That seems to be the dream, doesn’t it? Retirement is pitched as that time in life when you finally get to do whatever it is you want to do. All play and no work.
I somehow doubt that our retirement experience will wind up that way. It is simply another stage of life where we have more control over our time. That allocation of time dedicated to work, which, for me, is about 50 or 60 hours a week, opens up.
Spending that time doing, well, nothing, does not seem very appealing.
I’m not sure how Lorraine is intending to go about her exercise in terms of defining her thirty goals in retirement but this is my approach, or rather, my framework for setting out some goals in retirement. For each of these five areas, I will build out my goals.
1. Family and Community
The goals in this area will take into account my desire to continue to build and nurture my relationships with my loved ones as well as giving back to my community. As we expect to be doing a lot of traveling in our coach, this will be an area of particular focus. We may be separated by location however we do not want to be isolated by location.
Maintaining good physical and emotional health during retirement will be key to enjoying retirement. I have generally been disciplined over the years with respect to eating and exercise although every so often I encounter setbacks. My sense is that it might be too easy to indulge in rest and relaxation with a negative impact on overall health and the ability to enjoy these golden years. I have also been in a high stress career and learning how to take things easier will undoubtedly prove challenging.
3. Personal Development
Throughout my life I have been an active learner and retirement provides an awesome opportunity to learn and develop skills. My focus will likely fall into two areas where I have a strong passion: music, photography. There are many other areas that I would like to explore during retirement.
Even though we will have enough financial resources during retirement, I will need to look at how I intend to be a responsible steward. Roughly 70% of our income during retirement is stable, that is, not subject to stock market volatility. The balance will come from my investments. Becoming a strong money manager and a better investor will be an important part of being retired.
Faith and ministry have been fundamental to my life and I could not enter my retirement years without ensuring that I remain true to my mission and values as well as my service as a disciple.
This framework is what I will use to develop my goals. And I know that my goals will not necessarily be Lorraine’s goals. Lorraine will build her list. And then we will compare notes and talk about our goals together as a couple.
We have been to Walt Disney World so many times that we know pretty much what to expect. But there was a time, our first time, when we did not know what to expect and, for us, that experience was magical. We enjoyed it so much that we kept going back, year after year after year.
Within the next 12 – 18 months, Lorraine and I will enter a different gate, a gate that leads us into our golden years, a period of life called retirement. This will be our first time and we do not know what to expect. We hope that our experience during this part of our life will be magical.
If you search Google for retirement goals, you will receive a lot of hits, most of which focus on financial goals as if those are the only really important goals. Even then, the financial goals are wildly divergent. The financial services industry would like you to believe that it is necessary to build multi-million dollar portfolios to generate 100% of working income in retirement. Then there are those folks less optimistic who advocate working until you die. Retirement will never be a reality.
The truth is that you will have whatever you have in the way of financial resources at retirement. No more. No less. In our case, we will have pension income from my defined benefits pensions, investment income from our investment portfolio and income from our government pensions. At retirement, we will have no less than 13 sources of income to manage assuming that we do nothing in retirement to generate employment or business income.
How much will we need in retirement? How much is enough?
For us, the financial questions are no longer relevant. We have what we have and it will be enough.
The bigger question, now that retirement is getting so close, is to think through our vision for our retirement years. What will it look like? What will we do?
Lorraine and I have taken some actions to get ourselves ready for retirement. We have our house up for sale. We have purchased our coach, our home on wheels for when we are doing our extended travelling from whatever might pass as our home base in retirement. We have our financial models that look at how we will manage our financial assets during retirement.
But where do we start to set our goals for retirement?
This will be our first exercise:
We will start setting our retirement goals by creating a list of thirty goals on a sheet of paper. The first ten goals will be easy to identify, the next ten will be somewhat harder to recognize, and the last ten will hopefully help us discover our inner retirement dreams. We will each create a list of retirement goals independently, and then compare them afterwards.
I will let you know how that exercise turns out.
With our coach in a climate controlled storage facility for the winter, I found myself a tad anxious. Did I remember to look after everything before the coach went into storage?
One area of concern: batteries.
We happen to have a lot of batteries on our coach. Two of them for the automotive system. Eight for the house.
When I did some research on how to maintain batteries, this was what I found:
WATERING – MONTHLY CHECK THE LEVEL IN EVERY CELL AND FILL THE BATTERIES TO THE CORRECT LEVELS AS REQUIRED. The use of a battery-watering gun will assist in accurately completing this task. Water should be added, if needed, after the charging has been completed unless the tops of the internal plates are exposed. In that case, water should be added before charging. Be sure that a water suitable for watering batteries (colorless, odorless, tasteless, and suitable for drinking), preferably distilled water, is utilized. If you have any doubt as to the suitability of the water, have it tested and add an appropriate water line filter, if required. It is most important that all battery cells be filled to the correct level in order to obtain good battery life and minimize corrosion to the electrical system and vehicle.
CLEANING – MONTHLY WASH THE BATTERY TOPS WITH A SOLUTION OF 1/4 CUP (60ML) BAKING SODA TO 1 1/2 GALLONS (6 TO 1) OF CLEAR WATER. After watering spray the tops and sides of the batteries, the battery wiring and the battery racks with baking soda solution; let the solution stand for at least five minutes to allow the neutralization to take place. Rinse the entire area with a low- pressure spray of clean water. Do not wash electrical components with direct stream of high pressure water. If any evidence of corrosion is evident (green powered foam), spray again with baking soda and let the solution stand for at least 5 minutes before rinsing; repeat if required. Never wash batteries without first neutralizing the entire battery area with a baking soda solution.
