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.
- 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?