how to avoid procrastination

Ready. Aim. Fire.

When I was in Corporate America, a common mantra in my office was…

Ready. Aim. Fire.

Sounds easy, but often we take what feels like the safer approach.

Ready.  Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim….

The Ready. Aim. Fire. mantra was our way of encouraging those within the bureaucracy (you know who you are) who suffered from Analysis Paralysis. Their obsession with continually challenging our assumptions would often hamper our ability to take action.  I call these folks “Professional Aimers,” and they can be extremely effective (e.g., unproductive) in a Corporate environment. 

Unfortunately, Professional Aimers are everywhere.

Almost every decision we make in life is made with some uncertainty.  It’s impossible to know every future event, every contingency, every risk. Typically, we don’t know whether we’re making the right decision until well after the fact. Sometimes it’s easier to think about how many more things you need to know than it is to simply make the decision.  Don’t let yourself get stuck in the “Aim” stage indefinitely. 

Don’t become a Professional Aimer.

There comes a point in life where you have to pull the trigger.

If you never pull the trigger, the arrow never leaves the bow.

There’s value in launching the arrow.

  • Without launching the arrow, we get stuck in our ways. 
  • We miss opportunities that we should have pursued.
  • We accomplish less than we otherwise could. 
  • Our lives are less exciting. 
  • While it “feels” safer, we actually miss out on a lot of things that could make our lives better.

Today, we’re going to encourage you to pull the trigger.

It's Ready. Aim. Fire. It's NOT Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim.... Today, 5 tips to help you pull the trigger. Click To Tweet

Analysis Paralysis

Ready. Aim. Fire.

Big decisions are hard.

Making the decision on When Can I Retire? comes to mind, and we’ll use it as an example for the balance of this article.

By definition, you’ll never really know when you’re ready to retire.  How much am I REALLY going to spend in retirement?  How are the markets going to perform?  How long will I live? What about inflation?  Don’t forget about health care costs…

Aim.  Aim.  Aim.

It’s easy to get obsessed with the numbers.  You can give up valuable years trying to perfect your aim.

Or…you can get to a reasonable confidence level and pull the trigger.  Run a few calculators, get the numbers as accurate as possible, think about what you want your life to be when you retire, and then set that retirement date.  Stop procrastinating and make it happen.

Pull the trigger.

I’ve been retired 5 1/2 years now, and I’ve never regretted pulling the trigger.

I have friends who continue to struggle with the decision and are stuck in a job they hate, in spite of the reality that they have “enough” to retire.

My message to them:

There’s value in letting the arrow fly.

how to get over the fear of making a decision

Decidophobia: The Fear of Making a Decision

At the root of it, I suspect the fear of making a mistake is a primary obstacle in pulling the trigger for many Professional Aimers.  Fear can be a powerful motive, and it’s often hidden well below the surface.  There’s actually a name for it…

Decidophobia is the “irrational fear of making decisions,” and it’s a common phenomenon.  Its symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, tension, increased dependency on others for decision-making, and the inability to cope with the anxiety around making a decision.

Fortunately, you can overcome Decidophobia.

If you struggle with finding the courage to pull the trigger, I encourage you to consider the following suggestions.

5 Suggestions to Help You Pull The Trigger

For those who struggle with being a “Professional Aimer,” here are five suggestions on how you can change your mindset to make it easier to pull the trigger when facing a decision. 

1)  Look At Both Sides of The Coin

While it’s easy to get hung up on the impact of making a bad decision, think about the other side of the coin.  What are the implications of NOT making the decision?  While deciding when to retire can induce anxiety, think about the other side of the coin.  It’s easy to delay making the decision to retire.  However, the other side of that coin is that by NOT making a decision, you actually ARE deciding to give up some of the most valuable years of your life.

Not making a decision is, in reality, making a decision.  

Here’s a tip:  when thinking about the cost of “One More Year,” think of it as a percentage of your remaining healthy years.  For example, let’s assume you’re 65 years old and expect to remain healthy enough to do physical pursuits until age 75.  Delaying your retirement by one year will cost you 10% of your remaining active years.  That’s a high price to pay and may provide enough inspiration to pull the trigger.

* When you’re struggling to make a decision, change your mindset and look at the other side of the coin.

