Ever Considered Retirement Abroad?



The Owl and the Pussy-Cat Poem
By Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

   In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.


The Owl looked up to the stars above,

   And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

    What a beautiful Pussy you are,

         You are,

         You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”


Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!

   How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

   But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

   With a ring at the end of his nose,

             His nose,

             His nose,

   With a ring at the end of his nose.


“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

   Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”

So they took it away, and were married next day

   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

   They danced by the light of the moon,

             The moon,

             The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Alyce says…

Are you ready to set sail in a pea green boat with some honey and your money wrapped up in a £5 note? Many Baby Boomers are concerned about making dollars stretch through their retirement years. This is an eye opening look at how a number of U.S. retirees have made the decision to move abroad for new experiences, careers, lifestyles and often to save money. For those who have an interest in learning more about retiring abroad, I found this blog article by Retirement Expert, Chuck Bolotin, that may speak to your interest. I would love to hear if you are considering a retirement move abroad.


                               4 Reasons Expat Retirees Are Happier Than You
                       Common themes from interviews with hundreds of them

January 29, 2016
Featured By Chuck Bolotin, Retirement Expert    retire-overseas

Only you can determine the answer for yourself. But here’s what my site, Best Places in the World to Retire, found when it surveyed 389 expats (living mostly in Panama, Nicaragua and Belize) and asked them: What is your level of happiness in your home abroad?

53 percent were “much happier” than before they relocated

28 percent were “somewhat happier”

13 percent were “about the same”

4 percent were “somewhat unhappier”

2 percent were “much unhappier”

A striking 43 percent of expats surveyed reported their cost of living was now 25 to 50 percent less than in their home country.

What would cause 81 percent of respondents to report being happier abroad than when they lived in their home country?

MoreBest Places in the World to Retire: 2016

Now that my colleagues and I have interviewed hundreds of expats and read thousands of answers to questions about retiring overseas, here are what we believe to be the top four reasons for their happiness:

1. The Cost of Living Is Less
As we noted in our study, Expat Reports: Is It Cheaper to Live Abroad?, a striking 43 percent of survey respondents reported their cost of living was now 25 to 50 percent less than in their home country; 34 percent reported that it was even lower than that.

Some of these expats told us the lower cost of living made it easier for them to choose the type of work they do without worrying how much it paid, which increased their happiness. Describing her move from America to Nicaragua, Linda Giordano said: “I was a workaholic, and didn’t think I could do it. I’m still a busy person here, but I’m doing things that I love.”

Fewer money worries also allowed many expats to take up a hobby they had put off or engage in activities they never had the time to do in their home country.

As a group, our respondents are spending less than before, which adds to their happiness. A 65+ woman now living in Panama told us: “OK, so who really needs a hundred pairs of shoes? I have so much and so many have so little, the experience has made me right-sized.”

MoreExpat Retirees Reveal How Life Has Turned Out

2. They’re Less Stressed Than Before
A married, 65+ year-old retired woman told us: “Stress is not an issue. Some physical problems disappeared after we made the move. Life is simpler for sure. No stress improves one’s life a lot.”

We were told repeatedly that their relationships improved due to lower stress and having more time. U.S. expat Sheryl Norris said this about her life in Panama with her husband: “In our 40 years of marriage, I have never been more satisfied with our relationship.”

3. They Have More Opportunities to Give Back
Many expat retirees reported becoming more involved with volunteer activities than they were in their home country, which often increased their happiness.

Some are doing more volunteer work because they now have more time to do so. With the lower cost of living, they don’t feel compelled to work to make money.

Others are giving back because the need is more apparent where they now live. A semi-retired 65+ woman now living in Panama described her teaching English to the disabled indigenous population this way: “What a privilege it is and what a daily lesson in humility.”

We also heard expats revel in the immediate, intimate results of their good deeds. Jewel Hoff, from Las Vegas and now living in Nicaragua, said: “When I buy five packs of bubblegum (which costs me $1.20), I pass it out to 25 kids and I get 25 smiles. I get 25 smiles for less than five quarters! They’re so happy over a piece of gum. You try to make an American 12-year-old happy with a piece of gum.”

4. They Love the Simpler Life
A recurrent theme of the expats we interviewed: delight in the pace and lifestyle of their new home country.

Things move more slowly in Central America than in the U.S., they said, and they’re grateful for that. Many expats said their new surroundings remind them of a simpler time, back in their childhood.

A 65+ married, retired woman said: “It’s like living in the U.S. in the 1950s. People stop for you on the road if you look like you need help. Older women are especially respected and helped with carrying things.”

That’s a happy result.

Weigh in with your thoughts… Is this a move you would consider?

What’s With This Thing Called Retirement?

38972254 - retirement

Hello again,

I’ve been on blog hiatus since landing the PERFECT retirement job and gaining experience as a career changer. I am now working as an “Independent Living/Vocational Specialist,” for a non-profit, in the Twin Cities and loving every moment of it! This after 37 years in high tech sales and management!

