Guest Post: Tips for Future Retirees – Advice from the “Experts”

Once again, I am honored to have been asked by Donna to Guest Host over here at Retirement Reflections. While hubs and I have been on the Encore Voyage for a little while, we certainly don’t have all the answers. And so, a while back, I posted this question:

What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you prior to your retirement?

It seems to me that this Sunday Guest Post might be just the place to share the advice of our collective “retired blogger” community. These people have much more wisdom than I, and include the best retirement bloggers I’ve discovered so far. I am honored to have developed relationships with these talented folks! So here we go:

Don’t Listen to the “Shoulds”

Several people pointed out that there is no single right way to “do” retirement! Lots of people will try to advise you about all of the things you must do in retirement. Pat Doyle, over at Retirementtransition advises retirees to “spend time figuring out what is right for you based on your values, motivations, strengths, interests. Find your own path.” Marty at Snakes in the Grass says that you should “do what YOU want, not what others say is the best way.”

Prepare for a new way of thinking

Retirement involves changing our day-to-day thought processes. We’re in a different world than that of our working careers. Laura Lee Carter over at Adventures of the New Old Farts suggests that retirees should “question what you think you’ve known forever. Is it true or just some rule you’ve been following mindlessly for decades? Embrace your freedom to think the way you choose now, not the way previous generations did. Don’t just save up your bucks for retirement, prepare your mind for a whole new level of freedom.”

Know that you might be uncomfortable for a while

Our own Donna pointed out that “retirement means stepping out of your comfort zone and adopting new habits.” Fran, over at Travels with Fran advises that we “take time to explore all that is out there to do, much of which will be outside our comfort zones.” And I really love Pat Doyle’s advice to “Be OK with being a beginner.”

Plan some ways to use your time

I know, I just got done saying there are no “shoulds.” But the one thing I have read over and over again in research is that retirees are afraid of having nothing to do once they quit working full time. Our leisure expert, Terri Webster Schrandt over at Second Wind Leisure Perspectives advises to “Make sure you have some real things/hobbies/interests to do with your time. Make a daily schedule and keep it. Don’t let intentions rule your life, go out and actually DO.”

Pay attention to your values

We each received benefits, other than financial, from our careers. In many cases, our careers became our identities. The jobs we did, and the relationships we had in those jobs filled a variety of needs, including social, intellectual and emotional. Shelly, from Destination Now suggests that retirees should “Figure out what you especially valued during your work life and what will be your retirement replacement.” Great advice for sure!

Make your health a priority

Staying healthy in retirement means having more fun, allows you to do the things you want for longer, and helps ensure that you can spend more of your money on the things you want rather than on costly medical care. These are the very wise, and oh so true words of Janis at Retirementally Challenged.

Have some adventures

This is the sage advice of Footloose Fogeys. Linda Granholm Myers from Bag Lady in Waiting suggests that we should “Make a bucket list with three items for the next year.” I think that’s a neat way of planning some adventures. And Kathy over at Saddles to Shorelines and life as it comes suggests that “if you can, take a long holiday as soon as possible. Don’t put off doing things, because you just never know what’s in your future.”

A final suggestion, received from both Janis and Pat (referenced above) is:
“Focus on the positive – ‘An attitude of gratitude’ will make every day more joyful and satisfying.” I couldn’t agree more. What advice for future retirees would you add?

Thank you again to Donna for inviting me to share in her neighborhood of the blogosphere. I consider myself so lucky to have connected with these and many other fine bloggers who have provided hubs and I with advice and support while we’ve traveled along the voyage.

Encore Lynn from Encore Voyage.

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you to Lynn for this very thoughtful and informative post. It is great to read advice from so many retirement bloggers all in one place. While I completely agree that “there is no single right way to do retirement,” I also find that reading the suggestions and experiences of others is very useful in helping to find one’s own way. Coming Soon: Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News will share with us “How Not to Kill Time.” I hope to see you there!

