Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 460 A Thoughtful Retirement

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery

I've entitled this podcast "A Thoughtful Retirement"

This past week I received a letter from Tom Krantz. It was so informative about he and his wife's plan and actual retirement that I asked if I might pass along the contents to my listeners. As I state in the heading on my web, "Retirement Talk is an audio podcast (written script a click away) intended to help people who are retired, or considering retirement, to examine their own lives. We will consider an active retirement life in all its facets - not just financial. A retirement life-style that has been considered  carefully is our goal. We want to encourage thought and action."

Here is Tom"s thoughts:


I am dropping you a message to say thank you. I recently posted a review on the Apple site as “Boat Person” and thought I would follow it up with a direct personal expression of my appreciation.

I have been listening to “Retirement Talk” for many years. I find it a great source of information and entertainment. And, now that your guitar playing has reached a pinnacle of perfection, soothing to my ears.

A bit of background: I am retired and living with my lovely spouse on a boat; home port Sitka. We spend the warmer season out and about in southeast Alaska spending most of our time at anchor. In the winters we move ashore house sitting or renting.

This is my third or maybe fourth “official” retirement. An early one became available to me when my employer, Hewlett Packard, announced a downsizing and I, being an ‘older’ employee at the ancient age of 45, was offered a buyout. At the time, I was riding north to Alaska on the Cassier Highway in western British Columbia (then a dirt road). I was on on my R80RT BMW, finishing my goal of riding in all the states. I tried to get HP to FAX me the papers but they required me to return to Colorado to complete the forms.

Other employment with the federal government doing environmental work in the US and Italy built up my uncle Sam retirement credit on top of my 10 years of military time. When business improved I was invited back to Hewlett Packard and subsequent later buyout and retirements . . . found me in Sitka working for the US Forest Service again doing environmental engineering. I retired at the age of 60 from the federal government and took this retirement seriously.

I settled down and have spent the last 11 years enjoying retirement while living on my boats. A lovely lady (as good looking as my first wife - understandable since she is the same gal) joined me after I convinced her that work was not as much fun as being on a boat with me. She gave up the world of chairing ballet departments in boarding schools on the east coast to float around the Tongass National Forest and write.

We enjoy our life tied close to nature and away from the burdens of civilization. A typical day is us up at dawn to the sounds and sights of our favorite cove. She writes her fantasy fiction and I work on the boat. In the afternoon we go fishing, she catches and I clean and cook. Freshly caught seafood and a nice wine brings a close to the day. Sleep follows with the boat swinging with the tides and breezes.

The next day is a repeat; but not exactly. Every day is different with the weather, animals of the sea, land and sky, tides, visiting humans; the macro and micro impacts produce a unique experience each moment of each day. The dolphins that come to visit at the same time, the sow with her two cubs that roam the same beach three years in a row, the kingfisher that perched on the top of the mast scanning for fish, the call of ravens, the whoosh of sound as a humpback is abeam of us, the sound of eagle wings passing close, the storm approaching . . . it goes on and on.

But now it is January. I am writing this in an apartment we are renting in Sitka. To my right I look out on Sitka Sound as the sun sets in a cloud filled sky. I have two computers and three monitors in front of me. In the other room S.K. (her pen name) has a larger monitor and computer. She is working on the next story and the art for the one she just finished. I am formatting the just completed books for new ereader hardware and preparing the next marketing blurb.

We enjoy this “floating” cottage business. Who knows, someday it may even pay for itself! Till then we strive to do the best we can as she writes and I help. We smile in seeing one of her paperback book purchased in Japan, an ebook bought in Canada, a review posted in the United Kingdom, being the number one free fantasy fiction downloaded in Germany for a day, a reader in the United States finishing 100 pages that day. Wow, what a fun way to spend a quiet day in Sitka.

Which brings me to the thank you I spoke of at the beginning of this note. You have worked hard for years and given us the fruits of your efforts. We wish to reciprocate. We are sending you (via separate emails) our efforts.

The first email with an ebook attached will follow. The attachment will be a MOBI file. MOBI is an ebook file format that Kindle devices and apps use. You will be able to load this ebook into your Kindle or iPad Kindle app (if you need help I bet your grandchild can guide you). :-)

You can learn about what we are offering you at S.K.’s website -

So ends Tom's letter.

I hope you found it as thought provoking as I do. Now if I can just get up the courage to ask my wife if she would consider giving up everything here and buying a boat.

On second thought: I like my retirement just like it is.

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions contact




Follow Retirement Talk on Facebook: on Facebook