Before You Take the Retirement Leap – 10 Questions to Consider

We have a very dear friend who is six months to a year away from making the leap into retirement.  He has worked long, hard hours to make sure that he and his wife will be financially ready.  In his mind, I think he envisions retirement as just “stopping.”  But at the Voyage, we’ve learned that there is a lot more to consider:

  1. Do you have a plan?  You are about to enter your own “second act.”  Think of this as an opportunity to start over…to redesign your life to be any way you wish it could be!  An architect friend of ours recently published the book, “Life-A-Tecture: Build an Experience-Driven Life.”  It’s a great read, full of timely advice and lots of motivation.
  2. Do you really want to be just ‘done’?  Perhaps you want to consult, teach or work part-time.  Is there a different way to continue with only the best parts of your current job?
  3. What are you curious about? What is it that will get you up in the morning?  Do you have a passion, something you wish you could do, something you’ve always wanted to try or learn?  You know how when you are so busy with working and the day-to-day grind that you never have the time to xxx (fill in the blank here).  Well, you are about to get that time, so give it some thought!
  4. What is your hobby or interest?  Now is the time to start considering what you need to pursue that hobby.  Are there art classes nearby?  Do you need to finally purchase that kayak?
  5. Is there an opportunity for you to give back?  If you are like us, you have led a very blessed working career and have a lifetime of experience.  Now may be the time for you to volunteer, participate in a professional organization or give back to your community.
  6. Do you have a sense of adventure?  I’m pretty certain that no one who enters retirement does so thinking, “I know…I think I’ll sit here in my recliner in front of the TV every day until they haul my sorry behind away.”  You need to develop a sense of giddy freedom!
  7. How will you maintain your circle of friends?  This is a big one.  Because a primary source of our contacts come from a work environment, you need to keep and expand your relationships with intentionality.  We’ve found that professional organizations, clubs, coffee groups and even social media have been critical in keeping us from ever feeling lonely.
  8. Do you plan to travel?  There are lots of issues to consider with traveling, including destinations, traveling styles, and the ins-and-outs of traveling together. Time to start dreaming, discussing and planning!
  9. For those of you who are married, are you ready to be together 24/7?  This is a huge thing to consider!  It was probably the steepest learning curve we had when we started the Encore Voyage.  In “Life-A-Tecture” our friend has made this his #1 Rule:  “Marry the right person.  If you have not married the right person, you have got problems.  That person should be the love of your life and your best friend.” We have found his advice to be spot on, and share even more hints in Retirement Togetherness – 10 Steps for 24/7 Success.
  10. What are your DREAMS and GOALS?  Because you see, Retirement is NOT an END!  It is just a beginning of a new adventure.  A new Voyage, if you will.  To be really successful in retirement, you need to have some new and bigger plans for the future!

So how about it.  If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is about to retire, what (non-financial)  advice would that be?  I’m anxious to hear the things I’ve missed!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

Encore Quotes – Random Reflections

There are so many people in my life who make me strive to be just a little bit better.  The friendships I’ve made through this blog are real and important to me.  I value the soul-enhancing relationships of my lifelong friends.  So how about it.  Have you told the people in your life how much you value them?  Have a great weekend!

Lynn

While We’ve Been Gone – Let’s Catch Up

I’ve spent the last several days reading back blog posts in a reader list that I have lovingly titled “My blogging buds.”  There are lots of you that I have followed since I started this little endeavor, and as I said last week, blogging relationships are very real.  And just like when you haven’t spoken with someone in a while, I’ve learned that there have been some changes in the lives of my blogosphere friends – some good, some heartbreaking.  So I thought I’d take a minute to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on with us in the year I’ve been away from my blog.

The Encore

We’ve created quite a little encore business.  Hubs travels out-of-town for two short trips a month and returns to write related reports.  He’s only away from home for one night in all this.  The beauty of the gig is two-fold:  He earns airline points like a crazy man, and those projects allow us to take on smaller, more rewarding architectural contracts – the kind that make his heart sing.  I’m the administrative support of the operation, and have cultivated some administrative side hustles on my own.

Now we are learning to balance just the right amount of projects to keep our minds active and engaged, while maintaining the spirit of retirement.  It almost got away from us.  But we’re figuring it out.

