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Joe:

I retires at age 55, in April 2000. It was a bit ahead of my scheduled departure date, but I was ready, having planned for it in a serious manner for some 15 years.

What do I do with my time ?

To start with, knowing that I wanted to retire early from my salaried job working 10 to 12 hours a day in a pressure cooker, I knew I couldn't stop working completely. I decided to start my own business about 14 years ago and ran it part time, employing my wife as my only employee. It is an antique shop, and my wife ran it 5 days a week and I ran it on weekends. When I retired from my "Day Job", I had something to keep me busy for about 3 hours a day on average. We now work together, but now that it is running reasonably well, we are not so worried about keeping it open 7 day a week, and take more time to go to auctions, shows and just go hunting for antiques. I also refinish furniture and this helps fill the time during the winter months when we don't travel too far afield. (And when I'm not blowing snow out of our driveway.)

My other job is to manage my investment portfoilio myself. I still have a lot in my retirement savings in mutual funds, but I am moving out of them into individual stocks as I find suitable investments. I have found this to be a very interesting endeavour and have, if I do say so, been very sucessful. (I am currently about 35% ahead of the S & P 500 for the YTD with my portfolio of 18 stocks.) This activity is producing as much income as my company pension, and I generally spend about 2 hours a day on this, although in the beginning, I spend twice that.

Home maintenance is another activity I had little time for previously. I would hire almost everything done because I just did not have the time or energy to do it myself. Now I do most everything myself. Usually there is no panic to do any particular job.

I have also had more time for yard work. We have an acre and that's enough grass for most folks. Begining to enjoy gardning now that I have more time to do things at my pace.

I have also been a member of Lions International for some 25 years. I have continued my association with them now that I am retired and usually put about 5 hours a week into the club activities.

I have also done volunteer work for the United Way and Big Brothers, but I try to limit any such activity to one or two special events a year.

The first year has just dissapeared like magic. There is never a day I get up and say "I wish I had something to do". Although I am kept busy, I make an effort to get in some quality "down" time. Like sitting on the back porch, listning to the birds, soaking up the beauty of the countryside and enjoying a leisurly coffee (or a good rum and coke in the late afternoon). Or sitting on our front porch on a warm summer evening, watching the seagulls drifting lazily on the wind and the sun setting behind the not too distant mountains.

AHHHH !!!

Bob
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