Stages of Life with Ted Carr: Episode 093

stages of lifeTed came onto my show as a guest to talk about stages of life, namely the 6 stages of retirement. Mr. Carr is a podcaster himself, with the show, Retirement Journeys, which discusses similar topics as this show, but he also includes financial topics on his show.

In case you're wondering, the stages of life (retirement life) include:

  • Pre-retirement
  • Retirement
  • Disenchantment
  • Reorientation
  • Retirement Routine
  • Termination of Retirement (death)

Ed was young (mid-50s) when he retired in 2010 from a biotech company in San Francisco.  Because so many people had asked him how he was able to retire so young he decided to take his story online.

Let's look at some of these stages of life that Ted went through:


This is the time while you are working that you are saving and investing for the time when you will be able to stop working.  Ted did a good job at this, or he wouldn't have been able to retire in his mid-50s.  Many people don't plan far enough in advance, for whatever reasons, and so the other stages of life become more difficult for them.  However, that's not what the Rock your Retirement show is all about so we'll let you reach out to your financial adviser for help with this.


This is fun for most, but can be the shortest stage of life (retirement life) for many.  That's because it's really only a day, a week, a month, or six.  A retirement date.  The retirement stage of life is the party.  You may go out to dinner with your work buddies.  Or you might have a cake on your last day of work.  The parties, balloons, and dinners have become a rite of passage for our actual retirement date.

It can be a second “honeymoon” where you hike, garden, bicycle or create art.  Many people read or catch up on their yard work.

Ted took the “honeymoon” path when he first retired, and he describes this in his blog:

“After I retired in May 2010, I took the “honeymoon” path. In Retirement Journeys, I refer to this as “Arriving in Retirement”, a bridge from work life to retirement life. My wife and I moved from the Bay Area to Arizona in June 2010. Our first few months were spent settling into a new house and community. We had many home improvement projects to work on. We returned to the Bay Area frequently. When I look back at our calendar, I am reminded of the variety of ways that we spent our free time. We attended financial seminars, concerts, car auctions, baseball games and community-based meetings. In May 2011 we bought hybrid bikes and began riding once or twice a week”.1 

But there is only so much hiking, gardening, and bicycling you can do. So that led Ted to the next stage of retirement:


This is the letdown stage of life.  The honey moon is over.  It's when many retirees become depressed. They can feel lonely, bored, useless, and disillusioned.  When they were working, people returned their phone calls.  People respected them.  Now, in this stage, many feel disrespected.

It's this stage of life that the Rock Your Retirement show tries to help out.

Ted went through this stage too, as we discussed in the interview.  In 2011 he started worrying about whether he had made the right decision.  He didn't feel productive and started writing in his journal to vent. For many, when they hit this stage, marriage problems can ensue.And it was affecting Ted's marriage.  So he  looked at some preemptive steps:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Work
  3. Meetup
  4. Deeper Confrontation

Because Ted had started the look inward in this stage of life, he was able to progress to the next stage of life called re-orientation.


Not everyone gets to this stage.  In order to get through it, you need to re-examine your role in life.  You need to ask yourself what your new purpose in life is.  And you need to find out if you are still useful in some way.  Ted had to answer the question, “Who am I, now?”

Before he could answer that question, Ted took inventory of his life.  He needed to find out why he was so unhappy.  Was it missing his paycheck? Missing the actual work itself?  What was it?

In Ted's case, he discovered that he had negative feelings toward his alcoholic father.  He read the book, Forgiveness is a Choice, by Robert D Enright. He worked through its exercises.

Ted started volunteering at a local museum.  It gave him purpose and responsibility.  This helped him ease into the next stage of life, retirement routine.

Retirement Routine:

Mr. Carr calls this “Retirement 2.0”  This is where you are living a comfortable and rewarding lifestyle.  It can mean a daily run, volunteer time, or whatever your daily routine is.  For Ted, it means working on his podcast, his blog, and his volunteer work.

