By John Graves
You are retired! Congratulations. Now what do you do?
There are so many choices. Family. Community. Hobbies. Part time work. Travel.
“Now I’m here and I know just where I’m going, No more doubt or fear, I’ve found my way,’ as we heard Frank Sinatra swing in the fifties.
The doubt and fear were certainly there with you before you took the step, weren’t they? As you prepared for retirement, one of your biggest concerns was , ‘What shall I do with my time?’ Forty years of work isn’t easy to replace overnight. You were important, now you have to find importance.
It took a while to get used to, well, not working. Your career, your job, took up the better part of your day. Now you have to fill it with new activities. You can sit at the coffee shop enjoying a leisurely breakfast, talk with your friends and read the paper for only so long. Then what?
One of your choices is travel. You might go visit the kids in Savannah. Your sister-in-law enjoys the Piedmont. She and her husband are good horsemen. Head boats are readily available for an afternoon of fishing and talking with your buddies. Your wive has taken her friends to Georgetown on several occasions. They enjoy the beauty, the quiet, the homes and the good cuisine.
Further afield, Columbia and Aiken county are beautiful: a nice long weekend in the fall to that B&B you both enjoy each time you visit. Perhaps you will venture upcountry, to Spartanburg and Greenville, for a longer sojourn in the mountains.
Going overseas? Atlanta’s international connections make it easier today than ever before. Europe is an overnight flight. Use your accumulated miles to upgrade to the ‘front of the bus’, as the pilots call it. The flat bed seats allow for a full night’s rest, awaking to the late morning arrival in London, Paris or Zurich. The further afield you travel, the longer you should stay: a day of travel each way and at least a day or two of adjustment are simple aspects of international travel. Give yourself time to accommodate. Relax the first few days. Try to spend at least three weeks ‘on the ground’. Language is an easier barrier to cross these days, as English has become universal. It’s fun, too, to learn a hundred words in a new tongue. You will enjoy the trip so much more.
Cruising can be an addiction – or a bore. It all depends upon what you want from the voyage. When you go, start with a shorter, more local trip, perhaps the New England coast in the fall. Learn the differences between the ships; some are for families, some are for seniors, some are specialty cruises. Try the website,www.cruisestogo.com for pricing opportunities.
Boomers can take full advantage of ‘senior travel discounts’ of course! Educational trips can be an excellent way to learn more, to meet new folks in different worlds and to keep your mind and body active. Hostelhandbook.com may be of interest, or simply google senior hostels and enjoy the process of discovery.
Coming home is always the best part of travel, whether from just down the Strand or from around the world. Spending the fall in your backyard, perhaps cleaning up from the summer’s windy visitor Irene, or taking the last tomatoes from the garden or repairing the hammock
Within a few months of your retirement, you will suddenly find yourself asking the question, ‘how did I ever find time for work?’
About the Author
John Graves, ChFC, CLU, has spent 26 years advising people how to become better stewards of their resources. As an independent financial advisor and managing partner in The Renaissance Group, LLC, he focuses on designing and maintaining clients’ portfolios consistent with their needs, rather than some market paradigm. John is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant through The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
He has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries’ stamps in his passport. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He has trekked the Andes, the Sahara, the Taklimakan, the Serengeti, and the Namib.
In his previous career, John was a chef. He does enjoy a fine meal with a nice Bordeaux or Barolli.
John agrees with Benjamin Graham that the search for value is far more interesting than a brief joy ride in the markets. His passion is sharing his knowledge with others so that they, too, might embrace all that life has to offer.