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Planning for retirement? Dreaming of your retirement? Wise things to do, indeed. But what’s it really like? And what about when the honeymoon phase fades away? Brian Feutz shares his reflections on the first two years of his retirement. He began writing about retirement years before as he was researching it and planning his retirement – and writing has become a big part of his new life after work.
Brian Feutz lives on an island off the coast of Washington State with his wife of 32 years and the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. He has an MBA, a Mensa certification, a wide variety of technical skills, and a decent collection of writing awards and recognitions. His left brain took the lead for most of his career, but in retirement he’s giving it a rest and focusing on creative passions. One of those passions is writing, specifically to help demystify retirement so average everyday people can understand, anticipate, and embrace the joys of retirement.
You’ll find Brian’s spoken and written words (fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, humor) scattered across the Internet on sites like Retirement Wisdom, Medium, BrianFeutz.com, DiscoverWalks, SmartNews, MakingOfAMillionaire, TowardsDataScience, EntrepreneursHandbook, BetterHumans, and many more.
Brian Feutz joins us from Washington State.
For More On Brian Feutz
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On Planning for Retirement – and the Reality
“You can read books about it, you can talk to people, you can do all that, but until you’re there, you don’t know what it’s like. And so I had that fear and I had to fight my way through it. I liken that to parachute jumping. You can read about parachute jumping all day long, but until you step out of that airplane, you have no idea how exciting and thrilling it is to be on the other side of the retirement line. So fear was a big one there. And then how do I fill my day? Looking back on it, I talk to people all day long these days about retirement, and one of their biggest concerns is Will I be bored? or How do I fill my day? The third, probably the number one most important one, is do I have enough money to live the lifestyle that I want to live and make it all the way through until I die and not run out of money? So I struggled with those. And my way of getting around it was to learn as much as I possibly could. And I wrote it down. I started making notes and sharing it with my friends, talking with my wife and all that sort of stuff. And I ended up writing about these things and that’s how I got into writing.”
On Finding Your Rhythm
“I felt sort of a pang of regret briefly. And then I woke up the next morning and I felt so free. Oh, this is great! I don’t have to go to work. I don’t have to worry about it. And I realized I had a good night’s sleep, and the first few weeks or months was a little bit like that. Intoxication is probably the best word for it. I was so excited and I was running around talking to people and hiking and doing things with my wife, and I just enjoyed every single instant. I had a hard time going to sleep. I was having so much fun, not working. And then over the course of the first year, it was deer in the headlights. It was I have to get everything done that I possibly could. This is my personal experience, Joe, not everyone else’s. And I know it’s different for everyone, but this first year was chaotic. I went hiking, I went kayaking, I went bicycle riding. I rebuilt bathrooms. I went and visited friends and family, played with the kids. I wasn’t playing with little kids, they have professional jobs, but we’d go downtown, we’d have dinners, we’d do all kinds of fun stuff. And then I think slowly, probably at some point during the second year, that level of intoxication sort of just blended into a rhythm. And I settled into a rhythm where I am right now, and each morning I get up. My hobby is writing. I like to write. So in the mornings I’ll get up and write, and that involves interacting with people. It involves conference calls, it involves comments, research, not just hands on the keyboard, but a lot of additional activities.”
On Bringing Your Whole Brain to Retirement
“So I am a lot different of a person than I was when I was working. And it really surprised me that I was as creative as I am. My entire career practically was in technology, and that’s the left brain logical side, very analytical. And then I started before I retired, I started exploring, jotting down notes. And I actually started writing a little bit before I retired in 2019. I started publishing articles and whatnot, and then I kind of got the bug and I started writing. And that’s a creative thing, and I’ve been writing a lot of fiction since then too. And my left side of the brain has not been quite as active as my right side of the brain. I read somewhere that when you hit the late fifties, sixties, seventies, and on up, even into the nineties, your brain doesn’t get any slower. It doesn’t get any worse. It changes rather than being one side or the other. Older people begin to use both sides of their brains simultaneously. And so I think maybe that’s where this piece cropped up in my creativity. And I actually took some classes in pottery – so much fun! I do woodworking, which is a very creative activity. I spent a lot of time doing creativity, so that’s me. But I think from what I’ve heard with other people that I talked to, there’s a pretty profound change that takes place in one’s behavior when they move from a work environment into a retirement environment because of the freedom that it allows you. You’ve got these pent up desires and passions that have been held back, and now all of a sudden you can release them and chase after whatever passions you want to. And the beauty of retirement is you can chase after whatever you want to and just drop it if you don’t want to do it longer because you’re not making money at it. So who cares, right? So I found that to be probably the most significant change.”
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About Your Podcast Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career. He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking. Today, in addition to his work with clients, Joe hosts The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, which thanks to his guests and loyal listeners, ranks in the top 1 % globally in popularity by Listen Notes. Business Insider has recognized him as one of 23 innovative coaches who are making a difference. He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy.