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Taking the "IRE" Out of Retirement
I admit it. I am a boomer in retirement. After receiving an early cash offer from my employer of 25 years, I took the money and ran. Or, more accurately, walked to the bank, consulted my financial advisor and invested in stocks and bonds. I was still too young to get paid, so I considered my options. I wonder how many others are out there in my position? Hence this article.
Here I am in my late fifties and not reporting to a company after being an employee since I was thirteen. Even though I didn’t technically support myself until I was 22, it’s still a long career. The day after my retirement party, it took a while to sink in. I started that day with a surreal desire to check my email and voicemail, a more recent development in my workday routine. I wouldn’t miss the meetings, but I would miss my colleagues. I finally had a stress-free environment and would enjoy the time to write, paint, learn the guitar and travel without restrictions. My wife was still working as a teacher, so we had a lot of time together.
But what to do? How to spend the extra time without feeling guilty? And, above all, how to pass the next twenty or thirty years? My father died at 89, so I considered the possibility that I could live another three decades. I needed to create some additional income while waiting to reach 59 1/2 for my pension and then 62 1/2 for early social security. I could do some consulting because I did run my own advertising agency and had that expertise. I could paint murals and considered that too. I didn’t want to work too much, but realized that I didn’t want to be reduced to a lazy bum either. I had to balance work and play.
So it would be a difficult decision. I spent a few weeks actually looking at monster.com for hiring ideas. But I had a big problem. When I left the company, I was making over $50 an hour and most of the jobs were in the $10-$12 hour range. Oh! Well, an old client came to the rescue and offered a commission sales job that would allow me to work my own hours and make a few bucks over the next year. So we agreed and I did a little bit of selling every week. I decided to take advantage of my wife’s teaching schedule and planned several vacations together. With grown children out of the home, this worked perfectly.
It was the first time we could just enjoy the time as a couple without all the other work related things. In the past, I had to work on holidays around a year-round sales job. Now we had a lot more flexibility and it allowed us to take advantage of travel specials. Luckily I had some savings and money wasn’t a big problem. During that first year of the big “R” we conceived an idea for a home based e-commerce business and the following year my wife retired. Now we work together running the site and building a membership of people looking for health information and doctors and dentists referred and rated by nurses. It’s fun and helps the 50 communities we serve nationwide. We even offer donations to charity in exchange for patient referrals.
So, in short, how do you bring the “IRE” out of retirement? Using that acronym, you can start:
- (I) Invest in Yourself: Take a break from work and do things you’ve been putting off.
- (R) Rest, relax, regroup and reconsider your lifestyle and current situation.
- (E) Explore your options. There are many options to consider, depending on your needs.
As for me, I’m living through retirement, thank you very much. It was challenging and fun. Most of all, it allowed me time with my wife and a whole new career that could lead to exciting times. I look forward to the future and all that life has to offer us senior members of society. I will continue to write articles, paint, do the website marketing and finally learn to play that damn guitar that is propped up in the corner of the cave.
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