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      09-20-2020, 10:58 PM   #1
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Retirees, what do you do with your time?

I'm looking at retiring at the end of April. Wifey keeps asking me what I'm going to do with myself all day. She's 10 years younger and will continue to work. I'm thinking I'll take a gap year and just do projects around the house (of which there are many). I can also get my daily bike rides in early enough that I don't miss dinner. And speaking of which, I need to learn to cook so Wifey doesn't have to when she gets home.

For you folks that have retired, if there are any here, did you have trouble filling your days when you first retired? Was the lifestyle change difficult?
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      09-20-2020, 11:53 PM   #2
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Not a retiree but if covid and wfh has taught me anything, itís that we as humans need to have a goal or purpose. Whether that is a hobby, project, adventures, etc., we need to have one. I know retired folks that work part time at a winery, makes jewelry out of sea glass, travel more, spend more time with grand kids, etc. Basically do things that you never had time to do. But you have to do something or you will be bored out of your mind. If I didnít have work and not allowed to travel, I would probably go nuts.
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      09-21-2020, 01:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
I'm looking at retiring at the end of April. Wifey keeps asking me what I'm going to do with myself all day. She's 10 years younger and will continue to work. I'm thinking I'll take a gap year and just do projects around the house (of which there are many). I can also get my daily bike rides in early enough that I don't miss dinner. And speaking of which, I need to learn to cook so Wifey doesn't have to when she gets home.

For you folks that have retired, if there are any here, did you have trouble filling your days when you first retired? Was the lifestyle change difficult?
I'm finally fully retired and I've had no problem at all keeping busy. I eased into retirement a bit reducing my hours bit by bit instead of stopping cold turkey.

For me, the transition was easy. I'd worked so hard for so many years that, other than trying to be a good husband and father, I had no time really to do other things. With retirement, I'm finally able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. (of course the pandemic is putting a crimp in it).

It did take a few months to get used to it. For example, I'd plan a vacation to Hawaii for a week or 10 days like I always did, not thinking that there's no reason to be back. I started planning longer trips. My last trip, for example, was 6 weeks in Europe: A week in Ireland, 2 weeks in Switzerland, a week on a Danube river cruise, and finally 5 nights in Prague. I never would have taken that kind of time when I was working. My wife and I took a 22 day cruise from Japan to Sydney. Again, something I would have not done while running my business.

Now, I read more, go on hikes almost every day (2 days are with hiking groups to which I belong), do house projects I used to pay others to do. I fired my gardener because he was doing a crappy job. I bought a lawn mower, trimmer, edger, and blower and I actually enjoy doing it myself. I just painted 150' of wrought iron fence. Never wold I have done that while working. I loved it. I'm currently refinishing a dining room table we love. Normally, I'd throw it out and go find a new one. My garage is organized and clean for the first time in my life. I started snow skiing again after several years. Just bought a new pair of skiis.

I have friends who retired and they are unhappy. Why? Their career defined who they were. My brother-in-law was an attorney and that was his brand. We'd play golf with a random twosome and I always bet myself how many seconds it would take him to tell his new captive audience that he was a lawyer. When he retired, he felt incomplete because he wasn't out there slaying dragons and earning money. His job defined him and he really wasn't happy with himself just as a person. I didn't have that problem at all. I worked hard do I could afford to retire. When people ask me what I do, I'm happy to just say, "I'm retired" and leave it at that. So, I think being comfortable in your own skin and feel that you have to justify yourself to anybody is a key to retirement happiness.

In your case, since your wife is younger and still working, it can get a little dynamic. I hike with a guy who's wife still works. He is a high net worth guy but his wife still bugs him from time to time about not being busy, sort of making him feel shamed about no longer working when she still is still employed. She says she is just worried that he is bored (which he is not) but there is underlying tension for sure, even though they are made financially. So, I would say you learning to cook and helping around the house in ways you didn't before could be a good thing.

Sorry to ramble, but when you are retired you have lots of time, including writing long-winded forum responses!

For me, I could have retired years before I actually pulled the trigger. I loved my career. I love being retired even more!


All the best!

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      09-21-2020, 06:59 AM   #4
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sygazelle has it right. My I retired a little over 4 1/2 years ago, my wife will likely retire next spring although she is the same age as me. I had a couple of jobs lined up that were related to my career but they didn't really work out. We'd purchased our current home just before retirement and I've been doing tons of work on it. But no rush like in the past where you tried to cram stuff in on the weekend or evenings. Now when I have a project I will take my time, work on it a few hours a day and then park it. I walk in town for at least an hour everyday, the dog loves it. My wife loves to cook so I didn't take over those duties but I have taken all the other chores as she has a demanding job. I can't believe almost 5 years have gone by already.