I have the privilege of assisting people with disabilities, (high school seniors up to Baby Boomers) in accessing resources, filing out applications for supports like Medicare/Medicaid; Social Security Disability, teaching budgeting and money management; learning how to take the bus to work or school; working to reduce student loan payments or applying for student loan discharge, etc., etc., etc. It is fascinating, fun and rewarding work! I’m especially gratified to help people who have encountered health status changes, who need to return to work in some capacity, revise their resume and assist them in practice interviewing. It is most gratifying to help someone who is homeless or about to be, find housing. Knowing that I can make a positive difference  in someone’s life, gets me out of bed in the morning and excited to go to work.

If you are thinking about not retiring, but relaunching, I highly recommend the non-profit sector where talented people are always needed and the emotional rewards are so great. Sometimes, as in my case, it requires a “retool” by going back to school for a new degree and licenses, but often, it is just a matter of  knowing your strengths and skills and pointing them in the direction of an organization in need.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those for whom new work is not something they want to do. They are happy to retire and do all the things they had been dreaming of while working all those years. For you, I found an excellent article on the CNBC website, written by, Terence Hurley, titled Please Stop Telling Me Not to Retire! Terence is very honest in his desire to retire and have a great life post-work. I am including the article here, lest you think I’m pushing you a little too hard to jump back in with both feet after your first retirement!

Please stop telling me not to retire!  Hammock

Terence Hurley

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 | 9:17 AM ET

It used to be the goal for working Americans. Work hard at your job, do your best and then enjoy the pleasures of retirement. This might not be the case anymore based on the reaction I got from coworkers, friends and family when I recently announced I was planning to retire after almost 40 years in the workplace.

I was expecting congratulations, best wishes and even some jealousy on my happy news. Finally, at age 62 I would have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. Pursue new interests, rediscover neglected passions, create interesting experiences. No more meetings, deadlines, office politics. After all, if you could stop working tomorrow, wouldn’t you want to?

Apparently not these days.

Most people seemed surprised and disappointed that I no longer wanted to work. Why leave the workforce? Aren’t you going to miss it? What are you going to do all day? It was almost as if I became less worthy in their eyes, somehow flawed for wanting to call it quits.

What’s going on here? What am I missing? I actually started to feel a little guilty.

Terence Hurley

Source: Terence Hurley
Terence Hurley

Yes, part of the anti-retirement rhetoric was the financial aspect but they gladly gave many other reasons why I should continue to work. Work defines who you are they told me, it gives a sense of purpose, belonging and direction. It provides mental stimulation and self-esteem, is better for your health and adds meaning to your life.

These well-meaning people even sent me news stories with ominous headlines:

Why Retirement is Bad for You

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Retire

The Case Against Retirement

Why Even Thinking About Retirement Can Be a Bad Idea

I learned that many American workers have begun proclaiming the end of retirement. A recent AARP survey tells us that forty percent of baby boomers plan to work “until they drop.” The message apparently is forget retirement, keep working, 80 is the new 65. The question no longer seems to be “How early can I retire?” Instead, it’s “Why retire?”

Has retirement become less and less culturally acceptable?

I don’t know about you but to me retirement is a hugely significant event for which I have spent years working. It provides new opportunities to create, to learn and to live. It holds great promise for me to pursue personal goals on my own timeline and be able to try things I’ve never done before. Retirement is a beginning for new accomplishments, not an end. The last thing I’m worried about is losing my identity and “sense of self.” I accept that the world will get along just fine without my continued contributions to the workplace.

So I’m not buying this retirement backlash and don’t care if the rules are changing. I will appreciate my good fortune at being retired and have no regrets about leaving the workforce. I’ve had a fine and rewarding career and now it’s time to move on. I’m growing a David Letterman retirement beard. I’m joining the ranks of fellow 2016 retirees Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Tim Duncan, Alex Rodriguez and President Obama. Death won’t be my retirement. I’m getting out while I’m still healthy and able to do new things. I’m done and have no shame so please stop telling me I shouldn’t retire.

Commentary by Terence Hurley, 62, has been in communications for almost 40 years, working at leading public relations agencies on consumer brands (Kraft, Burger King, Gillette, General Mills to name a few) and for the past 17 years at a leading pharmaceutical/biotech company promoting medicines that treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions.

So there you have it! Two different retirement perspectives. I hope this is interesting food for thought and look forward to bringing you additional perspectives soon. I promise not to stay away so long…

Until Next Time…AG




Relaunching With A New Career

New Rocket Launch

Courtesy: 123RF Fernando Gregory

A blog with ideas for those considering retirement and the recently retired.

January 24, 2016

Note: To go to the resources listed, just click on the highlighted blue text and you will be taken to the website.

