Avoiding Stage 3

Recently, Doug read a good article about the five stages of retirement, though there was a stage worth some attention. We wanted to share these stages with you as he is embarking on his pending retirement in the years ahead.

Family of grown adults throwing a party for an older lady who is retiring

According to the article, here are the five stages most people experience before and during retirement years:

  1. Pre-Retirement
  2. The Honeymoon Phase
  3. Disenchantment
  4. Re-Orientation & Finding Yourself
  5. Stability

Stage One: Pre-Retirement

To retire successfully (the first time), more time than you might think needs to be spent in the years leading up to your retirement date. Ignoring the following can be costly and lead to unnecessary stress and wasted time.

  • Financial preparation is by far the utmost vital criteria for retirement
    • Living costs & medical costs make up the most significant part of your budget
    • Family expenses can often creep up on you faster/more extensively than expected
    • Accounting for fluctuations in your investments is critical (as in NOW!)
    • Try to project your daily life as a retiree
      • What will I do after I wake up for the next 14 – 16 hours?
    • What are your goals for retirement? (Rest, be active, travel, family needs, work, etc.)
  • Where do you want to live?
    • Downsize? Upsize? Move away? Stay local? One or two places?

Stage Two: The Honeymoon Phase

Woohoo!! The day has finally arrived. No more lousy bosses, long commutes, late nights in the office, pain the rump employees, etc. Freedom at last! During this stage, you may have feelings of excitement, liberation, and relief from the stresses brought to you by the working world. These feelings often last for 1 to 2 years; however, they can last for much longer, depending on how you spend your time.

A considerable portion of your time initially will be spent reconnecting with friends and family, indulging in new & old hobbies, and enjoying more freedom to do whatever you please.

Stage Three: Disenchantment

After the emotional high begins to wear off and the honeymoon phase is over, many people start to feel disappointed and let down with their current life. Retirement is something that many of us look forward to and spend a lot of time hyping up. So, once you’ve settled into retirement, it can begin to feel less exciting than you once thought. Many people may feel lonely and bored and have lost their sense of purpose.

Stage Four: Re-orientation and Finding Yourself

Like any other stage, you eventually begin to adapt to your new circumstances and navigate your new life. This is the hardest part of retirement, as re-finding your purpose and establishing who you are takes time and a lot of conscious effort. Even though it can be tricky, this is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable stages.

Typically, this is the time to try new things, find new hobbies, and re-find your purpose in life. Without a full-time job and no children (hopefully no full-time grandchildren either) to care for, it can be hard to find a purpose. But researchers worldwide agree that finding something that reignites your spark is crucial. This could be pursuing a passion, volunteering, looking after your grandkids, or adding something fun and exciting to your daily routine.

Stage Five: Stability

The final stage of retirement brings feelings of being content and joyous in retirement and your new life. You may find yourself settled into your new routine and lifestyle, doing things you love that make you feel happy and fulfilled and enjoying your life with a new sense of purpose and identity. And this is being single or with someone you love.

Disenchantment is undoubtedly the stage that most of us need to be careful of. Think of it this way: You spend an excessive amount of time researching when and where to retire, designing and building your Dream Home, meeting new neighbors, and getting used to not having to work. Then one day, you wake up and are bored to pieces. Your spouse is engaged in numerous activities, and other than watching TV, you have very few friends, if anyone, to hang out with.

Couples especially need to be careful of having one spouse become sedate, as that will almost always lead to resentment or jealousy. And as a single person, it’s imperative not to let your guard down, as you might not have anyone to pick you back up. Retirement can be scary.

So, how does one avoid all or most of Stage Three? The best advice is to set up a daily routine, just like you had when you worked and or were an active parent. We need reasons to wake up; no, we are not just talking about going to the bathroom. You need a purpose – exercising, reading, volunteering, part-time job, neighborhood activities, taking the dog for a long walk, community civic groups, sewing club, poker night, being a candy striper, etc.

In Doug’s semi-retirement, he attempts to do as much as possible. He plays golf with a group of men from his condo building; is attending a new Rotary club; has a couple of favorite fishing holes; enjoys dining out at new restaurants with new friends; learning to play tennis again; often traveling (5 cruises this year, and counting); vacationing with family and entire company; trying to find a new church; writing his monthly eNewsletter Carolina Dreamin’; being active as a Trustee at Brunswick Community College, and more.