47 Replies to “Guest Post: Tips for Future Retirees – Advice from the “Experts””

  1. All of it is great advice. The bottom line is that there are no rules. What’s perfect for one person is not for everyone.
    So I say simply, do more of the things that make you happy. Do less of the things that don’t 🙂

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    1. Hi, Joanne – Your comment is so true. Richard and I retired together….but had very different retirement transition experiences. I took to retirement immediately without once looking back (which was a shock to almost everyone) and Richard has struggled with missing some of the excitement and challenge that he received from his career. I completely agree with your bottom line — do what makes you happy …. without delay!

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  2. Hi, Lynne and Donna,
    What a great idea to gather all the advice that different bloggers have discussed in their blogs! I agree with Donna in that my retirement journey is different from my husband’s. He is perfectly happy working on things around the house and cooking. Me…I have signed up for all kinds of things in which I ever had an inkling I might be interested. So far both of us are happy with the arrangement.

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    1. Hi, Fran – Sounds like you and Walter have found the perfect win-win. Richard originally thought that he might like to try cooking in retirement. So far (other than BBQing) that has not proven to be true. But he does do the dishes — so no complaints from me!

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    2. Thanks, Fran! I found myself being amazed by the experiences of other retirees – all are so different from ours. So I asked the original question several months ago, and even though everyone’s experiences are different, there seemed to be many common themes running through many of them. Perhaps the most important of those is that there are no “shoulds” – that everyone’s experience is their own! ~ Lynn

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    1. Hi, Tom – That is very true. I read way more about retirement now than I did when I was planning my retirement (even though I did read quite a bit then). I fully agree that it is never too late to do something good for yourself (or…better late than never)!

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  3. A great collection of good advice, Lynn! I look at retirement as a journey/ grand adventure, and not a destination. Just like any journey, there are going to be highlights and low lights, and just like any grand adventure, one needs to do some preparation before embarking on it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity when we can be our own boss so put on the CEO/ President’s hat and lead life the way we want it to be. With the freedom there comes the responsibility. Life is uncertain so make the most of the present. Thanks, Donna, for featuring Lynn here.

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  4. Thanks so much, Natalie! I agree with you that it is such a grand adventure! Now Jeremy and I are starting to investigate the purchase of a Class B travel van, so the adventure really is just beginning! There will be lots to learn and write about as the Voyage really does become a “voyage!” ~ Lynn

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  5. (Thanks Donna for fixing the comments!)

    Thanks Lynn for the shout out. I love your synthesis of various peoples advice. Like others mentioned, my husband & I had very different transitions. Mine feels still in progress at times! But more & more I do feel like I’m living the advice messages you’ve summarized. And that feels good.

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  6. This is a great compilation of advice, Lynn. I am semi-retired and even that has been quite an adjustment. It was hard for me to allow myself to not be ‘productive’ every minute of every day. I’m getting better at it and have rekindled my love of reading fiction. What a luxury to relax and read a good book! – Molly

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    1. Boy Molly, that is a huge hurdle for many that I now wish I’d have addressed more directly. It seems that many of us at least initially feel like we should be doing something “productive” all the time. I know I get the guilts if I don’t get enough “done” during the day. I’m still learning, too, and it’s been almost 7 years for us.

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    2. Hi, Molly – I agree that it is often difficult to allow ourselves not to be productive every single moment…especially when we have spent our work lives cramming everything in. Slowly but surely I am getting used to not needing to rush about and “do, do do” and “go, go, go.” Truly, it feels fantastic!

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  7. I think the best advice that I encountered as I began thinking about retirement was: Retire to something rather than retiring from something.

    Another useful insight was that the psychological and emotional aspects require just as much preparation as the the financial and relocation aspects.

    Jude

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  8. I love how we all approach retirement just a little – or sometimes a lot – differently but, if we are lucky, we create a life that makes us happy. This is something that most of us have saved for and dreamed about for a long time so it would be a shame not to embrace this amazing time of our lives and enjoy the heck out of it. As we’ve said over and over: best gig ever!

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    1. Hi, Janis – You are so wise. No wonder I follow you! 🙂 Most of us have dreamed about, and saved for, this time of our lives. Letting our fears or guilt prevent us from embracing our retirement as fully as possible would be a true waste.

