Author Topic: Unhappy retirees read?  (Read 4665 times)

Aussiegirl

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Unhappy retirees read?
« on: August 10, 2016, 06:12:27 AM »
In Wes Moss' book "You Can Retire Sooner than You Think"  he says in several places that one of the most popular pass times for UNhappy retirees is reading.    I'm not yet retired, but will be within the year now, and I LOVE to read - which is why I was reading his book.   I'm an introvert to be sure, and can think of nothing nicer than spending a few hours immersed in a book.   Am I going to be unhappy in my ER?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 06:44:36 AM »
No.  Let me say that again. No.

You get to read as much as you want, when you want.  You can stay up to 2 AM finishing that book because you don't have to get up for work the next morning.

I am also an introvert and a big reader.  I dropped out of the 50 books a year thread a long time ago because I can read 50 books in a few months.  Of course some are quick reads, (the knitting pattern books, the fluffy fiction).  Retirement is wonderful, lots of time for reading and still doing all the other things I enjoy.

From the small sample set in my life, the bored unhappy retirees watch an incredible amount of television.  They have no idea what else to do with their time.  It is a small sample set because almost all the retirees I know are happy and busy and can't remember how they found the time to work.

DeskJockey2028

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 06:47:38 AM »
I read on average 1 book every 2 weeks right now and that's with a 35 hour work week and 16 hours of commuting every week. I plan on upping that average to 2 books a week once I retire!

Nothing beats being in a relaxed setting with a good book and depending on the time perhaps a nice craft beer. :)

LivlongnProsper

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 08:01:11 AM »
He is wrong.

undercover

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 08:17:12 AM »
It depends on whether or not you have an underlying feeling that you should be doing something more productive with your time. If you're able to let that feeling go, then I can't think of a better way to spend one's time.

Thinkum

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 08:44:01 AM »
I read that same book and while I liked the overall message, I really found factors of happiness to be too limiting. His sample set also, is a paltry 1500-1800 people if I recall. I am an introvert and I love spending time alone, reading, playing video games, watching "how-to" programs, etc. I remember him listing hobbies that "unhappy retirees" partake in as reading, fishing, and other solitary things. I say rubbish! The key is, sprinkling in some meaningful social interaction ALONG with your solitary pursuits. The greatest thing about being FIRE'd is really the plethora of options. I wouldn't worry about happiness, it will surely follow you into FIRE!

dcheesi

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 09:45:36 AM »
There is a point there, but it's not a one-size-fits-all situation.

I think the point is that if you retire and then find yourself reading more just to pass the time, that could be a sign that something's missing, or that you could find more fulfilling ways to fill your time.

But if you're an avid reader already, then obviously it's a different situation.

I do think that it's still important to get out of your comfort zone from time to time, just to keep your mind and body fit and ready to deal with challenges that may arise. But if reading is one of your joys, then there's nothing wrong with doing more of it in retirement.

calimom

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2016, 10:28:32 PM »
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony of a WRITER telling READERS that READING will make a person unhappy?

I read a fair amount, not nearly as much as I'd like, and my idea of a pleasant day starts with reading a great book on my deck in the morning with coffee and finishing it with a a book in bed, staying up as long as I like. Of course I like doing other things, gardening, seeing people, swimming, etc, but reading is way up on the list.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 11:08:28 PM »
I wonder whether there's cause and effect going on but reading is the effect, not the cause. I have arthritis and when I'm in too much pain to do anything else, I read (though I also tend to read quite a bit anyway!). Maybe the retirees who read a lot include those who are reading due to physical limitations, pain, lack of mobility, lack of people to interact with? And those retirees are skewing the data because they're unhappier generally (of course!) and reading more than average.

Trevor Reznik

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2016, 04:58:47 AM »
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony of a WRITER telling READERS that READING will make a person unhappy?

I read a fair amount, not nearly as much as I'd like, and my idea of a pleasant day starts with reading a great book on my deck in the morning with coffee and finishing it with a a book in bed, staying up as long as I like. Of course I like doing other things, gardening, seeing people, swimming, etc, but reading is way up on the list.

I can see his point.  Perhaps the reason you enjoy reading so much is because it is your time out on the weekends from your busy working life.  If all you did was lay around and read books while drinking coffee you'd probably just grow an enormous array of hemmorhoids.  We human beings are not meant to be sedentary or idle, we need motivation, purpose and drive.

Dances With Fire

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 06:23:47 AM »
No.  Let me say that again. No.

You get to read as much as you want, when you want.  You can stay up to 2 AM finishing that book because you don't have to get up for work the next morning.

I am also an introvert and a big reader.  I dropped out of the 50 books a year thread a long time ago because I can read 50 books in a few months.  Of course some are quick reads, (the knitting pattern books, the fluffy fiction).  Retirement is wonderful, lots of time for reading and still doing all the other things I enjoy.

From the small sample set in my life, the bored unhappy retirees watch an incredible amount of television.  They have no idea what else to do with their time.  It is a small sample set because almost all the retirees I know are happy and busy and can't remember how they found the time to work.

^^^FWIW...We are experiencing this with my elderly FIL. No hobbies to really speak of and his days filled with television and channel surfing.

(We) are trying to encourage him to read, write, take short walks while he is still able, or go to the Y for a swim. Anything other than "mindless" television.

Ozlady

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2016, 09:10:21 PM »
I love to read...i am happiest reading!

I once had a conversation with a shower screen guy which i never forgot:

He said (or boasted?) that he has never read a book in the last 5 years..."why bother? you can watch TV and get info faster than you can read!)

