Author Topic: Retirement in the rearview mirror  (Read 269 times)

LK in WA

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Retirement in the rearview mirror
« on: June 04, 2020, 01:19:31 PM »
Hi there,
I just retired last week and thought it might be a good time to start a journal.  I expect this will be an interesting time, what with the recent retirement and being in the middle of a pandemic.

Somewhat random things about me: 
Early 50s, married.  Wife does not work.
Love traveling both international and domestic
Live by the ocean and can’t imagine living land locked. 
I love dogs.  I have two of them and they rule the house. 
I like gardening.  I enjoy both eating the produce from my garden and giving it away. 
I like learning new things.  I think I will learn many new things with the recent change in free time.  There are things on my house I would like to fix or replace.  I think it is time for me to learn how to replace a light fixture and build a deck, among other things.
Retired after a couple decades working at Megacorp.

About the decision to retire:  I had been planning to retire this spring as I had passed the necessary milestones both for medical coverage and size of retirement accounts.  Also, I have this concern about the amount of time my wife and I have left to enjoy things.  Over the last few years I have been feeling a bit itchy about it.  Feeling like I was at risk of spending my best years working and then only taking the time to do things when I was older and no longer able or interested in doing those things.  Already I am looking back at the things I should have done when I was younger and had the endurance for, such as backpacking trips when my back was healthy and I didn’t mind sleeping not he ground.

I would have retired on April 1, because, well the timing is good and there is something funny about retiring on April Fools day.  But the pandemic happened and both my employer and I had concerns about current events so we agreed on me staying a bit longer.  All in all it wasn’t a very long delay, I got out this week…still plenty of time to enjoy summer! 

I heard a lot of people telling me not to retire, citing the market crash, people dying, people losing jobs, etc as reasons.   There were also the non pandemic reasons I shouldn’t retire, biggest salary years ahead of you, you are too young, you don’t know what health care will cost, you don’t want to be a burden on society.  I think people can come up with unlimited reasons not to do something that seems scary.  I feel pretty good about the decision.

What’s my plan?  That was the big question as I made the rounds saying my goodbyes at Megacorp.  I have many ideas of what the wife and/or I will do in the future.  Travel, volunteer, learn wood working, improve my gardening skills, etc.  But I think the number one thing is adapt.  Adapt to the changing landscape and take opportunities to do fun things and learn.  Oddly, I think “new normal” under COVID-19 may have helped me realize that we adapt all the time.  We certainly have adapted in a short period of time to the social distancing that is needed. 

Well, this ended up a little longer than I had intended.  So much for a simple introduction.
More later…I am off to try and visit some fellow retirees at a distance!  Wish me luck.



gocurrycracker

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 08:26:38 PM »
Congratulations! All very nicely stated... retirement does take some getting used to, but we adapt and thrive.

Awhile back Mr. Crazy Kicks wrote a guest post about his urban farm - another avid gardener!
https://www.gocurrycracker.com/early-retirement-urban-farm-guest-post/

Enjoy!

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2020, 10:33:57 AM »
Wow, that was an interesting read, thanks for the link!

We approach gardening similarly.  I love the whole process, tending the garden, seeing the new growth, eating and sharing the produce.  I typically pick at least one new thing to try every season.  Some years more depending on how much time I think I have to devote. 

I have often thought about adding chickens for the compost boost, the bug control, and the eggs. 
What stops me is knowing that I would have to have someone take care of them when we travel.  It is pretty easy for us to find someone to watch the dogs because they are cute and cuddly.  Chickens, cute, but I feel like they would be tougher to find a sitter for.  I do however know several people who have chickens, maybe I could just have them come over and "visit" my garden?

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2020, 10:35:39 AM »
So, I have been retired for a week.  So far it feels like a staycation.  I am doing the things that I normally would do when I have some extra time off from work.  Generally I have been getting caught up on the garden and yardwork, sorting forgotten possessions and deciding if they should be donated or sold, and tinkering with things (making some things work again and making some things without a doubt destined for the landfill or recycle bin).

Already I notice that I am sleeping better.  I have had trouble with this in the past but I am finding that a normal bedtime and waking up when I am ready has done wonders.  I still do wake up before the crack of dawn, but I go right back to sleep once I see that it is still dark out.  I am really digging that!

Social distancing…so far it hasn’t bothered me too much.  I was an “essential” worker before retiring so I had plenty of interaction with people.  As an introvert, I can definitely get my fill of peopling.  For now I am content to work on my projects at home and interact with my family, neighbors, and the clicklist/curbside shopping guy at the grocery store.  I know that at some point I will surely wish to move outside of my bubble and see more people.

In my state, we are starting to open up and allow more movement of people, highlights are restaurant dining rooms opening to 50% capacity and hair salons reopening with PPE restrictions. Neither the wife nor I are rushing out to get our hair done or dine out.  Recently, I grabbed some take out from a local restaurant and saw several folks doing the same.  We typically make our own meals at home, saving dining out for special occasions or gatherings with others.  With the lack of gathering going on here, we hadn’t had a meal out in several months- the take out was a treat!

The thing we are really looking forward to being able to do is travel.  We still are hopeful for a decent season of camping.  So far all parks have been closed to camping.  We are excited for them to open up soon.  The only thing I am worried about there is that everyone else will be there too.  The local news is predicting one of the biggest years for domestic travel including camping for the area.  It certainly makes sense if you can’t fly and can’t cruise at least you can jump in your RV and camp.  Apparently new RV sales are through the roof this spring.  Call me selfish or unrealistic, I just want my outdoorsy solitude to be without too many people.  Anyone planning any travel for the summer?  What are you looking to do?

