We had arrived! What a surreal feeling after a life of work. Suddenly we no longer had to abide by our working life routine with all the early mornings; commuting; overtime; and cramming shopping, socializing and entertainment into a weekend. But I am amazed at how busy we were that first year after retiring.

Here are some of the things that kept us busy during our arrival period.

  • Selling our house
  • Moving our household goods into storage
  • Tying up loose ends in the Bay Area including getting copies of our medical records
  • Tying up employer related loose ends such as 401k rollover and COBRA
  • Searching for health insurance
  • Temporarily living in a condo
  • House hunting
  • Purchasing a new house
  • Completing the move of our household goods
  • Settling into our new house
  • Adjusting to a new city including finding new service providers, meeting neighbors and navigation
  • Home improvement projects for the new house

All this activity demanded our time and attention. We were fortunate to have some local friends help us with such mundane matters as where to get auto service, finding a dentist, where to get a haircut, etc. Our realtors were also another source of help. They were always available to answer any questions we had. They also invited us to meet other clients which led to the formation of some friendships. And we stayed true to our commitment to return to the Bay Area for family birthdays and holidays. These visits also served as a bridge between of past and future lives until we figured out how to merge them into one new life.

Looking back at that arrival period, I am amazed at how fast it flew by! We were too busy to feel isolated or to reflect upon our decisions.

Lessons Learned

  • Arriving in retirement is a bridge between your work life and the start of your retirement life.
  • The amount of time that the arrival period lasts is variable. For example, our arrival period lasted a year primarily because we relocated.
  • If you do not relocate, your arrival period will be much shorter. Your arrival period may consist of tying loose ends at work, applying for benefits, attending to health insurance matters and settling in to a new routine. It is a time where you are preoccupied and busy with the transition from work to retirement.
  • Being busy is not the same as living normally day in and day out. Once all of the arrival projects were out of the way, it was time to see if we would survive.