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The Seven Deadly Sins of Retirement

Category: Retirement Planning

August 27, 2019 — Seven seems to be the magic number when it comes to sacraments, dwarfs, and deadly sins. In this article we will pose our seven retirement sins – the worst mistakes you can make in retirement – the kind of error that can ruin even the most carefully thought out retirement. We hope you will add your own ideas for sins – based on your own experience.

Retire too early. Sure, many people have it in their head to retire as soon as they can. For many it is a good move, for others it is a disaster. By working longer you can save more money, have to finance fewer years with your savings, and increase your Social Security benefits. Even if you do have enough money to retire you might still not be happy. Which leads us to the next point. SEE MORE BLOG POSTS

Having no plan for what you will do. Retirement is a really big, life changing expensive. One day you had someplace to be and responsibilities to go along with that. The next day you have no boss, and no purpose – except for the ones you create for yourself. People need a purpose, even if it is to perfect a golf game, get in great shape, start a new hobby, volunteer, or bag all the national parks. Without a guiding force all kinds of bad things can set in: depression, bad habits, marital problems, et.. The time to develop your plan is years before you actually retire, so you have time to work out the kinks and solidify what will keep you occupied every day.

Confessional in Provence

Assume you will work into your 70’s. Many people assume they will keep working well past the traditional 65 or some other age. Sadly, most of them won’t. Health issues and layoffs affect more and more people. That loss of job usually also means there will be a shortfall in retirement savings. The smarter approach is to build in a contingency. Save more, spend less, or work toward a backup plan for generating income. And aside from the financial aspect, plan for what you will do once your working days come to an end.

Taking Social Security at age 62. Sometimes people have no choice about taking Social Security early. If you have no money and no job, you might need it to survive. But if you can afford not to take it, delaying is the safest route to securing your financial health in the long term. If you (and/or your spouse) are lucky enough to live into your 80’s and 90’s, the monthly difference in your income from delaying can mean the difference between poverty and comfort. Waiting until age 70 makes even more sense for most people, if they can afford to wait.

Don’t work on a budget. Taking the time to create a budget that compares your spending vs. your income is super important, and it needs to be done before you retire. You have to know how much you will be have coming in from pension, Social Security, part-time employment, and your savings. Once you compare that to your expected expenses you will be able to get a pretty good idea of if, and for how long, you can maintain the lifestyle you dream of. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to have enough to stay in your current home, be a snowbird, or enjoy wonderful trips and experiences. More likely you will have to prioritize what is important so you can make adjustments to make the money last. Some of those changes might involve moving to a less expensive home or state, working longer, or finding part time work. The worst thing that can happen is that you have no idea of your fiscal health, and you run out of money decades before you pass over to the other side.

Not considering moving to a different home. Perhaps the home where you live now is the perfect size, economical, set up for an older person’s abilities, and easily maintained. It might be a home where you can live the lifestyle you always dreamed about. But, chances are it would fail on at least some of those attributes. To avoid committing this retirement sin you need to at least consider moving. Maybe to another community, state, or region that has a better climate or lower taxes or cost of living. Perhaps to a place where you can live the lifestyle that makes you happy. In the end you might decide to stay where you live now, but at least you would have considered the options and made a considered decision.

Buying a new home the first year you retire. You probably have heard the advice that you should only make one big decision at a time – as in don’t get married, move, and take a new job in the same month. That is because major life events like retirement are disruptive; they take time to process and adjust to. When you retire you need time to adjust and make sure you are making smart decisions. Sure you might go south for the winter and see a beautiful home in a great community. But just as you probably wouldn’t marry someone after your first date, you should spend some time exploring alternatives and getting to know the home/community of your dreams. Renting for a few years in different places will give you a much clearer idea of what you are getting into.

Bottom line. There are undoubtedly more sins that could wreck your retirement. Plus there are things that can happen beyond your control – such as health issues or the need to take care of an aging parent or dependent child. We would love to hear your ideas of the kinds of the things that can wreck a retirement, along with ways to try to avoid them. Please use the Comments section below to share your experience.

Posted by Admin on August 26th, 2019


  1. I was fortunate to retire when I was 60 after working 33 years for the same company. The plan at retirement was to do all those projects around the house I never had time for. Painted the entire house inside and out and made the 1.25 acre lot a park and added that large deck we discussed for years. ?

