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Old 03-27-2016, 11:54 AM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,811,520 times
Reputation: 32309


An interesting and thoughtful post in another thread prompted me to start a separate thread on the topic of what "really matters" to people in retirment. The poster was talking about retiring as soon as Social Security was available and just adapting himself or herself to whatever lifestyle was necessary in the financial sense. He or she stated, "....the trick is to hold on to what really matters" (but without saying what really matters to him or her).

First, I am not talking about the basic comfort level of having our needs met. I think it "really matters" to all of us if we have to eat cat food or we're not sure how we are going to continue to pay the rent or we have to keep the thermostat at 55 degrees during the winter because we can't afford any more heating than that. So having a certain minimum of financial security is assumed to "really matter" that that is NOT what I am asking for opinions about.

Now for some people finances beyond basic security "really matter" so that would be a legitimate answer. Maybe having desinger clothes and a high-end car such as a BMW or a Mercedes really matters to you in retirement, so that could be your answer, or part of your answer.

Certainly a common answer might be international travel - seeing the world. Rather to my own surprise, I found after I retired that international travel was not a high priority for me, perhaps because I had done a lot of it when younger, having lived for an entire year in Europe and having worked two different summers in France. My own retirement traveling has been in the United States and Canada.

Well I suppose being the OP means I should go first. The following items really matter to me:

1. Meaningful activities involving contact with other people and making a contribution which is appreciated by them. I meet this need through volunteer work in the public schools with fifth graders and with middle school students. This is the most important item to me and it has almost nothing to do with money.

2. The ability to do some travel. I have cousins spread out over the United States, and I value seeing them face to face. It doesn't have to be every year, but it's meaningful to me. Also there is a lot I did not see before I retired. I especially enjoyed visiting the Eisenhower presidential mueum, library, and birthplace in Abliene, Kansas and the Truman presidential museum and library in Independence, Missouri, for example.

3. Enough money to go somewhat beyond the basics of food, shelter and clothing. A beer with lunch when eating out (not required every time!), and a $179 seat at the Los Angeles Opera production of "Madame Butterfly" last night would be two examples.

4. The physical health and the mental acuity required to engage in activities 1 and 2 above are tremendously important to me. Part of my volunteer work - teaching chess - may possibly help me retain some of my marbles.

5. The continued ability to drive safely and without anxiety is a sine qua non of my current enjoyment of life. I'm not saying if I could no longer drive my life would be entirely devoid of pleasure and interest, but it would be a huge hit, a really major change for the worse.

So, those are the things which really matter to me; some of them involve money and some do not, but none of them require lots of money.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:06 PM
Location: Northern Wisconsin
8,923 posts, read 7,781,438 times
Reputation: 15421
I want to move someplace warm that has things to do, that is close to a good conservative Lutheran Church. Low taxes and low cost of living would be nice, and generally conservative people, and low crime. Other than that, that's about all I care about.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:11 PM
833 posts, read 571,681 times
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1. Plenty of theaters, museums, concerts, and galleries nearby to enjoy.

2. A large, vibrant university nearby, so I can attend lectures, exhibitions, classes, and so on.

3. A good library system.

4. Good public transit so I need never drive.

5. Good physical health, the sine qua non of enjoying all the above.

Luckily I enjoy all of these now, to the extent that I can before I'm retired. Most of these things, with the exception of theater, are free or low cost. Summertime here is a joy because it features two separate companies performing Shakespeare plays in numerous parks for free.

What I lack is time to make the most of all these opportunities because I must work. My profession is demanding and it tires me out, so it uses up a lot of my energy as well as time. Free time in retirement will be the greatest luxury of all.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:46 PM
14,303 posts, read 24,091,411 times
Reputation: 20168
A local with a sense of community. No, I am not talking about a place with a lot of government services. Rather, I am looking for a place where people interact with each other and neighbors actually spend time together.
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:01 PM
Location: Pennsylvania
16,435 posts, read 10,413,185 times
Reputation: 28786
good thought provoking question, ER.

