Taking the “IRE” Out of Retirement

I admit it. I’m a boomer in retirement. After getting an early lump-sum offer form my employer of 25 years, I took the money and ran. Or, most precisely, walked to the bank, consulted my financial advisor and invested in stocks and bonds. I was still too young to get a payout, so I considered my options. I wonder how many others are out there in my position? Hence, this article.

Here I am in my late fifties and not reporting to a company after being an employee since I was thirteen. Although I didn’t technically support myself until I was 22, it’s still a long career. The day after my retirement party, it took a while to sink in. I started that day with a surreal urge to check my email and voicemail, a more recent development in my workday routine. I wouldn’t miss the meetings, but would miss my colleagues. I finally had a stress-free environment and would enjoy the time to write, paint, learn the guitar and travel without restrictions. My wife still worked as a teacher, so we had a lot of time together.

But what to do? How to spend the extra time without feeling guilty? And, most of all, how to while away the next twenty or thirty years? My dad had died at 89, so I considered the possibility that I could live three more decades. I needed to create some additional income while waiting to reach 59 1/2 for my pension and then 62 1/2 for early social security. I could do some consulting because I did run my own ad agency and had that expertise. I could paint murals and considered that too. I didn’t want to work too hard, but realized I didn’t want to be reduced to a lazy bum either. I had to balance work and play.

So it would be a tough decision. I spent a few weeks actually looking at monster.com for employment ideas. But I had a big problem. When I left the company, I was making over $50 an hour and most of the jobs were in the $10-$12 an hour range. Oops! Well, an old client came to the rescue and offered a commissioned sales job that would allow me to work my own hours and make a few bucks over the next year. So we struck and agreement and I did some selling each week. I decided to take advantage of my wife’s teaching schedule and planned several vacations together. With grown children out of the home, this worked out perfectly.

It was the first time we could just enjoy the time as a couple without all the other job-related issues. In the past, I had to work in vacations around a year-round sales job. Now we had far more flexibility and it allowed us to take advantage of travel specials. Luckily I had some savings and money was not a big problem. During that first year of the big “R” we conceived an idea for a home-based web business and the following year my wife retired. Now we work together running the site and building a membership of people looking for health information and doctors and dentists referred and rated by nurses. It’s fun and helps the 50 communities we serve, nationwide. We even offer donations to charity in exchange for patient referrals.

So, in summary, how do you get the “IRE”out of retirement? Using that acronym, you can start to:

  • (I) Invest in Yourself: Take a break from working and do things you’ve been putting off.
  • (R) Rest, relax, regroup, and reconsider your lifestyle and current situation.
  • (E) Explore your options. There are many choices to consider, depending on your needs.

As for me, I am surviving the retirement angst, thank you very much. It’s been challenging and fun. Most of all, it’s allowed me time with my wife and a whole new career that could lead to exciting times. I look forward to the future and all that life offers us senior members of society. I’ll continue to write articles, paint, do the website marketing and finally learn to play that darn guitar that’s propped up in the corner of the den.

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