Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Retiring Thoughts.

We wanted a quick meal the other night, and the subject of where to  pick up fast food popped up.  Here, vacationing in Southern Cal.,  we are close to many restaurants and fast food joints.  Not a lot of thinking or driving.  The picture above is of my favorite burger joint, the only thing I really miss in Oregon.

When we decided to retire, it was a quick decision too.
We had not spent months and years in preparation.
We figured out that if we sold our Cal. property we'd be able to move anywhere in the world.

We thought of moving to Italy, my homeland, after a  visit of a few weeks.
Hubby was all for the idea. I kept thinking that our grown children wouldn't be visiting us too often if we moved so far from them.

So, four elements should have guided our thinking, in retrospect:

1. Finding a place we loved, and not too far for the children to get to us, affordable in our new status.

2. Identifying  the things we wanted to do with our time. 

3. Accessing service providers.

4.Live well within our means.

We did extremely well on the first element  We sold our house in a couple of days, and moved to a small apartment close to my work site, until the retirement process was completed.  All our belongings went to our children who appreciated the stuff they could select and keep.  The rest, went to charity.  We planned on purchasing what we needed for our new digs later.  We kept a few things and these too were given to charity on the day we left California permanently

We chose a place in Port Orford because if was just breathtakingly beautiful. All the other problems paled by that beauty. We had looked on the coast for months for something affordable to us; and we didn't find anything in California. Oregon is much more affordable. One reason, no sales taxes, and a laid back life style.

On the second, not really. It took us a couple of years to figure things out.

 People gave us gifts of golf clubs thinking with all the links in our new area, we'd pick up the sport.  We tried. We didn't like it. The same with fishing.  There isn't much to do in some places. And, the big AND, we didn't really have hobbies besides our work.


Our mistake is one most people will make, not thinking of how they will spend their time in retirement, before health issues will immobilize you.  Traveling, shopping and dining are not hobbies or creative activities. They will just drain your dwindling resources. Yes, you can do them. But, they will not keep you engaged mentally and physically for the long run.

In the next  post I will outline some of the ways that would have helped us prepare for this eventuality.


yaya said...

This is a perfect post for me. I'm not retiring for a bit yet, but like everything we do in life we should prepare carefully. Especially for an event as important as how to spend your last years in life. We take more time to plan a wedding, vacation, or a dinner menu than some big issues that seem so very far off. But time has a way of knocking on your door and by golly, I want to be ready!

Roberta said...

Some good thoughts here. I often worry about my husband when he retires. He has no hobbies at all. I, on the other hand, have more hobbies than I can handle right now. I long for more time to enjoy them all.

ellen abbott said...

We will only retire until forced to by our inability to continue to work. One reason, because we are working artists, we have never been able to put much money aside. It's always been needed during those times when we didn't have work. Art is the first thing people don't buy when things get tight. the other reason is that we love what we do and I can't think of any reason why I would stop doing it. Even if I couldn't do this anymore there are so many things I like to do. Maybe I would start sewing again or make that quilt I always wanted to make. Or maybe take up water color.

but I agree. People who have no other interest besides their job find retirement to be an empty hole. And then through inactivity, they age even faster.

Kathy said...

Although I'm in a diffrent phase in life, I related to this story. I'm a stay-at-home mom and have been since our first child was born. Up until then my time was spent working, when my kids were little my hobby was them! ( and a little gardening) Now that I have been "downsized" since the youngest started kindergarten this year I have some time, not a lot, but I do have time to discover pieces of me. That's when I started writing and blogging. But there are still more things to discover! Thank you for your always wonderful blog!

Rob and Trish MacGregor said...

Informative post, thank you!

Brian Miller said...

hmmm...i am intrigued by this...for my own good one day...but my mom is 2 years retired and my day 2 away...might be some good intel for them...

have been thinking of moving to italy recently...

Grandmother said...

Have I told you lately that I love your blog? It always gets me thinking. I liked your 4 questions and it let me see that I did the first part of # 1 (find a place we loved) and most of 2, 3, 4.
When I retired 2 years ago, my husband had more of his work in Europe so we decided to move to Europe. The decision for Italy seemed easy. (Where are you from BTW?) It was the first time we asked big questions from the perspective of what WE wanted rather than what is best for the family. We only have a daughter so maybe it was easier. She and her 2 children have visited Italy, thus opening a whole new world to our grands.
I agree that you have to have an idea of what you want to do after retirement. Mine center on reading, writing, running, hiking and exploring other cultures. Since my husband is still working part time and loving it, he's been slower to decide this important question. I'm eager to hear what else you have to say about this topic.

NormalToEatPB said...

another sage post. . .

Hilary said...

You always have such wisdom to share. Thanks for that.

dianefaith said...

I'm anxious to hear what else you're going to say on this subject.
I always worried about how my husband and I would cope being together 24/7 in the same house. So, without a concrete plan, I bought myself (with my own money earned from my last job) a writing house, a 720-square-foot cottage with a good yard for gardening. It's close enough to neighbors for security, yet it's quiet here, too. The best part: I could live here with very little income. Because the house is so small, taxes, utilities, and upkeep are cheap. We have a good hospital nearby. The lack (if I considered it one, and I DON'T) is in restaurants. We don't have much choice for eating out.
It's worked out well for each of us to have our own space sometimes.

the walking man said...

My disability retirement happened so fast I had no time to goodness it took me the first year just to get the smell of cars out of my skin and another year or two to actually realize I had all the time I needed to actually sit and write instead f a piece here or there between jobs and at lunch time.

Now it's been almost 11 years and i don't know what I do with my time but I do know that every day seems to have been filled with something.

becky said...

