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On Retirement Observations from a Veteran Early Retiree


It amazes me that May marks the 11th anniversary of my official retirement. That’s a lot of water under the retirement bridge! To commemorate this milestone I want to share my observations on retirement.

Note: my observations are in regular text and examples in italics.


  • Being in the best possible health matters above all.
  • Retiring early and in good health maximizes the quality and quantity of retirement life.
  • Access to excellent health insurance is a “must have”.
  • Social engagement promotes mental and physical health.
  • Exercise is essential for good health.


  • Time is more valuable than money. Money comes and goes. Time simply goes.
  • Experiences are more valuable than material things. We discovered that we can get by with less stuff. De-cluttering has become habitual and actually helps find purpose.
  • Contentment is being satisfied with having enough.
  • Achieving financial independence (FI) is about time freedom. Time freedom is about claiming control over your time and your life.

Adapting to Change

  • Retirement is a top 10 stressful life event. A smooth adjustment to retirement depends on the person. (Check out my video on The 6 Stages of Retirement).
  • Retirement is not static. It’s constantly changing.
  • It takes time to replace what work provides.
  • Being open to change is essential. We recently moved into a 55+ active adult community. It wasn’t something we ever envisioned. Fortunately it’s turned out to be a very positive experience.
  • A growth mindset facilitates learning, especially overcoming self-limiting beliefs.
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone gets you to try new things. It opens the door to new opportunities. I volunteered for a small museum and read for the visually impaired. Going in, I had zero experience. I seized the opportunity to learn about website design and how to record audio. Without that experience I wouldn’t have a website and podcast.
  • Staying current with technology helps you stay connected and engaged. I never wanted to be on Twitter. But a colleague suggested I give it a chance. So I created my profile and started Tweeting. Thanks to Twitter I engage with a diverse set of people around the world!

Quality of Life

  • Practicing gratitude helps you live in the moment which enables you to enjoy life more.
  • Helping others is a great way to find purpose which is an important ingredient for a happy retirement. Sharing your expertise or passion is a great place to start.
  • Finding community improves the quality of retirement life.
  • It’s important to stay engaged with a diverse set of people. We are part of several communities: the community we live in; several clubs we belong to; and the FIRE community.
  • There is no failure, only opportunities to learn.
  • Talking is overrated and listening is underrated. Actual conversation leads to more genuine personal connections.
  • Avoid culture wars whether online or in person. No one wins.
  • Having a routine is a good thing as long as it doesn’t become restrictive.

Final Thoughts

  • It’s easier to continue a good habit (such as exercise) than start or recover.
  • I strive to achieve a steady state of contentment. Happiness is transitory.
  • I practice situational compliance, believe in the value of all things related to maintenance and consider risk management a best practice.
  • Working towards financial independence (FI) improves retirement outcomes.
  • It’s never too late to pursue FI.
  • Retiring earlier is a good thing.

If you’re retired, what observations do you have about retirement?

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Dot

    Good insights and ideas!

  2. Albert

    Coming up on 6 years for me. Don’t miss working at all and wish I had retired 2 years earlier when I had the chance.

    1. tedcarr654

      I know you’re thriving and enjoying retirement. We often learn later how valuable time is and how important it is to choose how you spend it once you have the option of controlling it.

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