how a game of poker is like retirement

Retirement Is Like A Game of Poker

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I had a revelation the other day.

Retirement is like a game of poker. 

You don’t play poker?  That’s irrelevant for today’s post.  Heck, I haven’t played a hand in over 30 years.  Regardless, there are some fundamentals about the game that could lead to a better life in retirement.  Today, we’ll take a look at those and see how you can apply them in your life.

Retirement is like a game of poker. Apply some techniques from the game and improve your odds of a great retirement. Click To Tweet

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Retirement Is Like A Game of Poker

Readers sometimes question how I get my ideas for my posts.  In truth, it’s often a serendipitous path that leads to the words that appear on this page.  I think about various topics throughout my day, and some thoughts just bubble up into things I believe are worth writing (and, I hope, are worth reading).

Today’s post is a good example of that process.  It started with a reader comment on my post “Retirement Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be.” The comment stuck with me, as they often do, while I was walking my dogs in our woods.  Below is a portion of Brad’s comment that started it all:

“I did have one question – in reading this post and others I wonder if there is anything you’ve tried that hasn’t worked out since you retired and you stopped doing it and moved on?”

From that simple question, my brain eventually came up with the metaphor of a game of poker.  Don’t ask me how that happened, I haven’t a clue.  Regardless, the more I thought about it, the more I found it an appropriate mental picture for many aspects of retirement.

I hope you’ll agree.

With that as my intro, the following are ways that a game of poker is like retirement.


your starting hand in a game of poker

You Start With Some Cards In Your Hand

On the day you retire, you hold some cards in your hand.  Unlike in poker, you selected some of those cards.  Others, you were dealt.  You hold what you hold. How you play that hand in “Retirement Poker” can have a profound impact on your life.

Unlike poker, however, there’s no “rule” on how many cards you can hold.  The game also lasts much, much longer than a typical card game.  Settle in and relax, you’re going to be playing this game for a while.


You’re Free To Discard Cards You Don’t Like  

THIS was the thought that triggered today’s post, and it comes as a direct response to the question Brad raised in his comment.  Summarized, he asked if there’s anything I’ve tried that hasn’t worked out…you stopped doing it and moved on?

The Simple Answer?  “Absolutely.”

We’re all free to discard any of the cards we’d like, at any time. In fact, I’d encourage you to make a habit of it. Be proud of the moment you recognize a card that you no longer need and your courage in laying it down.  

An example:  While I was still working, I’d often take time to go fishing when we came to our mountain cabin on vacations.  I figured that was a card I’d play a lot in retirement.  I’ve not fished in over a year.  I don’t really know why, I’ve just had other things going on that I’ve placed a higher value on.  Things that I enjoy more.  In hindsight, I’ve discarded the fishing card from my hand (for now).  Maybe I’ll pick it back up later.  That’s the great thing about the Retirement Poker game, you can put cards down, or pick them up, at will. 

A great thing about the Retirement Poker game is that you can put cards down, or pick them up, at will. Click To Tweet

Always look for cards to discard. If something isn’t interesting to you anymore, simply place it on the table.  Sometimes, it’s more valuable to discard a card to make room for a better one.

What’s the lowest value card you’re currently holding?   Why are you still holding it?


You’re Free To Draw New Cards 

Just as in poker, the game of Retirement Poker allows you to draw new cards.  The difference in retirement is that you can continue to draw new cards as often as you’d like.  There’s also no limit on how many you’d like to draw.

As I wrote in my book, one of the biggest Keys To A Successful Retirement is to pursue your curiosity.  If something interests you, pursue it.  Take the first step.  Draw that card, and put it in your hand.  It doesn’t cost much to explore that new card, and you can always discard it later if it doesn’t serve you well. 

Continually seek out opportunities to draw new cards.

An example:  As I mentioned in Retirement Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be, there are a lot of things I’m doing in retirement that I never expected.  Summarizing from that article:

  • Buying a second home
  • Being on a Board of Directors
  • Co-Running a charity
  • Becoming a woodworker

Each of those represent new cards that I’ve drawn in my game of Retirement Poker.  I don’t regret picking up any of those cards, and there are others I could include on the list (golf, Spin class, refinishing furniture, landscaping work, etc.).  

