Welcome to Retire and Renew where we discuss and learn from each other.
If you have been here before, and want to go on to the posts and comments, please click on “Posts” under the photo, or “Let’s Get Started e” at the end of this page. 
Guest Bloggers
Have you ever considered writing a post for a published blog site? Retire and Renew is looking for Guest Bloggers. The benefits for guest bloggers are:
  • Reach a new audience
  • Network with other writer/bloggers
  • Build links to your site
  • Submit posts to Retire and Renew.

Send in your name and e-mail address to:

Writer’s guidelines for Retire and Renew will be sent to you.



If this is your first visit, and you want to know more, read the following:

My name is Lori Blatzheim. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and Thrift advocate. I retired from my nursing position on 2/16/12.

I now realize that Retirement is a life changing event. It may take patience, work, and a change in perspective to result in success.

I decided to start a blog dedicated to the experience many of us are having.
To reach the posts please click on “post” under the photo, or “Let’s Get Started” at the end of this page.
Please send your comments. You might want to discuss Renewing Yourself, Retirement, Senior Life, Senior Resources, Thrift and how it can change and Improve Senior Life.
You may have other thoughts and suggestions that no one else has considered. Your comments will provide inspiration for others to discuss.
If you have a particular interest, click on the “Categories” at the bottom of a post page.
Thank you for your interest.

63 thoughts on “Thoughts

  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. Many thanks

    • Writing a blog post is an opportunity to share thoughts and memories. I am hoping that you are enjoying the season and that you have friends or family available to share this special time with you.

      • We are trying to decide if we should move from Wi to a warmer climate in the US. All of our kids and grandkids live in the Chicago-Milw. area and that is keeping us here. But then we think-we would have a better lifestyle without the winter and rainy days. This is driving me nuts. I feel like half of me wants to be in Fl or AZ and the other half says it is too much work to sell the house and move. My husband would feel better physically in a warmer climate and the cost of living would be less for us. But I just have a hard time making the permanent decision. there is no perfect place to retire to I know but I have never been so indecisive about anything else in my life. AAArgh!!! Help!!!

        • The question asked is should we move from Wi to a warmer climate in the US?

          Your issues are as follows:

          All of our kids and grandkids live in the Chicago-Milw. area

          We think-we would have a better lifestyle without the winter and rainy days.

          The cost of living would be less for us.

          There will be a lot of work to sell the house and move.

          My husband would feel better physically in a warmer climate

          The cost of living would be less for us.

          I cannot answer this for you. I can suggest that you take each of the above thoughts and try to determine what you would lose and what you would gain by moving many miles away from your family.

          In addition, consider what makes you happy. Is it living in a new area of the country or is it spending time with your family?

          I think you have already considered this by your comment:

          There is no perfect place to retire. I agree.

          I hope that other readers address this topic.

          Lori Blatzheim

        • Thank you for your comment on Retire and Renew.

          I feel your situation is important and I decided to write a post on the topic.

          It is difficult to decide what is better, to remain living where you are, or moving to a new location..

          Please check our the latest post on Retire and Renew. I hope you find it helpful.

          Lori Blatzheim

          • Thank you for the comment on our situation. I especially appreciated the links you provided. Today we had two of our grandkids overnight and I know if we decide to move it will be difficult to see them less than we do now. On the other side, if we want to make the change for ourselves we need to do it in the next couple years. We actually decided we will go to FL in June and see if we like the area where we have looked at homes online. Then we will be able to make a more informed decision. I hope other people will write in and offer suggestions, too.

            • Thank you for your message. I like the fact that you are thinking of the future and want to learn more about Florida before making your decision.

              Lori Blatzheim

      • Hi Lori, you were my 1st intro to blogging and I thank you for that. Check my website and
        Thanks again for getting me interested in blogging.It’s great therapy!

        • Hello Gertie,

          Thank you for placing a comment. I really appreciate messages sent to me. It helps to learn what the audience wants.
          Best wishes,

          Lori Blatzheim

  2. Lori,
    I absolutely LOVE your blog and I’ve signed up so the responses come to my email account. However, I really don’t want to read the “thanks for your comments” responses. I just want to read the messages of substance. The blogging world is tough and I really, really, really want to see you succeed in it. Getting a lot of “thanks” emails isn’t gonna cut it. Sorry – I don’t mean to hurt your feelings. I am trying to give you a suggestion that will make you more successful.

  3. Hi lorie just checked out the blog very nice web site you have and see you next time on the dollar stretcher….

    • Hi cheapChick,

      It was fun to read your message on the Retire and Renew site. Thank you for writing. I am looking forward to hearing from you again.


