I was retired thru downsizing at 58. I was fortunate in that I was financially prepared for it and I received an attractive seperation package. I worked for a company that had been downsizing for the past 18 of my 25 years. Am I glad to be out, yes. Did I want to go back and do some consulting, no. But I know a number of people who were anythng but prepared when they were downsized. We spent the last two years doing a number of travel vacations and preparing our home for sale. We consider ourselves to have retired this summer though I have yet to claim my DB pension.
The process of downsizing our home and downsizing our life has been a good one. We no longer need a 5 bedroom, walkout home. We have been clearing out this place for seven months. The city collection people probably do not appreciate our custom. So, the POD is being delivered next month. All our remaining possessions get loaded in and stored. We will be homeless. We will travel for five months and then decide...condo, bungalow, villa, townhouse, whatever. The only downside will be shopping for some new, smaller furnishings when we return. I hate shopping-most especially for home furnishings and soft goods.
The one thing that we have learned is that we in North America are simply too affluent. We have too much stuff-it takes over our lives. Over the past six months it seems that the more we discarded, the more satisfied we were. We really notice this when we travel. North Americans seem to carry lots and lots of suitcases compared to other groups that we have met. We are looking forward to lower utility bills, lower property tax bills, considerably less home maintenance, more volunteer opportunites and a great deal more travel. Oddly enough, last time we did this was 35 years ago. We sold our small townhouse, stored our few possessions with relatives, and travelled Europe in a VW van for six months. It is like deja vu, only we will be having more comfortable beds this time.
What concerns me most is what our children's retirement will look like and how unprepared many baby boomers are for this life altering event. We are very fortunate in Canada. Prior to leaving my employer I spoke to a numer of my peers in the US who were frightened of early retirement. Not because of the job loss but because of the loss of medical insurance. Sad but true. Makes one appreciate what we have in Canada-including our taxes (high as they may be) and our self serving politicians who never seem to get their greedy snouts out of the trough.
I am presently 53 (spouse 52). At 55 we will stop working (2 for me, and 3 yrs for my wife, LOL). Both have DB (payable at 60, otherwise there are penalties). Will use our RRSP/saving/dividends until 60 and then collect our DB. We can always call for early DB payment but there will be penalties (this is Plan B). At any rate, we don't see ourselve working pass 55. Obviously it helps that no mortgage, no debt, kids out (and their education paid for). Time to enjoy (and spoils the grand-kid(s)).
Nice link Cal. Read the piece(not the book). I agree retirement takes some adjustment. In order to get the most out of it you need to plan for it but more importantly be flexible in your approach and open to new things and people. Took me a few years (2-3) to really adjust. It really is a whole new life and will be what you make of it.
I stopped working at 47 in 2004 and became a self-finance advisor. I managed my investment portfolio with mutual funds . I am lucky enough to make my MF investments grows up a total return of 184.72% with an annual return of 7.97% vs. 3.71% of TSX (as at Oct 31,2012) over past 8 years. At beginning of the retirement, the ratio of my family annual expenses and total investment values, or withdrawal rate, was 5.72% , which is too risk to be retired. Right now, this number is down to 3.14%. I feel very comfortable with my investment. My wife stopped working 2 years ago. Both of us have no DB pension ( actually a little, negligible).