I have often thought that most people carefully plan their finances before retiring but hardly ever think about what they will continue to do with their day-to-day lives. So now that I have had some time under my belt as a retired person I can offer some insights into what to expect. Here is my top ten list of retirement insights (and I am sure I will add to it as time goes on and I achieve much greater wisdom).
1. Monday is no longer a dirty word and Sunday night is no longer the worst night of the week. Every day can be a Saturday or Sunday – it all depends on how you look at it. Be prepared to often forget what day of the week it actually is. Guess what – now it doesn’t matter. You are no longer a prisoner of the rhythm of a work week – you are dancing to a different drummer.
2. The people you know will be jealous of you. That is a good thing! You worked hard all of your life – now it is your chance to rub it in a little. They will get their turn soon enough. If not, too bad – their failure to plan.
3. You will not be sitting around all day watching television and eating bon-bons. Nothing could be further than the truth. As a matter of fact you will be busier than you ever were before. The concept of weekends no longer exists, there are no more vacation or sick days. You have to make a concerted effort to create those for yourself. And you feel even guiltier when you do because the only person you are screwing is yourself. And forget about your visions of laying in bed and reading a good book on a rainy day. You will feel also feel too guilty to do anything like that – like you are wasting precious time.
4. Finally you can actually enjoy your morning coffee and newspaper – its worth retiring just for that!
5. You will find that you get up even earlier than you did when you were working. What’s up with that? I guess you don’t want to miss a single moment of total freedom.
6. Some people will treat you like you are old. Get over it! Let them think what they want – you will always have the last laugh, especially when there are 20 inches of snow on the ground and they have to go into work and you don’t.
7. People will be after you to volunteer for scores of things. Remember, they used to pay you for your services. Don’t give away the baby with the bath water. You might still be able to make some extra bucks. The beauty is that you can pick and choose what you want to do.
8. People will look at you cross-eyed if you haven’t planned at least twenty trips to parts unknown right away after your retire. Don’t fall into that trap. Take the time to decompress. You will find that even though you have no work commitments, your body clock will think that you do for at least 3-6 months. Its important to teach yourself a new way of living. And besides, just because your friends think you should travel doesn’t mean that you have to. Take the time to find out what you really want to do, and then do it. The important thing to realize is that you finally have the time – so take it.
9. Be prepared to get reacquainted with your spouse or significant other, especially if they retired before you. All of a sudden you are tripping over each other and your daily routine is drastically different. Take heart – it will all work out in the end. And if it doesn’t – get a divorce. (just kidding).
10. For those procrastinating, wondering what it will really be like on the dark side – don’t be afraid to make the leap. Come on in the water is fine – you will never look back, I promise!