2) Ask Yourself, “What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Rather than obsess over the decision, spend some time thinking about the implications of making the wrong decision.  If you retire and realize after the fact that it was a mistake, what’s the worst that can happen?  Perhaps you decide you have to go back to work. Nothing wrong with that, and a path that many are choosing in retirement.  Perhaps you’ll end up doing a different type of work that you enjoy more than the job you left.  Perhaps you’ll land a more flexible job that allows you to work from home with fewer hours.  Thinking of the worst case can help alleviate our concerns about making a wrong decision.

We can Benefit From Making The Wrong Choices.  I would argue that it’s sometimes better to make a bad decision than to make no decision at all.  Even when making a bad decision, you’re taking action to move your life forward.  If it doesn’t turn out the way that you planned, there will be options to redirect your arrow in flight.  Bad decisions can be great opportunities for learning and growth.  Don’t fear them, but view them instead as opportunities to learn to be flexible and adjust your trajectory mid-flight.

* When you realize that the worst possible outcome is manageable, it can help finalize your decision.

3) Compare the Pros vs. Cons of Your Options

I’ve found it helpful to compare the positives and negatives associated with a decision.  Along with the negatives, you can create a contingency plan for each of the items on your “Negatives” list.  A simple example for the “Should I Retire in 2024 or 2025” decision could look something like this:

how to make better decisions

When I’ve done this in my life, I typically find one of the columns ends up with more items in it than the other, and it helps to clarify the decision.

* If you make a list of pros and cons, one will typically be longer than the other.

4) Practice By Making Small Decisions Quickly

To reduce your anxiety over pulling the trigger, be intentional with the next three small decisions you face.  Decide in advance that you’re going to make faster decisions, then look for opportunities to make those quick decisions.  We all face dozens of small decisions every day, and most of them don’t have any significant implications.  You’ll likely enjoy either of those menu options you’re considering at the restaurant, so pick one quickly and focus on the conversation with your dinner date.  

As you gain experience making smaller decisions quickly, start dialing up the approach to the larger decisions you face.   Are you going to buy the Honda or Toyota?  Chances are you’ll be happy with either car, so make your decision and move on.  In time, work on developing your ability to aim faster and pull the trigger.  Move from a “Professional Aimer” to one who not’s afraid to pull the trigger. 

* Don’t waste your time aiming too much over small decisions.  Learn to pull the trigger quickly.

5) Listen To Your Gut Instinct

There are times in life when it’s fine to make a decision purely based on gut instinct.  When my wife had the original idea to start a non-profit (See Freedom For Fido – A Story of Finding Purpose in Retirement), the decision was made based on gut instinct.  The only “aiming” we did was to spend some time in prayer (important aiming, that).

We both instinctively knew it was the right thing to do, so we pulled the trigger without having a clue how we were going to execute the dream.  We made the decision and took the first step, and it’s led to something that’s become a major purpose in our retired lives.  Four years later, I’m thankful that Freedom For Fido is part of our lives.

* Listen to your gut.  Sometimes, instinct is all you need to make a decision.

how do I know when I can retire?

The Sentence That Triggered Today’s Post

I often get asked how I get ideas for my articles, so today I thought I’d share the seed that resulted in today’s post.  A few weeks ago I was reading Morgan Housel’s article The Written Word, in which he summarized “A few thoughts about writing.”  I enjoy writers’ thoughts on writing (in fact, I’ve written one myself – see On Being A Writer), and Housel is one of my favorite authors. His final point resonated with me and reminded me of the “Ready. Aim. Fire.” mantra from my working years.  That sentence?

“Don’t overthink it.  Just start writing.”

I took his advice, opened up a new draft, and “just started writing” with three short words.

Ready. Aim. Fire.

And with that, this post was born.  I hope you don’t mind that I didn’t overthink it.

I hope you can apply the lesson to your life, as well.


The concept is easy, but sometimes it’s easier to say Ready. Aim. Fire. than it is to apply it to a decision.  Try applying these 5 suggestions to your life if you struggle with making decisions:

  1. Look At Both Sides of The Coin
  2. Ask Yourself, “What’s The Worst That Can Happen?”
  3. Compare The Pros Vs. Cons of Your Options
  4. Practice By Making Small Decisions Quickly
  5. Listen To Your Gut Instinct

Don’t become a Professional Aimer.

Learn to pull the trigger.

Your life will be better as a result.


