The Ten Commandments Of Retirement

In three months, my life is going to change.  Drastically.  Last week, I shared my thoughts as I enter my final 100 Days To Freedom.  As promised in that article, today I’ll share a continuation of the thinking, A Part 2, if you will, titled “The Ten Commandments Of Retirement”.

Combined, these two posts represent my current philosophy on our transition as we approach the Starting Line Of Retirement, with less than 100 days to go.  I hope you can apply some of these thoughts in your life, wherever in life you may be, and that you have a better retirement as a result.

These posts represent my thoughts as I approach the Final 100 Days to Financial Freedom. Click To Tweet

If you’re young, think of these commandments as long-term goals, things to consider as you chart your way through life.  If you’re already retired, think and decide for yourself if some of these make sense for you to apply in your own retirement.  I encourage you to add some of your own ideas in the Comments below (BTW, have I mentioned I LOVE the exchange I have with the readers in the comments?  Thx for joining in!). 

It’s time for a discussion on what matters in our post-retired lives.  I’m just “a guy sharing my thoughts”, and asking that you do the same. I hope that, together, we can provide some advice that will benefit all of us.

My goal for writing is to Help People Achieve A Great Retirement. I hope these Ten Commandments Of Retirement help achieve that goal! Click To Tweet

My 10 Commandments Of Retirement

As I’ve thought about the transition my wife and I are facing in June, I’ve developed these “10 Commandments Of Retirement”.  I view these as “self-imposed directives”, perhaps best described as guidelines we’re building to help navigate our lives in retirement. I trust folks won’t find the title offensive, and I say sincerely that it’s certainly not intended that way.  It’s simply a list of priorities for my retirement, and I think of the “Commandment” reference as a future reminder to myself that this stuff was important to me 100 Days before I retired.

It will be interesting to look back on these words from a post-retirement perspective and see if I had any idea what was coming.

I suspect I’ll think myself a bit naive.

I find the thoughts in my final working days an interesting topic to write about. I hope you find it interesting to read. Click To Tweet

What’s Important After Retirement?

Post-retirement, my life will be dictated by me, and yours, by you (hmmm, that sounds odd, but you know what I mean, right?).  For the past 50 years, someone has been telling you what to do.  Now, you have the privilege, and obligation, to decide for yourself.

What’s Your Freedom Going To Look Like?

It’s up to each of us to decide.  We should strive to make our retirements into what we want them to be.  It’s an important topic, and it’s important to get it right.

We Only Get One Shot At This.

Take Time To Think About It

I’ve studied the transition into retirement with interest over the past few years.  I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve read a lot of studies and know that many folks are surprised when they find that Retirement Is Depressing.  For others, retirement represents the best years of their lives.

What’s the difference between those who do well vs. those who don’t?

The Key To A Great Retirement?  My takeaway from the studies is that one of the best things we can do to ensure a smooth transition is as simple as “Think About It Before You Get There”.  It seems that those who run hard until the very end, without giving serious thought about life after retirement, are quite often the ones who have a harder time making the transition to retirement.  The simple act of Thinking About It has been shown to have a direct correlation to those who have enjoyed retirement the most.

So, I’m taking the advice I’ve read to heart, and I’m taking time to think about it.

Since I’m also a blogger, I’ve also taken time to write about it.

The Result?

The Ten Commandments Of Retirement.

I'm being intentional to ensure my best possible retirement. And that, in a nutshell, is the point of these Ten Commandments Of Retirement Click To Tweet

The Story Behind The Commandments

As I close in on 100 Days to retirement,  I’ve developed a few personal guidelines.  Goals, if you will, for how I want to live my life in retirement.  It may seem a contradiction to introduce these “Commandments” in a 2-part series about “Freedom”.  Quite the opposite, actually. Given that these “commandments” are self-imposed, they are, in reality, reflections of my thoughts on what I want to do with my Freedom.  Guidelines we’ve chosen, a path on which we’d like to walk through our post-Financial Freedom life.

The Power Of Freedom.

These Ten Commandments Will Be Our Guidelines As We Live A Life Of Financial Freedom Click To Tweet

The Ten Commandments Of Retirement

I present below the Ten Commandments which I hope to apply in my life in the coming days, weeks, months and years.  My hope is that you can apply them in a way that makes sense in your life, and together we can all Achieve A Great Retirement:

I.  Have An Attitude Of Gratitude

First and foremost, recognize that every day we’re given is a gift we should absorb.  Take the time to celebrate life, and appreciate the things around you.  Listen to the birds.  Smell the grass.  Hug your significant other.  Look for things to be thankful for, and focus on the Good.

For those in the Early Retirement community, we should be even more grateful.  Sure, we worked hard, but none of us couldn’t have gotten here if we didn’t have something in our lives to be thankful for.

