Early retirement? Cognitive decline?

by Finn

We’ve had a number of discussions here of what we’ll do, or are doing, in retirement, but among those of us not yet retired, we haven’t discussed much when we’ll retire (Milo and Fred are among the few who have).

This article raises another possible factor to consider, both in the timing of retirement and what to do in retirement:

Why Early Retirement Isn’t as Awesome as It Sounds

Do you have a target retirement date yet? Will the possibility of being affected by mental retirement and cognitive decline affect that date? Do you have plans for any activities in retirement to maintain cognitive abilities?

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155 thoughts on “Early retirement? Cognitive decline?

  1. “The solution seems to be less about working through retirement and more about making sure you’re exposed to stimulating activities when you retire.”

    Bingo.

    I have said many times here that we would like to retire in our 50’s, and that we are working toward that goal. Will it happen? I don’t know – there are a lot of unknowns between now and then. But it can’t hurt to try. I have no intention of continuing to work because otherwise my brain will rot. I can find other, more interesting things to do that will stimulate my brain/continue learning.

  2. I can find other, more interesting things to do that will stimulate my brain/continue learning.

    Such as? Some people say they’ll volunteer. Volunteering seems to me like all the nonsense, politics and bullshit of working just without the paycheck .

  3. My dad retired at 50 and has spent the last 20 years dealing in Japanese art. He makes enough to pay for several trips to Japan and Germany every year.

  4. I can see doing a second career after retiring. I don’t know anyone who has done that though. My grandfather did some consulting after he retired, and FIL went back and worked part time at his machining job because he was so bored after retiring. But I don’t know any true career changers.

    All of the retirees I know fall into three categories
    1. works part time or consults in their original field, out of boredom or needing to make some money. Grandmas who do a lot of hands on care for their grandkids fall into this category, in my opinion.
    2. engages in hobbies and travel, but to my eye always seem to be trying to figure out what to do next, how to fill their days
    3. watches TV , golfs, waits for the nursing home.

    To me, the first has some appeal, but not the other two.

  5. That study is something else. From what I can gather, they didn’t actually distinguish between early retirees and those who worked to a later age. Rather, they grouped people together by country, averaged out the groups’ scores, and determined that groups from countries in which the population tends to work later had higher average scores.

    Also, the questions the researchers used to measure cognitive ability (presumably for those living in the United States) included things like “Who is the current President? Who is the current Vice President? What is today’s date? Can you count backwards from 20?”

    They’re not exactly measuring an early retiree’s declining insightfulness when opining on Proust.

  6. engages in hobbies and travel, but to my eye always seem to be trying to figure out what to do next, how to fill their days

    How is that different than you wondering where you should go on your next bicycling/camping trip, except with more of the good stuff?

    watches TV , golfs, waits for the nursing home.

    We’re all waiting for the nursing home.

    Anyway, I’ve found a new boat to set my sights on when the time comes to set aside my work boots. This is an unbelievable value:

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2017/Helmsman-Trawlers-37-Sedan—Two-Staterooms-2490540/Delivered-coastal-US/United-States

  7. The research seems to point to keeping some sort of work in your early retirement plans, which is ironic and maybe a little sad, too.

    To me it’s ironic in that the stressors that you sought to escape by retiring could be the very activities that keep you sharp.  For example, a difficult commute or an invigorating but contentious job may keep your mind sharp, but those activities are very ones you probably don’t want to continue in retirement.  You retired to get away from those things.  The enjoyable activities, even those that make money, can serve to make you “soft” and even contribute to cognitive decline.

    Yesterday I was chatting with a 55 yo who told me she was becoming eager to retire because she felt her industry had become more cutthroat less collegial.  One of her favorite hobbies now is knitting.  She gets together with like-minded friends for knitting sessions.  But it could be that unless she challenges herself during retirement to compete in a more uncomfortable setting she could be contributing to her own cognitive decline.

    I hope Meme is around to comment today.

  8. “How is that different than you wondering where you should go on your next bicycling/camping trip, except with more of the good stuff?”

    The key difference to me is the last phrase, “how to fill their days”. That is the part that seems depressing. My father was one of those hobbyists, and I have a friend who retired 2 years ago who does a lot of travel and volunteering. In both cases, the effort of trying to figure out what to do next seems exhausting. It is hard to explain, but it seems like frenetic activity with no goal or end result, just activity for activity’s sake. Yeah, we do that on vacation, but it always seems to me that it would get tiresome after a while.

  9. I am always so shocked by the people here who think that it would be impossible to “fill your days” without work. Really? I have never had a problem filling my days off. And I have plenty of examples in my family of people who are very content and interesting who are retired (some in their 50’s). I feel like the danger isn’t that I would be bored and my brain would rot while I sat around waiting to die. I feel like the danger is that I keep working, die young anyway, and never get to enjoy retirement.

    What would I do if I was a healthy early retiree? Some active things – tennis, yoga, old lady exercise classes, go for long walks. Some hobby type things – garden more, more fun/project cooking, take some classes, etc. Spend more time with family & friends. Read tons of books. Actually read the New Yorker again. Attend all those daytime lectures & special exhibits at the museums. Go to movie matinees and daytime baseball games. Travel if $ permits.

    And that’s just the “good” part – there is also the case that I may have ailing parents/IL’s or grandchildren at that point, and it would be good to be able to help them without having to juggle work too.

  10. They’re not exactly measuring an early retiree’s declining insightfulness when opining on Proust.

    I believe that’s the point. The level of cognitive decline is significant.

  11. have never had a problem filling my days off.

    With what other than busy work nonsense?

  12. But Mooshi, the “how to fill your days” was your own interpretation, as you originally said. Why does the activity need to be frenetic, and why does having a choice in what to do seem exhausting, especially as opposed to what you often portray as a nightmare scenario in your own job of unmotivated students, hapless deans and department chairs, worthless tasks to check the boxes of various misguided initiatives, and pointless meetings?

  13. ennis, yoga, old lady exercise classes, go for long walks. Some hobby type things – garden more, more fun/project cooking, take some classes, etc. Spend more time with family & friends. Read tons of books. Actually read the New Yorker again. Attend all those daytime lectures & special exhibits at the museums. Go to movie matinees and daytime baseball games.

    Busy work nonsense – why not do something productive that the world values enough to pay you to do it?

  14. “I have never had a problem filling my days off.”

    I have never had that problem, even after retiring. However, I don’t know how it will be if I’m physically limited or mentally slower. Maybe the days will be long.

  15. Ivy, I can fill my days off too, because there are not that many days off, and millions of chores to be done. But once you are retired, the days off are endless, and the kids are gone, so there aren’t even as many chores to be done.

  16. I am really good at filling my days. And they are way more enjoyable now than when I was reading and commenting on page after page of an S-1.

  17. Busy work nonsense – why not do something productive that the world values enough to pay you to do it?

    By your logic, wild, passionate sex is busy work nonsense.

  18. “Busy work nonsense – why not do something productive that the world values enough to pay you to do it?”

    Because I would prefer to do those other things, and I no longer need the money. Who gives a rat’s ass if it is “productive”? I sure don’t. That sounds very Totebaggy of you – maximizing productivity from the cradle to the grave. No thanks. I prefer the payoff per unit effort theory of work – once I don’t need the payoff, why keep working? It’s fine – I don’t hate my job, but I would never, ever do it for free.

  19. “so there aren’t even as many chores to be done.”

    You really have no interests beyond chores?

  20. “I am always so shocked by the people here who think that it would be impossible to “fill your days” without work.”

    I am, too.

