To Retire or Not To Retire

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.”—John Muir

We reached a milestone last week—one year living in our Airstream (there was no celebration). We decided this would be an appropriate time to offer our thoughts on retirement, with the hope that we might help others who are contemplating this life change, now or in the future.

We have discussed retirement with many people in the last few years and we find they generally fall into the following groups:

  • Group 1 – Those who are looking forward to quitting their jobs and retiring as soon as possible. (You can tell if you are in this group by answering the following question: Do you normally look forward to Fridays or Mondays?)
  • Group 2 – Those who really enjoy their jobs and are in no hurry to retire (This is a small group—Mick Jagger is a good example.)
  • Group 3 – Those who would like to retire but are not sure what they would do after retirement. (This is a surprisingly large group and includes husbands and wives for whom being together too much could be a problem.)

Our advice to each group is as follows:

  • Group 1 – Retirement is great but it opens up a multitude of things to do. Life is much simpler when you go to work every week–retirement suddenly requires you to make many more choices. Be prepared.
  • Group 2 – We have no problem with people not retiring because they enjoy what they do. However, this could be a problem if your spouse or significant other falls in Group 1—we can’t help you with this potential problem.
  • Group 3 – Get a life—it should not only consist of working. Volunteer, enjoy the outdoors (like us), or play golf, whatever you enjoy. Being active is especially important if staying home would not be a good option, either for you or your spouse/significant other.

We cannot give you specific guidance on when to retire but we do have these recommendations:

  • Health care is a major issue for retirees, especially if you want to retire before Medicare age (65). Make sure you know what options are available to you and what the costs will be.
  • It is difficult to predict how much savings you will need for retirement. However, don’t wait too long to retire—the best years of your life may be over before you get a chance to spend your savings.

We left Brevard, NC last week for several weeks in northern North Carolina and Virginia before returning to the Asheville area to wait for the completion of our house.

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Taking a break from traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a short hike

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Déjà vu, River New—we camped last week at New River State Park in northern NC, the second park that we stayed at after leaving Gainesville a year ago. We decided to rent a canoe instead of using our own kayaks because the water level was low and the rudder on Patty’s kayak is broken.  Judging by the number of times we ran the canoe into rocks, it was a good decision (It also reminded us why we don’t own a two-person kayak).

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And the winner is…the bathhouse at New River State Park. After a year on the road, we know a good bathhouse when we see one, and the one at New River is the best we have seen (Patty was in heaven).

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Patty among the Xmas trees—northwestern North Carolina is Xmas tree country.

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Enjoying retirement at the Thistle Meadow Winery in Laurel Springs, NC–the owner of the winery, Tom, took our photo. He is an 82-year old retired pharmacist who, according to his wife, cannot stop working but he really enjoys winemaking.

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The 20th Annual Wayne C. Henderson Festival and Guitar Competition at Grayson Highlands State Park in southwestern Virginia–the festival raises money to provide scholarships to kids in Virginia and the Carolinas to play traditional Appalachian music. Grayson Highlands is one of the prettiest parks we have visited and Wayne is one of the nicest people and best luthiers (stringed-instrument makers) in the world.

Bottom left: A view of the festival stage in Grayson Highlands

Top left: Trying to watch Vince Gill perform in the rain—he was great. For performing at the festival, Vince received a Wayne Henderson-made guitar.

Top right: One of the top Japanese bluegrass performers (yes, they have bluegrass in Japan), Kazuhiro Inaba, showing his Henderson guitar that he received for performing at the festival. He flew in from Japan two days earlier with seven friends who joined him on stage for a rousing finale of Will the Circle be Unbroken—definitely a one-of-a-kind performance.

Bottom right: Wayne (in the red shirt) performing with some local friends and Vince Gill on the left singing back-up harmony.

They had a raffle at the festival to win a guitar made by Wayne—serial no. 600—and it raised $27,000 for music scholarships. Ed would have entered but we ran out of cash. Twenty guitar players entered the guitar competition to win the first prize of—you guessed it—a Henderson guitar.

5 thoughts on “To Retire or Not To Retire

  1. Wow Patty! You guys are really having a great year long adventure! Good Luck. Maybe we will see you in Ashville in the future. :0)

  2. You are such an inspiration to all of us hard workers…I am definitely Group one, and my spouse would also fall into that category. BTW I need your cell phone number. I called to wish my brother a Happy Birthday and received a message from some stranger thanking me for the birthday wishes…but his birthday is in September.

  3. Boy did you guys ever hit the nail on the head with your observations on retirement!
    We’re ‘on the road again’ in our caravan headed north to Broome looking for some sunshine and warm weather. Today in Carnavon (half-way there) Ted’s a happy camper put his shorts n sandles on for the first time! I’m thinking about a blog – but the scenery, photography and all the pithy input wouldn’t be near the calibre of this blog – you’ve really entertained me for the past year.
    btw – at first glance I thought that was the bathroom in the new house! Cheers Jo

  4. I loved this blog in every respect. It made me laugh, wonder, feel a bit ‘jealous’ and happy for you all at the same time. I went to Asheville with my girlfriends a few weeks ago and now I totally get why you are moving there. It is perfect in so many ways. And, I am definitely in Group 1 and I think Tim is too. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

  5. Patty, I’m glad to see you looking so well and enjoying yourself. Your life sounds awesome!! I love the outdoors too. You should think about coming to Washington state in the summer. There is no place more beautiful!! You would be in heaven with all the outdoor stuff to do here. If you ever decide to make the trek, you guys are welcome to stay at our house. 🙂

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