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Retirement: A Full-Time Job



The Unfettered Pursuit of Happiness



Updated: 2017-08-03T10:18:21-07:00

 



Link to Forbes Article

2017-08-03T10:18:21-07:00

(Photo Details: Pizza party awaiting guests) Just a quick note before my in-laws arrive for a couple days--kicking things of tonight with pizza by the fire. I wanted to post a link to the Forbes article I was interviewed for,...

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(Photo Details:  Pizza party awaiting guests)

Just a quick note before my in-laws arrive for a couple days--kicking things of tonight with pizza by the fire.  

I wanted to post a link to the Forbes article I was interviewed for, How Two Couples Fund Their Fun in Early Retirement.  

I enjoyed reading about the other couple, David and Sally.  Especially to get introduced to his great blog.  He pubishes many of the financial details I don't publish here.  So for those of you for whom that is valuable, check him out:  I Retired Young, What I do and What it Costs.  I will certainly add him to my blogroll when I get a free moment after entertaining guests.

David and Sally have a 12-month, 14-country vacation on their bucket list.  Katherine Love asked me what was on my bucket list and I came up empty.  I have no bucket list.  I don't know if that makes me boring.  But I feel like I've had so many great experiences in my life, I want for nothing.  I know there's more fun on the horizon, but there's nothing I can think of that I just have to do.  And as you know, I'm sick of traveling, so I am content, even excited, to read about a 14-country trip.  I just don't have the energy or desire to actually go on one!  I wonder, will I even hit 14 countries over the next 30 years?

Now I'm just sounding old.  

With that I will sign off.  I've gotta go clean the house now.

 

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Related Posts:

    What's on Your Bucket List?

    Happy Eating Pizza at Home

    Happiness is Cheaper in Retirement

 

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Irrational Exuberance?

2017-08-05T15:39:48-07:00

(Photo Credit: Yahoo Finance S&P 500 historical graph through today.) As I mentioned in my previous post, the big consolation prize of this election has been its effect on the stock market. I’m not sure this is what the voters...    (Photo Credit:  Yahoo Finance S&P 500 historical graph through today.) As I mentioned in my previous post, the big consolation prize of this election has been its effect on the stock market.  I’m not sure this is what the voters who elected this administration had in mind, enriching a young retiree who basically sits at the piano all day long.  But hey, I’ll enjoy it while I can. And that’s the point of this post.  A cautionary tale to enjoy it while you can but prepare yourself for the inevitable recession.  I can’t tell you when or how deep it will be, but there will be another recession.  We are currently enjoying the third-longest expansionary period in U.S. history.   And it’s pretty close to pulling into second place. I retired in 2008 just before a whopper of a recession and in retrospect, I had too much of my portfolio in equities to be able to rest comfortably.  At the time, I had a 70% allocation to stock mutual funds and 30% allocation to bond funds and cash.  As it happens, that was enough to get me through the downturn without having to sell stock funds at bargain basement prices, but it was a little too close for comfort.   After the market recovered, which took almost seven years by the way, I switched to a 60/40 allocation.  So next time we ride the rollercoaster down, I won’t be quite so queasy.  Of course the market may continue marching upward for years before the inevitable downturn, but if I were retiring for the first time right now, I’d be assuming the market is more likely to go down in the not-too-distant future than to go up.  And I’d have an allocation right now that would allow me peace of mind even if it took seven or more years to recover.  It’s tough to know exactly what that allocation is without living through a rough patch.  But I encourage you to run some numbers now.  See how your finances would look if your stock funds lost 46% of their value.  That is not a hypothetical, that’s how much the market went down the first year I was retired.  If you are getting ready to pull the trigger on retirement, here’s my advice: Take a look at your current nest egg.  Divide that number by your living expenses that will not be covered by other income sources such as Social Security or pensions.  If you are 65 years old, that number should be right around 25.  The larger it is, the better shape you are in.  That represents how many years’ living expenses you have before accounting for inflation and earnings on that nest egg.  History shows that should take you no less than 33 years through retirement, even if our markets experience markets matching the worst 33 years in the last century. Now, take a look at your stable liquid assets--cash, CD’s, short-term bond funds. Divide that number by your living expenses that will not be covered by other income sources.  As a point of reference, it took the stock market almost seven years to reach the peak level it achieved in 2007 before the recession.  Do you have enough to live on if it takes that long again or will you be forced to sell some of your stocks at huge discounts to keep your head above water?  Any stock you sell at the bottom represents gains you will never see again when the market goes back up.  You’ve made those losses permanent. Take your portfolio and multiply the equity side of it by 46%. Now subtract that number from your total portfolio.  Divide the result by your annual expenses not covered by other sources.  How different is that than the number you came up with in #1--the one that was hopefully around 25?  Try one more thing.  Divide this reduced portfolio by the number you came up with in #1.  Can you figure out a way to live on the resulting number instead of the number you were counting on? [...]



