Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is retirement?

It wasn't until my mid-20's that I first started thinking about retirement, and exactly what it would be like.  Until that time I had been growing up, getting educated, trying to find a job, raising a new family, doing home repairs on my new home and a multitude of other tasks to keep me busy.  Retirement was so far in the distance that I couldn't really even imagine it, but only give it a glancing thought.

My career up until this time included delivering newspapers, picking fruit, throwing hay bales, taking a break to get a college degree, managing a security company and finally helping my family run a local business.  At the age of 25 I got married and moved to a private insurance job that appeared to be going nowhere.  Then I decided to try a Government job.  This new job paid better then the private industry at the time, and my insurance training came in handy too.

The Government job had a pension plan, and this focused my attention further on down life's road than I had previously looked.  It was a good pension plan too, and I'm enjoying it to the fullest thank you.

My picture of a retiree at that time was of some old person sitting around all day bored and doing nothing.  They were doing nothing because they were too old to have fun anymore.  Sure, some of them had saved enough money or had a good enough pension to go south to warmer countries for a couple of months each winter, but I could only imagine they did the same thing down there.  Sit around and do nothing, but at least they were a little warmer.

I had a different plan.  My wife and I were going to save our money and when we got our pensions, we were going to spend the warm summer months in Canada and the cold winter months in Mexico.  That was the plan until the divorce.  Funny how life throws these little curves at us.  Needless to say, my basic retirement plan remained the same for the next 25 or so years, and at the end it looked something like this.

Live on Vancouver Island on a yacht that was at least around 50 feet long during the summer.  Then around October, fly to Mexico and stay for at least 6 months, either on, or near a beach.  I wasn't going to stop there and just drink cerveza and enjoy the sunshine;  no, I was going to write children/adult books for the rest of my life.  During my late 30's I even started writing titles of stories that I wanted to someday write.

Now that thirty more years have passed and I have become one of those lazy retirees, I have a different perspective of retirees - and am actually doing everything that I had planned.  Also I am still young enough to be able to actually get off my butt and move around a bit.  I bought my yacht in Florida last winter and moved it across the USA to Vancouver Island last May.  I love it.

I recently published my first book in a series of 8 or 9, and in the process have learned how to write, edit, format and publish online eBooks.  The second book is almost complete.  I also learned how to design book covers, and discovered a great artist for all my book covers.  Luckily I had a friend that was a talented editor, and she keeps my writing on keel (notice the boat talk).

Anyway I wanted to write this blog to all the people at the beginning of their career and family life.  If you look after your health, both physical and financial, you can definitely have the opportunity for a fantastic retired life.  And if you are like me, it won't just be sitting in a rocking chair.  All of life's challenges will sometimes get in the way, but keep your focus, and start planning early.  Retirement can be wonderful.  You will have more time to think, look after your health better, and time to actually smell the roses. 

 I hope to draw my pension for many, many years to come.