PLAN PLAN PLAN. If you don’t have one, you may be mighty bored during your golden years! You’ve been a very productive person since high school, and now your calendar is wide open, so it is up to you and you only to start thinking about what you want to see on your Daily calendar when you throw in the towel at work. And once you project your future, it is time to execute because we all know that a great plan is nothing without execution. 

Moral of The Story: Avoid Stage Three!

When Will It Be My Time?

In friendships, relationships, and business partnerships, one just seems to know when the timing is right to jump in or bailout. Over decades, the accumulation of experience at many levels provides us with an innate sense of good timing. Granted, we sometimes overstay our welcome and bow out prematurely, but wisdom on minor and major decisions is a learned experience.

Retiring, though, is hopefully only done once. And therefore, it’s not like we have a set of handy CliffsNotes to follow. Winging is ok if you go to a horse track and place a $2 bet or throw caution to the wind and try some $6 fancy coffee that you can’t even pronounce—but winging it on retirement? No way, right?!

Retirement encompasses several definitions for many people. Of course, the most common is saying goodbye to your office/work friends and set out to define/redefine yourself. To many others, people commonly might say, “I’m retiring to North Carolina,” which one would interpret as not only leaving your job but selling the house in Jersey and moving somewhere warmer, friendlier, and more economical.

watch, with time, dark background

So, just when do you put all of this into motion? What is the magical date to pull the plug at work or sell the business and set yourself out to pasture? Are there advisors or counselors to assist you with this mega-task? Do you have to make the decision all on your own? What happens if you make the wrong decision? Kind of daunting, isn’t it?


It’s a no-brainer that, historically – your finances are the #1 most crucial concern in if-and-when you are going to retire. Millions of Americans will never be financially stable enough to hang up their work boots or nurse’s license. These people will work until there’s no work left in them and pray that their meager savings or government contributions keep them comfortable for that duration.

For those fortunate enough to amass sufficient funds, pensions, or Social Security benefits, it’s often a daunting task to set in stone your “end date.” Cutting the proverbial umbilical cord is scary, and rightfully so – as no one wants to retire and then un-retire months/years later. That would be tough to handle mentally!

three white eggs with gold lettering of ROTH, IRA & 401K with dollar bills in background

Over Doug’s 20 years in real estate, many clients have said they need to speak with their economic advisor before purchasing real estate. Often these advisors are stockbrokers – so one must learn to take what they say with a grain of salt because very few are ever in favor of you selling some or all of your stocks. This is because that decision affects them negatively financially. So, be careful with whom you enlist financial advice. Your loved ones, family members, work friends, church members, neighbors, and others can be good sounding boards for collecting advice and suggestions on how much moola it will take to retire comfortably.


Lord knows that this issue, with the advent of COVID, has risen significantly in the past two years. Instead of focusing on good, healthy practices, we have been a hundred down; in some cases, we are just trying to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Health issues certainly can trump financial matters, for if you are not healthy, the number of reserves you have is almost a moot point, correct?

COVID aside, getting healthy, staying healthy, and securing affordable healthcare in your retirement years is monstrously important. Doug turns 65 this year and is just beginning to address the mountain of paperwork required to sign up for Medicare and supplemental insurance coverage. He has many friends who have already enrolled and are pleasantly satisfied with their new set of instructions for securing medical services, so he’s keeping his fingers crossed that his transition period is minimally difficult.

older gentleman at the doctor getting his blood pressure checked with female doctor

One of the newer phrases of the past ten years is “reinventing yourself.” Instead of working 40-50 hours a week along with no longer fighting traffic for 5-7 hours a week, all with less sleep, of course, you suddenly will have 168 hours a week to fill up! This is a huge opportunity for most retirees to begin that exercise regime you have been lying about for decades. Any day now, right?

Get out of the house and just do it! Walk 4 miles a day, ride a bike, swim, relearn to play tennis, take up kayaking, golf, learn to play pickleball, ski, or buy that Peloton bike and bike until your legs ache 304 times a week. Exercise is the number one most critical element to your success, for if you choose to ignore it: the length of your healthy retirement years will inevitably be shortened.


Retiring to your couch is not an option. Sure, you worked your butt off for 38 years and deserved a few quiet years on the couch, but not living a healthy lifestyle is like waking up every day and playing Russian Roulette.