You cycle as you've talked about it a lot on the forum so you'll likely get more into that. I try to keep the routine of getting up at the same time, still early like when I worked. Coffee, read the news (although not so much right now, I'm getting sick of it) go for my walk, unless I'm working on a project. If I am I get after it in the morning and do my walk in the afternoon. You'll be fine.
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      09-21-2020, 07:13 AM   #5
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I'm not retired, but know a lot of retirees. Many of them say that they don't know how they ever found time to go to work now that they're retired! The never-ending honey-do lists, domestic duties if their spouse is still working, etc. Plus, I know more than a handful of people who croaked within 6 months of retiring, I theorize because they lost their reason to live when they gave up their jobs.

As someone else who robbed the proverbial cradle when I married my DW, let me throw in one other thing in case you didn't consider it yet. Women live longer than men. Since the DW is younger, she will probably need retirement funds long after you're looking at grass from the roots side. My thinking from the moment that I said "I do" is that I need to have about 10-15 years of extra retirement funds to take care of her needs after I'm gone. Given the historically short lifespan of males in my family, I will probably be dead before she is old enough to stop working and collect Social Security (if there will even be anything left to collect by then).

Long story short, if I cannot spend my retirement time traveling or doing things with my DW because she's still working, I might as well keep working and feeding our retirement account to make sure that she will be supported in her retirement. It seems to be my life sentence.....
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      09-21-2020, 07:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Murf993 View Post
sygazelle has it right. My I retired a little over 4 1/2 years ago, my wife will likely retire next spring although she is the same age as me. I had a couple of jobs lined up that were related to my career but they didn't really work out. We'd purchased our current home just before retirement and I've been doing tons of work on it. But no rush like in the past where you tried to cram stuff in on the weekend or evenings. Now when I have a project I will take my time, work on it a few hours a day and then park it. I walk in town for at least an hour everyday, the dog loves it. My wife loves to cook so I didn't take over those duties but I have taken all the other chores as she has a demanding job. I can't believe almost 5 years have gone by already.

You cycle as you've talked about it a lot on the forum so you'll likely get more into that. I try to keep the routine of getting up at the same time, still early like when I worked. Coffee, read the news (although not so much right now, I'm getting sick of it) go for my walk, unless I'm working on a project. If I am I get after it in the morning and do my walk in the afternoon. You'll be fine.
I was just saying this to Wifey yesterday. I can work on a project a bit at a time instead of having to dedicate the weekend to it. Looking forward to that. And cycling during the day when I'm not racing the sunset. No more late dinners because I was out riding after work.

Wifey is the big bread winner in this household. She'll be quite well off after I'm gone, at least money-wise. Not so sure she would be able to keep the house up, though. That's always been on me, finding and dealing with contractors and such. That's a big worry.
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      09-21-2020, 08:37 AM   #7
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Now this is something that does NOT worry me, I have a zillion things to do. I could stop working tomorrow and never have a bored moment in my life.
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      09-21-2020, 08:53 AM   #8
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Everyone is very different as to how retirement effects them. I know someone who had a fairly unexciting job who went into depression for months after retiring. I had a very 'sexy' job and never felt down (retired a few years ago).

Here's my pearl of wisdom for the day - you'll find out if you're glad you did it or not after you do it .
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      09-21-2020, 08:59 AM   #9
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I am getting pretty close to having enough money to retire relatively well but far under normal retirement age, wife is 5 years younger than me and wants to continue working. I debate what I would like to do with the rest of my life. Options include continue to do my normal job and spend more money and/or have a better retirement, find a job I prefer that doesn't pay as well (most likely), part time job, volunteer, hobbies, etc. I hear people that say they are going to play golf (not for me), but I don't see how something like this can fill up your week, maybe a small part of it. I agree with the above on needing a purpose and a reason to get up each day and do something.

I also bought the house next door and am renovating it to eventually rent, partly for the investment, partly for the space to have another garage (for hobbies) partly for a part time job that can go the rest of my life. I also like the idea of working at a running store, outdoor store, tours at historic sites, something that pays a little, has flexible hours and is close to zero stress. Would provide a little money, give structure and interaction with people. I also like the idea of volunteering and doing something that helps other people. Likely close to zero stress and could be fun. Would be good to come home realizing someone else's life is somewhat better because of what I did today.
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      09-21-2020, 09:24 AM   #10
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Not to point in another direction, but I’m far from retirement and concerned for other folks my age and younger. I’m probably right at the bubble of when you played outside as a kid with no idea of iPads and the like (born in the 80s). I look around and see a younger generation(s) complaining of no time to do ____, yet the entire day off was spent watching Netflix.

