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My Dream Retirement…

November 10, 2010 · 172 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

Again, I was watching a home tv show, and this one featured a giant house that was just 2 blocks from the ocean.  The house was huge, but did need some work.  The cost was $720,000, which actually seemed low to me given its large size.   Living by the beach sounded so good.  However, living by the beach is not option for us now as I could not uproot my kids.  Oh wait, I also can’t afford a $720,000 house that  needs renovations.  Anyway, I started thinking 20 years down the road, and thought I would share what my dream retirement would look like.

Start of dream…………………………………………………..

My house would be as close to the ocean as possible.  It wouldn’t be a smelly ocean either.  It would be a very fresh and clean ocean.   (Side note:  When I was visiting California once, we climbed over a sand dune and ran down to the smelliest beach I have ever encountered.  We saw two lumps in the distance and there were 2 dead seals laying there.  It was horrifying.  I was so surprised that some beach patrol hadn’t cleaned them up.  It wasn’t a heavily populated area of the beach, but the campground nearby had access to the beach, so I am sure someone must have seen these poor seals before we did.)   Anyway, I would walk the beach daily and see dolphins and seals.   My hair would be soft and luxurious from the salty air.

My family is also incredibly healthy in my dream retirement.  We would have no problem jogging on down to the beach and going for a lengthy stroll.  As an added bonus,  my immediate family lives nearby.  As a matter of fact, my kid’s families all love me and my house, and they visit all the time.  My kids love to grocery shop and barbecue!  My mom lives either with us or next door, and she enjoys the beach as much as I do.

I own a car, but don’t really need it for daily driving because there is a really cute downtown area within walking distance of my beach house.  There is reasonably priced produce and other food available at the local stores, and there is an old-fashioned hardware store where we can buy odds and ends.  We can even sit on chairs on the porch of the hardware store and drink some lemonade.  I have made a lot of friends in my neighborhood, so there is always someone to talk to when I go out.  We also own a successful small bookstore in this town, which also sells old fashioned candy and has a cafe.  Not a Starbucks cafe though.  We work there a couple hours a day, but more for the socialization than anything.   I also bake cookies and banana cream pies, and sell them in the cafe.

We also volunteer. We adopt puppies and train them to become leader dogs for the blind. It is hard to let the dogs go after their training, but we know it is for a good cause. We also tutor underprivileged kids in math and reading.

We travel about a month out of the year, and it is to somewhere new each time.  Europe one year, Australia the next.  We learn about interesting places and plan for that vacation all year.  We might even head down to Disney World with the grand kids now and then.  We also take small trips out of the blue.  We hop in the car and just drive to wherever we end up.  No schedule, no plans, no nothing.  We just live, and stop to see whatever we want to.

End of dream………………………………………………………..

Well that was certainly interesting.   I typed all of that as it popped into my head.  I actually never thought of what my perfect ‘retired’ life would be.  Maybe my idea of perfection will change in year, but that is where it stands now.

Have you ever thought about what you want in retirement, in detail?  What is your dream?

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianna November 10, 2010 at 7:09 am

I want to come with you, sounds perfect. Can I work in your coffee shop? Oh, you forgot to say that your oceanfront would never be hit by hurricanes or earthquakes!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

Dianna- come along with us. I will pay more than minimum wage too. I really should have worked controlling natural disasters into my dream.


Nicole November 10, 2010 at 7:14 am

Yours sounds almost identical to mine! Except we foster KITTENS, not train puppies (but our friends who are living the life we want did train a guidedog, but he failed his exams so they got to keep him). And we’re a bit farther away from the beach and closer to the mountains. (The beach is ok, but I wanna HIKE.) Also I’m good with my 720K fixer-upper being 2200 sq feet. And we don’t own any sort of business, but there is a local bookshop in walking distance, and more importantly, an excellent library.


Kris November 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

Nicole – I would die if there was a library or bookstore in walking distance, I would never be at home!

I would probably make my guide dog fail on purpose so I can keep it. Not sure I actually trust myself as I get attached so easily!


retirebyforty November 10, 2010 at 8:24 am

Heh heh, thanks for a blog post idea. I’ll have to type one up for my site sometime.


