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I plan to retire in just over two-and-a-half years at age 55. I'm by no means rich. Actually, I am a secretary and work for local government in California and have for my entire adult life (with the exception of 8 years when I was fortunate enough to take off and be a stay-at-home mom with three kids who were tired of after-school daycare and needed me to be there for them).

My husband is 17 years my senior, so he's already retired (although as an artist he says he'll never retire and cringes every time I call him that). We plan to do some travelling, but mostly I plan to get the proper amount of exercise each day, keep my house "clean" on a regular basis, see my grandkids more that I do now, and continue some of the part-time, extra-income jobs I currently do even with my full-time job (notary service, minutes secretary for City Council meetings, etc.). But even without that income, things will be just fine.

I have always been grateful for the variety of jobs I have had in government that have allowed me to remain in the same retirement system for over 30 years. I will by no means be rich when I retire, but if I stay out of debt now, and avoid the many unnecessary luxuries that we all fall for then (eating out too often, for example), we'll do just fine (my husband's social security check pays the mortgage!).

I so look forward to that time. And would have done it at age 44 if it were possible.

Retired Syd

@Merna--thanks for sharing your comments. I think you've got it right--just all the things you enjoy doing now, only more of them. I've found that's pretty much what it's all about.

Congratulations on setting yourself up for retirement at 55!

French Gold Coins

i'm in mini retirement since November.

I traveled for 3 months to India & Thailand.

I've been reading a lot of books.

I've been setting up a lot of websites.

I got admitted in the Anderson school of Management and I've been studying Calculus!

Sylvia - Women Retiring with Gusto!

I have just about 4 months until I retire and I'm madly trying to figure out what I'm going to do, what life will be like, how I'll manage on every level - from personal to financial. There are so many things to think about that I've also started a blog to keep track of thoughts. Please feel free to join me at and share you thoughts too. Together - the way women do it all best - we'll figure this out.

Marc Goodin

Last April I gave my 1 year notice. I will retire April 3, 2009, 6 days before i turn fifty. i have been deciding what to do with my time - other than the general reitrement goals - get caught up - travel - etc.

I have decided two main ideas to keep me very busy. One is buy a farm, where I can plant various crops and raise two beef cows at a time. I man not a farmer - but like the outdoors.

Second is tow look into building on line businesses. Sound easy but I know it not. I just launched the first phase of an on line web commuinity, on going desing T shirt. The internet has so many sites you really have to develope a niche.

I thought about an on line blog- but holding off on that one - You all are doing such a great job.

If I don't find the farm property or get started with the cows right away I plan on going out west for the fall of 09 and to florida for jan-march for the winter of 2010.

of course since we are not rich we will have to keep an eye on expenses. It the challages of life that keep it exciting.

Retired Syd

Wow, well, you certainly won't be bored! Sounds exhausting to me!

Laurie Brown

We are already retired. What did we do? Bought a used motorhome and used Jeep, sold our home, our cars and all our belongings that wouldn't fit into the motorhome, introduced our two cats to their new life, and took off on April Fool's Day, 2003. Now we can't imagine living any other way.

My husband retired at age 60 from California state government. I was 53 so, technically, I guess I just QUIT (not old enough for any retirement benefits). Our decision to try the vagabond life was impulsive, with all research, buying and selling accomplished in the 3 months before his retirement. It was the right decision for us and we have spent the past 5+ years exploring the western US, Canada and Mexico.

We didn't jump into a "life-long" dream, or even a 5 year plan - just used retirement as a springboard to a BIG change of lifestyle with the freedom to pursue adventure, physical activity and interesting new challenges. As all the retirees I know say, "how did we ever find the time to work??"

Retired Syd

@Laurie: Well that's a dramatic retirement! I already agree with the number of retirees you've bee talking too-I don't know how I ever had the time to work, and my adventures are much more mundane than yours!

Thanks for your contribution and I look forward to browsing around your blog to follow your adventures.


