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Best and worst things I did before retirement:

The best for me was a "hobby" that could be profitable, namely stock investing. I "learned" to make the money I was saving "work" for me. I learned a bit about money management, which served me well after retirement.

The second best item was to slowly work into retirement, switching to a part time schedule about 5 years before early retirement at age 55.

I had known people who's "life" was their business and who went into depression or even died shortly after retirement. So seeking a hobby that was not expensive appealed to me, and also one which was not physically demanding. Investing was one such thing I enjoyed.

I thought (before retiring) that I would like woodworking as my brother did, so bought some equipment. For the last 17 years I have just "stored" the saws, the wood, etc. Rather than wait and try that "hobby" I invested in equipment too soon. In the last years before retirement we did not know if we would like camping so bought a mini-motorhome as a "second vehicle" to try it. We still have it 20 years later and spent many hours and miles traveling in it, including travel to determine a retirement place to live. We ended up in the Olympic Peninsula area of Washington State for financial and weather conditions, and love it. I recently returned to the investing methods I used when I started so do not have the financial concerns many have.

Being able to "live well within your means" has been one of the greatests comforts of retirement to me. There have been so many ways to help family and others through charitable funds, etc. and to save on taxes. (See posts between #9 and #14 at the start of this topic.) The recent tax law changes have caused me to pay much more in taxes these last couple years, which I do not regret.

Sincerely, Gapfan
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