In my last blog, Education, I discussed educational opportunities to lead you to a new career, if that is your goal. This week I’m going to share some ideas about new careers just waiting for senior applicants! The one I found most interesting was that of a “Gentleman Host!” (Excuse the sexism please!) Now ladies, please don’t go gettin’ all  upset. There are many more single/divorced/widowed women who take cruises than men. As a result, many women are shy about going to the events that require a dance partner – hence the up and coming career of Gentleman Host!

Couple Dancing

These men, in exchange for room and board on a cruise ship, will dance the night away with women. What a great job! Somehow we need to get more single men cruising so we can apply for Gentlewomen Hosts!😉 There are of course many other cruise ship jobs available for people with experience in retail (to staff gift shops), photography, crafting and hospitality to name a few. The great thing about this is that for those who love to live on water, you can spend most of your year in a floating hotel for free room and board, and of course, the opportunity to see the world. YAY! According to Bronwyn White, Managing Director of New Young Travel, “In the next 5 years, more than 50 new cruise ships will be launched in this booming industry.  This means lots of cruise ship vacancies will be available with a wide variety of skills required” (White, 2015).

Stateside, there are companies who have made it a priority to hire 50+ workers. CVS Health Logo has been honored for their mature worker initiatives. For those snowbirds or snowbird wannabe’s, one of their initiatives is the          “Snow Bird Program,” that allows people to work in their home state part of the year. snowbirdsAfter moving to their warm weather abode for the other part of the year, they can resume work at a CVS location there. Sweet! As a result, “CVS/pharmacy has increased its percentage of employees age 50 and older from 7 percent in the early 1990s to more than 17 percent today” (Unknown, 2007). There is also a paid pharmacy mentorship program for retired pharmacists.

Work at home senior womanRobert Moeller, from U.S. News and World Reports wrote an article titled: 15 Top Office and Home-Based Jobs for Seniors (Moeller, 2009).  While written in 2009, it is still very relevant and details the “up and coming” job areas for mature workers. Many of these are legitimate jobs you can work from home in your jammies, and no one will be the wiser! Work at home senior man

AARP Employer Pledge Program AARP has done a great job of connecting with employers who are actively seeking older workers. You can search for companies and jobs at the AARP Employer Pledge Program.

Senior Job Bank Put in a job and preferred location and organizations looking for mature workers will be displayed. I put in “social worker” and 5 pages of job opportunities were displayed in my area. Many of these are with large healthcare corporations. Go to Senior Job Bank.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook For those like me, who don’t know what they want to be when they grow up (until 3 years ago!),Career Question

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, can give you some great information about almost any profession you can think of and what the salary prospects are for that occupation.

From Emily Brandon, Senior Editor at U.S. News and World Report comes a great list (below) of the fastest growing occupations (Source: Northeastern University analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data). For those considering a career change, this is a very good indicator of where the jobs are now and will be in the future (Brandon, 2010).

The 30 Fastest-Growing Occupations for Older Workers

Career Projected job growth 2008-2018

(in thousands)

Primary, secondary, and special education teachers 647.3
Registered nurses 581.5
Home health aides 460.9
Personal and home care aides 375.8
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 276
Medical assistants 163.9
Licensed practical and vocational nurses 155.6
Business operations specialists 147.2
General and operations managers 143.2
Child care workers 142.1
Teacher assistants 134.9
Receptionists and information clerks 132.7
Medical and health service managers 100.8
Clergy 85.1
Social and human service assistants 79.4
Maids and housekeeping cleaners 78.6
Educational, vocational, and school counselors 73.3
Computer support specialists 64
Office clerks 60.8
Managers 57.6
Social and community service managers 57
Mental health and substance abuse social workers 56.4
Accountants and auditors 55.6
Rehabilitation counselors 54.2
Medical and public health social workers 53.9
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 52.3
Administrative services managers 52.2
Lawyers 52.0
Computer systems analysts 50.1
Human resources, training, and labor relations specialists 49.1

Uncle Sam.jpgU.S. Federal Government Let us not forget Uncle Sam! There are jobs in almost any category you can think of within the U.S. Federal Government for Seniors. Unless you are adverse to working for the government, you will find more job security than in business, there is no mandatory retirement age and benefits are generous. To learn more about Federal job opportunities go to USAJobs.gov.