  21. Volunteering seems to me like all the nonsense, politics and bullshit of working just without the paycheck .

    No! That’s the whole point. When they come to you with some bullshit project, you just smile and say no. What are they gonna do, dock your pay? And when the politics get irritating, just wander away.

  22. Mooshi, this is not meant to be unkind, and remember I freely admit I take anti-depressants. Have you thought about anti-depressants? Every single thing in your future seems to leave you in despair. Your children will move away, you’ll be all alone, there won’t be any worthwhile activities. You look ahead and everything seems like a bleak nightmare. Your retirement is what you make it. You’re not a pawn in the hands of a cruel fate, at least not more so than we all are now.

  23. “However, I don’t know how it will be if I’m physically limited or mentally slower. Maybe the days will be long.”

    I agree with that. But then I probably wouldn’t be able to work either.

  24. My parents retired around their early to mid sixties. They have kept busy sorting out the family affairs that my granddad left incomplete.
    In addition to visits to accountants, lawyers and real estate developers they added periodic doctor visits to their list. They are able to visit their kids and grandkids. The grandkids are older now so less hands on looking after required. They keep themselves busy, phone or visit their friends, shop, cook, read, watch TV, take walks.
    I don’t want a too early retirement. I will ramp up travel and hopefully work. My kids, I am hoping will be launched.
    My experience has been despite all checking the boxes things happen, so I will do what I can and won’t worry about losing my marbles.

  25. Rhett – I think Ivy hit a good point. You are quick to bash (humorously) the Totebag mentality that everything kids do must be directed toward higher grades, selective college admission, and top employment prospects.

    You mock the idea that they should never be allowed to relax and enjoy life. But ultimately, you’re terrified of the prospect of doing just that on any real scale because somehow you’ll be less of a person if you’re not earning money every month from paid employment.

  26. It’s fine – I don’t hate my job, but I would never, ever do it for free.

    Are there any jobs you think you might like more? It seems a shame to end up doing something you’d never ever do for free.

  27. Milo,

    Totebag mentality that everything kids do must be directed toward higher grades, selective college admission, and top employment prospects.

    Right, because that seems like the path toward being in the 50th percentile of one’s career. It seems a lot better to work less hard and end up in the 98th percentile of a more modest career. When you’re in that position you can be like RMS in a volunteer job. The totebag ethos is one of killing yourself with grueling work so you can eventually retire. Why not enjoy the ride?

  28. You don’t know me in real life.

    We don’t but you do seem to have a very negative view of almost everything. I think you’ve said you use this venue to complain and that’s certainly fine. But if this is really how you view things in real life there may be an issue.

  29. Rocky is an immensely talented and capable person, but I think she is volunteering because her DH is extremely well-paid in a very non-modest career.

    I agree with your general sentiment, though. But why the fear of retirement if you’re otherwise well-capitalized? Especially if you’re thinking of “more modest careers,” you can’t seriously believe that they are all so intellectually stimulating until the age of 70.

  30. Especially if you’re thinking of “more modest careers,” you can’t seriously believe that they are all so intellectually stimulating until the age of 70.

    Just more stimulating and enjoyable than making up busy work for yourself so you have places to go and people to interact with.

  31. Rocky is an immensely talented and capable person, but I think she is volunteering because her DH is extremely well-paid in a very non-modest career.

    Oh, for sure, I don’t think I’ve ever said otherwise.

  32. “so you have places to go and people to interact with.”

    You make it sound like you wouldn’t actually want to go to various places, and interact with different people. That somehow it’s much better to go to the same office every day.

    Why is that?

  33. OK, so I do suspect the article is onto something, but I’m not quite sure what. My own personal pet-theory-unsupported-by-facts is that the daily aggravations (commuting in rush hour, rushing to meetings, always worrying about deadlines, etc.) are unhealthy for your body (high blood pressure, stress hormones, etc.), but that the challenging mental work you sort of get forced into keeps those connections firing and keeps you more intellectually nimble. So the key is to find a way to push yourself with the mental challenge — not all.the.time, not at the rate that triggers the negative physical problems, but often enough that you stay lively. And I think the problem is that it is hard work to put in that kind of effort, and so we shy away from doing it if we don’t have to — same way I can find any excuse possible to avoid hard exercise. So I suspect that people who throw themselves into some alternative activity, tend to stay the healthiest, both physically and mentally, in the long-term. E.g., you’ve always done a little painting on the side, and you retire to do that, and so you take technique classes and spend 3-4 hrs/day doing that — hard work for a few hours, lots of focus and mental challenges, but also enough time left in the day to get sufficient exercise, relax, run errands, hang out with friends, etc.

    The problem with the study, of course, is that it can’t tell us whether my idea is right. They didn’t look at *how* people spent their retirement years — whether they dove into hobbies or side businesses, or what kind or for how long, etc. All it says is that the earlier you stop working, the earlier cognitive decline begins, but not sure that would be a surprise — if “retirement” means “sitting in your Barcalounger running the clicker,” well, we all know that is bad for us on so many fronts, so no surprise that starting it earlier would mean the bad stuff also starts earlier.

    It is funny, because for probably a couple of years now, I’ve been almost fixated on early retirement. But once I got on antidepressants, that feeling generally went away — plus now the kids are older and so the home load has slacked off quite a bit, and even more is in sight (e.g., this fall DS will take the bus home from school, so no more rushing out to beat daycare closing; DD can fix dinner for everyone; next summer DD can drive them both to the camp bus). And somehow the overall lessening of the aggravation load makes me less aggravated at the work part of things. I am guessing maybe I have a Total Aggravation Threshold, and I’ve been sort of at or above it for the past however many years, and that little bit of relief from either side makes everything seem rosy again. Well, that and the drugs, of course.

    Most of my family seems active and engaged and healthy. My mom, of course, quit her day job, but to spend that time working on her own business. My stepmom quit but is a trustee at her alma mater; my dad quit and does very occasional seminars; and both of them take many very active trips, like hiking in mountains that would wipe me out, or riding multi-day bike races, and they work out probably an hour or two most days of the week. FIL got bored and so took a position on the board of a national academy, which gives him a stipend, reason to travel, and (now) the treasurer’s job; he also plays highly-competitive golf and tennis with his country club buddies (there is much macho-ness involved). MIL quit decades ago, but her mind has been totally fine, just a little chemo foggy now. My Granny is in her ’90s, never worked a paid job but still does a 3-mile “walking” tape on her TV every day and is sharp as a tack (she looks all sweetness and light but is a total card shark, you do NOT want to play her). So my takeaway has been to stay physically active and to find things you care about and throw yourself into them.

  34. Just more stimulating and enjoyable than making up busy work for yourself so you have places to go and people to interact with.

    I can’t understand this. There were so many hours of my paid job where I sat in endless committee meetings and tried to protect my staff from the predations of the other managers and was bored to death part of the time and stabby the rest of the time.

    If you find the right volunteer work (and I agree it takes some looking) you can do stuff where you’re actually helping people — people who really need help and weren’t going to get it otherwise. And you can control your hours and walk away from the politics.

  35. That somehow it’s much better to go to the same office every day.

    I don’t go to the same office everyday.

  36. “Are there any jobs you think you might like more? It seems a shame to end up doing something you’d never ever do for free.”

    Short answer – no. I am content in my career, but I have no expectations that I should be endlessly passionate about it or want to do work for free. I work to earn money, not to “fill my days”.

    When I retire, I suspect that I will miss my coworkers (whoever they may be at that time) more than the actual work.

  37. Meme, RMS, July and Scarlett seem to be doing quite OK, doing a variety of things. I am sure each one will figure out what works for them.
    Mooshi has an advantage in that, her job requirements and interaction with students means that she will be challenged to a high degree for as long as she is teaching.

