What if you are already retired and your retirement sucks?

The topic of this blog is…What if you have already retired and it is boring, screwed up and otherwise sucks?

Happens all the time. What also happens all the time is that most people in this situation don’t do a damn thing about it…other than getting more and more isolated, more and more pissed off at others and just plain grumpy as hell. Those people feel powerless to change what is already underway…a crappy retirement followed by their eventual death. Come on…admit it…you know these people and may even be related to them.

What can be done to reverse this unhappy trek into oblivion…everything. The retiree needs to go back to the planning part about what you really wanted to do in retirement and do it again. At some point, a wrong decision or two were made. They can change those decisions now. It is called a “DO OVER”. And this time around, focus really hard on the parts where you think you will most improve your own happiness.

We all know people who absolutely hate their lives, but are too afraid to do anything about it…too old…too poor…too dependent on others. There is hope for these good folks…real hope. All they have to do is take a look at what is possible…instead of focusing on the parts that are impossible. Maybe you can help them find a better way.

We have earned and deserve a retirement filled with joy and comfort. If it isn’t shaping up that way for you or for someone you love…time for a Do Over. Keep changing things until you get it just how you want it. It is entirely up to you.


Don Hurzeler


  1. JR West on May 27, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    what would I do over? I lost my hearing at work. They fired me because it was too dangerous for me to be at work. I was 4 years short of the 30 years I needed for full retirement. I had long term disability insurance, but the fine print is that it is only guaranteed for 2 years. They backed up my date of disability to a year before I was fired. leaving me 1 year. They then made me file for SSDI (because any benefits received are subtracted from my monthly check.) They use the SSDI process so they don’t have to pay for any of the medical exams. They send me demands for medical information from my Doctors and hold my checks until they receive them. The Doctors hate filling those forms out and either have me come in and pay for an exam / consultation or they just drag their feet causing delays in my benefits. If I sue my employer for wrongful termination, the lawyer would get a third and the LTD insurance takes back any benefits that they have paid up to the time of settlement.
    My unhappy trek into oblivion was more like a trap door drop. My fear is spending my retirement living in my car.
    Any ideas?

    • Don Hurzeler on May 28, 2018 at 2:03 am

      JR…ouch! Losing your hearing alone would have been awful, but now all this financial uncertainty and stress. So sorry this came your way.

      I certainly do not have a glib answer for what you can do next. However, seems like you need to figure out what legal path will get you the most money…get it…and then move on.

      The moving on part is the only part that can actually end up a net positive. You have skills. You worked those skills for nearly 30 years. I get that it may not be possible to continue doing exactly what you did due to the hearing loss. But…you can teach those skills…you can supervise those activities…you can write about it…you can forget all that and charge off in a new direction. Your life is ahead of you, not behind you. Go out and sit on a rock and think about what you can do from here on out that will help pay the bills and make you happy…with an emphasis on the happy part.

      I think you know my story…from 40 years of being a professional and executive to becoming a nothing in retirement and then into recreating myself into a photographer. Guess what…I make a damn fine income snapping those photos. People pat me on the back for my good work. I have no boss. Life is pretty darn good.

      So…the trick is to not see this as an ending for your career story…but rather a turn…and a turn that can lead you to the best parts of your life. This is not pie in the sky fairy tale stuff…it is something you can do. Life kicked you in the teeth (or ears) and now you get the last laugh. Get the current financial situation figured out and finished…take two days off to rejoice…and get your butt in gear for whatever comes next. Hope that helps and thanks for asking…and yes, it is easier said than done…but you can do it. Aloha and keep me posted.

      • JR West on May 29, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        Thank you for your response Don.

        I was locked into that notion that my self worth was based on what I did for a career. I need to re-invent myself. I am looking at my other interests and skills to see what I could turn into an income. One of my stumbling blocks is starting a new career at age 55+. There are so many younger people looking for entry level positions who can hear and have more recent education. I think starting a new business would result in the typically necessarily large expense to get started and then the no profit years while becoming established. Even if I was able to start something with low overhead, I do not know how to run a business i.e. get a business license, liability insurance, or pay taxes etc.
        I am going to figure this out and move on. I don’t really have a choice.
        Thanks Again

