- Location: Marlborough, Massachusetts
- Age: 65 in October
- Retired At: 61
- Marital Status: Married
- Profession: Marketing/Fundraising, Freelance Writer
Sandi and her husband had a plan that when he retired, she would semi-retire. This would allow them to travel together while they were both still young enough to enjoy the journey. In her semi-retirement life, Sandi is enjoying freelance writing, which gives her the freedom to continue doing something she loves while still traveling like they planned. We talked to Sandi about retirement.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Sandi: My days are a wonderful jumble of activities.
I have article deadlines each week; I write for over a half dozen outlets. I typically write about 30 hours a week.
I also travel extensively. For instance, I just returned from a 4-day press trip in Aruba, and next week, we are leaving for a 3-week Mediterranean cruise. I am almost always working while I’m traveling — collecting information, photos, and potential storylines.
I have time for my grandchildren. That’s the best! As a freelancer, my schedule is my own.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Sandi: Yes, I worked as a freelance travel writer for almost 2 years before I retired. I set up connections, honed my pitching skills, and improved my travel writing chops. The time spent writing as a side hustle allowed me to transition and ramp up quickly.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Sandi: I love freelancing. I can work 60 hours one week, then head off on a 2-week road trip to explore new adventures. I write a lot of food, golf, and spa stories. Therefore, I play a lot of golf, eat great cuisine, and luxuriate in amazing spas. Life is very good!
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Sandi: For me, slowing down is my biggest challenge. I’m not good at sitting in front of the TV. I want to be entertained. I want to explore. Sometimes, I just need to sit and be in the moment — that is difficult for me.
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?
Sandi: We are fortunate to have worked hard and saved all our lives. We do speak with our financial advisor regularly. We are taking advantage of the go-go years before we hit the slow-go years when we will do less traveling.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Sandi: Make a plan. Use all the tools you have amassed in your work life to work for you while you are retired. Plan to do what you love. If you want or need to work, make this third act as good as it can be. Live the dream.
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?
Sandi: They told me, but I didn’t believe them! Getting old ain’t for sissies. Your body is wearing out and you’re not as quick.
Making the decision to retire is hard for many people. The fear of not having a regular paycheck can be daunting. However, if you have planned well, you can have the financial and work freedom of your dreams.
Do I miss working 9 to 5? Absolutely not. Do I miss my workmates? Most certainly. I wish I had made time right from the beginning to stay in contact with workmates. I have a few I meet with, but I would love more.
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What Is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Sandi: Tough question. I have many favorites! My top three are:
I love Hawaii, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Kauai is stunning and if it wasn’t such a long journey from the East Coast, I would go more often.
I love London, it is so vibrant and alive. My sister lives there and it is the perfect jumping-off point to get almost anywhere in Europe. You are just a train ride from Paris, a quick flight to Venice, and provided access to all the wonderful river and Mediterranean cruises.
I love Denver, it is young and hip. I have a daughter who lives there, so I have had a chance to experience the amazing skiing, hiking, and Midwest vibe frequently. We love landing there then heading off to Utah, Arizona, and other Midwest destinations.
Check out other Retirement Diaries:
- Retirement Diaries: Diane Says Start Your Planning Early
- Retirement Diaries: Jan Suggests Staying Active But Not Too Active
- Retirement Diaries: Kathie Shares Why She Retired In Tampa Bay
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