  38. I should be endlessly passionate about it or want to do work for free. I work to earn money, not to “fill my days”.

    So you’ve never woken up on Monday and thought to yourself excitedly, “I’m going to work today!”

  39. “I don’t go to the same office everyday.”

    Same sort of work. Also, it’s hard to believe that anyone who’s on here regularly during work hours is so happily fulfilled by their actual work that nothing could be more enjoyable.

  40. “Just more stimulating and enjoyable than making up busy work for yourself so you have places to go and people to interact with.”

    I really don’t understand this theory. “Making busy work for myself” and “filling my days”. How about having the freedom/free time to do things that I like to do on weekdays when/if I feel like it? That sounds great. It’s not a chore. It’s just life. It seems like such a weird way to think about it to me.

  41. “‘That somehow it’s much better to go to the same office every day.’

    I don’t go to the same office everyday.”

    Right. Which is sort of the point. This is also why my mom doesn’t want to ever retire — why retire when your job is to travel different places and meet people and have dinners out with them, and get paid for it all? I think that’s a very different job experience from sitting in an office, or cubicle, and going to meetings and filling out Excel spreadsheets and all that stuff.

    Honestly, the thing that makes me want to quit periodically is the *lack* of mental stimulation when the administrivia and client management overwhelms the challenging/fun substantive work. E.g.: I took on a new role a few years ago doing something I’d never done, and the next two years were both terrifying and invigorating as I had to learn it all from scratch. But now I know most of it, and so it has lost the edge; now most of the job is answering the same few questions from people who can’t be bothered to go look on our intranet where I posted all this stuff, or making sure my processes are running, or writing/revising policies. As they say, the thrill is gone. I’m secretly almost thankful for the PITA lawyers who made my life so difficult for the past month, because at least they made me *think*.

  42. Rhett – I think you are unusual in your love of your job, airplane food and work travel.

  43. it’s hard to believe that anyone who’s on here regularly during work hours is so happily fulfilled by their actual work that nothing could be more enjoyable.

    That’s the point – the work isn’t really taking up all that much time.

    I would add that I’ve been retired (for 9 months). I had plenty of money and just hung around and tried to fill my days and I was like meh – I like working more. I can certainly understand someone who’s been busting their ass since kindergarten on through high school, college, law school to big law is mesmerized by the idea of having nothing to do. But, if you’ve taken time to experience a long stretch of lidless you might find it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

  44. I think you are unusual in your love of your job, airplane food and work travel.

    Oh I do! You know how people talk about living the dream? That’s what I do. In my case, I guess it helps to start life with low expectations.

  45. I can think of a ton of things I would like to do – but the opportunity cost is too high now. I would love to teach community ed enrichment courses – perhaps how to navigate medical things, anatomy, ESL. Tutor math, buy and re-sell vintage ceramics and glass. Make and sell quilts.

    None of these things even approach my hourly rate now, and this is the season to accumulate assets and ensure stability, and be present for the kidlets. And homeschool in my leisure. If I retired in 10 years, I think I could do just fine with meaningful ways to spend my time.

    My parents fill their time just fine – my mom has become a professional busybody (I think she might hand out things from the food bank just to see who is coming each week). They cut down trees to lay in wood for the winter. I don’t see them withering and useless.

  46. @Rhett – you find it sad that I don’t bound out of bed on Monday mornings excited to go to work, and I find it sad that you don’t have enough interests/relationships/hobbies outside of work to look forward to the weekends. I would guess many more people in Corporate America are on my side of that thought.

    “Also, it’s hard to believe that anyone who’s on here regularly during work hours is so happily fulfilled by their actual work that nothing could be more enjoyable.”

    Haha! Yes.

  47. I find it sad that you don’t have enough interests/relationships/hobbies outside of work to look forward to the weekends

    I have great weekends too. This weekend we went to a kids birthday party/adults party on Saturday and sailing on Sunday – it was delightful. Next weekend it’s Newport then the Jersey Shore then Vermont with some beach days in between. Would I want to sail and go to parties and go the beach every day? Certainly not. I like a balance.

  48. I think it has been said on here before (by Rhett?) that the MMMs don’t really want to stop working, they just don’t want to be told what to do. I think that is why the homesteading movement dovetails so nicely with the early retirement movement. You get enough money to buy your farm, and enough passive income to buy Froot Loops and bulk pasta (on sale), then you work like hell to make ends meet. But nobody tells you what to do.

    It’s not really early retirement, it’s early “leaving the workforce.”

  49. To use Milo as a example. Would he have such a strong desire to retire early if he’d go to Arizona State and majored in marketing? From what I know the Naval Academy is grueling and intense. This, not so much:

  50. lol. are those the dorms?

    College is only four years. And it was a long time ago, longer with each passing year.

  51. Yes, as of right now my target date is 7.5 years away, late 2024 or very early 2025. Depending. Higher investment returns might shorten the timeline. Health (mine and that for those who might need my care) could change that dramatically. Under the current regime, I’m not having to work too hard for my money, and I’m paid multiple standard deviations to the right of the median to do it. No where near 1%, but I do just fine. I really do not want to go thru another learning curve with another employer between now and retirement. If I can work a promotion in along the way, that’ll be fine and could well shorten the horizon a bit. The biggest drag about work is just the having to go in every day, which, of course is not every day since I rarely work weekends and holidays + vacation = 32 days, so it’s, on average, more like 4+ days/week.

    The question of what will I (we) be retiring TO is daunting to me.

    I’ve described my year around the world in 12 places each for a month. It’s the ‘regular’ life after that I need to figure out. Whether it’s golf, biking, hiking/walking, just the gym, swimming, I do expect to be active and improve at any/all of those things because I will be doing them enough. Everyone needs to have something about which they’re passionate. I think I’d like to volunteer with a literacy program.

    I expect all the major chores that have been deferred over our child-raising years will get done well before we retire, since we’ll be empty-nesters beginning in 2 months. If I end up averaging 30 minutes a night cleaning/organizing the basement/garage/bookshelves/photos, doing some simple painting starting then, the house will look and feel a lot different by the time our oldest visits next in mid-Sept. So I’m planning to get those kinds of things out of the way before retirement hits. There will be things we outsource like redoing the bathrooms, the kitchen, but those are different.

    I’m not particularly worried about the mental decline aspect of retirement/aging yet. There’s no history of it in either of our backgrounds at least until the early 80s. The physical aspect is more troublesome.

  52. lol. are those the dorms?

    Yup. But I can sense how appalled totebaggers are. Don’t you know you should be living in a tiny drab room in Duluth studying electrical engineering!?

  53. I retired from my day job over two years ago and really haven’t had to make that effort to fill my days. Admittedly, I work 20-30 hours per week on the farm and I take kids to medical appointments, but I have significant leisure/downtime and I like it. I do miss DD when she is away at school and I’m actively avoiding thinking about what happens when the other two leave.

    I wondered about the causal relationship in the study. Certainly cognitive decline would make it more difficult to maintain a career.

    On a side note, how does one know if they might benefit from antidepressants? I’ve been wondering about myself. The last year has been rough between my son’s and my moms health issues, missing DD, the farm economy is kind of rough, and this has been the hardest, unending spring in decades. How do you tell if you feel bad because times are hard or because your brain chemicals aren’t quite right?

  54. The last year has been rough between my son’s and my moms health issues, missing DD, the farm economy is kind of rough, and this has been the hardest, unending spring in decades.

