Friday, November 11, 2011

My Retirement Transitions

Doing a temporary full time job for the past nine months helped me realize that I've been experiencing a transition to retirement since October 2007.   I didn't realize the transition was until I went back to work.   However, now that the temporary full job is nearly over, I am better able to articulate the changes.

  • Growing savings to spending savings.  Most of my adult life, I've been paying myself first and living below my means.  While I was working, our savings and retirement accounts have received regular contributions over time.   As are result, the accounts have typically grown annually with the exception of a few "crash" years.  Despite the significant market declines, our accounts  still have achieve our targets.

    Since my retirement in October 2007, we've been living primarily off our savings.   Since I retired at 49, I've been concerned about the impact of the Great Recession on our savings and retirement accounts. I became concerned about depleting our accounts and consciously took part time jobs to reduce the withdrawal rates.  From 2008 to 2011, I worked enough to cover 6%, 15%, 43% and 86% of our annual expenses.  If I had continued working, I could have covered 116% of our annual expenses.

    However, over the past few months, I came to realize that a part of retirement is spending down savings.  It was time to get over it and get used to a declining savings and retirements accounts.  Of course, I wistfully long for the old days of a booming economy and stock market.  But I'm definitely not holding my breath.

  • Working a career to working a job.  During the most successful part of my working time, I bought into the idea of work being a career.   I probably was officially working 60-80 hours week at the office and then thinking about work during my personal time. I benefited from treating work as a career.  I was compensated well, saved a lot of money, and was able to retire in my forties.

    In retirement, I think of work as being a job to earn some money.  I still strive to do my work with excellence, but I no longer am trying to exceed expectations, nor trying to advance in the company.  Also, I don't worry about performance appraisals or doing professional development.  If I tire of the work, the management or my colleagues, I can quit the job and get another one that I consider more fun.

  • Moving from the outer circle to the inner circle. While I was working, I was spending most of my time with people in my outer circle as result of working 60-80 hours a week.   Because it was work, I was required collaborate and work effectively with people in my outer circle.   As a result, I was spending lots of quality time with people in the outer circle and investing a lot of energy to coach and develop those in the outer circle.

    Since retiring, I'm moving  focusing on my inner circle of family and friends.  I am working to  give my inner circle priority for my quality time, energy and personal development, which the outer circle seemed to mostly get in my working years.  In addition,  other than to comply with social norms, I plan to spend no effort developing relationships with people in the outer circle.   

  • So that's my epiphany from unretiring and taking a temporary full time job.   However, I look forward to returning to my retirement transition since the temporary full time job will be ending soon.
    For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

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

    Copyright © 2011 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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