It was a pleasure to get a copy of “Key To A Successful Retirement” by Fritz Gilbert. I’ve been a long time reader of The Retirement Manifesto and consumed much of Fritz’s content since he retired almost a year earlier than I did.
Keys To A Successful Retirement: What is it about?
This was less of a finance book and more of a story and takeaways about what the transition from a career into retirement is. To steal one of Fritz’s retirement tips, “Spend time thinking about the non financial ingredients of your retirement. In time, you’ll find they’re more valuable than money”. That sums up most of what I found the book addresses most: What happens after the finances are taken care of?
Here were some highlights:
Financial: This part of this book is pretty straightforward, discussing the widely known 4% rule and passive investing. I was glad Fritz touched on three things I should have paid more attention to before my transition into early retirement: Go visit the place you want to move and live like a retiree, plan for big purchases in advance, and consider the possibility of having too much in pretax savings. Those all resonated with me: Fritz carefully had his retirement destination picked out and home purchased while we scrambled to leave my last working destination without having a new place picked out.
The Non-Financial Stuff: Take the time in your final weeks / months of work to say goodbye to your true friends. I wish I had more time to do this when I left, friendships evolved once I was no longer working and moving. I have less in common with my former coworkers and have opted out of a battle we used to fight mutually. They are making different life decisions and that changes the relationship some. I was so busy handling my geographic exit that I missed some opportunities to spend time with people as I exited. We put the “coming soon” sign in the yard as soon as my notice went official and were in all out sprint mode to try to get out from our house before the oppressive DFW set in.
The initial euphoria of retirement does fade. It just does. I couldn’t agree more with this discussion. Part of retirement is finding a new routine and deciding if you’re comfortable with it. I was hard programmed for a decade and a half to live my life one way and now it is different. It is natural to miss a routine, even if that routine wasn’t a lot of fun.
Fritz talks about hidden challenges in retirement, which I also can relate to. How does someone handle the loss of identity that can come with retirement? We are introduced in society and “who are you and what do you do?”….now the answer becomes something different. It’s easy to answer the question with “here’s what I used to do”….transitioning that question into a different answer is part of evolving as a retiree. It might be fun to say “early retired” the first few times, but what about the 10th time someone stares at you blankly with the “does not compute” look on their face.
Fritz goes into detail on what worked for him and some strategies to consider using. Much of the book ties in the author’s personal story and everything doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but I appreciated him sharing his journey.
The last takeaway from this was the quote “retiring” is just meant to “re-tire”. Much like what used to happen to cars, it’s about figuring out what the next chapter in your life is. If something interests you, pursue it. If it makes money, so be it. That can be your victory lap after winning. There are no retirement police out there that are going to come after you. Live a life that is true to yourself; if you like/need to be productive, then be productive. If it brings in money, that doesn’t suddenly mean you are a fraud of a retiree. I’ve wrestled with that thought over and over and was glad to see the long discussion Fritz included in the book.
Overall it was a quick read and a quality book put together by Fritz. If you want to pick-up your own copy, you can purchase it here on Amazon, visit your local bookstore, or put in a request for your local library to order a copy!
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