For me, being around creativity. My own, tho' somewhat limited, and others. I started working at a local (local by ummm well, local standards) gallery/museum. It's only 2 or 3 days/month but I am surprised and impressed by the artisans of this area.

and being able to have places to walk among the trees. I gave up having my own land (mixed feelings on that) and now only have 3/4 acre but I'm within a 10 mile drive to 3 different public hiking trails and within 20 miles of a few more. also a lot of state forests and state game lands (I wear orange) and a couple of state parks within driving distance.

I agree about the ability to drive. I will miss it if/when I become unable. So far, so good.

Other than that, my own little serene cocoon that I call home.
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:11 PM
Location: U.S. Pacific Northwest
251 posts, read 143,754 times
Reputation: 591
I liked josie's list, upthread. Time with my husband, and hopefully with my adult child as well; trips to other places together; and I've noticed that I enjoy short jaunts more, so travel, to my surprise, starts to look like day trips and long weekends to places where we can be tourists or do creative workshops together; we both enjoy printing. College-level classes for mixed ages, the ability to mix with people who read, think, do art, and like to do those things together.

And, finally, start shedding stuff, which will be hard as both of us like to see and touch our history: but there's too much of it. So the question becomes: what part of my stuff actually matters? What would I really miss, and what can I let go? And what would I like to leave to the future: if I am fortunate enough to be able to benefit something else after I go, what could I give?
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:44 PM
Location: In the realm of possiblities
2,713 posts, read 2,292,812 times
Reputation: 3239
The curious thing about what we find important in planning for our retirement years can change sometimes because of things happening, forcing plans to be revised. Mine have been revised many times through the years both before and after I retired. Sometimes the key to making it all work is to be able to adapt to the circumstance, and concentrate on "what really matters."

As far as what I deem necessary for me, or what really matters for me in retirement, I can say in all honesty I am a simple man, and if my bills are paid with a surplus of enough money to cover incidentals ( breakdowns for vehicles, home repair, etc.), and maybe an occasional trip, I am content. I help the neighbors if they have difficulty with a project, and I feel grateful I can help them. I have a wife that loves me as much as I love her, and to me, that is worth all the money in the bank. We have a few relatives, but aren't that close to any, so the need to associate with them face to face is negligible. We have a few friends in the neighborhood, and that suffices. Neither my wife nor I are outgoing, preferring quiet gatherings over big events, so this lifestyle fits our needs.

To some, this might seem a bit "eccentric", but retirement is individual to each of us, and the lifestyle we have culminated over time suits us.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:02 PM
536 posts, read 635,716 times
Reputation: 1473
The priorities right now: financial independence, living somewhere within my means. A healthy environment, a beautiful place with a sense of community but not of strangulating community, people in everyone else's business.

Family close by.

And not in Florida, I have had enough and when I leave my job I will gladly leave the state. Love my job. Florida is a mess.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:06 PM
Location: Haiku
4,334 posts, read 2,640,162 times
Reputation: 6402
What matters to us:

- No snow and ice. In fact just the opposite - sunshine year around.
- Two cars. My wife won't share one with me. She is too busy.
- Nice kitchen. We spend a lot of time together cooking. We really enjoy new stuff, international cuisine.
- Wood shop for me, art studio for my wife.
- Live near the ocean.
- Live in a house, with land. Small house is fine. Neither of us can stand condos. We need land to garden.
- Traveling.
- Surfing.
- Gardening.

This is pretty much what we have and do now.
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Old 03-27-2016, 02:10 PM
Location: Nebraska
1,888 posts, read 2,313,937 times
Reputation: 5333
Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.

Freedom to do what I want.
Freedom to say what I want.
Freedom to live how I want.

When I was a kid I was taught to be the person that my mother and my teachers told me to be. When I was an adult, I had to act a certain way and say things in a certain way to be acceptable to my bosses, friends, and business partners.

For the first time in my life I have earned the right to be my own person.
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