- Location: Connecticut
- Age: 63
- Retired At: 55
- Marital Status: Divorced
- Profession: Electrical Engineer
After a successful career as an electrical engineer at a large, multinational corporation, primarily on elevator and aircraft control systems, Mark slowly dipped his toe into retirement. He spent his first few years writing blogs for several financial publications such as Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha. He’s currently working on a technical book, and enjoying his free time, too. He spends time with family and friends, doing yard work and pool upkeep, reading, hiking, traveling, attending military air shows, and managing investments. We talked to Mark about his retirement.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Mark: Typically, I rise early by 5:30 a.m., have breakfast, read the newspaper and financial news online, and perform 2–3 hours of chores. The afternoons are typically taken up with trips to the beach and/or hiking, reading, and visiting with family and friends.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Mark: I spent approximately 4 years planning and “practicing” for retirement. I created a spending and investment plan in an Excel spreadsheet which I still use today and update on a weekly basis. I followed the financial blueprint for a few years prior to actually retiring and adjusted based upon the lessons learned.
For the most part, there were no major surprises once I formally retired. Other than health insurance, the budget was accurate. (Due to the fact that ObamaCare was passed while I was in the planning stages and took effect when I first retired, it was difficult to gauge medical expenses early on.)
Also, I created a “social” plan with the intent of travel and local activities in mind. Except for the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, I have been able to do most of what I wanted to do.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Mark: Independence (I’m my own boss). Not having to answer to anyone for 8–9 hours per day is a luxury and it was worth retiring early.
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Mark: At first, developing a routine and buying affordable health insurance as Medicare has not kicked in yet. If the weather is bad, it does limit my activities somewhat.
Cost Of Retirement
Retirement Awaits: We want people to understand how much retirement really costs, how do you manage your money now?
Mark: I created my own budget and income plan and tracked it myself using an Excel spreadsheet on a weekly basis. I’ve found that, except for healthcare costs and insurance, my spending has been a bit lower than originally planned. I have found that I typically spend 1–2 percent less each year in retirement which was a pleasant surprise.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Mark: Retire as soon as possible. Life is short. Develop a financial and social plan several years before taking the plunge. Try out the plan and make adjustments if needed.
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?
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What Is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Mark: The deserts of Arizona, Nevada, California. Peaceful, uncrowded, great hiking and sightseeing.
To learn more about planning for retirement, check out:
- 5 Things To Consider And 2 To Avoid When Saving For Retirement
- 5 Important Questions A Financial Planner Says You Should Always Ask When Hiring An Advisor
- 4 Questions To Ask About Retirement Investing
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