Tell me, what is your motivation for seeking out a new career? What are you going to do to find one? Some of us are going to continue to work because we can’t imagine doing anything else, others out of need and still others because they want to fulfill a lifelong dream. Whatever your motivation, know that you can find a rewarding, well paying position if you are willing to keep looking. It may be a good idea to seek out a career coach at a college or university to update your resume, get a free makeover at a cosmetics counter to insure you look your best, or seek out an independent clothing shopper or personal shopper from a department store, to guarantee you look as up to-date as possible when job hunting.  HorseWhile the organizations here are reaching out to older workers, they don’t want to hire people that look like they are on their last leg!  I know that wouldn’t be you, though!🙂


Please let me and those reading this column know if you are successful in finding a position as a result of the resources listed in this blog. Me, because I want to know I made a difference (it’s the social worker in me!), and the readers, because it can give hope to someone who is about to begin a new job search or needs a fresh shot of hope that there are lots of opportunities out there for us “oldies but goodies!”🙂

Until Next Time…AG


Brandon, E. (2010, March 10). 30 Fast-Growing Careers for Older Workers. Retrieved from U.S. News and World Report Money: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2010/03/22/30-fast-growing-careers-for-older-workers

Moeller, R. (2009, July 17). 15 Top Office and Home-Based Jobs for Seniors. Retrieved from U.S. News and World Reports: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2009/07/17/15-top-office-and-home-based-jobs-for-seniors

Unknown. (2007, March 9). CVS Pharmacy Receives Top Honor Mature Workers Initiatives. Retrieved from CVS Health: http://cvshealth.com/content/cvspharmacy-receives-top-honor-mature-worker-initiatives

White, B. (2015). Work On A Cruise Ship. Retrieved from New Young Travel: http://www.newyoungtravel.com.au/holiday_section/work_on_a_cruise_ship/


Retire or Relaunch

Relaunch Through EducationEducation

A blog with ideas for those considering retirement and the recently retired.

January 17, 2016

My prior posts have focused on those wanting to retire. There is a growing segment, like myself, who are interested in relaunching through advanced education after their first retirement. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss how you can return to school and the reasons that sometimes hold us back.

I dropped out of college in my junior year, more concerned with protesting and “the movement,” than subjects that often held little relevance for me at the time. Luckily it was the 70’s and I was able to land a job at IBM that set me on the sales and marketing path. 30+ years later, I decided that rather than retire, and do what, I didn’t know, I would return to school for a new career. Prior to my returning to school I wondered if I could keep up with the younger classmates I would encounter and whether or not the professors would be biased due to my age. Both concerns were unfounded. My young classmates thought it was “cool” that I came back to school at my (advanced!) age, and most of the professors seemed to appreciate the fact that I could relate my life experience to the subjects they were teaching. While writing papers and taking tests were tiresome, I decided the upside was that I didn’t have to worry about my brain atrophying! No crosswords or Sudoku for me – I had finals!!! Adults in Class.jpgMy classmates would complain that it wasn’t fair that I had so much life experience and could do so well on papers. I countered with the fact that they could remember facts for the test that would often escape me. I decided that the best way to succeed would be to get A’s on the papers, so that if I got B’s on the tests, I could still pull a decent grade at semester’s end. Returning to school for me has been invigorating and fun. I now have new friends that range from Gen Y’ers to Millennials.

So what is involved in taking this path? First you need to decide what it is you want to do with the next 20-30 years of your life. If you’re unsure, read my Interests blog from December. Do you realize that you will spend almost as much time in the next decades, as you have in your work life to-date? That’s a long time to make our retirement dollars stretch. If you find a career you love, you can spend that time really enjoying work for the rest of your life. Some of the best career fields for Boomers right now and into the future are healthcare, education, social work, nursing, service industry, real estate and financial consulting to name a few. It is always a good idea to make an appointment with an advisor at the college, university or vocational school you are considering and discuss your career interest with them. Advisor.jpgThey will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to complete the program, requirements for admission and costs.

Speaking of costs, there are some good ways to finance a degree if you don’t have available funds. The best states for a significantly reduced higher education degrees, at least for state colleges are Minnesota ($20 per credit hour if you are 62 and over), Kentucky (65 and older, no tuition or student fees charged), Rhode Island (tuition waivers for those 60 and over), and Alaska (if you receive Social Security, you can receive a tuition waiver). These states seem to recognize the importance of helping seniors retool for another career.

In most states, if the tuition is significantly reduced, you will need to wait until the last day of registration or first day of classes to register. College CostOften if the class is full, you can ask the professor to make an exception. When I have had to request an exception, I’ve been able to get one and enroll in the class. There are also often student fees charged by credit hour, but these don’t begin to compare to the cost of college for everyone else. My student fees were $10 per credit above the tuition costs, but that still meant I was only paying $30 per credit. Compare that with $1,500 to $2,500 per credit that most of your classmates pay and you see what a great deal it is!

To find out if your state offers tuition waivers, go to: A Comprehensive Guide to Free/Reduced College Tuition: http://www.aseniorcitizenguideforcollege.com/p/find-your-state-tuition-waivers.html?m=1

Senior Planet website offers information on both for credit and non-credit courses such as Osher Lifelong Learning Institute courses and Georgetown’s (D.C. area) New Venture Creation, offering courses for entrepreneurs. The web URL: http://seniorplanet.org/free-school-the-secret-benefit-of-being-a-senior/

If you are looking for grants, scholarships and loans for women or men to return to school, the Anti-Aging Articles.com website has tons of information about financing your return to school: http://www.anti-aging-articles.com/Scholarships-older-women.htmlCollege Savings

All these sites offer information worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings in college costs. If you are planning a return to college, check them out. You will be glad you did!