  4. Hi Lori,
    Just found your wonerful site…Thanks! How special it must make you feel to be able to help us seniors or soon to become seniors…Keep up the good work.!

  5. Thanks, Lori. I am glad that we traveled and that my dear husband was able to enjoy his beloved golf almost daily during his retirement. I will never regret any of those expenditures, as they brought him great happiness.

  6. Lori,
    I am putting in for a VRIF since my job is some what physical and I am getting older (57). I want to leave before my physical health makes me. I have already out last all the other females by 3 years.
    The stress factor is 1/2 of the reason for me leaving. I have now developed high blood pressure, which my Doctor has told me if I don’t get a handle on it I can expect to stroke out.
    My biggest concern is what to do with my 401K. Since my retirement money is backed by the government as long as I leave it with my employer I am not moving it. It seems there is no secure place to put your 401K that is guaranteed.
    As I have discovered after paying for life insurance my whole career I cannot keep it when I retire. It is so expensive I will not be able to afford it. $2500 every 3 months for both of us. If only we had purchased it in our 30′s or 40′s it probably would of only been 20 a month.
    I just was wondering if anyone has any suggestions what would be the best thing to do with my 401K.
    Thanks, Rochelle

    • Hello Rochelle,

      It sounds as though you have a lot to contend with and a lot of decisions to make. I am, not myself, a personal financial manager. But I can find material for you to read and I can check with friends who have financial management experience. They may have suggestions.

      Give me a few days to assemble some material and I will post the information.


  7. Lori,
    Thanks for the update. I understand that there are some who haven’t followed the whole line of comments. No problem. And you’re right – we’re going to be making some very serious, difficult decisions. But, one decision is already made – we are NOT taking $ out of our 401′s to fund his law school. We may well work until we’re 90 years old to help him out, but we are not touching those investment funds – compound interest makes all the difference in the world.

    • There is no law school “article”. I simply inquired about how to plan for a soon to be retirement when our son wants to go to law school. Do we help him financially with law school (which, if we didn’t, he can expect to end up with $150,000 – $200,000 in loans) or should we invest in our retirement. That’s all. It’s a tough decision and I was simply looking for insight/wisdom.

      • Hi Jim,

        We are going to have some comments from people who haven’t had a chance to follow the string of thought we have been sharing. I appreciated your reply to cheapchick. I think this person did not have a chance to check out the previous posts.
        You have some big decisions to make.
        I don’t have an answer for you except to say get as much information as you can. (For example, are there penalties involved in taking out money from your retirement funds? Will you need the money all at once?) Consider the consequences of different decisions. Keep the communication open between all family members involved.

        The final decision will be yours and I know it will come only after a great deal of thought.


    • Hi cheapchick,

      Jim and others have been discussing a question regarding use of retirement funds to help education cost. There are difficult decisions to be made.

      If you scroll back on this site, you will be better able to follow the conversations.

      If you have questions or topics you think are important, please let us know by writing a comment.


  8. Yeah – no doubt, you’re right about that. It’s just really hard to not help him pay for law school. It’s so damn expensive and I remember well how long and hard it was to pay off our school loans while raising a family and trying to save for our kids’ undergrad. Ugh – surely there’s a way to do this without jeapordizing our retirement. We just haven’t figured that out yet. But, appreciate your weighing in on this.

    • Hello,

      I agree, this is a really tough decision and there are a lot of things to consider. I hope that others who faced similar situations will write in with their thoughts.


  9. Hi Lori,
    Great site. I am “semi” retired as I only work two shifts a week but am often thinking forward to retirement and the luxury of a more relaxed life. So I will stay posted!

    • Hi and thank you for your post.

      Retirement, as I am currently experiencing it, is a little different than what many plan to do.

      I don’t sleep till noon, spend time writing the “Great American Novel” or happily wander through the mall.

      But…………….everyone experiences retirement differently. It is a very special chapter in our lives and it presents an opportunity to do what we have always wanted to do. For some this will be travel, for others a volunteer project. We may want to learn a skill or to start a walking program. It doesn’t always involve money. Sometimes it requires time and thought. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow. All we have to do is start.

      If you have any topics you think would contribute to this blog, please send in your comments.

      • Lori, I found your blog this evening through the Dollar Stretcher. I just want to tell people to travel/enjoy life together while you can. My husband and I cared for our parents in our home for most of our marriage, and nine years ago our last parent died–we then began traveling with friends and did so for nine wonderful years. Early this past January, my husband died as a result, truly, of hospital error (though we are not a family who “sues”). My point is that I am so grateful that we spent some of our retirement savings on activities we enjoy, and I urge others to consider doing the same. One never really knows what lies ahead, and it’s best to steer a middle course between spending profligately (hope that is a word!) and saving every penny “just in case.” Thanks for your interesting and helpful comments.

