What, Work in VLR?

As I sit here this morning with outside temperatures of -38C wind chill (-37 F), in our first major storm of the year I can’t tell you how happy I am not have to have to gear up and catch the train to head downtown to work. Having the choice of when and where to work in my Victory Lap is wonderful, but as we have said before work is not a bad thing and in fact it is part of retirement principles. Lets talk a little about that todayI was chatting with a couple of friends last week about retirement. The topic always seems to come up when I chat with friends lately, many of my friends are not yet retired and they are using me as a barometer. They want to know everything will be ok when they retire. Are you bored? What do you do with your time? How do you fill your day? Inevitably the conversation will lead to a discussion on how I spend my days.  How I can find joy in new activities, like blogging or volunteering or finding new  hobbies? I let them know that there is lots of things to do in retirement and that getting off the commuter merry go round is not a bad thing! Simply because we got into a routine of working 60 hour work weeks does not mean we should be aspiring to fill those 60 hours with some kind of work in retirement. You can and should slow down after your first career ends. Take time to appreciate and experience the world around you. A great line I heard recently  was “In retirement those chores that you used to fit in during lunch time when you worked, can now take you half a day.” Obviously a bit of tongue and cheek, but there is a truism to the statement, slow things down and breathe. You can be as active as you choose, but do it on your terms.  After your 6 month break, we will say it again don’t make any big decisions for the first 6 months after you leave work, then you can take time to plan and dream of what is in the realm of the possible. Diving right back into a job is a mistake, use the 6 months to rejuvenate, and build some good health habits that you may have neglected in your working days. If you still want to go back to work after that wonderful.

Our friends at Boomingencore.com, shared an article from Forbes with us which is a nice example of what adjusting to retirement is like for many of us, it isn’t easy even if you have financial independence. The article reinforces what we have been writing about for years, the biggest fear/adjustment for most people that have not planned is answering the question “What do I do in retirement?” Many people may jump into role similar to what they had. Instead be open to doing something different,  like Alex who became a ride share driver. For many people you believe you can only do what you have always done. False! If you loved your work, wonderful continue down the same path. If however you wanted a change, we caution that this path maybe the most logical but may not be the most fulfilling or exciting. It may not fill your need for learning, maybe you are missing a chance to find a “true” passion. Simply being good at something is not a reason to continue, if it does not bring you joy.  Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. Instead think about what is in the realm of the possible, ask yourself what skills you have, how could those skills can be used in other ways? What are your hobbies is there an opportunity to generate income? Maybe you are not looking for the dream job like Alex did by becoming a Lyft driver, but he did get a “purpose” for getting out of bed each day,  flexibility,  some socialization and he got a little fun money.

Here is a personal example, we have a cottage with a separate out building or Bunkie as we call in this neck of the woods. We listed the Bunkie on Airbnb last year. It was our first go around being hosts and generally we would call it a success. Many of the concerns we had like loss of privacy, property damage, problem renters, time commitment or upkeep,  did not materialize. We generally found people were respectful of our property and our neighbours, reasonable in their requests and generally respectful and friendly. Additionally, the time commitment was quite reasonable. We, my wife and I, got into a routine. My wife took the lead on the property managing reservations and hosting duties. I helped with hosting, turning over of the property which includes a full cleaning of the unit, bathroom, kitchen and new bedding Additionally we would do a weekly cleaning of windows and outside maintenance. We only list the property from Victoria Day to Canadian Thanksgiving  so our winters are free to travel. The demand for rental properties is high so we were 100% filled for the days we chose to list the property. Another nice feature was that we have the flexibility not to list the property if we have company, family visiting or just want a break. My wife and I enjoyed running a small seasonal business and we made a couple of bucks as well. I can tell you when we retired this type business was not even on our radar. It only reinforces  if you open yourself to what is possible you may find something that you can enjoy.

Finally, a couple of words of advice if you are considering being a host whether a  room in your home or your  cottage, make sure you are comfortable sharing your space. Be very careful who you rent to, research, research, research, even if you use a known sharing service know that there are fake profiles out there, read reviews, avoid new profiles or get referrals. Be reasonable about your expectations for rent, set a rental rate that is reasonable for the market.  Start slow maybe rent for a few nights at first, if you like it add a few more night, if you are still in open up the calendar.

We have not had the “bad renters experience” yet, but we know at some point we will, and we may have a different opinion then but for now it has been a positive experience.

Some pundits tell you to find your passion and make it your career, but for many of us the majority of us live a life that is a series work experiences, and life events and experiences which when looked at in totalility leads to a “life well lived”.

We will continue to share stories in this blog of people finding a way to make a buck in retirement to help you think about “what is in the realm of the possible”. Hint- Everything!

Stay warm

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2 thoughts on “What, Work in VLR?

  1. Joe Wasylyk Reply

    What to do in retirement? In the USA they have many organizations like SCORE, SHIFT, and AARP (American Association of Real Possibilities) to help retirees making a choice(s) to discover what they would like to do with the extra time in retirement. In Canada we seem to be disorganized regarding productive longevity. Our emphasis for organizations like CARP (Canadian Associations of Retired Persons) is mainly healthcare and pensions. We need a new vision of ageing in Canada. The mission must be to increase the quality of life for seniors. Lifelong learning, financial literacy, financial education, digital literacy, senior entrepreneurship must be some of the important topics that need to be discussed to elevate the quality of life for seniors. Identifying ride share companies like Lyft and Uber as possible options in retirement is fair enough, however; let’s provide our seniors with some ‘business support’ like micro-business training (profit and loss statements) to find out whether or not seniors are actually making some of that ‘fun money’ or are they really working on a losing business proposition? The only benefit of a small business losing money would be a tax write off against any other positive income sources such as pensions and other business income sources, like for example home share business income similar to AirBnb.

    • Gerry O'Toole Post authorReply

      Thanks Joe for your comment. Yes there is work to be done to change the conversation from pensions and healthcare to longevity and lifestyle. Just as many of us used experts in our working years, we need to seek out their help in retirement. Whether it is with financial matters, lifestyle decisions, nutrition, exercise, etc, we can’t be experts in everything. We need a base level of financial literacy, however there are lots of wonderful accountants, financial advisors, and small business advisors out there to help us fill our knowledge gaps and allow us to focus on our passions. We remain strong advocates for financial literacy and life long learning, as we share in this blog and through our public presentations. Have a great weekend.

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