Retirement: Day 1.

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I’ve often wondered what “Day 1” of retirement feels like.

It’s a day we strive toward for years (decades, really).  Day 1.  What does it feel like when it actually arrives?  After years of planning, saving and dreaming about retirement, the day arrives.

It’s a big day.  A really big day.  A symbolic day.

day-1

Your Day Of Independence.

For those of us still working, it’s something we can only imagine.  We haven’t experienced it.  For those of you fortunate enough to have already retired, the day has come and gone.  I hope you took time to savor it.  I know I will.  I’m sure every retiree has had some interesting thoughts on that very first day that their alarm clock didn’t have to go off.  Everyone has a story of….

…Their Independence Day.

I had a tremendous opportunity last night to talk with some dear friends, The Groovy’s, on Day 1 of their retirement. Their Independence Day.  And I was there, on their “Day 1”, in a small, virtual sort of way.

The Groovy’s

Screenshot 2016-06-15 at 6.59.33 PM

I’ve known The Groovy’s for a while now.  They’ve got an awesome blog about Grooviness, called “Freedom Is Groovy”.  Last week, they left the workforce and achieved their goal of becoming “Groovy Freakin’ Freedomists”.

How Groovy is that?

I consider them friends, and appreciate the unexpected benefit of the “virtual network” that my blogging has led me in to.  It’s an interesting phenomenon that’s hard to explain, one you have to experience to really understand. We financial bloggers think alike, we’re a bit wierd (frugal, anyone?), and we share common interests (FIRE, or “Financial Independence, Retire Early”, is a common theme).  In short, we connect in various ways,  and the Groovy’s are part of my virtual family.

I love these guys, and am sincerely happy that they’re achieved FIRE!  (Congratulations!!).  It’s been a fun process to watch as they’ve “closed in” on their retirement date over the past 6 months.  Their journey culminated in a post Mr. Groovy had thought about for a long time – his EPIC RETIREMENT POST!  I was happy for them when it was recognized with “Rockstar” status,  a badge of honor in the blogging community!

groovy-epic

The Phone Call

The Groovy’s and I talk every few months, sharing ideas on blogging, helping each other prepare for podcast interviews, dreaming about creating a regional bloggers conference, and simply getting to know each other.  A few months ago, we agreed to have a call in mid-October.  I was pleased when I realized we would talk on “Day 1” of their retirement.

I opend the call with an elaborate and excited pitch on how I was going to write a post about their Day 1.

Then I realized they had hung up on me.

Really.  They never heard a word I said.

Technical difficulties.  It must have been because they murdered their phone.   With a sledgehammer.  Now THAT’S the way to start retirement!! Good for you, Groovies.  Good for you!

phone-death
Source: The murderer’s website (freedomisgroovy.com)

After they sorted out their speaker phone technical issues, we started the call again.  I hit rewind and gave the same enthusiastic intro about wanting to write a post about their Day 1.  They laughed.

But I took notes.

How often do you get to talk to a husband/wife team on Day 1, and who both retired at the same time?

True fodder for a Blogger!

Day 1 – A Real Life Example

Mr. Groovy got up at his typical 5:00 am.  Why??  He just did.

Mrs. Groovy “slept in” until 7:00.  (I’m taking Mrs. Groovy’s lead on my Day 1, but I may try to push for 8:00!)

A fairly typical morning ensued.  Since they’ve both worked from home, the routine wasn’t all that different than a “typical” work day.

Except, ah, yeah.  THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO WORK!

Mrs. G spent time in the morning doing her normal routine of reading blogs (she’s a blog hound, and is always the first to comment on my posts.  Here’s an example, from Day 2 of her retirement, when she left this comment only moments after I posted my article about Green Acres Syndrome):

groovy-comment

Their big event of the day?

Returning Mr. Groovy’s work computer.

Funny part was, he tried to pay with his “company card” since it was a work related expense.

Bastards already froze his card.

Wow, thanks for your decades of service.  We appreciate all that you’ve done.  However, we don’t trust you, and are locking you down the minute you leave.  Don’t let the door slam your backside on your way out.

