The Road to Retirement

At the height of the pandemic, I started to think a lot about retirement. When I was 12, my father started me on the path to retirement by setting up an IRA for me. While this may seem young, experts say that time is the best way to build a nest egg (unfortunately due to tax law changes, I can’t establish an IRA for my son as it requires him to have income to offset his contributions). Throughout my life I’ve been thrifty (some may say frugal) with my finances. Combined with being hard working and frankly, quite lucky, financially I’ll be ready for retirement.

Being set for retirement only leaves me with a big hole; what is retirement? I’ve always told myself that retirement is doing what I wanted on my own time. That vision hasn’t changed. However with retirement on the horizon, I need to figure out how I’m going to fill my time. I know what I don’t want to do and that is still around all day in a recliner, read the paper and watch TV. Sure, maybe I’ll do that occasionally (well, what is a newspaper), but being stagnant isn’t in my nature and studies have shown that being active mentally and physically are keys to living a long life.

Friends and family have asked what I like to do. That’s a really good question; I’ve spent the last 17 years (almost) with my main goal being to help raise my son. So I’ve put what I want to do in the backseat. I’ve always wanted to help other people (yes, I know it is part of the Scout law) and have done that through volunteering. I’m definitely going to spend more time volunteering. I’ve been a regular volunteer at Feeding San Diego and I plan on increasing time there. Also in the last 1.5 years I’ve changed how I work with the Scouts; I’ve gone from being a troop leader to helping at the district level. This has brought me a lot of joy and I feel like I’m making a difference. It’s good that I’ve discovered happiness in that as they can always use more of my time. Is volunteering the only thing I want to do?

What will I do for myself? Yes, I could argue that volunteering fulfills me and it does. However, there must be more. That’s the part of retirement that I’m still working on figuring out. I really enjoy 3D printing and my son is dead set on teaching me how to use OnShape. I also enjoyed flying a drone (gave that up years ago as I didn’t find I had time) and am thinking of taking a drone class to get licensed; that may open up a business opportunity if I want to film this commercially which sounds cool. Not sure it will pan out, but another piece to occupy my time.

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery on what to do in retirement? I’m not quite there yet, but I’m not going to work until I drop (I hope).

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