Friday, April 18, 2008

Adjustments In Early Retirement

Taking early retirement in my forties has been great. I have no regrets. Life has been busy, more fun and less stressful. However, as with any change, retirement is not without its transitions. Here are some of the ones I've experienced, which I did not expect.
  • Integrating into daytime home life. When I was working, I would leave at 7 AM and return home at 7 PM, five days a week. Sometimes, I would spend part of the weekend at work. Now I spend much more time at home and realize that I am not part of the routine that my spouse and child have developed for the time I was at work. At first, I tried to blend in and tag along, but that tended to interrupt the routines and wasn't helpful. Next, I tried to take on a part of the routine, such as taking my daughter to pre-school. Once the novelty wore off, my daughter preferred returning to having my spouse take her to school.

    What has worked is to create new routines, rather than change the existing routines. So part of my routine is to work on my own on our investment strategies and implementation. In addition, I now have my set of special activities with my daughter, from building with blocks, reading stories and looking a digital pictures from her first three years. Also, I join some new routine activities and can participate in non-routine daytime activities, e.g school play.

  • Not being defined by my job. Since I used to work for a large company in our region, I was partly defined by my company, my title and my work. I am no long that person. Right now, I believe people still think of me as "the guy looking for a job" or "too young to retire." Acquaintances and colleagues still ask about what I am doing next, expecting me to announce that I am actively looking for or taking a job with another company. I think it will take at least a year before people see me as the early retiree.

  • Enjoying simple pleasures. I am amazed at how much I had lost touch with simple pleasures, such as hot baths, sleeping 8 hours, and playing with our child. The best part is I no longer have to "schedule" these activities into my day. I expect that my simple pleasures list will continue to expand with time.
  • The transition I did expect was to work out my goals and plans this phase of my life. However, I expect this will take some time as I think about things like my dream job. At this point, I am still enjoying the break from work and plan to spend more time on goals in the second half of 2008.

    For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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