nervous about retirement

Were You Nervous Before You Retired?

“Were you nervous before you retired?”

I was recently asked that question, and it brought back a flood of memories from my “near-retirement” days.

I suspect most of us were nervous before we retired, but it’s not something we talk about.  I believe there’s value in sharing the psychological journey in those final days before retirement.  For folks nearing retirement, it’s reassuring to know they’re not alone.  

Recently I had the opportunity to talk about it with a reader who is on the cusp of retirement. We had a wide-ranging discussion and the conversation became the trigger for today’s post.  I suspect many of the questions he asked are also on the minds of other readers who are approaching retirement.

This one’s for you, Mike.  Thanks for letting me share our discussion with the readers of this blog.  I trust they’ll all benefit from our discussion…

Were you nervous before you retired? I was recently asked that question, and today I share my answer. Click To Tweet

retirement nervous

Were You Nervous Before You Retired?

That’s one of the questions a reader, Mike, asked me on a recent phone call.  Mike’s a month away from retirement and reached out to me a few weeks ago.  I typically decline reader requests for phone calls (unfortunately, a downside of writing a blog with a large following).  If I said yes to every request, I’d be spending far too much of my time helping folks on a one-on-one basis, time that could otherwise be spent writing and reaching thousands of people with the same effort. It’s a “scalability” thing, and I trust you understand.

However…there was something about Mike.

His initial email hit a chord with me.  Here’s what he said:

Good morning Fritz,

Have heard you on several podcasts and just finished your latest discussion with Jason Parker.  I will be retiring in January and your point about helping others hit a cord.  I would love the opportunity to speak with you about your blog.  I’m currently a financial advisor and feel there is a huge need for financial literacy for just about everyone.  As a former teacher, my passion is teaching/sharing.  Would like to understand better how you got started with your blog, what are some of the watch outs, and any other insights you could provide.

Thanks for your consideration and congratulations on living your best life!

What caught my attention?  The fact that he didn’t ask a single financial question and was focused on helping others. He had some ideas about teaching/sharing and he was considering starting a blog.  I appreciate readers applying the lessons I’m sharing in their lives and searching for Purpose in retirement.  I also had a bit more free time than I usually do, so I agreed to a phone call.  

Following are some of the highlights of our discussion, in no particular order.  I trust you’ll find them of interest.

how do I retire

Questions From A Soon To Be Retiree

Should I Start A Blog In Retirement?

My first reaction to any question that says “Should I start…” is to say yes.  It’s critical, especially in early retirement, to foster your creative curiosity and try anything that interests you.  Many won’t “stick,” but you’ll likely find a few that do.  Once you’ve found one or two, you’re on your way to a great retirement.

Mike has a passion for teaching and is exploring various avenues to reach others.  I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in starting a blog to give it a try.  7 years ago, I started this blog on a whim.  I’m 100% self-taught and technically inept.  It’s easy to start a blog these days, with Bluehost and WordPress both designed for folks who have never built a website.  Starting this blog is one of the best things I’ve ever done and has become a Purpose of mine in retirement. I hope it works out as well for others who are considering it.

That said, it’s important to consider your motives.  If you’re doing it to make money, I suspect you’ll fail.  For 3 years, I wrote every week without making a dime and only started adding those annoying ads when I retired.  I get some complaints about them but believe I shouldn’t have to incur costs when there’s an option of generating some revenue for my “work.” As blogs grow, the costs increase (Mailchimp costs me $220/month based on my ~13k subscribers), and I felt it was time to at least cover my costs.  Making money has never been my motive, and it shouldn’t be yours.  Even now, after 7 years, the income from this blog basically pays my health insurance.  Nice to have, but not enough to change our life. Unless you’re in the 0.1%, you won’t get rich writing a blog.

Experiment with writing, and only continue if you discover (as I did) that you love the process.  I also encouraged Mike to explore starting a podcast and/or YouTube channel, as these platforms are also popular amongst the soon-to-be-retired crowd.  “If you enjoy talking,” I said, “consider starting a YouTube channel and stripping out the audio for a podcast.”   

