Retirement Tales ~ Year One

“You know Jim, I’ve discovered that the more time one has, the more time one wastes.” ~ Byron Roberts (Suzy’s Dad) after hearing me talk about only having one job after retiring from the Army Reserves.

th (1)Last year at this time I retired from Amazon after two years of exploring that world, 20 years at Microsoft, and 20 years in the military. I started by loving the Amazon environment but a with a change in top bosses in my org and in no small part to some strategic mistakes on my part, I decide life was too short to try to make a bad situation better. So I said good by to my writing team I’d help build, a team that was amazing by anyone’s standards.

Financially I have a *lot* of things going for me, but I had thought I’d wait until my social security benefits were matured before I retired. When I retired last year I wrote this post: Retiring in Style for the Average Family. For me, retiring was not as much as a financial decision as it was a quality of life thang. My wife Suzy felt the same way so she and I reviewed the numbers:

  • House paid for: Yes
  • Credit cards paid off: Almost, we’ve been working on that for the last 5 years
  • Cars paid for: Yes
  • Saving in good order: Yes
  • Army pension: Kicks in full rate in 2015
  • Social Security: See below
  • Medical Insurance: Obama Care

She retired a month after I did. Here is a calculator that you might find interesting if you are thinking about retirement.

The Social Security Retirement Planner

This planner provides detailed information about your Social Security retirement benefits under current law. It also points out things you may want to consider as you prepare for the future. If you are:

Read more:

Life after retiring

So with the financial analysis and decisions behind us we set about deciding how to spend our newly earned free time. I immediately got a part time job that parlayed my interest in music and social media into a monthly paycheck. As a contractor, my commute consists of padding my sock-clad feet down the hall from the bedroom to my office. With the music jamming, a cup o’ joe, and my two screen, two computer setup I spend 2 to 4 hours a day participating in musical forums, sharing my research, and writing blogs.


Suzy had started an Etsy store that allowed her maximize her hobbies. She now creates custom child and doll clothing. She also runs two shops including one that creates that perfect preemie outfit and is based on her years as a neo-natal nurse.


I also am in the 11th year of running the Microsoft Jumpin’ Jive Orchestra under the umbrella of a Washington State non-profit designed to provide adult music educational opportunities. Surrounded by stellar musicians who love the big band genre, the band is led by a music professional and friend who has been in the music business for 55+ years.


Suzy and I still perform with the Woodinville Community Band and my Professor Gadget Sax Quartet. Music plays a big part in our lives and we hope it will for a long, long time to come.

Creating a life for yourself that allow time for some of the things you are really passionate about is possible. In our example I haven’t even touched upon our volunteer activities, exercise program, or how we use our increased time with family. But I think I’ve shared enough that you might get some ideas how you can structure your life so that you can spend 30 to 40 years of joyous retirement.

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in FAQ, Guides, MJJO, Money, My World, retirement, WCB and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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