The author writes about the two most surprising things about his retirement. My two are... lack of time (total surprise) and abundance of money (pleasant surprise after many years of calculating, recalculating, making projections, etc.).
Ditto to Bob's surprise.
I was also surprised to see such huge numbers, MULTITUDES in fact, of people out in the shopping malls on the highways, at food and entertainment venues, etc., during work hours.
¨During work hours¨ is an odd locution, rubirosa. Not everyone works 9 to 5 on weekdays.
(Hospital workers and public safety workers need to staff their jobsites 24/7. Custodians work primarily overnight. Folks in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, bars) work a lot of evenngs/late nights/weekends. Retail, warehouse, shipping industry often work evenings or round the clock. Folks in the gig economy, telecommuting, or flextime may be juggling jobs with responsibilities for care of children, elders or disabled relatives, may be tag-teaming work schedules with other family members.
Thanks for the welcome rubirosa--I have been lurking for a while for a number of years (both on the old forum and the new one.) I appreciate the insights into TIAA idiosyncrasies (about a quarter of my portfolio is with them in a 403b SRA, almost entirely in Trad and a bit in TREA). I am mostly retired but continue to do a bit of part-time paid work which I particularly enjoy (and the pay for which goes entirely into TIAA Trad in the employer 403b.) My equities and TIPS are at other custodians in taxable and Roth accounts.
My mom (going on 90) derives a significant chunk of her modest but comfortable retirement income from her annuitized Trad (contributed by my late father all in high vintages.)
I do not expect to annuitize my Trad as my parents did. (My dad was disabled by Parkinsons in his early 60s and did a joint and survivor annuity of everything at that point.) In retrospect, that turned out to be a very smart decision, which has stood my mom in very good stead over the decades. (Basically, her income is SS, TIAA Trad annuity, and a bit of interest from the CDs where she parked the proceeds of her home equity after she downsized into a condo.) She lives comfortably in a very nice condo and her assets and income are modest enough to qualify for the generous senior citizen property tax exemption in her otherwise high tax city. My dad´s decision to annuitize when he did protected his TIAA account from being totally drained to pay for eventual nursing home expenses later on and left my mom comfortably provided for.
I am now older than he was and I suppose that my not annuitizing might be one of my biggest surprises in (semi)-retirement. A lot has changed since my late husband and I first started to contribute to it four decades ago. At the time we first started contributing, I do not believe there was any provision for doing anything other than annuitizing once retirement years set in. And we expected to face mandatory retirement ages. (Those days are now long gone.)
Another surprise is the large size of my taxable account (about half of my portfolio) and my Roth IRA (about 25% of my portfolio). Also the fact that my effective average tax rate is extremely low yet my effective *marginal* tax rate is very high due to idiosyncrasies of the tax code (qualified dividends, taxable SS, foreign tax credits, interaction effects, etc.). Working part-time will allow me to defer RMDs indefinitely while continuing to do gradual Roth conversions (and donate appreciated securities in taxable to somewhat offset the tax hit of the conversion). In a few years, I can also gradually roll funds from my 403b into an IRA for the purpose of making QCDs.
So all in all, one of the biggest surprises is that (unless needed for my eventual LTC) my tax-advantaged retirement savings will likely either go to charity or to my heirs as Roth IRA beneficiaries.
TYPICALLY, the draw is more damaging than (p)inflation so replacing the draw consistently should be a priority...matching the income level to the draw is a good way to do so.
I have now been retired for eight years, retired at age 56 with a small retirement annuity (and a smaller supplemental annuity that would end when I turned 62). The biggest surprise for me is how well this whole retirement thing has worked out. Money was tight until I hit age 62 and started drawing social security, but I have a very low cost lifestyle, so I was able to make do with whatever money was at hand. And yes, I am amazed at how fast time has passed. I have truly enjoyed being retired, and with the benefit of hindsight, I am so glad that I didn't try to hang on and work longer. It's always a good idea to be aware of things that could go wrong with retirement, but keep in mind that things can just as easily go the right way and you have a wonderful retirement.