I hope Mike finds something he loves, and I look forward to monitoring his progress.

How Do You Get Ideas For Blog Posts?

Interestingly, it was this question that led to today’s post.  My initial response focused on how I usually “find” topics for this blog when I’m doing something mindless.  As I’ve mentioned, most come to me when I’m doing my daily 1.5-mile dog walks on the trail through the forest on the back of our property.  I really don’t know where the ideas come from, they just seem to come into my head at random times, and I always send myself a quick email with a working title and a few bullet points.  When I get back to my computer, I start a draft post and keep them in my “draft” folder (as of today, I have 153 “working drafts”).

Two minutes after we hung up, I shot Mike a quick email.  I reminded him of this question and then said our phone call had led to another idea for a blog post.  Would he mind if I shared our discussion (keeping his identity confidential), as I felt it could bring value to the many readers who are nearing retirement? 

Fortunately, he agreed, and this post was born.

tips to prepare for retirement

What Tips Do You Have For A Soon To Be Retiree?

Mike and I really hit it off and spent the majority of our call discussing this one.  It was a great back-and-forth, and I’ll attempt to capture the essence of the discussion with the following bullet points:

  • Enjoy The Honeymoon:  I believe the first 6 months after retirement can be the very best years of your life.  After working hard for decades, you’ve achieved the dream.  Savor that reality, and embrace your newfound freedom.  Also, realize the initial euphoria won’t last long, so treasure every moment.  I’m thankful that I captured my retirement transitions in the Retirement Reality Series, and encourage everyone to read them to get a sense of what lies ahead.
  • Be Prepared For The “Messy Middle:”  Your retirement honeymoon will come to an end, and it’s common to go through a difficult period of adjustment.  Eric Weigel coined the term “Messy Middle” in his book Reimagining Retirement, and it’s a good one.  Recognize there will be a lot of years in retirement after the honeymoon is over, and begin preparing your new work of discovering what you’re meant to do in your retirement years.
  • Read A Lot Of Books:  I’ve always enjoyed reading but never had time as I do now.  Mike’s also a reader, and I encourage him to take advantage of his time and freedom to self-educate on any topic that interests him.  Track your progress (click to see my Goodreads account and what I’ve read since retiring) and read a wide variety of topics to expand your mindset.  Of course, I read a lot of retirement books (see my list of recommended retirement books), but I’ve really fallen in love with non-fiction history.  I’m currently reading Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (Amazon link – I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you if you order)  and can’t help but be fascinated by the experiences that Lewis & Clark had on their great adventure.   History is a new love of mine in retirement, made possible by the reading of books.
  • Pursue Your Curiosity:  The true joy in retirement is the ability to do anything that interests you, but pursuing your curiosity is a skill that’s out of practice for new retirees.  After years of being told what to do, retirement is the time to explore.  Listen to your mind and try as many new things as possible.  If you’re lucky, you’ll find one or two things that become true passions, and you’ll be on your way to the retirement of your dreams.  In my case, both The Retirement Manifesto and the work my wife and I do with Freedom For Fido were the result of experimenting with something that intrigued us. In my humble opinion, a successful retirement begins by learning how to pursue your curiosity.
  • Focus On The Non-Financial:  By the time you’ve made the decision to retire, you know your numbers.  As you prepare for the transition to retirement, spend as much time on the non-financial elements as you’ve been spending on the numbers.  As I wrote in The 90/10 Rule of Retirement, you’ll likely find yourself thinking about money a lot less after you retire, and the non-financial areas are the places you’ll find true joy.  Spend some time now thinking about those areas of your life, there’s evidence that the success of your transition will be directly correlated to the amount of time you spend planning on the “soft side” of your retirement lifestyle.
  • Don’t Go Back To Work…until you’ve learned to exercise your creative muscle.  As you work through that “messy middle” you’ll find yourself missing many of those non-financial benefits you once received from work (relationships, sense of identity, purpose, goals, sense of achievement, etc).  While it’s easy to fall back to some sort of work to fulfill these basic human needs, I encouraged Mike to hold off on making that decision until he had explored other non-work avenues to achieve the same thing.  Consider doing non-profit work, and get involved in new areas of your community.  If you can’t find something that’s meeting your needs, you can always go back to work.  Give yourself time to explore and don’t make going back to work your initial default.

