Retirement planning can be daunting. We’ve all been told about managing investment portfolios, making sure our employers are matching our contributions, and diversifying our income. We can plan everything meticulously, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a looming stress once retirement actually approaches. According to Fritz Gilbert, author of The Retirement Manifesto, one of the biggest challenges of retirement is focusing too much on the financial aspects instead of what your life will be like (the soft side, as he calls it on the blog). His advice to those entering into retirement is to do a trial run. About 18 months before your planned date, start living as though you’ve already retired.
“Pretend you’re living in retirement, and take some time to really think about what you want to do with your life in your retirement years,” he says.
Gilbert launched the website three years before his own retirement. “I started my blog with the hope that others could learn from the steps was taking as prepared for the transition into retirement,” he explains. He wants others to learn from the steps he’s only sharing about the retirement process. Considering the blog won The Retirement Blog of the Year Award in 2018, it seems he’s been successful in his insights. The Retirement Manifesto offers advice surrounding both the financial and soft sides of retirement, including Gilbert’s 10 Commandments of Retirement. Countless other retirement bloggers have similar lists of “commandments,” but they tend to focus on finances and not actually enjoying your retirement.
The Retirement Manifesto’s 10 Commandments of Retirement
1 HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Every day is a gift that should be celebrated.
2 GIVE WITH A GENEROUS HEART
Gilbert explains that if able, we should all give a little more generously in retirement. Tip the waitress better, take a friend out to dinner, and give with a generous heart.
3 PURSUE PASSIONS
The world is yours now. Pursue what brings you joy. Experiment and find purpose. Enjoy your time; you’ve earned it.
4 KEEP THE BALANCE
Find a balance between your faith, family, work, money, all aspects of your life. Give yourself energy to acknowledge and enjoy all of them.
5 MAKE NO OBLIGATIONS
Gilbert recommends giving yourself one year of zero obligations, if possible, to enjoy your time off.
6 TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
You’ve worked hard to earn these next years off, so why not take care of your body so you can actually enjoy them!
7 STAY FLEXIBLE TO CHANGE
8 CHERISH FRIENDS & FAMILY
9 HAVE FUN
10 KEEP ETERNITY IN MIND
Our days are numbered, whether we like it or not. Now is the time to think about your spirituality and religion and prepare yourself for the end.
It’s been a year since Fritz Gilbert initially posted his 10 Commandments for Retirement, so we asked him how it’s gone in the previous year. He explained, “I’m happy to report that I’ve only broken one commandment, and I’m pleased that I took the time before I retired to establish some guidelines for how wanted to live my life post-retirement. I strongly encourage folks who are approaching retirement do the same. It helps you frame what’s important for you in retirement, and (perhaps more importantly) what’s not. For the record, I broke #5—Make No Obligations—but it was an intentional decision when I had the opportunity to join a board of directors, and felt it was a little too interesting obligation to pass up.
During the year prior to my retirement, my wife and I filled a cookie jar with ideas of things to try (each of us contributing independent ideas). It’s been fun to pull items out and discover what the other had in mind and give it a try. It’s a good way to do new things,, or things we haven’t done in years. Our latest pull from the jar was Go Bowling.
As for passions, the biggest has been a charity my wife has decided to start called “Freedom For Fido,” which aims to build free fences and dog houses for low-income residents who keep their dogs on chains. We’ve been having fun figuring out how to organize a non-profit, and we’re looking forward to changing the lives of dogs in our area. We are also planning a three month cross-country trip to visit our daughter and her family in Washington State this summer, traveling via our 5th wheel RV with our four dogs!”
Retirement can be the best years of your lives. Follow along with Fritz and his wife on their retirement journey and pick up some tips for yourself at