A side note…all this spring we have been sorting through things in our home and making piles of stuff to donate.  We still have more to comb through but we have done a pretty good job of culling the clothes that don’t fit and the piece or furniture that just doesn’t seem to belong anymore.  The downside to this is none of the usual charities are currently accepting donations.  Our garage is full of boxes of things for donation.  If I were so inclined, I would probably have enough stuff for a garage sale.   

Today is a rainy dreary day, looks like I will be sorting through the hall closet now!

gocurrycracker

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2020, 07:15:55 PM »
Things have mostly returned to normal in Taiwan with the exception of being able to hop on a plane. So basically every hotel / tourist area is full as people travel locally.

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2020, 09:25:46 PM »
I am guessing that is what we will get to here.  People are moving about within the area.  I don't think hotels have exactly bounced back but the parks and anything outdoors distancing-friendly has seen lots of traffic.   
The border between the US and Canada is still not open (other than essential personnel-doctors and nurses basically) but they plan to review and reassess in a couple weeks.

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2020, 07:16:18 AM »
A couple weeks in…
My rollovers arrived from the workplace retirement accounts and I have been carefully reallocating those funds.  Finally I can shed the weird 401k “index” funds that don’t track a normal index and buy the vanguard funds that I would prefer.  I have a few retirement accounts still out there and will be working to get them all together now.  I haven’t been overly motivated to consolidate them in the past but now that my accumulation phase is over I will.  I won’t have much Roth rollover space this year but plan to do rollovers starting next year.  Getting the pre-tax ones all in one place seem like a good start.

On buying into the market…
When is the best time to plant a tree?
-20 years ago.
When is the second best time to plant a tree?
-Now.

I think the advice for trees translates over to retirement funds pretty well.  In my case it is kind of both, 20 years ago and now.  With the way my accounts transferred, the couple decades of accumulation went to cash and then moved accounts…So I am investing again!  Now, with the market on a tear, it has been hard for me to want to throw it all in when I know that things are so volatile.   To curb my instincts, I have been lump summing in according to my planned allocation.  In addition, I have been setting some chunks into limit orders, also according to my planned allocation, in case the market dips at open.  So far a couple of these orders have executed.  For the time being, those low price buys make me smile.  I know in 20 years I won’t care or probably even remember this ordeal.

Another day of rain…seems a lot of my daily enjoyment comes from doing things outside.  Going into summer here I am not that worried about it but this is definitely something I need to address once autumn rolls around.  Once all the donations have been removed from my garage I should be able to pass some time in there with woodworking projects or whatever.

Unfortunately, the COVID 19 seems to be spiking back up again.  The US-Canada border has at least another month before they will even consider opening it.  Surrounding states have seen large increases of cases over the last week.  This leaves us sheltering in place for more of the summer.  I really had hoped for more freedom to move about in my first summer of retirement.  I won’t dwell on it too much, but we had a lot of camping trips planned in our van.  Emphasis on enjoying the journey rather that the typical working persons vacation of race to the destination and hav fun for a week before racing home and go back to work worn out.

Off to start sorting the donations in my garage.  I think I can get some of them out to local charities.

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 09:13:19 AM »
On nice weather days, my focus has been outside.  There are still projects to do but I have pulled enough weeds and trimmed enough branches that I can now see the end in sight.  Well, not the end, but a shift into maintenance mode instead of catch up mode.  Another week of nice weather and we will be firmly into maintenance mode.

With that, focus is shifting to inside the house.  I bought those light fixtures I wanted.  I still haven’t changed them out…baby steps. Unfortunately, with the weather nice, I don’t want to work on these indoor projects.  I would rather be doing fun things outside.  Not more “work”.

I have started exploring things to do.  Recreational things to do.  Because of the covid, I have pretty much spent my first month and a half just working on projects around the house.  There was a need and I couldn’t do much else because of the social distancing.  Well, we still have the social distancing but I am branching out!

Now…what to do?  Hiking, biking, beach combing, camping (though that might be too popular this year to find much peace and quiet), rockhounding, gold prospecting, etc.  Over the years I have done plenty of hiking, biking, and camping.   What is new is the beach combing, rock hounding, and gold prospecting. These are all things I was interested in but never had the time to devote to it.  I like the idea of coupling something physical like hiking with collecting rocks and minerals.  It requires me to learn a new skill, learn about geology, and get some exercise.  Probably get some great photos too!

Because I am a complete newbie when it comes to the prospecting, combing, hounding…I have been doing some research.  Watching you tube videos, reading DNR notices, buying small amounts of pay dirt to practice with, etc.  I have found some gold and silver as well as some garnets and crystals in the pay dirt that I bought.  That is pretty exciting.  There are places within a half hours drive from my home where I can go and get my own pay dirt.  Next week I plan to go try my hand at it.  Surely I have learned something actionable from all those videos!  Wish me luck   8)

A note about the Covid-19.  Cases are on the rise again, many states have seen spikes in new cases.  WA is seeing rising cases but not so many as to be considered a “spike”.  People have Covid-fatigue and have been out doing things that cause more spread.  US-Canada border is still closed.  They will review again on or around July 21.   

gocurrycracker

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2020, 08:44:39 PM »
I like the combo of outdoor activities (hiking) and learning new stuff - and maybe making some $?

LK in WA

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Re: Retirement in the rearview mirror
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 06:10:35 PM »
Having the hobby make some $$ would be great!  Hopefully I gain enough skills to make that happen.  So far it has been a lot of fun.