9 Things People Who Retire Early Do

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I’m pleased to highlight a blog post that originally appeared in WiseBread, all about living large on a small budget. The piece was written by  Mikey Rox, an award-winning writer/journalist from New York City. Mikey writes about the “9 Things People Who Retire Early Do.” Take a read, you might find someone you know who retired early and is now enjoying her passions – like blogging and yoga. Moi, moi, moi!

Take it away Mikey: 

wisebread.com, Mikey Rox

Mikey Rox is an award-winning writer/journalist.

We all dream of retiring early (at least I do), but for most of us that’s all it is — a dream. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, however, and you don’t need to strike it rich to start enjoying the finer things in life well before age 67. (Yep, that’s the government-acknowledged age for full retirement — and it stinks.) To provide some much-needed motivation to kick your hustle into high gear, here are nine things people who retire early do — and you should, too.

1. Live Relatively Modestly and Save, Save, Save
If you weren’t born into one of those famous family dynasties that provided you a trust fund at birth or otherwise have won some sort of lottery, you’ve got to work hard for your money. If you want to retire early, live modestly and save like your life depends on it. The truth is your life does depend on it — at least the one you want, anyway.

“I’m not retired myself yet, but I do know a couple who managed to retire early,” says Mike Collins, owner of the personal finance blog Wealthy Turtle. “The secret to their success was saving and investing as much as possible when they were young. They worked lots of extra hours and also built up a side income so they could invest more and more. They kept their expenses low and just increased their saving rate whenever they got a raise. Over time their wealth grew and they were both able to retire young.”

2. Build Financial Roadmaps
When we’re traveling, we use a map to get where we’re going — and the same principle applies to our professional paths. It’s never a bad idea to plan your route so you can achieve your goals with minimal blocks and detours.

Elle Kaplan, founder/CEO of LexION Capital, agrees.

“People who retire early build financial roadmaps. They have a step-by-step plan in place that details the route to their financial goals,” she says. “They know what a safe spending level would be given their portfolio and any other income they have coming in, from real estate holdings to Social Security. They know what major expenses or windfalls they anticipate, whether that’s travel or income from the sale of a home as they downsize or relocate. And they have extra room built in for the bumps in the road that they can’t anticipate, taking into account very conservative assumptions: living to 100, and having a plan to address unexpected costs.”

wisebread.com, retirement

This post orignally appeared in WiseBread.com.

3. Earn Passive Income
You don’t have to have an ungodly amount of money in the bank to retire early, but you should absolutely have a continued source of income, if that’s not the case.

Passive income is an excellent way to continue earning money, even after you slow down or retire. Great sources of passive income include rental properties, a product that people will buy for years to come (could be a book or maybe a new invention), or a brick-and-mortar or online business that you can afford to pay other people to manage for you. The latter comes with a warning, however: It’s hard to find help that will treat your business with the level of care and professionalism that you would, so it’s wise to prepare accordingly.

4. Make New Investments
If you’re able to retire early, chances are you’ve made some wise investments up to this point — and you probably have enough dough saved to make some more in the near future. That’s how you’ll build your passive-income portfolio, and, frankly, if you have excess money in the bank that’s not being invested, it’s going to waste, anyhow.

Consider this anecdote from Ken Barret, owner of K-Bar Inc., a company he founded after retiring early.

“I retired from the auto industry in 2009 when I took a buyout and decided I didn’t want to work in the corporate world anymore,” he recalls. “I moved to the United States from Canada and purchased three laundromats in seven months. I always considered retirement as being able to do what you want, and that’s what I’m doing. Two of my laundromats are unattended and open 24 hours a day, so I can stop by on my own schedule. The other laundromat has three employees and is partially attended. It requires more attention, but still it’s my decision when and how much.”

5. Go Back to School and Continue Education
Chances are, you won’t be retired for long if you use your newfound freedom to whoop it up like some Hollywood hotshot — you’ll drain your retirement fund eventually and find yourself forced back to the workforce before you know it. One way to prevent that fate is by making constructive use of your free time, such as continued education.

Learning should never stop, and if you plan your courses strategically, you can learn new skills that will only improve your business savvy. And if you’re not retired yet, additional education can mean a path to increased income, more savings, and an earlier retirement date.The website RetiredBrains has excellent resources for retirees — young and old — on how to navigate the prospect of going back to class.

wisebread.com, retirement

This post orignally appeared in WiseBread.com.