Your Turn:  Do you struggle with making decisions?  If so, which of the 5 suggestions most resonates with you?  Why?  Do you have any other advice to give those who struggle to pull the trigger?


    1. I like that. I’ll add to it…

      While you can’t learn by trial by not “trying,” you can easily find yourself making an error if you don’t.

    2. Great points Fritz. I have been retired 3 years and have no regrets. Gave me time to spend with and care for my elderly mother before she passed. Time I am super grateful for. I continue to be busy in activities and pursuits I enjoy.

      Speaking of what’s the worst thing that can happen. I have a good friend that kept pushing out his retirement date. He was a captain of a busy fire department and worked there 30 years. He figured once I leave I can never go back. It’s a government job. He finally retired. after 6 months of being retired he was very unhappy. The things that he thought would bring him joy in retirement didn’t. He realized he was still young enough and loved and missed the work. He contacted the fire dept management and they welcomed him back. Bottom line is he worried he’d be stuck and in reality is he went back to work he loves and things worked out. There are always options.

  1. Great food for thought for future retirees Fritz! I agree with all of your points.

    The only thing I would add is; before we retired, we gave thought as to “what” we would retire “to”. Purpose drove my decision to retire, along with the numbers working out very well. 😉 Every year one works for money is one less year to give of your time and talents. Volunteering fills your heart and gladdens your soul, working only fills your wallet. Time is everything, along with our faith. Life is very short. Enjoy it by giving. Your innards will thank your decision to volunteer!

    p.s. Tell Jackie we enjoy her personally written thank you notes!

    God bless you and yours…and all your readers, Steve

    1. I second Steve’s comment on enjoying Jackie’s personally written thank you notes. Totally not necessary but appreciated.

    2. Steve, great insight on needing to have something to retire “to.” As I mentioned, the “aiming” phase of retirement should extend to the non-financial elements as well as the financial, but there still comes a time when you need to pull the trigger without really knowing if it’s going to work out.

      Thanks to the comment about Jackie – she wouldn’t be writing that personal note to you if you hadn’t been helping support Freedom For Fido, our joint purpose in retirement. Thanks for helping the dogs that need it the most, and for helping those of us who have found the charity providing so much purpose to our lives.

  2. I’m 62 and in year 7 of retirement currently spending 6 weeks on an island in SC. I “aimed” for 3-5 years even though I had the numbers to back up my retirement decision. It’s all good. God is good. I do wish I’d have let the arrow fly sooner! Great article. Take it to heart.

    1. Kelly, you’re not alone in wishing you’d let that retirement arrow fly sooner. I hear that often, though I almost never hear anyone regretting the “other side of the coin” (that I retired too soon).

  3. Thanks for your post! My target date is set! So I’m past the ready! And the aim! Our biggest struggle now is figuring out where we want our arrow to land. We need and want to downsize our housing situation and with retirement we could live anywhere. With so many choices we are stuggling. Can’t decide if we should stay in the same town, move closer to family, move back to our roots or go somewhere totally new. The real-estate situation here is becoming a real consideration. Prices where we live are sky high and the population is booming. We are trying to find a smaller house that is in a place that has amenities we think we might need as we age. The struggle is real on where we want the arrow to land. I’d love to see you write about how you decided. Thanks!

    1. M the L, good for you on setting that date! The good news is, there’s no hurry on figuring out where you want to arrow to land, that’s something you can work on in your retired years. As for picking our location, good idea for a post, just added it to my queue with the working title “How We Decided Where To Live In Retirement” (don’t hold your breath, there are over 100 ideas for future posts in my draft folder)…

      For the record, I’m 5 years into retirement, and my arrow is still strongly in flight. Retirement is a continuous search for new purposes, activities, and the pursuit of new cards to hold in your hand. I hope that arrow will never truly land until my final day on earth.

      1. “For the record, I’m 5 years into retirement, and my arrow is still strongly in flight. Retirement is a continuous search for new purposes, activities, and the pursuit of new cards to hold in your hand. I hope that arrow will never truly land until my final day on earth.” Excellent! Me too, this is the way to think about retirement. There is so much to do and so many people who need our help and support. Never give up, keep fighting, keep being useful!

  4. Excellent post Fritz! What a timely message for me as we work through my business case of when I should retire.

    I really like the tip to practice making small decisions quickly…I will begin practicing that one right away.

    Thanks for all you do!