A secret in Retirement Poker:  Unlike “real” Poker, you’re able to pick up cards that you’ve previously discarded.  Remember that fishing example?  It’s certainly possible (probable?) that I’ll be picking that card up again someday.  Even better, every card that you’ve previously discarded lies “face-up” on the table, just waiting for you to decide if it’s something you’d like to put back in your hand.


making bets in a game of poker

You Make Bets

You can’t get through life without making bets, whether you realize you’re betting or not.  Deciding on when you’re going to retire is one of the biggest bets you make in life.  A bet is a decision made, or a position taken, without knowing the outcome.  By design, many of the decisions you make as you plan your retirement are made without knowing how they’ll turn out.  

Are you going to keep that big house, or are you going to downsize?  Buy an RV? Buy a second home?  Move closer to the kids? Those are all big bets.  Sometimes it’s best to make smaller bets to “test the waters”.  Why not rent an RV for a month to test it out before buying?  Or, consider an AirBnB to explore your potential retirement relocation destination.   

An example:  When I first retired I wanted to explore video editing.  I was hoping to produce some YouTube videos.  As an example of a “small bet”, I chose a lower-cost video editing software (Corel Video Studio) for ~$80.  I wasn’t sure if video editing was a card I would hold in my hand, so I didn’t want to place a big bet.  The small bet was sufficient, and I’ve been able to produce a few videos for my Retirement Manifesto YouTube channel, as well as some for my wife’s charity, where we created a dedicated Freedom For Fido YouTube channel. 

I haven’t had the time to make as many videos as I’d hoped, but it continues to be a card I hold.  I’m glad I placed a small bet on the video editing software to allow me to play the game without having buyer’s remorse by spending too much on software I don’t use very often.  I’m hoping to spend more time on YouTube video creation in the coming years…time will tell. 

For now, my small bet has paid off.


The Ultimate Goal: To Improve Your Hand

The goal in Retirement Poker is to continually improve your hand.  

If you were dealt some cards at retirement that you enjoy (blogging, for me), you can keep it for as long as you like.  If you were dealt some that aren’t serving you well, go ahead and discard them.  Looking to improve your life? Pick up a new card and try it out for a while.  Make a habit of continually mixing in new cards with the cards you’re already holding.  Work to find cards to discard.  

The tricky part of Retirement Poker is that sometimes the dealer can force a card into your hand that you didn’t expect.  Life is full of unexpected surprises.  Some are positive, some not.  Just like in real poker, Lady Luck will play a role.  There’s always risk in the game.

If you were dealt a card you don’t like, seek ways to improve your hand.  If you can’t discard that ugly one, make a conscious decision to accept it with as positive an attitude as you can muster. 

Your hand, and your life, will be better for the effort.


My Response To Brad

Remember earlier when I said this post resulted from a serendipitous journey?  It all started with that comment from Brad.  I thought you may be interested in my initial response.  As you’ll see, this post continued to evolve after my initial comment.  That constant evolution of thought is one of the things I most enjoy about writing.

For the record, here’s my original response to Brad:

As for your question, there are many things I’ve “stopped doing”. Your question actually triggered another post idea in my head on my morning walk with the dogs this morning…stay tuned for a future post on the subject (Hint: The working title is “Retirement Is Like A Deck Of Cards”….but keep it our secret, ok? Wink.). In summary, I think you’re right to consider which cards you’re holding in your hand and whether it’s time to discard one to make room for a new card. Our goal should always be to improve our hand, regardless of how difficult it may be to let go of the lowest card we’re holding. Hope that helps.

Yep, my post evolved a bit as I wrote it, but you can clearly see the seeds.  You’ll note the title evolved since my initial response.  I hope you like the one I chose, seemed to be a bit more “catchy” to me.  Since you decided to give it a click and have read through to this point, I trust that you agree.


Conclusion

At first glance, there seems little correlation between a game of poker and retirement.  Dig a little deeper, however, and there are some lessons from poker that can be used to improve your life in retirement.  I find the metaphor of drawing and discarding cards a powerful way to think about what you choose to pursue in retirement.

A warning about this game of Retirement Poker.  Unlike real poker, which lasts but a few hours, you’ll be playing this game of Retirement Poker for the rest of your life.  Study the game, and learn how to play it well.