Retirement Termination:

Thank goodness Ted hasn't reached this stage, but he lives by the quote, “Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow.”  James Dean

Ted Carr can be reached at www.retirementjourneys.com


  1. The 6 Stages of Retirement – Retirement Journeys, The 6 Stages of Retirement, http://retirementjourneys.com/2015/07/the-6-stages-of-retirement/

Assisted Living Facilities and what you should look for

Of course we wanted the best for our parents and choosing an assisted living facility can be tough. Christine Murphy gives us an advice on what too look for when choosing the perfect facility. You can listen to the show at : http://rockyourretirement.libsyn.com/assisted-living-facilities-and-what-you-should-look-for

Christine Murphy: Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living Facilities and what you should look for

In episode 49 of Rock Your Retirement we talked with Christine Murphy about Assisted Living Facilities and what you should look for.

Christine has held a RCFE Administrator’s Certificate since 2007. Her thesis work was documented in “An Exposition of Irregularities in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) in San Diego and Imperial Counties” (Montezuma Publishing, SDSU, 2010).  This was based on original research conducted on the public files of 354 Communities located in San Diego and Imperial counties.

She is CARR's Program Manager in the County of San Diego. CARR is developing a website with a rating system for assisted living facilities in San Diego county.

Chris placed her mom in an assisted living facility, but she saw things she didn’t like.  She felt that her mom was in danger at the facility.  Indeed, Mom's health and safety were being jeopardized.

Mom passed away, and then Chris filed a lawsuit. Two years later the law suit settled, and she started looking for ways to leverage what she had learned. Chris wanted to benefit other families who had to make assisted living placement decisions.

Their hope is that their work levels the playing field.  They want to advocate for consumers of assisted living services. They want them to be empowered and knowledgeable advocates for their resident in assisted living.

We created the freebie for you, “5 things to look for in an Assisted Living Community: hint: it’s not the beautiful chandelier!”  To download the freebie, just go to http://RockYourRetirement.com/assistedliving. In case you are wondering, those five things are:

  • Administrator Information
  • Food
  • Staffing
  • Medication assistance
  • Personal care

The freebie goes into a bit more detail.

On the show, Chris goes through all of these items to help us find what questions to ask when looking at an assisted living facility.

Did you find that you don’t understand the terminology?  Me neither!  I frequently call “assisted living facilities” by the wrong name!  (My bad.) That’s why her organization created a free Android App called Assisted Living 101.  It’s available at the Android Play Store (sorry iPhone users, but they are still working on the iPhone version).  So download that today.

To end the show, Chris said that you DON’T have to RETIRE!  Working can be a reason to get up in the morning.

Contact information:  http://rcfereform.org


Road to Happiness – Episode 167

Kathe and Ted Carr talk about the road to happinessThis is the last of the 4 part series with my co-host Ted Carr. Today we will be discussing an article about the road to happiness. Last week, the two of us discussed an article about Estate Planning Myths. If you missed it, here is the link www.RockYourRetirement.com/166

There are many avenues on the road to happiness. (It sounds like a movie title doesn't it?) But the single most accessible, most important, most obvious route is also the most difficult to tread. We'll try to question ourselves. Can we even make ourselves happier? Is it even possible? Isn't happiness some kind of a sub like it happens but you can't really chase it?

What is True Happiness?

People will argue about what true happiness is. Most will say you either are or aren't born happy. Sort of like you're predisposed to be happy. However, there are certain things that you do that the result of doing them makes yourself happy. For example, if you have a lot of friends your chances of being happy are more than if you are alone. You can't really chase happiness, like, I'm gonna do this today to make myself happy. There are things that you do that the result of it is just happiness.

The Road to Happiness is Determined by Genetics

Statistics show that 50 percent of happiness is determined by genetics and therefore out of your control. While 10 percent refers to situational happiness. That includes whether we are rich or poor, healthy or ill, where we live, what our job is, or whether we will get a job at all. Meaning, a rich, beautiful, perfectly healthy person with everything going for them only has a 10 percent headstart on the person whose entire life is a complete mess.