    1. Theresa, glad to hear the post resonated with you. Good luck making those small decisions more quickly…

  5. Wow – this is very timely. I have just accepted an early (to me, at least – I’m 66!) voluntary severance package from my company after 34 years. It was essentially *the* package I had prayed might happen, and had said it would take to get me to leave. I even told a friend God had “made the decision for me” by arranging that buyout! Still, the day after the “change your mind” deadline passed, I found myself with a twinge of fear of this new unknown. These tips were good in navigating the “post-decision” worries. I have found it helpful to compare my financial projections with the lump sum buyout to the same projections if I worked two more years as originally planned. They aren’t *that* different! And I get two more years at the front end to enjoy.

    With that in mind, I might add one more tip – don’t pass up on the “good” in pursuit of the “perfect” – perhaps that’s a corollary to comparing the pros and cons.

    Good piece – thanks.

    1. Roger, congratulations on getting the incentive to help you “Fire.” Yes, it’s a big change, but I’m sure you’ll find yourself loving life on the other side of “The Starting Line” and will wonder why you waited so long.

      Also, thanks for the tip on “good” vs. “perfect”, great point that I should have included in the post.

  6. Reminded me of some lyrics by RUSH.
    “ You can choose a ready guide
    In some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide
    You still have made a choice
    You can choose from phantom fears
    And kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that’s clear
    I will choose free will.”
    That choice is allowing me two months in South America right now. Chile, Peru and Argentina. I’m great full for the experience and I’ve learned that now is the time. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

    1. I love Rush, found myself singing along as I read through the lyrics of one of my favorite songs (I could even hear the guitar in my head…).

      Enjoy South America – I’ve always wanted to visit Patagonia. Hope you have a great trip. Enjoy that flying arrow…

    2. Haha… I thought of that line too as I read that part! A retirement blog with Rush lyrics is something I can get on board with. Especially now that I’ve decided to let the arrow go after a 35 year career!

  7. Good article Fritz. Paralysis because of over analysis is common when deciding on when to retire. Two concepts that helped me finally pull the trigger – 1) MY TIME became more valuable than the money added to my retirement account. 2) I figured at best I had 30 years left to live. The first of those 10 years would be “Active Years” when I could travel and do unrestricted physical activities, the second 10 years I would be able to do less strenuous travel and physical activities, and the last 10 years probably would be limited travel and restricted activities. For every year I delayed retirement, I was reducing another year from my “Active Years”….

    1. Skip, glad to hear the “thinking in terms of the good years you have left” was a technique you used to help make the decision. I’ve used that argument with a lot of folks who are struggling to decide, and it seems to resonate with many. Thanks for adding credibility to the suggestion.

  8. Ready. Aim. Fire. As opposed to Ready. Fire. Aim. I confess to being a professional Aimer! My wife would agree that I am over thinking retirement, as would I…. As I get closer, it gets more difficult. I am now in the phase of, one last year and, oh yeah, maybe 6-12 months of part time work to ease into it. Coupled with, ok, what projects around the house need to be done before we retire so we don’t have to dip into our nest egg. My list is about $40k.
    I have committed to no more full time work after 2024 and have set the countdown clock app to 12/31/2024, but have to admit, I feel like I will be enduring the next year, not so much enjoying it. With a Fidelity score of 122 at the end of next year and 113 if I were to go now, the incentive is to have a decent “abundance” factor and one less year of expensive healthcare.
    If the job becomes a grind and stressful, the trigger finger may just have to FIRE!
    Thanks for your thoughtful articles, Fritz!

    1. Funny you mention “Ready. Fire. Aim.” I initially had that in my notes as I was writing this piece and was going to dedicate a section to the risk of not aiming long enough, but deleted it to keep the post at a manageable length. Thanks for adding it back in!

      Enjoy watching that Retirement Countdown Clock run down the days. I enjoyed that part when I went through it…

  9. Thank you for this article. The part that resonates with me is about not knowing how long you’ll be healthy. This month I’ve had one friend, just retired, start chemo treatments. Also a good friend, just turned 80, struggling with dementia – she has lived almost 20 years of retirement full of travel and serving. Whenever this happens, it makes me pause and aim — I plan to retire in 1.5 years (age 67), but I’m going back to see if I can move it up. I enjoy these articles very much!

