On my post titled 7 Steps to Millions More: Continue Learning and Developing Skills, one reader left the following comment:
This could maybe even be its own post but how do you feel you apply this concept into your life now that you are retired?
1. Do you still try to learn and grow in your career field perhaps because you are still interested and just enjoy learning and thinking about it or perhaps because you want to keep your skills sharp for possible future opportunities you may want to explore?
2. Do you still network in your career field for the same reason or are you networking in other areas?
3. Are you trying to branch out and learn new things in areas you were previously interested in but didn’t have as much time for perhaps in side businesses and how are you doing that?
4. Are you trying to pick up new hobbies or explore new leisure activities and how are you learning about and finding those options?
5. Anything else I didn’t think of.
As someone approaching this stage I am quite curious about how others who have gone through early retirement handle the growth and learning phase in retirement.
Here’s the response I gave at the time:
These are some GREAT questions!
To some extent, it’s still too soon to answer them. I will give my 100-day retirement update in a couple weeks and you’ll see how it’s going, but there’s still a lot to be determined about how my retirement time will play out.
For now, I’m treating retirement as I would any other major life change (death in the family, divorce, etc.) and not trying to make any major decisions/plans for six months or so. I’m just “being’ to some extent and trying to relax, slow the pace of life, and do a lot of thinking. This is totally opposite of my fast-paced lifestyle prior to retirement, so it’s taking me some time to detox.
So I don’t have great (or any) answers to the above at this point. I can tell you what I’m doing and answer them, but it won’t be meaningful because it’s not really intentional. So I’ll give it another couple months and then will use them as the basis of a new post.
But let me give you at least a taste of what’s going on to tide you over.
I can say that I am still learning (mostly about personal finance, blogging, technology, and fitness) and doing so will probably always be part of my life. I’m also networking but not nearly as much as I was previously and mostly not in business circles (I am doing some volunteer stuff where networking is vital).
I am spending more time on fitness — I just got back from a 3-mile walk this morning on a crisp, Colorado morning. I’ve also done several things around the house that needed taking care of. As for hobbies, this blog and my other one have ramped up (something you might consider — what to be a regular contributor here? ;)) and I enjoy them both.
I have taken a few side trips and was able to attend my college reunion which was something I never would have done while I worked.
I’ll share more in my upcoming retirement update and then even more when I answer the questions in a new post.
So now it’s been over eight months since I retired and I think I’m ready to answer these questions.
- I don’t spend much time reading/growing in my field (business/marketing) at this point. I do read business-type articles now and then but that’s because they may have use as background material for a post I’m considering.
- I do network a bit now and then with colleagues, friends, recruiters, etc. because 1) I enjoy it and 2) you never know what might happen. If the perfect opportunity came up, I might take it (my kids asked me the other night if I would clean toilets for a year for a $1 million salary and I said, “Of course!” It’s still hard to pass up an easy million!) Networking also helps for the volunteer position I have, which is fundraising for a charity that helps poor, single mothers get back on their feet.
- I am learning and reading a TON about personal finance. I read about 200 blogs, have polished off a couple books this year (one I’ve told you about and the other will be covered in an upcoming post), still read Money and Kiplinger’s magazines (though I’ll let the subscriptions lapse when due as they are next to worthless), and listen to a handful of money podcasts. I also listen to “personal improvement” podcasts like those by Tim Ferriss and Lewis Howes. I’m also plowing through a few books on the US Virgin Islands since I hope to get down there this year. And of course I’m reading on fitness and health quite often. So yes, I’m still learning a ton, just not in my work field.
- I have picked up some new hobbies. I’m blogging (of course) and am always learning about writing, technology, and so forth. I really enjoy it and probably spend an average of 3-4 hours a day on it in one way or another. I also started hiking a bit and am training to climb Pikes Peak this summer (it’s in my city, so why not?) I’ve read up on how to make the climb, talked to some people who have done so, and planned out my training schedule from now until September when I plan to walk up it. I am also traveling more than ever this year as noted in my vacation post. BTW, anyone have a recommendation for a GREAT hiking backpack? I’m in the market for one.
- I did do some free consulting for a local business owned by a friend. It was fun for me, helped her out, and got me a couple free perks to tourist sites around town, so it worked on several fronts.
You didn’t ask this specifically, but other than the career-related questions, it seems the heart of you inquiry might be, “Is there enough to do during retirement or am I going to be bored out of my mind?”
It’s a wise question to ask.
I’ve heard others say that if you have something to retire to, then retirement is great. But if you don’t, it will be torture. (In case you missed it, I wrote a guest post on this subject for another site.)
I can’t agree more. You have to have something(s) to do when you retire or else most people will find it extremely boring.
It doesn’t matter what it is: reading, working on cars, volunteering, visiting family, physical fitness, etc. You have to do something with your waking hours and TV and video games won’t cut it for long.
I am busy enough now with my interests that I don’t get bored but not so busy that I’m stressed. I am busy, for sure, but it’s a good busy, doing things I want to do, so it’s different than “work busy”. As such, it’s quite manageable and totally fun. I imagine through the years that some activities will fall by the wayside and some new ones will pop up, but time will tell on that front. For some added perspective, see 10 Things I Didn’t Expect in Early Retirement, a guest post I wrote for my friend at Budgets are Sexy. It was picked up by Michelle Singletary, who I’ve admired and read for years, and the Washington Post.
Anything else anyone would like to know about post-retirement activities? If so, ask in the comments and I’ll share my thoughts.