Embracing the Next Chapter: A Personal Finance Writer’s Journey to Retirement

Embracing the Next Chapter: A Personal Finance Writer's Journey to Retirement

Making the Decision and Looking Ahead to a New Chapter

Retirement, a phase of life that many aspire to reach, is often viewed as a distant and misty future. However, recent events have reminded us of the uncertainty and fragility of life. The pandemic disrupted the plans of many retirees, leaving them with a sense of loss and missed opportunities. As personal finance writer Barbara O’Neill once said, “You don’t know how many good years you have left.” This sentiment resonates deeply with those who understand the importance of seizing the present moment. In this article, we delve into the journey of a personal finance writer who, after the tragic loss of a colleague, made the decision to retire and embrace the next chapter of life.

Making the Decision Was Surprisingly Hard

Retirement, despite being a long-term goal, can be a daunting decision when it finally arrives. The writer, who had spent decades writing about retirement planning and saving for the future, found herself bemused when her financial planner informed her that she could afford to retire. Instead of immediate joy, she was faced with questions and doubts. Would she miss the intellectual challenges and social interactions of her job? Had she accomplished everything she wanted in her career? And what about the steady paycheck and benefits that came with her job?

Doing What a Journalist Does: Research

Acknowledging the privilege of having the choice to retire, the writer embarked on a journey of research. Reading books such as Barbara O’Neill’s “Flipping a Switch: Your Guide to Happiness and Financial Security in Later Life” and Steve Lopez’s “Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement from Some Who’ve Done It and Some Who Never Will” provided valuable insights and perspectives. Discussions with a financial planner and stress testing their financial plan gave the writer and her husband the confidence they needed to move forward. They also sought guidance on health coverage, ensuring that their insurance needs were met.

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Looking Ahead, Rather Than Back

While the decision-making process was practical, the writer realized that she was still emotionally resistant to retirement. She had been viewing retirement solely as an ending rather than a new beginning. Reflecting on previous significant life changes, the writer recognized that excitement about the adventure to come often outweighed concerns about what was being left behind. Shifting her perspective, she began to see retirement as the start of an interesting new chapter filled with travel, volunteering, and deepening relationships with loved ones.


Retirement is a significant milestone that requires careful consideration and planning. The journey of this personal finance writer highlights the emotional challenges and practical steps involved in making the decision to retire. By embracing retirement as a new beginning rather than an ending, the writer looks forward to investing time in new experiences and continuing to make a positive impact in the lives of others. This serves as a reminder to all of us to appreciate the present moment and make the most of the time we have.