    I traveled during the early part of my career, so allowed me to narrow down a list of places that we were not interested in. I was transferred to Knoxville TN. and lived we there for over 15 years, beautiful and loved it, but we decided been there done that. We did visited North & South Carolina, northern Florida and Georgia’s coast, Texas, Nevada and Arizona. ?

    Interviewed realtors, chose one, and put our 5 bedroom 3 bath home up for sale. To our surprise we sold it in just one day. No option but to downsize to a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment we rented for a year. ? We decided on beautiful Arizona, west Phoenix area, which we had visited many times over the years, yes even in July, and built a home. ? We are full time residences, of course its hot in the summer, but at least I can get out of the house no matter the temperature, unlike Minnesota when the very bitter cold or snow storm would make you home bound.

    Like me, my children have careers in which their companies transfer them, presently California & Minnesota, and who know where next. We are still able to travel to see them and the grandchildren, and they love visiting us.

    Last but very important, updated our will to Arizona law, secured long term care, the sooner the better your cost will be, discussed our wishes for our living will. Shared it with the children, so everyone understands our wishes as we grow older. The places they can find all the important information, bank accounts, safe combination, computer passwords, financial information and adviser and doctors. ?

    My point is life is an adventure, so embrace it, of course if your health and finances allow you the opportunity. We love our retirement and enjoy each and every day, new neighbors, friends and community. ?

    by Bruce — August 27, 2019

  2. Congrats, Bruce. Your story is much like ours. It’s hard to say which of these retirement sins is worse, so best to avoid all or most. But we violated the retire early, the SS at 62 and the downsize. Since we did the budget and planned “what to do” (and had decent investment “luck”), we have been fine.

    To this list, I would add the sin of “being in debt or going into debt”. We had a general plan over many years, but both ended up in bad job situations leading to our retiring 3 years earlier than our “early” plan. We paid off our mortgage (best ROI at the time), accelerated the plan, adjusted the budget, made serious short term savings adjustments and retired 4 months later (as I said, 3 years earlier than the plan) at age 55. The contingency option to work part-time after six months never came to pass — we were too busy and loved our freedom. We adjusted the budget a little tighter, closely managed expenses and found we were making out ok with only minor sacrifices. We traveled some, made a good life in retirement and held up through the years of health issues. And very importantly, we have avoided debt other than a couple of zero interest loans that worked to our advantage.

    Planning, budget and staying busy/involved have been our keystones. Working through adversity to pursue goals while remaining constantly flexible has sustained us. Is it all as planned? No. But looking back, it’s mostly been a good 16 years.

    by RichP — August 27, 2019

  3. Like you Bruce, we also had much discussion and did planning ahead of time and are now enjoying retirement with more to do than we imagined! I started a spreadsheet, to compare areas where we thought we might like to move and took time to project expenses and plan for income streams. We were forced to retire early, due to health reasons but are delaying our Soc. Sec. until Full Retirement Age.

    As for “Don’t buy a new home the first year” – I disagree! Since we did our planning, we knew where we were going. We bought our retirement home before DH left work (was easier to get a mortgage while he still had verifiable income) and moved right away – also selling our TN house in one day. That way we are settled into our new home, have established Doctors, etc. before we have to take Medicare!. So, if you KNOW where you want to be – go there sooner, rather than later!!

    by Flatearth6 — August 27, 2019

  4. I must confess I have sinned at least once according to this list – retired at 55 to spend time with my mother; it would have been a much bigger sin not to. All my other sins, well, they aren’t on this list 😉 Not having goals and not updating them might fall into the retirement sin category and another is not to be OPTOMISTIC no matter what the situation is (like the song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian says “Always look on the bright side of life ….(cant paste all the words, some might offend). Today’s MedicalNewsToday reports a study that suggests optimism adds years to your life 🙂

    by jean — August 27, 2019

  5. I retired at 65 ,taking care of my husband,he hand been sick many years. He died 4 months later. Never did anything we had hoped for. Now I’m alone, no plan,no dreams, the kids are trying to help
    but nothing will change that he’s gone. We were married 49 years,don’t know how to be alone. So I guess my sin is not having a plan B. Sometimes retirement works as planned ,but how do you pick up the pieces when it doesn’t ? He’s only been gone 3 months, hasn’t been very long . They say it gets better.So 2 of the biggest life changes in 4 months.

