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Retire Eyes Wide Open: Season 1 Episode 8

REWO S1E8: Adding JOY in Retirement

An active retirement is often a happy retirement. What are some easy things to add joy to your retirement? Scot Landborg, host of the weekly podcast, Retire Eyes Wide Open, shares his thoughts on joy and travel in retirement.

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Welcome to Episode 8 of Retire Eyes Wide Open. I’m Scot Landborg. On today’s episode - Joy in retirement.

What does it look like? How do you have real happiness in retirement and really live the good life? We’ll tackle it and have some fun, too. We’ll also review the week’s news in the Money Rundown. We’ll talk about the best thing I saw this week. And our Scot Strategy Segment and Listener questions are about traveling on a budget in retirement and living your best retirement life.

This is Retire Eyes Eide Open!

Money Monologue:

Joy in retirement. How do you have real happiness you’re looking for? I’m going to share with you 10 ways to find joy in retirement. Hint…it’s not just about vacations. Hopefully, you’ll grab some ideas and do something about it. Try something. Try something out of your comfort zone. Take a risk. The happiest retirees I work with are ACTIVE retirees.

Here are the 10 ways to find joy in retirement:

  1. Be a food & travel critic.
    This is one that I joke about with my wife all the time. How fun would it be to be a food and travel critic? I met someone that actually started doing it. They started reviewing wine and all of a sudden they started getting boxes of wine shipped to their house for free. It became a ton of fun and became a way for them to deduct some of the things they wanted to do in retirement. Good news is the internet makes it easier than ever to do some of these types of things in retirement. Apps like Yelp, blogs and other ways for you to actually do these things in retirement.

  2. Take an art class.
    Maybe art wasn’t your thing in your working life. Maybe you can turn over a new leaf and try something out. Try sculpting. Try watercolor. You might be amazed at how much joy it brings you.

  3. Try Pickleball.
    The latest and greatest athletic activity for those between 50 and 80 years old. If you don’t know what pickleball is, you need to know. It’s a cross between tennis and a larger ball. I’ve never played it.I’ve heard people that do. My own father spends hours and hours every day on the pickleball court. This one goes out to him. But it’s becoming more and more popular sport and there’s a wide range of different skill level in the sport. So, if you’re brand new, you’re going to feel comfortable. If you’re a veteran, you’re going to feel comfortable. It’s a lot of fun. A great way to stay active, but not too intense where you’re going to get injured.

  4. Hire a personal trainer.
    I’ve heard from many retirees how they love working out in retirement. They’ve wanted to have a certain physical fitness routine when you’re working but you’re so busy working and raising kids. This is a great time. Hire a personal trainer and get the body you’ve always wanted. Try some new athletic activities and really get out there.

  5. Host a dinner party.
    This is as simple as you inviting people over to your home for dinner. Maybe putting together a really cool invitation. Maybe hire a personal chef. You can find some of these people on Yelp. Hire a really good chef to come into your home. Cook a fantastic dinner for maybe 6 to 8 of your closest friends. It’s a great thing to do and I think we’ve gotten away from those home parties but bring it back. Host a dinner party.

  6. Volunteer.
    Volunteer for your church, for your Synagogue, for a hurricane relief organization, the veteran’s group. Volunteer for a group that’s a cause you believe in and you’d be amazed at how much value that you feel. More than just volunteering, there may be other opportunities that come up along the way. Maybe a new social calendar, a new social life, a friend that you met that’s doing the same thing. It can really add some real value to retirement and bring you some real joy.

  7. Learn to sail.
    This one falls into the category of trying something new. There are classes that can be taken at local Universities or classes at local yacht clubs about learning to sail. Another cool activity. Another way to get outside. Get out in the fresh air and try something and learn something new. Who knows where it takes you. I’ve got a client of mine who sells sailboats, who sails boats all across the country and was talking about this amazing thing called the Great Loop where you go all the way from Florida up North into New England and you can actually sail down all throughout the various rivers of the United States. A fantastic, fantastic way for you to get out and see the world. And if you learn how to do it, who knows where that might take you.

  8. Be open for business.
    Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stay retired your entire retirement. I met someone today. They’ve been retired for 5 years and they picked up a side job that they did for 6-7 months and it really brought them a lot of value and a lot of fulfillment. So be open for business. Be open for business opportunities. Maybe you want to do little side contracting work. This retirement thing is tough. It’s challenging. To find your purpose, to find your next act can take some time. So working a part-time job, working a part-time job being a contractor can help you earn a little extra money, a little extra play money and also occupy your time and your mental energy to give you a little more focus, so be open for business. That also means be open to starting your own business. Maybe there’s a new little business that you want to start and you want to use some of these new online tools to give you a shot to do it. Just be open for business and open for business opportunities that might present themselves.