    1. You’re welcome. No doubt, as we age, it’s shocking how often we have friends who face major medical issues. One more reason to gain the courage to pull that trigger sooner rather than later.

  10. I think sometimes our mindset can “fog” our decisions; Is life a problem to solve, or a mystery to enjoy? Our western culture has tendency to follow the four “false” idols of: money, power, pleasure, and fame. We form our “self” identities around some degree of the four. I joke with my friends that most decisions can be traced to; greed, ignorance, vanity, ego, or arrogance. As we speed up our modern world with devices and other, we fail to spend time alone with our thoughts, dreams, and what is “present” now in our attention. I remind my neices/nephews: “where attention flows, energy flows”. As Socrates said, “a life unexamined is not worth living”. Two truths that I try to hold prior to going down “the rabbit hole”: I AM / EVERYTHING CHANGES

    1. Wow, philosophical comment, Frank. I’ll confess, I read that one twice. Some good food for thought in there, thanks for adding value to the discussion. I suspect you’re going to enjoy a draft I’ve been working on recently about being “present,” perfectly aligned with your thinking.

      As for your question…life is a mystery to enjoy, in my humble opinion. Thanks for making me think.

  11. Good stuff Fritz. I think the fear of making huge decisions for many also boils down to a deep innate fear of failure that’s often rooted in childhood traumas and/or damaged relationships with parents. Not that its my story in any way ….. cough

    1. Rs, I certainly hope not, and find it troubling that anyone would draw that conclusion. Anyone who reads past the title of the post will realize it has nothing to do with mass killings, which trouble me greatly. For the record, I scheduled this post a week ago, and the topic is on the difficulty many folks have with making a decision. If it comes across as tone deaf, I would argue that the reader doesn’t know the writer very well, and I’ll decide to accept that criticism as misguided. Prayers for all of the victims in Maine. And, for those who only read the headlines…

  12. I relate so well with ready, aim, aim, aim…. I get so worn out from aiming that I often just lay down my bow and wait. I believe I will start with the small decisions made quickly exercise. Hopefully this will build my firing muscles.

    1. Nice name, Gilbert. Wink. Good luck building up those firing muscles, it feels good when you get them in shape…

    2. Fritz… a great article! I found your site and writings when I read your post regarding the “one more year syndrome” that if I recall correctly, was 2017. I’ve been a big fan of your site and work since. Ironic that the first article of yours I read dealt with the OMY syndrome and here I am still “aiming”, or as I like to stay, still planning. I might be a candidate for a case study on how not to contemplate retirement. This article will no doubt help me immensely. Thanks for sharing your work!


  13. Great article Fritz, you always bring up points that resonate with me. I have been retired 10 years and 4 months now and your article reminded me of all the years I spent around people that could never “pull the trigger”. I can’t express the beauty of ‘free time ‘ in retirement and the freedom of making my own decisions. Being financially prepared for retirement is very important, but now that I am firmly into retirement I realize that TIME is so much more valuable than money.

    Keep writing, you’re the best!

    1. 31, thanks for being on of my most loyal readers. Glad to hear my posts are still resonating with you. And I couldn’t agree more – time is clearly much more valuable than money. Too bad so few realize that.

  14. Great read about making a decisions for a happy retirement. Now back to real life. The market has been down for two years and you have not mentioned anything about replacing or moving funds in the bucket strategy. I am pretty sure there are folks out there that only had two years in bucket one and are now about to panic. The average portfolio in bucket three should have earned a good return but instead is looking about 10 to 12 percent down. Any information for them? I like to hear the bad side of the coin as well as the good. It keeps it real.

    1. Ah David, do you really want to dwell on that financial stuff? Wink.

      Good suggestion on adding another link to my Bucket Strategy chain. For the record, I’ve been blessed to be able to identify individual stocks from my Dad’s inheritance for my “refilling” process since he passed in February 2022. Somehow, I just feel that’s less relevant for the general audience, and it comes with a bit of grief, so I just haven’t been motivated to write about it. At least now, you know “the rest of the story,” with a bit of insight into my “real life”…

      1. Yes…… i truly understands. So sorry for your loss. Yes and God did throw a curve ball into both of our lives. You just keep moving forward and will get back when this downward smoke clears. My payers are sent to you!!!!

