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Old 01-26-2015, 11:37 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,868 posts, read 14,364,134 times
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I was never scared, but my DH had everything so planned out that I had a lot of confidence in our future. If you are doing this by yourself, then I understand you would be scared. What I have told myself whenever I faced a milestone is this, "If other people can have baby/buy a house/get a job/retire, then I can too.

The fact that you are planning and thinking ahead is a good sign. Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:42 PM
Location: Las Vegas
13,889 posts, read 25,319,935 times
Reputation: 26382
Retirement is the most freedom we ever get to see so it's exciting to think about getting up every morning and doing what YOU want to do. No more skipping breakfast to get to work on time. I think we all spend some time thinking about what life will be like and how we will choose to use the time. Time is a huge luxury! What a reward for time served!

Whenever there is a reward there is also a risk. Will we be bored? Will we feel useless? Like a non-person? Are we opening up the door to old age and endless medical problems? Do we have enough money? Too many questions and you don't know the answers yet. Yup, it's that same old fear of the unknown.
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:55 AM
6,353 posts, read 5,157,447 times
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If you're not at least a little scared of a new routine (or lack of one), no paycheck, and perhaps a change of location, you don't understand the situation.

This article, which I wrote (MOD: please don't delete the link, it's my own work and is scholarly, noncommercial research), may help with "no paycheck." http://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/faj.v71.n1.2
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:07 AM
Location: Tennessee
34,682 posts, read 33,686,426 times
Reputation: 51877
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
The past few years, as I've been researching to where I want to relocate when I retire, getting my affairs in order, and so on. My emotions have been pretty even keel. Not too excited about 'this' and not too discouraged about 'that'. Just going through the options and weighing the pros and cons of everything. Even came up with a timeline which currently is pretty close to three years away from right now.

But, based on some extra deep digging at work, I gained a much better understanding about what type, and how much, my medical retirement benefit will be once I retire. More than I thought! That, along with a couple other things, have caused me to change my window for retirement to be from a year and a half away to two years away at most.

That's coming soon! I feel half-way comfortable financially, so that's not a real concern. Those things always have a way of working themselves out, at least in my life. But realizing that having a date somewhat close, I started getting a bit scared. I really have nothing to be worried about. I enjoy adventure and am looking forward to a new life in a new environment.

Is being a little scared just before retirement somewhat "normal"? Anybody else go through these emotions?
Moving took my mind off of retiring. I had 6 weeks after I retired to prepare for a major move and all of the things I wanted to do and had to do when I got there. I even registered for classes while I was still working (before I arrived) so I could hit the ground running. I'm thinking if you have concrete plans for what you'll be doing after you retire and not just think about retirement as a cessation of work, you won't be scared, you'll be excited.
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:14 AM
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,778 posts, read 7,701,741 times
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I could understand the OP's feelings, if they liked their job, and that they had nothing to look forward to in retirement. I wasn't exactly looking forward to retirement with a great deal of optimism, until I figured out what I was going to do. Now I can't wait till the last day.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:46 AM
4,574 posts, read 7,057,201 times
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LOL...SoCal is where I live now!
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:20 AM
40 posts, read 42,669 times
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OP: Great thread starter!

While there are endless amounts of literature on preparing for and managing retirement financially, there is surprisingly little on emotional management.

I'm "in the process of" retiring -- I will be retiring soon and am on leave of absence right now -- so I can only speak to a few aspects of the transition.

First, I identify very strongly with the Can't-Waiters -- I feel your pain just reading your posts. For the waiting period I found a few things to help keep my sanity:

* Starting at least six months in advance, I started bringing home personal items, just a few at a time in my bag. That way, I could bring stuff I wanted to keep home and put it away without having a post-retirement cleanup to do. In addition, I absolutely wanted to avoid having to box stuff -- it feels too much like getting fired.

* I started a countdown at around 100 days and, at first, only counted work days.

* I created various lists: things I hate about my job, things I like about my job, and others.

* I kept other kinds of logs -- things that were happening at work, my moods, my experiences, and things not work related. It helped because I could see progression.