What i learned after leaving prison (aka, a job) for well over 20 years was:
1. Employers let their employees take bath room breaks
2. Employers let their employees use the internet.
3. Employers treat their employees like humans.
4. Bosses dont follow their employees around for 8 hours a day with a clipboard taking detailed notes on their every move.
All of this and more was completely a shock after working for Hell, INc. most of my life.
I retired 5 years ago at age 70. I have a TIAA 403b RA, Fidelity SRA (2 accts) and 457b, and a brokerage (investment) account.
Two main surprises in retirement. Not a total surprise that there might be bequests, but we were surprised at their size, given also that multiple sibling beneficiaries were involved.
Surprise #1 was that just about the time when I retired, we inherited cash and securities from both sides of the family. That is the source of the Fido brokerage account and two of our three supplemental retirement accounts. The family money increased our accumulated wealth by about 40%. The first ca. $100k that we received we directed toward liquidating the graduate school loans of one of our children. Why did these bequests arrive now? Mainly because the donors lived into their mid-90's. They had (on one side of the family) already been generous with partial subsidies for the college education of our children.
Surprise #2 is how hard it has been to organize and clean up our collected goods from 50 years of marriage. This includes things that were literally collections, such as dolls. Even though we bought a new property in a 55+ community about 65 miles from where we lived at retirement, we're still mired in sorting and shedding. And we're downsizing. We hope to make the final shift along with sale of our original home within the next 6 months. But for now we're paying property taxes on two homes, as well as condo fees at one of them.
The author of the piece retired at age 41.
How could he NOT have been surprised?
He's barely an adult.
I would never take a stitch of advice from FIRE types.
P.S. I had certain expectations when I retired, but I didn't have predictions. I had experienced enough in life at an early age to know that things, including lives, could go poof in a heartbeat. That's why I grabbed a relatively early retirement at 58 because I wanted to experience as much as possible while I could.
Like other members, I have been surprised at how fast time has flown by since retiring ten years ago. Also, getting together with buddies for a simple lunch often runs into scheduling issues. I always thought I would have more time on my hands after retirement.
In terms of investing, the market has been kind to me since retiring in 2010. I took both my defined benefit and defined contribution plan pensions as lump sums, added it to my 401K, and dumped it all into a rollover IRA. I have missed out on any sequence of return concerns that faced those retiring two years earlier. However, without a doubt, the biggest financial surprise came last year when my wife and siblings were notified they had inherited a significant number of oil leases. We were aware that her father’s grandfather had been in the oil business and had given her dad some oil leases. They ( her dad ) had been receiving royalty checks for 50-60 years. My wife and her five brothers and sister had expected to divide those leases among the six of them, in no way life-changing but much better than a stick in the eye.
Now for the surprise! My wife’s brother, acting as executor, came upon a box containing records from her father’s mother and grandfather. Thankfully, he looked into some of the accounts and found that distributions had been piling up in those accounts for 30+ years for her grandmother and 50+ for her great grandfather. It is beyond my comprehension of how these substantial assets were not discovered when their estates were settled??
We have received two large checks this year with absolutely no paper work, so we are setting aside a significant amount for taxes, assuming they will be assessed.
Funny thing, for years, I have wailed against overweighting energy, MLP’s, and commodities in general. Today, not so much. :))
"Now for the surprise!"
Bentley, the word surprise does not fully describe it. A different word or another word before surprise is needed.
Yates Petroleum of Artesia sold to Houston company for $2.5 billion
Let's get back on topic and see what other retirement surprises others have experienced, financial or other.
Surprise? How rapidly the time has gone by.
I gave myself a lot of time...still passed by too quickly.
I recently joined the 50/50 club. That is, I had earned income for first 27 years since college, and now no earned income for past 27 years!
And a decade plus years trying to help others on the investing forums...pro bono (free). Couldn't dream of making 19,000+ posts, as personal computers were only just coming on-line when I retired.
Another surprise...golf game did not improve as much as expected...improved, but then plateaued... a Jack Nicklaus designed course usually getting the better of me. A rarity though: have a hole-in-one on the golf hole I live on.