6. Focus on Relationships With Friends and Family
One of the more personal benefits of having ample time on your hands is that you get to spend more time with family and friends. Use this very rare opportunity — not many people get to focus on the important people in their lives with minimal distractions, after all — to build stronger relationships that will not only enrich your life, but also theirs. And if you’re still working toward an early retirement, spending more time with loved ones is not only a terrific way to enhance your wellbeing, but also an essential strategy for saving money.

7. Spend Time Pursuing New Goals and Passions
If you’ve retired early, it’s a safe bet to assume that you’ve accomplished many of your goals. But that’s no reason to stop. In fact there’s no better time — since you now have much more time — to set new goals and concentrate on pursuing your passions. And if you’ve yet to retire, these new goals can help motivate you to find new ways of increasing your income and exiting the corporate world sooner.

“I retired about two years ago after 30-plus years of corporate life,” says Judy Freedman, author of the blog, A Boomer’s Life After 50. “I decided to take early retirement at age 55 to slow down and pursue my passions. After losing my husband when I turned 50 and emptying out my nest when my last child graduated college, I decided that it was time to change up my life and have more time to do things that I only dreamed of doing when I was younger and busy raising and supporting a family. In addition to my writing and blogging, I am pursuing my studies to become a yoga instructor. I’m also doing more traveling to places that I’ve always wanted to go to, most recently to France and Spain.” Continue reading


New Additions To Timeless Breakfast Cereals

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenI’m a breakfast eater. I never miss my morning meal. So when the team at Kellogg Company asked me if I wanted to sample their new Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran with Cranberries® cereal, I agreed to do a taste test. They sent a package my way. Inside was a box of the new cereal, a shiny red cereal bowl, a pedometer, and a small gift card.*


Raisins and Cranberries In One Cereal

Kellogg's Raisin Bran with Cranberries Cereal; boomer wellness, nutritious breakfast, life after 50I’ve been trying to be gluten-free, but since I don’t have celiac disease I gave in to my raisin and cranberry cravings. My mom used to pack individual-sized boxes of SunMaid raisins in my school lunch. As for cranberries, I enjoy these tart berries whether they are served fresh in Thanksgiving cranberry orange relish or dried as a garnish atop salads.

It had been a long while since I had eaten Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran® cereal. I rather remember the flakes being soggy in milk when I was a kid. Not anymore. These bran flakes with whole grain wheat were crisp after a few minutes soaking in almond milk. Plus, I like the extra kick of sweet and tart flavors.

Is it nutritious as well as a delicious? I asked my BFF L, who is a registered dietitian, for her opinion: “Overall, it’s a good choice for breakfast. It tastes great. The flakes are light with a crunchy texture. The cranberries are tender – I like them in the cereal. It’s a larger portion (1-1/4 cups per serving) than most cereals. It contains antioxidants and potassium and is an excellent source of fiber. However, those who are diabetic and watching their carbs should be aware that this cereal does contain added sugar.”

Now that my BFF L had given the cereal her stamp of approval, I asked my boyfriend L (BFL) to try some. “I haven’t had Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran® cereal in a really long time,”  he said as he munched on the flakes. “It’s really good. The cranberries add a nice texture. I like it.”

Verdict complete! Kellogg’s® Raisin Bran with Cranberries® cereal gets a thumbs up. Continue reading


The Power of Friendship In The Midlife Blogosphere

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI attended my first blogger conference eight years ago. I was a newbie blogger and one of only a dozen or so bloggers in the audience who was nearly 50. I was welcomed among crowds of “mommy bloggers” with  babies in tow. Despite our age difference, I was smitten with the blogosphere. There was an energy, a vibe, a camaraderie. The only thing that was missing was my boomer tribe.

 Bloggers At Midlife Conference
Bloggers At Midlife Conference, Midlife Boulevard, life after 50, over 50, midlifeFast forward to March 2015, where now I’m excited to say that the blogosphere is filled with thousands of female boomer voices who are reinventing their life after 50 and sharing their journey online. I joined up with 100 of these super talented women last weekend at the first-ever “BAM: Bloggers At Midlife” Conference at The Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. The conference was organized by Sharon Greenthal and Anne Parris from Midlife Boulevard, and their co-horts Teresa Kindred, of NanaHood, and Beth Rosen from ChicagonistaLIVE.

Rockin’ Older Girls Network
After spending the past few years growing friendships on social media (the Facebook group includes 1100 midlife bloggers, thanks to the efforts of Sharon and Anne) — it felt like a class reunion when 100 of us got together in Nashville.


So many great BAMC15 moments: (l. to r.) BAM Organizer Anne Parris; Elisa Camahort Page and Danyelle Little; Wendy Walker Cushing; Elaine Ambrose and me.

