This is a question I am often asked, particularly by my friends in their 50’s who are approaching retirement. I think they are worried about what they will do, particularly if they are on their own. In fact I know several who retired, and then went back to work – one comment was ‘how many games of golf can you play in one week?’ Another thought it was a bit silly to waste his high earning years, which I can understand, but what is he going to do with the money? I suspect he already has more than he can spend….
Interestingly enough, I don’t get asked this question by people who have been retired for more than 2 years. In fact, a conversation with one person who has retired several times, but who finally retired a year ago when his wife also retired, admits that he needed a bit of focus, not just be given a list of the painting jobs… So there is something to be said for a bit or pre-prep. See what I did here Maximising Retirement.
My answer to everyone is – No, I don’t get bored. There are so many things with which I occupy my time. Even some things that could be considered a waste of time, but everything I do is my choice. For me, that is what retirement is all about – Choice! That really is the only word I can use.
Over my working life I was often on call, which meant many disturbed nights, long hours etc. Many missed social functions, school functions, time away from home. My husband also travelled a lot. My Mum kindly supported us both, fed the children many nights, made sure they did their homework, and had clean kit. They grew up, went to university, which meant that there were no longer any restrictions, so the time away from home increased….
For several years, Monday morning meant a 4am start, taxi at 4:30am to the airport. On a flight to Amsterdam at 5:50am. 4 nights in a hotel or apartment, go to work at 7am, back about 7 or 8pm. Fly home (summer) and get home at 5:30pm, (winter) at 10:30pm on a Friday night. Sometimes take calls over the weekend, certainly work to do. Monday morning, it all starts again…. What a treadmill. Then it was 2 years in London. Change the start to 4:30am (wow!), often home 8pm on a Thursday night rather than a Friday (wow)… What do we do to ourselves?
Then I woke up and smelt the coffee. We could keep doing this for 5 or 10 more years, we no longer needed the money, we had more than enough. So we decided to stop. And that is when the questions really started – what are you going to do? you’re too young to retire, you’ll get bored etc etc.
Boredom – what is that?
If it’s warm and sunny, I see nothing wrong in sitting down and reading a book. Mostly serious – history, finance, biographies though sometimes chicklit. I potter in the garden, but it really doesn’t take too much. I treat myself, and have a guy who cuts the tall hedge twice a year. I am often to be found in the garage in my scruffy jeans, bashing metal, or in the kitchen, cooking. I make patchworks. Much of the rest of the time I am in the study, doing this blog or reviewing my investments. I am a non-exec director of a charity, so I do a day or two a month for that, which exercises my brain. I am on the committee of a local craft club (Stone cutting & polishing, silver work, enamelling). I run classes in silver casting a couple of times a year.
Then, of course, there is travel. This year we will have spent 12-14 weeks away from home…. Barcelona 6 weeks, Leicester & London 1 week, Ireland 2 weeks and just about to come 4 weeks in New Zealand….
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Malin Head in Ireland
Unfortunately, these pictures are taken from the coastline that was most affected by the earthquakes on Monday. We were on the train and a lot of the line and indeed road has vanished. Conservationists are trying to relocate molluscs that were stranded 2 metres out of the water by the earth movement. Our plans for our forthcoming trip are changing a bit… Fortunately only 2 people died. It could have been so much worse.
We do joke though, that once we start watching daytime TV, we are doomed. If my husband is away, I don’t even switch the TV on, so I think I am safe from that. I confess we don’t always get up too early, particularly in the winter, (dark mornings in winter in Scotland, sometimes the light is on all day) but so what?
I am certainly far too busy to be bored, both my husband and I are an advert for the statement – Where did we ever find time to work?
My blood pressure is amazing, I’m fitter than I have been in years, we walk 4 miles in the countryside most days. I am relaxed, not stressed, as I was my last few years at work. I am a far more pleasant person. Looking forward, I think maybe we have too narrow a social circle, but we can think about that as time goes on.
Last December I went to a funeral of a good friend who had a massive heart attack one afternoon. He was 56. Last month I was at my sister-in-law’s funeral. She was 59. Next Friday I am going to an ex-colleague’s funeral, I am not certain of her age, but late 40’s I think. All the more reason to make the most of every minute, and as soon as you have ‘enough’, it’s time to stop.
It’s why I think all these young people going for FIRE really have the right idea. If I was 30 now, I would be too! It is a goal worth aiming for.
That is why I think that, regardless of your age, it is worth looking at your retirement 25, or 52. You have fewer options at 52, but there are still plenty around. Check out this post on what I did, Maximising Retirement. Preparation is very important.
Take time to dream. If you haven’t retired yet, put a few dreams in place. If you are retired, dream something amazing for later this year or next year. It will be worth it. Don’t let it just ‘happen to you’, take control, I’m sure you’ll be positively surprised.
Regardless – enjoy it
And the photo on the intro is taken in St Lucia. A place we first went to in 2005, and we found out that we could totally switch off. We had always laughed at people who took beach holidays. No more. It became our favourite part of the world to totally switch off, no internet, no tv, the only newspapers came in twice a week with the incoming guests. Just a lovely location and amazing hospitality.