Working in Retirement
by Larry Steward
My name is Larry and my wife is Susannah. We are both of retirement age and still working full time. I am 73 and she is 65. We both had professional careers in New York and raised two wonderful children in Connecticut.
I must admit we did not effectively plan for a life of retirement. We knew if our health held up, we could continue working one way or another and just kept moving forward. Our biggest challenge was trying to save money living in the New York area.
Susannah has a successful magazine publishing background, so she launched herself into writing and editing freelance jobs online and quickly took on many assignments. I launched a home improvement service and also found myself very busy.
Still, we were not saving money the way we had hoped. I knew I could not physically continue with home improvement work forever. My long term plan was to find a way to return to life coaching as I had previously in my professional outplacement days.
So we sat down and brainstormed what we could do as a team to make our situation better? Susannah has a horse she loves and spends as much time as possible riding the trails in nearby Greenwich, CT with her horsey friends. Our son and daughter are on their own and doing well, so we felt our options were wide open.
Ideally, our plan was to relocate to a warmer area of the country and do something we both enjoyed working as a team. Our target was to find a horse farm somewhere in the south where we could earn an income and save money by substantially lowering overhead expenses.
Susannah spent time exploring help wanted ads on the Internet featuring owners of horse farms seeking help. We uncovered more opportunities than we expected. Now I'm not a horse person but my thought was if she found a horse farm that liked her experience, there was a good chance that they would also like my home improvement experience as well.
Well, we found such a place in Johnsonville, South Carolina. A beautiful 200-acre horse farm where she could take her horse and help manage the care of their eight horses with my help as well as my ability to manage property improvement requirements.
They provided a 3-bedroom home fully furnished including all utilities (electric, tv & Internet service, washer/dryer, etc.), a pickup truck for our use, a combined weekly check for both of us and an expense allowance for needed repair supplies.
We moved to the farm last July which took some adjustment to deal with the summer heat and humidity. However, overall the weather has been a fantastic benefit compared to the rough winters of New York.
We love being in the outdoors, being around horses, and becoming good friends with the generous owners of the property. We do work hard but it is keeping us in shape, and we are saving a lot of money.
The last part of this story is that we are both devoting time to other passions we carried with us. Susannah is now even more involved with her editing and writing assignments online, and I am fully committed to launching my "Work in Retirement" Website to be published soon.
Overall, the relocation and lifestyle adjustment was just what the doctor ordered and we look forward to the next chapters.