This article looks at the tradeoffs involved in our transition to retirement. Things that were once important, due to the change in our life status, may now become less so. Other things, once less important, may become higher priorities. Identifying these areas as you prepare for retirement, and taking the necessary steps to align priorities, is an important focus in your final working years.
6 years ago, my family was relocated through my work from Ohio to Georgia. Upon arrival in Georgia, one of our highest priorities was finding a new shelter in which to house our goats. Sounds crazy, but within 2 days of landing in Georgia we had contracted to have a barn built, and within 10 days our goats moved into their new home (if you look closely, you can see them under the overhang):
The goats were a significant part of our life in Ohio, and we have great memories of attending a local county fair with our daughter and “The 4H Goat Club”. We spent many a night in our camper on the fairgrounds property, and many early mornings treking to the goat barn to take care of the goats. Early mornings walking around the fairgrounds were special, and I’ve always appreciated this picture as a memory of those early fairground mornings:
With our daughter now off in college, the goats live on. Part of our routine has been a twice daily feeding, either my wife or I. Our daughter has moved on to greener pastures, and we’ve still cared for the goats. When we’ve headed out on vacation, we’ve found “house sitters” to take care of the dogs, the cat and the goats.
Our retirement plans, however, don’t include goats. Not only is there the expense involved in feeding and vet care, but more importantly they represent a responsibility we prefer not to have once retired. We plan to travel extensively, and realize the goats will be hinderance to our planned retirement priorities. Fortunately, we have a wonderful family next door, with three young daughters, who are in the process of building a “backyard farm”.
We offered up our goats to their new “farm” collection. They happily agreed.
This Labor Day weekend, the goat chapter was officially closed.
The goats are happily relocated next door (where we can still, thankfully, hear their “BAH’s” through the woods!). Having them nearby helps with the “loss” of family pets, and knowing young children get the joy our daughter once experienced helps in making this a positive transition.
The barn, once the highest priority during our relocation, can now be reclaimed as a place to store my lawn tractor, tools, etc. So, many hours of this holiday weekend were spent cleaning the barn from rafter to floor. It hasn’t been this clean since the day it was built:
With the barn spotless, it’s now ready for our eventual home listing and sale.
With the goats happily relocated, we’re one step closer to the plans we have for retirement.
How about you? Have you taken the time to reflect on how your priorities will change in retirement? Have you taken any action based on recognition that your priorities will be changing in retirement?
If you’re in your final years of work before retirement, take the time to think through what your priorities will be in retirement. They’ll likely be different than your priorities during your “working years”. Take this important “transition time” to make the moves you need to make.
When retirement finally arrives, you’ll be better prepared to experience the new priorities you’ve established for this new phase in your life.
Enjoy the process, and enjoy it fully.
(Even when it involves shoveling manure.)
Fritz Gilbert – The Retirement Manifesto