The Voyages

In the last year, we’ve been fortunate to take some very cool trips, from St. Louis to Seattle to Hawaii.  We’ve also discovered that we love packing a picnic lunch, getting the dog in the back seat of the truck, and taking off to explore the beauty of Idaho.  Hubs loves to wander US Forest Service roads, and our new motto is, “I wonder where that goes!”  I’ll share the voyages in more detail in upcoming posts.  And you know those, “How Many States Have You Visited?” maps that show up on Facebook?  Well, we’ve decided to start over, only counting those states we’ve visited together!  We’ve only been to 16 together ~ we’ve got lots more to experience!

Idaho River

The Nest

Remember when we decided to sell our property, and instead we completed the Retirement Remodel, making our current home function the way we love?  Well, we’re preparing to embark on “Phase 2,” during which we will add an art studio and shop for hubs.  It’s funny, because this morning, as I was reading Pat’s post over at Retirement Transitions, she pointed out that her idea of de-cluttering was quite different from her husband’s.  And while I realize that a shop will only encourage MY hubs to acquire even more “tools,” it is his love of classic cars that wins out.  We’re all about designing a place for him to pursue his passions (both art and cars) from this place where we will spend our retirement years.

Planning

Our wanderlust continues to be strong.  I’m always planning one or two trips in the future.  Remember those mileage points?  Now I’m trying to figure out where we would like to escape, should “Snowmageddon” hit our city again this year as it did last year.  Don’t want to go anywhere too “floody, earthquakey, firey, or hurricaney!”  I’m open to suggestions!

Reading

We are both pretty voracious readers, and I have nearly completed my Good Reads Challenge of 40 books this year.  I particularly enjoyed:

Hey, I’ve got a good idea – why don’t you find me over on Good Reads (Lynn Jeffers) and then I can see what you’re reading! (Don’t be alarmed by the shorter, straightened hair…it was a moment!)

Creating

I have undertaken a rather huge quilting project.  A teacher friend had the parts and pieces of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, which had been started by her grandmother as a wedding gift.  Unfortunately, her grandmother passed away before it was completed.  My friend asked for my help.  So I am currently hand piecing and hand quilting fabrics from this 1930’s quilt.  Her grandma pieced and quilted everything by hand.  To do less would fail to honor the quilt…

The Ordinary

As fall is upon us, I find that I’m in a bit of a “cocooning” spirit.  I’ve been canning peaches and pears, and will work on applesauce over the weekend – I love the smell of cinnamon and cloves in the house.  The Roxy girl continues to delight us, even if she is occasionally naughty.

Cute Roxy

We are thankful everyday that we have the opportunity to share this voyage.  So that’s about it…we’re sort of caught up.  And now my mind is reeling with future posts and additional goodies to share.  Stay tuned!

Lynn

 

Encore Quotes – Random Reflections

It’s taken us a the better part of a lifetime to figure out that what makes us happy is not how much stuff we have.  I read somewhere that we spend the first 2/3 of our lives accumulating possessions, and the last 1/3 getting rid of those possessions!  So take some time and evaluate what really makes you HAPPY and have a fabulous weekend!

~ Lynn

How Much is Enough? 8 Things We’ve Learned

When we first found ourselves both unemployed seven years ago, my younger sister posed a very simple yet important question:

How much do you really need?

At first, it calmed our fears.  We had saved up plenty to survive while we decided our next steps.  But more importantly, it started us on a journey to sort of pseudo-minimalism.  We lightened our load, examined our stuff, started conversations about our values, and took a hard look at what is really important to us.  We started designing our lives on this Encore Voyage with much more intention.

Examining ‘Enough’

In the early days, hubs would spend sleepless nights trying to answer the question, “Am I doing the right things?”  “Am I taking the right jobs?”  Am I taking all the steps I need for us to be successful.”  At first, those were questions born of fear and uncertainty.

The same questions are true for anyone entering retirement.  Have we saved enough?  Are we prepared both financially and emotionally?  Do we need to do more? Are we ready to take the leap?

Well, it’s taken us a few years, but we have finally learned to stop and take some very deep breaths.  And we’ve learned some things about “Enough.”

