Retirement Diaries: Jan says stay active but not too active

Retirement Snapshot

Jan and her family at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Image rights: Jan Simonsen

  • location: Minnesota
  • Age: 73
  • Retired at: 65
  • Marital status: Married
  • profession: Education/Teacher

Staying active and engaged is an important part of retirement for Jan. After a fulfilling teaching career, she still likes the flexibility of being able to return to teaching as a substitute. She also enjoys part-time work as a coordinator of an early childhood education program. She lives true to her motto of putting fun activities first while making a contribution and staying part of a profession she loves. We spoke to Jan about her retirement.

retirement reality

Retirement Expected: What does a day of retirement look like for you?

Jan: I like having a commitment that goes somewhere, chores done, and so on. I still make a to-do list! I really like being relaxed in the morning, sleeping later and not rushing to get to work on time.

your retirement savings

Retirement Expected: Did you have a solid plan for retirement?

Jan: Yes, but navigating this economic world sensibly comes with some challenges.

The best part about retirement

Retirement Expected: What’s the best thing about retirement?

Jan: Be responsible for my schedule. Don’t feel rushed. Put fun activities first.

challenges in retirement

Retirement Expected: What is the biggest challenge in retirement?

Jan: Balance requests for volunteering and donations! Concern about maintaining good health. Many of our friends and family members have health problems and are dying. That’s hard to see. A lot of social conversations focus on health and well-being, which gets tedious!

Travel in retirement

Retirement Expected: What is your favorite vacation spot?

Jan: That is a difficult question. We like the dry Arizona heat and there is so much to do. We connect with many friends. We can be busy or just hiding. We also like Florida for the water and ocean views and this family joins us! We love having family visits in both places.

cost of retirement

Retirement Expected: We want people to understand how much it really costs to retire. How are you managing your money now? Do you have a budget, do you meet regularly with your advisor and so on?

Jan: We update regularly with a financial manager. We don’t have a strict budget, but we tend to be frugal when it comes to shopping. We are still experienced comparison buyers!

pension advice

Retirement Expected: What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone approaching retirement?

Jan: Just sitting around is not good. Find some things to do and plan events and gatherings to give you something to look forward to.

things I wish I had known

Retirement Expected: What are a few things someone would have said to you about retirement/this stage of life/the transition?

Jan: I wish I had focused more on retirement planning in my 30s and 40s!

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