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What Do You Like Best – and Worst – About Retirement?

Category: General Retirement Issues

July 6, 2011 — The purpose of this article is to generate discussion in the Comments section about the good… and the bad things about retirement. Everyone is encouraged to contribute their thoughts about what retirement means to them, both the great stuff and the not so great. If you are not retired yet, what are your concerns and hopes? The more thoughtful comments the better, we will all be able to learn from our mutual experiences.

Your editor will start it off:
Good stuff
Freedom. I just love being able to act on invitations – without the guilt and without having to say no. Just last week I was invited on and was able to take a fabulous sailing trip from Bermuda to Long Island that would have been hard to pull off in my working days. The same goes for appointments and family visits. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone can work on a schedule, we’ve got too many outside activities!

Options. This is related to freedom. But there are more options for volunteer work, sports, hobbies, new career opportunities. When you have a job you are locked down into a certain path – retirement gives you options to choose from.

Time. Life doesn’t quite so frenetic these days. The pressure of having to rush every job or leisure activity wasn’t as much fun as being able to take a little extra time and enjoy.

On the negative side:
No paycheck.
It is hard getting used to the fact that a paycheck isn’t magically deposited into our accounts every 2 weeks. If money is going to come in, we’ve got to figure out a way to bring it in.

Health and Age Problems. Of course if you retire early enough, maybe you won’t have any health or aging issues for a while. But the bad news for most of us is that some humbling ailments start to creep in, requiring doctor’s visits and attention. It’s not necessarily a retirement problem, but it just seems to come with the age.

Small World Department.
If we’re not careful, our worlds can become very small. We must be vigilant to stay open to the world and not get small-minded (or worse, grouchy!)

What do you think?
Your fellow Topretirements members are counting on you to share your thoughts about the bests and worsts about retirement. If you have a story, we want to hear it in the Comments section below! Thanks

Posted by John Brady on July 5th, 2011


  1. The best comment that I can share is covered by this article and could be a great starter on the discussion of reinventing retirement:

    Top 10 Lifestyle Planning Questions For Baby Boomers

    What Is Lifestyle Planning?

    Lifestyle Planning is about getting your balance in life right in retirement. It is about knowing what your values are and what you want to achieve in your retirement years. If you saw the movie “The Bucket List” you will know what I mean. If you didn’t see it I recommend that you do. Life is more than money and status. For many people it isn’t until they are approaching retirement that they have the time to think about what they have achieved in life and what they value for the remaining years that will give them satisfaction.

    How Does Lifestyle Planning Differ From Normal Financial Planning?

    Lifestyle Planning is planning how you want to live and what you value when you retire. For instance, maybe you never completed your college degree and would like to when you retire. Perhaps you would like to learn a new musical instrument or travel.

    Financial Planning, on the other hand is planning financially for the future lifestyle you want in retirement. For many people the Global Financial Crisis has brought this into sharp focus. Can you afford the lifestyle you want? Will a compromise be required that requires you to work longer before retirement or earn some income in retirement? The answers to the questions that you ask yourself and your Lifestyle Planner and Financial Planner are going to determine your enjoyment over your retirement years.

    The Top 10 Lifestyle Planning Questions for Baby Boomers

    1. Where do you want to retire to? This is important because if you live in a cold climate currently but you suffer from arthritis, you might want to choose to live in a place with a mild year round temperature in order to help your arthritis.

    2. What type of home do you want to live in? In other words, do you want to live in an apartment, townhouse, or stay in your family home. Will you need any modifications to your home such as ramps or walk-in bath tubs? Perhaps downsizing your home will be a good idea and free up some capital for investment to help fund your retirement.

    3. How do you plan to spend your time? Obviously, if you have a spouse or life partner, these kinds of decisions will be made together. Nevertheless, you need to decide how you want to spend your retirement.

    4. Do you want to travel? If so, do you want to travel by plane, car, or motor home? There are lots of discounts for retirement travel.

    5. Do you want to learn any new skills? If so, make a list of those that you always wanted to learn, but never had the chance.

    6. What do you plan to do now and in retirement in order to stay healthy and alert? This may include diet, regular moderate exercise, taking herbs, and vitamins.

    7. Are there skills you always wanted to learn but could not during your working years? For example, if you always wanted to learn to play a piano, why not plan to take this up during your retirement years.

    8. Do you have a hobby? Maybe you always wanted to own your own business, many people turn hobbies into small businesses that helps supplement their retirement income.

    9. Do you want to work during your retirement years? Many people simply want to enjoy life with no work at all when they retire, but for others, the thought of not working at all can cause anxiety. If you want to work, what do you want to do?