  15. You have said that you could should have retired 5-10 yrs earlier than you did
    What held you back?

    1. Brian, I have made that comment on a few podcast interviews. Typically, it’s around my savings rate through my working years, when I’ve commented that we always made sure we didn’t obsess about retirement, but rather made it a focus to enjoy our working years, as well. It cost us a few % points in our savings rate, and cost me a few years of retirement, but I wouldn’t trade those years and memories for anything.

      It’s important to enjoy the journey, and I can look back with no regrets about the path my family and I took. Ultimately, I couldn’t have retired earlier, but the price was higher than I was willing to pay.

  16. Very timely for me too Fritz – we bought a home about a month ago in a community about an hour away that we love – instead of waiting 3 years or more ! We haven’t sold the home we lived in and still haven’t but pulled the trigger anyway and thought about some of the points you made! Thank you for affirming our decision today !! We knew our future selves would be glad we pulled the trigger and we’re very pleased with the cottage and city !!

    1. Dusty, glad to hear it was timely. Good for you for pulling that trigger on buying the new home – hope you’re able to get there full time sooner rather than later.

  17. “If you never pull the trigger, the arrow never leaves the bow.”
    Disagree. Release the string to let the arrow leave the bow.

    1. You’ve obviously never shot a cross bow, which utilize a trigger? Compound bows also come with triggers. I intentionally chose “arrow” over “bullet”, as I liked the sound of an arrow in flight better than a bullet. I did think about the trigger analogy to make sure it was still appropriate…

  18. I suspect part of the issue is consistent with the difficulty of many to transition from a frugal saver and hard worker to a spender. Later in most careers, experience is rewarded with higher compensation, and many folks are making more than they ever thought possible, and in many cases later in our careers with a wealth of knowledge and experience, work is a lot less stressful and actually enjoyable. I could have kept at my job for quite a while longer. Folks like me may not know how much is enough, cuz we never focused on how much we would need, we just worked as hard as we could and kept accumulating. So I think some good advice is to engage with outlifts like Rockin Retirement or Wade Pfau’s (read his book first if you are comfortable with numbers). For me it was like Ok we just finished the work marathon, now let’s see how this retirement stuff works. I should have engaged earlier for a clearer decision/transition. Another great article Fritz.

    1. No doubt, Allen. It’s harder to leave during those peak earning years. Just makes it that much harder to pull the trigger. Pleased to hear you found the encouragement to pull it, even if it wasn’t as soon as you now wished (a very common regret wrt retirement timing, btw)…

  19. Good post and covers some familiar ground.
    Perhaps I was hiding behind over analyzing the math to postpone the decision which led to three years of one the more year syndrome. As we age the heath and fitness runway gets shorter. Counting the remaining fitness and healthy years remaining was the deciding factor. 6 months into this retirement gig and not looking back. It is a good decision and the math worked out anyways.

    1. Francis, thanks for another confirmation on Tip #1 (evaluate your decision on the basis of “remaining years of health”), seems to have resonated with many of the readers.

  20. Great topic for those of us struggling with the timing of the decision. It made me think of one of my favorite quotes by Teddy Roosevelt “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Kind of ties right in with the Rush lyrics! Neil Peart was a genius, as well as the best drummer. I guess we are all showing our age knowing the song that well!

    1. Ironically, I just saw that Teddy Roosevelt quote this morning. Wish I’d have included it in the post. And yes, Neil was a genius, may he RIP…

  21. Fritz:

    72 more days…or as we use to say in my youth…while I was serving in Viet Nam…”71 and a wake up.”

    January 5, 2024 is my official retirement date. I originally planned to retire in November, 2020, the month after I turned 70, and we know how that worked put. I saw no reason to retire and stay home enduring COVID’s shut downs, with a portfolio that had declined over $225K.

    We are getting a head start by traveling over the next few months. We’ll be spending Thanksgiving week in your current home town, Blue Ridge, GA. Christmas in Virginia Beach, VA with my daughter & her husband. Then, after two months at home, (haven’t decided where to go yet,) in April we are going to check out The Villages Florida for a week, on a Life Style Visit. May, vacation for a week in Branson, MO. June, Pawhuska, OK so my wife can meet her heroine, Red Drummond, The Pioneer Woman on The Food Channel. Then back to NC and a 3 month stay at the beach, to see if we like it enough to live there. We also plan to revisit TN and PA again, before we make the decision where to relocate to, to establish our “retirement home.”

