What was I thinking?

The other day I said to myself, “When I retire, I’ll spend more time on exercise and flexibility.”  What was I thinking?  If you want your best retirement, why would you not make the investment in your health well in advance.  (I know I’m probably not telling you anything you have not heard before here…).  In my case, and I am not a model for physical fitness, I am gradually upping my exercise goal from 30 minutes four times per week to 1 hour four times per week.  I already do strength and cardio and I will add in flexibility.  This will also go into my Retirement Activity Plan (RAP)!  Reviewer’s note – Mrs. NoSurprisesRetirement notes that a) the road to hell is paved with good intentions and b) not everyone will be able to keep this schedule.  She’s not wrong.  I’ll let you know how I do.

One part of my goal for being in better shape is to support the more or less standard flow of retirement; go-go, slow-go, no-go. The other part is to help me keep living, working, and travelling now.

Speaking of travel, here’s a picture of me, morphed with the other 13,500 or so visitors to the Kunsthal Rotterdam that participated in the digital image exhibit a couple of years ago. (Off season, literally had the place to ourselves!) In modern art museums you can frequently become part of the art.

Rotter - modern IMG_0279-cropped

Go-Go, Slow-Go, No-Go

Michael Kitces, the financial planner, in his blog , notes, “Michael Stein, author of “The Prosperous Retirement” first popularized the concept of a three-phase retirement: the Go-Go years, the Slow-Go years, and the No-Go years.  The approach was relatively straightforward: early retirement is represented by the “Go-Go” years and is characterized by an active phase, that may include a continuation of a lifestyle similar to pre-retirement, but with more time for spending and “extra” activities like travel; the  “Slow-Go” years are when health and energy begin to decline a bit, resulting in some spending reductions as the budget for activities like travel or even just eating out begin to decline; and the “No-Go” years are characterized by an almost total shutdown of activity-related spending, as consumption decreases to just the core expenditures necessary to maintain the household itself.”

My takeaway from the above is:
-understand the phases
-understand what your budget can support (a trip up North v. an 83 day around the world cruise or something in the middle)
-think about not only your cash budget, but your energy requirements in each phase and see what your personal ‘energy budget’ will support.

There is some argument about the timing and applicability of the three phases, but it seems like a useful model.  (Old saying, “All models are wrong, some models are useful.”). We have planned for go-go years until about 71, then the budget supports slow-go and no-go until ‘end of retirement…’

I know we watched the in-laws move through the three phases, some faster than others. Re-reading this before I posted it reminded me of the favorite saying of another friend, “Don’t postpone joy.” Genes, luck, and your version of the supreme deity will have a big say in the timing of each of our phases. We’ll likely return to look at the phases more in detail in later posts.  In the meantime, think about your RAP and what you’ll do in the go-go years.

Do as I do?

In the Free Stuff post post I mentioned taking classes from providers such as  FutureLearn and edX . I signed up for FutureLearn , but it’s for the past, the Cold War.  I enrolled in “From World War to White Heat: the RAF in the Cold War.” taught by a professor from the U of London and a PhD from the RAF Museum.

Actions you can take include:
-Check yourself – are you doing what you can to be in your best shape for retirement?
-Take a look at the free education resources, including YouTube.  An esteemed consultant once taught me, “We reserve the right to get smarter.”

And if you have not seen the “Why you should read this blog…WIIFY” post, it’s here.

Questions, comments, or suggestions for retirement surprise areas you want to know more about?
-Leave a comment
-Use ‘Contact’, above, to send an email.

Free stuff!

Who doesn’t like free?  This post should help you on the Creativity-Social area of the Retirement Activity Compass.  You will probably want to update your personal Retirement Activity Plan (RAP) when you’re done reading!

RAC - star LL

Remember back to the “Pre-retirement or retired, why not RAP?” post?  We focused on ‘creativity’ to help keep our retired minds sharp and ‘social’ to help keep us connected to each other and the community.   One way to get a toofer on that is to learn something new by taking a class – a free class.

Free #1

Mrs. NoSurprisesRetirement has completed a number of classes on various aspects of the history of the United Kingdom from her favorite free e-learning site, Futurelearn.  A couple her favourites (British spelling of favourites, get it?  Ha!)  were ‘A History of Royal Food and Feasting’ and ‘England in the Time of King Richard III’.   I looked at Futurelearn today and they have pretty much everything from anatomy to writing fiction.  Classes are available both anytime (Beginning Dutch, anyone?) and scheduled. Mrs. NoSurprisesRetirement likes the scheduled courses because of the interaction available when you comment on the content or questions.  Futurelearn is Mrs. NoSurprisesRetirement’s favorite e-learning site because of the diversity in class formats and the international audience. People in her Richard III class lived within a few miles of the key historical sites and provided really interesting comments.

Free #2

If you’re like us here in the frozen northland Minnesota and you are 62 or over, you can audit (sit in on the class for no grade, but it’s OK this time) classes at the U of M and MNSCU’s universities, colleges and technical colleges.  If you’re someplace warmer else your state likely has something similar to the Minnnesota benefit and you can find out here at A SENIOR CITIZEN GUIDE FOR COLLEGE. This is a really good way to learn those things you always wanted to but did not have the time/money before now.

But wait, there’s more!

You can go to Harvard, MIT, or the Sorbonne with edX  This is Mrs. NoSurprisesRetirement’s other favorite e-learning site and, similar to Futurelearn, edX has a wide span of classes. Introduction to German Opera from Dartmouth, The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture from the Smithsonian, and Urban Design for the Public Good: Dutch Urbanism from TU Delft are just some examples.

Don’t stop there – check the library

My local public library provides two different language learning programs, one of which is from Rosetta Stone.  They also provide Lynda (now from Linkedin) which has classes on just about everything, including Microsoft Office for that new computer you’ll get for Christmas and photography for that DSLR you got last year.

Sample Retirement Activity Plan template – free!

I put a RAP template out on Google Drive for you to download and modify to personalize as needed.  It’s in Word format, but let me know if you need one in Google Sheets format. Copy and paste this link:


into your browser (I primarily use Chrome) and you should be able to see them and download.  Let me know at nosurprisesretirement@gmail.com if you have a problem.

Actions you can take include:

-Develop and/or update your RAP.

-Don’t forget about the social aspects of retirement – reach out to a friend and re-connect, especially now in the holiday season.

And if you have not seen the “Why you should read this blog…WIIFY” post, it’s here https://nosurprisesretirement.com/2017/07/09/first-blog-post/

Questions, comments, or suggestions for retirement surprise areas you want to know more about?
-Leave a comment
-Use ‘Contact’, above, to send an email.