Also, beware that the stakes in Retirement Poker are much higher:

In poker, you bet your money.

In Retirement Poker, you bet your life. 


Your Turn:  What cards have you drawn lately?  Any you’ve discarded?  Let’s chat…

50 comments

  1. Mike: nice analogy but I would add one more thing: Think like the “house”. That is, try new things but don’t bet more than you should, could, or want to. Your example of trying video editing is a good example – you opted for the lower cost choice to try your hand, while someone else would dive in with both feet and use $$$ to purchase something more complex.

  2. Really love this concept, thanks for the idea. As a pre-retiree, I am trying out various cards now to see which ones I want to take with me into retirement. Looking to diversify my cards – Golf and other exercise, charity work, watercolor painting, soap making, travel, etc. We will see what sticks, what gets discarded and what new cards I am dealt.

  3. Thank-you for the insight. I am so glad to have found your blog about six months ago and look forward to each post. In my case, I anticipate retiring within the next 18 months and am trying to determine if I have the right cards in my hand and if they are of high enough value.

    1. I’m glad you found my blog, too. 🙂 Best of luck in your final 18 month sprint to The Starting Line. I remember when I was at that point as if it were yesterday. Felt like I was running in quicksand. Keep the faith, you’ll cross that line before you know it. Thanks for taking me along.

      1. “Running in quicksand” is the perfect analogy. There is so much to do and everyone has a different opinion on how to do it.

  4. Fritz,
    I love the easy to remember Poker analogy. What I grasped on to was giving myself permission to lay down some cards that aren’t working best nor optimal. We are in Pre-retirement and having said “Yes” to so many things in life, it is good to say “No” where needed. One thing this next season of life that is clear to me is that it is finite and precious. Therefore, living life with a more thoughtful/better strategy and planning is vital. However, I also give myself the wiggle room and grace to absorb mistakes made and minimize wasting energy on unnecessary guilt. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the cards you have played and drawn. It is a blessing to learn from you and those who go before us into this new adventure of life!

    1. I’ve found it’s harder to say “No” than “Yes”. Glad the analogy resonated with you, hope it helps you figure out which cards you need to discard! It sounds like you’re thinking about the right things as you approach your retirement, best of luck on your journey.

  5. Just played poker the other week actually! Are used to play so much poker, it was the thing to do for people who worked in finance and on the trading floor. Poker battles after work every other day!

    You might like Thinking In Bets By Annie Duke. She is a fellow Portfolio Penguin Random House writer. In fact , I think you’ll love it!

    You’ll have to share more about your book marketing journey and how that was like. My book comes out on June 28, 2022 and I’m both looking forward to it and not looking forward to it.

    I am excited to provide more representation in the personal finance and nonfiction finance author realm. Got to be the change you want to see in the world for our children!

    Sam

    1. I don’t think I’d ever want to play poker against you, Sam. Your mind is clearly sharper than mine. Love your work, looking forward to your new book. The marketing phase was pretty intense (“scripted” by my publisher, they were excellent), will be thinking of you as summer rolls around. Thanks for stopping by, honored to have you on my site. Made a note of your recommended read, I keep a list of books I want to read in my Goodreads log.

      #BeTheChange

  6. Great column! When I was working, I had a colleague who talked about “opportunity cost.” Surprisingly, not everyone got this concept. What he meant was that he (and his team) could not do everything, and choosing to do something was an implicit decision not to be available for something else. Deciding to “drop a card” was important, because, in poker as in life, there is a limit to how many things you can hold in your hand.
    Since I retired, a bit over a year ago, I have drawn some cards that I wasn’t expecting that have turned out great:
    – Running most days and finding a couple of local running clubs to run and socialize with.
    – Working for a few weeks as an extra in the production of a TV show filming locally. I certainly would not have had the time for something like this while working. (Plug: Catch “The Gilded Age” on HBO beginning at the end of January.)
    A couple of cards I have discarded were both community service, I am sorry to say. I would like to do something for community service, but unfortunately the couple of things I have tried so far have not really clicked, and I did not feel like I was making much difference. I felt it was important to “discard” these to have the flexibility to find something that will work out better.
    Thanks again for the great post!

    1. Love to hear more on how you became an extra. Im sure it doesn’t pay well but bet it’s fascinating to see movie production.

