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Do you ever feel guilty in retirement?

amiga13

Senior Member
After a lifetime of working hard, there are moments I feel guilty because life is now so easy. For the first time ever, I have free time and flexibility and enough money. I have friends and family who love me, yet I have plenty of the alone time I’ve come to crave. I’m mostly healthy, healthy enough for 4-5 mile daily walks. I love my town and I love my condo—sometimes I feel like I’ve returned to the best of dorm life with friendly but unintrusive neighbors. Every day I count my blessings.

Yet on my walks, I see homeless people and think, There, but for the grace of God, go I. I really do appreciate my life, know I worked hard to get here, and try to do for others, but occasionally I feel guilty for this largesse of happiness.

Am I crazy? Do you ever feel guilty for this daily joy?
 
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imatchr2

Under Review
I don’t feel guilty. Like you, I know I worked hard for years to be able to enjoy this stage of my life. I know how blessed I am. I had a career that offered amazing benefits and a great pension. I have friends and family. Instead of guilt, I try to help and contribute when, where, and if I can.
 

TeaPro

Senior Member
Amiga, it is your caring heart that is touched when you see homeless people on your walks. I understand how you feel. I still remember 15 or so years ago my husband and I went to a play in LA. On our way to our car after the play I saw a woman and two kids at a hotdog stand with a shopping cart full of their belongings. I ran and gave her $20, all the cash I had on me. I also had two young kids at the time and really felt for the woman.

But I mainly feel gratitude for the life I have now. I am careful with my money but have enough to meet my needs and have cherished family and friends in my life. I don't know what the answer is to homelessness and poverty. I know I have blessings that many do not, so I donate to charities, write letters to isolated seniors, and try to help others.
 

travelingfar

Senior Member
I don't feel any guilt. I worked hard and saved money for 37 years so I could have a secure retirement. I'm fortunate that my life is calm and happy now.

I realize that others are struggling, and I donate to a few community charities each month.
 

Munchkins

Senior Member
Not guilty, but very grateful. I know how hard I/we all worked for lower pay for promised benefits when we retired. I also paid into my pension for 33 years, so I earned it.

I do feel an obligation to be as charitable as I can be to those who are struggling. I know how blessed I am!
 
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NJ Teacher

Senior Member
Honestly, no. I worked in education for over 40 years and contributed to the pensions I now receive from NY and NJ that enable me to live comfortably in retirement. However, I definitely believe in giving back where I can, and was fortunate to be able to donate several toys to Toys for Tots as well as multiple bags of food for a Thanksgiving food drive in my area recently along with monetary donations to charities I support. I also am grateful to be able to fully participate in my gym. It is a wellness center, so I see many of the physical therapy patients who struggle with mobility.
 
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ZipLine

Senior Member
No, I don’t feel guilty. I feel blessed. DH and I worked very hard at our careers and saved to be able to retire with pensions, investments, and absolutely no debt. Like others, we are aware of how blessed we are and regularly donate to various charitable organizations.
 

Linda/OH

Senior Member
Honestly, not guilty at all. But like others have expressed , more of a huge feeling of gratitude. I love how we are also a very caring and charitable group who thinks of others. It seems that we give to those in need regularly. So proud to be a member of this group!
 

Cassyree

Senior Member
I feel grateful too, which is entirely different from guilt. Gratitude makes us cheerful givers of our resources-time, effort, attention, care, and money
 

md2dkh3

Senior Member
I am often overwhelmed with the reality that I’m so very blessed. Happy, healthy, family and friends, enough $, and no longer have to schedule my life around work! I’ve told my daughter several times that I feel I might should do more for others. I do things already, but just feel sometimes that my gratitude overflows and I want to do something extra.
 

EdfromBama

Full Member
Good morning to all-
I don't feel guilty about much, to be honest. I do sometimes regret things I could have said or actions I could have done which might have made life better for others, but these things are all long ago gone and in the past.
As far as feeling guilty about being retired and somewhat free in my time demands, nope, not a bit. I, just like everyone else on this forum, earned my retirement and freedom.
I do pity homeless and others with severe personal problems, but I did my best through my years in the classroom to give my students options which would allow them to make a better life for themselves.
Mostly, I am very happy in my retirement. So is the cat siting in my lap helping me type.

you all be safe and keep well- Ed
 

Tori58

Senior Member
No, I don't feel guilty. When I first took early retirement, I had a couple of cousins who went on rants about it, though, and really tried hard to make me feel guilty. I don't even know why they were so angry but they shut up in a hurry when I pointed out that they didn't have jobs that sucked up their evenings and weekends and that they weren't raising a grandchild. But, you know, I really shouldn't have had to justify it to them at all. Nothing prevented them from going to college and getting trained for something that would enable them to retire early.

