The View From 13063 Feet

Make retirement the best time of your life.

We spent most of this week in Baker, NV visiting the Great Basin National Park. It is in a very remote part of the state but is a fantastic park with fun hikes and amazing caves to tour. The picture in the header is from Wheeler Peak which tops out just over 13000 feet. It's just a 4.3 mile hike from the parking lot but the back half of the hike is like going up a steep, 2.5 mile, rocky flight of stairs. If you hike regularly it should be doable and should not take anywhere near the time they suggest.

I saw this Tweet exchange regarding retirement;

These folks are from the LCHF (low carb, high fat diet) cohort that I follow on Twitter. I learn some good stuff from them related to diet but I draw different conclusions from them on many topics but the comments on retirement are interesting.

First is the mind set of retirement. Sticking with a traditional definition for a moment, where it could last 20 or 30 or 40 or whatever number of years, being bored or waiting to die as implied in the Tweet seems like an unnecessary waist of a big chunk of life. It can be a psychological thing, big milestones can be difficult in terms of confronting mortality, but it doesn't have to be.

The Tweet above has a useful premise embedded in it; independence. It talks about independence from work you don't enjoy. There are solutions there, finding work you do enjoy or being financially independent enough that you don't have to work (not that you should do nothing with your time, a substitute could be a volunteer endeavor).

The right work, volunteer or otherwise, should be a net positive. Finding and having purpose from something you spend a lot of time on should reduce/eliminate the boredom/waiting to die element.

The focus of this blog is the financial aspect of the theme but the others are important. Living below your means is a crossover between the psychological and financial aspects. A nerve wracking financial existence wondering how quickly you're going to run out of money as a state of mind would seem to play into waiting to die. A lifetime of living below your means goes a long way to putting the odds in your favor in this regard. But even if you didn't live below your means as you worked you can still downsize effectively after you retire and achieve a similar result.

Lately I've been writing more about the fitness aspect of living in retirement. The financial benefits include simply spending less money on healthcare than you otherwise would (hopefully less than the $280,000 number that Fidelity updates every year).

The point I have made about being healthier and more fit means simply being able to do the things you enjoy for much longer but taking in the Tweet above, if you enjoy hiking (one of my things) it would be nice to be able to do well into old age. Going out to hike (sticking with one of my things but you can replace it with one of yours) a couple of times a week would be the exact opposite of being bored, waiting to die.

As opposed to waking up on day one of retirement and asking yourself "what do I want to do," hopefully you realize you have more time to do the things you've always done and leave time to discover new things you like to do or learn about.

For many years I've made the obvious observation that retirement will be a different thing from now on for many (most?) people for many reasons. The right mindset, robust financial plan and smart decisions about diet and exercise can make it one of the best times of your life not a hopeless time but it requires work. Like with many things, hard work will be rewarded.

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