- Location: St. Louis
- Age: 65
- Retired At: 63 and 11 months
- Marital Status: Single/Divorced
- Profession: Former TV News Photographer/Editor
For more than 40 years, Terri worked in the TV news business. At the end of 2020, she retired. Retirement has been lowkey for her so far because of the pandemic, but she’s enjoying the slower pace, time with family, and her two grandkids that live close by. Like many people, her former employer asked her to return to help with a project for 3 months, which she did. But now, she’s ready to start working on her bucket list! We talked with Terri about her retirement.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Terri: I still get up by 7 a.m. and either swim for an hour or take a 5-mile walk. In the winter, I’ll go snowshoeing if we have snow. Unless I have an appointment, I keep my days open. I’m exploring some volunteer options and thinking about music lessons. My job was go, go, go, and filled with deadlines and pressure. Having so much free time now is something I’m not used to.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Terri: I had a solid financial plan and insurance in place to kick in when I retired. The pandemic changed my timetable but it was probably for the best because it gave me time to really feel comfortable with my decision.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Terri: Life at a slower pace. More time with family. I can be more spontaneous because I don’t have to schedule everything around my job. If I don’t get something done one day, I just do it another day. I’m less stressed, more organized, and healthier. (I lost 16 pounds!)
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Terri: Giving myself permission to do things, especially as the world is opening up again. I don’t have many role models on how to do retirement. My parents are gone now and many of my friends are still working. I’m always thinking about my age and thinking time is wasting. Everyone says the early retirement years are your “go-go” years.
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?
Terri: I’ve been working with a financial advisor for years. I never really lived on a budget or even knew what I spent a month. I just knew I made more than I spent and I’m good at saving. The last 6 months before I retired my advisor had me log my monthly expenses so we could see what goes out versus what will be coming in. I also paid off my house. I still log my monthly expenses because I’m not taking Social Security yet or tapping my retirement account. My current expenses come from what I’ve saved to cover this period of time. It’s a plan and there is peace of mind knowing I have one.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Terri: Talk with someone about your finances. Know what is possible. I know so many people that try and go it alone. I’m not that smart and for me, it’s worth the fees. We all worry we’ll run out of money, but they can give you peace of mind and help you achieve your retirement goals. Mine would not have given me the green light to retire when I did if it wasn’t in my best interest. They can be your biggest cheerleader and they want you to have a great retirement.
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?
Terri: We focus so much on growing up, going to school, working, and raising families, but we never really focus on what we will do when we are done with those things. There was always a next step, but now the future is wide open. I like the freedom in not having a set plan, but it’s also uncomfortable because life is finite. Does everyone feel this way? Again, it’s back to giving myself permission to live my life now. It’s my time. I have a bucket list and am ready to start checking things off.
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Terri: I really love the ocean. One of my favorite places is Santa Monica Beach in California. It’s big, wide open, and clean. You’ve got the Santa Monica Pier and the boardwalk. You can walk the beach for miles, and at sunset, everyone gathers to watch the Sun go down. Being at the beach with all its vastness makes you feel small, but it also makes your problems and worries feel not so big either. It’s freeing.
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