Are Any of You Still Out There?

2017-07-31T10:52:45-07:00

(Photo Details: What have I been up to? You're looking at her, my new baby.) I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without writing a blog post, nearly seven months! To be honest, I have drafted a few blog... (Photo Details:  What have I been up to?  You're looking at her, my new baby.) I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without writing a blog post, nearly seven months!  To be honest, I have drafted a few blog posts about retirement that have bored me so much during the editing that I decided against posting them at all.  I also wrote a few political blog posts since the election that I knew I would never post, just to vent a little.  I spared you all on both counts. Over the last several months, I have received emails from many of you, wondering what’s up-- wondering whether I will ever blog again.  And many of these emails have gone unanswered because a) writing what’s up could well have just been a blog post, and b) I wasn’t really sure whether I would blog again.  This much I’ve learned in retirement:  I have no idea what I’ll be interested in doing in the future.  I only know what I’m interested in right now.  And that has changed many times over the last nine years of my retirement--as I’m sure it will in the future too. There is one question I am frequently asked in your emails, and it’s the one that has inspired me to check in with you all today. Are you OK? That’s just the sweetest question, and I really wanted you all to know I more than ok.  I’m healthy, happy, and still enjoying retirement more and more with each passing year.  In fact, I’d probably be posting more frequently if I were not ok—at least then there’d be some interesting challenge or thought-provoking issue to share.   Are you going to close your blog? The other frequent question I get is whether I have quit blogging all together.  I don’t think I will ever want to just ditch the blog entirely.  I like having the possibility of returning to it if I am inspired to write.  Because who knows?  But right now I am pretty consumed with making music. As you know I started taking jazz piano lessons a few years ago.  Then last fall I enrolled in a jazz piano class at the local city college that met three times a week.  It was so great I took it again in the spring.   And I took private voice lessons on top of that. Last month, I spent an intense week at jazz camp, followed by a summer school course in jazz improvisation.  And now I’m taking a jazz singing class with a friend.  I’ve been working on the goal of accompanying myself on the piano while singing.  It is so hard but SOOOO much fun.  I’m even making significant progress on the stage-fright thing!  As our friend Tom recently commented after hearing how well Doug plays the guitar now, “You really CAN teach an old dog new tricks!” That’s the most amazing thing to me.  Oh, and that whole practice-makes-perfect thing.  (Well I will quibble with “perfect” part, but it certainly guarantees improvement!) Have you been off traveling a lot? We have a big biking trip planned later this summer to Italy, which I am looking forward to.  We also went to New York earlier this year, and have done a bunch of short trips, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Scottsdale--and San Diego is coming up soon.  So now that I write that all down, I guess we have been traveling a lot over my seven-month blogcation! Maybe that’s why I’m so sick of traveling right now.  While I always enjoy myself on our trips, I hate the hassle of flying (many of you can relate), and I miss both my kitty cat and my piano when I’m gone.  I’m threatening no trips in 2018.  I’d like to make 2018 the year of the staycation.  Avoid the hassles and also recoup the chunk of change I spent on a new piano a couple of weeks ago (pictured above—that is actually two years’ worth of vacation budget.  Maybe should stay put through 2019 too . . .) What do you think about this last[...]



