Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 861 Keeping Busy Plan (KBP)

Hi Podcast listeners. This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

If you have visited our home page lately or have a very good memory, you may remember the small mission statement for this website. Just to remind you it says: ”Retirement Talk is an audio podcast 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 lifestyle that has been considered carefully is our goal. We want to encourage thought and action." 

This week a listener did write a letter that accepted the proposal to look closely at life and share what has worked well for them in retirement.

This is what he wrote:

Hi Del,

Wanted to reach out to you to say hello, to thank you for your blog and to share a pre-retirement goal I had that helped me into the retirement phase of my life.

Amongst other things, a happy retirement usually means being ready financially and having maintained a lifestyle that lets you get there in fairly good health.  Much is discussed about these 2 major objectives, but not enough time is spent teaching people the importance of keeping busy.

During my younger years, I remember my Dad looking forward to his retirement.  With plans of getting an RV and traveling the US and Canada in search of the perfect camping and fishing experience.  Spending the cold winter days camping down south and heading north for spring and summer.  A couple of years before his retirement, Dad got injured on the job and had to take an early retirement.  The injury prevented him from driving for more than a half hour at a time and this basically caused his one retirement dream to evaporate.  From that day, I have memories of Dad watching CNN and boxing matches all day long and simply looking bored and miserable.  Rubbing his sore leg, complaining about the weather and driving my Mom crazy.

It made me so sad to see him not reach the retirement dream he had talked so much about. When Dad passed away, I promised myself that I would never have such a miserable retirement.  I needed to not only focus on a financial and health plan, but I also had to focus on building a 'Keeping Busy Plan' (KBP).

So, in my early 40s I decided to develop a spreadsheet of activities and interests I had (or was interested in learning) that would keep me physically fit, keep my brain active and provide me with the much needed social connections.  I had things like photography, woodworking, car restoration, website development, building and designing multi-media systems, reading, stamp collecting, biking, camping, kayaking, visiting friends, fishing....and so on.  I tried to come up with activities that I could do while physically fit and others if confined to a wheelchair.

I even laid out a 7 day calendar to see if I could fill 3-4 hours per day with activities from my KBP.  I took seasons and costs into consideration for each activity.

Throughout my per-retirement years, I set out to learn new and hone existing skills from my KBP all while working on my financial and health plans.

I retired at 52 and had 3 plans at my disposal addressing different aspects of living a happy retirement.  

Of course the KBP changed over the years as new interests were discovered along the way that replaced or supplemented items on my plan.

It has now been 7 years since I retired and I must say that planning my retirement carefully has paid off.  I can be as busy or relaxed as I want to be.  And I know I have a long list of things that I can do and enjoy either by myself or with my wife.

Perhaps you'll think I was a bit anal in developing the KPB, but it certainly provided me with options and activities that made me a productive and happy retired individual.

No day-long CNN for me!

Anyways, it worked for me....feel free to share if you wish.


This was such a sweet surprise for me. Not only does he have some suggestions that have proved true for his retirement but he took the time to sit down and share them with us. I am hoping other listeners will follow this example. Your ideas of retirement and what has worked well for you may be of immeasurable value to others.

Dennis's Keep Busy Plan may not be for everyone but it might very well be just exactly what one of us could use. It's worth consideration. I've always thought of myself as keeping busy but with lots of time to do whatever I want. I figure I'm keeping busy even when I take a nap. It is important to me and I don't want to miss it. It helps me feel good all day.

Dennis keeps busy doing what he has decided to do with his life. 

My thanks to Dennis for sharing his thoughts and action.

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.

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