In coming weeks I will post articles to my blog tagged with the RewriteRetirement badge shown above. With as much openness as I can muster I will share what I am learning in this new stage of my life. Hopefully my experiences looking forward to, planning for and living in retirement will help or at least entertain you. For example, I attempted to reorganize my wife’s kitchen for maximum efficiency shortly after moving into my home office. Why is that a bad thing? If you do not know you are a good candidate to join me and read the articles.
The concepts we will cover can be applied equally to ladies or men. The career changes I’ve made have had an impact on Shawn’s life, too. We’ll give a peek inside our relationship and document some of the changes to our marriage as we figure out retirement together.
The design of the RewriteRetirement badge reflects the awareness that retirement requires a new way of thinking, fresh perspective, and certainly novel ways of doing things. We’re learning as a couple with two steps forward and three steps back some days.
My path to retirement began in January of 2013, a month prior to my 55th birthday. After much discussion and prayer, and with Shawn’s blessing, I exited my pressure cooker job with its comfortable salary and benefits package. Those rewards were trickling in at the expense of other areas of life, and I found balance to be an unreachable goal. My health was suffering, and I wrestled with burnout on a daily basis. I shifted my career focus to writing and embarked on a journey of self-study as I read books on the subject, completed courses, and learned more about website creation than I ever wanted to know.
I’m still digging and learning with no end in sight. And for some reason, while no one expressed curiosity about my engineering salary, some people feel free to ask an author, “Are you making any money?” Rather than offer a snappy comeback I will confess that my income as an author has remained a steady $15 a month, but education usually requires sacrifice, right?
Before I officially retired in 2020 I read much material on retirement, and discovered scads of authors whose tone is over-flavored with the fear factor. These “sky-is-falling” pundits share:
- Their outrageous estimates of the amount of money we must have before we retire.
- The failure of many people to budget adequate savings during their working years and who will likely retire to poverty.
- The need for expensive and unaffordable long-term health insurance.
- The plight of rising health care costs amid shrinking resources.
- The possible collapse of the Social Security Trust fund and the inability of our elected officials to agree on the menu for lunch much less come together for problem resolution.
Overwhelmed by this gloom we shift our plans to keep working at all costs and vow to avoid the retirement role until there is no other option. But retirement is forced on some as employers jettison gray hair to cut costs. For others declining health dictates that they must retire.
Certainly finances are a key piece of retirement, and we would be wise to give much attention to our earnings, savings and spending. We also must consider physical and social changes, the new freedom with unscheduled hours to fill, and the brutal truth that few of us will make it to our eighties, much less our nineties. The retirement years, however many we get, are prime time with no guarantees. We better get moving on our bucket list items.
I want to consider retirement as an open door with opportunities and experiences on the other side that I never dreamed possible. I’m finding this to be a stage of life altogether different from my years as an engineer. Certainly it is a scary time. The unknown often affects us that way. I have questions I hope to answer, and my plans must, by nature of this stage of life, be flexible.
- Have I adequately prepared?
- What do I need to know?
- Can I make it financially with less than a gazillion dollars in the bank?
- How will marriage change as Shawn and I coexist in the same bubble?
- Will I find purpose for each day?
- Should I have ambition and set goals?
- How will my relationship with God progress?
My hope and prayer is that this work will help and encourage you. Readers, your feedback and comments are valuable. And please, when you find an article to be helpful share it on your social media platform.
Let’s RewriteRetirement together!