Tune out the noise that our society is so effective at producing, and…

…Take some time to appreciate life.

Ia.  Give With A Generous Heart

Ok, I’m cheating.  For those of you paying attention, you’ll see that I ended up with 11 Commandments.  I couldn’t decide whether “Gratitude” or “Generosity” should be #1, so I hereby enter them as a tie.  My blog, my rules.

If you’re reading this blog, you likely have more wealth than 90% of the people in this world.  Be generous, and be happy about it.  Find a cause you believe in, and support it.

  • Tip that struggling waitress with a nice big fat tip, and know you’re making her day.
  • Give an anonymous gift to someone who needs it.
  • Take a friend or two out to dinner, and pick up the tab.
  • Tithe, if you’re so led.
  • Give away stuff instead of selling it.
  • Give, and do it with a generous heart.

Your life will be better for it.

II.  Pursue Passions

Freedom is a time to pursue your Passions.  A time to explore, and to discover what it is in life that excites your mind. The world is your oyster, and you’re free to pursue those things that bring you the greatest joy.  It’s time to experiment, it’s time to find a Purpose.  You’ve earned that.

In our case, my wife has recently discovered her love for pottery, and she’s really really good at it.  She’s also started a Yoga class and is loving the results.  She’s rescuing dogs, and she’s saving lives.  Passions.

One of my wife’s amazing creations.

In my case, I recently bought some video editing software for my new retirement laptop. I want to exercise my artistic side, playing with photography and drone video in my life of Freedom.  Maybe you’ll see some results from my new hobby of Bictography.  Maybe not.  No obligations (see Commandment IV).

Commandment II. Pursue Passions. You've earned your Freedom, so use it to pursue something you love. Click To Tweet

I love to write, and believe my writing may well be a Purpose in my life.  I’m making a difference in people’s lives, and that’s rewarding to me.  I kinda sorta think I don’t suck at it, and I’ll continue to write as I feel led, without obligation.  I may continue to post on my regular (3 years now, wow!) cadence of 1 article per week (every Tuesday), or I may chose to skip a week.  I may write several articles in a week, or I may not write for several weeks in a row.  If life intervenes, I may decide to take a week off.  Or a month.  I’m Free, and I plan to live my life accordingly.  I trust you’ll understand.

The Bottom Line:  We’re free to pursue our Passions, without obligation.  Let it lead where it leads.

A Life Of Freedom.

III. Keep The Balance

When I was 23, I knew a guy who committed suicide.  We attended an 8-week course together.  On week 6, we all noticed that our classmate “Bob” was missing, and asked where he was.

Instructor says, “Bob committed suicide last night.  Let me say this, if I may.  I like to think of life as a wheel, and how all the aspects of your life can be represented by spokes.  There’s faith, family, money, work, relationships, etc.  All of the elements in our lives are like spokes on a wheel.   Turns out that Bob had a bunch of uneven spokes, and his wheel didn’t roll very well.”

I don’t remember much from that class.  But I remember the lesson that Bob taught me. I want to keep all of my spokes approximately the same length.

The wheel rolls better that way.

 IV.  Make No Obligations

For 33 years, I’ve lived a life of obligations.   Years upon years of meetings to attend, “Can’t Miss Conferences” places I absolutely HAD to be.  Reports to produce.  PowerPoints to present.  Analysis to conduct. Meetings to attend.  Conference calls to dial into.  Commutes to drive.  People to see. Flights to make. Phone calls to answer.  Emails to send.  Business to conduct. Executive Summaries To Present.  Contracts to negotiate.  Deadlines to meet.

You get it.  It’s Called Work.

33 Years.

As my fourth commandment, I’m instructing myself to avoid making any obligations within the first 12 months of retirement.  I don’t want to “Have To” do anything for a while.  I think I’ve earned that.  It’s time to decompress.  I had to smile when Wealthy Doc left this comment on my “100 Days To Freedom” post last week.  I’d already written this section by the time he left this comment, and it was as if he was reading my mind.

So, for the next 12 months, I’m done with obligations.  If you just made me an “offer I couldn’t refuse”, and I sent you this post with “See Commandment #4”, you now know what I meant, and why I meant it.  Call me in June of 2019, maybe I’ll be more willing to talk with you about that opportunity then.  Or maybe not.  Ah, Freedom!

Commandment IV. Make No Obligations.  I'm Taking A 12 months off.  A Period Of No Obligations Click To Tweet

V.  Try New Things

If you sat down for 30 minutes with a blank sheet of paper, how many things could you come up with that you’d like to try?  My wife and I are doing that, in effect, but using a unique approach that my wife thought up.

