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Old 03-23-2007, 12:22 PM
192 posts, read 843,176 times
Reputation: 233


This question is for anyone else who retired before age 60.

I retired five years ago at age 53, after working fulltime ever since age 18. My father died unexpectedly in 2001 and I inherited his house, life insurance and retirement policies, et cetera. I decided to sell his house plus my own, because I'd fallen in love with an "older house with great character" (this is a euphemism for "Money Pit", by the way; I see elsewhere on the forum there's a young man who believes he can purchase an older home for $50,000 and spend no more than $2000 on repairs and improvements – he certainly is in for a rude awakening!) which I subsequently bought and spent almost three years restoring and repairing.

All of my friends, family and acquaintances are, however, still working full-time. I am the only one who has retired and at every social gathering someone ALWAYS asks the dreaded question: "So, what are you DOING with yourself nowadays? Are you WORKING?" in the tone of voice that implies rather "Are you still being a layabout, or have you decided to return to doing something productive?" During the years I was restoring the house, I at least had that "excuse", but it is now finished. I get the unmistakable sense that people feel there is no earthly reason why a healthy single childless 58-year-old woman of education and reasonable intelligence should not be still in the workforce… other than sheer laziness or irresponsibility, that is, neither of which has ever been the case. I have sometimes felt guilty enough to actually lie and say that I am doing temporary-employment work! That always results in a response of "Oh really? That's very nice" and the conversation turns elsewhere; but if I instead evade the question by answering "Oh, this and that", it continues on into more of a third-degree investigation: "But what exactly do you DO with all that free time?" There are times when I am tempted to reply "None of your bloody business" but of course I never do…

So I am wondering if others who chose early retirement feel, or are made to feel, uncomfortable or somehow 'guilty' about it at times?
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:37 PM
Location: The Big D
14,862 posts, read 40,975,295 times
Reputation: 5787
We are planning on being retired no later than the age of 50 w/ 45 being optimum (just a few years away, YIIPIIE). What will we do? Well, we have friends that are already young retires and they have felt some of the frustrations you have but found things to keep them busy. We also have many friends that are self-employed that have the hours to play golf of which right now my husband does not and he sooooo is jealous. So he will probably play golf more. Then our children will still be in school so that will afford us much more time to spend w/ them and be involved more in their schools be it volunteering or whatever. We also have developed hobbies over the years that our income has afforded us to enjoy and when we have more time we plan on expanding in those areas. Much how you enjoyed restoring the lovely older home my husband plans on doing the same to his babies - cars. As the kids get on into college we will then have more free time to spend away on VERY long vacations - no more sports games, practices, dance recitals, etc to occupy our time. This is why we are glad we have also taken the time to find hobbies that WE enjoy that may not involve our children. We can take a month or two and spend it sitting in a tropical location playing golf, boating, fishing, etc and have a "second honeymoon" of sorts. If our favorite home team sports team of which we currently have season tickets to has a big out of town game we are free to go and make a small trip out of it. As for what other people think, I DON"T CARE!!! They are only jealous when you get right down to it. You have the time and means to afford things that they do not. You really do not owe them any answers and if I did answer them I'd probably respond w/ more along the lines of, "having the time of my life enjoying every single day. Oh, I go to the local school once or twice a week and read to a group of kids and they are just so great to be around, keeps me young. There is a group that goes and volunteers at a childrens hospital to sit and rock the babies that I've joined. The church has a big mission trip coming up to (fill in the blank w/ a country) that I'm going on. Some old school/work friends and I have booked a vacation/cruise/NYC trip/whatever later on." Instead of letting them make you feel guilty turn the table around. Show them that being retired does not mean that one has to take up sitting in a rocker and doing nothing but knitting. Take up a sport, maybe swimming, golf or tennis. Maybe you have always wanted to act, find a local theater and get involved. There is so much out there that there is no way anyone can say that being retired is boring and unproductive. Anyway, CONGRATS on the early retirement and on your house restoration.
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Old 03-23-2007, 01:14 PM
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,360 posts, read 11,875,098 times
Reputation: 3899
No! - Tell them you're doing consulting work that covers an impressive wide variety of sins. If they ask more, state a fee structure.
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Old 03-23-2007, 02:16 PM
Location: Central Florida
1,408 posts, read 4,961,387 times
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I absolutely do not feel guilty for retiring early (at 53). And I've really enjoyed the past 6 years. We've traveled around the US a lot and I've seen so many things I never thought I'd see. Sometimes I think about going back to work, maybe part time....of course I'm still thinking about it! My husband's brother is the only one who's ever said anything about it....like, "it must be nice." I just laugh and say, yep, it sure is!
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Old 03-23-2007, 04:11 PM
Location: NOVA - retiring to OKlahoma
569 posts, read 1,195,495 times
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Not retired yet, but I will be, at 47 yrs old, in 38 months and 8 days. And unlike most of my co-workers that retire, I WILL NOT get another job. I plan on moving back to Oklahoma where I would be able to live very comfortably and not have to worry about money.