I have a lot of retirees in my neighborhood, and they are nonstop with housework and hobbies. I’m convinced when the time comes, we’ll be a bunch of whining, old babies connected to our video game tubes. It seems rare that anyone “younger” has hobbies.
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      09-21-2020, 09:53 AM   #11
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      09-21-2020, 10:17 AM   #12
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I assume most (many? some?) retire w/o an outstanding mortgage or any other significant debts?
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      09-21-2020, 10:30 AM   #13
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I'm not retired but have seen 2 different perspectives that go in line with what some have said above.

My stepdad retired about 8 years ago. He was the type of guy who rode a Harley from the time he was a teen until now so was/is always tinkering with that. Always played tennis. He picked up golfing at one point but wasn't a passion like tennis. Always doing projects around the house. He went into retirement like nothing changed. Enjoyed his hobbies a little more and is constantly on the go. He and my mom split which was a great decision. He moves south of Tampa near his brothers and has been loving life. At 74, he still rides his Harley. On a road trip currently up in St. Louis visiting his son. Every time I talk to him he's got something going on as far as a project or having lunch or dinner with friends.

My father in law retired in April. He had a pretty high stress job in upper management. Lots of budget work meetings, & was oversaw about 300 people. He worked quite a bit. Not one hobby. My mother in law stays home every day and never drives. The extent of their excitement is a weekly trip to Sams and Walmart & church on Sunday. My husband was always asking him to do things and he never had the time. The guy who manages time off said he had the most accumulated out of anyone at the company. I guess his hobby was work. Since retired, we haven't seen them any more than before. I saw him in mid August and he's aged. It made me sad. He & my husband had taken my nephew fishing by the pond. When my FIL came back inside he was worn out and exhausted. Let's just say not much physical activity went into what they were doing for that to be warranted. He still doesn't have any hobbies unless you consider Sams & Walmart one.

When I look at the 2, my step dad is in far better health and has a much more rounded retried life. It's really sad to see that my FIL worked so hard and it's almost like he doesn't know what to do because work was his life. He also missed a lot of time with his family and for what? I guess all this rambling has come down to it's not worth it to fill your life with work & come to the end of that time losing your identity when the work stops or being able to fill that time with things you enjoy because you don't even know what they are.
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      09-21-2020, 11:04 AM   #14
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I hear that a lot..."Work was his life." Never been that way with me. I'll leave the job and not look back or miss it one bit. Maybe that's because I've had such a varied work life. Several different "careers," but nothing life-long, like some folks. I won't sit around getting fat and lazy, either. I currently log 100+ miles/week on my bike. I'll probably push that to 200 once I retire. And there are a few retired folks who ride out of the LBS here, so I may join them for daily rides.

House and cars are all paid up. No debts. Money won't be an issue. I don't have too many worries about it, but Wifey is still concerned I'll be lost. We'll see.
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      09-21-2020, 11:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf993 View Post
sygazelle has it right. My I retired a little over 4 1/2 years ago, my wife will likely retire next spring although she is the same age as me. I had a couple of jobs lined up that were related to my career but they didn't really work out. We'd purchased our current home just before retirement and I've been doing tons of work on it. But no rush like in the past where you tried to cram stuff in on the weekend or evenings. Now when I have a project I will take my time, work on it a few hours a day and then park it. I walk in town for at least an hour everyday, the dog loves it. My wife loves to cook so I didn't take over those duties but I have taken all the other chores as she has a demanding job. I can't believe almost 5 years have gone by already.

You cycle as you've talked about it a lot on the forum so you'll likely get more into that. I try to keep the routine of getting up at the same time, still early like when I worked. Coffee, read the news (although not so much right now, I'm getting sick of it) go for my walk, unless I'm working on a project. If I am I get after it in the morning and do my walk in the afternoon. You'll be fine.

Great additional advice. I forgot to mention that I've turned off the news since retirement. I'm still informed but I have news sources on the internet that keep me having to look at and endless stream of talking heads dispensing their daily dose of whatever blah blah blah the their particular network agenda is promoting. It is so much more relaxing.

Regarding cooking: I've stepped up offering to BBQ since its still "her" kitchen , but I do offer more to help prep when she's making something fancy or when we are having family or friends over.