One last thing I want to address is the fear of technology some of us feel, that may be holding us back from returning to school.Computer Fear If you can use MS Word and email, you can easily return to college! For most courses, that is all the knowledge you will need. Many assignments now include group projects. You will almost always find someone in your group who has mastered the more advanced applications like PowerPoint, Excel or Social Media. Most will be glad to help you learn and will be proficient enough to complete your project. If you need to learn the basics to use Word or email, your local library often offers courses either in person or online to get you started. Don’t let technology hold you back from a whole new world of learning, friends and of course, a new career!


Latino Male Graduate JPG  adult aa graduateadult graduate woman

Until The Next Time…AG



Retire or Relauch


 A blog with ideas for those considering retirement and the recently retired.



TODAY’S POST THEME: Who Needs Routine in Retirement? You do!

January 7, 2016

Today I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interview a retirement blog author and publisher on the topic of establishing a routine in retirement. Dr. Rin Porter writes the retirement blog “Things Could Be Worse.”

Rin's SCSU photo
       Dr. Rin Porter

Dr. Porter retired from teaching communication studies at Midwest colleges and universities for 28 years. After retirement from teaching, she worked as a freelance news reporter, communication consultant, and energy auditor.                                                                                       

Dr. Porter wrote a post that I found very interesting and informative and thought you would find it beneficial as well. It is titled, “Creating Good Routines in Retirement.”                                   

AG: Rin, thank you so much for agreeing to discuss retirement routines with my audience! I am posting a link to your blog at the end. I would like to pose a few questions to you that may interest readers in going to your blog to learn more. My first question is:

AG: What was your motivation for writing the post?

RP: There were really two reasons why I wrote this post.  First, I had some retired friends whose days seemed to have no purpose.  One of them spent almost all day watching TV and complaining to whoever stopped by to see her.  She wouldn’t even go for a walk with me when I invited her.  It was too much trouble.  Unhappy African American Woman.jpgAnother gained a tremendous amount of weight and despite medical advice did not make any effort to start exercising or change his eating habits.

 These two people were unhappy.  They were wasting their days on earth, as I saw it, and I wished that I could help them in some way without the help being perceived as criticizing or judging. Both of them occasionally read my blog.  I figured if I knew retired people whose days had little structure or pleasure, then there were probably more people out there in similar situations.  Maybe I could help them through my blog. Unhappy Asian Man    

The second reason I wrote the post was for myself – to take inventory of how I was spending my time after 11 years of retirement from my teaching career.  I was feeling dissatisfied and wanted to find out why.  When I came across several online articles about taking personal inventory and creating routines that increased personal satisfaction, I decided to try the suggestions for myself.  They worked!  I became aware that it was entirely up to me how I spent every 24 hours of every day.  Instead of feeling burdened by things I felt I “had to do”, I changed my perspective to “I want to do this” or “I don’t want to do this, but I will be happier if I do it.”

AG: What is the advantage of establishing a retirement routine?

RP: Well, there are several advantages.  The first is that once a person has a good daily routine, a person will feel excited about the possibilities that each day brings. When we leave our jobs and careers and retire, we are losing not only a familiar way to spend our days, but also losing our colleagues at work, the stimulation of work activities, a substantial amount of income (in many cases), and our identity as a teacher, lawyer, secretary, truck driver, nurse, etc.  When I retired from teaching, I had a hard time at first because I was lonely and no longer had my work to fill up the days.  I cured the lack of work by taking on a part-time job, but I was not able to cure the loneliness.  When I did my time audit last summer, I realized that I could pack each day with activities I enjoyed, even if I had to do them alone.  It was my choice whether to feel lonely or to feel competent!  That was a revelation to me. Now I am excited by the possibilities of each new day. I still spend most of my time alone, but I no longer see it as a burden or a negative thing. 

The second advantage is that a pRoutine Roulette.jpgerson can create a sense of accomplishment by scheduling the activities needed for daily living and then completing those activities.  Instead of telling yourself, “I hate housework, I don’t want to clean the house,  I don’t want to wash the dishes,” I tell myself how good I will feel when the floors are swept and mopped and the house smells clean.  I remind myself that I enjoy the look of clean, neat kitchen counters.  I savor the feeling of lying down in a bed with clean, ironed sheets.  And so on.  It’s an attitude adjustment that you can make that will reframe tasks you don’t enjoy into anticipation of the results after you complete the tasks.     The third advantage is that once you have a retirement routine that is comfortable for you, you will find peace.  If your routine meets most of your needs, then you reduce the stress that you feel when you are not getting your needs met.   

AG: How would you suggest someone begin to establish a daily routine? Are there “best practices” around this topic?