  9. Run for political office.
    I met someone recently and they did just that! So they were bored in retirement. They weren’t as active as they wanted to be and ended up running for their local city council and are having the time of their lives. Again, what are some of those things that you can be doing that you didn’t have time to do in your working life that you can take the time and do them now?

  10. Take a college class.
    Look at the University list, look at the schedule of available classes and take one. Maybe its philosophy, maybe it’s a history class, maybe it’s a new language that you can use when you’re traveling. The list goes on and on. Give something a shot. Maybe do something out of your comfort zone.

Those are 10 tips for having more joy in retirement. And the bottom line is getting out there and trying something. Something to bring you a little extra joy in your retirement. Some of the things that will bring you joy will bring you personal satisfaction. Things that are going to get you out into the world and get you more active. An opportunity to meet other people, meet new friends in retirement. And finally, finding purpose. Finding that purpose, finding that thing you enjoy to do that may also help people and the community around you.

And that’s the Money Monologue for the week.

Money Rundown:

Our Money Rundown segment is where we cover the week’s news. There are a lot of media sources out there that are going to help give you updated information about the economy and the markets. My job is to help summarize and synthesize – help pick out a few stories that are most important for you, as a retiree or investor.

Story #1 – Former Microsoft founder Paul Allen passed at 65. Owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazer and well know philanthropist– the personal computer might not exist without him and the world has lost a hero.

Our heart goes out to the Allen family. But I also brought up this story, the reason I think it’s important is to really highlight entrepreneurs and business owners that make a contribution to the world we live in today. How much attention do we give to entertainers? This is the man, Paul, Allen, without him the personal computer wouldn’t exist. The foundation of our modern economy may not exist. Not only was he philanthropic and giving most of his proceeds to charity but he really made a major contribution in a lot of areas.

Story #2 – The federal budget deficit grew as tax cuts take a bite. This from the wall street journal. The US govt ran the largest deficit in 6 years totaling $779 billion. Up 17% from $666 billion in 2017. The White House says more aggressive stances may be coming in government spending next year.

What does that mean for you? I was reading another article this week about how government spending and government debt may be one of the things that help push this economy into recession in the future so it’s something we want to keep an eye on next year and the years ahead. I think Trump and his administration have been hoping that lower tax rates, although they help increase the budget deficit in the short term, their hope is that economic growth helps grow the economy at a rate fast enough to overcome some of these budget deficits. I think the reality is starting to set in and some difficult choices have to be made. I think government debt across the world is a concern. Something to keep an eye on and hopefully not one of the causes of our next recession.

Story #3 – Small cap stocks are down 10% from the previous high as the S&P 500 was down 5.6% and NASDAQ down 7.7%. Rising rates have seemed to impact small cap stocks the most.

What does that mean for you? It may be time to re-evaluate your allocation. No matter what you have, emerging markets down almost 15% on the year, bonds almost down almost 4% on the year, international down almost 9% on the year. It may be worth re-evaluating some of your holdings. Small caps are down more than large caps. It may be time to look at your positions, sell some things and take some new positions. Maybe buy some different stocks that are going to bode better in the future ahead. But definitely take a look at your allocation because we’ve seen some unprecedented decoupling where international markets have had a hard time. U.S. markets have had a better time. And for you to be successful in the years ahead you want to make sure you’re in the right sector to this market.

And that’s our Money Rundown for the week.

Best Thing I Saw This Week:

My wife Shannon and I had a little respite from our little ones.  My mother was in town and we were able to get away for a few hours. Our latest adventure?  A mid-week whale watching cruise from Davey’s Locker in Newport Beach California. What a great time.  What a great little part of the day away from the office. $16 weekly discount. $16 per person for a mid-week cruise about 2 hours long.  A great way to get out on the water and enjoy this beautiful weather that we’ve been having. They even have a covered deck so you don’t get sunburned. Now we didn’t see any whales.  Although we’ve heard of Orcas in the area which made us excited.  No whales, lots and lots of dolphins jumping and leaping and it was just a gorgeous day. 

