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How I Make The Most Of Everyday In Retirement 

By: Travel Awaits

The gift of retirement came on Joe’s 65th birthday, followed by knee replacement surgery the next morning. While that might not seem like the best retirement gift, he delayed it as long as possible and then COVID exposure made it the right timing. Retirement has allowed him more time to travel with his wife. They’ve been to Europe and South America for business, but his favorite trip was to Ireland with his wife and in-laws. We talked with Joe about his retirement.

Retirement Reality

Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?

Joe: We are blessed to spend time between Florida and Missouri. My wife is more the social director than I. If she hasn’t scheduled an event with friends such as dinner, movie, trip to winery, boating, I usually have an ongoing project such as painting the basement or moving bushes. I may even wash and wax the car. I do not do well just sitting. I believe, “God has given me each day to do as I choose. I can use it for good or waste it.”

Your Retirement Plan

Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?

Joe: Financially, we had achieved our objectives, meaning we determined our monthly expenses and, with the help of a financial professional, established our month-to-month budget. The stock market has impacted our portfolio more than we would have liked, but we are very optimistic about the turnaround.

Socially, we intended to travel, perhaps even stay in destinations for a significant period of time. That plan was modified when we stumbled across a canal-front villa on the Florida Gulf. Perhaps risky, we approached this second house as an investment that has far exceeded expectations.

Best Part About Retirement

Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?

Joe: Less stress. I/we do what we want, when we want.

Challenges In Retirement

Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?

Joe: Probably sticking to our budget is the biggest challenge. We recognize our blessings; our health and that of our loved ones are always in our prayers.

Travel In Retirement

Retirement Awaits: What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Joe: Growing up a short distance to the Lake of the Ozarks, a 100 mile treasure for all water sports/activities, I was spoiled. Now, our Florida home is in a 55-plus community, Mt. Vernon Community in Bradenton, Florida. I had reservations but instead, everyone is from somewhere else. It seems that so many are seeking to expand their circle of friends. Specifically, a day may start with an ongoing project, followed by a trip to the workout room or pickleball, boating in the afternoon with friends, maybe a trip to the pool, ending with sunset at the beach. Now that is a great day!

Cost Of Retirement

Retirement Awaits: We want people to understand how much retirement really costs. How do you manage your money now? Do you have a budget, meet with your advisor on a regular basis, etc?

Joe: We know our fixed costs. Our variable costs must stay in check and/or, if we exceed variable costs this month, next month we should make it up. Arguably, dinners out are the biggest budget killers.

Retirement Advice

Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?

Joe: Delay knee surgery as long as possible! The recovery time is not swift. But seriously, budget is so important; it influences decisions about your quality of life. Also, you will always be parents, only so happy as the unhappiest son or daughter.

I’m sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch, but we took out a Southwest/Chase credit card that we always pay off in full. Putting as many fixed charges (utilities, insurance, taxes, etc) on the card as possible. This has allowed one of us (once 125,000 points are accumulated) to fly as a free companion. Using those accumulated points, plus the free companion, we travel for next to nothing.

Things I Wish I Would Have Known

Retirement Awaits: What are a few things you wish someone would have told you about retirement/this season of life/transition?

Joe: Communicate with your spouse. You will spend more time together than ever before. Your expectations may not be the same. My wife could not be more content than reading a book. I am most content when I’m digging a hole. Ya gotta compromise!

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