Kris November 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

RB40- don’t you love when an idea strikes you? Looking forward to your post!


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom November 10, 2010 at 9:29 am

I read this post this morning on retirement on Tim Ferriss’ site:

It sort of made me think that if some of us can’t utilize weekends well, how do we imagine we’d fill 20 years?

Anyway, my “retirement dream” doesn’t look as stable as yours does. 🙂 Next year I’m planning to take 6-9 months of the year off from work. 2-3 months of that will be spent traveling, a couple of months being a lazy bum dog-hiking and whatnot and taking on a couple of bigger projects during the remainder of the time (still thinking about writing that nanowrimo novel). The only constant will be change I guess. Great topic!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

It sounds like you are going to be living a dream very shortly, and that is fantastic.

Who knows how stable my retirement will really be. I better start making some more money to make my dream come true though! 🙂

I will definitely check out that article you mentioned. thanks


Squirrelers November 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Thank you for posting this today. I could use a vacation right now, and frankly retirement sounds even better! Never mind that it’s many, many years away…..a little dreaming is good. Besides, it’s something important to work towards.

Anyway, my very first thoughts involve financial freedom. I would love that. No real pressure to make/save – just live on a reasonable budget without money worries at all. That’s a great retirement in itself.

Beyond that, I envision relaxing, moving at my own pace. No worries, no stress. Nothing. No real responsibility. Hopefully, whatever health problems arise (as some inevitably do as we get older), I can effectively manage them without impacting this lifestyle!

I envision vacationing with Mrs Squirreler, and being able to spend time doing fun things. A normal, comfortable home is all I need – as other funds can go toward traveling and enjoying other experiences. Maybe it’s going to Italy, maybe it’s traveling to the coast here. Maybe it’s a weekend in New York.

A big part of my vision is being able to spend time visiting children and especially grandchildren. I’m only 39, and I hope that grandkids don’t come around for another 20 years, to be frank…that said, when they do arrive on the scene I know I’ll be one of those grandpas that can’t get enough of his grandson or grandaughter. By the way, it’s eye opening to realize just now that I’m old enough to even envision this….so maybe I’ll stop right here:)

Now, I do believe in trying to enjoy life every day as it’s a gift…but retirement and FREEDOM sound like a better deal than the forced to work life!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Squirrel- sorry you are having a rough day. Financial independence does sound like a wonderful thing. Just make sure that you keep blogging into retirement so I can continue to read Squirreling Gone Wild. It will probably be up to around 14,999 by then!

You are right, every day is a true gift. But sometimes, it takes a good night’s rest to see it in that light.


Lindy Mint November 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I’ll take your dream too. Except there will also have to be a forest nearby. The beach/forest combo KILLS me.

It’s kind of funny, I have my “dream life” all planned out. But I’ve never included a dream retirement in that plan. Probably because my dream life includes a version of not working anyways. Thank you for sharing.


Nicole November 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

mmm Santa Barabara!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

You are right, Santa Barbara does somewhat fit the bill. However, I don’t think I could EVER afford to live there. Good visual though.


Crystal @ BFS November 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

My dream retirement would of course start with great health and enough money to make all this happen…then…

I’d want to volunteer for Meals on Wheels at least every other day and fill in my free time with visiting friends. I’d want to hang out sometimes and take weekend trips to whereever just for the experience. I’d totally visit you on your beach. Our house would be a 2000-3000 sq ft one-story. I may get a FUN part-time job (maybe working at your bookstore, lol) or still be blogging all the time. Our housecleaner would be able to come by every week and everything would be magically organized. Mr. BFS and I would probably take 3-4 trips a year for Curling tournaments and another 2-3 major vacations.



Kris November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

BFS – I will gladly take your application to work in my bookstore. Dianna from an earlier comment will also be applying so there may be some competition. 🙂

Meals on Wheels does sound like a wonderful organization. That is something else I should consider now since I so enjoy the elderly.

Lets hope we all have the health and money for retirement!


