What The First Week Of Retirement Is Really Like

I’ve been curious about it for years.  This week, I’m living it for the first time.  Now, I can finally share…

What The First Week Of Retirement Is Really Like.

I have no idea why I’m fascinated by the “First Week Of Retirement”, and I’m curious if others also wonder about it?  I suspect many do and dedicate today’s post to those of you who wonder what the first week of retirement is really like.

Now that I’m living the first week of retirement, how would I describe it?  Is it what I thought it’d be, or is it different?  Is it a big deal, or just another week?  Is it weird, or normal?  Is it scary, or exciting?

Yes to all of that.  And no to all of that.


What Does Retirement Taste Like?

Have you ever tried to explain what something tastes like?  Let’s go with chocolate, as an example.  How would you describe it?  What words would you use?

Describing the first week of retirement is like describing the taste of chocolate. It's really good, but it's hard to describe. Click To Tweet

Yeah, the first week of retirement is alot like that.

It’s good, but I can’t think of the right words to describe it.  Regardless, today we’re going to try.


What The First Week Of Retirement Is Really Like

A Vacation In Norway. Is it like that?

Is It Like Taking A Vacation?

As I write these words, I’m 5 days into my retirement (a true rookie).  Is the first week of retirement like being on vacation?  On one hand, kinda sorta, but that falls far short of describing the reality.  It’s similar in that you’re off work for a few days, but it’s very, very different in the knowledge that You’re Never Going Back To Work.

A Vacation that never ends will always feel different than a two-week vacation. Full Stop. Click To Tweet

So, imagine the first 1/2 of your vacation, where you’re all pumped up and excited.  But you know it lasts for the rest of your life. Yeah, it’s more like that.

Only different.


I love swimming in my local mountain lake.

Is It Like Saturday Every Day?

With less than a week of retirement under my belt, the “Saturday” analogy seems to be a better description of what the first week of retirement is really like.  Like the Saturday’s you’ve experienced for decades, you’re free to do what you want to do.  You’re ok letting your email go unchecked for a day or two.  You can stay up later, you can sleep in.

You’ve got time to head up to the lake for that swim.

But it’s different because you know that there’s no Monday looming on the horizon.

What’s chocolate taste like?

Yeah, it’s hard to describe.


Is It Scary, or Exciting?

I had a friend ask me if I was “scared”  I answered that I was 98% excited and 2% scared.  Sure, there’s some apprehension, but it’s a really small piece of my mindset in Week 1.  At this stage of the game, I’m just learning my way around this thing called retirement, and enjoying the sensation of the very first Tastes Of Freedom I’ve worked so hard to earn.

It’s only scary if you make it scary. 

I know we’ll travel through many phases during our retirement journey, and I’m sure some will be more “scary” than others.  We’re planning to take it all in stride.  One day at a time, with some thoughts on where we want this thing to lead while leaving some freedom to enjoy the Serendipity of the thing.

You can choose what you want your retirement to be. Don't choose scary. Life's too short. Click To Tweet

Choose the attitude with which you’ll live your life.

I’m choosing excited (and yeah, just a wee bit scared).

The Best Way To Describe The First Week Of Retirement

Back in September, I met two bloggers who write at Waffles On Wednesday.  “Mr. & Mrs. WoW” are two very cool people.  If you’ve never checked out their site, do it now.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

I never really “got” the title of Waffles On Wednesday until I met them, and they explained it to me.

Their explanation is the perfect description of the first week of retirement.  Here’s how they explain it on their site:


One Sunday while we were sitting there eating our nice homemade waffles and bacon, Mrs. WoW says, “I really enjoy these mornings.  It’s nice to have the time to relax in the morning.”  To which Mr. WoW replied, “You know sometime soon, we’ll be making waffles on Wednesday.”*

And that was it, it’s become a bit of an ideology about how we want to live our life.  We didn’t want to live to work and be strapped to a 9-5 job to pay for a lifestyle that was just ok, which so many people do. We wanted to do life our way, do things against the grain and do what really makes us happy. 