    by sandyg — August 28, 2019

  6. Because medical costs can negatively affect retirement, it’s important to make sure the Medicare plan you’re on is the best one for your situation. I encourage those over 65 to consider Medicare Advantage (aka Part C) when enrolling for the upcoming year’s plan.
    (See for the rest of this outstanding Comment and the many others it inspired). We moved all of the Medicare related comments to its own Blog post because it deserves that attention. Thanks Clyde!

    by Clyde — August 28, 2019

  7. I agree with a previous poster. Debt definitely belongs on this list. I was laid off in a RIF prior to the time I had planned to retire. Because I had no debt at the time, I survived. Debt is definitely a retirement fun killer.

    by Linda — August 28, 2019

  8. I also purchased my new home in Arizona the month I retired almost three years ago now. I am very happy with the decision. I had made five trips here at different times of the year for up to a month at a time. I had checked out other places too. Multiples moves just eat up your savings and are mentally taxing as well. And property prices here have gone up considerably since I moved here, so I could have no longer afforded the place I now have without also draining savings. I think planning is preferable to trial and error unless your funds are endless. JMO.

    by Pat R — August 28, 2019

  9. Sandyg, Condolences on the loss of your husband. Be good to yourself and mourn your loss. 3 months is very short for any loss let alone on of a 49 year marrage. You mentioned 2 major life events you have experienced in a short time, that has to influence how you see things now. For now take care of you, take walks, visit with your family, etc. In other words try to live in the moment and not worry about couldhave shouldhave things.

    by Jean — August 28, 2019

  10. To Sandyg, Like you I retired early to take care of my wife of 35 years who passed away last year. All of the kids live thousands of miles away and being alone is something I don’t do easily. I started volunteering at a homeless shelter and also veterans driving veterans but it wasn’t enough. I was still coming home to an empty and very quiet house filled with memories. I tried joining groups like those in meetup’s but everyone is so much younger than me, it wasn’t fun. So I went back to work for a non-profit organization making very little money. I realize that I will still be coming home to an empty house but hopefully I will be too tired to care anymore. We had great plans for our retirement but health problems changed all that. I wish I could say that it gets better but it really doesn’t unfortunately. I wish I could help you. All I can say is that you need to try or do something that you would not have done if your spouse was still alive… it changes things and makes things a little easier.

    by GregS — August 28, 2019

  11. Taking Social Security at 62 is a choice, not a mistake. I can guarantee you I will not be doing the same things at age 82, my break even point, as I will be doing at 62. Do I need to take it at 62? No, between my wife and I, we’ll have two federal government pensions and a military pension, but I’m not going to let that money work for me in retirement just as I worked for it my whole adult life.

    by Mr. BS — August 28, 2019

  12. I loved the way you called these seven deadly sins. However, sometimes situations warrant committing them, if it is well thought out and appropriately calculated. After my husband passed away, I found that the money in our combined 401Ks, plus two defined benefit pensions, was more than enough for me to retire comfortably at age 61. I also started collecting partial SS at 62 because as a widow, I could switch to his full SS amount at my normal retirement age. The sin we did commit was not planning tax wise for this shift in assets when he was sick. I pay high taxes as a single person and am going to have a big tax bill at 70 1/2 when RMD kicks in. I know this is a good “problem” to have am I am certainly not complaining. I am working with a financial planner now, but I wish the last few years of 401K contributions while we were both working were into a Roth instead.

    by Carole — August 28, 2019

  13. Carole, I think that last statement you made can qualify as a “sin”. (And yes, things like SS at 62, definitely are not “sins” if done for good reason.). Roth IRAs were only available for a couple of years before we retired, so using it really didn’t help us in a significant way. But those who are saving for retirement over an extended period may well find it was a sin if they don’t take advantage.

    by RichPB — August 28, 2019

  14. You better have a few hobbies to keep you busy. My wife and I were Corporate Mgrs. and travel a bunch. We both spent a lot of time working. Not so in retirement. One has a lot of hours to fill in.