RP: Definitely there are best practices.  You have to find out what you are doing with your time before you can decide how to change.     The first step is to do what I call an “audit” or a “needs assessment” of your daily activities.  This means you sit down with a pad of paper and make a list of everything you do to get through your day.  Next, you make another list — this one is a list of the tasks you do a couple of times a week, or just once a week.  Third, you make a list of the things you most enjoy doing. Fourth, you check over your three lists to see if you forgot anything.  Sometimes looking at your datebook or calendar for the last few months can remind you of things you forgot to put on your lists. Spreadsheet on Computer 2 JPEG

Next, tape some pieces of typing paper together to make a wide spreadsheet, draw in columns for seven days and a column at the end for weekly and monthly activities.  Finally, fill in your spreadsheet with the daily tasks and the weekly or monthly tasks. Now take a look at your completed spreadsheet.  How are you spending your time?  I found that I was spending 18 to 22 hours per day doing ordinary tasks and sleeping.  This left me only 2 to 6 hours per day to do the things I really enjoy. And some of my favorite activities did not even appear on the spreadsheet!  I had not allotted any time for them at all!     When I realized that I was not spending my time doing some of my favorite activities, I decided to take action.  I decreased the time I spent in ordinary activities of daily living, and increased the time I spent doing what I enjoyed.  I made my favorite activities a priority.  I made a new spreadsheet and filled it out in a different way. I put in my favorite activities first, and then the ordinary activities of daily and weekly living.  Now I was sure that I would have the time I needed to enjoy my favorite things.    

AG: Do you know anyone personally who fell victim to not having a routine and the consequences for their life?

RP: Yes, the people I spoke about before, who were spending their days in aimless TV watching, complaining, and taking naps.  Both of these people were in poor physical condition and seemed depressed.  They were not taking any joy from daily life.  Also, when I go online to the retirement forums and self-help blogs, I learn about people who are dissatisfied with their lives after retiring – or even before retiring.  And they don’t know what to do to change that.  I also read a lot of books written by retired people, and often in the books I encountered the same complaints of feeling aimless and useless.

AG: One of my friends pointed out that there are many people who retire but return to work on a regular basis to “keep up with what’s going on.” I call it the Revolving Door Syndrome. This seems to indicate they need a retirement plan and routine as well. Did you see this at your University?                                                                  Revolving Door
RP: No, I didn’t see this where I taught. There were retired professors who came back for the annual student-faculty dinner in our department, and who came back when invited to speak about retirement – believe it or not!  They did their best to tell us young ‘uns how to plan and what to plan for, but they were concentrating on financial plans, rather than plans for how to structure our time when retired.

 I have heard about people who keep showing up at work, as though they can’t let go, and I can empathize with them.  There were many days in my first year or so when I really wanted to go back to the familiar place.  But I didn’t do it.  I was kind of embarrassed to be feeling that way, and I didn’t want anyone to know.  After a while, these temptations went away.  There are some other retirement blog writers who do talk about that, when they experienced it. 

AG: As you described how you developed your personal routine, it seemed like so much work. Was all that work really worth the effort?

RP: Well, to me, making lists is not work.  I enjoy it.  Making lists has helped me all my life.  To Do List.jpgWhen I was younger, I was a single mother with two small children, going to graduate school full time and working full time.  Without lists, I would never have made it through the days, weeks, and months until I finished school and my children grew older and more self-sufficient.  In retirement, I make lists before I go on a trip.  What do I need to pack?  What do I need to do before I leave?  And so on.  I make grocery lists.  I make lists of what to do when spring comes and I am going to plant my garden. I make Christmas lists and birthday lists.  It’s a way of life for me!     And really, the audit or needs assessment I’ve described only took about two hours to complete.  Most of us can find two hours for a task like this, especially if we believe that the result will be a positive one for our lives.  When you have the chance to turn your life around from a life of dissatisfaction to a life of enjoyment and endless possibilities, why would you NOT do it?  New routines can do that for you.

AG: Is there anything else you would like to add?

RG: Yes, Alyce, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to explain the idea of making good routines to your blog readers.  I hope that some of your readers will sit down and do the audit or needs assessment that I’ve described.  That will lead them to develop routines of daily life that will make their retirement more meaningful and enjoyable. Happiness None of us knows how many days we will have, and the opportunity to make each day as great as possible is an opportunity not to be missed! Dr. Porter, this has been very informative. Thank you again for giving my blog readers something to consider as they plan for their own retirement.

For more information about “Creating Good Routines in Retirement,” go to: Thingscouldbeworse.org Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 1.39.33 PM.png

I hope you enjoyed the interview with Dr. Porter as much as I enjoyed speaking with her. Her insights and advice can enhance the retirement lifestyle for all of us. Tell us what you think. Do you have a retirement routine? Please share what having a routine  has or could do for you.

Until The Next Time… AG


A blog with ideas for those considering retirement and the recently retired.

