- Location: La Quinta, California
- Age: 63
- Retired At: 62
- Marital Status: Married for 41 years
- Profession: Journalist and professor
After enjoying a career as a television and documentary journalist for more than 40 years, 35 of which were spent teaching at the world’s finest and best school of journalism, it was time for Stacey to enjoy retirement. Through all of that, he and his wife raised two children, both of whom work in the media industry. After working in Florida and Missouri, Stacey wanted to move closer to his children in California. We talked with him about his life in retirement.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Stacey W: I think of it more as a day in semi-retirement. I want to be sure to stay active and contributing to my profession, so I’m still working part-time for my university as a professor emeritus. I’m also working on various freelance consulting and writing projects. I tend to get up around 6 a.m. or so and like to get in some exercise first. My wife and I bought electric bicycles right before we retired and those are a big part of our daily exercise routine. After a bike ride, I like to get my work for the day done early. That leaves the afternoon and evening to explore the area — we’re still new to California — and meet up with friends.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Stacey W: Yes. We started seriously planning what we would do when we retired about 5 years before our retirement dates. With a university pension giving us reasonable financial security, we focused first on where we would live. We wanted to move closer to our children in Los Angeles, so we chose to move from Missouri to the Palm Springs area in California. We started home shopping early and bought our place in the fall of 2019. Luckily, we got it before prices here and elsewhere skyrocketed.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Stacey W: I think it’s mainly having fewer work responsibilities and being able to focus more on doing the thing, both professionally and personally, that I enjoy the most. When I was working, I had certain tasks I didn’t enjoy doing. Now, I don’t have to do those anymore.
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Stacey W: It’s important to me not to get bored or spend a lot of time watching television. So I like to keep myself occupied with the things I enjoy more or less all the time. I’m not a person who enjoys a lot of down time. When I was working full-time, my job made sure I didn’t have much of that. Now, I’m on my own to be sure I keep myself actively engaged with life.
Travel In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Stacey W: We’ve moved from the Midwest to California, achieving one thing I really wanted — to live near the mountains. We have a beautiful mountain view outside our windows every day. Even with that view, we still love a vacation in the mountains. One of our favorite spots is Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We’ve taken a few trips there and love the mountain views, the rafting trips, natural hot springs, and small-town feel. We’ll be going there again soon — it’s just a 12-hour drive from Palm Springs!
Cost Of Retirement
Retirement Awaits: We want people to understand how much retirement really costs. How do you manage your money now? Do you have a budget, meet with your advisor on a regular basis, etc?
Stacey: W I worked out a budget before we retired to see just how far my pension would go and to be sure we didn’t have to dip into savings for everyday living expenses. With that base, I use additional money I earn in semi-retirement to pay for things like home renovations, dining out, and travel. It has been pretty easy to adjust to my lower income and live within our means, thanks to the budget I did early on.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Stacey W: I would urge people not to feel stuck having to live in the same place they worked. I know home costs are high right now, and the cost of buying a new home in which to retire is a bit tougher now than it was for us. But I also think there’s an inertia that keeps people from moving if they’ve lived in the same place for a long time. We planned early to make our move to California and it’s worked well. We’ve made new friends here and feel quite at home, even after just a short period of time.
Things I Wish I Would Have Known
Retirement Awaits: What are a few things you wish someone would have told you about retirement/this season of life/transition?
Stacey W: I’ve had very few surprises and no regrets about our decision to retire and what’s happened since. So there’s nothing major I feel like I wish I had known about.
To learn more about retirement, check out:
- 7 Steps To Finding Satisfying Work In Retirement
- How My Husband And I Found Our Retirement Happy Place
- 8 Things We Learned Finding Our Perfect Snowbird Destination
If you’d like to connect with fellow retirees, join our Retirement Awaits Community!