The little adventure got me thinking. What types of mini trips can people take in retirement and take advantage of some real savings? This is one of the wonderful things about retirement. You don’t have to go whale watching on the weekend. Go during the week when there are discounts and no lines.  Also take a chance to rediscover your city. Don’t just focus on the big ticket trips. What are the smaller experiences close to home that can sweeten your life? How about lunch at Fisherman’s in San Clemente?  One of our favorite little places. During the week not so busy. Make sure you eat on the left side of the restaurant near the rail, near the beach.  Great fish right on the beach. What about wine tasting in Temecula? A Groupon for a hot-air balloon ride or a parasail. Start exploring YELP a little bit and try a new highly rated restaurant in the area. Or maybe try a restaurant in a new area that you’re not familiar with.  Or try a restaurant at home like Uber Eats or GrubHub. Try a new restaurant at home.  Have them deliver something that you haven’t tried before. What about an electric bike ride?  Electric bicycles – some people in the office give me crap about this but there’s a location in Huntington Beach called Pedego that rents electric bicycles.  Very affordable, puts a new spin on the bicycle.  A lot of people think of bike riding as exercise, right? Well electric bikes let you do and see much more than you would do breaking your back on a bicycle so with ease you can ride all the way down to Newport, right up the Santa Ana trail, ride all the way out to Seal Beach. And that’s not the only location in Southern California where you can rent electric bikes. San Diego has some great electrical bicycle locations as well. There are so many fun little adventures to have in Southern California and fun thing to see. Angela Jugon, the producer in our office, recently went on a tour of Orange County and Los Angeles where they toured some little known, off the beaten path locations that are just fantastic to visit to make a little trip inside of retirement. Go like us on Facebook. Visit our Facebook page. We’re going to be posting some cool travel ideas this week for Southern Californian and some more fun ideas. So go like us on Facebook for more information about strategies for enjoying your retirement right here in So Cal.

And that’s the Best Thing I Saw This Week. 

Scot Strategy Segment:

Earlier in the show we talked about Joy in retirement. And I often talk about vacationing. That’s not the only thing to do that will make you happy. It might be the only thing, but it, too, can sure be a great time and a great part of retirement. As much crap as I give vacationing of course it’s a fantastic part of retirement and should be an important part of your retirement. We had a travel event recently for some of our clients and although they loved it, some wanted to know if there were any ideas on traveling more on a budget.

Here are my top ideas for doing travel on a budget in retirement:

  1. Travel during shoulder season.
    For the different areas that you want to travel, each of them has a peak season and an off-peak season. And the difference, in between those times is called the shoulder season. Often a great time to get good deals. Often the weather is still fantastic. Often the lines are shorter. The number of people there are less. It’s still a place you want to go from a seasonal standpoint. You can often get fantastic discounts.

  2. Travel last minute for deals.
    Being a retiree, you’re not on a schedule. You’re not on a calendar. If you want to go on a 14 day cruise next week, you probably could make it happen. People that are working are not able to do that so there are organizations, there are groups, there are websites that promote to retirees for last minute deals. One of my favorites is They have their 90 day ticker with a lot of last minute cruise deals. If you’re a working stiff like me and everybody in the office, we see those deals and we go crazy because we can’t take advantage of them. But if you’re retired, you can take advantage of as many as you’d like. Because you’re able to travel more last minute, you’re able to get some of those fantastic deals.

  3. Use reward points effectively and efficiently.
    What do I mean by that? Well if you’re going to go on a last minute trip, using travel reward points to book airline tickets often is one of your best options. You may want to book a last minute cruise, but the flights going to kill you because the flight last minute is more expensive.It’s a great way for you to use points, different points, to buy airline tickets to help get you to a last minute destination. You don’t get stuck with a high, expensive plan ticket for your less expensive trip.

  4. Go where the deals take you.
    My best man in my wedding, this is his famous line: Go where the deals take you! So, here’s an interesting trick. When you’re looking for ideas on where to travel, don’t necessarily have the destination settled on. Maybe there’s a number of destinations you’re interested in. When you’re looking for last minute travel or you’re looking for discounted travel, go where the deals take you. There are certain areas that may be on sale. Certain destinations that may be discounted. Maybe you go to Argentina because the currency has been devalued significantly over the past year. Who knows where you may go, but go where the deals take you. Maybe a 5 star hotel chain on Maui is offering a super great deal. Be open adapting your travel activity to where the deal take you.

