I would like to introduce Alan and Nancy of Kentucky, whom I met recently on an airplane. Their retirement story embodies the key concepts we at Reboot Partners espouse about planning your next chapter. As we have continued our research on Reboot Breaks and undertaken new research on retirement, we are reaffirming these themes.
1. Plan Ahead – For a Reboot Break, try to plan a year ahead. For retirement, start 5-10 years out, which is what Alan and Nancy did. They started planning at 45 to retire at 55. They are now 70, and their retirement planning has worked out well.
2. Think About Where and How You Want to Live – Alan and Nancy started by planning where to live, knowing that their finances would dictate moving from Long Island to somewhere less expensive. They enjoyed the process of choosing rural Kentucky through research, travel, and subscribing to local newspapers. Seven years before retirement, they bought a parcel of land and camped there several times, getting to know neighbors and reaffirming their choice. They designed a house five years ahead, then built it themselves after moving to Kentucky. They have lots of living space on 64 acres and do not live near others. But, they are very active in their community. Their living expenses are a fraction of what they were in New York.
3. Live Life to the Fullest – People love to discover old and new passions to explore. Often it is travel. Alan and Nancy have traveled literally all over the world, and it is not luxury travel – one of their trips was to Africa, where they traveled in a truck for 61 days from Kenya to South Africa. They are going to Europe next, but only for a month and only to 8 countries!
4. Give Back – There are so many different ways to volunteer, and it is a great way to be fulfilled and give back. Alan and Nancy started a volunteer fire department in their area and both participate. Nancy is a fire captain, meaning she is in charge of a fire truck; Alan is a fire fighter. He also teaches special science programs in the schools for which he started a non-profit to enable getting grants for the programs and financing field trips for the kids. Nancy and Alan volunteer for disasters around the country, and they also review cases and care of foster children. She knits tiny hats and blankets for preemie babies and runs gardening clinics too!
5. Stay Healthy and Stay Connected to Family and Friends – Alan and Nancy are in great health and vigorous and are very passionate about life and what they want to contribute and do. Their only regret is that their two children and grandchildren live long drives away. But, they are happy to make the 11- and 13-hour drives to stay in close touch.
As the flight was nearing our destination, Nancy finished the handicraft project she had been doing while we talked and graciously handed it to me. Whenever I wear that scarf, I will remember this vibrant, inspiring couple and imagine them in their Kentucky house, fire truck, or adventuring somewhere in the world.