TODAY’S POST THEME: Mini-Retirement Plan for the New Year

Dec. 30, 2015

Baby New Year

Happy New Year and Greetings to all new retirees and those contemplating the next big leap!

Well it’s that time of year again. Out with the old and in with a new year and a new attitude! Is this it? Is this the year you finally do it? Is this the year you make that giant leap into retirement? Hopefully you’ve been giving this whole retirement idea a lot of thought. You’ve read the previous RetireorRelaunch blog posts and have some idea of what to consider for retirement. You’ve begun planning when you will take the plunge and exactly what you will do when you jump! This is a light-hearted post to help you think about retirement in little chunks!

At holiday parties when I spoke to people who have retired about this blog several said, “I wish I had given the whole idea of retiring a little more thought.” They said that at first they felt a little lost and the idea of meeting new people or going to a party and not having a work “identity” really bothered them. Unfortunately, as Americans our identity is frequently inextricably linked to our career. Often we don’t think that’s the case until we’re faced with nowhere to go and nothing to do at 7 a.m.!

Right here, right now, let’s make little mini-plans to retire. It’s just baby steps toward retirement, but hopefully it will give you some ideas from which to build a more robust plan.

Let’s begin by imagining that you know that the first month, all you want to do (or think you want to do) is sleep in! Sleepy Adult.jpgGo ahead, plan to indulge yourself. Our generation has a tendency to feel guilty if we take time for ourselves and aren’t productive. You’ve heard it before, “think of yourself as a human being, not a human doing!” Take a vacation from guilt (which is a wasted emotion anyway), and sleep away. If you decide to stay in your pajamas (or whatever you do or don’t sleep in) all day long, moving from the bed to the kitchen, bathroom and sofa – it’s OK! You have my permission!😉 Think about doing this for 30 days or as long as you, your spouse or significant other can stand you in this condition. Consider it a rest from your hectic work life and the opportunity to recharge your batteries. This little staycation, will allow you to think and dream, rest and recharge. You won’t do this forever – only 30 days or the length of time you can stand yourself in this state. Please comment and let us know your plan for the first 30 days of retirement.

Now for those who want to begin traveling the world as soon as the ink is dry on your separation agreement: hopefully you have already updated your passport, found a 5-star hotel or quaint bed and breakfast or something in-between and booked tickets to your ideal dream location – Paris, Puerto Vallarta, Johannesburg, Singapore, Hawaii, Bermuda, New Zealand, Botswana, Hamburg, Mumbai, Hilton Head, you get the idea! Splendid TavelJust think! You can go anywhere your heart and credit card will take you! If you haven’t booked your dream vacation, maybe now is the time to read up on the location, contact a travel agent or talk to friends who were recently there, to get all the best tips on making your trip as hassle free, fun and safe as possible. Maybe too, you already have a favorite vacation location and want to extend the time you usually stay from a week or two, to a month or more. You can do this now that you are retired! So many possibilities! If you have retirement travel plans, I’d love to hear where you plan to visit. Feel free to let us know by posting a comment, if you have any great retirement vacation spots in mind.

Then there are those of you who see retirement as the time to finally start or finish the novel that’s been in you for years. Novelist Go ahead, book a trip to that writing retreat or workshop you’ve always wanted to attend, or set your calendar for a block of time each day at home to write. If that’s too much pressure, then maybe just set aside time once a week. It’s OK! It’s your time and your dream.


What about those of you who love to garden or cook, antique or craft or golf? Why not find a friend or two who are also retired or retiring and pursue your hobby with them? pottery handsThere are many free classes offered at libraries, stores, community centers and houses of worship that can impart valuable information about how to start or improve whatever it is you like to do. Other places you know of for free classes?

Oh yeah, and for the single retirees. Thanks to the internet, this is the best time of all to be single! Did you know that as of 2014, singles, divorcees and widows/widowers now make up 44% of the adult (over 18) U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014)? That’s almost half ! Now is the best time of your life to meet someone new, if that’s what you want to do. Keep in mind that just like you may want to meet a special someone, others are hoping for the same! Couple DancingI like online dating sites that attract an older clientele. Sites like OurTime and  Elite Singles are a couple you may want to check out. Activities like Salsa or any kind of dancing, co-ed health clubs like Lifetime Fitness, mall walking and believe it or not, hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes, are just a few places that are great meeting spots. Happy Hours and Karaoke nights are often good for mingling. Then too, there are singles cruises, hiking/biking adventures and all-inclusive singles vacations. An endless buffet of possibilities!

So there you have it – the mini-retirement plan for 2016 is: Retirement Plan

  • Plan for retirement
  • Retire
  • Follow your heart to find your passions and interests
  • Enjoy your new life!

Until next time…AG


U. S. Census Bureau, (2014, September 21). Unmarried and Single Americans Week Sept. 16-22, 2012. Retrieved from United States Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb12-ff18.html



Retire or Relaunch

TODAY’S POST THEME: Retirement and the Holidays

Dec. 17, 2015

Greetings to all new retirees and those contemplating the next big leap!