The Freedom To Enjoy Waffles On Wednesday

The Waffles On Wednesday blog is all about the freedom to have Waffles On Wednesday, the pursuit of Financial Independence, and the Freedom that it provides.  Of all the things I’ve thought about during this, my first week of retirement,  the one thing I’ve thought about the most has been:

Freedom

Freedom to do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it.   For the first time in our lives.  Wow, that’s big.  And THAT, in my mind, is what the first week of retirement is really like.  It’s a week where the rubber band of work that’s been constantly pulling you back into a world of obligation is finally severed.

A Snapping Rubber Band. A lurching movement forward as the rubber breaks. Forever. Click To Tweet

I’ve thought about it, again and again, this week.  As I sit now to write my thoughts on the first week of retirement, it’s the image that comes to mind.  A snapping rubber band, and a lunge forward to a life of freedom.

On Sunday, I decided to go for a swim in the lake.  It wasn’t planned.  I just went.

Freedom.

This morning, I took my brother-in-law trout fishing on the Toccoa river nearby our retirement cabin.  We stayed until we felt like leaving.

Freedom.

Today for brunch, we took the time to have Waffles On Wednesday.  We even splurged, and bought that fun Cool Whip stuff that you can spray out of a can.

Freedom.


Conclusion

Today’s post is focused on What The First Week Of Retirement Is Really Like.  I know that retirement will ebb and flow as we move through various stages, and I’ll write about those phases as the time comes.  Today, all I know is what the first week feels like.  In one word, the first week of retirement feels like:

Freedom

The rubber band which has always pulled us back to work has snapped, and we’re free for the first time in our lives.  Freedom comes with obligations, and we’re realizing how much time we have each day which we’ll be responsible for filling in Purposeful ways.  Freedom isn’t without cost, but it’s a tremendous gift.  We’ve worked hard for the luxury of Freedom, and we’re savoring every minute of it in our First Week Of Retirement.

Freedom to do whatever we choose to do, whenever we choose to do it.

Freedom to eat what we want, when we want.  Perhaps, even…

…Waffles On Wednesday.

THAT is what the first week of retirement is really like.


What About You?  What do you look forward to in your first week of retirement?  If you’ve already retired, how would you describe the taste of chocolate?  Any words of advice for this “Newbie Retiree” on pitfalls to avoid on the journey ahead?  Let’s chat in the comments…

69 comments

  1. It’s only scary if you make it scary. So true. We can choose to be excited or frightened. Being as prepared as you are helps you choose the right attitude too.

    Happy Freedom Day! (Who needs TGIF when you’ve got permanent freedom!)

    1. TGIF = “Thank Goodness I’m Free”??

      No doubt, Mrs. G, that being prepared always helps to avoid being scared. Kinda like building a house, right!? Good luck with Groovy Ranch, excited to know the foundation is about to be poured!! (BTW, thanks again for that AMAZING Ode last week. I’m STILL blown away!).

  2. Wow!! No, not that Wow, like the real one!! I’m quite honored. Trust me when I say the pleasure is all ours.

    You hit the nail squarely on The head. Freedom… options…. choices, my choices, no one dictating what and where and when. I can only imagine, but soon enough.

    So, if I have to distill this down to one thing… you’re saying retirement tastes like sweet bready goodness, with a crisp outer crust and a moist chewy inside? Smothered in maple syrup and whipped cream with berries on top? Does that do it justice? 😉

    1. Wow! No, really, WoW. As in “Mr. WoW”, here in person! I’m the one who’s honored by your presence! You nailed it with your analogy of Waffles On Wednesday, and I look forward to the Wednesday where you can share in that Freedom.