  5. Consider the double vacation.
    Being retired, you don’t have to come back for a job on Monday, right? So, if your vacation is 7 days or 14 days, that’s up to you. Consider the double vacation. One of my favorites is partnering a cruise vacation with a land vacation. Say, for example, you can to go to Italy, partner that with a cruises leaving out of Rome or Venice. So spend 7 days on a cruise ship, touring the Mediterranean and then spend 7 days at the port that you were arriving at or leaving. It’s a great way to save money on airline tickets to get to the destination or to get home, you can often get a fantastic deal.

  6. Book far in advance.
    For cruises, especially this is true. You need to book last minute for the best deal or far in advance. My wife and I were looking at cruises to Alaska recently and if you wanted to go during the year that we were looking, it was 50-70% more expensive than if we were willing to wait a year until the next season. So cruising, some of the best deals can be far in advance – a year, year and half, two years out. The other great thing about that is it gives you time to build other people to add to your vacation plans. Maybe you have other friends or family that would like to vacation with you. By planning far enough in advance, not only can you get a great discount and deal but you can get other people to join in on the party.

  7. Consider the all-in costs of your travel.
    This is a very important thing. When thinking about travel, be careful about deals because you really have to think about what are the all-in costs.Is a beverage package included? What’s your food and alcohol going to cost. Is it more expensive to travel there via flights? Cruising, for example, if you’re going to go on a cruise in the Caribbean, it’s much less expensive for the shore excursions than it is in Europe. You’re going to spend a lot more money doing shore excursions than you are taking a cruise in Europe. So make sure consider the all-in cost of your travel. Sometimes booking an all-inclusive trip, can save you money.Sometimes not. Sometimes you’re better off, instead of going on an all-inclusive, pick some of the local restaurants. But be sure to consider the all-in costs of your travel.

  8. Be a group leader for more discounts.
    A lot of times if you’re booking a cruise or booking through a travel agency or booking a tour, if you are the group leader and you get multiple people to join in on your vacation, often you, as the leader, can get some significant discounts on your travel. So by being that organizer, by being that cheerleader, by bringing these people together, it’s another great way you can save money on a vacation. Now some of those people you’re traveling with may want you to pass on some of those discounts to them.That’s between you and them but there are definitely discounts by you being the group leader. You know what I say, keep those discounts yourself because organizing a trip is a lot of work.

Those are my top 8 tips for doing travel on a budget. Hope you found it helpful. Again, go to our website for more travel ideas and as we talk socially about the coolest, latest and greatest travel tips for 2019.

That’s our Scot Strategy Segment for the week.

Listener Questions:

If you want some your questions answered on the air, go to our website and click “Submit a Question”. We’ll do our best to get your question answered during the show.

Joining us is today our producer, Angela, who has some questions from some of our listeners. Angela, take it away!

[Angela] Thanks so much, Scot, and hi guys! Our first question comes from Kerry in Huntington Beach

Hi Scot, retirement has been an adjustment for me. I’m missing my old job a bit, and not sure how to maximize my time in retirement. I’m considering getting some part-time work. Any negatives by me doing that?

Well, Kerry, thank you so much for your question. And I’m sorry that it has been an adjustment for you. For some people it’s a very easy adjustment, other people it is a lot more challenging. Are there any negatives for you going back to work part-time? Absolutely not. You want to look, if you’re after full retirement age there are absolutely no negatives. If you’re under full retirement age you might want to look at how that might impact your social security. If you’re taking social security and you’re say, 64, you could have some penalties there so be aware of that. But I would say don’t let the tax tail wag the investment dog. If you want to get some part-time work, just make it happen. You can figure out from a tax and investment perspective how to adapt your plan to adjust to it. The most important thing is this retirement stage of your life, you can succeed at it, you can fail at it, or you can just get by and we want to do everything that we can to make sure that you succeed at this stage of your life. Getting a part-time job or doing some part-time consulting could really energize you and give you a chance to kind of restart this phase and allow you to move into retirement or be in retirement—ease into it a little bit more. Some of the happiest people I see in retirement are active. They’re doing things but they also have some sort of purpose. Maybe they’re volunteering at their local church or at their local parish. Maybe they are doing a part-time business on the side. Getting a part-time job in retirement—don’t have any issues at all. I think, Kerry, it might be a very good step for you as you try to find that fulfillment and purpose that you’re looking for and that you’re missing from your old job. Another thing that people are missing too is their social circle. Not only is it their purpose from work but it’s also their social circle. Volunteering. Getting out there in the community. Different things you can do to kind of build up that social circle and having a part-time job or working as a contractor part time helps you build those new connections.