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year. Gatherings with family and friends can offer a nicHappy Holidayse respite from the everyday grind of work and life. Sugarplum fairies aside, the holidays can also be a time of reflection about the year we’re exiting and the New Year that holds any number of possibilities and surprises.

Thinking ahead about retirement can sometimes fill us with concern about this new chapter in our lives or excitement at the prospect of reinventing ourselves. However you choose to think about what is to come, keep in mind that we create our own reality! If we plan ahead and have some idea of the direction in which we would like to go, the holidays can be a liberating time of introspection, planning for a new year and thinking about the choices that come with retirement. If we choose to either ignore what is coming or punt to another time, retirement can sneak up on us like “sunshine on a rooster”! (Nod to my Southern friends).The holidays, probably more than any other time of year, can give us pause to think about whether we really want to make the retirement leap! All those gifts to buy, spending money entertaining, and unexpected expenses that often seem to come up at this time of year, may make us wonder if we can really afford to retire.

So what can we do at this celebratory time of year to take full advantage of the festivities, but also keep an eye on our plans to retire and the budget that will be impacted by the holidays? Here are a few suggestions:


1) First on the list is to let family members know that giving is going to be different now that you are retiring. While working you may have been able to give lavish gifts (or at least very nice ones!), but in retirement or soon to be retirement, you may need to scale back to what extent you gift. Maybe this seems embarrassing to you, but realize that people all over the country are faced with the same decisions. With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring a day, you are not the only one who will need to have this conversation.

Some creative ways to handle this are:

a) A gift exchange for adults (each pick the name of one adult to purchase a gift for) and maybe smaller gifts for children. I have now set my spending limit at $20 per recipient, far less than I used to spend. It’s amazing however, given the wide variety on sites like Amazon, how far $20 can go for a gift. As an example, I bought my brother, brother-in-law and daughter’s significant other, NFL/NBA endorsed and logo’d, full style kitchen BBQ aprons with logo’d chef hats to match, for $19.99. My daughter’s significant other who celebrates Hanukkah and is a huge Giants fan loved his gift! I expect the other two will as well, since they are big Pistons and Vikings fans. I bought one granddaughter who loves Cheetah print, a beautiful Cheetah print watch with gold chains on the side – $19.99. In the past, I wouldn’t have considered looking for gifts that inexpensive,

b) If you are a crafter or good in the shop, consider making your Craft 1gifts. We all love gifts made with love. And if we don’t – well you can always unload them at white elephant parties next year!

c) How about Personal Gift IOU’s? OK I got this idea from my friend IOUAntonio. Why not offer things like babysitting or elder sitting, a car wash, hanging shelves or pictures, cleaning a garage or attic or other gifts that allow you to give of your time? You would be surprised how grateful people are for these seemingly simple gifts that allow you to give time instead of money.


2) When entertaining, ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday dish or dessert. This is a fun way to sample other’s holiday fare, keep yourself from having to make or buy all the goodies and you only have to offer drinks and one dish. Significantly lower cost for food – cleanup is a cinch too!

3) Finally and this is REALLY important – think about giving your family the peace of mind of knowing your wishes for end of life care. This is one of the most important gifts you can give to your loved ones. There are two web sites I recommend:

Start the Conversation – It is important to have this conversation now, while you have full control of your faculties and are able to make Advance Directivedecisions based on your wishes. Here is a great thought from the website: “We want you to be the expert on your wishes and those of your loved ones. Not the doctors or nurses. Not the end-of-life experts. You.” For more information go to: theconversationproject.org/

GYST – Love the website – not crazy about the name (you’ll see it in the URL). This is a really good website with free templates to help make planning for things like wills, insurance, power of attorney and so on, easy to complete and keep in one place. For more information go to: http://getyourshittogether.org/

One last important thought. While most people have holidays filled with love and laughter, there are those who find this time depressing and sad. If that is the case for you, think about reaching out to give back. Nothing will make you feel better than delivering meals to those who are unable to afford a meal or unable to leave their homes. Helping Santa with little kiddies at your local house of worship, mall or store, will give you a charge of energy from all those little gremlins waiting in wide-eyed wonder to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Helping to prepare meals at a mission will give you a sense of comradery with other volunteers and warm your heart knowing you are making a good holiday for those who may be homeless. You may just make some new friends through these adventures too!Depressed

If the holidays are unbearably depressing, please reach out for professional help. You can call the United Way at 2-1-1 for a referral (free if you can’t afford mental health services) or check with your insurance company for a referral – but DO get help.

211 United Way JPEG

The United Way 2-1-1 website is: http://www.211.org/

From the United Way 211 Website: “2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

I hope this post is of use to you as you think about retirement and the holidays. Most of all, I hope your holidays are filled with love, laughter and joy!

Until Next Time…Happy Holidays!