Same with those famous people who commit suicide. On the outside, you think that they have a perfect life. But on the inside, their lives are completely different.

Hedonic Adaptation

The road to happiness isn't just only determined based on situations. Most road to happiness that's based on situations is only temporary. Why? Because we tend to have more of what we already have. This is called Hedonic Adaptation, where we get used to things and we end up wanting more of what we already have. From new additions, making more accomplishments, new house, new car, new job. In other words, lifestyle inflation.

We're just wired to adaptation but always wanting more. It's like going back to the days of primal survival instinct. The feeling that more means we got a better chance of surviving. Surviving in the future where we don't have anything.

The Road to Happiness on a Day to Day Basis

We discussed that 50% of happiness is being based on genetics and 10% are situational. The last 40% of the road to happiness is based on what we think or what we do on a day to day basis. This 40% will give us a chance to make things happier for our lives. This includes helping others, having new experiences, practicing gratitude, and building a positive mindset.

My journal called, The Baby Boomer's 30 Day Journal“, which is available on Amazon, takes into account the 6 areas of retirement lifestyle. It talks about doing something spiritual in the morning whether it is meditating, praying, or setting goals for yourself. People setting small goals are happier in general because you can achieve a small goal. There's a lot of factors within this 40% that we can influence the outcome of our road to happiness.

Focus in that Moment

Some people are happy because they live in the moment. The contents of these moments to moments of living have a big influence on people's happiness. People who focus at that moment are happier when their minds are not wandering, including neutral pleasant or unpleasant mind wandering. When you focus on what you are doing instead of mind wandering, you tend to be much happier.

Be Grateful

People who are grateful are way happier than people who aren't. Writing the things that I'm grateful for was hard Kathe and Ted Carr talk about the road to happinessfor me. What I did to make it easier was to go through the letters of the alphabet. I started with the first letter which is A. What are the words that start with an A that I have not said already. And then the next day is B, and so forth until it gets to Z and then I start over again.

Another way of looking at the whole gratitude thing is Stoic Lessons. These are are teachings of philosophers in which it teaches the development of self-control and fortitude to overcome destructive emotions. They thought that we should regulate or take a timeout of our day to imagine the loss. Taking time to consider how would we feel if we lose the things in our lives that would make us appreciate the fact that we still have them. What would be my life be like if I didn't have this house, I didn't have a car, or I didn't have my fingers?


Everyone's road to happiness is bumpy. But learn how to practice mindfulness, try to live in the moment, savor your experiences, practice gratitude, be grateful for what you have. Never complain about yourself and don't take yourself so seriously. We put a lot of emphasis on being happy and maybe that's misplaced. Just be yourself and accept yourself. As Whitney Houston says, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest gift of them all.”

About Our Co-Host

Ted Carr retired from a biotech company in San Francisco when he was in his mid-50s.  He had a difficult adjustment in the beginning but was able to get through it.  He started writing about the 6 stages of Retirement.  Many people over the years asked him how he was able to retire so early so he started a podcast, which is now completed, called retirement journeys.

Now he has a new podcast called Retire Hoppy where his guests talk about a retirement subject while sampling beer.

Articles mentioned in this episode:

The Shortest Path to Happiness

Happiness? There's an App for That

The U Curve of Happiness

This post about retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

Unique Retirement Plan Among Women – Ep 166

Kathe and Ted Carr talk about the unique retirement plan among womenMy guest co-host Ted Carr is back with us to talk about why retirement planning among women is unique. Ted Carr has been on the show previously. We discussed the Stages of Life which happened to be one of our most popular episodes.

The subtitle to today's topic should be, “Why is it retirement planning for women more challenging or poses more challenges?” Even in retirement men and women are different. Women have plenty of hurdles when it comes to their journey to retirement. There is no one-size-fits-all and this is why it is unique. We will break down what challenges women encounter when planning for retirement so that you can work things out toward a secure future.