    In my case it was my poorly managed health problem that I thought was depressing me. It’s kind of hard to explain. Not on anti-depressants I kind of just wallowed in it. But, a few days after starting anti-depressants I thought to myself, “Why not get a second opinion?” I went to a new doctor and he put me on a new treatment regime and I was 95% better in a matter of days.

  55. “How do you tell if you feel bad because times are hard or because your brain chemicals aren’t quite right?”

    In my case, the answer was “go to a doctor, ask him, try the antidepressants. If they work, you needed them; if they don’t, you didn’t.”

    Honestly, my biggest regret was the post-baby period when I was oh-so-very-clearly depressed and *didn’t* seek help.

  56. If they work, you needed them; if they don’t, you didn’t.”

    On minor caveat would be that sometimes you have to try a few to see what works and what doesn’t. Some folks respond really well to A and others respond really well to B but it’s hard to know what will work before you try them.

  57. My dad has thrived in retirement. He is helping raise funding for a technology start up. His friends are the guys who have always played in their garage tinkering with computers. Now that they have time in retirement they have time to spend on developing the product. They keep adding their retired friends to work on the software and hardware in return for shares that may or may not end up being worth anything. My dad doesn’t do the technical stuff. He is fundraising to keep the company going. He was never a schmoozer but now he is raising millions of funding and going to super-computing conferences. He is a big optimist that everything will turn out well and reads futurist and science magazines. He loves to learn new things. He has gotten a bunch of those Great Courses DVDs and tries to get all of us kids to watch them.

    He also spends a lot of time traveling, especially going to grandkids’ games around the country. He is excited to travel to grandkid’s college games this upcoming school year. My dad is a very active grandpa. He’s much better now that the kids are older as he wasn’t comfortable around little babies. He likes to play baseball with my kids, but that is starting to get more difficult physically for him. He attends nearly every one of their games and scrimmages. He also visits with friends quite a bit and helps others quite a bit. I love seeing how happy he is now. About a year after my mom died, my dad was really wallowing in grief. I wondered if he’d give up – “get busy living or get busy dying”. Fortunately, right around that time he met his now-wife. She has been a godsend.

    I really hope to be like my dad when I’m older. He says he is busier now in retirement than he was working with kids at home.

  58. Otoh, there has been a bit written lately about “second acts” of people who retired early, got bored (& may’ve felt decline coming on) and started a new career that they find fulfilling. It’s often an unexpected treat. Our brains are more plastic than mid-20th century scientists believed. We can learn, even late in life.

  59. Rhett – I thought of you today. DH despises traveling. He hates it and gets very depressed when he has a trip. He had to fly to LA and back today and was so unhappy. I try to be sympathetic, but it seems like it would be kind of fun to me. He could have stayed overnight in LA, but he hates being away from home, so he’d rather fly back tonight. I was thinking about how being willing to travel would help him so much in his job, but he just. can’t. do. it.

  60. Also, it’s hard to believe that anyone who’s on here regularly during work hours is so happily fulfilled by their actual work that nothing could be more enjoyable.

    I would not go so far as to say NOTHING could be more enjoyable, but I really do like my job. I look forward to sitting down to work each day. Of course there are moments that are annoying, but on balance, I never look forward to retirement or quitting. This, of course, is a 180 degree shift from when I was an employee, rather than my own employer. When I was working for someone else, it was death by papercuts, and I almost quite 100 times.

  61. Rhett, you enjoy hanging out poolside with a drink in hand, airplane rides and associated hoopla (in flight meals, airport lounges, etc). You occasionally go on local outings with your family. Ivy listed a bunch of things that many people enjoy for their own sake, but not you. What does bring you pleasure? Does your wife pay you for sex? Would you enjoy getting a pilot license? Season passes to Disney so you could take endless Soarin’ rides? Sorting through things and deciding what’s not worth keeping? Learning to make food and drinks you enjoy?

  62. LfB, I like your hypothesis, but think my physically active, journal and novel-reading, crossword puzzle-solving dad who still does continuing medical ed units is evidence to the contrary. His father was forced into retirement in his early 60s when the company where he worked had to close suddenly after an employee took all the money. He worked a few small side jobs after that, but nothing else, lived about 15 more years.

  63. On Mooshi’s “depression”. I think she uses this blog as a place to gripe about stuff she doesn’t want to burden people with irl and go let out her inner contrarian. That’s not what most other people do here, but it isn’t pathological.

  64. “I’m secretly almost thankful for the PITA lawyers who made my life so difficult for the past month, because at least they made me *think*.”

    Haha. Now THAT’S pathological! (Just kidding ;)

  65. He could have stayed overnight in LA, but he hates being away from home, so he’d rather fly back tonight.

    I really can’t understand it. Do they make him stay at the No Tell Motel?

    I was thinking about how being willing to travel would help him so much in his job, but he just. can’t. do. it.

    It works out well for me. I was at the bar at the airport and there was a lady on the phone yelling about how there was not enough money in the world to get her to do this every week. I was like, “Sweet! More for me.”

  66. “most people who wonder if they would benefit from anti-depressants would benefit from anti-depressants.”
    And thensome, i bet.

  67. “Honestly, the thing that makes me want to quit periodically is the *lack* of mental stimulation when the administrivia and client management overwhelms the challenging/fun substantive work.”

    This is what I hear from some of my law school classmates. It’s amazing how few of them will enthusiastically recommend their jobs to young people.

    Reading these responses has been edifying. My experience with “retirement,” so far, has been the polar opposite of MM’s fears. There are too many things to do every day, and not enough time to do them. Granted, I am coming off a 2-year hiatus in which everything was put on hold, but there are still perennials in desperate need of new homes in the garden that have to wait another year because I was in Australia when they should have been divided and now they are too big to move. The compost piles should be stirred and moved into bins, but I have been out of town the past three weekends and haven’t had the 2-4 hour block of time required to finish this project. The bins of photos and videos of the kids are still sitting in the basement waiting for someone to curate them and send them to the cloud. I signed up for an addictive service that sends me daily offers for cheap e-books and have downloaded ten of them but have not had time to read or even look at any of them. I am helping run a nonprofit that would consume even more of my time if I didn’t have family to visit and others to see and then there is the whole separate project of Health Maintenance that takes more time when you get older if you don’t want to end up like the water aerobics ladies.

    As Ivy put it so well, there are many parts of our lives that have to be put on hold while we are busy with demanding jobs and young children, but being able to resume those activities and interests at a later stage is a true blessing. It was way too easy for me to be completely consumed with and identified with my job BITD, and it is understandable that those who are similarly consumed now may anticipate retirement with dread, but your post-job life is really what you make it (health and resources permitting, of course). DH, like Rhett, absolutely loves what he does and no one can imagine him retiring, but IME they are both outliers in that regard.

  68. not enough money in the world to get her to do this every week. I was like, “Sweet! More for me.”

    And then what? What do you want to do with it?

  69. Does your wife pay you for sex? Would you enjoy getting a pilot license? Season passes to Disney so you could take endless Soarin’ rides? Sorting through things and deciding what’s not worth keeping? Learning to make food and drinks you enjoy?

    There is time enough for all that now. I certainly wouldn’t want to do that stuff all day every day.

  70. Scarlett, isn’t your husband a prof? I think not wanting to retire is par for that particular course.

  71. Like that boat, Milo. We are deep in the weeds of getting our 8-year old boat ready for our sailing adventure and it is incredibly more expensive than either of us planned. I would have gone with the brand new smaller boat at this point! On the positive side, DH is getting very handy with repairs. You are forced to because boat mechanics might rival surgeons with their rates!