What Should I “Watch Out” For?

Retirement is one of the biggest changes you’ll ever make in life, and it’s a black hole.  Not only are there the countless tactical details that must be taken care of (health insurance, creating a retirement paycheck, etc.), but there’s also the reality that you’re going to have to find something to do with all of that new time in your life.

Given that you’re currently reading a retirement blog, I suspect you’re a lot like Mike.  You’re aware of the huge change coming to your life and you’re seeking to learn from those who have traveled the path ahead of you.  Counting today’s post, I’ve written 387 articles on the lessons I’ve learned on the journey (check out my archives for a summary of every article written).  I find it impossible to summarize everything I’ve learned but would encourage you to check out the following posts before for a few tips on things to consider:

Were You Nervous Before You Retired?

As we approached the end of our call, Mike asked me a question that really resonated with me:  “Were you nervous before you retired?”  I didn’t hesitate in my reply:

“Of course I was, and I suspect every other retiree was, too.”

I went on the explain the significance of the change that retirement brings to your life.  It affects everything:  finances, relationships, time, purpose, identity, etc. Add into that the uncertainty around inflation, recent market performance, etc. and it begs the question:  How can you NOT be nervous when you’re facing what will likely be the biggest change in your life?  According to this article, “51% of investors who are not retired expressed high stress about their long-term and post-retirement financial futures…”

However, by preparing for the change and applying the lessons learned by others, there’s no need to fear the changes retirement will bring to your life.  Check your progress against these 5 Most Important Factors In Your Decision To Retire.

If you can check all of the boxes, enjoy the excitement of the journey.  You’ve worked for decades to get to this point.

The fun is just getting started…


Mike was wise in reaching out to someone who’s a few years ahead of him on the path, and I enjoyed our discussion.  I hope you’ve benefited from reading my thoughts and responses to his questions.

Were you nervous before you retired?

Of course, it’s a natural reaction to one of the biggest changes you’ll ever face in life.

The good news is, we survived.  Better yet, we thrived and you can, too.  Yes, it’s a major transition.  However, by taking the initiative to learn from others and applying the lessons they’ve learned, retirement may well be the best time of your life. 

That’s certainly true for my wife and me and I suspect it will be for Mike as well.  Hopefully, by reading this post, the same will be true for you.

You’ve worked hard to get here.

Relax, it’s time to enjoy the best years of your life.

Your Turn:  If you’re close to retirement, are you nervous?  If you’ve already crossed The Starting Line, were you nervous before you retired?  What advice would you give to someone on the cusp of retirement to help ease their anxiety?


  1. “Don’t Go Back To Work…until you’ve learned to exercise your creative muscle.” This is great advice. I think people have to first find out what they want to do for the sake of doing and not getting paid. Only then should they look to possibly get another job or freelance etc. When I fully retire, I can see me eventually getting a lifestyle job down the road such as a bike mechanic or tour guide. But not until I pursue more creative endeavors like music.

    1. I’ve seen it happen a lot, Dave, and I’m ok with folks going back to work as long as they’re not just doing it as a “default” because they end up missing all of those non-financial benefits they used to get from work (e.g., sense of purpose, achievement, relationships, challenge). There are so many great ways to fulfill those needs (e.g., charitable work), and I encourage folks to really work on finding other ways besides work before they pull that trigger. It takes time and it’s not easy, but it’s SO rewarding if/when you can figure it out. For the record, I love your idea of becoming a bike mechanic or tour guide, and have many friends who have gone back to part-time work in retirement and are happy with the decision. For each their own, there are no wrong answers.