      As for retirement tasking like “bready goodness…”, yeah, it’s just like that. And it’s nothing like that. Kinda like describing the taste of chocolate, right!? You have to taste it to truly understand. Gotta love those Waffles, tho! My wife makes an AMAZING berry syrup. WoW. May have to have them again today. We can do that, right? 🙂

  3. Fritz, since we met on the plane May 10th I have read some of your writings and, those on your becoming a 401k millionaire in preparation for retirement is absolutely great and very practical to follow. Your words, ” Early in your career, go above and beyond to create your professional reputation” apply particularly to the military as well as to civilian employment. And your suggestion to seek opportunities for exposure lets others know of your capabilities and willingness to perform. After completing a tour in the Pentagon I arrived at my next assignment and was greeted by my new commander holding a letter written by a colonel in the Pentagon (not my boss) telling the new commander some of the things I had done and suggested to him that I be given a job with a lot of responsibility. Conclusion: your words on retirement are very valuable.

    1. THE VETERAN himself!! Wow, now I’m TRULY HONORED!

      I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I approached you on that plane from Paris, Colonel. Your life is an amazing story, and I’m honored to have been able to share a small part of it. Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for your friendship.

  4. Hi,
    Love your blog. I am a little older than you, turning 61 in a couple months. I am in that stage where I could retire now but a couple more years of slugging it out will put me in a better position. House is paid off, almost at my goal of having $2 million saved ( half in 401K and half in liquid assets). My big reservation is health care!! You have probably written about this and if you have maybe you can direct me to it, but would love to hear how you have handled it given you have a way to go to reach Medicare age.

    Mike

    1. Mike, thanks for your kind words. Health care is definitely a concern. We’ve decided to go with Private Pay (after my COBRA runs out), and have budgeted $24k/yr into our retirement budget (inflating at 5% per year). It’s not without risk, but in our case we decided it wasn’t worth continuing to work. Once our numbers said we could pay for private insurance (at a safe 3% withdrawal rate), we retired. I don’t think I’ve written specifically about health care, but I touched on it in:

      Our Retirement Drawdown Strategy

      How to know when you’re financially independent

      Obamacare is falling apart

      Good luck on your journey, glad to know my words are helping you finalize your retirement decision!

  5. Sounds perfect Frtiz. Really perfect and I am glad you are enjoying it. Keep eating those waffles (whole wheat I hope) but not too much cool whip. You gotta stay in tip top shape for the future…the next 50 years will be awesome.

  6. I feel like you are teasing me, but I am happy for you. Congratulations on a retirement well planned and executed.

  7. Sounds like a great first week! Sharing this with my brother. He’s contemplating retirement soon. If waffles on Wednesday or whenever you want isn’t an incentive I’m not sure what is. 🙂

  8. Fritz –
    Also a newbie into the retirement scenario, I look forward to these posts on your experience. Waffles on Wednesday, a great metaphor in the first months!
    Problems, if one need a label, for this stage, become personal – and a bit easier to approach with calm and patience. Routines become choice, and activities become a stable grounding for growth.
    The math on a draw down strategies gets put to the test as well as developing a belief that it will work. Thirty ++ years of contributions does not easily lend itself to withdrawal, a transition of reduced contributions, then maybe think about withdraw of interest. It is a difficult transition from active income cash flow to passive income covering all expenses. The math works! The experience of executing the plan is another beast.
    Fair seas and following winds.

  9. Having a few post 9 to 5 years under my belt, Fritz, I don’t think the Saturday analogy works for me. I quickly found Saturdays were my least favorite day as an early retired guy. The stores are crowded with un-retired people as are parks, golf courses, lakes, hiking trails, restaurants, etc. My wife and I love to fish but we never fish on the weekends because there is just too much competition. We found that Saturdays were the days we can play tennis with our still working friends or do activities, like off roading, that are more fun when there are lots of participants. But all in all Saturdays are my new Mondays. My least favorite day of the week!

