Thinking About Retirement (What To Do With The Rest Of My Life)

retirement

(Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

The Super Bowl has come and gone, and Groundhog Day as well. And what do I have to show for the winter?

It’s been, first of all, a lazy winter. That would be an objective report.

However, I prefer to look at it as a winter of reading, thinking, planning. I haven’t done as much blogging as I’d like. On the other hand, I’ve finally joined Twitter, and  I’m even beginning to see its usefulness. Feel  free to follow along on Twitter @BJohnHayden.

I’ve  joined the local gym, and I’m showing up on a regular basis. That’s important, because I’m now beyond denial. I recognize that if I want to do any useful work in the years I have remaining, it’s imperative that I exercise and conserve my health.

Mostly, I’ve been thinking about and preparing for retirement,  which is certain to become a reality in the not-too-distant future. I’ve discerned that I want to do more than read, think, and blog in the years ahead. (Golf holds little interest.)

After a life of constant work since age 16, I’m talking about major change! We don’t always have to be feverishly working and striving. Nothing wrong with a little down time! Rest and relaxation is good. Also, nothing wrong with the pursuit of simple pleasures, such as art, travel, books, films, hobbies.

For baby-boomers with children and grandchildren, retirement often opens time for devotion to the next generation. Young people need all the guidance and mentoring they can get, and who better to provide it than grandparents?

For those of us without grandchildren to spoil, retirement years could become empty and meaningless. I will choose to be of some use to society, as long as my health holds out. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this winter.

I’ve also been studying the details of Medicare and supplemental health insurance. Thank goodness for Medicare! Eligibility for Medicare will remove a burden of uncertainty. Even with premiums for Medicare and supplementary insurance, I’ll be paying less than I am now. Is this a great country, or what?  (It’s imperative that we find a way to preserve Social Security and Medicare, without driving younger, working people into poverty and hardship. I fear the very real danger of intergenerational conflict. We must figure out how to preserve a good standard of living for the younger generation.)

Besides making sure that Medicare and pensions are in working order, there’s the issue of where to live in the coming years? Throughout my adult life, I’ve followed jobs back and forth across the state of Maryland. Work has dictated where and how I live. Retirement opens up choices. Personally, I want to live where my roots are deepest.

Having long since downsized to a simple lifestyle, only minor additional right-sizing will be needed. The important thing, I think, is to make decisions for simplicity and frugality over the long-term.

Plans for where and how to live are falling into place. I won’t be penniless, but I will need to live frugally. The important thing is to use the retirement years wisely, not to be part of the problem, but part of the solution. Still working out the details.

What are your thoughts about the years ahead?

— John Hayden

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9 thoughts on “Thinking About Retirement (What To Do With The Rest Of My Life)

  1. At age 52, I too have been thinking about the retirement years which may seem far away really are not.. time has a way of speeding up…I too have a simple lifestyle so there will not be too many changes there, I have lifetime medical benefits being a Veteran (huge burden lifted there)..Retirement I hope brings me the opportunity to do more volunteering and just enjoying life..

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  2. I’m still too early in the game to figure out the “what and where” of retirement. I’m still working on saving and on how we can afford to send our progeny to college in ten years (it will take that long to save for that, even). It sounds like you have a good plan and approach!

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  3. I’m 52 as well, and I just hope to get the mortgages paid off. I have never thought I could retire and still don’t think I ever will be able. I have several pensions and none are worth a dang. I’d have done better burying money in jars in the backyard.

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  4. Gasp! Can all my readers possibly be YOUNG people under 55? I never gave retirement a second thought when I was your age! Obviously, I should have. I was usually focused on living in the Present Moment (surviving?). Soon the FUTURE will be the PRESENT. I hope to do something worthwhile in the future-present, because all too soon I’ll be able to see it in the rearview mirror. Wait, I’m becoming disoriented. I’d better go to the gym.

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