* Anything I knew I was doing for the last time, I quietly celebrated and got rid of things, papers, files that I would never need again.

* I started secretly leaving things in the break room and supply room for others to help themselves to. It was fun, and no one knew who was leaving stuff.

* The closer I got, the more my mood improved. I didn't mind the small talk as much or having folks "waste my time."

Saddest moment: turning in my office key and ID. My ID was associated with my identify, my professional life. I insisted on keeping my name on my office door (a simple plastic sheet, but now displayed proudly on my wall at home).

Most freeing moment: when I finally removed the flash drive from my keychain that I have carried since flash drives first came out. It contains hundreds of files that I created for work.

A celebratory moment: coming home from signing my paperwork in Human Resources -- I took off the ugly "work sweater" that I was wearing and put it down as bedding for my dogs.

-- -- --

Now, in the first days of not working (even though I'm not officially retired yet), here are some thoughts and actions I took:

* I listed the things I was happy about and felt free from and then compared it to the lists I had created while working.

* I listed things I would miss. Sadly, there are very few, and they mostly consist of access to equipment, software, and good computers.

* I continue to log my activities and feelings and to create lists -- I find it helpful and I hope to use it to help others.

For those of us working class who work for others, we know that for years and years, values and goals have been set by the company, the management, the boss. Now, for the first time in my life, I am the management. I set my own goals, manage my own time, and create my own schedule -- or none at all.

While I was never a workaholic, I do have a hang-up about making the most of every day and not wasting any time. If the weather is fantastic, as today is, I can start my day with a long walk and get lost in my thoughts while serenaded by the Carolina Wrens. I don't wear a watch -- I let the sun give me a sense of time.

Has anyone else here made lists of things you *don't* miss about work or things you love about not working? It would be interesting to hear others' ideas.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:09 AM
10,322 posts, read 9,376,947 times
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The only thing that scared me was not retiring.

I was walking on Cloud 9 getting ready to cut the cord. . . best time of my life is being retired.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:15 AM
2,429 posts, read 3,223,226 times
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I'm 54, and obsessing about retirement which won't be until at least age 62. I just don't WANT to work anymore.

I not scared at all about finances or emotionally......FINANCIALLY: I AM more serious about saving, getting out of debt -- and PLANNING for retirement.
I'm on a retirement forum, after all -- with minimum 8 years to go. I'm reading up on SS strategies, SS and taxes, etc. But I also know that in 8-10 years ANYTHING could happen, ANY tax or SS laws or rules could change...So I'm just in general education mode and working my plan.

I've noticed that I'm DEFINITELY not in possession ACCUMULATION mode anymore and don't spend as willy-nilly as I did -- even into my 40s. I'm already thinking of how I'd downsize. As they say: If I knew then what I know now.....

EMOTIONALLY: I can't WAIT to retire. I've got plenty of things to do other than work for a living. No trepidation al all.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:31 PM
40 posts, read 42,669 times
Reputation: 83
To rdflk:

That's a painful place to be.

Is your reason for waiting financial? If so, you might want to read other posts here of people who found ways to make it work so they could retire earlier.

While I was working, changes helped me distracted, even negative changes (which were considerably more common toward the end).

In addition, I would pick things to anticipate: it could be the Winter Olympics, an election, a solar or lunar eclipse, a local festival, a holiday, or a fun activity planned. I would point my focus to the event and then to a new one.

While you must work, it's probably best to focus on the positive and make the most of every opportunity or positive moment.


Regarding the OP's mention of fears associated with retirement, common ones that come to *my* mind are the various losses that might include the loss of some of these:
* identity
* title
* sense of usefulness
* sense of worthiness
* sense of calendar
* sense of productivity
* sense of progression
* sense of adventure/excitement
* sense of work family
* attractiveness/interestingness to others
* work ethic
* respect
* power
* status
and much more.

I think anyone who retires, even the Can'tWaiters like me, should plan to mourn the losses.

However, I absolutely think that there are solutions to all of these losses and that retirement can be the most productive and fulfilling time of one's life.
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