    1. Steve, I don’t disagree about Saturday’s being a least favorite day post-retirement. Since we live in a bit of a “tourist town” in the mountains, we avoid doing anything on weekends due to the crowds. Retirement is oh so much better than a pre-retirement Saturday!!

  10. A great first week! I love the photo of your waffles. You not only enjoyed them, but the photography, including the in-air syrup. A beauty. When my husband retired 3 years after I had already quit, then WE, yes, WE, were fully retired. That first week we took a balloon ride over the Napa Valley. So, how would I describe the first week? A feeling of floating on air — a high — free as a bird, seeing very far, with a giddy excitement.

  11. A great way to describe the first week, we’ll done. I also appreciate the Wow link, just subscribed for something else to follow and learn from over the next few months. You planned and executed well my friend, enjoy these early days. As you said they will ebb and flow but the bow lines are set free and where you choose to sail is your choice.

  12. I’ve been retired for eight years. Like you, I entered retirement confident, but with a smidge of trepidation. Looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I’ve had eight years of freedom, and could never go back to the grind.

    In the beginning I found it hard to realize that I was never going back to work. Intellectually, I knew it. Emotionally, not so much. I got help with the realization on day two when my former employer cancelled my email account and voided my login credentials. It finally sank in, “Hey, we’re movin’ on…”

    Good luck with your adventure.

  13. I am 55 and could retire now but like others in your comments section am continuing to work because (a) I really like my work; and (b) it sets up our retirement to be completely worry-free (i.e., one additional year of work will pay for all healthcare from age 57-65 for my spouse and I, even with 5% inflation). BUT to the first week of retirement, the part of the discussion with those soon-to-be or already retired that always bedevils me a bit is that of boredom, the ennui of “endless” free time. I have so many interests, selective travel (2 months out of every 12), further learning (have dabbled in online classes from stanford, yale, etc. in history, literature, philosophy but don’t have time to devote to the reading yet), deepening knowledge of budding interests (cooking classes, playing an instrument better), much better focus and regularity on exercise and health management overall…. I just don’t get the “you better have something you’re retiring to” chiding in these conversations. Perhaps it’s too early, but are you feeling “bored” when the swim at the lake is done, the waffle iron is put away, etc.? Perhaps it’s way too early on your endless Saturday morning to tell….

    1. JDS, I’ve thought a lot about the “boredom issue”, but I view it the same as you. I’ve got a lot of things I want to do, and don’t think boredom will be an issue. That said, I’ve always been a “Type A”, and my high energy level is something I’m working on moderating in retirement, in part to “stretch things out” and take the time to enjoy each moment. Good question, and one that only time can answer. I’ll keep you updated in future posts!

  14. Honestly I’m not sure. I’ve placed retirement a decent way out because I enjoy work. I can see the time leading up to that first week doing a lot of planning to ensure I have a purpose after the big day. I think my status that first week would come down to if and how I answered that.

  15. fritz, well done. in our house we don’t know what week one will be so i just keep working. it’s pretty low-impact at this point. once we figure out what we want to be we’ll probably pull the trigger but my hope is for more social time and laughs with old friends. i look forward to reading more about what you’re up to next!

  16. Thanks for your blog. As I read it my 80 yo dad and I are taking off for a 2 week trip to Norway to explore his heritage. I retired at 54 last year after 31 years. My wife and I did all the right things including planning for early retirement. And it worked! Your first week of retirement was well described. Freedom to do what you want. As so….Norway here we come.

    One area I get questioned one from people still choosing to work, is “what get you up in the morning?” I always say – coffee! That first cup is a motivation in itself! I know the purpose of their question – how I’ll i spend my time in my new found freedom. I have plenty of hobbies and the like. But I’ve given myself a one year moratorium before committing to a charitble endeavor. There have been plenty of request for my time. Guard it well! I will know when the right volunteer opportunity presents itself.

    So, that’s my thought on the first week. And the first month. And eventually the first year.