Khaleef @ KNS Financial November 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Wow, quite a dream. I love that it includes helping out others. Just remember not to let your seeing-eye-dogs ride in the front and drool over you while you are driving!

I would want to teach and hold seminars on personal finance and biblical matters. I would want to help people to develop themselves and become better thinking and better members of society. I would also want to serve my church in whatever capacity is needed. Retirement for me is the freedom to do these things without worrying about my next meal!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Sounds like you have a nice retirement plan too Khaleef. (Loved the drooling dog comment, I can see you have been reading tonight! 🙂 )

I too would love to teach finance to people. There are just so many great causes to get involved in. You are right, retirement is all about being able to do what you want to do with your day. I just want to be able to do that near the ocean. 🙂


Jean November 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm

This was a very interesting post to me because I used to have those dreams also. We would retire by at least 50 or so and travel and live in other parts of the world.
I am now 70 and a widow. My husband died living his dream of running marathons. I was waiting at the finish line. Then my brother-in-law died of a brain tumor. I entrusted my large retirement fund to a good family friend. He is now in prison for scamming 200 families of their money, including mine. So I am working full-time as I need to. I do have a nice home which I am waiting to sell so I can buy a smaller home. My daughter had toxic mold poisoning which took a lot of my meager funds.
However, I am in excellent health and everyone thinks I am my 47 year old son’s wife. I travel around the world as I have many, many friends everywhere. My children live nearby.
I love life and know there may be many things ahead but I look at it as experiences. That is not to say I did not suffer depression and suicidal tendencies but then decided I had a choice to make. And everyone knows what that is. I am eager to see what is around the corner. I am enjoying my work and making the most of it. I help rescue dogs.
This is my retirement – not the one I planned but the one that was given to me.
Have you ever gone on a trip and had so many things go wrong. But these remain the things you remember and talk about to everyone – not the sunshine and the wonderful ocean, etc. etc. You remember the bad things and how you survived them.
And you smile and know you had a very good time after all. Just as I am today.

May all your retirement dreams come true along with unexpected surprises.


Kris November 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Jean- thank you for the very thought provoking comment! I am sorry you had to suffer such hardship. I cannot imagine the pain of waiting for your husband to finish that marathon and then it was not meant to be. Going through the changes of losing a spouse and then losing your financial security is unimaginable. (I guess this is why they say to never mix business with pleasure. However, if you can’t trust people you know and love, then who can you trust? It is very hard to decide if someone else should manage your money. I am so sorry that happened to you.)

I know you went through some down times, but I am glad you are in a happier place, and as you said, a different place than you imagined. I don’t know if I would have emerged from such circumstances with such grace. Best to you.


Barb Friedberg November 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hi Kris, How relaxing. I love love love the ocean. And of course walking in the cute town is wonderful. BTW, the home shows are my guilty passion! Aside from my blogging buddies, my HGTV friends (imaginary friends) are the greatest!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Barb, So who is your best HGTV buddy? Holmes? Sandra? I will have to think about that.

I completely love those home shows. They always inspire me, and show me a part of the world or country I have never seen before.


101 Centavos November 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Interesting post. Sounds like a little town in northern California… or a small village on the Tuscan riviera. My own idea of retirement is doing the things that we want to do, when we want to, and with whomsoever we choose.


Kris November 10, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I need to go to the Tuscan Riviera to check it out then. (I have been to Northern California!)

Your retirement plans sound great too! 🙂


Money Reasons November 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Boy am I late to the comment boxes, love your version of retirement! I could imagine that your ideal retirement vision, would suit you well!

Personally, I haven’t thought about retirement lately. Both time and the stock market has been my enemy these past few years.

Luckily, I let it ride, so at a break even to the point where I was in 2008. All my account balances should be up much, much higher!

I do know that I would like to travel more, but I would like to travel more in a few years instead of later (well actually perhaps both…)!

I have allergies, so if I were to live on a beach, I would perfer that it be on the west coast somewhere (less pollen)… No banana cream pies for me though… 😉

Oh one last thing! I really enjoyed this post it reads extremely well!!!


