Last week I published a post that discussed the ‘honeymoon’ phase of retirement and included a chart on the phases of retirement (from Forbes.com, sourced to Dr. Sara Yogev).
While I certainly feel like I’m in the honeymoon phase now – after just a few weeks away from the office – I went to the forums on Early-Retirement.org to see what some more ‘experienced’ early retirees thought about how long the euphoria might last.
Was I shocked by the reaction the chart got! Almost 50 people responded to the question I asked about how long the honeymoon phase lasted for them. Resoundingly, they said the honeymoon phase DOES NOT END. People that were retired from 1 to 22 years ALL responded that they still felt like they were in the honeymoon phase.
Furthermore, they angrily began pointing out issues with the way the research / phases of retirement are described. Especially the phrase under honeymoon that said that it was a “temporary, euphoric feeling” and that one would soon “tire of your new-found freedom.” People called it the phrasing ‘insane’, ‘ridiculous’, and asked “how could anyone tire of FREEDOM?” They pointed out that the media seems to specialize in some kind of ‘weird double think’ when they write about retirement. That “they like to stress on how bad it is and that ‘everyone should keep working.”
Here are some of the more positive comments about how people are enjoying their retirements. Nearly every single person talked positively about the honeymoon feeling they continue to have YEARS into retirement:
- “Still feel euphoric”
- “I will never ever tire of my freedom”
- “Not a hint freedom fatigue”
- “Was more bored at the end of my working days”
“I feel sorry for people who have such an empty life
that they can’t envision ever not w*rking due to boredom.”
“I can’t imagine how being told what to do and when to do it
could be better than choosing what to do when you want to do it (or not do it!).”
It wasn’t just the honeymoon phase that people found issues with. People responded ‘Seriously?’ to the comment that one would need to create a “daily schedule of how to spend your time” in phase #5. Most experienced retirees say their happiness comes from the spontaneity that comes with not working. Having a schedule is the last thing these folks want – “utter rubbish” they said. They regret having to be scheduled to meet someone for lunch or have a dentist appointment on the calendar.
One person perhaps summed up the forum’s feeling best by saying that retirement is not comprised of phases, but is “just one big unfolding adventure”. I certainly hope that is how I will feel about retirement in 1,3,5 or 20 years from now.
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