    10. Would you like to begin a new career when you retire? Many years ago when the life expectancy was 70 years, no one planned doing much when they retired except to sit around waiting to die. However, today, people are living 90 + years and are still mentally sharp and healthy. Therefore, beginning a new career at age 65 is certainly not unheard of and in fact, it is becoming the norm for many baby boomers.

    Regards, Jack Taggerty

    by Jack Taggerty — July 5, 2011

  2. I find not being sure what day of the week it is interesting. But, I don’t care.

    by Susan — July 6, 2011

  3. It’s easy to determine the day of the week. Just count from Sunday which is “fat paper day.” Seriously, I’m concerned about finding new hobbies and interests. My whole life has been family, working and volunteering in activities where my children where involved. I now help out with grandkids and enjoy that, but we plan to move to a warmer climate. The thought of finding new outlets and activities is a little overwhelming. Nothing jumps out in my mind because I’ve been so busy with work and family for so long. We love to travel, but that won’t be all the time. I love reading, but not all day.

    by Deb — July 6, 2011

  4. You can’t beat retirement with a stick. Best thing that ever happened to me. Even without a large income my days are filled with so much to do.

    I’ve worked all my life but never depended on a job for friends, self-esteem, self-identity, and all that other psycho-babble. Now I spend my days gardening, painting, sculpting, get-togethers with friends, day trips, rock hunting, going to the beach, reading all those books I never had time for, watching movies, going to concerts and museums, taking classes, spending time with my dogs, volunteering, and enjoying each and every day.

    The only downside is I can’t afford health insurance so I go the extra mile to stay as healthy as possible.

    by Kathy — July 6, 2011

  5. Positive side: Time to travel. There are so many more trips I’d like to take but can’t because of work.
    Negative: No paycheck to help pay for that travel.
    Positive: Time to do so many things I’d always wanted to try or get more involved in
    Negative: Scheduling. Its easy now – I go to work during the week so the only schedule I have to keep is for the weekends. When I retire next year I’ll have to keep a pocket calendar with me since no two days will probably be alike.

    by Nancy — July 6, 2011

  6. Retirement is fantastic and there are really no negatives if preparation has been made. Some may just love work — maybe they SHOULDN’T retire. Those who have no choice have the biggest preparation tasks.

    I think the difficulty most people have with retirement is that they are (maybe for the first time) fully responsible for themselves. No one (boss) is going to tell you what to do (well, maybe spouse). YOU have to make decisions about your life, your activities, your finances, and everything else. YOU have to prepare — whether you spend 5, 10, 20 or 50 years saving or planning financially, YOU need to be aware what your resources and your costs will be. YOU need to be responsible for yourself — YOU can’t overspend if you want your money to last your lifetime. YOU have to think about what will make you happy or content (hobbies, more work, charities, travel, grandkids) and act to do these things within your means. YOU need to decide ahead of time (and adjust your thinking every year) what an acceptable lifestyle is for YOU (or one that YOU can afford). Some people can be happy living on nothing — most need comforts. How will YOU ensure your choices.

    After you’ve done these things, the rest is easy — so to speak. You will not enough time in the day to do all you want. You will only have deadlines that YOU establish — and you can ALWAYS reset them. YOU will have to adjust to boredom if that happens.

    Whether you are prepared or not, the responsibility is YOURS to do something about it. That’s really what retirement is.

    by Rich — July 6, 2011

  7. I have not experienced a downside to retirement. Although my income is reduced to half of my employment earnings, I enjoy three partial incomes, two pensions and reduced social security. After 38 years of uninterrupted employment, for which I am grateful, I now have the precious time I needed and craved as a mother and wife employed in the home and in the work force. Any downside is attributable to forces independent of retirement. Hey! I can’t scroll to proof read my entire comment. . .bummer.

    by Donna — July 6, 2011

  8. :smile:The biggest challenge, and one your site helped me with immensely, is finding “a happy place!” Everyone is looking for different things in retirement…but it helps if you move into an Active Adult community where everyone is happy and enjoying life. I am a Long & Foster Realtor who is thrilled to be living in Colonial Heritage, in Williamsburg. As we sat on the putting green, eating our BBQ, prepared by our chef–the winner of the of the Iron Chef competition for the 2nd year, listening to the Rhondels concert…my friend remarked “This is a happy place! I’m happy! Happy! Happy! No matter who I talk to in the pool, at the grill, at aerobics class…everyone loves Colonial Heritage.

    by Shirley Kappa — July 6, 2011

  9. I am sooooo looking forward to retirement! Can’t wait for the chapter to begin. Like Shirley, I chose an Active Adult community and already bought the house at Sun City Festival in Buckeye, AZ. Look at all the clubs, sooooo much to do and just not enough time to do it all in! Each time I go there I meet so many wonderful people who are just full of life! Just 161 weeks to go but whose counting!