We chatted about our second careers as writers. Several spoke of books they had published, agents they had signed with, and novels being edited. We showed great compassion for those who suffered through loss or illness: breast cancer, divorce, widowhood, parents with dementia and Alzheimers, and other disabilities. We celebrated our midlife successes: children off to college and work, children getting married, grandparenthood, 25+ wedding anniversaries, travel adventures, and many individual transformations. Continue reading


Love Blooms At “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women“Richard Gere joins the cast of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” said the nice PR representative when she asked me if I wanted to preview and promote the new movie.* “Say no more,” I quickly responded. “Count me in. I’ve had a crush on Richard Gere since I saw him in Pretty Woman several decades ago.”

I so enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when it premiered in 2012 and was excited to learn that there would be a sequel. If you haven’t seen the first movie, it was about a group of British retirees who go to India after reading about a restored Marigold Hotel. When they arrive the hotel is not as advertised and it’s proprietor Sonny, not as polished. Despite the lack of amenities and poor conditions, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discoveries, and love affairs during their stay.

Richard Gere, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, life after 50, over 50,

Richard Gere joins the cast as “Guy Chambers.”

So what is the gang up to this time?
With so many of my favorites returning for the second adventure, including Judi (my namesake) Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel to name a few, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Continue reading


Pursuing Your Passion In Your Next Act

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I’m pleased to feature an interview with Hélène Tragos Stelian, creator of the blog Next Act For Women. In her blog, Hélène shares real-life stories about women who are reinventing themselves in midlife. You’ll read about women like Madalyn, who became a model at 50; Tina, who left corporate life to become a college admissions consultant; and one of my favorites Susie, who left her editorial job to harvest her own food on Martha’s Vineyard.

I asked Hélène about her work/life experiences and about what she’s learned from talking with post40 and post50 females:

Tell me a little about your background.

Next Act For Women, boomer women, baby boomer women, life after 50, over 50

Hélène Tragos Stelian is creator of the Next Act For Women blog.

H: “I’m 51 and live in Chicago with my husband of 20 years, my 17-year old twin daughters, and our cockapoo Rocky. I have gone through some big transitions in my life: Moving from France to the U.S. at the age of 13; changing careers from fashion retail to marketing after getting my MBA; deciding to stay at home when my girls were born; becoming an author with the publication of my book Getting Ready for Baby (now in its second edition); volunteering in nonprofit positions after our move to the suburbs; moving back to Chicago after 13 years; and now starting a blog!” Continue reading


Finding Spectacular Specs At Online Eyewear Shops

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenLupita Nyongo put on bold black specs at the Golden Globe Awards (@LupitaGlasses), Carrie Fisher wore 3-D red frames and Oscar nominee Patricia Arquette donned purple readers to see the teleprompter at the SAG Awards. These days eyewear is a trending fashion topic.

Eyewear is one of my most important accessories — I have to wear my eyeglasses every day. I’ve been known to shop the streets of Paris for my frames, swoon and spend a lot on Italian shades at my local South Jersey boutique, and shell out extra dollars for stylish computer specs which greatly improve my worklife.

Felix + Iris = Smart Style + Sharp Vision 

eyewear, online eyewear shop, Felix+Iris eyewear, life after 50, over 50

Felix + Iris is a new online eyewear shop.

As a boomer blogger, I’m often approached to try out online eyewear shops. I was always a little leery of purchasing progressives from a website. It wasn’t until I went to a press event for Felix+Iris that I warmed to the idea. “See the beauty that is around you,” said the invitation. I brought my son D along. We were both treated to a new pair of specs. D chose a black frame. I copied his look with a black pair too. The glasses came with a magnetic sunglass attachment. The only negative is the tiny magnetic dot on the edge of the glass.

The most important part of ordering online is to make sure that you have your correct prescription and measurements. The online shops provide tools to help you take your measurements — however I highly recommend that you ask your optician to provide your proper sizing. (I had the Felix+Iris optician measure my face and wrote down the measurements for future orders.) Continue reading


How To Plan Romantic Vacations During Your Life After 50

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50According to Dr. Pepper Schwartz,  co-author of Frommer’s Places for Passion, and AARP’s ambassador for Love & Relationships: “Long-term relationships are strongest when romantic trips are part of their history, present, and future.” (Hear that L, that’s my boyfriend L I’m referring to. We need to plan more romantic vacations. When are you retiring?)

I spoke to Dr. Schwartz to learn more about her new book.