    Wheels up!
    Stan

    1. I love the “Coffee!” answer, Stan! Ironically, I’ve also tried to impose a One Year Moratorium (see my 10 Commandments Of Retirement – #4), it’s important to take some time to decompress.

      Awesome story about taking your 80 yr old dad to Norway. That’s what life is all about – enjoy!

  17. Good article Fritz. Biggest take away after “freedom” allows “choices”. In retirement you can stay as busy as you like and 98% of it is “choices”. Looks like the “choices” you and Jackie will have going forward will be very fulfilling. Enjoy.

  18. What an inspiring post! It gives me more motivation to reach FIRE sooner in my late 40’s to spend time with family and to have freedom from corporate life 🙂

  19. I’m 6 weeks in to my retirement, and am enjoying (so far) being a “kept man” by my wife who is still working. I agree with most of what you and others shared. I could write volumes on all that’s gone thru my head leading up to and into retirement. Let’s just say it’s still a work in progress.

    Biggest challenges are transitioning from being a saver to a spender. Still doesn’t feel comfortable (although I have nothing to worry about); and I miss self-worth I feel from being a provider to the family. I’m taking this summer “off” to clear my head, decompress, and think thru how I’ll recapture that feeling. In the meantime, I handle all the household stuff during the weekdays so my wife’s weekends are less cluttered and so we can do thing a together that’s we’re tougher to do when we were both working.

    Enjoy your next several weeks. I’ll be interested to read about your journey.

    1. Thanks for your honest comment, Rick. Many folks struggle with the exact issues you’ve mentioned, and it’s a common element of the transition into retirement. You’ll be interested in next week’s post (working on it now) about how to transition from a lifelong saver into a retirement spender. Stay tuned!

  20. Congratulations on the first week of retirement! My husband just retired April 20th this year and he says he still can’t believe it every morning when he wakes up and doesn’t have to go to work.

    I’m still working 13 shifts a month and I still love my job and it provides health insurance for us. Once I feel ready to stop full time work, I am most concerned about availability of and quality of health insurance. We won’t qualify for any subsidies unless we really decide to live cheaply! I would rather enjoy FATFIRE and not get the subsidies. At my husband and my age (53.5 and 55) I have priced premiums at $2000 per month in Houston, Tx where we live. We are OK with those premiums and have budgeted for up to double that to account for copays and deductibles and increasing premiums. The big worry is will the insurance keep being available and keep covering pre-exiting problems? Although we are healthy now, I’ve seen enough friends suddenly develop serious health problems in their fifties to know that everything can and will change. I would sure appreciate hearing the details of how your experience is going in navigating the health insurance part of early retirement. I find there are few people in our age bracket and financial situation writing about their experiences. Most if the younger early retirees are willing to live LEANFIRE to qualify for subsidies and most of the “older” early retirees in my age bracket have chosen to either live cheaply enough for LEANFIRE to qualify for subsidies or are using the Health Ministries. A few have retirement health insurance through previous work. I just don’t feel comfortable enough trusting the ability of the Health Ministries to pay a huge claim, and would rather pay more money for traditional insurance. At some point when I have had enough of work, I will probably just bite the bullet and take our chances on obtaining health insurance.

    1. RocDoc, you’ve nailed the issue of Health Care with your comment. We’re also doing “FATFire”, and have budgeted $2k/month for private insurance, no subsidies (we’ll do COBRA for the first 18 months). Our biggest concern, like yours, is if a pre-existing condition pops up in the next 18 months. Also like you, we’re considering Health Ministries, but have concerns about their limitations. Most likely, we’ll “pay up” for “real” insurance, and cross our fingers that the market gets sorted out before we need to buy a private policy.

      I’ve not done a dedicated post on the health care issue (Beyond Obamacare Is Falling Apart), but I may need to add that to my queue for an upcoming post. It sure is one of the top issues raised when folks talk about early retirement.