    by Jim Raney — August 28, 2019

  15. I’m only 62 and had to retire on such a low monthly income and I’m miserable. I’m usually bored out of my mind and am trying to move but all the affordable 62+ housing waiting lists are so long.
    Is there any hope for me? 🙂

    by John — August 28, 2019

  16. John, you say you had to retire, was that because of a downsizing or a health issue? If you are bored and able, why not go find a job? Doesn’t have to be in the same line you retired from, lots of seniors find jobs in retail, grocery, libraries, crossing guards, etc. Those jobs give a chance to socialize with people and provide a little pay to boost that monthly income and possible even save a few bucks for the future.

    by jean — August 29, 2019

  17. Like SandyG and others, I’m also widowed (66). Most married people don’t envision facing the future alone. There’s a double whammy for those who lose their work-social life and their spouse at the same time. There are many good tips out there for developing a solo social life and for living alone. I view figuring out my life as a new “work” assignment. It’s a work in progress. I’ll never get over missing my best friend & spouse especially for the little stuff like grocery shopping, restaurants, watching tv together, etc. and it will probably always hurt when I see couples enjoying retirement together. However, I am determined to create a new life for myself…which is even including a bucket list trip alone. I’m fortunate that my kids are helping, but once we adjust to the grief of losing a spouse — we HAVE to find ways to fill our days and be happy since we don’t have an alternative.

    My own biggest retirement mistake was in not downsizing enough for a solo person. I ended up buying a 2,800+ sq. ft. home. Price was right, and I guess I was still in a family mindset. The mistake has ripple effects (heating & A/C, cleaning, decorating, insurance, maintenance etc.). Realistically, I no longer cook or bake a lot so I don’t need much space in a kitchen…I don’t need a king sized bed or large closets for work clothes…I don’t need more than one guest room, an office, or other superfluous spaces. Moving is expensive though. I’ll probably wait a decade or so for some appreciation to cover moving expenses before downsizing again. Fortunately I’m in a “hot” area where prices are climbing.

    by Kate — August 29, 2019

  18. It seems housing, travel and financial projections for what one needs in retirement are geared towards couples. I am divorced, work part-time and had to take SS early due to a job elimination. At 64 it is hard to find a full-time job with benefits. My part-time job is three days a week and offers no benefits. I still have to pay for insurance. Medicare starts Sept 1 and I opted for the Part N Medi-gap insurance supplement. I could have taken part F but it will have much higher premiums in the future as will part G with guaranteed issue. Part N offers much the same benefits as part G with a few variances that I can handle for the lower premiums. I have to pay for these things and watch my income at the same time to stay below the SS limit as my FRA is in 2020. It has been difficult, but fortunately with the SS, I will make it. My future is my problem. My home (1200sq ft. apt) has a lot of equity ( and a large co-op fee) and I could sell it and move IF I knew where to go…most places have homes that are definitely built for two people and I just need a small home or condo. I am not interested in an over 55 CCRC. I do volunteer twice a week when not working, and as a Docent twice a month….so I do fill my time. Still being alone is not easy…wanting to travel, or just go to dinner with someone else now and then is a challenge. I am considering getting my real estate license as many people think I would be good at it. Just figuring out what to do next is the issue for me as I want my retirement to be stimulating and fun just as couples do.

    by Jennifer — August 29, 2019

  19. I don’t think I would classify “Don’t work on a budget” a deadly sin as much as “Not understanding your cash flow.” The two are related, but somewhat different.

    Budgets, in and of themselves, are not particularly useful because (a) you can’t foresee everything and (b) few people can follow them. However, the budgeting EXERCISE is incredibly useful because it leads you to understanding your cash flow. If you do such an exercise and there is no cushion between your anticipated income and anticipated expenses, you have a problem. At some point an unexpected expense will pop up out of nowhere and kill your well-planned “budget.” The “trick” is to live beneath your means – at least by a little bit – and save the difference for those unexpected expenses. Or, if you’re a person that can make a budget and stick to it, make a “rainy day” line item that has you funding an account specifically for those unexpected expenses.

    by JD — August 29, 2019

  20. “The 7 Deadly Sins of Retirement” got me thinking. I have a much less delicate approach to the topic, as you’ll see. I agree with several of the sins, with a difference. I added others. About me: I retired at 62. I was lucky. I understand that not everyone can. My wife is 6 years younger than me. She said recently, “I love my life.” So do I. We bought our home in Florida three years before we moved here. The lower home price, lower taxes, favorable income tax environment and pleasant weather (part of the year) are all factors in an equation that allows us to do more with less. It was not easy to leave our home of 30 years, our church, friends, family and neighbors. But we did. We changed everything. And we visit them. They visit us. Friends back north are still planning on thinking about doing something. They’re stuck.