As I wrote about in Your 4 Biggest Worries About Retirement,  we have a cookie jar in our bedroom, with pens and a notepad nearby.  Here’s a pic:

Our Retirement Jar

Each week,  my wife and I each drop 1 “Activity Note” into the Jar.  Neither of us knows what the other is putting in.  In June, we’ll start taking out one activity per week.  We’ve been adding to the jar for a year, so we should have 2 years of weekly activities accumulated in the jar.

We’ll try a lot of new things.

I don’t even know what half of them are (literally).

A Self Portrait with Bike & Moonrise

VI.  Take Care Of Your Body

There are a lot of things in life that are outside of our control.  Taking care of yourself isn’t one of them.  Let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger, and eventually, we’ll be dealing with the ailments that the aging process brings.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to happen for a good long while.

Why not improve your odds of increasing the number of “Good Years” you have in your life and feel better while you’re living it?  If you’re interested, check out the Younger Next Year 2018 Facebook group.  You’ll find a great group of folks, some of whom are starting to exercise for the first time in their lives.

My wife and I have decided to join a gym in our retirement community.  We went over there last weekend for our first workout.  It’s a great gym, and we’ve both decided that taking care of our body is important to us in retirement.  After I retire in June, I’m joining a couple guys who swim in our local lake on Tues and Thur mornings.  I’m also going to sign up from Spin classes at our new gym.

Get some exercise, it’ll help make your retirement great!

VII.  Stay Flexible To Change

I don’t know how my life will change in 100 93 Days, but I know how I’d like to approach it from a mental perspective.  I am determined to be flexible and to accept change with optimism and open arms.  The life that my wife and I lead from this point forward is ours for the choosing, and we’re free to change our minds.  I will remain flexible as we work through the process of choosing what our life will be.  We may think we’ll love “A”, only to find that it’s not our thing.  That’s ok, we’ll pursue “B”.  We may even pursue “C”, “D”, “E” and “F”. We’ll Stay Flexible, and We’ll Try New Things (Commandment V.)

An Example:  Both my wife and I want to travel, but we’re also realists.  Her Mom lives in a nearby nursing home with Alzheimer’s,  and we’re the only family within 500 miles. Our parents took care of us for the first few decades of our lives, it’s time to return the favor. Obviously, we’re going to stay close to Mom.

No 6-month extended road trip.  Yet.

That’s ok, we’re flexible.  We’ve already got camping trips lined up for April, May, June, July, and September.  Two weekends at nearby Georgia State parks as “shakedown” weekends, then a June week in Tennesse.  In July, we’re doing a two-week loop up to Michigan to visit family.

In August, we’re taking a cross-country train trip to Seattle to visit our daughter.  We’re hiring a dog sitter for our 4 (!!) canine kids, and we’re making the trip of a lifetime!  Who doesn’t want to take a train cross-country!?  A definite bucket item list!  Now’s our chance, and we’re taking it.

Ok, so we’re not taking the extended 6-month road trip.

But we’re making it work, and it’s going to be fun (see Commandment IX).

We’re Staying Flexible.

VIII.  Cherish Friends & Family

Our neighbor recently stopped his truck in our driveway when he saw I needed some help with our new 5th wheel (that’s a story for another post.  Note to self to add it to the queue).  We didn’t know each, but he stopped to help anyway. We’ve since become good friends.  My wife and I took he and his wife out to dinner as a way of saying “Thanks for the help!”, and we hit it off.  We’re talking about doing some camping together.

All because he stopped to help.

Look for opportunities to build relationships, both inside your family and out.  Make time for what’s important, and realize that relationships are important.

Relationships are worth more than all the money in the world.

Treat them that way.

IX.  Have Fun

What’s the point of all this if we don’t have a little fun along the way?

‘Nuf said.

X.  Keep Eternity In Mind

Facts are facts.  You won’t be here forever.  Our days are numbered, and every sunset we move one day closer to eternity, whether we like it or not.  I don’t discuss politics or religion very often on this site, but I can’t have these 10 Commandments without weaving it in.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the importance of the Spiritual aspect in each of our lives.   I don’t know what your religious views are, and it’s none of my business. That’s for you to decide, and you’re free to decide as you see fit.  I do, however, encourage you to think about it.  I know where I’m going when I die, and I find that reassuring.  I hope you can say the same.

Recognize that your days on earth will end.

Live Accordingly.



There you have it.  Our 10 11 guidelines for our Freedom years.  For those who have already retired, what have I missed?  For those not yet retired, what do you think will be important for you when you reach retirement?

I look forward, as always, to our discussion in the comments.



  1. I think you’ve covered the bases pretty well here. The hard part of course is to actually stick to these. I was trying a habit of writing down 5 things I was grateful for every morning based on advice from someone else. I did it for a while then fell off the wagon. I’m gonna get back on that wagon today!