      1. Absolutely right! They paid a bit but not a lot. I really did it for the experience to see and be involved in the production. Much of the filming was in Troy, NY, where I live. The reason is that sections of downtown Troy resemble New York City in the 1880s, which is the setting for the show. The casting company posted a flier at our local farmers’ market. On a whim, I applied. It was a great experience, although difficult at times — long periods waiting around, sometimes starting at 4am or working all night… 🙂

        1. Very cool, Daryl. Thanks for sharing that experience. Definitely a cool card to hold in your hand of Retirement Poker! Great point about opportunity cost, too. Good point about being a limit to the number of cards you hold, nice addition to the discussion. Good luck finding a better “fit” with some community service, that card has played nicely into our hand in retirement, hope you find the same for yours.

  7. I tried making homemade bread and it was good, (and a fun hobby) but made me fat. Dropped that one. Spent more time in my garden, keeper. Tried learning to crochet. Can’t pick it up on my own, will try again with lessons (maybe) later. Tried making soap- it’s chemistry in the kitchen complete with safety glasses. Love it! I’ll be making soap for a long time I can tell. Weaving is tedious, one and done on that. Next up, pottery classes. Then maybe beekeeping? Hmmm.

    1. Haha, “Fat Bread!” I LOVE homemade bread, fortunately something we only have as a special treat. I’m blessed with an amazing cook for a wife, btw. Need to work on that gardening card, definitely an interest. Thanks for sharing the various cards you’re trying, best of luck with those bees (something about harvesting your own honey has always appealed to me, too)!

  8. Thanks Fritz,
    Your blog has made me feel much better about my situation in retirement. I retired last August because I was struggling to keep up physically. I am 63 years old.Part of my retirement plan was to work part time so I could put off taking social security til at least my full retirement age. It is nice not working but it has almost become an obsession now to find a part time job, being afraid to stray from my plan. Your post “Retirement is like a game of poker” makes me realize that I have time now to relax and improve my hand.
    Thanks for the attitude adjustment!
    Dave

    1. “Your blog has made me feel much better about my situation in retirement.”

      I could ask for no greater compliment, Dave. Glad to hear this post resonated, you DO have time to relax and play whatever cards you choose. If that requires a change of plans, so be it. Part of the joy of retirement, as you seem to be discovering, is to embrace the change and remain flexible. Thanks again for your kind words.

  9. It is just that. A constant assortment of tasks, opportunities, interest, desires, choices that it can be overwhelming if you don’t step back and remind yourself that “I’m retired and this does not have to be completed in a weekend, it the rest of your life “ , just as you stated.
    Love hearing from you, keep it up.
    Thanks
    Mike

  10. Good column, and i enjoyed the analysis… however, since poker is not a draw and replacement game, except for the first time, the analogy was probably better for ‘rummy.’ There you continually draw & discard until you get the final winning hand, or someone else does (or dies?). I retired in a good place in 18 (money, health, & mindwise), but the last 3+ yrs have not been what I wanted/hoped for. Covid stinks. My social life has not improved as I hoped, so I’m trying to figure out how to get some new ‘cards’ in my hand. You have reminded me of stale cards that are not going to pair, so lets get some new ones. Cheers!

  11. I’ve been a subscriber for a while (60 yo pre-retiree), and always enjoyed your posts, but this is the first time I’ve felt moved to write in to thank you. The card game metaphor resonates with me, and also reminded me that I’ve read that one of the essential ingredients in a long and fulfilling life is to stay always curious and look for new experiences. Apparently the key to “slowing time” is to have novel experiences, which is why time seems to go slow when we are kids and faster as we get older – it’s because we are are having fewer novel experiences.

  12. I think I am carrying too many cards at this time. I love the collection. A type personality. But you are right, that is not the goal. the goal is to play a card.

  13. To extend the poker analogy, I would add timing to what you bet on. If your bucket list includes strenuous physical demands, you might want to bet that card earlier in the game. Also, if you are team betting, i.e. spouse, that adds another dimension to the game.