    Retire as early as you can. There is always risk, and as we age I have found that many of our older friends are living in a paralyzing state of the fear of change. The reality is that you get older every day and you are eventually going to die. Unless you have no interests, friends, imagination or the ability to explore any of those, retirement is potentially the best time of your life. Why not enjoy as much of it as you can? Develop a concept of “enough” before entering the trap that has you saving “just a little bit more.” Financial planners routinely urge you to have 2 million investable dollars before even considering retirement. Of course they do! Those investable dollars are invested with them. I have seen them use an actuarial table similar to those used by timeshare salesmen to rationalize their goals.

    Have a purpose. Things to do are not a purpose. If you’ve become a human doing instead of a human being, work on that before you retire. If your job was your “purpose” you’ve confused a necessary evil with a wonderful opportunity. Retire to something. Don’t retire to nothing. That’s not life, it’s waiting to die. Oh, and that stamp collecting I’ve been putting off until retirement? Turns out, I don’t really like stamp collecting. You’re not going to be a different person when you arrive in retirement, but you will be a person with a greater amount of free time.

    Don’t work unless you have fun at your job. Working is not retirement. The kinds of jobs available to people in their “golden years” are often low paying, trivial drudgery. We joke about being a Walmart greeter someday. Is that really how you want to spend your time in this miraculous existence as the dominant life form on Earth?

    If you can’t save more, spend less. Adjust your lifestyle and do what you might think to be impossible. Reduce from two cars to one. Two phones to one. Downsize your home. Sell all the junk cluttering that back room, attic and garage. If you have a storage unit, shame on you! You’re what one friend calls a “three quarter hoarder.” Periodically assess budget line items like insurance, mortgage and other semi-controllable items. Revisit them annually.

    Take Social Security when it feels right. It’s money you deserve. You’ve been paying into the system your entire career. I know folks who obsess about the “break even” period, optimizing the total return and the number of years it takes to get ahead, as if they know how long they have. The next election, or the one after that, may be when the choice is taken away from you. I once asked a recently retired acquaintance what he advised. He told me about a friend who delayed taking his Social Security to maximize the benefit. The friend died and never got a penny. As a result, my acquaintance took his early. Sadly, six months after he told me this story, he died of an illness undiagnosed as of the time we talked.

    Budget, budget, budget. And by marking down everything you spend, I don’t mean documenting your failure. It takes at least one year to create a reality-based budget. Avoid categories like “Miscellaneous” or “Other.” They are budget-defeating black holes. If you have money, don’t be cheap. Frugality can become pathological. We recently went on a cruise with another couple. It was the worst (cheapest) cruise ship they could find. They allowed themselves one cocktail per day. They were absolutely no fun to be with. The early years of your retirement, budget more for travel and entertainment. You’ll have plenty of time later to cut back.

    Move and Purge. Sure, I know you love your house. You’ve lived there for a long time, or perhaps it was your family home. I broke down crying when I moved from the house where I grew up. But unless you’re going to be buried in the back yard, you’re going to leave eventually. Moving is the most effective way to purge a lifetime of junk that has no meaning to anyone but you. Your kids don’t want your stuff. If you think they do, ask them while you’re still alive. You’ll most likely be disappointed. And if they want something, great, you get to experience the joy of giving while you’re here to appreciate it.

    Make decisions! If you make one change at a time, do you plan to live to be 150? Sorry, but you don’t have time for linear decision-making. Parallel paths get more done in less time. You can do it. Don’t think of major life changes as disruptions. They are exciting and exhilarating!

    Avoid “Vacation Syndrome” – You visited Florida and had a couple of drinks in a Tiki Bar. You can see spending every day like that. But now mow the lawn in August. Prepare for a hurricane. Listen to Jimmy Buffett until your ears bleed. Spend the entire summer inside because it’s as dauntingly uncomfortable as Minnesota in January. But being a Snowbird is not for everyone. It’s expensive and requires you to mentally live in two places at once unless you have extremely good caretakers at the other end. Using the Florida example, good help is maddeningly difficult to find, especially when they know you’re not around.