    Do I wish I retired earlier? Not really, but its time. I actually enjoyed my third career in academics. November 1st is my 15th year anniversary as a College Professor. I have been teaching Financial Planning and Retirement Planning for the past 15 years. I put all that I knew into planning our retirement, and I am ready to get it started. Travel, continuing on my carnivore diet (began August 7th, and I am down 39 pounds so far,) and concentrating on better health will be my focus over the next 12-24 months. Then I will decide what my new purpose in life will be. Like you and your bride, animals will be involved, as well as serving Veterans and fellow seniors, using my lifetime of financial knowledge.

    Your book was one of the resources I used originally, as I began my retirement planning journey. Morgan House’s book was as well. Thanks to both of you!

    Love your attitude and all your writings. You have a gift!

    1. Kevin, first…may we never forget the sacrifice made by so many of our soldiers – thanks for your service.

      Second, congrats on your rapidly approaching “Starting Line,” looks like you have quite the agenda lined up for year #1. Afraid we’re going to be at our Alabama condo for Thanksgiving week (visiting our daughter and granddaughter), so I’m going to miss you on your visit. Enjoy Blue Ridge, my favorite place in the world!

      Finally – 39 pounds!! Wow!

      Finally, finally – thanks for the kind words on my writing, much appreciated.

  22. This essay could not have come at a better time in my life at 63-1/3 years old. Procrastination sets in, delays, delays and more delays. Yes, what is the worst that could happen? Thank you for writing this.

    1. Glad it resonated, Steve. The right words at the right time. As a writer, I could ask for nothing else…

  23. Very good points. I pulled the trigger 7 years ago & am absolutely sure did the right thing, although the best laid plans don’t always work out. Moved back closer to family, &immediately had 3 deaths in wife’s family. It has Ben a blessing she has been close enough to an manage the affairs of all 3, as well a those of stepmother still living.

    1. Sorry for your losses, Jeff. As you said, at least you were able to be there when it mattered most.

  24. I lean towards paralysis by analysis. Probably a result of wanting to live a life without regrets, which has served me well. I have never had a lot of luck with the pros and cons list. I find that a pro for one decision typically ends up as a con for the other side of the list, so they balance each other out. What works best for me is to read about different options, talk with those I trust, pray and then follow my gut.

  25. When we were deciding on whether or not we should move to the country of Panama after reaching early retirement, this was exactly the sort of logic that we needed to work through. This was not something that most folks would consider doing and so the noise of friends and family was that this idea was crazy. But the upside of taking on this adventure was too good to pass up over the downside. And if we didn’t like it, we could always move back. More importantly, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity and then have that “what if I had tried that” regret when I was older.

    It was a huge change, but it was by far the most wonderful thing we had ever done… so cool to be a part of another culture! We only stayed for a few years because my wife wanted to be closer to family, but those 3 years will be unbelievable memories for the rest of our lives.

    And it’s all because we decided to pull the trigger. Awesome post, Fritz, and so accurate!

  26. Fritz, very good! There is a military axiom that says, “We learn from the decisions we make.” If we lean into a growth-mindset, it takes the focus off of right vs. wrong & places it on the journey, which I think is your point. God bless you!

  27. This post resonated with me as well and came at a time when I’ve been reflecting on my plans. My partner and I have been planning on a Spring 2024 retirement. I’m still in my 40s; my partner is more than 10 years older than me. As next spring creeps closer, I’ve been having a slight case of cold feet…but I think I’m ready to pull the trigger. Financially, we’re in fine shape. I feel good about our numbers–I think we have the elusive “enough,” as well as the ability/willingness to be flexible. Nevertheless, I’ve been coaching myself up — this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll never work again. Maybe this is a career break, maybe I’ll get a fun part-time gig, maybe I’ll do some contract work. I won’t have to, but I could if I want to — and that’s not an early retirement “failure.” (I don’t know why I even spend a moment worrying about such silliness, but I suppose that’s a Type A person for you.) For me, the positives of retiring hugely outweigh any potential cons or worries. I’m looking forward to owning my time, trying some new hobbies, exploring new sights with my partner. “Tomorrow is not promised” has always been a powerful guidepost for me, and it’s a big driver for me in pulling the trigger now. With our age gap, I want to be able to spend time with my partner doing the things we want to do while we’re both healthy.

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