      1. Thanks for the reply Fritz! I read your Obamacare is falling apart post and really agree with the points you made. So many carriers have left the market due to huge financial losses and it makes me wonder if there will soon be many counties with no carriers. Health insurance in retirement is a dynamic issue and the landscape is continuously changing.

  21. Choose the attitude with which you’ll live your life! Great line and spot on Fritz! I can sense the zest, energy and respect for your new Freedom. Attitude is critically important – as it gives you the Freedom to explore, enjoy and live purposefully. Great lessons in just week one …thanks for sharing.

  22. Just be safe out there. Are you swimming where someone can watch you? Cramps and aging go together. Pulling an RV through Atlanta? Good luck with that. I am not a worry wart in any sense of the word but as the old adage says, “you plan and God laughs”
    You want to make it a long and successful retirement. Don’t be stupid on the little things.
    I’m 76 now. Have made it after retiring at 62. Had a blast. Having a blast. But, I still read all the signs by the side of the road. We are heading up to New England by car for 3 weeks (driving the old Blue Highways) after returning by plane from 3 weeks driving along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Had a blast. Ate well, drank well, slept well, laughed well. But still paid attention to the “road signs “ along the way— if you get my drift.
    All the very best to you and yours. I am writing you from our porch on Lake Hartwell waiting for the first group of kids/grandkids/ close friends to arrive. Water is like glass out there. It won’t be that way on the weekend.

    1. Hey Jack! When I swim, I usually have either: 1) My wife kayak next to me or 2) A group of guys who swim together a few times a week. I also have a “swim buoy” I drag behind me for visibility, which I can use as a life preserver in the event of a severe cramp (I do get cramps, but have learned to swim through them until they go away).

      We’ll avoid the “RV Thru Atlanta” thing, as most of our camping will keep us well North of the city. If we must (e.g., Florida trip?), we’ll time it to avoid the traffic. Having lived in ATL for a decade, I’m not too worried about it.

      I love your stories about 14 years of successful retirement! Congrats on living a great life on Lake Hartwell (hi, neighbor!), and enjoy your trip up to New England. You’re my idol, and I hope to follow in your footsteps!!

  23. Fritz, Congratulations! The first week or month or 3 months of retirement felt different for me than the time after that. It depends on the last job, but it took me 3 months to really decompress. The knowledge that you don’t have to go back and can really cut the cord allows you to really relax and not worry about the job.

    After decompression, purpose became important. Routine became important. However, the huge benefit is to know it’s your CHOICE. Choice translates into FREEDOM. Freedom is what retirement means to me. Work becomes OPTIONAL and that is a great feeling, even if you end up “working” for money.

    All the years of careful planning, living below the means really paid off in FREEDOM! That is a great feeling!
    Glad you joined the club. Love to hear how you feel after a month, 3 months, 6 months……

  24. My mom and her neighbors say ‘every day is Saturday except Sunday’. Both my parents have filled their retirement days with crafts, and volunteer opportunities, and committees. I try to call Mom on Wednesday just because it works in my schedule.
    Fritz I’m sure you & Jackie will find your rhythm, and then something will change and shift and you’ll find your next thing too. 🙂
    Congrats on your first week!

  25. Well done on choosing to be excited and pushing past the fear!

    I am still deep in the workforce but the thing I am looking forward to most in retirement is just staying as long as I want, wherever that is. Whenever I am visiting with friends or playing volleyball and hanging out with my niece & nephew, I am always thinking about when I need to leave. I am constantly compartmentalizing my time.

    I remember back to the days of summer as a kid when the days went on forever and I could just run, and play and laugh. That’s what I long to get back to…

  26. I am completely honored to be mentioned in your post this week Fritz! Sounds like your first week has gone rather swimmingly (pun totally intended). While I’m sure there are adjustments you find yourself making now that the “rubber band” has snapped (love this analogy!), but now you have the time and freedom to do what you want. I literally got chills when I read the word freedom in your post. Its so powerful!

