- Name: Chanda T.
- Location: Palm Beach, Florida
- Age: 52
- Retired At: 49
- Marital Status: Married
- Profession: Non-Profit Executive
For 20 years, Chanda worked as an executive in the nonprofit sector. She’s getting used to not working 80+ hours a week, which can be challenging. While she dreamed about the carefree life of retirement, Chanda realized she wanted more.
Retirement Awaits: What does a day in retirement look like for you?
Chanda: My day includes writing and researching ideas for my blog/website, working out, doing laundry and other house duties, and enjoying time with friends and family. Some days, I am writing all day and some days I just relax by the pool. It is different every day, but I try to do some travel research a bit each day so I can plan my next trip.
Your Retirement Plan
Retirement Awaits: Did you have a solid plan going into retirement?
Chanda: Going into retirement, I had planned on going out to lunch with friends every day. I had friends who had the freedom to do that and it always looked so wonderful. But after a few weeks, I became incredibly bored and needed to do something new so I started a blog/website. So now I fill my day with laundry, writing, or researching stuff for my blog about unique gifts. Also, I finally have time to work out for the first time in my life. I’ve never felt healthier.
Best Part About Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best part about retirement?
Chanda: My favorite part about retirement is unlimited vacation days. I am planning a European river cruise with my mom this summer, a trekking trip to Bhutan with my husband in the fall, and numerous smaller trips throughout the year. I would never have been able to take that much time off when I was working. I will be visiting at least 6 countries this year and I can’t wait to explore the world.
Challenges In Retirement
Retirement Awaits: What’s the biggest challenge in retirement?
Chanda: The hardest part about retirement is continuing to have a sense of worth and drive. I spent my whole life working 80+ hours a week and constantly having a goal to work towards, and then suddenly, you don’t even have to get dressed. You have to work on your psychological well being and find a purpose in life other than working in an office.
The other hard part is having enough social interaction. For a while, I think I turned into a hermit. I am normally an extremely social person, but you can easily get sucked into being a homebody and that isn’t healthy in the long run.
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, et cetera?
Chanda: I haven’t had to change my life much because I had investments and my husband still works. We meet with our advisor frequently to assess how we are doing and to make sure we can continue to travel long into retirement. Once my husband retires, we will downsize into a condo and then go on one of those around the world cruises for a year. But in the meantime, we are enjoying going out to eat, going out to events, and exploring adventures abroad while our bodies can still take a 20 hour flight.
Retirement Awaits: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone about to retire?
Chanda: Immediately find hobbies or fun activities to do because you suddenly have nothing to do. I try to take every class I can find: aerial silks, cooking, dance, art, bingo, zumba, hip hop, pottery, and even pole dancing class. I will try anything once and it keeps me busy. The adventure of trying new things is exciting.
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?
Chanda: Be prepared for your sense of purpose to disappear. It is really hard going from running a company to running a dishwasher. It is a major life change and takes some time to get used to it. Just know that everyone goes through it, so you’re not alone.
The other thing I wish I knew was how people look at women who don’t work. I used to feel admired for my job but now I am dismissed. Maybe it’s because they don’t know what to say or maybe they are judging me. I have no idea. But I have actually had people say to me, “So, you don’t even work anymore? That doesn’t seem fair.” It crushed my heart for a long time and part of me is probably still adjusting to the way people act towards me. So just know that it is normal.
Best Retirement Vacation
Retirement Awaits: What is your favorite vacation or vacation spot?
Chanda: My absolute favorite vacation spot is Thailand. The colors, the people, the food, and the culture just touch my soul. I have been to Thailand twice and my favorite area is in the north. They have an elephant sanctuary that only allows about seven people per day to visit. They teach you about the way of life for the locals and how they live with the elephants. To just be able to hang out on the mountain with the locals and the elephants was life changing.