    On the retirement front, I plan to get a second master’s degree and volunteer a lot and engage in impact investing. I like my job (otherwise I would not be commuting back and forth during our bucket list trip) and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work where I work and do what I do. DH and I will probably do more direct real estate and debt investing when he gets back and hope to turn that side gig into something that would support semi-retirement (i.e. more frequent boat use balanced with living on land in our current city).

  72. “Going to Japan is a form on inactivity?”

    Until you get there – yes. It’s punctuated with some gate-hopping (assuming you don’t have a non-stop flight).

    Retirement isn’t in our vocabulary yet. Once a year I get patted on the back for shoving the amount I do to retirement (got to make up for ~a decade of nothing), and then we move on. I see myself working into my 70s. But I have a job that I can do into my 70s if I choose to. We’ll see what the next 2 decades bring…

  73. I think I have shared before that I initially retired, just over 3 years ago because of the new diagnosis of DD#2 and someone needing to spend more time with her and my parents overall declining health.

    Plan – To take 6 months to focus on her, clean my house (that never fully happened), get a little more first hand detail on my parents’ situation, and then find a part-time “day” job. Plus, it would let me ramp up my volunteering.

    Reality – Needed those 6 months, but they stretched to about 8 in part because all the “part-time” jobs wanted at least some (and more than I wanted to give) of nights and/or weekends. I did ramp up my volunteering and was doing a good bit of organizing (as in processes and procedures and documentation) for one group. Plus, I was learning tai chi, which required learning new “moves” and memorizing a sequence. However, I did notice my own slight mental decline.

    When my current part-time job came along, I was somewhat overwhelmed at first. It was a area I knew almost nothing about, all the compliance requirements were new, and I was working for 3 different organizations. It took about a month of pushing to get myself over the fear that I couldn’t do this and I’d bitten off too much. But, I kept thinking, if this had been a year ago, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash.

    That is also when I started to notice how DP’s cognitive function had somewhat declined. And, I realized how important it is to keep yourself challenged. I also realized that you have to push outside your comfort zone as well.

    While part of my job has become more routine, I am getting more “special” projects, so that means something new on a regular basis. In the next few months, we will get a new CEO and in the next 24 months my direct boss can retire. I don’t know what that will bring or if I will want to stay, but I know being in my mid-50s, I have to find those challenges.

  74. Mia – that’s discouraging. I’ll be praying that your preparations go more smoothly and cheaply from now on. ;)

    You made me wonder if the even-smaller version would make more sense.

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2017/Helmsman-Trawlers-31-Sedan-3082242/Arriving-Seattle/WA/United-States

    It’s $100k cheaper right off the bat. The main downside is losing the guest stateroom, but maybe any guests should just stay in a hotel. Hell, we’d probably join them just for a break.

    On Saturday, I took a tour of some friends’ (parents’ friends) 30-year-old Grand Banks 42. It’s in spectacular condition, but they do a lot of work to keep it that way. That can certainly be intellectually stimulating, as well.

  75. As for early retirement, I would play a lot of tennis! Right now I am separated from my family during the week and I now have time to work out much more often. The boat thing is not conducive to tennis but I am hoping that there will more paddleboarding and swimming.

  76. Thinking of Pneudonym’s comment
    – it has been great coming to the office when life is stressful at home. It is not always the inlaws. Twice it was kid illness, once a health scare from my Mom. Of course balancing the time required to deal with these issues is tough but for sheer diversion of the mind from the stressful issues work has been my safe space.

  77. I am totally enjoying my “retirement”, and I guarantee you I am happier than I ever have been.

    As you all know, I sort of eased into retirement– if this is what it is– I suppose, at my ugliest, by becoming increasingly irrelevant (actually more devoted to non-workforce matters, leaving increasingly less time for work-related things).

    If anything, my days remain far too busy. A lot of that is parenting and helping Junior get through high school, but certainly he has things to do and I have things to do. The lawn doesn’t cut itself, the house doesn’t clean itself, fruit trees don’t harvest themselves and distribute their fruit around to others. I purposely do not have staff. I can dust; I don’t mind washing the car (well, I didn’t until I moved underneath a flock of ducks). I’m my own pool boy. I find mowing the lawn mindlessly peaceful. I don’t “volunteer” per se, but I’m always doing something for church, or Junior’s school, or working on some (losing) campaign or another. For a couple of years I was counsel for our church until we got a minister who was too religious for me.

    I actually like my kid and being a parent. I read everything, it seems, and have a dependency relationship with Kindle (mostly biography and history).

    I’m not exactly sitting on my hands, and every once in a while a law project comes along that actually interests me enough to do take on. But I am not “working” per se.

    When Junior graduates high school, I really do intend to move to The Villages. I think it will be a hoot. I intend to be active in the community and acquire an STD.

    My sisters are all older and all retired. All are crazy busy and seem genuinely happy or miserable as they prefer.

    Eventually my health will decline and I will do fewer things. But I can’t imagine the time that I am not interested in people and things going on.

  78. Well, Milo – I now understand why boat ads have random things replaced that don’t make sense. We are on the verge of needing a new watermaker or maybe we are just not turning the right switches in the right combinations. For a $10,000+ replacement cost, we are going to fill up the water tanks and keep doing that until we get to Annapolis and hope to find more sailboaters that know how to fix things because there is no manual and it was installed in Greece. The manuals for things on the boat are in a variety of languages. Boat sold in France and then toured the Med so I have manuals and cleaning products in a number of languages for parts added along the way. We thought we could live without A/C ($14,000 install cost) and have rigged up a $200 window unit through the kitchen window hooked up to a little $500 Honda generator we’ve owned for years because the boat has 220V power and we don’t want to rewire everything and replace appliances. We splurged on a new dinghy and it was stolen last week (cut through the cable lock) and then miraculously….found floating later that day. Making memories for sure – just not the ones we necessarily dreamed of!

  79. I am retired and I love it. My husband says he will retire in 18 to 30 months. He is afraid to retire – concerned he won’t have enough to do. His work is very stressful and I worry about his health.
    We live in an ideal area to audit college classes. My husband is very good with his hands and has wanted to get involved in woodworking. There are a lot of Revolutionary War battlefields and I can see him leading tour groups. We like to travel – day trips, a few days or weeks. I think he will like retirement and find he has more than enough to do.

  80. Interesting. At least I can say that I’ll be avoiding water-makers. My plans are far less ambitious than yours, so no ocean crossings, and water tanks can be filled up at the dock every couple of nights.

    Air conditioning is a must. If not for the cooling, then simply for the drying aspect. Otherwise, everything is forever damp.

    LOL @ PTM

  81. Well, that’s one way to be “active” in the community . . . .

  82. “He is afraid to retire ”

    FWIW, you’re almost exactly the same age as my mom, I once realized. I don’t know if my dad was afraid to retire, but he now says that he maybe should have done it earlier than 68 (and he wasn’t even planning on doing it at 68, either). He thinks that there’s usually at least a little bit of self-deception going on when people insist that they love going to work every morning.

  83. He thinks that there’s usually at least a little bit of self-deception going on when people insist that they love going to work every morning.

    And everyone who says they love being retired is telling the truth?

    Per the totebag ethos, I worry that focusing too much on retirement results in people not maximizing the present.

  84. I loved my jobs and I love being retired. Partly it’s luck and partly attitude. As mentioned before, low expectations enter into the equation.

    I have observed various versions of happy retirements, from working part-time to being busy every single minute with volunteering, working, and socializing to hanging out at the beach reading and playing Scrabble. Probably what I’ve most observed as being at the root of some unhappy retirements is lack of money.