  2. Nervous? I suppose some, but I was fortunate to close down my business (aka JOB) on my terms. Original plan was to retire at 55 and flip off the switch and go home. Numbers worked, but I found I needed mentally to downshift and plan for a soft landing. It took 2 1/2 years later, but closed the doors earlier this year and am in a good place. I suppose I am still in the honeymoon stage, but no plans to do any “work” going forward. I still find sometimes I have more idle time on my hands than I am used too, but don’t sweat it and am comfortable letting things develop. As a type A driver for most of my career, just living/appreciating the moment is something new and enjoyable for me.

    1. “Numbers worked, but I found I needed mentally to downshift and plan for a soft landing.”

      Dave, you were fortunate to be able to engineer your soft landing, something I wish employers would be more willing to support that concept. One of the benefits of running your own business, for sure.

      As for that idle time, enjoy it while it lasts. My wife and I constantly tell each other we need to find a way to slow down, a theme I’ve heard from others once they’ve found those 2-3 Purposes in retirement. It’s a great way to live life, and we count our blessings every day and appreciate every moment we’re given.

      1. “once they’ve found those 2-3 Purposes in retirement”

        Hi Fritz! The above words stood out from your commenting on the comment. It’s interesting how gaining clarity on those 2-3 Purposes is in itself a discovery/creativity process post-retirement, something that many find intimidating. And it can take awhile. Four years post-retirement, my wife & I seem to feel like the needle is finally in the groove. And who knows what tomorrow’s “music” may sound like. We are grateful for the rich dialogue you create! Thank you.

    2. Nervous? Well more like worried. While the numbers worked out. Retiring early wasn’t something my family did. My dad worked into his 70’s. So yes I was nervous and worried at the same time. So much so i developed shingles my first week of retirement. That’s not how you want to start retirement, trust me, it’s almost been a year. I told my wife yesterday with the market dropping like a rock all year, inflation higher than it’s been in decades, interest rates higher than it’s been in years. I’m still positive we made the right decision. We sleep well at night and we’re not worried about our finances.

      1. Thanks for the reminder, I’ve got to get that Shingles Shot! Keep putting it off, for some reason. Glad to hear things have settled down for you after a rocky year.

  3. I’d say I was more excited than nervous. I had been planning for 7 years to use the Rule of 55 to retire early. During that time I grew more and more confident that we had enough. Paying off the mortgage early was a major step at removing nervousness. Figuring out healthcare was the only roadblock and resigning to the fact that ACA was going to be far more expensive than an employers plan, but accepting it as a necessary step was key to moving forward. Now I view it as a small price to pay for freedom.

    1. “I’d say I was more excited than nervous.”

      LL, I agree with that statement, the same was true for me. Regardless, if I’m honest with myself, there was definitely some nervousness as I stared down that black hole.

  4. It’s quite sobering that your blog doesn’t make a living wage worth of income. You are very big in this space, a bona-fide celeb who generates some of the best personal finance and retirement content, in my opinion. If you aren’t making big bank then the chances of someone else doing it are indeed slim. But I know that isn’t your aim, it’s to have a place to express yourself and to help others, and there are a lot of great feels that come from blogging. I certainly appreciate your wit and kind wisdom as do countless others. I was terrified seven years ago when I decided to retire. I didn’t know who I was outside of being the boss. I was literally the spokesmodel for our 100 year old household name company. Fortunately I got over that quickly and never missed that job. I find as much or more purpose in volunteering, mentoring, blogging and family. Life is good, it was before retirement and its even better now!

    1. I’m a bona-fide celeb?

      Wow, I hope my wife reads that comment. Wink. We always joke that she’s more famous in Blue Ridge than I am due to the exposure from her charity, but I’m more famous everywhere else. Wink. On a serious note, I really appreciate your kind words on my work. It’s feedback like yours that motivates me far more than money these days. It’s rewarding beyond words to know that this little passion project of mine is making a difference in the lives of many people. Thanks for that.