    1. Great point, AF. I think I’ll print off the “Conclusion” summary and hang it in the World HQ of The Retirement Manifesto! Yep, going to keep it right above my desk, where I’ll see it every day. Thanks for the reminder to find a way to stick to them!

    2. Did you feel like this practice helped or improved things for you? Was it life giving?

      It’s a practice I have admired for a while, but I haven’t taken it up yet.

  2. Beautiful, Fritz!

    I really like the “Try Something New” activity jar. What a fun way to dictate your day on the days when you wake up with no plan and an open slate 🙂 I may need to implement this in our household for Sunday afternoon adventures!

      1. I loved this idea as well, kudos to the wife! Lucy and I will have to implement this ourselves. Hopefully she puts some “fun” activities in… :); but either way it will be great trying new things together and seeing which ones stick and we begin doing more regularly!

  3. You know you could’ve easily strapped on a beard and played Moses for this post, right Fritz??? 😉

    Very nicely put list, my friend. I consider it an upgraded companion to what I posted yesterday about the curse of boredom. Come see this list on TRM and you’ll have the antidote! And great advice from Wealthy Doc. Life is so full of obligations it’s just silly. Even when you want down time, if you have kids – it can be difficult.

    1. Gees, I missed the opportunity for a once in a lifetime selfie! I agree it’s a nice fit to your post on boredom, thought the same thing when I read your post yesterday! I suspect the “no obligations” commandment will be difficult to keep, FinCon may be the first test!

  4. Not “having” to do anything is such a great feeling. It’s especially helpful on those days where you might feel that self-imposed pressure to get something done. Then you turn on the “Wait a minute! I’m retired!!!” switch.

    With gratitude, I think we need to direct some of it towards our job/jobless situation. How many people in this world have a job that pays them well enough to live on? And well enough to retire from? It’s a double blessing.

    1. I was talking to a friend this past weekend, and he said the one great thing about retirement is that “there’s no obligation that you cannot move”. I’m looking forward to that reality, with gratitude (double gratitude, as you so rightly point out!).

  5. Looks like a great list that I can wrap my arms around as well, great job my friend. One lesson I have learned as of the last year, in retirement you may also need a resume. Not the kind we have during our working years, more of the kind …. in order to do this I need to be able to do that. For example, one of my bigger dreams is to actually work a cattle drive in Montana or Wyoming. I have found a couple that will let me join but I need to be able to ride a horse. Therefore I leave in 2 weeks to work on a horse ranch and there I’ll learn to ride a horse. I am so looking forward to following your journey!!

  6. Long time reader, first time commenter 🙂

    A common theme I’m seeing in this is that you’re keeping the big picture in mind. That’s important to me too, even now before I’m retired. For example, giving generously and remembering the fact that there are TONS of people across the world very less fortunate than I – right on, I need to remind myself of that truth regularly (and fight the urge to be stingy with my time and money).

    Also, I especially look forward to one day following the “make no obligations” commandment. One of the more enticing commandments in this list IMHO

    I really enjoy reading your stuff. Keep up the good work and all the best in retirement!

    1. I love long time readers, and first time commenters! Thanks for your loyalty, and for the encouragement. “I really enjoy reading your stuff” – you have NO idea how rewarding it is for me to read those words! Thanks for your first comment, don’t let it be your last! 🙂

  7. “Uneven spokes, and his wheel didn’t roll very well” — that one got to me. I’ve been living the retired life for seven years and your list is right on. I think you may find yourself busier than you are now, and that seems impossible. But as you launch into your own long list of ideas (love the jar!), you’ll see. Keep those spokes even!

  8. Love this post, especially the activity jar idea. I know I’ll be ok with everything except commandment #4. I may be retiring from work this year, but I still have my obligation as music director for one of our church choirs. My husband and I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years and would love to hand over the responsibilities to someone else but no one is interested (yet). For now, hubby and I will continue to plan trips and activities around those obligations. I expect this will change over time but a part of planning for a June retirement is that this group takes off for the summer. This will give me a couple months of freedom! I also realized the need for some structure and planned activities this past weekend. We lost power midday on Friday due to the nor’easter here in NY and didn’t get it back until late last night (and consider ourselves luck sine more than half of town is still out). We still don’t have cable or internet. I was going absolutely stir crazy since I couldn’t clean closets without enough light and it was too cold and too early to start working on my garden. I did strip out the entire fridge and freezer so it was like new before we moved stuff back in form the coolers when power was restored. We do have two trips planned and tickets for the theater but we need a lot more. Got to start that activity jar. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

    1. Pat, after 25 years, I’d say you deserve a break from the church music obligation. Glad you’ll get some time off over the summer, don’t be shy about booking some travel in the Fall, I suspect you’ll be surprised that someone will keep the music playing on Sunday morning. Congrats on your retirement this year!! (and, regarding that power outage, you may want to check out “Am I A Prepper? No, Just Prepared” post – we bought a generator and had our house wired specifically to avoid disruptions from power outages!)