        • Don Hurzeler on May 30, 2018 at 3:57 pm

          I hear you. It is daunting…no doubt about it. But your self worth has zero to do with your old career…you are a highly valuable human being just as you are. You know how to work…how to be reliable…how to take and sometimes give direction…how to overcome obstacles…how to win in the end. We all get old…forget about that…it is what it is. What CAN you do now? I also hear you about setting up a business…particularly if you don’t have those skills. Smart to know your limitations. One last thing to add to your consideration list…when you finally choose a direction make sure it is not one that everyone else in the world has chosen…and one that pays well when you get it running. Example…lots of folks in your situation here where I live decide to become realtors. Net result…lots of realtors…hard to breakout of that group and be the big winner. Example of the other situation…my wife loves ceramics. She is terrific at it…a real pro. But guess what…only a tiny percent of all those artists make any real money at it. She started taking unique photos of beautiful places and made money right away. Give it long thought and your path will become apparent…and if it does not meet you needs…find yet another. Success is out there waiting for you. Aloha.

  2. Phyllis on June 5, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    What about when my hubby and I were both very healthy and had these notions or ideas of what we would do in retirement, for example some traveling in the states we’d like to do……and then, my husband’s health took a real nose dive about six months after he retired. I am so thankful we did some of this traveling when younger, but now……we sit and wait for the Doctor appointments and “good”‘days for him to feel well enough to go out and about for a bit. Money is not the problem (.at least not yet, ha),, but our previous travel plans have pretty much gone by the wayside. We honestly do not do much else now but watch tv, and the usual home and lawn care tasks. Hubby sleeps a lot because of his health, too. It is VERY frustrating!!!! I feel “cheated”……but, I also want to be helpful with my hubby, so…….have you got some good insight into this health issue business? We can hardly be the only ones to whom this has happened. Advice, anyone?

    • Don Hurzeler on June 5, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      So many thoughts and emotions from what you write…I will try to keep this succinct. I had pretty bad cancer at about age 50. The thing I hated the most was everything you just mentioned…your time is not your time because of doctor visits, exhausted most of the time, worried, didn’t seem fair, really could not do much. I got lucky…and good docs…and recovered. But, I never forgot about it. My biggest fear was that I would work 40 plus years, save up my money and then get cheated out of my retirement from a health reason or death.

      I most certainly have no great advice for you…and I feel your pain. I usually say…This too shall pass…but sometimes it does not. So it leaves me with my lamest of all advice…you do what you can and make the best of it. I have found that putting things out there on the horizon helps me stay engaged and positive in the present…so I always have something ahead of me that I am looking forward to…a visit from the grand kids, a short trip, a play I have tickets for, a day or two to do absolutely nothing at a nearby first class resort. Obviously, the most important thing is to try for the home run…get that health back if at all possible.

      One last thing I want to mention…you are darn important to your husband right now. He is counting on you and needs you. So, you have to do what you have to do to keep yourself in a great mental and physical state to help him. You have to be a bit selfish to get that done…arrange for someone to come in while you get out of town and do a little rest and relaxation…able then to come back and be a big help. Take good care of you…it is mission critical…might seem a bit selfish or look that way…but the heck with how it looks or feels…you have to remain strong. Good luck and sorry I could not be of any real help…I hope that others add to the dialog. Aloha.

  3. Ken Hether on November 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    It sucks with money, without money, sick or well. And nobody else gives a damn. The ones that act like they do are just trying to get what money you may still have out of you. Wish we had an on and off switch. And please don’t tell me to have a positive attitude. That just adds to it.

    • Don Hurzeler on November 1, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Ken…totally agree with the positive attitude thought of yours. Only you know what your experience is and I would be even dumber than I already happen to be to think you could just wish it into a turn around. My one thought…useful or not…keep trying things until you find something that makes you happy…which might include going back to work, if that is possible. Yup…retirement is not for everyone…I hear that loud and clear. But you do still have choices and I would use every single one until I found the winner. If you hate it…try stuff that is radically different. One ex-CEO friend of mine went from running a huge corporation to a retirement that he hated and then decided to give beginner skiing lessons for $15 an hour and he tells me he is the happiest he has been in his life. I’m going to take a just plain blind guess here…no need to reply if I am right or wrong…but I would guess something has you pinned down…cutting your options down to a precious few. IF that is the case…think really hard about what it is that is pinning you down. You did not retire to be a baby sitter nor is it required you live by your kids or grand kids or that you have to have a big house that is hard to maintain and costly or any house for that matter. Bust a move…it is your turn to be happy. Screw your current reality and do something that puts a smile on your face…and if it is a health issue…I feel for you…I am pinned down myself (temporarily) by a health issue and it sucks. Pulling for you and hope it takes a turn for the better. Aloha.