Last year, I retired at the age of 42 from the Air Force. At first it was euphoric having so much free time that I've never had before. Then I went through a stage of "what do I do now? What's my purpose?", and a bit angry at myself for feeling that way. Now I am enjoying my life, which consists of:
1)being a relaxed (not rushed) stay-at-home mom to my girls, ages, 8 & 9
2) traveling worldwide with the family whenever we get the chance. (Spring Break 2009 is London, 2010 is China)
3) spending the Summers in Upstate NY at our Lake House, which I found on the internet for an absolute steal.
4) Doing volunteer work for a very worthy cause (Ronald McDonald House)
5) Helping my friends out (especially single moms) by occasionally giving them a me'time break and watching their kids.
7) Practicing frugality
8) Enjoying our hobbies, whether it be learning something new, reading, hiking, etc.
9) Occasionally working a temp-gig, only if I want to for the experience of looking around.
My husband will retire next year taking an early vested retirement at the age of 45.

Retired Syd

@Karen: Well, that seems to be the same type of transition experience I hear from most retirees. It is a jolt to the system at first. But it sure seems like you're in your groove now!

Congratulations for both of you being able to achieve retirement at such young age, AND with kids! That's quite an accomplishment!


I'm three months into retirement and some days are wonderful and some days I walk around in a brain cloud trying to figure things out. This is not a complaint! I've been blogging about this ( hope some of you will pop in and share you experiences at ) and am really grateful for the support I get from folks like Syd who are willing to talk about their own transition into this very new part of life. Not so easy at all ... although that's not something I can really talk much about with my friends who are mostly still working full time.

fred doe

i've been retired for a 1 1/2 years i traveled during my life so now i don't. but i'll go locally (within 50-100 miles) to camp. on week days in the fall you have the place to yourself. when i first retired i thought it a treat to watch the Today show in the morning. that lasted about 8 to 10 weeks. now i don't turn the tv on till after dinner. i live in jersey, 5 miles from the shore so i walk or ride my bike on the boardwalk or cast the beach for fish (i don't like to sit and fish and i like the action when a fish rises to a plug). for the last 4 months i've been working on my house carpentry,painting,cleaning,gardening basically the whole catastrophe. the only thing i've learned about retirement is that it's a work in progress.

Cathy Gillespie

Im 62, have travelled most of the world already, have just finished my second Open University degree, speak three languages and am working on more but I'm still looking for something fulfilling. I don't want another job as my last one was well paid for the hours I worked, but I do miss the people and the social interaction. My husband says I'm slowing down and I really don't want to deteriorate mentally, hence the languages and I do wonder if I'm having some kind of mental wobble at the moment, as I'm going slowly bonkers after only a month of retirement isolation.


Cathy Gillespie


I live each day and what can be better than that. I keep planning on how I'm going to spend my time (no different now that I'm retired than before ... lots of plans, some are even followed up!) but the big difference now is that I have absolute choice about what I do. That makes it both scary and exciting. It is definitely a work in progress and exciting as I explore all of the hours now at my discretion. Oops - better go exercise now!

Two weeks ago I decided to retire this June. I'm a middle school teacher and turn 62 in May. I had planned to work until I'm 65, but I just can't do it. I'm going to let my principal know this Friday. He will probably try to talk me into staying, but I just know in my heart of hearts that it's time to retire. Reading all these posts makes me even more certain that I'm gong to be just fine.

Ernie Zelinski

I semi-retired when I 40 years old and had a net worth of minus $30,000 due to student loans.

But that is another story.

Here are some "Irrefutable Signs That You Are Enjoying Retirement or Semi-Retirement."

* You no longer know how to prepare for job interviews and don’t care that you don’t know.
* You wonder why people get up before 9:00 A.M.
* Most people with jobs criticize or envy you.
* You rely on job ads rather than the Dilbert cartoon for your laugh of the day.
* You are always the last one to know when there is a holiday for working people.
* You don’t ever need any job references.
* You no longer have a Daytimer because you forget to look in it after making an entry.
* Multitasking means surfing on your laptop in a coffee bar for two hours and watching the world go by at the same time.
* You know what resume means but have completely forgotten what résumé means.
* You know you are no longer employable in a corporate job and don’t care.