  9. Similar to how Freakonomics started as a blog, and became a book, i think you should publish your blog in its entirety into a book (probably partner with AARP or some such association that focuses on retirees or soon to be retirees). There are a lot of life lessons, that many can benefit.

    1. Thanks for that encouragement, Hari. I’ve often thought of writing a book which would organize the many thoughts from my blog into themes, but just don’t feel up to taking on that Obligation (#IV) at this point in time. Who knows what the future will bring….

  10. I hope you realize that these commandments really have nothing to do with retirement. These are goals for your life at any stage. But maybe in retirement you can focus on it more., without that money-making grind spoiling the view.

    1. Yep, I do realize that Marty. That’s why I was careful to note they were “Personal Guidelines” in the post. Since they’re important to me, I used “Commandment” to remind myself once I get into retirement of their importance. Looking forward to that unspoiled view!

  11. I think you’ve nailed this list. And love the flexibility of your plans and intention to “not commit”. I think that will be hard but you’ve really thought this through! Love what Marty J said above too. It’s amazing what the money-making grind will do to our “view”. Glad yours will clear up soon 😉

  12. Two thumbs up on this Blog Article. I have it bookmarked and plan to re-read it from time to time. Thanks Fritz!

  13. I also really like the “Try Something New” activity jar. However, what gets me really excited is the lake swimming part. Need to find some guys to join me when I retire (Peachtree City, GA area). I swim laps in our community pool usually from April through mid October. So glad to see spring arriving! I started working 1 day less per week this year to ease into retirement. Very glad my employer allowed me to work a little less. Turns out, he’s a lot smarter than I am as this was the most stupid idea I’ve ever had. Now I get paid 4 days a week and still work 5 (or 6)! Retirement is tempting but I’m very nervous I’d be bored stiff and start consulting within no time. That activity jar may come in handy! Thanks Fritz!

  14. Being retired is not that different from not being retired except you are not working. We are all still the same person we were before with all the crap/issues we had before. 😀 I don’t need commandments. 😇

    1. Key Words: “Except you’re not working.” That’s a pretty big difference in my life, tho I realize life goes on and no retirement is bliss free. I’m happy that you don’t need commandments, but hope my words gave you a few things to think about in your retirement! Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Hi Fritz

    A great list, but when you finish work – No 4 – Take no obligations, is important. It’s so easy to think you can fit in a few small things – they add up, and suddenly you find you have commitments -“we can’t do that 3 day camping trip because I have x on Tuesday and y on Thursday” is frustrating. You also need to give yourself time to change, and change you will!
    I love the idea of the cookie jar!


    1. Erith, I really appreciate your words of wisdom. You do realize that you’re my role model, right? I LOVE your extended travel approach, and look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store for you! No excuse, start your cookie jar today!

  16. Fritz: nicely done!

    I’m in my eighteenth year of retirement and I’m pretty much following all of the commandments. Good reminder for me to be aware of my shortcomings in this area.. Spontaneity is something I need to work on. All those years of planning–both professionally and personally–are hard to get around. I like the cookie jar idea. It’s a bit like the bucket list approach. I’ll work on it. Promise.

    The metaphor about the uneven spokes is an inspired one. I guess balance is the key.

    Best personal regards

  17. Fritz, Great list and you started this list right on – Gratitude. It’s the foundation. Most of us have a lot to be thankful for and the choice to be thankful sets the foundation of the choice to be happy.

    I think you will find a very long list of things you WANT to do that you don’t have time for, which is a great thing. That list will grow because while you were working, you don’t even have time to consider some of the hidden wants.

    Exercise to improve the odds of staying healthy as long as possible is the other pillar of the foundation. Without health, nothing else matters much. Nothing is guaranteed but you got to do what is within your control, and that is to exercise and eat right.

    1. Sidney, I suspect you’re right about “Want To Do” being a long list. Hmmm….maybe we’ll even try to visit every National Park! We can use your posts to guide us on our journey, and we’ll exercise while we’re at the parks! (nothing better than a nice hike in a National Park, right!).

  18. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! I like your list/commandments–especially being “grateful/generous” and “flexible”.

    I retired last June and consciously gave myself six months “off” to allow myself some time to take in the new normal. It does take some time to get used to, however. At first I felt like I was still on holiday time. Occasionally, I felt a little lazy or useless. I miss the collegiality of the workplace and job satisfaction but I don’t miss the job pressure and stress. Now I am (mostly) enjoying busy days and relaxing days and trying to balancing the two– I like the activity jar idea for trying new things.

