In Retirement, We Have More Time Than Ever. But We Want to Use It Wisely.
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In Retirement, We Have More Time Than Ever. But We Want to Use It Wisely.

We have fantasised about this moment for decades. The trick is learning how to savour it.

Fri, May 5, 2023 8:43amGrey Clock 4 min

The first year in retirement is often the most difficult. But it also can be the most crucial, setting the stage for how you’ll fill the years ahead—both financially and psychologically. Stephen Kreider Yoder, 65, a longtime Wall Street Journal editor, joined his wife, Karen Kreider Yoder, 66, in retirement in September. In this monthly Retirement Rookies column, they are chronicling some of the issues they are dealing with in their first year, offering their different perspectives on what can be a confusing transition.


For the first time in many years, time isn’t money.

That was never more clear one afternoon earlier this year when we were gazing down at the Mediterranean Sea while sipping coffee in a cafe in the town plaza in Bejaia, Algeria. We had no fixed plans for the day or the next week—just as planned.

We suddenly have time in abundance, now that we’re both retired, and we’re learning how to spend this currency that for decades has been so scarce. We can now linger where we want to be and dally over what we want to do.

Algeria was an ideal place to test this new reality. We had visited in 2019, but could afford only two weeks, what with full-time jobs—far too short for a country roughly 3.5 times the size of Texas. “We need more time there,” I said as we flew home.

This year, we could take nearly twice as long to immerse ourselves in what the country offered: a green coastal region that gives way to the golden Sahara; a mosaic of Arab, Berber, French and other cultures; Roman Empire ruins; good food and wine; some of the most hospitable people we’ve met.

We’ve been fantasising about this time in life since we got married. For decades, time was a rare commodity, and we had to spend a lot of money to acquire it. We paid an absurd price for a house in San Francisco, partly to limit our commutes. We often hired others to do tasks I enjoyed, like fixing our cars or restoring the trim on our Victorian.

“We need more time” was our constant lament, at no time more than during travel. We would shoehorn several countries into two-week tours. We liked to travel abroad on a low budget—it got us closer to the reality of wherever we were—but that took time, and we often didn’t have the luxury.

We have it now. Earlier this year, we rode the Amtrak California Zephyr to Iowa, rather than flying, to see my parents. It was about 48 hours each way, but what was the hurry? We got beds, three meals a day and a rolling display of Western America. We extended our stay with Mom and Dad to a full week.

Back home, I fired up the metal lathe to fine-tune a bearing-cup press I had made earlier—a bike tool that worked fine but which I had great fun fussing with for hours to refine it. I’ll soon solicit bids for scaffolding, so I can start restoring trim.

It’s beginning to occur to us: By saving money assiduously during our 44 years of marriage, we weren’t putting away only funds. We were also accumulating time to spend in retirement.

Money, at long last, is time.


I’ve never been more aware of the finite nature of time. We’re rich with it now, but there’s no guarantee how long those riches will last. At best, thanks to the longevity that runs in our families, we may have 30 good years of life left. That feels like a long time—and no time at all.

So I’ve been thinking: Maybe we should be budgeting our time like we budget money.

Should I, for instance, spend some of my newfound wealth of time on things I’ve loved to do all my life but had to cut back on while I was working? During the busy years of my career, I continued to make quilts, but had to leave many undone. I baked my own granola and whipped up many meals for friends, but found myself ordering out or picking up prepared foods from the grocery store to save time.

Yet now that I have the luxury of time, the opportunities to fill it have also grown. And that means I still find myself weighing how to spend it—and when to keep spending money instead. I still love to create things, for instance, but would I rather sew an original outfit from scratch or shop for a less-original affair and bank the time? We have time to do housecleaning now; does that mean we should stop paying someone else to do it once a month?

These aren’t easy questions. As a result, we’re talking about looking at all the large time expenditures on our list—travel, house work, volunteering, organising photos—and laying them out on an annual budget. That will help us use our time more wisely.

As we talked about in our last column, we also need to do a better job savouring—as opposed to just running through—the time we have. That hit home on our trip to the Algerian Sahara this year. We had blocked off a week to explore the desert, far longer than we would have during preretirement travel. We could finally take a leisurely pace, we told ourselves.

Yet we couldn’t shake the old urge to make each hour pay off. My question when we arrived the first night: “When should we be ready for breakfast in the morning?”

Our Tuareg guide, Habib, laughed. “You get up when you want,” he said. “In the desert, slowly, slowly.”

That became our mantra for the next days as we camped each night in a different swath of the wilderness. We sat around a low table for our morning coffee and baguette with fig jam. “Slowly, slowly,” Habib would say, and we would repeat it after him.

“Slowly, slowly,” he cautioned as we set off scrambling over rocks toward ancient pictographs. After lunch under a cool tree, we would chat and read and nap. “Slowly, slowly,” we would chant, and again in the evening as Habib stoked a small fire to heat tea, pouring it back and forth between two pots until it foamed into a thick, sweet brew. We brought that mantra home from Algeria. We’ve got time now, and if we budget it carefully, we can afford to spend it slowly, slowly.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Going warm and fuzzy for the 2024 Pantone Colour of the Year

Prepare yourself for the year of the peach

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Pantone has released its 2024 Colour of the Year — and it’s warm and fuzzy.

Peach Fuzz has been named as the colour to sum up the year ahead, chosen to imbue a sense of “kindness and tenderness, communicating a message of caring and sharing, community and collaboration” said vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, Laurie Pressman.

“A warm and cosy shade highlighting our desire for togetherness with others or for enjoying a moment of stillness and the feeling of sanctuary this creates, PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz presents a fresh approach to a new softness,” she said.

Pantone Colour of the Year is often a reflection of world mood and events

The choice of a soft pastel will come as little surprise to those who follow the Pantone releases, which are often a reflection of world affairs and community mood. Typically, when economies are buoyant and international security is assured, colours tend to the bolder spectrum. Given the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Israeli-Gaza conflict and talk of recession in many countries, the choice of a softer, more reassuring colour is predictable. 

“At a time of turmoil in many aspects of our lives, our need for nurturing, empathy and compassion grows ever stronger as does our imaginings of a more peaceful future,” she said. “We are reminded that a vital part of living a full life is having the good health, stamina, and strength to enjoy it.”

The colour also reflects a desire to turn inward and exercise self care in an increasingly frenetic world.

“As we navigate the present and build toward a new world, we are reevaluating what is important,” she said. “Reframing how we want to live, we are expressing ourselves with greater intentionality and consideration. 

“Recalibrating our priorities to align with our internal values, we are focusing on health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, and cherishing what’s special — the warmth and comfort of spending time with friends and family, or simply taking a moment of time to ourselves.”

Each year since 2000, Pantone has released a colour of the year as a trendsetting tool for marketers and branding agents. It is widely taken up in the fashion and interior design industries, influencing collections across the spectrum. 


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