  5. We are 12-18 months from retirement, and it has just occurred to me that what’s making me nervous is the fact that when you retire and commit to living on what you have, you are implicitly but decisively acknowledging that you are not going to live forever—in fact, you are likely going to live for way less time than you want to believe. I’m trying to look that in the eye for a while and see if facing the dollars and cents meaning of it makes the actual step into retirement seem less scary.

    Love your blog and I’ve learned a lot from it!

    1. Good point, Melinda. I suspect the increased awareness of our very real mortality is part of the root cause behind our nervousness as we take the plunge. I hadn’t thought of it, and appreciate you adding a valuable thought to today’s post. Good luck on your final sprint to The Starting Line!

  6. As usual, an excellent posting. I have just retired (11/30/22) and started the “honeymoon phase.” I was initially anxious about 2 years ago when I made the decision to retire in 2022. My initial thoughts revolved around numbers and soft factors – 35 years with a great company, 65 years of age, loosing the identity of an Exec role and how to create a paycheck. Fortunately, I had an outstanding manager who allowed me to be a part of the hiring process and training for my replacement. I was able to slow down over the last 6 months and have a “soft landing.”

    Over the last 1.5 years, your postings and book were very valuable and addressed many of my thoughts. You helped me a great deal, Fritz! Thank you.

    1. Congrats on crossing The Starting Line! I had a similar experience with a long transition and extensive training with my replacement, it definitely helped with that “soft landing.” Thanks for your kind words about my work, pleased to hear its been helpful.

  7. Thanks for a great piece. Mike has a perfect opportunity ahead to develop and share information for financial literacy. Years ago I developed a one-hour session on “Financial Planning and Budgeting” which I shared as part of the Life Skills section of training at a Christian Drug & Alcohol Abuse facility. One hour seems like too little time, but it gave me the opportunity to share the tip of the iceberg with a lot of folks who had never gotten any training in financial literacy. The course I developed and shared was even approved by a Judge, as it related to a “sentence” he had given one person in one of the classes. Finding a niche in one’s area of interest and then pursuing it can be one of the keys to a successful retirement. Again, THANKS!

    1. Denny, glad to hear you found a way to give back to those with great need, I’m sure you made an impact on a lot of those folks. Thanks for your kind words on my work, much appreciated.

  8. Yeah we’re quite nervous about retiring but for us it’s a complete tear down and rebuild of our lives. We’re planning on selling a business, everything we own and moving to a different country with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Lots of unknowns and challenges ahead. Also very excited at the same time as it will be one hell of an adventure! Money isn’t my concern but really it’s about too many changes too quickly. I’m sure we’ll figure it out along the way but it’s going to be a strain on our mental state with so much coming at us in such a short period of time.

    1. Wow, you have a lot going on! If you haven’t already read his stuff, you may want to check out my friend Jim @ RouteToRetire – they took a similar path and lived in Panama for 3 years. It’s definitely complicated with that many changes at once, but it does sound like a great adventure!

  9. Interesting post, Fritz. I think every retirement is unique, and both luck and planning factor into its success.
    I‘ve retired twice, once after 25 years at the University of California (at age 57), then again after a decade working as a financial planner. My first retirement was sudden: I was physically and emotionally tired, and after a particularly difficult Friday decided to retire a week later. I had a supportive spouse and supervisor, and stayed in my job for another six months to ensure that the transition went smoothly. I was very worried about what to do to keep busy in retirement, but luckily read about a CFP certificate program offered through UC Extension. I started the program before I left my UC job, so had something to look forward to, and also met a great group of people with similar interests.
    A year later I finished my classwork and passed the CFP exam, then started looking for work. Salary was unimportant and I knew that I would be most comfortable in a support, research-oriented position; I also knew that I never again wanted to supervise anyone. Luckily a local financial planner who had just started his business a few years earlier was willing to take a chance on an older career-changer. The business grew steadily over time and is now very successful.
    In late 2018 I told my boss that I planned to retire for a second time in January 2021, after nearly a decade of working as a financial planning assistant. The transition was slow and smooth, and when I left I was ready to stop working completely. No fear at all of retirement this time, just thankfulness for my good luck and freedom to enjoy whatever relatively healthy days I had left to live each day as it comes.