    by Bill Baptista — July 7, 2011

  10. Are there people that look at this website that are considering Texas? That is what we plan to do because the state is fiscally sound and they don’t tax income.

    by Susan — July 12, 2011

  11. Texas is great. Hubby and I just bought land in the Flying L Ranch in Bandera, Texas. House on the golf course – hubs is happy. We get to use the amenities of the resort – sweet. Bandera is a small town, but the resort is active. Best of both worlds. And, only 30 mins from San Antonio, if you crave shopping and night life.

    by Debora — July 19, 2011

  12. We spent a week in Bandera a couple years ago and loved it. Will check out your suggestion

    by Susan — July 22, 2011

  13. Looking forward to retirement in about 22 months. The wife and I will be checking out some places in Florida in a couple of weeks. Any suggestions? We are thinking about On Top of The World, but does anyone have any additional ones. Want something with a lot of things going on, but will be on a budget. Do not want to spend all our money on a house and want to travel. Would appreciate suggestions. The Carolinas would also be interesting. Thanks for your help.

    by Fred — July 23, 2011

  14. I love this site and reading everyone’s comments. I so look forward to retirement in 5 years and figure now is the time to begin planning. My only comment to the site in general is that it seems to only be directed to couples. It’s just me folks. ­čść Should I be also looking at other sites?

    by Heather — July 24, 2011

  15. Glad you are enjoying the site. While most of our visitors are part of a couple, we are happy to have many singles who participate. We try to include them and you will find some articles in the blog and forum with you in mind. Feel free to make suggestions and comments to help represent your point of view – this site is for everybody interested in planning for retirement. Thanks for the comment.

    by John — July 24, 2011

  16. Personal responsibilityÔÇŽ Right on Rich!!!

    by Vince Proctor — July 25, 2011

  17. I am planning to retire in the next 12 months, i will be 55 years old and plan to continue working part time. i want to move to a retirement village but my family feel that i am too ‘young’ to do so and may find it difficult to fit in. Are there many 55 year old retirees in your retirement community? Do you think 55 is too young to move into a retirement community? i should also add that i am single.

    by winsome arana — July 25, 2011

  18. Winsome: you are NEVER too young to join a senior (55+) community! There are ‘young’ 80 yr olds and ‘old’ 55 yr olds………… There are so many things to do every single day, at least in all the senior communities I have been in. And there are always many singles in in these communities. I’m not single, but I would think that where I’d want to be when either of pass away, because there are singles all around and it makes it easy to do things with another single. Enjoy life it is short – retire and never know what day of the week it is, except by what activity you are doing that day!

    by sandy — July 26, 2011

  19. Thanks for the encouragement, Sandy. I had a chance to see a few condos in Kings Point in Tamarac, I was really impressed by the size of the units and how well the place is maintained, as well as the large number of clubs and activities available. Anyone living in Tamarac or have been there? I would love to get more information on that community.

    by winsome — July 27, 2011

  20. See my comments above about finding a “happy” place. I’m single and so are many of the folks who live in our “55 or better” community. In fact, our community allows 20% of the residents to be 45 or better. We have many people who still work…so don’t fear a retirement community. Just choose the right one. My block is made up mostly of couples…but two of them have acopted me and include me in all their plans. The grill at our clubhouse is so friendly that I don’t hesitate to go up on my own and sit at the bar. Usually residents will come in, introduce themselves, and invite me to join them.

    by Shirley Kappa — June 24, 2012

  21. Shirley, I think it’s great when some body finds their Happy Place. Friendly and accepting people are very important but I think it starts with being Happy with ones self. I don’t think that many people understand that. Here’s to the Happy Life! ­čśÄ Larry

    by Larry P — June 25, 2012

  22. Thanks, Deb, for my laugh-out-loud for the day: knowing what day it is by counting backwards from the ‘fat paper’ day, Sunday! Nothing like a good laugh! For those who may not have discovered volunteering, it is so gratifying to have anyone, kids or adults, appreciate your help. Every area has an historical society, museum, zoo, public gardens, environmental ed center, wildlife center, Meals on Wheels – the list goes on and on – and they can all use some sort of volunteer help.Work around a hobby and use it to give back to your community. Even our local quilting guild works all year on a project and donates it to a local fundraiser. You meet great new friends and socialize and contribute simultaneously. Also FYI, Forbes Magazine this month has an annual feature called the Top 25 Retirement Locations. It’s also available through The article has an accompanying US map showing High/Medium/Low tax states. Good to see other opinions and keep an open mind when making this big Life decision.

    by cherie — June 26, 2012

  23. I really like it when people come together and share opinions. Great website, keep it up!

    by ilan scripti — March 1, 2013

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