[Angela] Our next question comes from Andrew in Tustin, CA.

I’m considering moving out of California to lower my cost of living, but I’m weighing the cost of being away from my kids and grandkids? Any advice?

[Scot] Well, Andrew, thank you so much. This is a difficult, difficult question to answer. Honestly it’s easier than ever for people to move out of state. The internet, technology, low cost airline tickets make it easier than ever to live in a different state and still feel connected to your family back home, so that’s the good news. Bad news is there are some things that you’re going to miss and you need to make sure that you’re okay with that. If your finances are tight you might not have a choice. You might have to do it. If you have a mortgage in retirement and need to get rid of it and your means are not very significant, you might be forced into that decision and making the most of it. I would encourage you, there are other options in Southern California. You could get a reverse mortgage, you could look at living in a lower cost community, you could look at living more inland or maybe in Carlsbad or maybe an over 55 community. There are other ways to make your income picture work that don’t necessarily mean you moving out of state. If your finances are good, you may still want to move out of state to save money and I would want to understand why someone would want to do that. It’s an expensive state to live in from an income tax perspective, from a property tax perspective. It’s expensive on a number of levels. I understand where you’re coming from. But also understand that sometimes by moving and by saving that extra money, all you’re doing is adding money to your net worth. You’re going to leave an extra $500k to your kids or grandkids at the end. Why? Is that really what you want to do? If moving out of state is going to bring you more of the life that you want in retirement then don’t hesitate. Do it. But if you’re moving out of state because you haven’t embraced the fact that retirement is a different stage and you’re going to have to rebuild your social life, your personal life, your value, your purpose. Understand that’s going to be hard. That’s going to be difficult. Don’t fun away from that. As long as you’re not running from that then moving out of state is not an issue at all. And understand that you may be missing out on some things with your family. You might be missing some of those moments with kids and grandkids and what is that worth to you? How much is that worth from a financial perspective? If it means less money to the kids and grandkids at the end of the day because you stayed in California, I could promise you, they’re not going to worry about that. But, again, if you think retirement is best out of state, you’re going to find the fulfillment that you want, you’re going to live the life that you want, I can promise you that your kids and grandkids are going to be behind you. There’s ways with technology and there’s ways with low cost airline travel that you can still be connected with them. Hopefully that helps.

[Angela] And our final question is from Kevin in Yorba Linda CA.

How do I plan a travel budget in retirement? This seems like an impossible thing to do not knowing where to go with my wife and not knowing the potential itineraries. Any tips on budgeting for travel in retirement?

[Scot] Well, Kevin, you hit the nail right on the head. This is not an easy thing to do. What I would encourage you to do is try your best to set aside a budget for the next 12 months. And then do it for the next 12 months after that and the next 12 months after that! You don’t necessarily have to stick to that budget exactly. You have some flexibility but it’s important that your financial advisor and tax advisor are on the same page. If your travel budget for the next year is $10,000 then there are certain things that you may want to do to withdrawal money from various accounts to come up with the cash. If your travel budget explodes to $50,000, now we would have a totally different situation. Maybe that bumps you into a higher tax bracket. Maybe you want to spread that over two years instead of one. The most important thing is to continue to evaluate your plan. Do it a couple of times a year. Continue to evaluate your spending means, where you can pull from and when. And also, understand something else, Kevin. If you have big, fat retirement accounts, you’re going to be forced to pull from those once you reach 70 ½. You may want to pull from those a little bit early. Spread out that withdrawal rate from the moment you retire until the moment you turn 70 because once you turn 70, you’re going to have less options. You need to start thinking about your retirement income picture as the big picture. How are you pulling money out over the next 10, 20, 30 years. Where is it going to come from and when? How are RMDs going to impact your situation? How are taxes going to impact your situation? And have a plan that’s flexible enough to give you that travel budget for when you need it. You don’t know how much you’re going to travel this year, next year or the year after necessarily, but something else might come along the line that you need more money so you need to make sure you have enough liquidity in your plan to adjust to the reality on the ground.

That’s the end of our listener questions for the week. Angela, thanks so much for joining us. If you want your questions answered during the show, go to our website and click on the button “Ask a Question”. You can also follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. I want to thank all of you so much for listening. Stay tuned next week as I continue to discuss how to retire with your eyes with open. Don’t go into retirement with your eyes closed, retire with your eyes wide open. I’m Scot Landborg and we’ll see you next week.

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