    1. Sabine, interesting to hear how your “retirement experience” differed with your two retirements. Thanks for sharing your experience from “very worried” to “no fear at all.” Interesting comparison.

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I am more at the starting point of my journey, but I enjoy reading tips on how to properly handle retirement when the time comes.

  11. I think no matter your circumstances, everyone is nervous when making a transition. I likened my retirement to transitioning from college to the workforce full-time after graduating from college. It was all new and I was a “newbie” at work and being a professional, which at the time made me nervous for different reasons.
    I was lucky to be able to retire early and for me announcing my retirement date to my employer was what made me most nervous. It made it real and that’s when I had some second guessing. Once the date was set, then I was able to begin the yearlong transition process to a soft-landing for the start of my retirement. Now I am 5 months into retirement and am thoroughly enjoying my time. I got lots of advice from a lot of different people (including your blog, book and readers), and avoiding going back to work and protecting my time for things I’m passionate about was a recurrent theme and really reasonanted with me. I am in the exploratory phase and trying lots of different activities to find the 2 or 3 things that will stick. I am already finding out what creative and philanthropic things reasonate, but am not done trying out new things. Love your blogs – keep them coming!

    1. Jean, I agree that the “college to career” transition is a good metaphor, I used that as an example in my book. Congratulations on your first 5 months on the right side of The Starting Line, glad to hear the transition is going well for you.

  12. I was pretty scared of letting that paycheck go for the first retirement. Got through it by doing two financial analyses, one my own and one by financial advisor. Those results were nearly identical – I had more than enough.

    I did not wait long before going right back as a contractor. I do feel my anxiety about letting that paycheck go was a factor in jumping back in. In retrospect, I wish I had passed on the contract work and had just enjoyed those 4 years with a more functional body that would have allowed me to travel and downsize without constant pain. Also, right after I retired my parents started having issues, and I endured tons of stress dealing with that over the next 4 years.

    1. “In retrospect, I wish I had passed on the contract work and had just enjoyed …”

      Lynne, thanks for confirming that my advice in the article was sound. Sorry to hear about your parents, amazing how many folks our age have or are dealing with parent issues.

  13. Another great and thought-provoking post, Fritz. Timely, too, as my husband and I are within 12 to 15 months of pulling the early retirement trigger. Logically, I know that it’s financially safe to do so and have many different contingencies built in, but there’s still a bit of trepidation about actually pulling the pin. But making a fairly firm decision about our retirement date earlier this fall has definitely started to shift our focus from furthering our careers to imagining what is possible with our free time in the future.

    1. Ming, interesting to hear the firming up the date helped shift your focus. I found the same thing with my retirement. Best of luck in your final 12-15 month run to The Starting Line!

  14. Fritz, I’m interested in knowing how your intake of retirement-related blogs/podcasts/books changed when you transitioned from pre- to post-retirement. Do you still continue to financially educate yourself at the same rate, or do you kind of figure you’ve already done that part and now you “enjoy the spoils of your labor”? I listen to at least 10-12 finance/retirement podcasts as week as a prepare for early retirement at age 51 (in 4 years), but wonder if I’ll have that same drive (or need?) to do so after I retire. Just curious what you’ve done. Thanks! (Maybe that’s an entire blog post in and of itself!)

    1. Interesting question, Casey. I probably should write a post on it, because it was a HUGE change. As I wrote earlier, I used to devour podcasts (~3 hours of commuting/day, podcasts at 2X speed the entire drive, so 6 hours of podcasts consumed/day pre-retirement). Now that I’m retired, I listen to less than 6 hours of podcasts per YEAR.

      That said, I’m reading more retirement books now, both because I have the time and I have quite a few friends in the online community who are writing books. I’m not “devouring” the books as much now that I’m retired, since I feel the majority of the preparation is for the transition stage, which I’ve already conquered. Now, I read them more out of interest for the advice they have for others who are still in that stage of their journey. I suspect your consumption of retirement related content will drop when you retire, will be interesting to see if you have the same experience I did. Keep me posted.