I think I would have considered making them come pick up the computer themselves.

Mrs. Groovy didn’t fair much better.  Her appreciative employer disconnected her cell phone 24 HOURS BEFORE SHE RETIRED!  Gotta love employer appreciation these days.

Anyway, returning the computer was their “planned activity” for the day.  They’re planning “1 planned activity per day, at least for a while”. Seems like a good approach as they make the transition into their new life.

The rest of the day unwound serendipitously (my favorite word!).

They had a phone call in the evening with a fellow blogger.  I know, I was there.

They hung up on him me.

Later, they went to bed.

In short, kind of a typical day.  Sun rose.  Sun set.  Life goes on.

How Big A Deal Is Day 1?

Maybe I’m over thinking this Day 1 thing.  Life does go on.  Freedom is awesome, but there’s still stuff to do.  Like going to the post office to return a computer.  The Groovy’s plan on taking in some afternoon matinees and avoid the evening crowds.  It’s nice to not have to go work for “The Man” every morning, no doubt.  But a day is still a day.

Travel is certainly easier, but that’s not really a “Day 1” thing.  The Groovy’s have some travel plans (sorry I’ll miss you when you pass through my area next week), and I suspect The Groovy’s will make their way out to Montana at some point, one of their favorite places.

Somehow, I imagine they will meet up with Ms. Montana from Montanta Money Adventures.  (Check out her site, she’s awesome!).  She’s also part of the “virtual family”, and I’m enjoying watching her success during her one year sabbatical from work.  Ms. Montana and her family live a “Green Acres” lifestyle in the gorgeous Flathead Valley, near Glacier National Park. Ironically, that’s one of the areas my wife have always dreamed of potentially retiring to.

Small world.

Conclusion:  A Better Plan

Thinking about it, I don’t think we should focus too much on “Day 1”.  A better plan is to be intentional as you live your life.  Find a reason to celebrate each day. Every day is a blessing, and we have fewer of them left every time the sun sets.

sunset

Don’t sacrifice today, waiting for tomorrow.

Seize The Moment.

Carpe Diem.

Don’t save it all up for retirement.

Live life each day.

P.S. Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Groovy, on accomplishing your FIRE goals.  Given your role in the financial blogging community, I thought it appropriate to recognize you on your special day.  Consider this post my retirement gift, and a heartfelt tribute for all that you do.  I look forward to watching your journey as you make the transition into retirement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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40 comments

  1. First of all, THANK YOU. I really thought you were kidding when you said you were writing a post about us.

    I’m glad you could be with us that first night of retirement even though I hung up on you. Yes, it was my fault and you are exactly right, I’m still haunted by Mr. Phone.

    Nothing feels different, and yet everything feels different. I’m not sure that makes sense but it does in my head anyway. Your conclusion about being intentional as you live is spot on. If we had stayed in NY with Mr. G remaining at his government job the last 10 years, we’d be set for life now without any concerns about the 4% (or 3% or bucket) withdrawal strategy. His pension would be more than enough to live on. But I wouldn’t trade 10 years of no stress, a great home, numerous trips, and living in a kinder, gentler and prettier area for a cushier pension. We’re very happy.

    Thanks for sharing our joy with us and for spreading it to your readers. We’re so glad we “met” you and we’ll do it in person soon. I was thinking back to how our friendship developed and it was all because of Joshua Sheets. We asked you for some pointers for Mr. G’s interview on Radical Personal Finance because yours was so terrific!

    Thanks again.

  2. I imagine that Day 1 would be a lot like any other day off, and it would take until about Day 5 or so to realize that the weekend isn’t ending. Day 10 is when things would really kick into gear because my to-do list should be mostly completed, and then the world awaits!
    Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. G–I can’t wait to hear what you do on Day 11 🙂

      1. Day 10 was the second Monday and it was incredible. The first Monday was like “OK we’re retired”. The second Monday was like “Oh shi*t, we don’t have to go back to work EVER”. It was very surreal.