    Nothing is permanent. Go for it! Buy a home and move there. Carry a mortgage. Do you really want your life savings tied to an investment that can crash and burn as they did in 2008? If it doesn’t work out, move again. Paralysis by analysis will only guarantee that you don’t move, don’t travel, don’t enjoy the earliest part of your remaining years and get stuck in a rut until it’s legitimately too difficult to change. My sister and her 75-year-old husband are “thinking” about making a change in 5 years. Ever the indelicate younger brother, I asked, “What do you think your lifespan is?” The move they’re considering should have been made ten years ago. They are in a house with stairs. Her knees and hips are giving out. I guess a tumble down a flight of stairs is a quick way to avoid planning for the future, but it’s kind of a drag, don’t you think?

    by Vic Larson — August 29, 2019

  21. Not following your dreams. There have always been things that I wanted to do, places that I wanted to see, experiences that had to be satisfied. None, or not all of these have to be big ticket items, but retirement gives you the opportunity to do some of the things you have dreamed of doing. Stepping outside your pre-retirement box makes life so much more enjoyable.

    by Steve Herbert — August 29, 2019

  22. Vic, Your comment “Dont work unless you have fun at your job” and then denigrating jobs available to seniors as drudgery is way off the mark. Part of the key is to FIND fun in what you do be it a job or a bad round of golf (and if you can find some fun at a job, all the better cause you get some $ even if it’s not a lot) Having retired from a high stress job, working as a Walmart greeter or clerking at the local health food shop are very appealing. I always thought the two jobs that most appealed to me would be “soda jerk” and picking up litter in a park with one of those sticks with a nail on the end. Unfortunately old fashioned soda fountains disappeared and our local park tiding was handled by volunteers so I had to take a job for a multinational corp (which was stressful but a heck of a lot of fun too). Point is, NO work should be stigmatized, it’s all important and more and more seniors are not retiring or are returning to some form of work not necessarily because they need the $ but because they want to. being park of something and learning new skills keeps the brain young. There is an anecdote about a janitor who mopping the floors at Cape Canaveral, when asked about his job he explained “I help put astronauts into space”. And he does, maybe a tiny contribution but a contribution none the less.

    by jean — August 29, 2019

  23. Getting into a routine of staying in and not socializing is not a sin, but it should be if you can be out there volunteering, or inviting someone for a meal or just a visit. It isn’t always easy at first but then is enjoyable. Don’t get caught up in routine, don’t wait for the phone to ring (or beep) you have to get out there.

    by Paula — August 29, 2019

  24. Jean – Well said! I printed out your comment for my kids, and put it on my bulletin board. Words to remember. Your comment reflects my parents’ and grandparents’ work ethic, especially after living through the Great Depression. It’s something that everyone needs to take to heart, not just retirees.

    by Kate — August 30, 2019

  25. Vic, I agree with you. Our neighbor retired for three months, panicked, then took a job just to fill the hours stating “what else is there to do?” I don’t see how working after retirement is a reflection of your work ethic. Just because someone pays you to do something doesn’t mean you’re any more worthy, valuable, or noble, than anyone else. Sometimes it just means you worship the dollar and still have to measure your life by those materialistic yardsticks. Too important working for that big company to volunteer to pick up litter in the park? If you have to work, fine. If you want to work, fine. If you can afford not to work and don’t want to, that’s fine too.

    by Daryl — August 30, 2019

  26. Sandy & GregS both make good points – what if “retirement” doesn’t go as planned? I am so sorry for your losses but happy to see that you can share your journey with us – we all have it ahead of us, eventually. In your cases, I would say that you both have earned the time it takes to grieve and re-asses but try to find other things to focus on and enrich yourselves. It may take a few tries.

    Vic, I loved your outlook and you made some excellent points but, unfortunately, some folks will HAVE to work into their retirement. Everyone’s situation is different. I shared your post with a few friends too – hope you don’t mind. Hopefully, planning will ease their way into it too!