      1. I look forward to this change
        I am moths away and think I spend too much time reading and listening to material
        Some is just for fun / education, like testing Panettone in advance of Christmas… yum.

  15. Thanks for this article Fritz!

    I was not scared before retiring (to be more precise I joined a corporate pre-retirement plan) because I was totally unaware of the magnitude of this change in life. I was not mentally ready.

    As a matter of fact I was fully engaged in my job till the very end, managing a big online workshop and making a presentation to the top management a few days before Christmas (I was supposed to say goodbye to my employer on the 31st Dec). I spent the last days of December 2020 to clean out my office alone, with no colleagues around due to lockdown restrictions (what a gloomy atmosphere!). I was so tired that I was not concentrating on my “second life” at all.

    This was , in retrospect, a colossal mistake!!!! I cannot change the past but after a hard transition now I am much focused on learning, discovering my real purposes and sharing my experience.

    My honeymoon with retirement didn’t last long and I soon faced the typical retirement issues (lack of purpose, social identity, profession etc.). Finding The Retirement Manifesto and other inspirational blogs and books gave me the energy to overcome my depression and helped me open my own blog at the end of March his year.
    I love writing (this is part of my ikigai) and I am really committed in reaching more and more people who are interested in discovering the emotional side of retirement and being prepared for it.

    Thanks again

    1. “This was , in retrospect, a colossal mistake!!!!”

      Michaela, your experience was far from unique, unfortunately. A lot of folks run hard right until the day they retire, then suddenly find themself adrift with the magnitude of the change. I’m honored that my blog was part of your inspiration through that “messy middle,” and I’m pleased that you reached out to me as you started your blog. You’re finding your way, and helping others from repeating your mistake. Well done!

  16. Thanks for the post Fritz. I retired May 1 this year at age 67 (68 in August) and was not nervous. For us it was time (or even a couple of years past time), even though I had a great career the decision was not ambiguous. What I continue to feel is a life passage, and that is ok. I began drafting my own retirement plan beginning at age 60 and continue tweaking it monthly which helps. Financial aspects were important to us, being debt free with lots of cash and cash equivalents in addition to retirement accounts have been great, added interest income has been a pleasant surprise. This is a great community, have you considered an annual Retirement Manifesto conference?

    1. Steve, thanks for the suggestion of an annual Retirement Manifesto conference. I have considered it, but it sounds like too much work. That said, it would be really enjoyable to spend some time with the readers of this blog. May have to reconsider it, thanks for the encouragement.

  17. I AM nervous. My date is June 30, 2023. Retiring in a down market with 2 kids in college is not for the faint of heart. And I’m keenly aware of the importance of work in my life. Many thanks for your thoughtful blog posts over time, which I’ve perused and adapted as they make sense to me. In particular, I finished funding ‘bucket 1′ and set up our retirement paycheck process early in 2022, so this year’s market gyrations haven’t swayed me in the least. I know time is precious, and I’m ready for new horizons. I’m working through the ’20 things’ list as it applies to my life, and I’m particularly grateful for the idea to prioritize time to say ‘thank you’ to work colleagues and mentors who are meaningful to me. For reasons TMI, starting July 2023 we’re taking an intentional 18-month honeymoon where we’re not making any NEW commitments. Perhaps I’ll write a blog of my own one day, as I think we need more and different voices (one woman’s views?) on our shared journeys. I’m starting now to reach out in new ways, again thanks to a suggestion from you, and commenting on this blog post is one new step for me. Thanks for your guidance and your voice.

    1. “…and I’m ready for new horizons.”

      Indeed, it sounds as though you are. Your 18-month honeymoon sounds marvelous, and I absolutely agree you should consider blogging (when and if you’re ready, I love your no new commitment pledge, I made the same as I was approaching retirement).

  18. Fritz:
    Even though I have been retired about 8 years, I still enjoy reading your,posts and resonate with much. So thanks for taking the time to share.

