Retirement Diaries: Why I’m Happy I Taken a Chance and Moved in Retirement

Retirement Snapshot

Stacey’s morning walk in La Quinta, California

Copyright: Stacey Woelfel

  • Location: La Quinta, California
  • Age: 63
  • Retired at: 62
  • Marital status: Married for 41 years
  • Profession: journalist and professor

After a career of more than 40 years as a television and documentary journalist, 35 of which she taught at the best and best journalism school in the world, it was time for Stacey to enjoy retirement. He and his wife raised two children, both of whom work in the media industry. After working in Florida and Missouri, Stacey wanted to move closer to his children in California. We spoke to him about his life in retirement.

retirement reality

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

Stacey W.: I see it more as a day of semi-retirement. I want to be sure to stay active and contribute to my profession, so as a professor emeritus I still work part-time for my university. I also work on various freelance consulting and writing projects. I usually get up around 6am and like to do some exercise first. My wife and I bought electric bikes just before we retired and these are a big part of our daily exercise routine. After a bike ride I like to get my work done early for the day. That leaves the afternoon and evening to explore the area – we’re new to California – and meet up with friends.

your retirement savings

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

Stacey W.: Yes. We began seriously planning what we would do when we retired about 5 years before our retirement dates. With a college pension providing us with reasonable financial security, our first focus was where we would live. We wanted to move closer to our kids in Los Angeles, so we decided to move from Missouri to the Palm Springs area of ​​California. We started home shopping early and bought our apartment in autumn 2019. Luckily we got them before prices skyrocketed here and elsewhere.

The best part about retirement

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

Stacey W.: I think it’s mostly because of having less work responsibilities and more focus on what I enjoy most both professionally and personally. When I was working, I had certain tasks that I didn’t like doing. Now I don’t have to do that anymore.

challenges in retirement

Retirement Expected: What is the biggest challenge in retirement?

Stacey W.: It’s important to me not to get bored or spend a lot of time in front of the TV. So I like to do the things I enjoy more or less all the time. I’m not a person who enjoys a lot of free time. When I was working full-time, my job meant I didn’t get much out of it. Now I’m on my own to make sure I’m actively engaged in life.

Travel in retirement

Retirement Expected: What is your favorite vacation spot?

Stacey W.: We moved to California from the Midwest to achieve one thing I really wanted – to live near the mountains. We have a beautiful mountain view outside our windows every day. Even with this view, we love holidays in the mountains. One of our favorite places is Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We’ve taken a few trips there and love the mountain views, rafting trips, natural hot springs, and small town feel. We will be going back soon – it’s only a 12 hour drive from Palm Springs!

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, etc.?

Stacey: W I created a budget before we retired to see how far my retirement would last and to make sure we didn’t have to save for day-to-day living. With that base, I use extra money I earn in semi-retirement to pay for things like home renovations, restaurants, and travel. Adjusting to my lower income and living beyond our means thanks to the budget I made early on was fairly easy.

pension advice

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

Stacey W.: I would urge people not to feel stuck if they have to live in the same place they worked. I know the cost of housing is high right now and the cost of buying a new home to retire to is a little higher than it is for us right now. But I also think there’s an inertia that keeps people from moving after they’ve lived in the same place for a long time. We made early plans to move to California and it worked out well. We have made new friends here and already feel very comfortable after a short time.

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?

Stacey W.: I’ve had very few surprises and I have no regrets about our decision to retire and what has happened since. So there’s nothing important that I feel like I knew.

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