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  9. Wow! I hope you don’t mind if I steal that expression at some time in the future. That’s brilliant – retire TO something! I love it! As for the emotional and psychological preparation, I do believe it would have been much easier for us if we’d have had some advance warning – or at least a little time to mentally prepare. What wonderful advice. Thanks so much! ~ Lynn

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  10. So much great advice here from a bunch of awesome writers. I’m not quite at retirement age yet but I can still relate to so much of this. Creating a life that makes us happy. It starts right now doesn’t it? Wonderful collective post

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  11. As a future retiree, I found this advice very helpful. I have bookmarked it and plan to refer back to it over the next couple of years. I am looking forward to the freedom retirement will bring, but admit that I am a little worried–worried about whether I will be prepared emotionally for the day-to-day changes and whether I’ve done enough financially to have the adventures I’d like to have, and of course, worried about the unexpected happening, like health issues. The best I can do is prepare now, which is where this blog comes in handy, and then trust myself and the Universe to make the most of whatever this life brings me.

    Thanks Lynn and Donna for another great guest post! Have a wonderful week!

    ~Christie

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    1. Hi, Christie – I believe that the ‘retirement worries’ you have shared are normal and very common. Your strategy to prepare the best that you can now, and then take a leap of faith, is a good one. As mentioned by some of the commenters, it is impossible to know ahead of time just how we will transition to retirement. That’s where preparation, and trust in yourself, come in very handy!

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  12. Great advise. One size does not fit all for retirement. I would add that retiring together does not mean being together 24/7. While it is important to develop shared interests, you will want to maintain separate identities and have your own space. Too much togetherness will get old fast.

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    1. Hi, Suzanne – It is so true that retiring together does not mean being together 24/7. For Richard and I, retiring at the same time has worked very, very well. We have many shared interests and enjoy our time together. We also have many different hobbies and passions. We each go to different gyms…and then meet up for coffee afterwards. Richard golfs, I go to yoga. Richard is a news-junkie whereas I avoid the news like the plague. I agree that balance is the key!

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  13. Another fab guest Donna! Thanks Lynn for sharing all the snippets of advice you’ve gathered. Retirement is a great stage of life and really must be enjoyed as much as possible. I agree with all the offered advice from the experts. I agree with the others, balance is essential. Days off are allowed but guilt for feeling non-productive is not allowed. 🙂

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  14. Hi Lynn thanks for sharing all of this wonderful advice! I retired early to spend more time with my husband who is 9 years older than I. The first few months were okay but after that I felt lost and set adrift! I started my blog Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond as a way to find something to fill the void. It has been about 4 years of retirement now and I think I’m just starting to get the hang of it! Thanks so much Donna for another interesting post on life in retirement. Have a great week, ladies.

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    1. Hi, Sue – I also retired early to spend more time with my husband who is 11 years older than I am (shhh, don’t tell him that I shared this with you)! I am just coming up to three full years of retirement. I agree that we should fill our days with our passions and not let ourselves go adrift.
      Sharing with like-minded people (like in this corner of the blogosphere) has been very helpful to me.

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  15. I so agree about the don’t put off start going and doing the things that make you happy as soon as you retire. You don’t know what the future holds and your life can change with no warning.

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    1. Hi, Victoria – These are very wise and timely words. I have recently committed to taking part in the ‘A to Z Blogging Challenge,’ and was just planning my ‘D’ Post. “Decide. Then DO it.” Come to think of it…sometimes I don’t decide…I just find myself doing it anyway. Life is short and there are no guarantees!

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  16. A great collection of tips, insights and realities from a great group of people! Thanks for the informative post, Lynn. As my approach to life is pretty similar to that of (new) retirees, I don’t think I’d have a hard time adjusting if and when I ever retire. 🙂

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  17. Thanks so much for including me in your wonderful post.

    I will confess, I had no idea what a ping back is, so it took me a while to figure it out, Donna. I kept trying to comment and it kept pushing me back to my blog. Ah, technology.

    It is great to be a part of this supportive, interesting group.

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    1. Hi, Shelley – Too funny about the pingback. My blogging learning curve is also straight up. As frustrating as it can be, it is very satisfying once I do figure something out. I look forward to continuing to follow your adventures!

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    1. Hi, Terri – I agree that Lynn did an awesome job with this post, and has put together some very helpful advice.
      I always enjoy your reminders to stay active and have fun. To me, this advice is essential for every life stage — especially retirement.

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