Retirement is a big life change. It’s a wonderful moment when you can take steps to back away from work, and just focus on what you love to do. While this is all great, there may be some unexpected surprises you haven’t heard about yet. But there is one writer who is willing to tell us all about what his experience was like.
Chris Mamula retired early.
So he has a lot of firsthand experience with the topic. He writes a new blog post for each year of retirement, to explain what the experience has been like, and how he grows throughout the years. Now finishing his third year of retirement, he wrote another column reflecting on his year.
Chris was a big fan of the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement, so he thought he had it all figured out.
The Financial Independence, Retire Early movement (FIRE) is a movement focused on providing tips to achieve financial independence quickly so that you can retire earlier. Many people who retired early will often write blog posts encouraging others and showing them how to do this.
Chris followed this movement avidly, and listened to all sorts of advice. But once he actually retired, he learned that he could never have been fully prepared for what retirement was going to be like. Early retirement was hard, so instead of sharing tips Chris wants to share some real-life insight to help other people navigate this life change.
The future is unpredictable, but you can plan to be flexible.
We are never able to fully plan for the future. Disasters strike, and good news can change our lives too. But by being honest and upfront with yourself about your current financial situation is like, you can begin to plan broadly for the future. By having a thorough, fact-based plan that is robust for many life situations, you can adapt pretty flexibly when something does come up.
Early retirement will not change who you are as a person.
Chris gets really real and shares something you may not be ready to hear:
“I’m going to be brutally honest. If there’s anything that you think you will do in retirement that you’re not doing now, you probably won’t. There is a good reason you’re not already doing that thing. It is not a priority in your life. If you want things to change, you need to own that.”
While this is hard to face, that’s the only way that any of us can change our lives to be what we want them to be. Aside from financial planning, identifying your hobbies and working on them is another way that you can get ahead on creating your dream retirement situation!
Retirement can bring up some marital strife.
Chris brings up his marriage problems that became noticeable after he retired. He’s not alone, retirement is a major life change that can bring up stress and conflict among some marriages.
But all hope is certainly not lost. One big perk of retirement is that partners now have more time to focus on improving their marriage and spending quality time together. It’s never a bad idea to seek marriage counselling, and retirement can be a wonderful time to help your relationship be better than it ever was.
Retirement can be scary, and that’s okay.
Giving up your paycheck in favor of Social Security sends you out into uncharted waters. Add to that the unpredictability that is central to being alive, and no one would blame you for being a little scared to make this change. But, as in any aspect of life, you shouldn’t let fear hold you back from making a move. Chris says,
“It’s normal to be afraid, regardless of what is happening around us. That doesn’t make it healthy or productive. Making big changes requires acknowledging our fears and taking action in spite of them.”
You never can tell what retirement will be like, but it’s helpful to have an honest guide.
Chris’ honesty about his experience in retirement is brave and helpful for anyone else soon approaching this life change. Retirement is a big change and it helps to hear as many stories about what it really looks like as you can.
Another helpful way to learn more about retirement is to reach out to family and friends who are already retired. You might be surprised what you hear!
To hear the words straight from Chris’ mouth, read this article.
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