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It’s Who You Know

James McGlynn

LEAVING BEHIND fulltime work leaves a void. How will you fill it? In my semi-retirement, I’ve found four communities.

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, but moved throughout my career. Fifteen years ago, I returned to Texas and—as part of my relocation—”pioneered” working from home. I’ve spent the past few years reconnecting with classmates from elementary school through high school, meeting them individually for lunch and using Facebook to arrange annual mini-reunions. I’ve known some of these folks for more than 55 years.

Another community I found is the local monthly American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) meeting. I joined the group four years ago. At age 61, I’m the youngest member. The average age is probably 75 and perhaps older.

Before the pandemic, we met monthly at a restaurant, before switching to Zoom when COVID-19 hit. The conversations aren’t all about the stock market and generating retirement income. Currently, I’m quizzing the other members about their experience with cataract surgery.

The third community centers on pickleball. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country—a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong that can be played by all ages. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball participation grew 21% during the pandemic. Because the sport is relatively new, the games are usually played on converted basketball or tennis courts.

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In addition to providing an excellent cardio workout, the sport is very social. Pickleball is popular among retirees, so games are often available during what would otherwise be the workday. It’s also popular among both genders. I’ve competed against teenagers and those in their 80s. I’m so enamored of the game that I’ve taken to proselytizing, trying to persuade my old classmates to take up the sport as they enter retirement. For those of us who remember watching Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg as kids, it’s like going to recess every day.

The fourth community is traveling plus volunteering. One overseas group I found is Angloville. In return for free room and board at a desirable hotel or resort, volunteers have conversations in English with Polish speakers who want to learn English. Many Poles learned German and Russian growing up, and now are learning English later in life.

Two years ago, I did this for a week and I’m still in touch with a couple of the Polish students. Instead of just traveling to another foreign country, I was able to spend a week with a group of locals who wanted to learn English—and my only requirement was to speak slowly enough to be understood. There were English-speaking volunteers from Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and Australia, as well as the U.S. When the pandemic abates in Europe, I plan to return to Eastern Europe to travel inexpensively—and meet new and old friends.

James McGlynn, CFA, RICP, is chief executive of Next Quarter Century LLC in Fort Worth, Texas, a firm focused on helping clients make smarter decisions about long-term-care insurance, Social Security and other retirement planning issues. He was a mutual fund manager for 30 years. James is the author of Retirement Planning Tips for Baby Boomers. Check out his earlier articles.

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booch221
booch221
2 months ago

“In return for free room and board at a desirable hotel or resort, volunteers have conversations in English with Polish speakers who want to learn English.”

I was interested in the Angloville community so I read the FAQs on their site.

Q:How long is the day?

A:You will be mentoring students for about 4 hours between breakfast and lunch and another 4 hours in the afternoon… You will enjoy 1h30 of free time each afternoon. During free time, you can use the hotel facilities such as pools, spa, outdoor activities, etc.

So you are working 8 hours a day for nothing but room and board. It says most ‘volunteers’ sign up for 3 to 6 weeks.
No thanks!

James McGlynn CFA RICP®
James McGlynn CFA RICP®
2 months ago
Reply to  booch221

I had trepidations of the “workload” and only did 1 week. Many folks do multiple weeks because they enjoy socializing. The students were all very interested in learning English and very appreciative. I also enjoy teaching former “communist” countrymen English to replace their Russian since we won the Cold War.

Roboticus Aquarius
Roboticus Aquarius
2 months ago

Nicely written. This is a very timely article for me; I have been considering this topic a lot and I appreciate how this frames the discussion. I’ve printed it and am using it to begin my post-retirement planning folder.

Philip Karp
Philip Karp
2 months ago

Hello, To the editor and readers

Am I the only one with this problem? I don’t refer my wife to this wonderful site full of valuable insight and info. The reason is because of the ads that picture very attractive and curvy young ladies in revealing outfits.
I suppose she might think I’m ogling the ladies (which I am!) and feel slightly lacking in comparison.
Am I being too sensitive or not?

Jonathan Clements
Admin
Jonathan Clements
2 months ago
Reply to  Philip Karp

The advertisements on the site are served up by Google AdSense — and they are, to a degree, customized based on where else you’ve been on the web. That means the ads you see will likely be totally different from the ads I see. Right now, I’m getting shown a bunch of ads for sneakers, perhaps because I was checking sports scores earlier today.

Philip Karp
Philip Karp
2 months ago

Talking about a comment coming back to bite me in the rear!
Well…the wonders of Goggle AdSense! Who knew?
I wonder how many times I need to google Bird Watching to switch ads to pictures of birds?

Mark Grady
Mark Grady
2 months ago

These are all great ideas for how to spend time in retirement. I would like to add to this list Service Clubs. In the past people joined service clubs to promote their careers. In retirement they serve as a great source of fellowship and satisfaction from participating in activities that serve the youth and at risk members of your community. My choice of service organizations is Rotary International. You can easily find a club in your area online and your response will most likely generate an invitation to join them as a guest at their weekly club meeting. Give Rotary a try .

Guest
Guest
2 months ago

These sound like 4 great groups. I’m glad you were proactive in joining them and each sounds precisely like the type I’d want to be a part of.

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