I'd love to hear your ideas...I'm struggling now with what to do with all my time, now that I'm newly retired. A wise woman once told me that I'd have to learn that I'm ENOUGH without my work. Difficult. Yesterday, as I walked down the street, I heard a man in front of me saying to his friend, "I've been praying for the day when my worth isn't tied up in working. That I'm still valuable without my work."

Eva Gallant said...

This is interesting. I'm looking forward to the nest post to get confirmation of all the things I should have done before retiring! lol. We haven't sold our home and moved yet, so I may benefit from your advice.

Maggie May said...

Well we are just carrying on in the same house, part time work, looking after grandchildren and the only different thing in our lives are our pet rabbits!
We have various hobbies and like to be in surroundings that we are used to.
Maybe we are boring people!

You sound as though you enjoy walking! That is a hobby and writing too!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Well we made our decision for retirement with quite a bit of planning, considering where to go but we knew it was to be out of CA. My hobbies changed significantly in retirement--I was an avid gardener, especially roses in CA not so much here, different climate and wanting less maintenance and more time for RV travel. Gardening was my therapy & once retired I didn't need that much therapy! I did return to sewing and took up quilting in retirement, & consider my blog, writing, & genealogy research & reading a big hobby. Something I never realized until about 4 years into retirement, life styles change our interests. What seemed so significant when employed is no longer so. I no longer am as avid a shopper, aka $$ spender unless it's at auctions or thrift stores! Once we redecorated this home and inherited antiques there's little to buy. Although we thought we'd chosen our ideal location and certainly one that affords us a better quality of life at a lower cost than CA, I am not so sure I'd have agreed to MN. I like 4 seasons but these winters...not so much, too long and we've not gone south nor west that we thought we'd do. At the time it was an optimal decision, but now?? Well life is matter how much planning. I"ll be interested in what else you say.

Moannie said...

As ever a thought provoking piece. Too late for me, but I shall nevertheless watch for the next episode to learn how it should have gone down. Retirement just 'happened' with us, but as with most of the things that hit us we just somehow fitted right in.
The financial crisis was a bummer, but, hey, tighten the belts.

Terra said...

I look forward to your next post. My dh and I recently retired and love it. It still seems amazing that we are getting paid and NOT working. We like our house and our adult children live in the same city so we didn't move. I exercise every day, garden, write magazine articles, go to church, have lunch with friends. What's not to like? Retirement is grand for us.

Vagabonde said...

I went back and read your 18 posts I missed while I was away. You had a post on Egypt. One thing I’d like to say is that I was fortunate in seeing my first cousin while in Los Angeles. He is Egyptian and has a house in Cairo. He did tell me that the reason Mubarak stayed so long in power was because the US backed him and provided billions in military aid. He added that without the US backing the regime, Mubarak would have gone down many years ago and they would have had more freedom. Sometimes our media does not give us the exact information. You are right about free speech – we have it, but what if the media is silent or interpret it the way they wish? I remember once watching President Jacques Chirac of France live on US TV. I understood what he was saying in French but the English translation was totally wrong/inaccurate – all the US newspapers mentioned the wrong translation, giving a bad name to the French (typical.)
I look forward to reading your ideas about retirement plans. Mine have been to travel even more. I have so far.

erin said...

Rosaria, your pointers are how I've chosen to live now. Life is too short to wait to live. We love where we live, it is close to our loved ones, we can write and do photography, we can live slowly and near nature, and we can live within our little means. Service? Well, good enough. As to having enough tomorrow? Um, you'll have to ask me tomorrow. Today is here. (I don't mind poor today. Poorer tomorrow? Well, as long as I can eat. Crossing fingers.)

I'm so glad selling your property in California granted you such latitude. I can't imagine you in California, really. I think you found the right place to retire to.


Arkansas Patti said...

I did part of it right. I sold, moved to a beautiful place with many outlets for my interests--I just wished I had kept the family closer.
Only plus there is when we do get together, it is a wonderful, cherished event.
I will be interested in your next post.
There really needs to be an "art of retiring" handbook. There is a project for you.

Hope said...

thought provoking and very helpful. you are never too young to think about retiring. looking forward to reading your next post.

thank you

The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street said...

Hmm...4 salient points that impact one's decision...
Now...where do I retire?

Miss Sadie said...

All very good points, Rosaria.

#1Nana said...

This is a great post. I also struggle with #2. It's been 2 years since retirement and I'm still treading water. Today I worked, and didn't enjoy it at all. I just got a postcard from PEace Corps about serving again for 3 months to a year...I'm still pondering that one.

potsoc said...

Have loved ones nearby, keep busy doing things you like, travel a bit make for a happy retirement providing health is there.
As long as one is healthy the other things fall in place just naturally.
In retirement like in working life one has to seize opportunities that present themselves. Be alert.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

You're so right. There is so much more to retirement than traveling and shopping.

We retired when my husband was 53. It was a total surprise. He came home one day and announced he'd quit his job and I had 30 days to get rid of everything that wouldn't fit in our house in the Bahamas. So, needless to say, we did not plan for retirement. I don't advise a spur of the moment thing, but in reality, it turned out very well for us.

Moving to a foreign country, as we did, is also challenging. I'm looking forward to knowing more about how retirement is working for you.

Sightings said...

Perfect advice -- find a place you love, not too far from your children -- and I can't wait to hear the rest. But ... what is that favorite burger joint? Don't recognize it.

rosaria said...

Thank you for your feedback. There are a lot of things to consider and to prepare for, things you never thought about before.

One that will need its own post is how to reconcile yourself to not doing the work you were doing!

Your thoughts and ideas are helping me organize the next installments.