Your retirement lifestyle can be whatever you decide to make it. One thing to keep in mind is that it will probably be different from what you’re used to. For me, a day that was filled with conference calls and meetings turned into morning coffee with my wife and nothing much after that. That’s what I was looking forward to and, coffee with my wife each morning, is still one of life’s great pleasures.
But I knew even before I retired that I could not go from ninety miles per hour, or so it seemed, down to “school zone” speeds without becoming restless. I had started to do something that I found out most people never bothered to do: look for ways to enjoy my time and live my life to the fullest. The key to that sentence is “my life” and the whole point of this website is help you to plan “your life” in a way that only you can.
We’ll do that in a way that presents you with possibilities and help you craft your own retirement lifestyle. Throughout this website, we’ll present you with different scenarios that you can either accept and plan to adopt, think about and explore further or reject completely. There’s no right or wrong answer here but we do urge you to give serious thought each of the aspects discussed in this section. They’re important and, getting them wrong, might cost you a lot of money.
We learn by our mistakes (hopefully) but we can learn just as much by other people’s mistakes. The lessons can be very valuable. We had a group of friends who were about ten years older than we were. We had met at church and became very friendly with two couples. The story about one of them is very interesting because it gave us some very valuable insight into avoiding a costly mistake that they made.
As their two boys were entering their teenage years, they realized one of their most enjoyable family vacations was camping and they looked forward to going the Poconos each summer. It was a four ride from where they lived, and they started to think about their retirement which was about ten years away. What if, they built a summer home in a community where they went each year? They would have a place to go each summer and a place to retire to when they reached that age. Perfect!
Or, so they thought. It was one of those retirement myths you always hear: retire where you like to vacation and life will be an endless vacation! Once retirement came, they followed their plan and moved into their mountain home on a permanent basis. What could be better? Nothing – they were very happy for about six months. They knew the winters would be different, but they didn’t anticipate how different. What they came to realize was how little there was to do and how few people there were who lived in the community on a year-round basis. They realized how important the social interaction was in their lives and how much they depended on doing things with other people.
But, now, they were stuck with a mountain home that was in a nice area but too remote for them during the winter months. They sat down and thought through what a perfect retirement lifestyle would be and started to think of different things they could do to adjust their life. The good news is that their story has a very happy ending and we’ll continue their saga as we discuss retirement communities. The point we want to make here is that it is worth the time to examine all possibilities as you approach your own retirement. You are not just changing your life, you’re changing your lifestyle. The things you do each and every day should be thought through while you stay aware of your current activity level and how that might change going forward.
This can be the best time in your life! Make the effort to plan for it and learn a little bit about yourself in the process. As you create your own perfect retired life, don’t limit yourself. Write a book, build your dream house, learn to fly! Think of all the places you've been. Did you take your children on college visits like we did? Some of those college towns were quite attractive.
Think of all the things you have left to do in this world. Write them down and never give up on them! You may not get to do all of them, no one ever does, but there may be ways to come closer than you think. It’s amazing what happens when you pursue a dream and move confidently forward in that direction every day. One of the most inspirational quotes can be found in Disney World in many of their gift shops. It’s a picture of Walt in front of his “kingdom” and he tells everyone to remember that this all began with a mouse!