        • Hello Elizabeth,,

          Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciated your thoughts. Many of us have a dream of doing something very special. We put it off, thinking that we can do it some other time. Life continues. It may bring an unanticipated event which prevents the dream from happening.

          I am sorry that your husband passed away, but I am happy that you had an opportunity to spend your lives together persuing activities you both enjoyed.

          Lori Blatzheim

  10. My husband and I are in the early stages of planning our retirement (we hope to continue working for another 3-5 yrs). Our plan is to move to a new place where the cost of living is not so high. We also hope to make new freinds and expand our horizons both with volunteering, educational opportunities and just exploring our new environment. Any suggestions on what we should be doing at this stage?

    • Hi Marilyn,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, I have suggestions:

      Explore possible retirement sites by taking a trip to your local library. Look for books on retirement and details about living in various areas of the country. They are out there. There are also internet sites which may help.

      Think about what is important to you in your life ahead. Is it climate, cost of living, opportunities for Volunteerism, etc?

      Do you want to live in a house, condo, apartment or mobile home? Would you prefer an urban or rural life, or something in between?

      Communicate with the person you will live with. Try to determine what you really want in the new area. Listen to each other. Be
      willing to negotiate.

      I am so glad that you included volunteerism. I have had more rewards from volunteering than I ever imagined I would.

      This can be an opportunity for you to try something new and different.( I volunteer when I write posts for blogs. This is quite a stretch from being a nurse.)

      Good luck and keep in touch. If you find a book or web site, or have further suggestions, please comment back.

      Lori Blatzheim

  11. Lori,
    Thank you very much for your input. We are really working towards having no debt (including the house) when we retire ’cause I can’t imagine having to pay a mortgage while you’re retired. It sounds expensive enough as it is. Although we too recently refinance go a great low interest rate – 3.37. We’ve also got a son who is about to graduate from college – finally! Yeah – but he just announced he wants to go to law school. That’s a bit of a dilemma for us – do we help him with law school or max out our retirement funds?

    I love the thrift life style. I can very easily do that, although I really would love to travel when we’re retired. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  12. I’m 8-10 years from retirement. I know a whole bunch of people in my age category that would LOVE to hear from retirees. Other than being completely debt-free, including paying the house off, I haven’t a clue how much money we’re going to have to have saved before we can safely retire. I’d love to read what your retirees have to say about that. I’d also love to hear how retirees spend their days – after the intial honeymoon phase is over. What are the things they did that they’re really glad they did? What did they do or not do that they regret. Seriously, there’s a bunch of 50-somethings out here that would love to benefit from the wisdom of people who have retired. Thanks much.

    • Hi Jim,

      It is difficult to determine how much money to save prior to retirement. That is because we are all different with our own needs and wants and expenditures.

      I can tell you what is helping our family as I start my retirement.

      During the last few years, we paid off our credit card bills. This was a real life changing event. Currently we owe money on our house and one car.

      We refinanced the house to a much lower interest rate. And, it will now be paid off five years earlier than it would have been.

      We built up a large emergency fund which we will only use in case of true emergencies. We will try to maintain the fund over time.

      We spent a lot of time reviewing our budget so that we knew, to the dollar, how much the input would be and how much the bills would be on a monthly basis.

      Most importantly, our family lives a Thrift centered life. We are creative and we are frugal. When we are going to make a purchase, we automatically evaluate what we are buying and where we can get it at the best possible price. If we can’t afford it we don’t buy it. If it is an absolute necessity we use the emergency fund.

      You asked about activities. There are a lot of low cost activities that turn out to be rewarding and fun. I would suggest taking a good look at your community. What do you like to do? What are your interests? I have been blogging for Dollar Stretcher,, for awhile. I decided I wanted to find out how to start and maintain my own blog. I had no clue how to do this. I googled a lot, read a lot, tried a lot of things and guess what? It worked. I now have my own web stie and you are reading it.

      Good luck on your planning. I hope that others will write in with their suggestions.

    • Hello Daphna,

      Retirement is a very personal decision.

      My suggestion is to take a look at your resources.
      Do you have adequate savings to meet your needs and wants?
      Do you have debt? Could you pay it off prior to retirement?
      What will you do with your time.
      Will you live in the current area? Will you reside in the same residence?
      How is your health? Do you need ongoing medical care?

      You are very wise to start thinking of retirement prior to actually making the decision.

      There are lots of posts online which encourage the reader to think about aspects of retirement. I tried Google and found a number of posts to explore.

