February 16, 2011


No one in my family can seem to retire.

My dad retired from one industry (banking) then promptly entered a separate career field entirely after which he retired then entered another field followed by his most recent and current career for good measure. My mom retired from teaching special education kids only to take a job working to educate recent political refugees. Beth's mom just retired from teaching last year. She now finds herself teaching again. Her dad has not yet retired. We don't actually expect him to. Our grandparents all worked well into their sixties and seventies.

I, for one, am ready to buck the family trend, to plow a new path - I'm ready to retire, oh, next Tuesday. The operative word there is ready. I'm not at all prepared. I could quit my job but we'd have to live out our dreams of retirement in an old refrigerator under an overpass. I do take comfort in the fact that at least I don't live in the ten worst states for retirees - Illinois, California, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Nevada.

So I guess I'll keep working here in my retirement-friendly state of Virginia and dream of buying a small tropical island somewhere. I just hope I can swing that before I'm, you know, 90.

(The island thing? You could all totally come. We'd have live music, plenty of sun, stuff for the kids to do and full contact Scrabble. It would be awesome.)

What are your expectations of retirement?

Posted by Chris at February 16, 2011 7:20 AM

My expectations are to be bored as *explitave deleted* and get another job. As much as I want to enjoy retired life, and spend it traveling around? I don't see that happening. So... I see me getting a part time job doing SOMETHING just to get me out of the house. I don't think I could stand being cooped up. But then again, who knows what um... 37 years or so will bring. God that's a depressing number...

Posted by: Kim at February 16, 2011 7:58 AM

Gosh, the idea of doing NOTHING is attractive for the first few hours, then its just boring and depressing. Retirement for me will hopefully be spent being active, social, volunteering or working somewhere and feeling like I am contributing or helping society. I am not sure what that will be. I wish I was more artistic so I could paint or create something. Also, I hope to not outlive my husband by the 20+ years I see many women do. That would be a bummer. He and I have a wonderful relationship so a life without him wouldn't be much of one at all.

I'm in for the island thing. How much for one palm tree and a hut?

Posted by: Debbie at February 16, 2011 8:23 AM

Good luck, I'm not counting on anything being left after the Baby Boomers spend it all on botox and penis pills.

I'm resolving to work until I die at my desk or die at the front door of Wal-Mart as a greeter. Bleak, yes, realistic, yes.

Posted by: Thunderfish at February 16, 2011 8:55 AM

I haven't really thought about it much. But I'll probably retire long before my husband who never will. He is one of those lucky people who loves what he does and claims that it's never work because he enjoys it so. I work to live and he lives to work (I think he has the better deal!). I could keep busy though as I have about 347,000 hobbies that need my attention :)

Posted by: Elizabeth at February 16, 2011 9:00 AM

Oh, I'm fully expecting to be working into my 70's, if not longer. I'm one of those that would be fine with hanging out and relaxing for the first few weeks of retirement, then I would start to go stir-crazy. I can rarely take a two-week vacation without checking my work email. Its an ugly habit.

Posted by: J at February 16, 2011 9:42 AM

Depressingly, I expect to be dead before I can retire. This is it. Meh.

Posted by: Martin at February 16, 2011 9:42 AM

I try to avoid thinking about it, as it is too damn depressing. I don't see how I can really save enough on my own to last 30+ years of retirement, and government is going bankrupt, so can't count on any help from there. We'd need a sustained 10-15 year run of 15% gains in the market for my 401K to catch up, and that is just not going to happen.

Posted by: COD at February 16, 2011 9:43 AM

Ah, retirement. Travel the US, maybe some visits to Canada. I dream of getting a travel trailer and just going and doing whatever I want, whenever I want. Of course, with my husband, that will include lots of fishing and (assuming we're still able) hiking. Days of reading books, sewing, and never having to talk to anyone if I don't want....

Of course, those are the dreams, reality is probably going to be working til the day I drop dead, but I refuse to even think about that part of it.

Posted by: sherri at February 16, 2011 10:27 AM

I actually have pretty high expectations for retirement. My present sucks in many ways, including financially, so I'm kinda looking forward to 65. My job has a ridiculously generous 403(b) plan, in which they pay 5% in whether I'm enrolled or not. If I enroll, they will match my contribution up to another 5%. So right now I have a 5-5-7 contribution to my retirement going on. The advisor from our investment company said our employer contribution is crazy good, and if I keep it up, even if the market sucks for 30 more years, I'll still have 6 figures in my retirement account. Good thing, 'cause I don't live in a retirement-friendly state. Too bad I hate my job but I gues someday it will seem worth it.

Posted by: Brooke at February 16, 2011 11:44 AM

Not to put too much pressure on my kids (they are only 5 and 8), but I hope to be a super-active involved Granny who will get up to all kinds of mischief with my oodles of adorable grand-kids. But I also hope to be able to travel at the drop of a dime.