    Given the current state of the economy and reduction in forces that is and will continue to occur, one area that I think might be a good one to explore is how to handle the forced and sudden retirement that will probably occur to many as their company shows them the door. While it is traumatic to younger workers, the impact to older ones can be even more difficult. While you may be OK financially, the sudden shift mentally without time to prepare can be really tough.

    Just a thought if you want to add to your “list of potentials”

    1. Good suggestion, William. No doubt about it, those who are forced into retirement have a far more difficult time with the transition than those who have time to plan. Thanks for the suggestion.

  19. I too am nervous about making the final plunge into retirement. I will be retiring in May! I actually went to counseling last week so I can work through the “bugs” that are bugging me about leaving after teaching high school for 30 years. I’m ready, my body is ready, my finances…I’m not so sure about that as teacher retirement is not much. That is the biggest concern at the moment.

    1. Christy, kudos for getting help dealing with the upcoming transition. It’s a big one, for sure. Thanks for being a teacher for 3 decades – an honorable profession that is, unfortunately, under-compensated in our society.

  20. Fritz,

    As always, thanks for the thoughtful post.

    I still have 3 years until my Retirement date, and I’m still running flat out so I haven’t had time to get nervous before I retire. I’ve made lots of Retirement spreadsheets, and feel great about the future.

    Five years ago this week my wife, (who is 7 years older than me), put in her 30 day Retirement Letter at the end of a 40+ year career, and had planned to take PTO to fill out the 30 days.

    However, life sometimes has a different plan and five days later she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She ended up starting her retirement undergoing open heart surgery. Needless to say neither of us had planned for that possibility to start out her retirement.

    She’s doing great, and I’ve got 713 work days left until I retire. Life is great now, and I expect it to be even better when I retire.

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Wow, your wife sure had a shocking start to retirement. Glad to hear she’s doing well, keep running toward that Starting Line!

  21. Thanks for sharing this post Fritz. It’s interesting to hear about your 7 year experience with your blog, and the income basically covering your health insurance premium. I haven’t monetized my site at all, and don’t plan on it, at least until I retire in 3-4 years. But, the value it’s brought me in learning from like-minded and successful folks like you, has been amazing, and well worth all the effort! Happy Holidays, Fritz!

    1. You’re walking in my footsteps, Soup. I agree the value from blogging far exceeds the financial aspects, it’s a great community and I’m pleased that you’re a part of it.

  22. Looking back at 2014…
    1.Financial…we have always conservative with our finance and always will be in the future. The FI number was mathematically correct.
    2.Relationship…we have consistently invested part of our time and money in friends and member over the years, hence, FI was achieved without total destruction of friends and family.
    3.Heath…our path toward FI was the combination of moderation in the everyday living and physical activities. As a result, we were able to take on the shiny object of “TRAVELING ABROAD” to see how the other 95 percents of the world population live their lives.

    So why should we be nervous crossing over the FI mile marker?

    Here is an experience that I am sharing with you for a successful FI…
    “Walk toward FI and not running toward FI”.

    Good luck everyone!

  23. Fritz,
    Been reading you for years and mere words can’t explain how much your blog has helped.
    Pulled the trigger last week and done in early January.
    And this last post WOW you read our minds, nervous, anxious, loss of sleep as it gets closer.
    Thanks for being there as we walk this very scary part of my life.

    1. John, congrats of pulling that trigger, 2023 is going to be a very special year for you. Thanks for your kind words on my work, much appreciated.

  24. Fritz,
    I’m not quite committed to retiring at the end of 2023, but that is the direction we are leaning. My wife is planning to retire from teaching at the end of the 2023-2024 school year so maybe I will work into spring of 2024. We’ve been talking, figuring, and planning, and I am nervous about “What are we forgetting, or what don’t we know about?”
    The other day I was putting my employer’s 2023 Holiday schedule into my calendar, and when I got to the end of the year there was a realization that this retirement thing may “go live” at that point. Excitement, nervousness, relief, and a sense of adventure all at the same time.

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