Women Tend to Outlive Men

Statistics show that women live longer than men. The average age women live to is 81 vs the average age for men of 76. It is not a secret that women have lived longer, maybe partly due to men's lifestyle. Although men are catching up because women's lifestyles are going downhill. Women have more years of the retirement fund. It increases their longevity risk, which is the risk of outliving your money.

When I was in my 40's I purchased a long-term care policy. When I got married 10 years ago, I added my husband to the policy. But you cannot buy this policy that I purchased anymore. A lot of people don't buy long-term care because it is expensive. The reason why it's expensive is that a lot of us are gonna need it because we are going to live for a long time. I included home health care in that policy because the thought of moving into a nursing home does not appeal to me.

Develop a Proper and Unique Retirement Plan

If you could develop a detailed retirement plan, that is going to catch a lot of the crucial aspects of preparing for retirement. Things such as expenses, health insurance (including long term care), social security, work, investment management, and income generation. Ted calls it a forcing function. He would not have retired early if he had not worked out a detailed retirement plan.

Gender Wage Gap

Women earn only 81% of what men do. That gap can be explained in part by women’s time off to raise their children, but it’s also because of occupational segregation.

My mom took a job in retail and there wasn't a lot of career advancement or benefits. Except that she could take time off pretty much whenever she wanted to and that fits in with her lifestyle. It didn't provide financial rewards but provided a lot of lifestyle parenting rewards. But you tend to fall behind because you're not out there grinding it out with other people working diligently to get ahead.

Women are not necessarily as intense negotiators as men are. In Linda Babcock's research, it indicates that women who consistently negotiate their salary increases, earn at least 1 million more during their careers than women who don't. Women undervalue themselves they often feel grateful to just have a job and underestimate their market value by up to 30%.

Women More Likely Face Career Disruptions

Women are more likely to become caregivers to their aging parents or children than men are. This affects their career, or they may even have to quit their jobs. This also affects their overall lifetime savings, social securities, pension benefits, and also 401k plans. That's just another challenge that women face financially. There is also the societal pressure of being the person in charge of taking care of the family.

Grey Divorce

The rate of divorce for people over 50 has doubled since 1990. After a divorce or separation, household income decreases. It's much easier for two people to live in one household on eighty thousand dollars than it is for two people to live on forty thousand dollars each.

Ted says that he and his wife keep their finances separate. 56% of married women still leave financial planning decisions to their spouses. When the divorce comes around what are the surprises? Hidden spending, hidden debt, hidden accounts, outdated wills where the beneficiaries are all messed up. 94% of widows and divorcees would insist on financial transparency with their spouse.


Overall, a lot of women do not save or do not save enough, because they were caring for their family members. They also save for college for their children and by the time they start saving for themselves, it is too late. That is why so many older women live in poverty.

One of the things that I encouraged people to do is location arbitrage. Meaning, you can live somewhere elseKathe and Ted Carr talk about the unique retirement plan among women cheaper than where you are currently living. Whether that means move to a different state, move to a different country.

There is also the “Golden Girls” model. That is a model where people come together, women in this case single, divorce, or widow and they live together. It's cheaper to pull the resources and share these expenses and it provides you that buffer from becoming isolated which is so important from the nonfinancial side of retirement.

Every retirement plan is unique and crucial, it's up to you how to pull through that uniqueness upon retirement. Retirement planning for women is an important financial milestone and should be planned carefully. Women need to pay more attention to their retirement and finances so you can walk into your sunset years financially secure!

About Our Co-Host

Ted Carr retired from a biotech company in San Francisco when he was in his mid-50s.  He had a difficult adjustment in the beginning but was able to get through it.  He started writing about the 6 stages of Retirement.  Many people over the years asked him how he was able to retire so early so he started a podcast, which is now completed, called retirement journeys.

Now he has a new podcast called Retire Hoppy where his guests talk about a retirement subject while sampling beer.

Articles mentioned in this episode:

Booming Encore

Why Retirement Planning is Different for Women

Own Your Worth

Retirement Planning is Hard, But It Can Be Harder for Women

Women Take the Wheel: Destination Retirement

The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement

This post about retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

Common Myths Of Estate Planning – Ep 165

Kathe and Ted Carr talk about common myths of estate planningOur guest co-host Ted Carr is back with us for this episode number 2 of our 4 part series. On our previous episode, we discussed why elderly parents fall for scams. This time, we will talk about the common myths of estate planning.