    Now I am measuring and evaluating my energies in different ways. Since retiring, I have been able to help my father who has had major health issues and started two post retirement activities I never had time for while working (joined a book club and started volunteering with an organization I admire). I took a big trip (to the Greek Islands) as a retirement present and look forward to more travel. I also plan to start a diet and exercise program.

    1. Cindy, thanks for sharing your “transition experience”, glad to hear from someone who was intentional in taking time “off” after retirement. I’m glad to hear you were free to help your Dad, tough when elderly parents start having health issues, but I’m sure you’re pleased that you’re able to be with him. Greek Islands sound marvelous, gotta add that to our Bucket List!

  19. Each night, before I fall asleep, I ask myself ‘what am I grateful for today?’
    Te blessings are plentiful.
    Always an illuminating experience on the goodness of life, God, friends, family and our country.
    Here’s to your 92 more days!

  20. Great list! I’d make one small change to #4 — Make no Longterm obligations.

    I’ve been retired for seven years and one thing I look forward to each year is income tax season. No kidding! This is my eighth year as an AARP Tax-Aide Volunteer. I help out one morning weekly from February-thru-mid April. It does take some prep work — I have to pass an IRS certification exam every year. But I get to meet some great folks. Some may find that they have to pay additional taxes, but at least they don’t have to pay to have their return prepared. Yes, it’s an obligation, but every year I get to decide if I want to re-up for another season. And since it’s a voluntary, unpaid “job,” if something comes up, I can skip a week.

  21. Great list.
    I will come back to this as I cut back more at work in the future.
    Thanks for the honorable mention too. You never know when a comment will really resonate with someone.

  22. Vintage fritzology, my friend. Very sage advice. I’ve been on a gratitude streak lately. A few months ago we attended a wedding in Winston Salem, and the day before the wedding, Mrs. Groovy and I had lunch at a local cafe. Our server was a young lady, and she was very much pregnant. Anyway, she really made our simple lunch a very enjoyable experience, so I gave her a 40% tip. When she returned to our table to thank us, she had a beaming smile, and that made me feel great. When she went on to tell us that she and her husband were saving as much money as they could, and they just refinanced his pickup truck, I felt even better. Nothing fortifies the soul more than bestowing a little kindness on someone who deserves a break. Great post, sir.

    1. “Fritzology”? Gees, no matter how hard I try (Bictography, anyone?), I can never keep up with your vocabular creativity! Great story about the 40% tip, you’re a living example of the “Generous” approach to life. Ain’t it fun!?

  23. Great list Fritz! Thanks for sharing. I’ve got a few more years to go, but I’m starting to go through some of the same thought processes to plan out our retirement. I know more than a few people who retired and then had no clue what to do with themselves. I do not intend to be one of those folks!

  24. Great list Fritz. It ticks every box. As someone who is 13 years into retirement I would say that Commandment One is the most important. Cherish every day and make every minute count.

  25. All great ‘Commandments’ my friend. As you creep ever closer to retirement – and revel in retirement – it is essential to keep doing the smart things and stay focused on the things which are truly important.

  26. Awesome commandments!

    Three really stuck out to me…

    1. Keep the Balance – I am nowhere near close to retirement, but this is one I am slowly attempting to get better on. With my being in my mid 20’s, the majority of my focus is on growth, specifically growing our financial assets. This can become addicting and time consuming, and it has definitely caused some fights with Mrs. FMM. I keep this in mind ALOT more than I used to, and I now no longer check the markets daily nor bring them up in our personal time together. It has helped our relationship for the better, and it has also reduced my stress levels by not checking the markets as often.

    2. Make no Obligations – I here people all the time complain about their schedules and how packed they are. They tell me all the time about the stress it brings to them. Well what’s an easy way to solve this? Take control of your own time and stop saying “yes” to every request you get. As social as human beings can be (and it is good for us), having time to just ourselves may be even more important. Allowing your body and mind time to decompress and not think about ANYTHING is very beneficial.

    3. Take Care of Your Body – I personally love this one the most. I take this commandment extremely seriously in my own life. I actually put my physcial health over almost everything in my life, even if it means cutting into my coding homework. Bottom line…If you don’t take care of your body, then retirement won’t even really matter for you. Taking disease out of the equation, your body is a reflection of the food you put into it and the exercise you do to maintain it. If you ignore these things in life, then your retirement has a good chance of being a short and financially stressful one. You don’t want to live your golden years in routine visits to doctors offices. Taking care of your body NOW will give you the most important DIVIDENDS later in life.

    1. Great comment, Sean. It means a lot to me that you’ve thought so much about this post, and took the time to craft such a well thought out response! I’m glad you were able to apply these “Retirement Commandments” in spite of being in your 20’s, proof that they’re valid principles to apply, regardless of where you are in life!