Kris November 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

MR – how can you not like banana cream pie??? I would also love to travel sooner rather than later, and I am hoping I can do both. I will probably just go travel to wherever my kids live.

I actually don’t think about retirement a ton either. However, remember that one email I sent where I said ‘hold on I have to write a post?’. This was that post oddly enough! That tv show I was watching totally inspired me.


Money Reasons November 15, 2010 at 3:56 am

Oh, I like banana cream pie… I just wouldn’t be making them (no cooking skills here!)

That’s pretty cool about the email! The way you wrote this piece, I felt like I was there, just being a fly on the wall. Great vision!

Hope your weekend wasy great!!!


Carol@inthetrenches November 10, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Love your dream! Almost all acheivements start with a dream so I know you are well on the way. The chairs at the hardware store I think is a suppressed memory of Andy Griffith. 🙂


Kris November 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Carol – May it is an Andy Griffith image, or even the Waltons. (I love the Waltons!)


First Gen American November 10, 2010 at 11:41 pm

My retirement house will also need to be near the beach because my husband would goes fishing every day. We will also have a handful of lobster pots. My place is a little farm and I have a dozen chickens and make maple syrup in the spring. I’m busy all year round with farm activities, chopping wood, growing stuff, making jam, baking bread, making cheese, drying herbs. I sell some of my bounty at the local farmer’s market but mostly do it to keep busy. I give a lot of stuff away too just because I can.

The pessimist in me doesn’t know if I’ll live to retirement to realize these dreams, so I like to do bits of them here and there. Babci has her little garden for now and I can live vicariously through her while I work my day job.

I liked your post a lot.


Kris November 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Oooh lobster pots. I wish I liked lobster, but I never acquired a taste. But catching them sounds fun. Fishing on the ocean sounds wonderful too. I love fishing.

Your farm activities sound nice too. I also think about living in the country and growing all my vegetables and having some animals. I think I crave a simple life, but I may get lonely.

Thanks for liking my post!


Suba @ Wealth Informatics November 11, 2010 at 1:17 am

I love your retirement. Mine is pretty much the same, except the dog. We would like beach AND mountains though, if there is a farm attached to it, I will be in heaven. I was saying to my husband that we should buy a house in Mendocino in Nor.CA. (as if we could afford it 😉 ) In all probability, we might just start a home for mentally challenged kids and work/live there.


Kris November 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Mountains are beautiful, but I get so neurotic driving in them. I wouldn’t mind enjoying them from afar though.

Buy that house in northern California and I will come visit you.


The Biz of Life November 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Mine would be on the beach in Tahiti painting with Paul Gauguin, and partying and chasing grass skirts at night. 🙂 But in reality, I’d live to have a summer house somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a winter home on the beach in Florida. Kinda mundane.


best retirement communities December 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm

You’re right about your dream retirement. Because Americans find the best retirement communities here with all the leisures around. The weather is simply getting used to it, and every home and place has centralized a/c. Besides, there are quick cooler escapes locally too.


Dubstep February 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I enjoy reading about this


dave February 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm

i retired when i was 66yrs old/young.lol , upon leaving work , i had worked for over 51 yrs full time ,, so when i retired i started my 50yrs of vacations,my llife style is pretty simple , i do what i want , when i want to , ive always had the gypsy in me ,,
i live in canada , where the winters get really cold and bitter , so winter time for me is hanging around home and travelling to see freinds ,
summer time , i close up my house and spend the summers at my trailer in a trailer park , cheap living , and my summer family,( the people in the park)
money , well that has never been an issue to me through out my life , ive always looked at it as a tool of our society,, i live quite well without too much of it ,, im frugal , thats the fun part of it ,,
my way of looking for a simple life is ? as long as you have good reliable freinds , your health , and some cash comming in every month m you will survive , and enjoy life in the meantime , doing what ever you like to do ,,, and being FREE


Kris February 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Wow Dave, it sounds like you have found contentment, and that is fantastic! You worked for many years and you deserve a great retirement.

Hope spring comes soon for you in Canada!


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