Ernie J. Zelinski
Author of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
(Over 110,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and The Joy of Not Working
(Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

Retired Syd

@Ernie Zelinski: I would go one step further than not knowing if it's a holiday, I often don't even know which of the days it is when it's not even a holiday!

Thanks for your comment--I have read and LOVED your books--we have a very similar outlook on retirement. So it is a real thrill to get a "visit" from you!


Mike Gual

I am planning to retire from teaching soon after my 50th birthday. In Ontario age 50 is the earliest a teacher can collect a reduced pension. I have been teaching since 1985. I plan to live off my reduced pension and my savings/investments. I plan to continue to do what I do when I am not at work, and a few more things. The date is November 2010. I've been reading, planning, trying for the last 5 years to make it to this day. I have always thought that work was tyrany. I had to work to survive and to take care of my family. But I have reached a point in my life when I can survive without it. My biggest decision was whether or not to take a reduced pension at 50 or work 5 more years and get my unreduced pension amount which is $1200 a month more. I have decided to give up the money and take the time.


I plan to write articles for which I am paid a goodly sum, to be young enough that my knees don't ache and my vaginal fluids flow, rich enough that gaining a regular income, not counting that from my publisher, is guaranteed, and far enough from death that it does not loom.

Marianne James

My husband is soon to retire and is getting depressed on "What to do". Will I have enough money (yes) but this really bothers him. No hobbies - does not like people (to socialize) much. I am afraid that he will sit in the "easy" chair and not do much at all. Any suggestions??

Jackie Countryman

I retired (well, the official date is January 1,2011) from my almost 16 year career in local government. My finances told me to work at least another year to 65 but my heart told me to retire and actually become "passionate" about life again. My passions are writing, singing, photography and traveling. I accidently got an offer and took it to write a column, "Senior Moments" for a new local website and I just feel that a lot more "passionate projects" will be coming my way. Thanks Ernie Zelinski (love your books and retirement advice) and Syd (love your website retirement advice and blogs). I am developing a musical program to offer to women's groups as I also like to "encourage" people with my music and life story. Lifestyle will change but the passion will be totally worth it!!!


One thing I am certain of retirement is better than working full time. People who say that they don't know what to do have no imagination.I am 61 yrs old and live on a almond ranch. We have chickens, cats, dogs and almonds to grow. We are active in the church and the new tea party. We still ski,hike,and travel. To bad it doesn't last forever.


My retired husband and I are currently spending a month in a warmer climate to escape the winter. I still work but this time off has convinced me that I am going to retire at the age of 54 this year. Financially we can do it but I have had fears surrounding how I will spend my time. I thought I would use this month off to see if 1) my husband I could spend this much time together, and 2) see how it feels not to be accountable to a job. Here is what I have learned ... hubby and I are just fine and I do not miss work at all. I have also learned that I still have days when I don't feel as good as I do other days, it still rains and sometimes a day can feel a little long but when I am patient something comes along life goes on. I am getting to know myself better and in a different way not related to a job and a new confidence is blooming.

Jeff Rafferty

I "retired" at 37, 17 years in the Army, and well, a few health issues forced me into retirement, and honestly, it's been the worst thing that has ever happened. For the last 5 years I've been going nuts trying to find some kind of vocation, hobby, or anything else of the sort that doesn't aggravate my health. It hasn't been so successful. Needless to say, my pensions pay the bills, but it's pretty much left me feeling like I'm on house arrest everyday. I would have gladly stayed in the Army had they had the programs that they do now for disabled vets to continue on active duty.

Tom Howard

I retired at age 57 from a professional-level state job. After a few months, I was bored enough to volunteer my skills (such as they were) where I thought they may be needed. This ultimately led to a "contractor job" with the federal government that lasted two years and included travel all over the world. After "retiring" again when the federal project ended that I was involved in, I worked two summers as a limited term employee (at a low wage, but I thoroughly enjoyed it) for the state I had originally retired from. My main retirement "job" now consists of hunting, fishing, hiking, mushroom picking, berry picking, and taking care (daily visits required)of my 93-year old mother. There aren't enough hours in the day!

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