  14. The biggest card I discarded was NOT getting a “fun”, part-time job. The ACA provided insurance at a price I couldn’t turn down but wouldn’t be eligible for if my income were higher. So I put that card down for ’21 and ’22. I also did not travel or volunteer at my local school as planned due to covid. I also picked up 2 “cards” -community volunteering-that I ultimately set back down because they weren’t a good fit. So several surprises in my hand!

    Instead, I have chosen other cards. Turns out I am loving a bit slower pace (who knew?) and the freedom of choice “time wealth” provides. I have completed more than 2 dozen “fidget mats” for dementia patients and will return to that soon. I put more time into my card-making, creating birthday cards for foster children and thank you cards for a veterans group. I have experimented with new art, including watercolor. Some friendships have deepened. I am leaving home soon for 3 months to give my sister respite, caring for our mother AND taking over her job at a food bank. (Turns out, it is a bit of work to walk away from your “regular” life for a while!) So interesting to see what is next!

  15. I’m new to your blog and enjoy it. I’m 62, teaching half time and still enjoying it bc I like my students, my discipline, the schedule is easy and I’m good at it. Also I’m kinda scared of retiring completely bc I don’t have a good retirement project, I’m so identified with my work, it fills a lot of needs: income, health insurance, connections, meaningful work, a reason to get up…So I might hold that card for another year, but that would keep me from picking up a traveling card. Nice to have choices! not everyone is so fortunate. Good metaphor, thanks.

  16. Fritz,

    Great analogy and tool for helping prepare for retirement. Both my wife and I are still working, but we thought we were five years out on retirement. A recent breast cancer “card” definitely changed our plans. We live in high cost of living area (southern California) and are now considering move to lower cost of living area (Michigan). We are considering cashing out on our property here, and paying cash and having no mortgage in retirement. Spending time with grandchildren became a higher priority and it feels like all the cards have been shuffled. I am so grateful for all the wisdom you have shared on your blog. Thankfully, we have solid resources in 401 k and pension. Nothing is ever set in stone, but planning and preparation have made a huge difference. Thanks for all that you do to add value.

    Don’t forget to dust off that fishing card!

    1. Bill:
      My pastor once shared a story during a sermon that has stuck with me for years. He talked about his Irish Setter, Sunburn (great name, right?) He explained how much Sunburn LOVED to get his ears scratched and a pet on the head. Sunburn followed him from room to room, sofa to couch to chair, and always sat just to his right. See, Sunburn was always “putting himself in position” so that IF, by any stroke of luck, his master purposefully or idly reached out to give him a pat or scratch, he didn’t miss it!

      I have shared this story with many over the years, especially young teenagers in my classroom, and the importance of putting ourselves in position – to be awarded the scholarship, to secure the job reference, to handle a financial emergency. And it seems to apply to you. I am so sorry to hear of the cancer diagnosis; the “C” word is always frightening. Yet by planning ahead and preparing, you put yourself in the position to play this hand….to follow your hearts and your priorities. Well done, and God’s blessing on you, your wife, and your family as you move forward.

      1. Great thoughts, and great cards you are playing from your previous post. I’ve heard some define luck in the way you describe “putting oneself in position”. What many see as “Luck” is really more often derived from putting yourself in position you so you are more likely able to grab hold of opportunities that present themselves and that improve your hand.

    2. Bill, so sorry to hear your wife was dealt a bad card. It’s been shocking to us how many friends we have who are coming down with serious illnesses. Cherish every day you have, and best of luck on your move out of CA. I hope you’re able to get a U-Haul, seems like everyone is leaving that state these days. Enjoy the unplanned early crossing of The Starting Line, and that special time with your grandkids.

  17. Nice analogy, Fritz – I just hit the 3-year mark of early retirement and I’ve drawn multiple cards since then! 🙂

    Obviously, some of the things we’ve done have been awesome (like our time in Panama). But there are things I’ve tried along the same scale as your video editing that I thought I’d want to do but then… not so much. One of those is gardening – I always thought it would be cool to grow my own veggies but I lost interest pretty quick – before I even really started! 😂

    Maybe I’ll try it again down the line, but that’s the nice thing about retirement. There are so many things in the hopper that you want to do that you can just draw new cards and pick the ones you want. Working out, learning Spanish, working on the blog, and spending time with family seem to be the biggest ones that have stuck so far!