          1. I retired early, about one year ago now. I am 58 now. Don’t miss my teleworking job at all. One downfall is speaking to relatives friends the same age, or older, about retirement and traveling. I feel they are jealous. Some are genuinely happy. I am not a rocket scientist. I realize that my Navy retirement and my wife’s pension allowed us the financial freedom to pull the plug, but also realize that anyone can do what we did. Invested our savings from age 30 on. We were able to save almost 60% of my salary some years, with dual incomes and my pension. I wonder if the average American really gives serious thought as to how much they spend on “stuff”. Being frugal is a mindset. Us Americans could use a behavior modification, for sure! Any thoughts out there on this?

    1. Steve, I’m doing it at exactly the same age as you did. And we’re not rocket scientists either. Mr G took a big pay cut to switch to another industry, and I remained with my NY nonprofit job which is notorious for extremely generous benefits, but skimpy pay and raises.

      I think the modification is going to be forced on future generations as they see their parents working well into their 70s. Many of Fritz’s readers, and ours, are already of the same mindset as we are. But occasionally we hear from a few who’ve just stumbled upon blogs discussing financial independence and they want to change. As an individual, whenever I get into a conversation with someone who is open to advice, the one piece I always give is “save half your income”.

  3. Um, you should totally move to the Flathead! Your wife has very good judgement with this one her list! And I really hope the Groovy’s come visit. I have already offered them my sweet pop up camper. =)

  4. My wife does, indeed, have good judgement! We keep telling our daughter to move to Kalispell so we can “follow her” out to God’s country! If she doesn’t listen, we may just have to leave her in Georgia! If nothing else, we’ll definitely be spending a lot of time out there in our 5th wheel! See you in ’18 (if not at #FinCon17!).

    1. I may have mentioned to you both, but I have one ace in the hole. We’re moving to be near Mr G’s family. But I have a strong feeling they will eventually relocate out of state when our niece has a baby. If that happens all bets are off and we’re moving to Montana or Mexico (depending on what we hear from @Ed_Mills_).

  5. Congrats to the Groovy folks and indeed all those pursuing the life that is FIRE.

    Yet life is not a dress rehearsal. There is today and tomorrow and in whatever form you wish to call it, it is another day. Go climb a mountain, swim a lake, ski a devilish run this winter. As Warren Miller of epic ski movies tells us : “move to the mountains today, you will only be a year older when you actually do” . His way of saying we need to embrace the now for all it is worth!

      1. Thanks Mr Pie. My nephew appeared in those kind of films in CO, with a smaller co called Level 1. He was an early tester of the GoPro (attached to his ski helmet). My adventure might be trying one of your single malts.

  6. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Groovy on your early retirement!! It is something to celebrate to be sure. It’s always great to hear of others achieving their goals whatever they may be. BTW – I believe I heard in an interview that you live in Charlotte, if that’s correct I will be heading to Davidson in a little over a week and maybe we could meet IRL. Your call – enjoy every day and make it count!!

  7. Great post and Groovy guests! I had my first day of early retirement a few months ago but because I had planned ahead to move straight into some fun part time side gigs I was pretty busy designing my new jobs the first day of my new life. It is now nine months later and I’m in a hotel in our state’s capitol doing my two lobbying side gigs today, driving to dinner in an adjoining state tonight with a financial advisor and then flying out west next week to visit the site of a plant fire to begin on my expert witness report for a major lawsuit.

    I am actually traveling more on business now than before I retired but in my case I love to travel, and I love the political and legal side of business more than your average engineer. So far it appears I have successfully designed my retirement gigs to keep me busy about three days a week working only on the things that energize me, without any of the negatives that went with my previous career. I know working after retirement seems like a bad idea to a lot of people but if it is fun work, then its more like getting paid to do a favorite hobby. Plus while I don’t need the money, it still feels fun to not have to dig into my nest egg.

  8. What I find interesting about this community is that retirement usually just means when they finished work at what ever helped prepare them financially for the rest of their lives. Most everyone steps off to take on new adventures whether they be encore careers, side gigs, volunteer jobs or trekking the world. Most of those follow on adventures may be more difficult and strenuous than their previous “jobs” but now they’re enjoying the passions of life. That’s what really counts in my opinion.