The Trinity of Retirement

2016-12-19T17:17:58-08:00

(Photo details: Doug serving my birthday martini last week in what I call the Christmas Room (the living room)--an admittedly underused room of my house.) Thanks again to JP for contributing this post last week. I love the conversation it... (Photo details:  Doug serving my birthday martini last week in what I call the Christmas Room (the living room)--an admittedly underused room of my house.) Thanks again to JP for contributing this post last week.  I love the conversation it spurred in the comments section.  There is so much I wanted to comment on myself I think I’ll tackle a couple points here in a blog post.  A few of you shared my admiration of JP’s attaining retirement at such a young age.  In my view that is what is most amazing.  One commenter expressed some skepticism about whether JP is really retired or just between jobs, and also about the $2 million she had amassed by the age of 28.  Another had issues with JP’s choice to live in only 325 square feet, and wondered whether she would be able to keep that up into her 40’s and beyond.  And with others, the conversation revolved around whether they would even want to retire in a big city in the first place. On the first two issues, I know at least two people from the high-tech world who achieved that kind of money by the time they were 28, neither of whom is retired yet.  Because neither of them would have accepted the lifestyle choices that would have been necessary to live on that for the rest of their lives.  Or maybe they just love work, or maybe some combination of both.  As to whether JP is actually “between jobs” rather than retired--with five or six decades of life in front of her, who knows, maybe JP would do some work for money again in the future.  I did for a couple years at one point during my eight years of retirement.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t retired before I did that, or that I’m not retired now.  On the issue of living in 325 square feet—again, who knows whether she will always live in 325 square feet in the future.  That’s the metric that works for her right now, but like I said five or six decades is a long time.  She points out that in real estate a “trinity” of factors is in play:  price, location, and size, and “you can have any two . .  but not all three.”  Maybe at some point JP will swap size for location if she feels a need for more space and less city.  These are the tradeoffs most people have to juggle in life, JP is no different.  In fact, the exact same thing can be said about retirement, except the trinity of factors for retirement is work, assets, and lifestyle.  I myself am a city girl, yet I live in the suburbs.  Oh yeah, and in 4,000 square feet.  Had I decided to retire to a studio apartment in San Francisco, I probably could have retired at least ten years earlier.  But, at least right now, I enjoy the space.  Will I want all this space when I’m 70 or 80, probably not.  So I’ll move!  Could I have afforded a 4,000 square foot house in San Francisco instead of the suburbs?  Sure, but I would have had to work probably 20 more years to achieve that.  Work, assets, and lifestyle. If you want to retire young, actually at any age really, you fiddle with the give-and-take between this trinity of factors. You want to stop work but don’t have enough assets to continue your current lifestyle?  Well then you’re going to have to adjust your lifestyle to fit your current assets.  The lifestyle you have now is non-negotiable?  Then you’re going to have to work until you amass the assets to support that lifestyle.  Or maybe you cut back on work and cut back on lifestyle in some way to make the numbers work without having to choose one or the other. Maybe you live in the city of your desires in 325 square feet, or an hour away in 4,000.  You just have to jiggle the pieces of the puzzle together until it makes the picture you want for your own life. Related Posts:     [...]