  85. Since a cruise is by definition hours of coasting, interrupted by frenetic bouts of onshore (often artificial) activity, I have time to comment. I know very few retirees under 85, even the 45 year old kind, who are trying to fill up empty days with busy work. It shows a lack of imagination to deem a long and varied list of activities that you would not choose for yourself as acts of desperation. I don’t have enough time to visit all the places, to read all the books, to learn new things I haven’t yet encountered,, to maintain and develop all the relationships – all of the things that as the time grows shorter are of the utmost importance to me.

    Trip report so far. No issues on the flights. Left Boston at 230 pm, landed in Reykjavik at 1145 pm their time approximately sunset but no darkness, then to Oslo at just about our normal bedtime. Took a great train to Bergen over the mountains. One bad rainy day. Boarded the ship which is fabulous and tasteful. Our stateroom is spacious, with a full sitting area, lots of drawers and closets, free minibar and laundry service, double vanity in the bathroom. DH doesn’t have much stamina, but he is figuring out how to pace himself. I like Norway and the Norwegians are friendly, but a bit rigid. Going back to a topic of last week, only the senior staff are Scandinavian. The rest are Asian and Eastern European..

  86. I like the nice balance – working part-time, with my current boss/work rules. I know when my deadlines are and I can work my schedule so 90% of the time I can do the things I want to do. And, if I WANT to, I can use it as an excuse for something I don’t want to do!

  87. PTM, I can’t stop laughing. I was catching up on an entire day of comments and I almost missed the STD comment.

    I am in semi retirement, but I rarely have a day to just do whatever I want because I am still tied to the school calendar/schedule. I don’t think retiring when you have a children at home, or have to take care of elder care issues is the real deal.

    I know my mom is struggling a little to fill her time since my grandmother passed away. She retired from her full time hospital job about 18 months ago. She was busy with stuff for my grandmother, her friends and some volunteer work at her old hospital. She added more days at the hospital after my grandmother passed away, and she “works” in three different departments in her former hospital as a volunteer. She seems so much happier, and she can control the hours. She used to have to be at work by 7, and she worried about commuting in snow storms etc. She can go in 3 or 4 days a week, and she is just there from 8 – 3. I know she likes being there a few days a week because she is busy, still sees her friends, and is useful to the staff. I like it because she isn’t always asking me what I am doing because I’m barely around during the week. I still go to the city a couple of days a week to see my former work colleagues or occasionally to work on a project. Many of my days are filled with meetings or activities in my community due to volunteer work. I am on 3 Boards, and there is a decent amount of stuff that I have to do as a result of my volunteer activities. Some of it is a hassle, but I have met some great people and I still enjoy it.

    I am finally going to tackle my home repair list while DD is in camp. I have more flexibility around timing of appointments and I want to get most of this done while she is away.

    I don’t think retirement is boring, but that is because I don’t really feel retired. I can see through my mother’s experience how it can start to get lonely and boring. Even though she is only 75, her partner passed away and that means she is always looking for someone if she wants to go out to dinner, see a show etc. She will go to movies and shopping alone, but she doesn’t always want to do stuff alone. Two of her close friends passed away, and another is now taking care of her husband with Alzheimers. Stuff happens….enjoy everyday! That is what I am learning by observing my parents in retirement.

  88. “And everyone who says they love being retired is telling the truth?”

    Rhett, I don’t recall anyone on here saying that they “love” being retired. I might be wrong. In my case, for example, I have pretty much swapped out one set of activities that kept me busy for another. Worries still persist. I still worry about money. I didn’t exactly look at my finances and say, “Now is the time.”

    Obviously, I still am parenting, and I suspect I will be in one way or another for the remainder of my life. Increasingly friends (and lovers) become ill or die. Unpleasant and ugly things still happen, but while one is relatively healthy, retirement can plenty of opportunity for increased happiness.

    What I hated most in my career was constantly fighting with people. Now, I generally only fight with Junior. Cablevision and other drivers. That makes my days better in and of itself.

    Overall, I think I’ve had a reasonably happy life. I’ve always found things to laugh at and things that amuse me in one way or another. That continues in my “retirement”. But I think “love” is best reserved for people rather than conditions. I don’t really know.

  89. Oops! Just as I posted that, I read July’s post. Okay. July loves retirement.

  90. “I loved my jobs and I love being retired.”

    You sound like an optimist who loves life and finds joy in all sorts of situations.

  91. “What I hated most in my career was constantly fighting with people.”

    Perhaps that’s related to your choice of profession. Might you have enjoyed your career more had you chosen a profession for which confrontation was not such an integral part?

  92. Milo, she’s in Europe. I highly doubt the jobs she mentioned are considered high school summer positions

  93. The point saac is that the US is right in step with the rest of the world in not sourcing hospitality industry worKers from the local population, good night

  94. PTM your bucket list cracks me up. “I intend to be active in the community and acquire an STD.”

  95. “My husband is very good with his hands and has wanted to get involved in woodworking.”

    Woodworking is a hobby I plan to resume pursuing during retirement.

    I find it mentally stimulating, and in particular, it exercises spatial abilities, especially during the design process.

  96. “When they come to you with some bullshit project, you just smile and say no. What are they gonna do, dock your pay? And when the politics get irritating, just wander away.”

    I’ve been told that a when you achieve both retirement eligibility and the sufficient financial wherewithal to retire, the same attitude can be adopted at work, making it much more enjoyable.

  97. I’ve been told that a when you achieve both retirement eligibility and the sufficient financial wherewithal to retire, the same attitude can be adopted at work, making it much more enjoyable.

    Depends on your line of work. DH still has to meet deadlines, do his best for his clients, put in long hours, etc., just to be a competent lawyer.

    I think that my dad, the civil engineer for Caltrans, was kind of phoning it in his last couple of years.

  98. “I know very few retirees under 85, even the 45 year old kind, who are trying to fill up empty days with busy work. It shows a lack of imagination to deem a long and varied list of activities that you would not choose for yourself as acts of desperation. I don’t have enough time to visit all the places, to read all the books, to learn new things I haven’t yet encountered,, to maintain and develop all the relationships – all of the things that as the time grows shorter are of the utmost importance to me.”

    I mostly agree with this, except that, as I spend more time with my dad at his retirement place, I do see some folks who seem to be waiting for the assisted living stage. Hard to tell how old they are, but many are younger than 85 according to my sources. They are mostly widows, with varying degrees of mobility challenges, no longer able to drive, and without a passion for reading or politics or their Netflix list to keep them occupied in between the bingo and card games. They open the dining hall at 5, but some of these folks are already lurking in the hallways by 4:30 because there is nothing else to do. I doubt that many of them would have been described as Totebaggers in their prime, and the retired Totebaggers I know are as Meme described herself — some of them travel so much that it’s hard to get together with them.

  99. To Lauren’s point about her Mom – I think having a relatively healthy spouse and family near by have made retirement good for my parents. My grandmother was burdened by my grandfathers care, by the time he passed away, she was old and frail herself and had lost the years she would have enjoyed.
    My parents keep each other company and their younger siblings are retired too, so they often do local outings and have done overseas trips together roping in friends of theirs as well.

  100. On parents’ retirement ages: I sometimes wonder what if my dad had waited. He retired in his mid 60s, earlier than he had planned, because he was sick of the increasing paperwork burden imposed by insurance. For years he had woken up excited to go to work, but he was looking at hiring a third person for the billing department of his solo practice and decided he’d had enough. He did stints a few weeks each in the Amazon and West Africa, did a lot of surgery and had very interesting (in a fun way) experiences both places. He planned to donate a piece of medical equipment and make multiple trips to train people how to use it, but the device was a laser, so borders & customs thought it was a weapon, dismantled it, and couldn’t put it back together again. That was very disheartening. Anyway, would retiring later have staved off the decline, or simply shortened the amount of time he enjoyed travel? He certainly has done all the things that are supposed to help retain mental accuity.