That really left me flabbergasted and speechless...


Aussiegirl

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2016, 04:20:42 PM »
No.  Let me say that again. No.

You get to read as much as you want, when you want.  You can stay up to 2 AM finishing that book because you don't have to get up for work the next morning.

I am also an introvert and a big reader.  I dropped out of the 50 books a year thread a long time ago because I can read 50 books in a few months.  Of course some are quick reads, (the knitting pattern books, the fluffy fiction).  Retirement is wonderful, lots of time for reading and still doing all the other things I enjoy.

From the small sample set in my life, the bored unhappy retirees watch an incredible amount of television.  They have no idea what else to do with their time.  It is a small sample set because almost all the retirees I know are happy and busy and can't remember how they found the time to work.

I look forward to being able to say that I can't remember how I found time to work!  Just over 10 months to go.  Some serious planning ongoing now!

I wonder whether there's cause and effect going on but reading is the effect, not the cause. I have arthritis and when I'm in too much pain to do anything else, I read (though I also tend to read quite a bit anyway!). Maybe the retirees who read a lot include those who are reading due to physical limitations, pain, lack of mobility, lack of people to interact with? And those retirees are skewing the data because they're unhappier generally (of course!) and reading more than average.

Good point HappierAtHome.   I didn't think of it in that light.

I read that same book and while I liked the overall message, I really found factors of happiness to be too limiting. His sample set also, is a paltry 1500-1800 people if I recall. I am an introvert and I love spending time alone, reading, playing video games, watching "how-to" programs, etc. I remember him listing hobbies that "unhappy retirees" partake in as reading, fishing, and other solitary things. I say rubbish! The key is, sprinkling in some meaningful social interaction ALONG with your solitary pursuits. The greatest thing about being FIRE'd is really the plethora of options. I wouldn't worry about happiness, it will surely follow you into FIRE!

Meaningful social interaction was definitely a theme that came through strongly wasn't it.  I have to admit that I have probably not focused as much on this as I should have over the last few years as I've been consumed with career and family mostly, its a juggling act.   I hope you're right, Thinkum, about happiness following me into FIRE. 

MrsPete

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2016, 06:19:04 PM »
I haven't read the book (I assume most of us haven't), but it's easy to lose details in the re-telling. 

If you say that retirees who read are unhappy, I'll disagree.

If you say that retirees who spend all day in a book and don't spend time interacting with other people, I'd be more inclined to agree. 

Cassie

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2016, 11:29:53 PM »
I read the book about 5 years ago and he was encouraging people to stay engaged and involved. His advice was to not let solitary activities take over your life.  It made sense to me.  It was a good book.

Dicey

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2016, 11:50:44 PM »
I'm a lifelong reader. I serve on two library boards. I have probably averaged at least two books a week (one fiction, one nonfiction) minimum, since I learned to read.

I got married at 54. In short order, I acquired a DH, a MIL w/ Alzheimer's, a college-age stepson, two yappy dogs, a perfect cat (just ask her) and a clown house. I also RE'd and took on additional volunteer activities. I've never been happier.

However, I struggle to get through a book a month now. Gads! How is that possible? I can't believe it! I used to feel guilty for spending so much time reading and now I feel guilty because I don't have time to read. (Can you tell I went to Catholic School?)

No startling conclusions to draw, I just needed to get that off my chest. Thanks!

former player

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2016, 01:41:37 AM »
I wonder how good his research was.  I suspect that "reading" is the default "respectable" for describing how time wasted on one's one (watching TV, internet surfing etc) has been spent.  If unhappy people with not much in their lives were asked to fill in timesheets of what they do all day I bet reading would fill up a lot of the spaces.

Villanelle

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2016, 04:17:13 AM »
I suspect the truth is that unhappy retirees read, not that reading retirees are unhappy. In other words, reading doesn't make then unhappy; unhappiness makes them read.   Those who choose to read because they truly enjoy it are going to generally feel happy and fulfilled.  Those who read because they can't afford any other hobbies or interests, because they don't have a social network (and are the type who would want that), and/or who don't really have other interests and read sort as as a default to fill the endless empty hours--they are going to be unhappy.

So I wouldn't worry to much about it in your case. 

slappy

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Re: Unhappy retirees read?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2016, 08:48:40 AM »
No.  Let me say that again. No.

You get to read as much as you want, when you want.  You can stay up to 2 AM finishing that book because you don't have to get up for work the next morning.

I am also an introvert and a big reader.  I dropped out of the 50 books a year thread a long time ago because I can read 50 books in a few months.  Of course some are quick reads, (the knitting pattern books, the fluffy fiction).  Retirement is wonderful, lots of time for reading and still doing all the other things I enjoy.

From the small sample set in my life, the bored unhappy retirees watch an incredible amount of television.  They have no idea what else to do with their time.  It is a small sample set because almost all the retirees I know are happy and busy and can't remember how they found the time to work.

^^^FWIW...We are experiencing this with my elderly FIL. No hobbies to really speak of and his days filled with television and channel surfing.

(We) are trying to encourage him to read, write, take short walks while he is still able, or go to the Y for a swim. Anything other than "mindless" television.

We have the same struggle with my 67 year old MIL. We want her to be more active, but I wish she would read. She just sits in front of the TV all day. It's either too hot or too cold to go outside for a walk, or some other ridiculous excuses. Her mental and physical abilities are deteriorating at a faster pace than they should be. At least if she would read, maybe she could have some mental stimulation.