    We were intentional about my first day of retirement. My wife never really “retired”, she just didn’t get another job when we relocated to Florida. So on the 1st Monday of May this year instead of getting up early to go to work like I had done for so many decades before we set the alarm even earlier and drove to the beach to watch the sun rise on our first day of “retirement” together. We enjoyed a long walk, took in the fresh sea breeze, had a great breakfast at a beachside restaurant and rejoiced on our new found freedom. I then took a nap in the afternoon, just because I could.

    A friend gave me a sign that we have in our kitchen to remind us everyday “I’m not retired, I’m just getting started.”

    Enjoy your retirement Mr. and Mrs. Groovy. And I can’t wait for your day 1 retirement story Fritz!

  9. That poor phone. Looks like it was attacked by Arby’s BBQ sauce or ketchup. :O)

    What stinky think of both companies to do. I would definitely made them provide the UPS pick-up and account# for billing to send back the PC.

    Congrats. Make each day awesome.
    cd :O)

    1. I used VOIP with call forwarding so it appeared as if I had a 212 area code. Someone in IT reassigned my extension to my replacement, who started on my last day. Except she did it on Thursday without telling anyone. No one, including my boss, could reach me. When I found out I told the gal in IT if she didn’t switch it back, she could remove my email profile because I was done working. My boss wouldn’t have liked that since she needed me to explain 11 years of acronyms (yeah right) in one day to someone who was starting her 2nd full time job, ever.

  10. You are way too kind, Fritz. Thank you very much for featuring us in this wonderful post. Even though we hung up on you, it was an honor being able to share our first day of retirement with you. Hey, wouldn’t it have been nice to have included Joshua on our call? He was the one who got us together, after all. And speaking of Joshua, I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: your interview with him was hands down the best interview I ever heard on Radical Personal Finance. I remember turning to Mrs. G during the show and saying, “We got to reach out to this guy, Fritz. He really knows his sh*t.” And in getting to know you over the past several months, I’m proud to say that I stand by that first impression. I love how your mind works. I love bouncing ideas off you. Thanks again, Fritz, for sharing our first day of retirement with your readers. I am truly humbled. Talk to you soon, my friend. Cheers.

  11. What an awesome interview to get!!! I always imagine my first day of retirement will be with a pina colada on a beach somewhere. I know that’s not going to be reality but it’s fun to dream about it 🙂

  12. Although we planned this call on our first weekday of retirement we had no idea what Fritz was up to. As Mr G said, we’re humbled.

    Your pina colada idea sounds pretty good to me!

  13. Mr & Mrs Groovy. welcome to the world of retirement, which will be just as good as you make it! (Health permitting..) I assume you have the Wealth bit well pinned down, and you’re evidently happy!

    My first day of retirement (aged 56) was a bit manic, because we were packing to go on a trip to NZ to see our son the next day. But regardless my husband and I kept looking at each other and laughing…. After 3 weeks in NZ, a week at home to change our suitcases, and 2 weeks in St Lucia, we came home in time for Christmas, by which time the link to work was well and truly broken.

    5 years on, we haven’t looked back…

    Enjoy a blissful retirement

  14. Sorry we missed this comment from Erith. Thank you! Sounds like you got off to a whirlwind start. I hope we’re just as happy 5 years from now. One month in and we haven’t looked back.

    We went on a 10-day road trip in the U.S. In fact, Kirk, if you’re reading this, that’s why we couldn’t meet up with you. I just disn’t want to announce it online.

  15. Congrats guys! What awesome news.
    This morning I showed my wife a pic from think save retire. It was Arizona I think and we got to talking about traveling there and everywhere else we would go in retirement. I imagine planning all the time off would be amazing. Nice work guys. I hope to join you in 10 years!

  16. This is a really awesome post because I have always found that it helps to deeply internalize how your goals will look and feel. The kind of insight provided here is priceless in that sense and hugely inspiring. Thanks to all involved and congrats again to the Groovies, I hope you’re loving the path just as much today as you were on day 1! Can’t wait for my day 1, still plenty of work to do but very exciting times ahead!

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