  101. Anyway, would retiring later have staved off the decline, or simply shortened the amount of time he enjoyed travel?

    This is the question. We’d all like to believe that we’ll die winning a chess championship if only we keep working til we’re 110, but as someone upstream noted, sometimes you retire because you’re starting to lose it. We all age and die whether we’re working full time and cutting back on carbs and doing Crossfit or not.

  102. This is good timing. I was approached about an opportunity that I would love, but it is with a company in a much higher cost of living area, and there is no way the salary difference would make up housing cost difference. We are focused on saving aggressively for retirement, so it just doesn’t make sense. I have no worries about filling my time. I do like my career in general, but I am so sick of being on someone else’s timeline. To be able to wake up when I’m done sleeping, instead of to an alarm, take a long walk, cook a healthy breakfast, and then get ready for the day on my own timeline sounds like heaven to me. I am by nature someone who likes to do things, and there are so many things that I don’t have time to do now.

    My dad retired at 58, and now at 80 shows no signs at all of mental decline. He was chairman of the board of the credit union affiliated with his company for the first decade or so, and was active on the loan committee and some other things. He golfed with a group of friends, and was active in church. He took a couple of days a week to focus on things around the house, read, etc. He seemed to enjoy the balance. None of their kids or siblings live where they do, so they did a lot of traveling throughout the year. So my impression of retirement is that it is the balance I seek. I guess if it’s not, I’ll make whatever changes I need. My key takeaway from my parents is that health is everything. I have added more weight-bearing and higher intensity exercise in the last month because I don’t want to become an old woman living alone, surrounded by jars I cannot open (to paraphrase John Oliver).

  103. Off topic question. We’re going to South Dakota the last week of July and I booked a house on VRBO for four nights in Rapid City. Today the owner pulled it out from us and canceled it, saying the house needs major electrical work and that’s the only time the electrician. Looking at the availability on the listing, I’m guessing they picked this week because we’re only renting it for four nights and the other weeks are fully booked, so they’ll lose the least amount. Or to be really cynical, maybe they have someone who wants it for the full week they want to give it to.

    Regardless of the reason, if I canceled our reservation at this point (less than 30 days), we’d be on the hook for at least half the cost, and possibly the full cost. So I figure we’re entitled to some compensation for the late cancellation. I emailed the owner stating this, we’ll see what she says. I’m sure she’ll refuse, but I can have some fun with it at least.

  104. DD, just wondering, what’s the VRBO policy for this situation?

    A lot of hotels would put you in another hotel.

  105. I’m looking at the working-and-cognitive-decline issue in the opposite way. I am planning to leave the practice of law relatively early, because I want to make sure I’m out of the profession before any cognitive decline sets in. As a solo practitioner, I have no one to review my work, so I feel it’s particularly important for me to be mindful of this issue. My current plan is to stop taking new clients at 55, spend a couple of years winding down the practice, and then being out completely somewhere around 58 or so.

    After spending a full half hour on the phone yesterday being yelled at, second-guessed, and micro-managed by a semi-crazy client, I’m thinking that days spent on nothing but “mindless busywork” sound really, really appealing.

  106. “My key takeaway from my parents is that health is everything. I have added more weight-bearing and higher intensity exercise in the last month because I don’t want to become an old woman living alone, surrounded by jars I cannot open ”

    I agree completely and also added those types of exercises a few years ago to help my chances of prolonged vitality.

    Last week on our local attractions topic I mentioned I had never been to Staten Island. Coincidentally I just received notice that one of my Meetup groups is going.
    Ride the Free Staten Island Ferry and visit Interesting places on the Island
    Being retired, I have time for stuff like this. Others may consider it to be desperately searching for ways to fill my time but I don’t. That’s why I say there can be many paths to a happy retirement.

  107. “My key takeaway from my parents is that health is everything. I have added more weight-bearing and higher intensity exercise in the last month because I don’t want to become an old woman living alone, surrounded by jars I cannot open.”

    My Granny was telling me that her doctor just called to tell her she has some osteoporosis setting in, and does she want to try this new drug with shots and all. This is the woman who has always been active, has always eaten a good diet in the old-fashioned way (e.g. straight out of the garden/off the farm, with lots of green vegetables and leafy greens), still lives alone and opens jars just fine and does her own shopping and driving and all, and is still the same height she has been all her life. So I said “or maybe you’re 93, and that’s just normal.”

  108. Someone that worked for me recently retired at 55. This topic of when to retire has been on my mind ever since. I’m torn as I enjoy my job probably at least half of the time. I worry with my DH’s health issues about ever really saving enough that I will feel like I can live comfortably. (A decent part of this is knowing myself. I have an unrealistic fear of being destitute. I was very poor as a child and even in my adult life, I can’t seem to shake it. I worry that if I am ever downsized, I will have to live on fast food wages. Seems unlikely given my current job, and it makes my sister laugh when I say things like “I think I could get a secretary job, right?).

    I am mostly trying to live a little more while I am working – more trips to the beach mean I can work longer more happily. We save a decent amount, but even that is not without some drama. When you have a spouse with health issues, it is hard to save every dime you can for retirement, because it is unlikely he will be around to enjoy all of that.

    I do worry about what I will do when I retire. I am a terribly boring person outside of my kids and my job. I never had time for hobbies (and clearly didn’t have the passion to make time for them). Thankfully I like to travel alone, though I haven’t done it much. Maybe that should be my focus. Hard to talk about when you’re basically planning for your spouse to not be around.

    Well, that’s a depressing bit, Sorry, but thanks in advance for being a safe place for me to talk about it.

  109. This is the question.

    We’ve talked before about folks being in college and not really having any idea what kinds of jobs were available in the world. I’m curious, for those who are looking forward to retirement, if there are other jobs they could have been happier in? At our ages it’s probably not helpful to dwell on the path not taken. But for kids, it might helpful to advise them to spend some time and effort on investigating different careers.

  110. Sunshine, I don’t have anything useful to suggest, but I just wanted to send a little sympathy and encouragement to you this morning. You’re facing some really hard stuff. You’re really strong. Hugs.

  111. I’m curious, for those who are looking forward to retirement, if there are other jobs they could have been happier in?

    Clearly there are for me, but the thing is, you just don’t know that when you’re a kid. Well, *I* didn’t. From my perspective, given my family’s attitudes and my generational biases and so on, it’s all so completely counterfactual that I can’t figure out how I would have gotten to a radically different line of work.

    And then by the time I was old enough to figure it out (say, early 30s), I was married and my husband’s career was so all-consuming that there was no room for mine. He would never have moved for my career. He would never have made any compromises. So there wasn’t any point in changing.

  112. Sunshine good wishes to you. I am glad to the extent you can, you are trying to do smaller local outings.

    Rhett – I talk to my kids about jobs a lot. Of course kid’s ambition is to become a famous You Tuber and live in a Beverly Hills Mansion.

  113. DD – Not sure if this one is available when you are in the Black Hills, but we’ve stayed here and loved it. https://www.vrbo.com/554948. It isn’t as fancy as some of the other VRBO’s, but it has a great location, with a trout stream in the back. We would fish and swim in the afternoon, and from the bedrooms you could here the creek. Lots of wildlife on the property.

  114. After spending a full half hour on the phone yesterday being yelled at, second-guessed, and micro-managed by a semi-crazy client, I’m thinking that days spent on nothing but “mindless busywork” sound really, really appealing.

