Our Story

We’re a husband-and-wife team dedicated to helping you achieve a retirement filled with passion and purpose.

On June 15, 2019 Retires Great was born. Debbie built our website and Shannon wrote our first article. At the time, we didn’t fully understand what we were getting ourselves into.

What we did know was we wanted to make the most of our retired years. Like most things in life, there’s going to be challenges and setbacks. The flip side is there’s also opportunities to forge ahead making these the best years of life.

This is our story of how Retires Great came to be.

Our Retirement Expectations

For lack of a more eloquent way of saying it, we were pretty much clueless about retirement. We both diligently saved throughout our working years and assumed life would be good.

Like most folks, we didn’t give it a lot of thought. We’d figure it out when the time came. Maybe travel the world?

Back in his 20’s, Shannon backpacked through Europe for 6 months. He always fantasized of the day when he could leave work behind and travel more.

Debbie, his lovely wife, was pretty much on the same page. Although she hadn’t travelled as much, she also yearned to see more.

So, we weren’t too concerned; after all what could go wrong?

The Day Shannon's World Capsized

He didn’t see it coming!

He loved his career. After almost 25 years, he was on the top of his game working on massive business opportunities and helping his clients.

Until that fateful day in May of 2013. Hundreds of older employees terminated, himself included. Corporate downsizing to reduce costs and make way for fresh blood. He was mere weeks away from his 53rd birthday.

Little did we know at the time how widespread this is. One of our more popular articles is How to Deal with Forced Retirement. As many as half of all older workers are forced out of the workforce earlier than they planned.

Debbie's Drama

As an office/accounting manager, she took great pride in doing her best. According to the General Manager, she was integral to the company’s success. Even so, she was horribly undervalued by her supervisor.

The stress and pressure of a toxic work environment began to affect her health. The final straw happened in April of 2019 when she was reprimanded over a trivial matter.

Her Bad Boss story chronicles submitting her resignation and jumping off that crazy train.

How Retires Great Came to Be

They say you can’t keep a good woman down; however, she had no desire to run out and get another job. And, who could blame her?!

After lots of discussion (and a few too many beers), she even surprised herself when she said she wanted to do something online.

The challenge became what did we want to do?

As baby boomers, we realized we weren’t the only ones struggling with this transition. Trying to find decent information on the internet was like looking for a needle in a haystack. For sure, anything and everything financial, but anything else seemed scattered about.

Our Big Idea

Our big idea was to provide a more comprehensive site addressing all the softer sides often overlooked. Our Retirement Pyramid visually captures these many aspects.

As important as money is, it’s the foundation to build upon. This helped us better understand how everything fits together.

For instance, after achieving financial security, living a healthier lifestyle took priority. Exercising, eating healthier, and taking better care of ourselves became the goal. This is an investment in our future quality of life. Also, understanding the immense value of friendships and healthy relationships. Meaningful and fulfilling activities make each day worthwhile.

In a nutshell, now you have the complete freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you desire.

That’s when the challenges begin. Such as:

  • How do I want to live the rest of my life?
  • What is important to me?
  • What makes me happiest?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • What (if anything) is holding me back?

Our Why

This is also our next chapter in life, the gateway to our golden years.

As much as we love travelling, after a while even that would grow old. Retirement isn’t a permanent vacation!

It’s a journey with each day bringing new challenges and rewards. Always striving for a better you finding fulfilment and happiness.

In many respects, our blog has provided us a sense of purpose. Instead of aimlessly filling our days with meaningless activities, we’re inspired to share our thoughts and findings into this thing we call retirement. And, boy, have we learned a lot with more out there waiting to be discovered!!

That’s what makes it worthwhile for us. And, hopefully making some small difference for you.

Retirement is more than the transition of leaving work. It’s the beginning of a journey. To quote the Carpenter’s song, “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

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