the towel.

What I figured when I retired at 55 was that I should break 30 years into five year blocks for planning. What I did NOT want to do was have to make short-term adjustments to my life style, so I planned for a complete re-evaluation of my portfolio AND the assumptions behind it, every five years.

I just moved into the second five-year phase and was able to give myself a nice raise. During the five years I accomplished several travel goals (big one was 50 countries, although I had 37 when I retired), got another bachelor's degree, learned another language, and improved my health and fitness.

As a life member of AAII, I can certainly say that almost any time I was curious about a particular investment strategy, they would have an article about it!

Peter from OH posted 4 months ago:

Two years + into retirement. Top expenses are taxes and travel. Taxes will go down this year as "formal income" (1099) is finally gone leaving only interest from bonds, capital gains and dividends from stocks. AAII has been a very good guide over the years helping me to have a portfolio that will support my retirement. I try to tell the nieces and nephews to start saving and investing now. I hope they do. Staying active and maintaining health is also important.

Chip Tobey from TX posted 2 months ago:

I was raised by a loving father who lived thru the Great Depression. He never owned a home, had no wealth, could not afford medical care much less my education. I paid for his burial. I loved him and we were extremely close. ...they say a stressed plant matures into the strongest of them all. I started work on a ranch at 12 and worked 40+ hours / week until I was 70 -- I vowed not to repeat the life style my father experienced during he later years (never retired). I was motivated, and planned extensively -- probably sacrificing and worrying more than I needed (missed a lot: no high school prom or summer vacations, etc.) But I pressed for a solid foundation (four degrees in engineering, business and law), retirement from the Air Force, 30 years in private law practice, and now 50 years of marriage to the same woman four years my junior. Had some good legal winnings that allowed me to stash away much for me, my bookkeeping wife (and my employees) via a Defined Benefit Plan that only the self employed (as I was) could gain with the most tax-deferred benefits (atop IRAs for us both). We've been jointly retired in Texas for over four years and it has turned out exactly as I planned. We retired at the same time, do everything together -- I promised her that this phase of our life would be the best (read, play, exercise, travel, etc.) -- every decade has been an improvement over the last. Lesson: Look forward and plan for retirement; don't fear it! As Napoleon Hill wrote: "What the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve." I"THINK & GROW RICH" -- IT WORKS! I wrote down my goals, reviewed them daily, and learned day trading (which after 8 years of research & practice, has become my major "hobby"). Income is more than sufficient for us to do everything we desire (visited all 50 states, all of Europe, some of middle east, etc.) So my friends, keep sharing your experiences and providing advice based upon your life's experiences. I've enjoyed the aforementioned comments, for sure. DON'T FEAR RETIREMENT, PLAN FOR IT, THINK POSITIVE, AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES. Dream it; you can live it!

James Silva from CA posted 2 months ago:

After three years of retirement I have found happiness & fulfillment in the following three pursuits:

1. Have a physical pursuit- For example, I enjoy the outdoors; rafting, hiking and mountain biking. Walk, run, bike, play a sport, garden, dance, etc. but keep moving. Excercising in any capacity has been proven to have remarkable effects on health and well-being.

2.Have an intellectual pursuit- For example, at the moment mine is the psychology of judgement and decision making. (Tversky & Kahneman, Taleb, Thaler, Sunstein). It had been astrophysics for dummies (me). The Great Courses Company (teachco.com) helped me understand enough about our universe for me to put human life on earth into perspective. We aren't the center of the cosmos, we hardly have been on earth but for a cosmic nano second. I include volunteering, travel and hobbies as intellectual pursuits. Volunteering makes you feel better about your own life through your contribution to others. Travel is finding new things and like volunteering have scientific reasons that just make us feel good. So, become a reader, teacher, join a club, learn a foreign language, do puzzles, meditate, play an instrument, learn to sing, write, become an artist. Turn off the electronic world and quietly think. Spend your money on experiences, not things.

3. Pursue spending time with family and friends- If friends or family call and make a date to meet, do it. You have time. Make the effort. Spending time with people you have a shared history with and love you is the best of retirement!

If you can combine all of the above, retirement will be engaging, fun and worthwhile. You'll never regret having left your working life.

Keep active, keep your mind learning new things and hang out with friends and family.

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