Retirement Diary March 2012

We retired in December 2011. This is the retirement diary, March 2012 entry, of our journal describing how we transition from work to freedom.

Do you have questions about life as a retiree or how to make the transition from career to retirement? Submit questions or comments at the bottom of the page or use the Contact link on the left.

Retirement Diary March 1, 2012 - Finishing Up Money Management

We have been working on rebalancing my husband’s 401k portfolio to match the allocations we established for mine.

The difference is that our 401k accounts are with different financial services companies.

We have also initiated a rollover of his pension as a lump sum distribution to an IRA with his 401k service provider. (Typical companies would be Vanguard, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, TIAA-CREF, etc)

In my accounts, I’m waiting for the last of my smaller IRA accounts to be rolled over, so that all of my funds are with the same service provider.

I’m amazed that even though we withdrew living expenses for 3 months, our account balances are higher than when we started on retirement!

Retirement Diary March 15, 2012 - Spending Time Outside

It is a wonderful March in North Carolina, with weather in the 70’s most days already! We have been walking 3 miles each day we can get to the Greenway in Kannapolis.

greenway carolina thread trail

North Carolina has a state-wide project called the Carolina Thread Trail. Counties all over the state have been developing walking/biking trails as part of the Thread Trail system. The Baker’s Creek trail is about 2 miles long, and is located near the NC Research Campus (former location of Cannon Mills and Fieldcrest Cannon.)

View from the greenway trail

This is one of our favorite things to do in retirement right now, mainly because we want to lose a few pounds and get into better physical condition.

Did you ever wonder where the color Carolina Blue got its name?

Carolina blue sky

Retirement Diary March 19, 2012 - Surprising Problem

When I started my car to go for grocery shopping, it really didn’t want to start today.

Since Alan usually drives when we go somewhere together, my car hasn’t been driven a lot over the past couple of months.

Now I think I’ll need to schedule some drive time or run the risk of my car not starting when I need it.

I used to think my neighbor was a bit eccentric when he would have his truck idling in the driveway for extended periods, but now I understand why.

Retirement Diary March 20, 2012 - Time with Grandchild

Our 3 year old grandson is playing soccer with the YMCA, so on Monday we visited him and his parents so we could attend his very first soccer game. Being involved in his life as much as possible is at the top of our list of favorite things to do in retirement!

retirement time with grandchild

If we had been still working, we would have needed to take vacation time off, assuming we could, and there would be a limit to how many of these events we could attend, especially since we have a beach wedding week this summer for our son’s wedding. Even with the vacation time, it would be harder to fit in the 4 hour drive (there and back) around our work schedules. We are so very lucky to be as free as we are right now!

Another thing to do that I just found is Instant Sale on Ebay. It is a way to sell or recycle used electronics that are just sitting around the house. You can look up the value, print a shipping label (free), and then wait for the money to arrive in your Paypal account. I’m going to check this out asap.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun (or not working)

One of the things we’ve noticed in our fourth month of retirement is that the days seem to be so much shorter than when we were working. I have a few ideas about why.

First, we don’t rush to get dressed and then rush out of the house. We take our time getting up whenever we like, usually between 8 and 9am.

Then we have coffee, read email, check the weather, and plan our day until about 10 or 10:30. That’s when we either do errands, go for our 3 mile walk, or whatever we chose for the day.

We tend to end our activities between 5 and 6pm, so our core, active part of the day is only about 6-7 hours or so.

Give and Take for Marriage Sake

Another reason, for me, is that I still operate with a work routine sort of mindset, leftover from my IT career and I sort of expect to work on my website as I worked at my job.

But that isn't realistic now because I have to balance what I want to do with what my husband wants to do. That means I don’t get to control the entire 6 hours of the day’s activities.

Naturally, there is a give and take to spending our retirement together. Sometimes we do things together, sometimes we do things separately, and sometimes separately together, if you know what I mean.

I think some marriages don’t get past this phase of compromise and that may be why so many divorces occur in the retirement years.

I know of couples who had problems because one spouse ran the show and sort of bullied the other to get their way. That will not last indefinitely.

At some point the bullied spouse will begin to resent not spending their last years doing what they want at least some of the time.

Compromise, respect, and sharing have to exist for couples to be happy together, especially later in life when time is so precious.

Do you have questions about life as a retiree? Feel free to use the Contact link or comment below. What else is on your mind about retirement?

Continue with the April Diary Page: 401k Savings Update


Retirement Planning for Real People >> Early Retirement Journal >> Retirement Diary March 2012: You are here