Guest Post: How to Retire in a High Cost of Living Area

2016-12-14T08:56:52-08:00

I'd like to introduce you to a fellow retirement blogger, JP over at The Money Habit. She retired at the age of 28 after working at an investment firm for seven years. She shares tips for getting to your retirement... I'd like to introduce you to a fellow retirement blogger, JP over at The Money Habit.  She retired at the age of 28 after working at an investment firm for seven years.  She shares tips for getting to your retirement goal at her blog and has contributed this post about how to make it happen even in a high-cost city like New York City (my own favorite city, as most of you know).   One of the biggest conversations in early retirement circles centers around location. Many plan to move to a lower cost of living area when they retire. That’s a fantastic move and it can serve a lot of people well. But me? I adore big city living. The food! The people! And best of all, every kind of class, workshop, and hobby group to pursue my interests. The one downside is the incredible cost. Fortunately, you can counter this issue with some judicious compromises. I’ve lived and worked in New York City since I graduated college. At 28, I’m retired and still living in the Big Apple. Here are the strategies I use to keep my costs low. Housing Housing is the perfect place to start, given that it’s generally the largest expense line in the budget. The trinity of factors in housing are price, location, and size. General advice says you can have any two, but you cannot have all three. My decision to live in New York City was about valuing the amenities. Because of this, location was paramount in my decision. As early retirement has long been a goal of mine, cost was the second most important consideration. That’s how we ended up in our current apartment. It is a 325 square foot unit. Many people would cringe at the thought of two people and a dog sharing 325 square feet. We have lived in the same building for five years, and it’s been very pleasant. The thing I’ve realized is that most people (including myself!) are bad at living in efficient spaces because we have had very little practice, and we have not learned how to optimize the space. Just like any skill, it takes investment. Here are some space-saving tips I learned from Hong Kong and Tokyo magazines: Loft the Bed – That’s 150 cubic feet of storage instantly Fill Suitcases – You doubtless have a few bulky items like suitcases to store. Make sure you fill them with other items that need to be stored Thin Hangers – You have no idea how much space they will save you. Shelving – Pick up floating shelves and extra shelving for your cabinets at any hardware store. Expandable Everything – Inflatable mattress for guests, expandable table for company, you want anything that can expand. Food Ethnic Grocery Stores – One of the benefits of living in your super expensive city is the diversity of grocery stores--your local ethnic stores are where the best deals can be found. I go to Chinatown for all my produce, meat, and seafood. Value Grocery Stores – Trader Joe’s is my lifeline. This is where I pick up everything else (frozen meals, milk and eggs, cereal). Between the Chinese grocery store and Trader Joe’s, we eat like kings for less than $450 a month. Regular Cafe/Coffee Trips – Part of the reason I live in the city is my enjoyment of the ambiance, and there’s nothing like writing on my laptop at a local mom & pop coffee shop. For $4 a week, I can make this a regular occurrence. There are an insane number of unique beverage-focused locales to soak up ambiance. Places that only focus on ciders, roof top bars, beer gardens, wine bars. When I want ambiance at a lower price tag, I opt for something on this list. Not cheap, but definitely workable into the budget. It’s also great to use coffee shops as the venue to catch up with friends over restaurants. Purchasing on Craigslist When you are making a[...]



Calling All Retirees

2016-09-29T22:44:34-07:00

(Photo details: Relaxing in the back garden with a glass of wine is certainly one of the benefits of retirement, but you'll need more than that for a happy retirement.) (Caution: This is a post about retirement. If you came... (Photo details:  Relaxing in the back garden with a glass of wine is certainly one of the benefits of retirement, but you'll need more than that for a happy retirement.) (Caution: This is a post about retirement.  If you came here for politics I’m sorry to disappoint you.)   Yesterday Walter left a comment on my post: Unfortunately, I am one of those who retired from something, not to something. I was a high level state government administrator and my work was my identity and passion. I retired almost three years ago. Not being a hobby or volunteer guy, I ended up taking a new job after one year. I am now a minion and work 40 hours per week hating my job. But if I quit, I know what the year without working was like. I am lost, unhappy, and looking for suggestions. I just don’t want the cookie cutter ideas of get a hobby, learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, volunteer. My finances are good, my health, except for my frame of mind, is good, but I regret the day I retired and there is no do over and I hate my current job–not challenging, engaging, etc. Is there a retirement to enjoy just relaxing? Suggestions please!!! In my post yesterday, I wrote that I didn’t think I was alone in feeling the way I do.  I don’t think Walter is alone in feeling the way he feels either.  So I thought I’d put the question out to you.  Fellow retirees who maybe struggled with the same feelings as Walter and came out the other side. He’s hit on a truth, that we need to feel challenged, engaged, and I also think valued.  I have gotten those things over the eight years of my retirement from blogging, my stint at a part-time job, volunteer work, time spent with friends and family, community college classes, traveling, and now piano.  But Walter needs some more ideas.  Walter needs a project that engages his intellect and passion.  I think I can safely say that a retirement spent just relaxing is not going to cut it. You, my dear readers, have amazed me with your contributions on issues large and small over the years.  I have a feeling some of you might be able to help Walter like you’ve helped me over the years.  Any ideas? Related Posts:        Why Retirement Won't Make You Happy     Are You a Failure at Retirement?     How to Recapture Your Retirement High   Can’t keep track of my non-existent posting schedule?  Subscribe—it’s free!   [...]