    It’s funny to see how our little blog name has somehow turned into our mantra and actually like a right of passage for those who have retired early. Love that you had waffles on Wednesday and hope that you have many, many more throughout your retirement. Maybe we can join you guys for one them? BTW, they looked absolutely delicious. That berry sauce and cool whip, man you did it right. Looks like you might have been slowly sipping coffee too?

    1. Mrs. WoW, who’d have thought that you’d become a Retirement Ceremony, right? It’s great symbolism for achieving FIRE, and I’m honored to have partaken in your right of passage! BTW, glad you like the rubber band analogy, I’ve been thinking about that all week, it’s the best description I could come up with for the initial feeling of retirement. Freedom, indeed!

      Haha about SSC, I absolutely should have linked him in, too. Probably others that we could loop in to make a serious retirement ceremony, for future retirees to build on. Great stuff, and a worthy goal for each of us to celebrate when achieved!

  27. That lake you swim in? Looks amazing. Reminds me of my “serenity now” place – Crystal Lake near Frankfurt, Michigan. Beautiful to behold, amazing to swim and sail. It’s a place I loved being during all-too-short week-long stays with my grandparents when I was growing up. Part of me wonders if I’d spoil it by living there all the time in a retirement phase of life. But I’d be willing to test that theory.

  28. Nice write up. To me, it seemed like you were in vacation mode until some thoughts of apprehension crept in.
    I did notice the lack of sense of urgency and the focus on doing a few things on your terms without “checking in”.
    How are you handling the lack of corporate emails that leave a vacuum in your morning and evening activities?
    How often are you checking your iPhone and Linkedin for messages?

    1. Francis, The lack of Corporate e-mails isn’t bothering me at all. I’ve built quite a network of fellow bloggers, and have been engaged with them since my retirement. I’m checking my phone/laptop several times a day for messages or new posts from other bloggers that I follow. Feels about right!

  29. After 4 years I’d almost forgotten that first week of retirement but 4 years in the excitement doesn’t diminish. I actually wake up giddy and energised by the prospect of the day ahead whether I’m planning to spend it making waffles or doing something far more out of the ordinary (although to be honest waffles might be pretty adventurous for my culinary skills). To Week 2 and beyond..

  30. Late to the game here, but because I’m a big fan of Fritz, I’ll chime in anyway. This is how I describe the awesomeness of retirement. Imagine you’re in your car for the first time during the day and it’s rush hour. But you’re traveling in the opposite direction of where the masses are trudging home. The masses are to your left, negotiating the dreary agony of bumper to bumper traffic. But you’re cruising along at the speed limit. You then glance over at the frazzled commuters and say, “Suckers!” That’s what retirement feels like. I feel it every day and it never gets old. Congratulations, Fritz, on your first week of freedom. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  31. Fritz,
    I just discovered your blog this morning and I’m very impressed! I learned about your blog from Roger Whitney and his recent interview with you. I am 63 and parted ways with my former employer 7 years ago. Like you, I was blessed with not only a pension, but retiree health care till wife and I are eligible for Medicare. This gave me the option of retiring very early (56)! Too young however to be fully retired, though! I consider myself “semi-retired” doing VERY VALUABLE work with 2 non-profits “on my terms.” It’s fun! No boss! I play golf 2x a week (Mon, Fri, never on week-ends). I consider myself “semi-retired” and believe it will be a “sweet spot for me for at least a few more years, until I become “retired.” “High quality” non-profit work is something you might want to check-out after your “honeymoon” as a new found retiree is over.

    1. Welcome aboard, Fred! Roger’s a good friend, and was one of the main reasons I started this blog. I’ll be forever indebted to him!