      I think this would be a great topic for Retire and Renew and for all who read it. I would like to encourage readers to e-mail and share their thoughts. This way we can discuss strategies: what went well for other people and what did not?

  13. I retired from the Post Office two weeks ago. It still feels like I’m on vacation but I have noticed that my irregular heartbeat occurs less and less as time goes on. I guess you could say that I was under some stress. Now I am sleeping in every morning until my two lunk-head dogs get me up. Anywhere between 8:00 and 9:00. Only time I used an alarm was when I had to be at the dentist’s office at 10 and I didn’t want to be late. Ha.

    A couple more good things are coming out of this…my house is slowly but surely getting a little cleaner, my one paranoid dog is much calmer, I’m catching up on my TV watching, and I really like not having to do anything!

    I am a little poorer, but the need to buy stuff has passed. I’m 61 which is fairly young…I need to get healthy so I can continue to enjoy this phase of my life.

    I’ll check in with you from time to time because this being retired stuff needs support! Ha.

    • Hello Crazy Dog Lady,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciated it and I know others will as well.

      I think, by commenting, we can support others experiencing some of the same emotions and challenges.

      I also was under a lot of stress at work prior to my retirement. I really wasn’t sure whether it was time to pull the blog on my career but I did decide to leave my job.

      Ever since I retired I am sleeping better, getting more done, developing a renewed interest in housekeeping, and the bags that used to appear under my eyes are gone.

      I enjoy writing and I hope that readers will continue to read Retire and Renew. I consider this “the reader’s website,” not “my” website.

      We can help others by reading, writing, learning, supporting and otherwise helping those who are facing the challenges of retirement and renewal following.

  14. Great site! So glad I came across this. I’m not retiring anytime soon (at least another 8-10 years) but I am always looking for words of wisdom from people who have “been there, done that”. Thanks much.

    • Thank you for your comment. I always enjoy reading comments.

      If you have suggestions for posts or ideas on what to discuss, please send them in.

      In the mean time, spread the word about Retire and Renew.

      Thanks, Lori

    • Hi Unsie,

      Thanks for your comment. I am learning a great deal about the retirement experience and the opportunities it presents.

      Besides “Retire and Renew,” I am posting thoughts about how Seniors help people through volunteer activities and by teaching Thrift related strategies for living a more contented life. These appear in the “Dollar Stretcher” in the Blog section, and in the Forum section titled “The Virtual Thrift Club.”

      To reach these, log into:

      I hope that you enjoy these.

  15. Hi cheapchick, It was so nice to hear from you.
    You bring up a very important point. People do sometimes have to retire due to medical issues.
    We should not forget. We need to support those who find themselves in an unexpected retirement.

  16. Nice blog laurie me retired medically and its hard so Im going to check your blog from time to time and ask way to many questions in the future have one heck of a great day..

  17. Thank you so much for your message. I am hoping that as time goes by, more people will comment. Please let me khow if you have suggestions for posts.


  18. Thank you very much for your comment dineke Kleyn. I am looking forward to hearing from people who have an interest in retirement and life following. Those who are growing older can still have positive experiences in the future.

  19. My husband is a retired RN. Due to health issues (coronary artery disease) he retired at 56. He was petrified at the thought of losing a paycheck. Now, eight years later we are fine. He volunteers at the local veterans hospital one day a week and while he doesn’t do “nurse” type things he is lots of help in other ways. We both had to get serious about frugal living. The Tightwad Gazette helped us off to a good start! Now, the rule is “think it through” before spending more than $5.00. Being good savers in our younger years helped bridge the gap to social security and medicare. Good luck to all – just stay disciplined and learn to be HAPPY with what God has provided for you!

    • Hello Bumpkin,

      Thank you so much for this post. I appreciate the time you took to write and send it.

      I truly believe that people who have experienced retirement can be of help to others.They can offer ideas, suggestions and support.

      I didn’t realize how life changing retirement can be until I experienced it myself.

      I also think that “thinking before spending” is a very vital concept.

      I hope to hear from you again.

      Lori Blatzheim

  20. (Another Laurie!!!) Also a nurse for 26 years, although not quite ready to retire yet. I, too, am very frugal, and look forward to the day I do! Good Luck with the new blog!!

    • Hi Laurie, Thank you for your post. I hope that you continue to follow and if you see items you wish to comment on please do that. You might also have thoughts on topics that, as a nurse, you think are important for us to address.

      Lori Blatzheim

  21. Best of luck, Laurie! I am working on building a ‘thrift’ club in my community & am working towards partial retirement (hubby is fully retired) in the next few years. Enjoy this new phase of your life! Lorrie

Leave a Reply