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Retirement Building Tip #2: Retirement May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Which actually isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Retirement is like porno. It isn’t for everyone.   It comes prepackaged with something that many, many, many people are completely unprepared for.  Tons and tons of free time.

That can be more daunting than it sounds.   Both of my parents tried to retire early because they weren’t satisfied with their jobs. So they stopped. And had nothing to do. They live in a very small village  without any real activities.  They had no hobbies, because they spent their working lives, well, working.  There’s a few causes and volunteering to be done, but nothing even close to being able to fill a 40 hour a week hole.

So what filled up that gap?  A big part of it went to TV.  They hated that, too.  Additionally, they realized (entirely too late) that due to the “financial planning pitfalls”, their retirement savings weren’t nearly at the level they needed to keep them going for another 10-30 years, (unless they wanted to try living on social security alone… ug) which created a lot of stress.

My dad went back to his old job and still doesn’t like it, but at least he’s not hating his situation AND losing sleep every night for fear of not having enough money to see him through the years where he can’t work. One problem is better than two.

But now my mom is happier working in a (different) job than when she was doing nothing. And all she’s doing is cooking in a slow, small town restaurant. Nothing complicated, nothing intense. When it’s not the lunch rush, it’s just people coming in for coffee. So she gets to sit down, relax, and chat with the customers, which she loves to do, she’s a social person. And she gets paid to do it. Beats sitting at home lonely for free.

Maybe you want to leave your current job, and that’s cool. The thought of doing anything for 40 years straight gives me the heebie-jeebies. But there are tons of other jobs out there that might fill a gap in all that free time, which can honestly be a little daunting for most people.   Even in this day and age in America, there’s still plenty of “Help Wanted” signs, it’s just that a lot of folks find it beneath them.

One of my favorite stories is a very simple one of a man back home.  Spent 35 years in construction, until he had to quit because his body couldn’t take the workload.  He had substantial savings, but not nearly enough to never need income again.   Now?  He cuts grass in the summer, snowblows in the winter.  Lucrative?  Nope.  Prestigious?  Nope.  But according to him, it’s the happiest he’s ever been.  He’s barely touching his principal, he’s got no real worries, and he gets to smoke weed and daydream all day, and get paid for the priveledge.

He just cuts grass for a living, but he’s one of my heroes.

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