Why I Would Rather Be Retired Than Run for President

2016-09-28T22:31:36-07:00

(Photo Details: My kitty. Why? Because she is so cute.) Here’s a little story. I graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Business Economics with an Accounting emphasis. I went to work after college for a “Big 8”... (Photo Details:  My kitty.  Why? Because she is so cute.) Here’s a little story. I graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Business Economics with an Accounting emphasis.  I went to work after college for a “Big 8” accounting firm.  Four years later, after earning my CPA license, I left public accounting to work as the Controller of a venture capital firm.  Several years later, I was promoted to CFO.  And after 18 years of working there, I retired.  Some other facts: 1) When I retired, the guy who replaced me was offered a salary and bonus package that was almost 50% higher than mine.  His bio read much like mine, same college, same major, same Big 8 experience, same venture capital experience.  Except that he graduated a year after I did. 2) Every CFO before me and every CFO after me, was invited to attend in the weekly partner meetings.  I was not. 3) Every CFO before and after me was a man. But I did very well at this firm, amassing enough money to retire at the age of 44.  So that’s one story.  Here’s another one.  When I started my career, I worked in the tax division of a Big 8 accounting firm.  Every so often, a partner would take each of us to lunch.  A “mentoring” lunch where they would share their wisdom on how we could be successful.  One such time, I scored a big “win,” the head of the tax division was my lunch-time mentor.  He spent most of the lunch telling me about how he had the great advantage of looking old when he was younger.  Because he was prematurely gray or prematurely bald or something like that.  I forget, it was so irrelevant to my situation.  He attributed much of his success to this.   He told me I looked very young so the wisdom he passed along to me was, “Maybe don’t smile so much.” These are just two of my stories.  Maybe you have some stories too. While apparently, I smile too much, Hillary Clinton smiles to little.  She’s not relatable, she’s shrill, she doesn’t have the right experience.  Oh yeah, and she doesn’t laugh right.  When I watched the debates on Monday night, I actually yelled expletives not fit to print at the TV when Donald Trump would not stop talking over Hillary Clinton.  I’ve been there too.  I am not trying to persuade you to vote one way or the other.  You already know how you are voting.  I just wanted to write a post about how this election is making me feel.  I wasn’t even going to write about it but I read these articles today and I wanted to share them, in case you’ve been there too. Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manterrupted  (New York Times) Hillary Clinton’s Everywoman Moment  (New York Times) Women do ask for pay raises, they just don’t get them (CNN Money) Can’t keep track of my non-existent posting schedule?  Subscribe—it’s free!     [...]