Posted by: meanie at February 16, 2011 11:49 AM

I have the same expectations as meanie, to to an involved grandma and travel at the drop of a dime. I will be able to "retire" in 12 years when I'm 52 after having 30 years in with state government, but I imagine I'll have to find another job after that!

Posted by: Fabs at February 16, 2011 12:46 PM

I really hope to be able to retire while I'm still healthy enough to enjoy said retirement.

I imagine gardening, cooking nice meals, reading great books, taking long walks with my dog and love, kayaking, snowshoeing, and sitting at the local bar for a bump and burger after I ski down the hill. I imagine taking trips with my love and grown children, and enjoying their company. I imagine finally driving all through Alaska.

Posted by: Mindy at February 16, 2011 12:48 PM

My parents can't afford to retire, so that scares me. Same with my mother-in-law. They have bad spending habits, though.

My mom's dad, on the other hand, was forced to retire at age 80 by his secretary. I call her grandma. He loved his job, loved every part of helping people, and I take a lot of pride that I am in the same profession as he is. I hear he's pretty happy about it, too.

But I'd likely just get more involved in non-profits. There are people who have less and need more. I'm ready to give. :)

Posted by: alektra at February 16, 2011 12:59 PM

I am a baby boomer, and I don't understand Thunderfish's comment about nothing being left after we baby boomers spend it on botox and penis pills. If I retire in another 6 or 7 years (I am almost 64 now), and I begin to draw social security, do I need to get approval from Thunderfish on how to spend it? I have no plans to purchase botox or penis pills, but perhaps there are other things that would be equally verboten? Kill me now.

Posted by: Patricia at February 16, 2011 1:40 PM

My husband can retie from the state police in 7 years and we are taking full adantage of that. Working a dangeroud job, we are not going to take any chances of him getting shot before we can enjoy our retirement. Our kids will be grown by then, both out of college so we are selling the house and moving to New Orleans to enjoy really living! I will probably get a job with one of the colleges down there, or a museum, something non stresful. He plans on doing PI work for lawyers or insurance companies or maybe just stock shelves in a grocery store.

It's going to be all about fun first.

Posted by: Lisa at February 16, 2011 1:41 PM

oh yay.. i live in NJ...wonder-f**king-ful!!

Posted by: Darren at February 16, 2011 2:09 PM

So far my "retirement" plan involves winning the lottery, or marrying rich. I think the odds are equally bad :P My mum is technically retired but she's still working full time, because she has bratty kids in university. And also, I think, because things were financially pretty rough when my parents split (and Dad emptied the bank accounts, that lovely man) she needs the security of a paycheque. (Thankfully, she has a good job as a nurse, and it both pays well and is very stable with an aging population.)

Posted by: Heather at February 16, 2011 2:22 PM

My step-dad hopes to retire in 4 or 5 years. He is 61. I think running out of money in retirement is a big concern for a great number of people. Health care costs takes a bit chunk of retirement.

My hubby jokes that he might never get to retire. Living comfortably and well is the dream.

I could see us retiring in Europe, on an island or in the mountains. The older that I get the more I seem to pay attention to the top rated places to retire and where it is cheap.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at February 16, 2011 3:19 PM

Sometimes I want to quit my job today (but not today), sometimes I want to change jobs "in a couple of years" and sometimes I think I'm here for another 21 years. I have no idea what I will do afterwards. Really. No idea.

Posted by: Heather at February 16, 2011 5:20 PM

I want to go to someplace sunny and warm and live in a little house with my dogs. I do not want it to snow or be cold, so I am thinking Key West! lol!

Posted by: Maribeth at February 16, 2011 7:44 PM

I'll lose my marbles working at a nursing home and they'll just slide me into the next available bed.

Honestly, with no such thing as a 401k in most of my jobs, let alone a matched retirement plan, and rumors of no social security left for our generation, I don't expect to be able to retire until I am too feeble to work.

But boy I would love to move to the mid-West or just travel.

Posted by: Karen at February 16, 2011 9:21 PM

I expect to retire whenever I get tired of working, because we've made a good effort to save along the way. If anything, I'll probably keep doing something that I like part time, and golf the rest of the time. ;)

Posted by: Brad at February 17, 2011 9:41 AM

I loved the "living in a refrigerator under the freeway over pass!" :)

I have been retired for 14 years and for some reason it all seems to work out. My husband's job would have killed him if he hadn't retired.

We spend what we can afford, live modestly in a grand sort of way. I write a money making blog about retirement from my perspective. I think a huge number of retirees are doing something they love and actually earning money. AARP even has a link for retired job seekers!

Best of luck...



Posted by: b at February 19, 2011 5:07 PM