Estate planning is one of the pillars of the strategic retirement planning concept. While it may be a task that gets misunderstood or procrastinated over, estate planning can provide a good direction for your loved ones in the future. Furthermore, it gives you a sense of relief as you think about where your household and assets go.

Now just a disclaimer here- neither Ted nor myself are experts in the field of Estate Planning. We are just here to talk about our personal experiences. You would definitely want to discuss your own situation with an attorney.

What Goes into an Estate Plan?

When Les and I met our estate attorney, she talked to us not only about our assets but also about what happens if we get incapacitated. Even our very very naughty pet bird Mr. Grant was part of our estate plan.

Nevertheless, you can revise your estate plan numerous times. Here's a list of items every estate plan should include:

  • Will/trust
  • A durable power of attorney
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Letter of intent
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Guardianship designations

Also, you may add POLST (Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) on your estate plan, it's an approach to improving end-of-life care in the United States, encouraging providers to speak with patients and create specific medical orders honored by health care workers during a medical crisis.

If I Have An Estate Plan, I Can Avoid Estate Taxes

The federal estate tax exemption has increased to $11.2 million per person (or $22.4 million per married couple), so it's unlikely you'll have pay to pay for an estate tax at all.

It Is Important to Include Guardianship Designations to Your Estate Plan

While many wills or trusts incorporate this clause, some don't. If you have minor children or are considering having kids, picking a guardian is incredibly important and sometimes overlooked. Make sure the individual or couple you choose shares your views, are responsible, financially sound and genuinely willing to raise children. It will give you peace of mind.

Probate is an Estate Planning Nightmare

Probate is expensive and time-consuming (will take about 2 years) and everything will be open to the public. Property is disposed of according to the laws of the state in which the deceased resided. If they find some personal information from your public records your estate could be vulnerable. The funny thing is that even though you spend all your time to have a private and personal life when you die everything is open to everybody.

I Don't Need to Check My Beneficiaries

It's one of the common mistake people do. While setting up a plan is a solid first step, keep in mind your salary and family situation can fluctuate over time. Make sure your beneficiaries are current, there are so many 401k plans that haven't had any beneficiaries. If you don't update your estate plan your beneficiary information could go out the window.

A Will Can Overview the Distribution of My Assets

60% of people have no wills. A will is also a great first step. It allows you to lay out how your belongings should be distributed. However, it has no controlling power over joint accounts or beneficiaries. The only thing that the will has any control over our assets that are in the person's name alone. You can also start with a holistic will where you write a will on a piece of paper, sign it with the date included, this kind of will is legal but at least at the bare Kathe and Ted Carr talk about the common myths of estate planningminimum you should just go get a form and fill in the blanks.

A will is easier to change, a trust is much more difficult. Ted shares a personal experience about his father. When he was dying he got hoodwink by a woman who had befriended him. She got him to change his will 3 days before his passing. If that was a trust she would have a much difficult time changing it than a will.

None of us are getting out of this world alive. We're all going to die at some point of our lives so you might as well do a little bit of prep for it. Regardless of how much money you have, you'll want to make sure everything gets planned as your life go by. Don't be scared, estate plans allow a great amount of customization and give you the power to decide how you want your assets to be distributed.

About Our Co-Host

Ted Carr retired from a biotech company in San Francisco when he was in his mid-50s.  He had a difficult adjustment in the beginning but was able to get through it.  He started writing about the 6 stages of Retirement.  Many people over the years asked him how he was able to retire so early so he started a podcast, which is now completed, called retirement journeys.

Now he has a new podcast called Retire Hoppy where his guests talk about a retirement subject while sampling beer.

Articles mentioned in this episode:

6 Common Myths About Estate Planning; The Story of Karen Ann Quinlan

This post about retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com