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The Joys of Retirement

Updated on February 14, 2012

Retirement Living is a definite Positive Lifestyle

It has been almost 10 years since I retired back in 2002 and I have never regretted it.

Many people have concerns about when they should retire and if they will be able to maintain the same life-style when they do so. Of course, everyone's situation will be different but I will try to give you a general guide map based on my own personal experiences.

For me, retirement is the life-style I prefer. I absolutely love it because there is really nothing negative associated with it. Heck, I am probably even healthier because instead of being around dozens of people every day at work, I am only around a few each day. The less sick people around me, the healthier I stay ... go figure, eh ...

In 2002, I was

6 months shy of my 51st birthday. Why did I retire so soon?

I worked as a Customs Officer for the Government of Canada and I was part of one of their drug teams which searched 20 and 40 foot sea containers. What happened in September of 2011 with the four highjacked planes and the carnage that occurred because of it, gave me concerns for my safety on the job. The drugs that are hidden in sea containers could never be described as nickle and dime bags of dope.

I was involved with four major seizures - one was $35 Million in cocaine. When you have goods that have values that high which somebody has a vested interest in, it seemed to me that in order to discourage searches, somebody might actually booby trap a container. When somebody goes to open the door ... BOOM !!! This has actually happened with parcels that have gone through International Mail, but, no incidents with regard to sea containers. Still it did concern me and I wanted to get out while I still had all my parts.

When I retired ...

I had some concerns about whether or not I would have enough money but I figured if I came up a little short, I could always work part-time somewhere. Fortunately, I never had to go that route.

When I retired, I had a Government pension but it was reduced because I left early. The maximum pension was 70% of salary. I left with 55%. Also, I was given a severance package based on my years of service. So I had a bit of a nice nest egg as long as I was careful with it.

So, now I have started my retirement.

Early Discovery

It didn't take me long to realize the perks of being retired. No getting up at 6 A.M. to fight traffic to get to work. I no longer had to worry about getting to work in a snowstorm. Heck, let it snow - I`d watch if from my home and when I got bored with it, I`d go take a snooze. My time now belonged to me.

I didn`t have to worry anymore if a container blew up nor did I have to worry about my own stupidity of walking into a moving forklift.

I was no longer buying gas to travel to work nor was I spending a lot on coffee and lunches. Luckily for me, my clothing was supplied as we were all in uniform but that is another way I would have saved money had I been like most people who need to buy their own work clothes.

My spouse retired about 1 month after I did. We are the best of friends and though we are together 95% of the time, it is not a problem.

So, what did we do with all our time and the money we had?

The Spending Begins

It didn't take us long to start traveling. We started off on a few bus excursions. One of those was a 25 day trip right across Canada. Then came the cruise vacations. Twice we flew to Vancouver to take cruises to Alaska, many trips to the Caribbean and two cross-Atlantic trips. Those trips included stops in Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and a few others. Best city we ever visited - Amsterdam!

And we bought a brand new Honda Fit. Nothing was charged - everything was cash!" Ouch", you say and to some extent you are right. However, my wife was in a position to contribute 50% to all our expenses. This certainly was a big help. Ten years later, I have found that my capital resources have depleted by about 55% but I have no regrets.

The time to travel is when you have the money and the mobility to do so. What point is there being old and confined with a stash of cash in the bank?

Before we continue ...

What about you and retirement?

See results

Do I ever get bored?

Not really. Sure, there's the odd time but as my body slows down, my mind speeds up. There is so much I want to learn and the Internet is the place to do that. I spend probably 12 hours a day on my laptop. Why? Because that is what I like to do.

Other people who have retired do other things. The point is you do what you want when your time is all your own. Mostly every day, I take a snooze in the middle of the day simply because that's what I want to do and nobody tells me not to.

If the weather is bad - I stay home. If somethings gets my attention, and I stay up late at night pursuing it, I don't have to worry about crawling out of bed early because I have to go to work.

Now, that is Freedom!

Some Good Advice

Here is a check list which you should use to see if you are ready to retire.

  1. Plan your retirement early - no sense waiting until two weeks before you do. Save as much money as you are able.
  2. Does your employer have a Pension Plan? That will be a big help for you when you do retire. Also, will your employer give you a severance package for years of service? Does he have a health plan which will continue after you leave?
  3. Consider how much you spend that is work-related. Your traveling cost, coffee, lunches and clothing. Let's say it's 8% of your income. That means you can take an 8% drop in income if you retired.
  4. Once you retire, you no longer need to pay into unemployment insurance or pension plans. So remember that when you calculate the amount of money you will need.
  5. Determine what you will do when you retire. If you are going to sit at home and be bored you might as well keep working.
  6. Make sure you either have a new car or one that is in good repair. Same goes for house repairs. Stay on top of things so you don't get too many surprises.
  7. Stock up on things before you retire. I bought clothing, personal needs and even groceries (canned goods) way ahead of when I needed them. That way, I didn't need to put out the money when my income was reduced.
  8. Consider what new expenses you might incur after you retire. Many people will want to travel so this will become a new expense for you so don't forget to work it in your budget.
  9. Think about the unnecessary expenses you have that you can get rid of. If you dine out every week, why not go just twice a month when you retire? Besides, now you have the time to prepare great meals at home. You could also buy things in bulk because (usually) they are cheaper than in smaller units.
  10. In closing - if you follow the advice above and also have determined how long you expect to live - things should work out well for you. If you live beyond the years you expect, that's a BONUS and someway somehow, you will still be alright.