On the topic of homelessness, any of you who are healthy enough should consider volunteering at a shelter. I volunteer at our local Matthew 25 and, seriously, it's a very rewarding experience. I'm there for intake and the evening meal, so I check in the residents at 5:00, see that their belongings are stowed in bins in a locked room, then I stay and help serve and clean up after the evening meal. Volunteers are allowed to sit down and eat with the residents. Homelessness might not be exactly what you think it is if you've never gotten to know people in that position. It's surprising how quickly you come to genuinely care for them in a personal way. I'm signed up to bring meals at least once a month and DGS will come with me to serve on those occasions.

After Christmas, I may begin volunteering at the local domestic abuse shelter as well. I'm holding off just because Advent tends to be a little nuts for church musicians and I know I need to reserve some time and energy for that.

For the record, I don't do any of this out of guilt. It's for my own mental health. I would get bored, depressed and overly reclusive if I didn't have obligations outside my home.
 

Song of Joy

Senior Member
No, don't feel guilty but at the same time we're on the lookout for those who need a little help, like a young widow who needs a flat tire repaired or a special needs adult who needs pop cans driven to recycling so he can earn a bit of money. Right now I'm collecting comfort items for a nursing home and I'm thinking about trying to visit someone in the nursing home once a month.
 

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
I don’t feel guilty, but I’ve had several people who try to make me feel that way. I’ve gotten comments like, ”Most of us don’t get to retire so young.” Not sure what they want me to say about that. I usually go with something like, “I’m very fortunate that my job allows it.” I chose my job, and they chose theirs. Do they want me to go back to work because they still work?

I recently blocked a couple of people on social media for making snarky comments about how many places DH and I go. The money DH saves by not commuting covers the majority of our concert tickets. I’ve also had comments about vacationing during the school year. Ummm . . . yes, and it’s fabulous to be able to travel when it’s not as hot as Satan’s armpit.

We are also doing some volunteer work because we know that a lot of the places that need help struggle to get people during regular work hours. And we enjoy the work.

I feel zero guilt.
 

Shelby3

Senior Member
My first couple of retired years I felt like I was playing hooky, that I should still be working. But no, I never felt guilty for my choice and for what I have. Teachers work so damn hard. Schoolwork cut into evenings and weekends and its rarely appreciated. When teachers have to schedule time to use the restroom or make a short personal phone call! When I would hear about workers that used company time to book plane tickets or Christmas shop, I'd hit the roof.
I am very grateful for what I have. Yes, I also find myself thinking, "There for the grace of God, go I," because when I was in my late teens and twenties I could have very easily made different choices.
 

luvmycat

Senior Member
I can't say that I feel guilty. I definitely feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to plan for my retirement. I am grateful that I had parents who valued education and helped me to achieve what I have. They were good role models.
I do feel an obligation to be as charitable as I can be to those who are struggling. I know how blessed I am!
Munchkins said it very well. I certainly notice those around me who are struggling and contribute to help those in need in my community.
 

teachnkids

Senior Member
I’m almost retired and I’m not going to feel guilty! We planned well and are able to do this!

I can remember in earlier years being jealous of some family members who lived large! We never lived large and saved the max we could from paychecks to get here! I can also remember my mom telling me I should spend a little more, in other words be able to do more on DHs salary so I didn’t need to work. Nope! It worked for us and now we’re getting ready to really enjoy the “golden years”!
 

amiga13

Senior Member
Thank you! You’re all so right and you’ve helped me. From now on, I vow to only feel gratitude, not guilt.

teachnkids, yes, that’s it exactly! I need to remember all those times I watched friends spend freely while we were frugal.
 

twinmom95

Senior Member
My first couple of retired years I felt like I was playing hooky, that I should still be working.
That's a great explanation and puts into words how I feel being newly retired. That feeling is also added to since I can see my old school where I worked for 32 years from my couch. It is right next door! 🤣
 

ZipLine

Senior Member
That's a great explanation and puts into words how I feel being newly retired. That feeling is also added to since I can see my old school where I worked for 32 years from my couch. It is right next door! 🤣
That’s wild. I have a friend who lives right next door to where she teaches.

I drove past my old school yesterday. The day I walked out of the building I smiled and said out loud, “Thanks for the memories!” I retired after one of the most fabulous years ever so driving by leaves me with good memories on top of the contentment of retirement.
 

brooks56

Senior Member
Like the others, I don't feel guilty a bit about my retirement. I worked hard for 32 years and taught when our children were young. We lived within our means and were able to send both sons to college without loans and paid our house off in 16 years. Now we are both retired with good pensions, SS, and great medical care. I sacrificed some family time, but have no regrets. I help out with many groups and have tutored for free before covid. I feel blessed that we have no money worries and a great family and we travel and enjoy every day!
 

teacher333

Senior Member
I do not know if I would call it feeling guilty, I kind of felt lost as I had put so much time into my students and classroom. I knew I could not retire cold turkey but did not want the hassle of subbing, so I work with a tutoring company and work online with a few students, but they are students I choose to work with and teach in the style I am comfortable teaching.
 
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