Postcard from Retirement

2016-09-16T21:56:38-07:00

(Photo Details: The relaxing part of our bike trip in Indonesia on the island of Lombok-May 2016) It’s always hard to write a post after such a long absence. Even when I’m not blogging, I think about blogging all the... (Photo Details:  The relaxing part of our bike trip in Indonesia on the island of Lombok-May 2016) It’s always hard to write a post after such a long absence.   Even when I’m not blogging, I think about blogging all the time.  Both for the writing part and for the interaction part--I always miss the interaction part the most. But there are only so many hours in a day, even when you are retired!  So I just thought I’d send you a little postcard from retirement to tell you that I miss you, and let you know what I’ve been up to.  You already know that I haven’t been blogging (other than just thinking about blogging, which I guess doesn’t really count.) Piano As many of you know, learning to play jazz piano was something I had always pictured doing when I retired.  I didn’t get around to starting until five years into my retirement.  Better late than never, right?  But I’m deep into it now.  Besides taking weekly private lessons, I am now taking a jazz piano class at the community college.  We meet three days a week for an hour.  With practice and an hour commute each way to school, I’m as busy with this as I was when I had a part-time job a few years ago! On the first day of class last week, our teacher told us about four different levels of learning piano.  Actually, this is probably true with any new skill:  -First you don’t know how much you don’t know.  That’s the Unconscious Incompetence stage. -Next you start to learn and you realize how much you don’t know.  That’s the Conscious Incompetence stage. -I’m beginning to gain competence (finally after three years of lessons!)  So I’m in the Conscious Competence stage.  It takes a lot of concentration and practice for me to play right now.  It doesn’t really come naturally or easily, it’s still very hard work to play what I want to be playing. -The final stage, she told us, is the Unconscious Competence stage.  Where you can access all your knowledge basically unconsciously--with ease. Of course one student asked how long until we get to that stage, and our professor said 10,000 hours.  We all know about that 10,000 hours thing, right? So I calculated that if I could practice 20 hours per week, I could get there in 10 years.  Even though I’m retired, I don’t think I can manage that, 10 hours a week is probably even ambitious.   At that rate, if I stick with it, I’ll be really great by the time I’m 72 years old.  Probably too old to start touring, but maybe some time during the next 20 years I’ll at least get to the point where I can play for people without shaking.  Currently there are only four people I can play for without shaking—the teacher I’ve had for the last three years, my husband, and my parents.  And I have to play in front of the entire piano class for the mid-term and final.  So it would be nice to at least make a little progress on that stage-fright thing. Family Tree A few months ago, after my Uncle Jim died, I spent a weekend reading through a bunch of personal letters and work memos that Jim had saved over the years.  The best stash was a box of letters he had written to his best friend over 40 years.  His friend’s daughter returned the letters to my uncle after her own father died.  I learned so much, in my uncle’s own words, about his life.   I only wish he were still here so I could ask him some questions! After I did that, I decided to attack another box of memorabilia that my dad had given me awhile back.  This box was filled with letters, photos, and other items my mother had saved.  (For those of you who are new to my blog, my mother died [...]



The Unwelcome Visitor

2016-06-30T12:20:59-07:00

(Nope, this one is welcome. Just not ON my computer.) OH MY GOSH. This morning the cat let me sleep in until 5am. I was so happy. I got up and did the usual routine, feed her, open the cat... (Nope, this one is welcome.  Just not ON my computer.) OH MY GOSH.  This morning the cat let me sleep in until 5am.  I was so happy.  I got up and did the usual routine, feed her, open the cat door, go to the bathroom, go back upstairs to bed.  About five minutes later we heard a commotion downstairs.  I said, "Doug can you please go down and see what that was?”   No, argument, he got right up since I had just been up.  I just thought she knocked something over.  I heard it again as Doug went down, so I thought maybe her most unfavorite cat-brother made his way in the cat door and there was a kerfuffle. Then I heard Doug making stomping running noises.  So I got up and yelled down the stairs, “What is it?”      "RACCOONS!!!"  He stomped some more.     I yelled, “Don’t try to chase them out.  You’re supposed to lock yourself in a room with your pets until they find their way out.  They are MEAN!”   So he grabbed the cat, who was perched up on the back of the couch just a few feet away from the raccoon.  The one raccoon that was in the house was in the corner behind the conga drums—just a couple feet from the cat door.  Doug carried Fia upstairs and we barricaded ourselves in the bedroom.  Doug said that there was a whole family of raccoons outside of the cat door, but the rest ran off when they saw and heard Doug charging.   Over the next 15 or 20 minutes we never heard the raccoon rummaging through the kitchen, which is what I’ve heard they do.  So Fia and I stayed in the bedroom while Doug slowly ventured down.  He saw that the raccoon was not in the corner anymore.  So he looked around to make sure it wasn’t anywhere else:  under the downstairs guest bed, under the couches, in any other corners downstairs.  For good measure I checked the upstairs bedrooms in case he had ventured upstairs.   The coast was clear and we all went downstairs and had breakfast at command central.  I read stories on the internet about raccoons in the house. The plumber came at 8am to replace our water heater circulation pump. I moved my internet reading to the back deck.  I was intending to start trying to write in the mornings, but no way could I write with all the left-over stress/excitement.  I read all the Donald Trump news, the Brexit news, and why you shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough. After the plumber left, I told Doug, “I’m trying this new thing to just not worry about things that might happen in the future.  We will just not open the cat door in the mornings until we actually get up (when it’s light outside).  We’ll figure out what to do when we are gone for a night or two.  But probably, if we just keep the cat door closed all night (and morning), the raccoons will learn it’s usually closed.  Probably they won’t try on the one or two nights we happen to be away.  After all, we’ve had Fia for a year and a half now, and it’s never happened before.”  That type of conversation.  I was proud of myself for almost having let this whole thing go.  For moving on. I came inside and unloaded the dishwasher.  Now it’s about 9:30.  Fia was in and out all morning.  While I was unloading, I noticed her pawing at the little cube chair under Doug’s desk in the kitchen.  Then she darted away.  I thought maybe she had brought a lizard in.  Although that seemed weird since she would usually meow and not dart away if she brought a lizard in.  So I pulled the chair out (which is really a little ottoman cube that I slip covered with nice fabric.) There was that raccoon!!!! Hiding behind the little ottoman I slipcovered.  All morning.  While w[...]