Frommer's Places For Passion, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, life after 50, over 50, boomer travel, romantic vacations

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is co-author of “Frommer’s Places For Passion.”

“I’ve been a relationship expert for a long time and travel is a passion. I wanted to pair the two together with my writing so couples could have a book to depend on to plan accessible and reliable escapes — it can get sparks flying and create lasting memories,” said Dr. Schwartz.

Romantic Destinations
While 75-destinations are featured in Frommer’s Places For Passion, I asked Dr. Schwartz to name a few of her favorites. She categorized the destinations into four groupings: Continue reading


Are You Taking Care Of Your Heart Health?

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessThanks to Valentine’s Day, February is a month filled with red hearts. I just bought my cards and heart-shaped candy for my sweetheart L. I always tell him how lucky he is to be my boyfriend.

February is also a month to honor your own heart and make sure it stays healthy year-round. I learned more about heart health from the American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red For Women Campaign and wanted to share it with all of you. Boomer girls are especially prone to heart disease after menopause as our estrogen levels decrease causing a whole lot of ruckus in our body. While heart disease and stroke kill one in three women, the good news is that 80 percent is preventable.

So what are you doing to take care of your heart?

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

I talked with Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, attending cardiologist and Director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to learn more about menopause and what boomer girls can do to stay in tip-top shape. Here are excerpts:

Q: How does menopause impact heart health?
“Menopause is so fascinating,” said Dr. Steinbaum. “It is about the closing out of our time to reproduce. Estrogen levels decrease and the benefits of estrogen decline. Blood pressure rises. LDL – the bad cholesterol rises. Research has shown that 10 years after menopause has occurred that heart disease increases because you no longer have any estrogen left in your body.” (Ugh! This is depressing. I feel like I may need to eat all those heart-shaped chocolates I just bought for L. Isn’t dark chocolate good for the heart?) Continue reading


Boomers Travel: Where Are You Headed In 2015?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Last week, I attended The New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in NYC. I perused the exhibits and participated in seminars for travel writers and bloggers. Since I aspire to be a travel blogger (perhaps you could say I already am since The Huffington Post Travel section featured my Miami post on its front page this week. Go Judi! Go Judi!), I listened closely to all the speakers and am now following some key travel influencers:  Monica Drake, travel editor, The New York Times, Johnny Jet, travel expert and editor in chief, JohnnyJet.com, and Paula Froelich, editor in chief, Yahoo Travel.

Boomers Are Travelers 
It’s clear from the presentations that baby boomers are big travelers. According to Yana Gutierrez, vice president at American Express (AE), “Boomers will spend close to $120 billion on travel this year and will take four to five trips in 2015. Plus, 85% of baby boomers use travel websites to find information about their trips.”  In fact, with the new sharing economy, AE has made a deal whereby members can by gift certificates for airbnb.com. I booked accommodations on airbnb.com when I traveled to France and Spain and each apartment was wonderful. Continue reading


Self-Care For The Soul: An Interview with Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI always like to talk to boomer women who are doing interesting things during their life after 50. Recently, I had a chance to chat with Pamela Mulhearn, Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. Pamela works with empty nesters and helps women get ready for their next chapter.

“For 11 years, I was a multi-venture entrepreneur and small business advisor. This gave me flexibility to be available for my children. The day came as my children started leaving the nest when I decided to sell the businesses,” said Pamela. “I took some time and volunteered for women’s organizations assisting women in reinventing themselves and making changes in their careers. I then decided to get certified as a life coach and have been working with women in transition ever since.”

Advice From The “Queen of Reinvention”
While I’m a few years post the empty nest, my life continues to evolve. I was curious  to hear what Pamela had to say about her work with post 50 women. Here are excerpts from our discussion:

What trends are you seeing in women post 50 and post empty nest?

Transition Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn helps women in transition at emptynestinstitute.com.

Transition Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn helps women in transition at emptynestinstitute.com.

“The biggest trend right now is women shifting toward ‘self-care of the soul.’ Women over 50 are taking stock of their lives and making the changes necessary to achieve happiness and fulfillment. There is a ripple benefit of this peace and contentment to all those around her.” (Yes Pamela. That’s me – I’m re-evaluating many areas of my life and working on setting more mindful intentions around my mind, body and spirit.)

Is there a common thread?
“I generally work with women in two categories. First, women who put their careers on hold for 20+ years to raise their families. With now grown children, these women find themselves trying to find a new purpose. Many of these women have devoted and flexed their lives around their children’s hectic schedules and are feeling lost. We work together to help them find their “ME” again.

Continue reading