As far as plans for retirement, I already have a cross country motorcycle trip planned that will probably take 2 months to complete. I also have friends all across this great nation, so If I wake up in the morning and decide I want to go visit so and so, I'll pack up my bike and hit the road. I also plan on playing golf everyday! If I ever decided to get a job, to kill a few hours a week, it would be at a golf course so I could get free green fees. Other than that, I plan on sitting on my fat ass and chillin'.
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Old 03-23-2007, 05:59 PM
4,610 posts, read 10,827,999 times
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I love being retired! My husband retired at 40 and I was 38 at the time. I did not work but my husband did. He loves not working and could not imagine going back. We don't even have an alarm clock in our bedroom anymore (we have a clock but with no alarm).
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:19 PM
192 posts, read 843,176 times
Reputation: 233
Thanks so much to all of you for the words of encouragement! Your retirement plans sound marvelous and your response suggestions as well. I confess I avoid talking to people about what I do with my time, because I'm now more well-off financially than my family and friends; thus, I fear that to talk about what I'm able to do, would be construed as 'rubbing it in' or bragging. There was some resentment and snippiness expressed by some family members when all this happened five years ago, and as a result I now avoid anything that could possibly be considered "showing off" – I won't even wear my good jewelry to one of those gatherings, because even that was rudely commented on at one point! ("Is that a new ring? Looks like it cost as much as what we had to pay last year for Kelly's braces. Must be nice...")

My former career was publishing and advertising which involved alot of travelling and enabled me to eventually visit every part of the world that was on my personal 'wish list'. I'm so happy that I was able to do it at that time, because it was much easier in so many ways… far less 'red tape' than now, for one thing. And less expensive. I was very lucky in that respect but to be honest I became extremely tired of the ratrace and pressures. By the time my father passed I had been yearning for a quiet life for several years and looking for an 'acceptable' (whatever that means!) reason to quit.

I do plan to eventually return to work someday but ONLY part-time and ONLY in a job situation that appeals to me: Something quiet and pressure-free, ideally connected with gardening or books (but not publishing ever again!). I want to be sure that I have as much time as I need for my main interests which are gardening, reading, nature study and genealogical research – all things that I never had time for during my career years. I feel as if I'm still "decompressing" from my work years, and the truth is that I'm simply not ready to return to a job of any kind yet. I know I will be, someday; it may be in two or five or seven years, but just .... not quite now. It will definitely be after I relocate. I'm currently in Massachusetts but have decided that the New England winters aren't nearly as pleasant as I remember them from childhood. I expect it will take quite a while to find my ideal and "final" house elsewhere (though I am actively looking) and when that happens I'm sure I will be busy renovating it and its garden for a few more years afterward!

Last edited by windflower; 03-23-2007 at 07:33 PM..
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Old 03-23-2007, 08:14 PM
Location: Prospect, KY
5,284 posts, read 19,492,876 times
Reputation: 6651
I am nearly 57 and have been "retired" for 7 years - my husband will retire next year. I absolutely feel no guilt about working outside the home. I take care of our home, a beautiful cottage garden, the finances, travel plans, entertaining, etc. I also have lots of fun with friends going out to lunch, shopping, doing community service. I work and I play and I'm good at both! I never feel guilty - I feel privileged.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:31 PM
Location: The Big D
14,862 posts, read 40,975,295 times
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Gardening, there you go. That is also one of my favorite things . I want to become a Texas Master Gardener. You have to sign up and take this 6 week course that is held once a year and then provide free discussions/talks to area groups to be certified. Then after you are certified you can be paid for such or volunteer your services to different organizations, homeowners associations, etc. I've gotten all of the information but sadly the time of the courses starts at a bad time for me w/ kids still in school . Check w/ a college/university in your state that has a well known agriculture dept and see what they have to offer. There may be such a program in other states that have "Master Gardeners". We have the Dallas Arboretum here and it is AWESOME!!! The gardens are to die for. Most of the people that work there giving tours are volunteers. I keep hoping to be there when they have a trailer of flowers for their gardens parked close by my car , shhh, hurry get'em in the car. They can get anything to grow and look great.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:48 PM
Location: Charlotte at last
128 posts, read 381,749 times
Reputation: 55
Default Tired of Corp. life

I am going to be 51 and my husband 57 and we are counting the days, hours, minutes for the next 18-24 months so we can retire. My stressful job requires international travel and while I do make a very good income - -I am sick of it. I cannot wait to:
[list][*]sleep late[*]do what ever the I want when I want[*]go to lunch and not with a colleague[*]hang out with my husband[*]enjoy myself

And those are only for starters!!!!! Enjoy yourself and count yourself in as one of the lucky ones!

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