    Thanks to everyone for sharing!! Hopefully it will help those behind us to better consider their futures!

    by Flatearth6 — August 30, 2019

  27. Vic, loved your comments and almost completely agree. Your thoughts about work may be a bit overboard, but make the point. Sure, everyone is different, but literally EVERYONE should consider what you said.

    by RichPB — August 30, 2019

  28. Wow Kate! Thanks for a positive feedback. Our generation was lucky to have seen our parents and grandparents work ethic and learn a little from them. Along with their work ethic they also respected everyone who’s job brought them in contact with them no matter what that job was. These days it’s sad to see people treating those who work in retail or other service type jobs being looked down upon and even mad fun of by customers of their employer and it’s sad when someone of any age who needs a job would rather have no job than take one they deem below them.

    by jean — August 30, 2019

  29. I think the bottom line is we need to at least plan and know what our budget it is, but we do need to be flexible for sure. Those who have older children that have set backs and come to you for help, and then there are elderly parents who come into the picture so you may have to budget both your money and your time.

    by Drew — August 31, 2019

  30. After 3 years of selling, building, and moving……we finally feel mostly settled. We are in our early 60’s. I don’t think we could have accomplished all we did if we would have waited. Our brains and backs would probably not have been up to all the tasks. Even though we hired movers, you still have to do a lot of things yourself. Sooner the better!

    by Caps — August 31, 2019

  31. My husband says he feels that we’re nearing the end if we get rid of our current 3600 sf house. This is the first of the two homes we own. The other is 1500 sf on a lake used for just part of the summer. I also have a storage locker 10×10 filled with things that I brought here when I moved from California ten years ago. I feel overwhelmed. We’re going to rent a Trilogy for four months this winter to get out of the Maine winter. Any ideas? We are 72and 71.

    by Carolyn — September 1, 2019

  32. I’m doing a lot of catch-up reading (and thinking). Thanks to all for the ‘mental buffet’ of becvarious experiences and philosophies.
    Like a few of those that posted already, I’m a widower and raised to my pre-teens to adulthood. I’m in the southern PA area that’s losing it’s semi-rural qualities.
    I enjoy the change of seasons (with a limit on snowfall), am looking for somewhere to become part of a community, become more active and more involved. Like Kate, Sandy and others have pointed out plans changed and am becoming determined to move onward and upward!
    I’m open to suggestions, obviously from reading everyone’s experiences and suggestion, but would like to find an area where the seasons do change, and meet some fun people. The thoughts of the ‘feast and famine’ population swings isn’t something that I’d like to be in.
    So if you know some places and thoughts, please post! I’ll be reading and thanks in advance.

    by Mark — September 1, 2019

  33. To Mark.
    I too am from the north (NY); I have lived in NC for 12 yrs now and retiring in 5 yrs from now. I have set my sights on Tennessee to retire to with only 7 inches of annual snowfall (less or slightly more depending on where you go) which will suffice without getting myself snowbound. Lol.

    by Roger — September 2, 2019

  34. In Tennessee, one possible retirement community to consider is Tellico Village on Tellico Lake near Crossville. That area is somewhat cooler in the summer than much of Tennessee. It has four seasons and minimal snowfall, usually between 7 and 14 inches per winter.

    by Clyde — September 2, 2019

  35. Roger and Clyde (and all),

    Thanks for the information on Tennessee. I’ll definitely research that. Does anyone know how the taxes are there? Anyone has experience living there (good and bad, or what to be aware of)?

    Thank you all again.

    by Mark — September 3, 2019

  36. Mark, I have waxed on about TN before and had to say it just did not agree with us! The heat & humidity were killing us! There is no income tax but sales tax is high, groceries are high, auto insurance is high – you will pay it one way or another. We spent 10-1/2 yrs there for work and went back to New England as fast as we could – for better medical, better quality of food, better weather (we love the snow now we don’t HAVE to be out of the house at dawn! ), there are more things that we like to do and a WAY better quality of life. There are people in TN who love it – we just didn’t feel that way. Good luck!!

    Check out City-Data online ( ) There are forums there once you narrow down your choices and you can get more specific information.

    by Flatearth6 — September 3, 2019

  37. Vic Larson,
    I loved everything you wrote about retirement. You are definitely keeping retirement REAL. At the moment, I am in the deer frozen in headlights stage of planning for retirement and mostly driving my husband crazy with my wild ideas about retirement. I have made zero progress with retirement despite visiting and researching for 3 years. I am FROZEN in fear of making a wrong move after 27 years in Connecticut.

    by Jasmine — September 4, 2019

  38. I would add to your list:
    Not considering that retirement, like the rest of life, is rarely a monolithic experience.