    1. Agreed-one of the great luxuries of retirement is the ability (and time, and money) to pursue many interests as well as abandon those that don’t “pan out.” It is a gift!

  18. Great post today that really resonated with me!

    This verse of a Kenny Rogers song kept popping into my head while I read your post:
    You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
    Know when to fold ’em
    Know when to walk away
    And know when to run

    Seems appropriate, doesn’t it?

    PS The fishing card is my favorite!

  19. Just to give everyone something to think about…

    Retirement Is Like A Game of Poker can be generalized as…
    Life Is Like A Game of Poker with one BIG DIFFERENCE, GOD is the dealer!
    For the people on the border line, GOD = GENES + ENVIRONMENT

    You Start With Some Cards In Your Hand…
    By PUBERTY, you have all CARDS in your hands.

    You’re Free To Discard Cards You Don’t Like…
    99% of the population DO NOT have the ability to do this SAFELY!
    Most will hurt themselves and/or the loves around them.

    You’re Free To Draw New Cards…
    Again, 99% of the population DO NOT have the ability to do this SAFELY!
    Most will hurt themselves and/or the loves around them.

    You Make Bets…
    You make investment toward PROGRESS, bets are just too risky.

    The Ultimate Goal: To Improve Your Hand…
    Yes, everyone has the best cards dealt at PUPERTY…
    It is up to you see your the POTENTIAL in your hand and PLAY it for the PROGRESS IN HUMANITY.

  20. Great analogy, I especially love being able to pick up cards you’ve tossed. That would change real poker for sure! I too love fishing but do it in spurts, and sometimes put it away for a while. But man it’s a great ‘slow down’ activity that we really need in these frantic times. Good stuff dude1

  21. New cards for me since retiring early in Aug:
    1. Started renovating an old airstream camper that we bought used in 98, camped twice, then let it sit until now
    2. Learning a foreign language using the DuoLingo app
    3. Built a retaining wall at my daughter’s house in Decatur GA (probably not far from Fritz)

    Cards I’ve discarded
    A. Watching movies/TV (I thought I could catch up on everything I’ve missed over the past 2 decades)
    B. Learning guitar (I bought an amp, restrung the guitar, downloaded an app)
    …but other things took priority

    1. Great thoughts, and great cards you are playing from your previous post. I’ve heard some define luck in the way you describe “putting oneself in position”. What many see as “Luck” is really more often derived from putting yourself in position you so you are more likely able to grab hold of opportunities that present themselves and that improve your hand.

  22. Thanks Fritz, great article and food for thought. Im beginning my 8th year of retirement at 64 years old and still loving the adventure. Your blog has been a big part of enjoying retirement for me. I’ve been dealt my unexpected cards in retirement, most of them I didn’t see coming. Having a plan and sticking to it has made things manageable. Like you have said in previous articles, retirement is exactly like I expected and retirement is nothing like I expected. It has turned out to be a lot more of an adventure than I thought it would be. My best preparation for retirement turned out, unexpectedly, to be my career. Every night when I went to work I thought I knew what I was going to be doing. When I retired after 31 years I deflected that I was almost never correct. As it turns out, retirement is going basically the same way. The difference for me now is that I’ve learned to embrace the adventure.

    And I loved the painting of the dogs playing poker at the end of your article. My Dad had that painting hanging over his work bench in our garage when I was a kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, I still have a handful of cards I have yet to play.

    1. “Embrace the adventure,” indeed. Interesting how retirement is so different than we expect. The best way to have a great retirement is to learn to embrace that ambiguity. Glad you liked the pic of those dogs, that was a last minute addition as I was doing my final edit on the post. Thanks for your loyalty to my blog, much appreciated.

  23. Wow Fritz. Love the title of your post! It certainly drew me in (no pun intended!). Indeed your metaphor is a great way to think about it. As many had said to me prior to my retired life starting, you can end up being as busy or more busy than your working life. That’s proven true in the 18 months since I retired. Thankfully my challenge has been how not to get oversubscribed (vs being bored). I have struggled with determining which card(s) to lay down. Your emphasis on what is higher value to you at this time is a good reminder and also the idea you might pick up the card down the road. What will bring the most joy, impact, outcomes you hope for or just plain fun and enjoyment. Our mindfulness meditation teacher calls the card the dealer forces upon you the “unwanted house guest”. Many times that unwanted house guest eventually leaves (sometimes we are stuck with it). Thanks so much for your thoughtful post. It really does help!