The one thing that we do different since i retired is I take over the kitchen after we eat. She can leave the table and go do whatever she likes and stay out of my way. I clear the table, do the dishes, and scrub the stove, sink, and counter. This way, my wife can plan the most elegant meal and use every pot in the kitchen and not worry that she will have to clean it up. I'm getting some amazing meals out of this deal.
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      09-21-2020, 11:59 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
Not to point in another direction, but Iím far from retirement and concerned for other folks my age and younger. Iím probably right at the bubble of when you played outside as a kid with no idea of iPads and the like (born in the 80s). I look around and see a younger generation(s) complaining of no time to do ____, yet the entire day off was spent watching Netflix.

I have a lot of retirees in my neighborhood, and they are nonstop with housework and hobbies. Iím convinced when the time comes, weíll be a bunch of whining, old babies connected to our video game tubes. It seems rare that anyone ďyoungerĒ has hobbies.
There are winners and whiners in every generation. Just choose to be a winner.
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      09-21-2020, 12:25 PM   #17
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Same thing I fill my free time with now, but more.

Car, hiking, golf, travel, cook..."Live a great story"

ANything you have always wanted to do ? Volunteer ? Paint ? learn guitar ? write a book ?
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      09-21-2020, 12:32 PM   #18
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I need to get back into my photography hobby, too. When I started riding, photography sort of fell by the wayside. Now I'll have time to devote to both hobbies.
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      09-21-2020, 01:31 PM   #19
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I assume most (many? some?) retire w/o an outstanding mortgage or any other significant debts?
That's my plan. My mortgage will be paid off by the time I'm 60 in a few more years. Without the mortgage payment, I should have enough to pay the monthly bills on retirement funds.

As for golf, I tried that a few times when I was younger...and even played in a tournament at Vassar once. Almost as boring as fishing and watching grass grow, but to each his own.....
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      09-21-2020, 01:39 PM   #20
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Lots of good insights in this thread.

I’m planning to retire early 2021. I went around a year ago and talked to my retired friends. To a person they all said retire as early as you can but stay active/involved.

It seems that if one wants to consult or get on a corporate board or be active at that level, it has to happen quickly (ideally before retirement this is set up). There is a shelf life on retirees getting gigs like that, and it isn’t very long.

But there are plenty of volunteer options, civic groups, and projects and hobbies to pick up. I grew up at the beach and loved to surf, will move back to a different beach and take up surfing again. I like to tinker on my cars and will be able to put more time into some of the bigger projects I just couldn’t get into while working. Both of those will involve local groups with similar interests, and helping others do the same. I also used to be really into R/C sailboats (I still have a 12 meter from 1982) and may restore my boat, update the radios and sail it a bit. I think the fun for me will be in the restoration, not the sailing. But all of these things lead to meeting interesting people.

And a daily long walk of the dog is definitely in the plan.

These are simple things I haven’t really been able to enjoy while fully committed to work. Add in some travel and time with the grandkids, and I think I’ll have a pretty full retirement.
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      09-21-2020, 01:42 PM   #21
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On the bright side if you find retirement sucks and you hate it.... you can always go get a job. I'm not retired, but for the past like 4 years having my own business working from home has felt like I was retired. Luckily I'm not on any specific schedule so I can do what I need to do at any time really. So I have a lot of free time in between and sometimes there just isn't much to do.

I get realllly bored being home. I guess it's because I don't really have any hobbies and I'm not very handy. I can do basic stuff around the house, paint, replace faucets and basic stuff like that, but I can't build stuff from scratch etc. Most of the basic stuff has already been taken care of.

My girlfriend doesn't mind being home all the time, she likes it. We got home from our last 5 month road trip at the end of Oct and by Jan I was already dying to hit the road.... then the rona came... and I'm still here. Ugh!
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      09-21-2020, 03:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Hockey4 View Post
Same thing I fill my free time with now, but more.

Car, hiking, golf, travel, cook..."Live a great story"

ANything you have always wanted to do ? Volunteer ? Paint ? learn guitar ? write a book ?

I'm thinking about doing volunteer work. Its tough for me because I'm not very good at a committee dynamic. I'd rather be in charge or work with someone who is in charge and has a plan. I've had unfun experiences but I should really give it a try again.

Regarding guitar, I've played since I was a teenager. I got okay good at one point, never amazing. I was thinking about dusting off the guitar and even taking lessons. Maybe I can join a band called the Geezers!
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