Life After Retirement

Shouldn’t the topic really be Life During Retirement? Unless retirement just refers to the moment of leaving work for a life of leisure. Retired, yes! I am, at my leisure. My mantra now is “Nothing is important. Nothing is urgent.” I am truly free to do what I want, when I want, where I want. Absent lofty ambitions or expensive tastes, I enjoy every day in ways that I have imagined, planned, and focused on for the many years that led up to this time.

I started planning for my retirement during my first year in college. I can remember telling my classmates about a TV show, Over Easy, hosted by Hugh Downs. They laughed. They must have wondered why someone our age would be watching a show for retirees. I watched and learned about what my elders were doing to ensure their happy retirement. Who’s laughing now?

Remember that old saying, “He who laughs last, laughs best”? I took that adage to heart and started planning for my best laugh. I retired in February of 2017 at the age of 62. My financial advisor said most retirees only live one year. Wow! Really?! Sad if it’s because they had to work until the very near the end of their lives. It could be for reasons unplanned or tragic.

I do consider myself lucky. I do what I can to stay healthy with feedback from yearly doctor, dental and eye exams. I eat right, stay active, and stay fit. My volunteer activities keep me on my feet. The Silver Sneakers program at the YMCA helps too. I guess you could say I’ve found my happy place.

Silver Sneakers – Click image for information

Affording retirement wasn’t too hard with my diversified plan. Early on I assumed Social Security alone wouldn’t be enough, so I made some minor investments of my own and took advantage of plans offered by, or related to, my employers. The combination of these things with reasonable assumptions about their expectations over the long term led me to exceed my goal.

My advice: Start planning for your retirement early. Imagine the possibilities. Watch what others are doing. Get started on your interests and grow patiently. I studied and worked in communications and education. I started with Super-8 film, then 16mm, added radio and television experience, then K-12 teaching and adult training.

As technology evolved, so did I. I’ve worked with video tape, CD’s, DVD’s, computers, networking and internet. I like to think I’ve earned my Star of Infamy in TV, radio, stage, screen, recording and internet media. I’m working on a website to document it all. I’m not sure anyone will care, but for the record, it’s fun to look back at everything I’ve done, but more so, to look forward to doing new things! One of my YouTube videos has over one million views!


Peter Terzian began his career as a school media and technology teacher in 1980 and retired in 2017. He started brewing a few years ago as a hobby and is now OLLI-USF’s resident expert on turning natural ingredients into tasty beverages. He enjoys volunteering for arts, education, and technology projects. He teaches for OLLI and contributes to OLLI Connects and the OLLI-USF Facebook Group.

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5 Replies to “Life After Retirement”

  1. And, among your projects and accomplishments, Peter, include your skillfully crafted stories! Always a joy to read and savour.

  2. Thanks, Peter, for sharing a wonderful life in retirement story. I too thought about retirement at the early age of 23 when I was called to active duty in the USAF. The base commander spoke to us 2nd Louies about money with words I’ve never forgotten–always think in percentages, not dollars! Of course, I didn’t always take his advice but then again, something must have stuck b/c when I arrived at USF with a new job and a hefty pay increase in 1984, I decided it’s time to throw the dice. And I did–I decided to put all my U retirement contributions plus 9% of my salary into stock market mutual funds. Lo and behold, I shut my eyes and crossed my fingers–lightning must have struck b/c I caught the 1980s stock mkt runup. Twenty years later at age 64 I quit my day job for an everyday is Saturday option. Life in retirement, as it turns out, was nearly the same–write, teach, publish, stay active professionally, and enjoy life. Financially, no change in quality of life. However, now I must admit–I’m in a race to determine who wins–my money or me. I hope it’s my money as I’d rather not get in the soup line! Thanks again, Peter.

  3. Great story! My first job after college paid little but my parents let me live at home and charge me nothing as long as I was putting anything not required for essentials towards paying off my school loan. I did it in a year with my weekly splurge was catching up with 4 girlfriends and sharing a pizza and a pitcher of beer, while others I knew were buying lots of things. Having paid off undergrad loans in a year, I easily got another and moved from Buffalo to Tampa to attend grad school at USF. My job was to finish as soon as possible and I was generally taking 16-21 hrs a term. Graduated in 15 months. Paying off that loan was easy as I’d already learned how to pinch pennies, so I had money to start saving. It’s been easy to feel grateful for all I have. While I don’t have funds like the Gates Foundation, I have all I need, and more than enough to get things I want even if I don’t need them 🙃. Living as a retiree has been wonderful!

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