Can I Still Retire if I Hate Golf?

2016-06-27T10:43:09-07:00

(Photo Details: Hawaii--Doug without his clubs) I receive a lot of requests from people wanting me to write a guest post on their blog. I know I will never get around to that, I barely get around to posting on... (Photo Details:  Hawaii--Doug without his clubs) I receive a lot of requests from people wanting me to write a guest post on their blog.  I know I will never get around to that, I barely get around to posting on my own blog!  So I have learned from experience to just say no to that.   I also receive many requests to publish guest posts on my blog.  Usually from investment companies or insurance companies, or someone else trying to sell something to my readers.  I also say no to that.  But I will usually publish a guest-written post to introduce a new retirement blogger. The following is a guest post by Jared Scharen.  Jared is an MBA student at Northwestern who has started a website dedicated to helping boomers figure out where they want to retire.  His website eRetirements has a fun quiz to help you pick a place to retire, and also a retirement blog.  It's fun, but truth be told, that's not why I agreed to a guest post.  When he introduced himself to me he said that his parents read my blog.  And that made me happy. So here is Jared's post: Healthy Hobbies for Retirement:  Active Alternatives to Hitting the Links. It comes as no surprise that many people associate the word “retirement” with “golf.” Early tee times with friends followed by a midday lunch at the clubhouse seems to be a common stereotype of how retirees spend much of their free time.  This is a common fallacy that forces many people to unwillingly pick up the game and end up finding absolutely no pleasure in it. So what should you do if golf isn’t your thing? Despite the common perception of golf as being the main hobby for retirees across the country, there are tons of other activities that offer a unique combination of exercise, shared connection, and most importantly, satisfaction. They can also shape your decision on where to retire. A few of them include: Softball: Softball is great way to be outdoors while staying active and competitive. It is also a sure way to engage in social bonding, especially if you miss the comradery of your office team.  Swimming: Swimming offers multiple benefits for your body including improved flexibility, built up endurance, and stronger heart muscle. It also provides the social benefit of meeting others during exercise classes or general lap swims. Hiking or Walking: According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a steady routine of walking can greatly reduce the chances of disability at old age. Walking or hiking also helps prevent or manage certain conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, and can be done with your friends or significant other in remote areas of nature.  Yoga: One of the many benefits of yoga is that it can help protect you from injury by increasing your muscle strength and tone. It also enhances your respiratory and energy levels in addition to being a huge stress reliever. All of these exercises can improve your quality of life by enhancing your strength and improving your overall mood, both of which can be attributed to a longer, healthier life. Exercise classes offered at various community centers provide manageable training with specialized teachers who understand the limitations of your body. It is therefore crucial to explore these avenues when selecting your eventual retirement location. So you have already heard this advice from your doctor…over and over again. And quite frankly, you just don’t care. Well, you are not alone in that mindset. According to a report conducted by the Merck Manual, at least 75% of people over the age of 65 do not exercise [...]