    Early retirement is the most active and therefore the most expensive, assuming no medical disasters..
    Mid retirement is less so on both counts, and may include some physical issues.
    Late retirement often includes disabilities and difficulties, be they mental, physical or emotional (loneliness, for example).

    DH and I are deliberately choosing to continue living quite near our children. Although we are in a healthy stage now, our health will not last forever. Obviously.

    To move away when our kids need/want us to be a presence in their children’s lives and might ask for an occasional babysitting hand or help with projects at their homes, then move back when we reach infirmity and need assistance of our own? Talk about dirty pool! Strong multi-generational relationships are built on give and take, paying it forward, or however one wants to phrase it.

    I believe we have found the sweet spot – vacation often and maintain a home base near our kids. We participate often and lovingly in our children’s and grands’ lives, while also having the freedom to go, do and see what we want.

    by JCarol — September 5, 2019

  39. As our financial advisor says, there are three stages of retirement:
    The Go Go Years
    Go Slow
    No Go

    by PattiR — September 6, 2019

  40. ONE MORE THING TO ADD – I am putting this here because, if I was still planning my retirement, I wouldn’t look at the Medicare notes until I had to and this could be important!

    So, several years ago a friend counseled that, IF we were planning to move for retirement, we should do it sooner, rather than later for one important reason: To get established with Doctors and medical care BEFORE going on Medicare. We just came from an information appointment with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The Rep told us that if we do not already have a Dr. there are currently NONE in our area, taking new Medicare patients. He has clients waiting for MONTHS to get in somewhere.

    We took that advice to heart and moved here 1-1/2 yrs ago. Our Drs. will keep us as we go on Medicare in Oct. and March, respectively so we’re good!

    by Flatearth6 — September 10, 2019

  41. Flatearth6–

    This is a good point that I have brought up now and then. I can tell you that here in Washington, DC most of the desirable, skilled doctors will not participate with Medicare. They make enough money without Medicare patients and they have closed their panels to new Medicare patients or opted totally out of the system. Some will not continue with patients once they become eligible for Medicare benefits which I think is terrible since even those very doctors will need care in their older years and will also carry Medicare. When I was a surgery nurse, I saw this trend and it was disturbing that the very people who need the best doctors may not have access to them. We are close enough to Maryland and Northern Virginia where the same problem exists. Johns- Hopkins and their affiliates do take all types of insurance but their prices are much higher.

    I just spent part of today locating a good doctor for an 89 year old lady in my building. She dislikes her doctor who treats her indifferently and makes her feel like she is a problem patient because she is elderly. This patient was a top representative for the CIA with security clearances and in her professional life travelled the world for her work. Be sure to check out the doctors that do accept Medicare and make sure they are compassionate and skilled.

    by Jennifer — September 11, 2019

  42. We have moved Ella’s comment from a different Blog to this one that has discussed retiring in Tennessee:
    Regarding FlatEarth6’s comments on Tennesse, i live in NE Tennessee and have never heard of paying to use the local library in my town or any town near by. So, i want to make it clear that this isn’t necessarily the norm in Tennessee. As for our Senior Center, it is now thriving once again. I’m looking forward to visiting there for a craft fair this Saturday. I’m from NYS, and love having a slightly milder, slightly shorter winter. Just wanted to submit another view point.

    by ella

    by Jane at Topretirements — October 21, 2021

  43. Ella it’s good to hear from you and to hear positive comments about TN after all the very negative commentary. I lived several years in remote SW VA just over the TN border. Almost all shopping, facilities, doctors, etc. were in nearby TN. My sister lived in Knoxville and in all our visits and travels to TN since I have no memory of the kinds of issues brought up. Things may have changed, but it’s good to hear thoughts of someone I “know” through TR.

    by RichPB — October 22, 2021

  44. The discussion about when to take SS benefits makes me nuts – my feeling is take those benefits when you need them, but also while you can still enjoy them. The experts rant and rave about waiting until you can max out your monthly benefit – but I have yet to see a guarantee from God that we are going to live into our 70’s, 80’s – or beyond. I have lost four first cousins before they could collect little or anything from Social Security. As some of the contributors here have sadly discussed losing spouses shortly after retirement – we are given no guarantees. Take your SS benefits when you feel it best fits your circumstances. We contribute to SS throughout our careers – no need to to see those funds revert to the U.S. Treasury …

    by MikeI — April 20, 2022

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