I spend much of my time writing about our lives here in Ecuador…our retired lives. As I am currently involved with several activities that generate revenue for us here in Ecuador, I should probably define what retirement means to me.
Like most other folks, I spent my traditional working years providing various tasks and services for money. I was either getting paid by someone or I was operating my own business. In either case, I earned money through my significant efforts. I was always happiest when I was operating my own business. I have an entrepreneurial spirit which I sometimes leased to other organizations as an employee. Eventually, the time came to say “enough”. We had enough money coming in every month that we could live a very nice, productive life in Ecuador (and other locations as well) that would be a much richer life than we could have in the United States.
By moving to Ecuador, we anticipated our cost of living would be greatly reduced and our quality of life would be exponentially improved. We are enjoying both of those benefits along with a culturally enriching experience that we could not have anywhere in the United States. And, by necessity, we are also learning a second language; another benefit.
After we had been here about 6 months, I became very, very bored. I had spent most of my life working in excess of 60 hours each week and at the end of my career, operated a large organization with 23 offices, many staff members and all the stress that goes along with that. Then, all that came to a screeching halt and while I did need the rest and rebelled from even answering a phone or returning messages for months, after a while, I needed something else to do to stimulate by brain. Crossword puzzles weren’t doing it.
I had naturally gravitated to the gringo business community when I arrived, discovering developers, builders, restaurant and bar owners, hotel owners, a couple of unique niche businesses and even one hairdresser. These were all expats who had landed in Ecuador and were now running local businesses in our area. Through normal discussion, I agreed to assist one with a project. Another then asked for some assistance as did another. Pretty soon, I had a number of consulting gigs. At the same time, I had also picked up a couple of writing jobs and am about to move forward in another partnership with a very talented group of business leaders.
“But I thought you were supposed to be retired.” I’ve heard that many times.
Yes, I am retired. I don’t spend more than about 15 hours each week in these efforts and while each of them generates some additional income, the true value is in my reengagement with business. I do not NEED to do these things as I did before I was retired. I am free to say “no thanks” to any opportunity and equally free to pursue those interests that feed my soul without the constant need to earn an income to keep the hamster wheel spinning.
Now, I have choices and that, my friends, is how I am defining my retirement. Oh…the Pocket Babe? She’s just fine playing tennis several times each week and overseeing the housekeeper while maintaining her activities focused on U.S. politics. She also has to take care of our new Chihuahua puppy.
I have no idea what you want your retirement to look like. I wasn’t sure but I figured it out. I want choices; as many as possible with as little stress as possible.
It’s working! J