- Name: Debbie M.
- Location: Wentzville, Missouri
- Age: 66
- Retired At: 59
- Marital Status: Married
- Profession: Human Resource Management
The stress of her job forced Debbie to consider early retirement because it was starting to have a negative impact on her health. She says it was the best decision she made. This new-found freedom launched into her passion project, Angel Embrace. We talked to Debbie about her retirement.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Debbie: In 2021, after the passing of my mother due to Alzheimer’s, I founded Angel Embrace. It is a non-profit organization that uses doll therapy to provide comfort and companionship to those living with Alzheimer’s. Some of my retired family members and I work with memory care communities to provide these dolls through adoption parties. Since the conception of Angel Embrace, we have given away 533 beautiful baby dolls. Every day is rewarding!
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Debbie: Having the time to do what I want to do! It might be traveling with my husband, hanging with friends, hosting parties, or just relaxing by the pool.
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Debbie: So much of our identity can be related to our job and, because of that, I felt lost for a period of time after taking early retirement. I didn’t feel that I had a purpose. That changed when I started Angel Embrace. I found that the skills, talents, and passion that I learned in the corporate world can translate to something I love and can make a small difference in the lives of others.
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?
Debbie: My husband still works but it was a huge adjustment for me financially when I retired. I was used to earning a substantial amount and didn’t have to be concerned about finances. Now, I actually have to think about every purchase and really weigh whether it is necessary. I don’t meet with an advisor on a regular basis but that might be advantageous once my husband retires also.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Debbie: Just be certain that you are ready. It will be a huge change in lifestyle and change can be hard even when it’s for the good.
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?
- It is a transition. At first, it may be hard to adjust to not having your career that defined you.
- Get counsel on how to budget now that you won’t have your regular paycheck.
- Find a way to redirect your skills and talents into something you’re passionate about! There are many charities and causes that would benefit from those skills and talents.
- Don’t think of retirement as an ending, but think of it as a new beginning. You now have the time to devote to making the world a better place, even if it’s by helping one person at a time.
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Debbie: Italy! My husband’s family is Italian so it was a dream for us to be able to take our three sons to Italy. The beauty was indescribable. Except for Milan, it was like stepping back into the old world. I particularly loved Venice because automobiles are not allowed on the island so it was very tranquil. Needless to say, the food in all of Italy was amazing.
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