Well. That seems really involved.
In all my years owning and driving cars, I have never once added water or cleaned the battery.
That obviously changes with a coach.
We will be making a visit to the storage facility to see how the Castaway is doing. And I will bring some distilled water with me.
I will check the water levels and make sure that they are topped up.
Cleaning will have to wait until the spring.
Hopefully it won’t be as major a job as this one.
When we were at the Hershey show earlier this year, both Lorraine and I noticed that most of the RV manufacturers were really close in terms of their basic design. This was especially true for the 5th wheel and trailer models with the exception of the Airstream products.
That said, there are some very interesting RV designs out there.
Case in point, the Mehrzeller – the multicellular caravan.
Not sure that it would be my first choice but it is a very unique design. You can find out more about them here.
Our coach, 605889, also known as the Castaway, will be making its way down to Newmar’s Factory in April of 2017. We will be there for five working days.
The main item for this trip is installing windows in the bedroom slideout end walls. We had neglected to ensure that we had windows in our bedroom when we had the coach built. An oversight on our part and one that we wish to correct. We also have a few warranty items on our list:
- Adjust full wall slideout for level
- Replace one cracked tile
- Touch up floor tile grout on one tile
- Secure fabric edging on bedroom entry doorway
- Resolve mechanical noise — clanging sound — in front wall slide just behind driver’s seat
- Resolve kitchen sink leak
- Resolve periodic half bath odour
- Check front wheels for balance
- Fully seal passenger side mirror
- Repair clear coat on driver’s side DEF tank
- Repair trim on passenger side slideout (this one is on us)
I received the service notification from Newmar last week. It included this service letter (I did make a few minor redactions related to access codes into the buildings and WiFi codes):
We are scheduled for service building 11. We received the confirmation of the work order for the windows and we received a service information package along with our window tag. We need to forward our warranty items to Newmar this week otherwise everything is all confirmed.
The trip will take about 10 hours and, for the way we travel, two days each way with a five day service duration. Nine days for this particular trip.
Our warranty list is quite short which talks to the quality of the Newmar coach.
Looking forward to making this trip and doing the Newmar factory tour. And really looking forward to being back in the coach. I miss it already and it has only been a week.
We finally made it back home from Florida. Very busy week. Lots of meetings with important folks like Gru.
Returned home to near freezing temperatures so it was a good thing that we had put the coach into storage before we left on our travels.
This is where we have left our coach until April of 2017.
Gan 401 Storage offers roughly 160,000 square feet of climate controlled storage. Errol, the owner, and Mike, the building superintendent, helped guide me in to this sprawling building, the site of a former manufacturing company that used to make dashboards for cars. This former plant now holds roughly 150 cars, 150 boats and a handful of Class A coaches, keeping them warm and dry over the harsh Canadian winter.
Getting the coach into our assigned spot proved to be a challenging test of navigating backwards, not once but twice.
Both times were successful however when Errol and Mike learned that we would need to pull the coach out in April, they decided that it was best to move us to another location in the building.
Although the space is quite large inside, there are support columns everywhere and most of the turns are very tight. Easy to maneuver forward, much more demanding to maneuver backwards especially in a dimly lit building. Very hard to see clearly through the mirrors.
That was probably the most difficult part of getting the coach stored.
We had cleaned out the coach before heading to the storage facility. I then completed one final circle check of the coach and everything looked fine.
Once we arrived to the storage facility and parked the coach into our assigned spot, I lowered the jacks and I made a few changes to the onboard systems of the coach.
We are plugged into a 15-amp service for the winter. This will keep our batteries charged. However, I did not want any of the 120 AC service to be available and that meant turning off the inverter but making sure that the charger was still active. I then set the power management system to read a 15-amp service.
I went back to the fuse system and turned off most of the fuses in the coach. I wanted to make sure that most of the 120 AC services were turned off at the breaker panel.
The final change was to the hot water heater. I had been using the diesel burner for most of the season and, since the coach would not need hot water during storage, I made sure to set the source of heat to off. No diesel, no AC.
Climate systems had been turned off. Ice had been cleared from the fridge — I left the fridge doors slightly open to allow the moisture to dissipate. Black and grey tanks had been emptied. Half a tank of diesel fuel left in the fuel tank.
That was pretty much it. We are in Florida this week and once we return home we will drop by to make sure that everything is working okay with the coach.
We have pretty much packed everything up from our coach and brought it back into the house. Tomorrow we will need to empty our tanks, add a bit of diesel fuel, and complete a final check of the coach before taking it into storage.
Once the coach has been placed into storage, Lorraine and I will be heading out to Walt Disney World for the week. We will be at Fort Wilderness on Saturday and we intend to do a pretty thorough check of the park. We have booked two weeks at Fort Wilderness in May and we will be taking the coach down for those two weeks. This will be our first time staying at a campground on the Disney property. Of the many times that we have been down to Disney — somewhere above 20 vacations — we have always stayed at one of the resort hotels. We have never walked through the campsites at Disney before so our time there on Saturday will give us a bit of a preview before we drive down in May.
Because of the travel and a few other commitments, the posts on this site will resume on Monday.