    Brad

    P.S. My wife is a science fiction and fantasy author, a career she worked in parallel to her day job. Now that she too is retired, she is doing it full time. I’ve seen and learned from her that good writing is hard to do and it’s an art. As for your writing….rest assured what you write is worth reading 🙂 how you turned your response to my question into an engaging article to read is a great example. something I need to apply more of in videos am creating for my YouTube channel about my outdoor adventures and upcoming Pacific Crest Trail hike.

    1. Brad, pleased to see you leaving the comment, given that your original comment is the one that sparked the post. I can relate to the challenge of “not getting oversubscribed”, I face the same myself. Thanks for your kind words on my writing, and best of luck to your wife with her writing in retirement. Looking forward to your YouTube videos of hiking the PCT!

  24. Fritz,
    This post really spoke to me, so thank you. Retirement, or in my case, how it happened, was like being dealt a bad hand. I had worked for a government agency for many years, had several promotions and always enjoyed the job and the people.
    Then, WHAM – I ended up with a bad boss who essentially set me up to fail. I found myself in a hostile work environment, so I decided to retire in a hurry, rather than stay and be miserable. I placed my retirement “bet”.
    The good news is, due to planning, saving, investing, being active, etc. I was able to “pull the plug” suddenly and make it work. At the time it felt pretty precarious, but, I’m glad to say that now, 4 years later, I’m having a comfortable retirement where I can still pay my mortgage and do what I need to do, and then some!

  25. Fritz,
    I think I see a bit of a theme developing here!
    Out of interest, is there any particular reason you selected a picture of what I think is a Dutch set of playing cards?

  26. Hi Cousin Fritz!

    We retired in 2015 at 55 and 54.

    Cards we played, but are no longer playing:

    Gardening. I’ll bet we pick this back up when we’re not planning to travel as much. We do have some perennial herbs growing that DH enjoys using when he cooks.

    Hiking. We did a lot of local hikes during our first months of retirement. We especially enjoyed weekday hikes when trails were less crowded. We’re looking forward to picking this card back up this Spring.

    Working. A few months after we had both stopped working, DH got a job offer from a big company in the Seattle area. One child was already living and working in Seattle. The other wanted to check out the area. We figured, let’s give it a shot. We knew we wanted to resume our retirement in the NC mountains within a couple of years, so we arranged for some friends to keep an eye on our house, packed some essentials and had them shipped across the country, hitched our travel trailer and drove and visited sites for 18 days, and then rented an apartment. We had a great time! DH enjoyed the job. We helped our second child get set up there (she decided to stay), used the unexpected income to gift our kids some money to pay off their student loans and open Roth IRAs. We also took advantage of the company’s generous match to make some hefty donations to some favorite charities back in NC. And we padded our accounts so our retirement is a bit more safe than it had been. After a couple of years DH resigned and we enjoyed a leisurely trip back across the country (just over 3 weeks this time) to resume our retirement.

    Community Service. I served on the Board for a local 501(c)(3) for six years. The org’s bylaws cap service at six years which for me was the end of 2021. Good timing as I was ready to take a break.

    Card I thought I’d play but didn’t:

    Music. I played clarinet from 4th to 12th grade. I thought I’d pick it back up and play in a community group in retirement. I practiced regularly for a while, but didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I’ve set that card back down for now.

    Cards we’re playing:

    RVing! We enjoyed our travel trailer for six years. We’ve sold it and are waiting for our Sprinter 4×4 to be completed later this year.

    Reading. We both enjoy having more time to read than we had when we were working. We mostly download library books and audiobooks that we can easily take with us when we travel and that don’t build more clutter in our lives.

    Cooking. DH is really enjoying cooking and I’m enjoying the meals he makes for us!

    Learning. I’m enjoying doing some of the homework I should have done before we retired – reading, watching YouTube videos, and getting our finances in better order. Thanks for all the work you put into your blog!!

    Genealogy. Finally, I enjoy working on our family tree and finding new cousins!

    Fingers crossed that this posts with correct formatting instead of one big blob of text. Apologies to all if it ends up being the latter.

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