      Congrats on your early retirement 7 years ago. You’re fortunate to have retiree health care (I, unfortunately, will have to pay for 10 years of private insurance, ouch!). Great suggestion for “high quality” non-profit work. We do volunteer at a local dog rescue, and are enjoying the opportunity to find more ways to get engaged with our local mountain community. I’ve also recently accepted an invitation to join the Board Of Directors for a $1B aluminum company, and enjoyed the experience of my first Board meeting this week!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  32. Is there a way to reorder the comments so the newest comment is at the top? Just wondering.

    My first week of retirement was almost a year to the day. I was a teacher for 34.5 years. I loved teaching junior high, gr. 7, 8 & 9 English Language Arts. I enjoyed teaching so much that I agonized over retirement for about 2 years. I cried about it, I sought advice about it and I raged about it. The thought of retirement tortured me. My best memory of my first week of retirement was that I stopped crying. It was done and having had many summers off before I didn’t get that sense of retirement, not ever going back to work. Up until that moment I thought I might still change my mind, but no I just decided to get on with it. I booked a 50 day cruise on Holland America and we have not looked back. I have spent this year travelling. A second shorter cruise, two trips to Fargo ND to visit American friends, a few weeks in Cabo, a trip to Vegas, a train trip on the Rocky Mountaineer, time in Arizona with folks we met on the 50 day cruise, 7 weeks in Ontario visiting our immediate family and a circle tour through Fairmont Hot Springs BC, Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore and Johnston Canyon. This second year is booked up with more travel. Ontario with some cottage weeks and travel, Fargo again, a couple months in Cabo and a 3 week trip to Africa— a Nile River cruise, safaris in Kenya, Chobe, a game reserve near Kruger National Park and a few days at Victoria Falls. I realize I retired to travel. Teaching did not afford me the luxury of extended travel or travel in the off or shoulder season. Absolutely loving it. We come home long enough to take care of things and plan more trips. I enjoy the time to look over the possibilities and not having to snatch up the first offer because of time constraints. In one sense my first week of retirement may not have come home to roost yet. Right now we are just travelling.

    1. Wanda,

      Thanks for your comment (and, I’m not sure how to reorder comments, but thx for the idea). Congrats on your first year of retirement, it sounds like you’ve had a great year! Good for you for jumping on the adventure travel while you’re still young and healthy enough to enjoy it, it sounds like you’re living the perfect retirement! (I’m envious about the Africa trip, a lifeline bucket list item for us, and something my wife and I just talked about yesterday. We’re starting to book our trips, as well, though our 4 dogs make it difficult to travel as extensively as you’ve been able to do). Congrats!

  33. I enjoyed reading this article, thank you for posting along with your other articles which I’m looking forward to reading through.

    At the 6 day stage into my early retirement, I’m just starting to get used to the idea although it is totally foreign to me. The day after my retirement I drove up to see my youngest daughter who is a sailing instructor on the North Wales coast (UK). We hiked up Mt Snowdon and had a great time. Back home now and deliberately taking things easy for a while in order to digest things.

    Actually I’ve never been unemployed or had any gaps in my career, right up until now at 56. Part of me still feels as if I’m simply taking a few days off work! I don’t think of my career as being totally over as I’m wanting to be more “servant hearted” and will be open to other opportunities – at least now I will have the choice as to whether to accept nothing or everything.

    It is fair to say we have taken a bit of a risk with this early retirement as we will depend on the performance of some investments. My public sector pension is reduced by a considerable amount through leaving so early. Ordinarily my occupational pension pays on my 66th birthday and my state pension pays on my 67th birthday. There is a real irony as well; I have always manage to dodge redundancies and the time when I’d enjoy a pay-off – nothing at all is on offer in spite of some eye-watering cuts taking place in local government. I’m always optimistic and the sound financial advice we’ve had so far has proved to be very good.

    As far as health care is concerned, here in the UK we do have the National Health Service which is (mostly) free for all. Exceptions are dental and optical, so not too bad. Compare to you in America this appears to give us a considerable benefit.

    Thanks again,

    Doug

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