  1. We do not need to fill every hour of every day.  Down time is now cherished! We are mindful about doing “enough.”
  2. We do not need to exist on the 8 to 5 schedule of the working world.  It’s OK for us to skip out in the middle of the afternoon or to work on a weekend. We get to decide what to make of the day, and no longer feel guilty for not doing “enough.”
  3. We don’t need to buy much more “stuff.”  We want the items we own to be useful, meaningful or beautiful.  Generally speaking, we own “enough.”
  4. Taking time in the middle of the afternoon to read a book or pursue a hobby is quite OK.  You can never have “enough” curiosity or interests.
  5. We travel lightly.  I’ve studied up on many travel blogs, and it really is quite possible to go anywhere in a 22 inch carry-on and a backpack. Just “enough” is waaayyyy better when traveling than too much!
  6. Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid.  They are broke!  Our “enough” is not for anyone else to judge.
  7. You can never have “enough” meaningful relationships.  They are far more important than the things you own!
  8. There will NEVER be “enough” time for us to love each other and be together.  We need to take advantage of every moment we’re given in this life.

So how about it…What’s “enough” for you?  Any important things I’ve left off the list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Lynn

 

 

Photo credit: Patrick Fore ~ Unsplash

Encore Quotes – Random Reflections

13-The things you are passionate about

In a comment this week, Janis at Retirementally Challenged asked me if we have a plan for the day when we will say, “No more.”  It started quite a conversation between hubs and me.  We realized that we may never stop altogether.  We love the things we’re doing, and we’re designing our lives on the Encore Voyage to fulfill one of our core values of personal growth.  So how about it…What are you passionate about?  What’s your calling?

Have a great weekend!Lynn

An Encore or a Second Act?

As I mentioned in my last post, my absence from the blog has been in part related to the fact that we’ve been CRAZY BUSY with our “Encore Careers.”  He’s an architect, and I do virtual administrative tasks, and we have created our own second act that allows us to work mostly from home.  In the last year we’ve learned some great things in this Encore, along with some not so good…

The Great Things

  1. The world is flat – We can work from anywhere, provided we have a strong cell signal.  I purchased a wi-fi hot spot which lets us connect to people and projects, even if we are in another city or on the top of a mountain.  I have found that I can check email and send a quick response from anywhere.  Often, a client needs to hear, “I’ll have it to you by close of business tomorrow.”  They don’t need to know that I am on the 7th tee box at my favorite golf course!
  2. Starbucks is our conference room – We joke that we have many coffee house conference rooms in and around our city, perfect for meeting with clients.  Or we offer to meet at their offices.  Works perfectly, and I benefit from frequent pumpkin spiced chai teas!
  3. We don’t use an alarm clock – The voyage allows us to set our own schedules.  This is the best!  I never feel exhausted as I did when I was teaching.  We are able to schedule so that our days meet our needs, and we schedule our “down time” with intention.  Oh yeah, and I am always rested now….No seriously, I am!
  4. Togetherness with QUALITY – Back in the days of full time employment for others, we would both drag in at the end of the work day, and it was all either of us could manage to get some type of sustenance prepared for us.  The evenings progressed with me doing school paperwork and him manning the TV flipper, then collapsing into bed.  Now, we plan to do things together, often during the day!  A lunch out, an art museum, a park – whenever WE decide!
  5. Saying “NO” is an option – Because we get to decide what to make of our business, we get to select which projects we will take.  Which leads us to

The Not So Good

  1. We don’t say “No” enough – We have found from the early days of the voyage, we were a bit afraid to turn anyone down.  While we have adequate retirement funds in place, we like not having to draw upon them – and you never know if and when the next job will come along.  We’re more comfortable now, and we are seeking the perfect balance between encore and voyage.
  2. We’re always “at work”  – Even when we’re on that golf course, it’s important for us to care for our clients.  So even if I skip a hole to take care of business, it is that availability that ALLOWS us to make these chosen careers work well.  Being an entrepreneur isn’t a part-time job or a full-time job.  It’s a lifestyle!
  3. It’s easy to over-schedule – Number 1 above has occasionally caused us to pick up too many projects at once, making short-term scheduling difficult.  While we’re pretty good at scheduling our long-term goals, sometimes we let our alligators overload our hummingbirds…
  4. There’s no escape from the office – Our offices are at one end of our home.  We don’t have the luxury of leaving the office to go home.  Sometimes, for good or bad, the settings run into each other.  We are learning to consciously “leave the office” and shut down.

Don’t get me wrong.  We have had more fun since we started this voyage than we ever had in our “pre-retirement” years.  We love that we get to remain mentally engaged, with important work to do, on our own terms and in our own way.  Nearly every day one of us says to the other,

“This is a good gig, scooter!”

And so we we will continue to make adjustments as we journey down this road. Are any of you working any side gigs during your retirement years?  We’d love to hear the things you’ve learned!

Lynn