  27. Congratulations Fritz as the countdown draws to a close! I have been following along with you since you were on the ChooseFI podcast and enjoy your work. We too will be going on a trip to Michigan this summer, camping our way around the UP over July 4th. I’m considerably more than 100 days from retirement but the things you post in this article are thought provoking and good to think on no matter what your time frame.

    1. Thanks for following, Kyle. Gotta love those guys over at ChooseFI. Are they CRUSHING IT, or what!!?? Enjoy Michigan, wish we had time to loop through the UP, beautiful part of the country (we’ve done it once, and we’ll definitely be doing it again when we’re able to take on the “long, slow travel” in the coming years).

  28. “So let it be written, so let it be done!” I know that you you will abide by these, at least to the best of your ability. What great words for those already in ER and those that are striving for it. I especially love the “give with a generous heart” bit. Most of the people that are reading this blog have way more wealth than a majority of society, but often we continue to pinch every penny and hoard it all away for ourselves. I agree that it is super important give back, whether its of monetary value, or time. I’m actually headed out on Friday to do some volunteer work in Central America. It is such a huge passion of mine to give back to other communities and I know that it will be something that I continue to do, maybe even do more of, once we reach FI.

  29. Great list! The potter looks amazing! I think my work would end up l looking like a big blob if I tried pottery. Not very good with my hands. But…I am a decent editor/producer so if you have any questions about that…BTW, although the list is for “retirement,” I think MANY of those things should be done pre-retirement as well. I’m not a fan of obligation. Yes I know I have to show up for work, but I limit the things I commit to unless I’m really sure.I like plenty of leisure time and I prioritize health and wellness and always have. 🙂

    1. Hey Tonya! Yep, my wife has become an amazing potter! The finished box is incredible.

      Excited to hear your plans for a video session at FinCon! I’m leaning toward not going this year, I have 3 conferences to attend in my last 90 days of work, and I need some time to decompress without obligations (IV). I’m looking forward to playing around with video editing post retirement, looks like I could learn a lot from you! Thanks for stopping by!

  30. Recognize that your days on earth will end.

    Live Accordingly.

    What a powerful statement. I think I’ll add this to my collection of post it notes surrounding my computer monitors.

    Thanks for the nuggets of wisdom, Fritz. I sincerely hope you enjoy the hell out of your 12 months of no obligations! (And the rest of your life, of course.)

  31. Thanks for a great post, lots to think about! As I think about retirement I struggle with Commandment IV. My husband and I will be moving to another state when we retire. I think taking a year to decompress is a wonderful idea. However, I worry that if I don’t start volunteering and getting involved in community organizations, I will not meet any people and become socially isolated. Any advice??

    1. Carmen, congrats on your pending retirement, and good luck with the move!! My wife and I are also getting involved in Volunteering (Commandments Ia, II and V), so I would encourage you to explore and try things out. The “Obligation” is more of a reminder to not get yourself committed to something. Volunteering, in my mind, is just that. It’s Voluntary. Give it a go, I agree it’s important to meet new people (Commandment VIII), just don’t let yourself get obligated into anything for a period of time. Thanks for stopping by!

  32. That’s a really good list. I think you’ll do just fine.
    Early retirement won’t be exactly what you imagine, but you’ll adjust.
    It’s interesting that you, ERN, and Route to Retire are all hitting your goals this year.
    I’m looking forward to reading more from all of you. Great job!

    Oh, my #1 commandment is to stay busy. It looks like you’ll do fine there. 🙂

  33. Great post and appreciate the thought that went into it.
    I’m troubled by VI and get to see this every new years when new people come into the gym trying to get into shape. The question begs, why haven’t people been taking care of their bodies all along the way? Why wait until New Year’s or even an even bigger event such as the beginning of retirement to begin guarding one’s health and physical fitness.
    Starting a routine exercise habit at the beginning of one’s career is just as important as investing in an index fund at the same time. Beginning and being consistent are most important factors for success, including a fitness habit.
    I recently wrote a piece that states that most people will spend their health chasing money. When they’re burned out and well past our fitness prime, they’ll spend their money chasing health.

    I look forward reading how your next stage to unfolds so that I can pick up some of your experience. I’m just a few steps behind you.

    1. Franklin, I couldn’t agree more about the importance of lifelong fitness. I’ve been a steady runner for 25 years. My point in adding it as a retirement commandment was to continue keeping it as a focus. And, for those who haven’t taken care of themselves before now, it’s never too late to start.

      Glad I’m blazing a trail for you, I can almost see you back there behind me. Keep an eye out for my Ultimate Pre-Retirement Checklist – comes out next Tuesday!!

  34. Congrats Fritz. You are almost at the finish line. You will have an awesome retirement because you have a solid plan and healthy perspective. I suggest your blog to everyone who is dreaming of FIRE. You did it right. The time to enjoy is almost here.

