- Name: Tema F.
- Location: Ecuador
- Age: 62
- Retired At: 59
- Marital Status: Married
- Profession: Digital Customer Experience Strategist
Tema’s journey began 30 years ago. She was laid off from a corporate banking job and her fiancé was a professor with a sabbatical coming up. She decided to go with him to Europe and freelance instead of taking another corporate job. When she later set up a business, Tema designed it to work remotely. As her husband edged into retirement, she decided she wanted more free time than running a business allowed, so she retired.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Tema: I wake up when I feel like it (yay!), work out with a trainer 3 days a week, and spend each day with a blend of exploring where we are currently living or visiting and leisure time reading or writing. I’m working on my first novel, having already published two bestselling business books.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Tema: Semi-solid. We knew we wanted to live away from the cold Canadian winters for half of each year and we’ve been exploring different locations.
Childhood Dream Realized
Retirement Awaits: How has retirement led you to realize a childhood dream in retirement?
Tema: I also knew that I wanted to start writing fiction — something I’d dreamed of doing since childhood but never had time for. I wrote my first book in second grade. It was a mix of poetry and stories. The novel I’m working on now was inspired by the early life of my grandfather, who was fending for himself on the streets of Minsk in the period leading up to the Russian Revolution.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Tema: The lack of pressure. My to-do list when I was working was always hundreds of items long. Now I do what I want, when I want. And I don’t worry about whether or not it will bring in revenue.
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Tema: Obviously, you have to keep an eye on finances, but we are lucky that we’ve got enough saved that we can still do most of what we want. I think the hardest was a mental shift: ending the craving for external validation. For me, the validation was being seen to be a successful businesswoman.
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?
Tema: We do have a budget and we meet with our financial adviser once or twice a year. We reassess the budget annually. We also sold our house and invested the money. We rent both at home and while away. We didn’t want so much money tied up in an illiquid asset. Nor did we want the stresses of home ownership, with constant needs for repairs, maintenance, and someone to check on it while you are traveling.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Tema: If you can, phase into it. Don’t make sudden decisions. Test out places you might want to live or spend parts of the year.
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?
Tema: How much fun it is! I remember feeling sorry for people who weren’t “in the game” anymore (i.e. had retired). When I was working, it seemed like they’d become “nobody.” How naïve of me: They were having the time of their lives!
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Tema: Too many to name. We love spending a few months each winter in Malaga, Spain. There’s a difference, though, between vacations and life. Too often people imagine after a 2-week vacation that they’d love to live on a quiet beach, but when they move there post-retirement, they are bored.
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