Guestbook Comments

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    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      I'm glad you are so happy!

    • priscillab profile image

      priscillab 5 years ago

      You have the right idea and it sounds like you had a good plan for retirement. Enjoy!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 6 years ago

      This is the dream and the promise. I hope everyone reading this has the economics and the health to have a lovely retirement.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      I hope I am able to retire someday. It won't be as soon as I had planned... economics have pushed it out a few years more.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      Interesting topic....and I love retirement!

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 6 years ago

      @sittonbull: Thank you for dropping in. Sorry I didn't have any beer in the fridge. Sounds like we are both reasonably happy and that is what it's all about. Take Care.

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 6 years ago

      Zut... Just want to stop by and say thanks for visiting and commenting on my two lenses a while back. Your retirement story is an interesting one and those concerns you stated are certainly justifiable. Think I may be 5 or 6 years older and have semi-retired from one business, but have two more showing too good a potential to leave just yet. Hope to get more writing in at some point in time, but am outside as much as possible while the body works good and between the that, the work, six young grandchildren and a 91 yr old mom not much time right now. All the Best.

    • Vipbooks LM profile image

      Vipbooks LM 6 years ago

      Thanks for featuring my Squidoo Lens "1001 Ways to Enjoy Your Retirement" on your Lens.

      Once I find time, I will have to place a link to your Lens from one of my high traffic webpages such as My Retirement Plan and Retirement Quotes and from one of my other Retirement Lenses such as Retirement Poems on Squidoo.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Great lens! My hubby retired in 1999 and I retired as a housewife (just kidding) retirement is the best thing that has happened to goes by so fast once you hit 60 and before you know it you're too old to do anything or the count down has come.

      just a note:

      You misspelled 'Reirement' in your first module subtitle. ;-)

    • JillY88 profile image

      JillY88 6 years ago

      I am a long way from retirement but when I get there I really want to have a good time. Enjoy life to the max and do exactly what you have done, travel. Great lens, loved reading your story.

    • wilfredpadilla profile image

      wilfredpadilla 6 years ago

      I wish I can have one...

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 6 years ago

      After being with a company for years, that then went belly-upmy retirement may be only a dream.

    • profile image

      athena2011 6 years ago

      Loved reading your lens about how much you are enjoying your retirement. This is what it's all supposed to be about. Squidliked.

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 6 years ago

      @RinchenChodron: Yes I am very lucky and am grateful for being so. Thank you for visiting my lens.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      You are sooo lucky to have retired early and able to travel and have a spouse. I am retired too, but not nearly in the financial situation you are in. But I do LOVE it!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      I quit work 4 years ago to stay home with my mom. My job as a caregiver is about to be over though and I'm not sure if I'll go back to work or not. I do know I'm going to Key West for 2 months though to recover from this "gig" when the time comes.

    • DonD LM profile image

      DonD LM 6 years ago

      This is the time where you take a rest from years of years working so better to spend time with your family, go to beautiful places.

    • savenlives profile image

      savenlives 6 years ago

      great lens! Good advice for those close to retirement. I'm glad you are enjoying your retirement years. When I retire, I want to travel more too :)

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Yes, retirement is the best. Good advice here for people still working. One must plan a retirement, otherwise there might be a lot of financial hardship.

    • profile image

      sherioz 6 years ago

      I thought I would work forever, but suddenly went into semi-retirement almost a year ago. I was always self-employed and so didn't have the advantage of employer retirement plans. I managed to save some and am still teaching. I love the freedom to decide what I do with my time. Everything you said here is important.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      Retired last June and have not regretted it one iota. I agree with everything you said. I receive 50% of my salary, and started receiving social security 4 months later at 63. Combined, it actually comes out to a little more than my takehome was, so I am doing well and don't have all the stress. Great article. Blessed!

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 6 years ago

      I like this... makes me want to retire...

    • profile image

      burntchestnut 6 years ago

      I haven't officially retired, but I was laid off from my job back in 2005 and haven't gone back to work in the corporate world. I sure don't have much money, but I am free.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm all for retiring early if possible. I'd rather live frugally on a bit less and have the precious time. If someone really loves his or her job, I can understand working late in life. For me, though, the things I love to do don't involve working for someone else. Anyway, you give some excellent advice here. Nicely done.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      So true!!! "Determine what you will do when you retire. If you are going to sit at home and be bored you might as well keep working."

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      Good advice here. You sound very happy too. Due to company cut back and a nice incentive package, I have been retired "early" for the last 9 months. (I worked there 34 years) My hubby is still working so I have not gotten to travel like you, but I am enjoying my stress free days.