  35. It sounds like you guys have the right kind of attitude for the start of your retirement. I love the no obligations commandment, and the activity jar. I can’t wait to follow along with your adventures and see where this next year takes you!

  36. What a well-balanced list! It sounds like you have your priorities straight as you enter this next season of life. Congrats!

    I love the X commandment. Nicely written, Fritz.

  37. Even though there are a ton of comments stating how great this post is, I’m compelled to add yet another one. There’s an overwhelming feel good vibe coming out of it and I had to say good job as well.

    Being a ways away from FIRE myself, it’s great to see a list like this and I’ve made some notes based on it for use when my own time comes. Really love the new idea thing and I like how you made a note of how you need to be flexible if things you thought you might like doing aren’t so great. I have all these ideas, but have recently began to wonder if I actually would like doing them (if I had the time and motivation while still working). Great points as are the others. Thanks for creating and sharing the commandments!

  38. Great read and list!

    Starting week 10 if our non working lives and loving it! We are able to take that extended trip you mentioned so are traveling until November. So far it has been great though we are gonna add the activity jar to our to do list.

    I do want to suggest that you be prepared for your last day to be weird. Despite all the mental preparation we had done (like you), it was the strangest feeling when I turned on the out of office email announcement and cut off the computer. But trust me, by the next day all was right with the world!

    I’d suggest adding one commandment.
    “Thou shall take a nap whenever you want. “

    Gosh nothing reminds me of how nice it is to not be working as “resting my eyes” does!

    Thanks again for the list and if you want to follow our adventure check out

  39. My husband retired in January, and he has always wanted to take a train trip across the country. I’m totally clueless on how the Amtrak trip works. Did you buy a package, plan stops on your own, etc.? Any info would be appreciated, as we’ve never taken a train trip!

    I love your retirement cookie jar idea too. I was afraid he might be bored in early retirement, but our son gave us a year subscription to for Christmas, so we can always fill in slow times with a movie.

    1. Hey Wanda, you should absolutely take a train trip with your husband to celebrate his retirement!! We just called Amtrack (their website is not user-friendly) and booked directly over the phone. We’ve not done it before, either, so we’re kind of winging it. We’re only stopping in Seattle (for a week, to visit our daughter and son-in-law), then spending 1 night in New Orleans on the way back. You can be sure I’ll be writing about the experience on these pages, stay tuned! Enjoy a good movie, great idea for the MoviePass gift!

  40. Excellent article, your 11 commandments are a great start. We retired 19 months ago and have been having a ball. A few years before retirement we decided on what we would most enjoy doing and developed a plan. We decided we wanted to see more of the country, mostly the National Parks Forest’s etc. and we wanted to find the place in the US we could relocate to.

    We decided to sell our house in South Florida, sold it in December 2016, bought a large RV in January which was built and ready in March, retired in April and have been traveling since May 2017. It has been fun and eventful. We traveled all over New England this summer and spent 2 months in Maine as we liked it so much! We are currently on our way back to Florida for the winter and stopped in GAto go trick or treating with the grandkids last night. For us we have learned that we enjoy the adventure much more than the possessions which we had spent most of our lives obtaining. It’s not for everyone but out of the hundreds of people we have met along the way we didn’t find none who is doing the same and regrets it!

    1. “A few years before retirement we decided on what we would most enjoy doing and developed a plan.”

      Ed, great sentence, and likely the #1 reason your 19 month retirement has been a hit! You didn’t stop in Blue Ridge last night, by chance? My wife and I were handing out candy downtown at the dog rescue where we volunteer. Loving the adventure more than the possessions, exactly what retirement is all about!!

  41. Enjoyed this! Thanks for putting it together. While I don’t consider myself retired, I’ve been taking a couple years off to make some changes. These all fall in line with my own experience. Great advice. Thanks!

  42. Fritz,
    I love this list and absolutely agree with each part. I wish I had been disciplined enough to write my own commandment down, but if you don’t mind I’ll use yours!
    I’ve only been retired a bit over 2 months, but I’ve found that having a flexible attitude is key. That and exploring a passion…for me I am finding that in writing again after a long drought. I’m also working with the end in mind. While I don’t dwell on it, I know this third age is our last and I want to live generously and intentionally.
    I’m wondering, though, now that you are 6 months in, if you would change any of these commandments, or if you have encountered any obstacles or surprises in your goal of living by them.
    So enjoy your writing and thoughtfulness,

    1. I’m honored to have you find these worthy of copying! Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, after all!
      As I mentioned in “6 Lessons From 6 Months Of Retirement”, the only one I would change is #4, from “Make NO Obligations” to “Be VERY Selective In Making Obligations”.

      I love your focus on “The Third Age”, and the importance of getting it right since it’s our last (while on this earth, at least!).

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