    This! There is no space in clinical practice that doesn’t involve significant conflict. I’ve left the department where I got cussed at and spit on regularly. However, I still have a lot more professional confrontation that I would like, and there is no escaping that without a career change. I work with a highly entitled population now, and they are often lovely. Every day, I have someone angry or disappointed that I can’t make their kid better before the family vacation, I can’t reassure them in 15 minutes that they have no heart problems, I cannot prescribe narcotics for their subjective complaints. Specialists are angry because I have called them too late (or too early).

  115. @DD AirBNB has specifically disallowed renting out their properties on dates you have cancelled other customers. I don’t know if VRBO has the same protections. I would be very angry – but I get the sense that VRBO is not as responsive to these concerns as AirBNB. AirBNB leaves computer generated feedback that is visible to potential customers every time an owner cancels a reservation – so you can see if they have done this before. The owner has zero motivation to make you happy at this point, VRBO might.

  116. I talk to my kids all the time about career options – there are so many niches out there that one can’t even imagine as an 17 year old. I think smart kids (especially from less totebaggy families) get stuck in the teacher/doctor/lawyer path – those are the secure professions that one gets with a college education.

    I think I would have been happier flying first class on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Rhett refuses to offer me a job interview.

  117. Ada,

    I thought you flew to AK all the time for work don’t you have status on Alaska Airlines?

  118. ” I talk to my kids about jobs a lot. Of course kid’s ambition is to become a famous You Tuber and live in a Beverly Hills Mansion.”

    Louise -look like our kids will be business partners and neighbors.

  119. Yeah, I’m in the right field for me. Even the right sub-field. The funny thing is how I never planned any of it, and yet when I look back all these years later, I somehow ended up right where I should be. Probably because my impatience with tedium (and my inherent ego that assumed that “they” were the problem, not me) kept me searching until I landed here.

    Part of me does wish that I had found a role where the clients had different travel budgets, of course. :-) But I also don’t want to travel as much as Rhett does. If I could do once a month, and go to nice places instead of armpits, and fly first class, and stay in the J.W. instead of the Residence Inn, that would be just perfect. But, you know, those things don’t tend to come along with the practice that I fit so well with, and given the choice between the two, I prefer where I am.

    Tl;dr: It’s not *this* job, it’s *any* job.

  120. Based on previous conversations about lifestyle, COL, etc., I do sometimes wish I had gone into a more niche field. OTOH I hate being pigeon-holed and enjoy being more of a generalist, which was part of why I went in-house and not to another firm. I’m not fully convinced I’ve found my life’s passion in a career, but nearly 20 years in with lots of obligations, it’s too late now and its adequate. My life is not just my career/job.

  121. I don’t fly often enough for super-premium-titanium status. Due to the nature of Alaska air travel, the flights between ANC and the rest of the world on Alaska often have 30+ people on the upgrade wait list.

    This is what my accomodations look like, and I usually eat canned food that I bring in my checked luggage.

    So, let me know about that interview. I aspire to have a greater mismatch between compensation and effort.

  122. ” Coincidentally I just received notice that one of my Meetup groups is going.
    Ride the Free Staten Island Ferry and visit Interesting places on the Island
    Being retired, I have time for stuff like this. Others may consider it to be desperately searching for ways to fill my time but I don’t. That’s why I say there can be many paths to a happy retirement.”

    This is the kind of thing that I am excited to have more time to do when I no longer work FT for pay. And I do not see it at all as “filling time”, of course.

    @Rhett – The thing is, I feel like I’ve already found a pretty decent balance between workload, interest, salary, skillset, etc. Like Ada said upthread – there are other things that I would rather do to fill my time, but none that pay the way that my job does, and now is the season to have this career. And I don’t hate it at all. I actually like it quite a bit of the time, just not as much as what I do outside of work. Sure, I could retire now, but I prefer the balance of work/stress/free time/family time I have now to the sacrifices that I would have to make to not work for pay. Spending my days like MMM or Root of Good is not my idea of a retirement. But the equation may change at some point, and we get to live a pretty decent UMC lifestyle in the meantime. That’s living the dream as far as I am concerned. (maybe my expectations were low too!)

    @Sunshine – I also don’t have any advice, but just want to offer encouragement and a welcoming place to let it out. That is a lot to handle.

  123. @Louise/Kerri – LOL. DS says he would like to be a YouTube star, as long as he doesn’t have to be famous. He doesn’t want the attention. Maybe he can open Kinder Eggs. It really is astounding how much You Tube celebrities make. I assume people saw this about the slime lady making $200K per MONTH working a few days a week.

    What’s the next You Tube? How do I push my 9yo into that? ;)

  124. “I think smart kids (especially from less totebaggy families) get stuck in the teacher/doctor/lawyer path – those are the secure professions that one gets with a college education.”

    80% of my parents’ children are teacher/doctor/lawyer. Among those options, we did sort appropriately. I talk to my oldest about careers, but there are so many that I know nothing about. I can talk about banker and and hedge fund manager, but am pretty clueless on things like actuary and vet. So, while I am doing better than my parents did, my kids will likely be funneled in to a fairly narrow set of options.

  125. ” DS says he would like to be a YouTube star, as long as he doesn’t have to be famous. ”

    Umm – not sure how that would work.

    Slime – we just made slime out of shaving cream and a few other ingredients. DS was SO disappointed when it dissolved in his bath. I OTOH was thrilled. That stuff is such a PITA – it gets on everything!

  126. Ivy – Kid # 2 is DIY queen who did make slime
    and converts trash into treasure. Very mini Martha Stewart that one.

  127. Kate – It really seems to be a 4th grade thing. The kids make it, bring it to school and sell it to their friends. The recipe we used was from a NYT kids section.

  128. Youtubing is probably not for my kid, but he was excited to see that I got a response from one of his favorite streamers.

    Jobs, spouses, kids, those kinds of big decisions, I think, make you as much as you pick them. If life had gone differently, we wouldn’t be the people we are. Regretting the road not taken includes not liking part of yourself.

  129. Sunshine, wishing you the best. Is you husband able to come along on mini adventures, like to the beach?

  130. @Rocky: the kittens are now big enough to go be neutered and go out for adoption. There is much sadness in our house.

  131. Sunshine, hang in there.

    Lemon, that house is totally booked.

    The owner responded and basically said “I gave you a full refund. I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding another place.” I will contact VRBO and see if they give a crap.

  132. “That’s living the dream as far as I am concerned. (maybe my expectations were low too!)”

    No, it seems your expectations were about right. As has been mentioned here before, low expectations are one path to happiness.

    That’s something I wrestle with, trying to balance keeping my kids’ expectations low with choices DW and I can now make that we couldn’t make when we were younger, or that our parents couldn’t make when we were kids.

    E.g., staying at the Ritz Carlton vs. Motel 6. Or perhaps J.W. Vs Residence Inn. BTW, LfB, Residence Inn is used a lot by people in my office.

  133. “I think smart kids (especially from less totebaggy families) get stuck in the teacher/doctor/lawyer path – those are the secure professions that one gets with a college education.”

    A lot of my kids’ friends are planning to be doctors or lawyers; I don’t know of many who plan to be teachers, although many of their teachers are alums. I’ve heard of more kids planning to be engineers than teachers.

  134. DD, if all else fails you can always give them a really shitty review. Hammer on the late cancellation leaving you scrambling at a point when as a renter you couldn’t have backed out yourself without significant penalty, and the lack of any effort to help you find a replacement or even to offer any compensation. If you are able to say how much more you ended up paying for the last-minute replacement you can throw that in too. That would put me off a place I was considering.

  135. “I gave you a full refund.”

    How nice of her!

    Maybe you can leave a bad review.

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