Many years ago, Doug was a training instructor in industrial automation (boring, right?) During his tenure at that position, he took a class on training adults. Not only do most adults have the attention span of a tiny gnat, but if adults stopped learning and challenging their minds, their brains would turn to mush. Mental activities such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, board games, reading, writing, and taking courses are just as important in some cases as performing physical workouts.

3 men and one woman working outdoors

We all know that if you have a special event planned for today, no matter how minor it may be, it’s far easier to get up and get your groove thing going, right? Therefore, if you are not involved with your family, your community, a local service organization, or volunteer work, you will be shortening your retirement and probably not enjoying whatever time left you have. So, get off your Butkus and dive into something, really anything.

The magical date to set all this in motion lies between your heart, wallet, and noggin. One significant advantage that our generation has over our parents and grandparents’ generations is the internet. Here lies vast information and opinions about every imaginable subject, including where to retire! We are here to help you with that decision in finding your dream retirement home located on the beautiful North Carolina Coast.

Retiring Solo to North Carolina with Tips

When Carolina Plantations opened its doors in early 2007, our niche was helping people determine if Coastal North Carolina was the right place to retire. For over a decade, we have been the #1 experts in our area, helping people do just that.

While most of our clients are married, some happily, some not, we have assisted way more solo retirees than we would have ever thought. And it is not that we focused our efforts or marketing on (married) couples – it just turned out that way. Did you know that approximately 10% of our clients are single? Some were smart and never married, some were widows, some were divorced, and some were widowers. They got to be solo is irrelevant, though, for we assist everyone and anyone just the same.

man sitting at table , lady laying on beach, lady stretching on beach with sand and waves of ocean

In looking back, part of our business philosophy lends itself to solo retirees, so it is no wonder that we attract such many single people. As most of you know, there are three main steps to a successful search for a place to retire to (our Martini Theory)

  1. Area – Stuff like weather, beaches, shopping, medical services, dining, and so much more are the first steps to finding a place you will be happy at.
  2. Community – Finding a neighborhood with people of similar socio-economic backgrounds, similar activity levels, similar ages, and things such as architecture, amenities, and location.
  3. Home – If you find #1 & #2, you only look for a house – which will often seem like the easiest part of the search. That is until recently!

We know that moving can seem overwhelming to anyone; being single can seem like you’re being defeated. We have come up with a few tips to help our solo retirees consider your move to the North Carolina Coast below.

Live Near a City

While you may not have any intention of ever marrying again, most of us probably do not desire to spend the rest of our lives watching “Love Boat” reruns by ourselves till the end of time. Regarding living near a city, it doesn’t have to be a big city, but it should provide stimulus and opportunities for active adults.  A town or large metropolitan area can provide Live Theaters, good churches, nightclubs, fundraisers, society events, festivals, and more.

Couples eating dinner together, musical and couples dancing

Set a Budget for Real Estate and Stick to It

Imagine purchasing the most beautiful home ever built but not having the funds to easily visit your family or travel with new friends to fun destinations? Try your best to set a realistic budget for your home, and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in finding that fantastic home that all your friends will say “Wow, Wow, wow” when they see it. Shoot, one Wow is more than enough, mainly if you are now referred to as “house poor” by our industry standards and your friends after you move in.

Get Active

Couch potatoes have a hard time attracting other Couch Potatoes because who aspires to sit around and do nothing with your life? On the other hand, active people naturally attract other busy people for we all like doing things that are healthy and where you are very possibly meeting other healthy minded, fun adults.

Walking is the #1 activity for retirees, for you need nothing other than some good walking shoes and the appropriate walking garb. New to many states is Pickleball, which is like Adult Outdoors Ping Pong, and we have the old favorites of golf, tennis, boating, bike riding, swimming, fitness classes, and much more.

couples playing pickleball, golfing buddies and couple riding bikes outdoors


Of course, there is always the issue with watching our weight; however, there is a lot more to one’s appearance than how many cookies we eat weekly. For starters, many folks moving to Coastal NC are moving from cold climate weather, which naturally implies that your wardrobe might need a makeover to something a bit more tropical. So, away with the corduroy pants, thick blue jeans, rubber boots, parkas, ugly sweaters and sweatshirts, wool pants, etc., and say hello to shorts, flip flops, linen shirts, colorful clothes, comfy shoes, and more.

Since summer is much longer in the south, you may also want to consider a new hairstyle. Shorter is often more manageable and comfortable in the middle of our summer months. And guys, contrary to what you may have heard, mullets are not in style in North Carolina. (Nor are leisure suits, platform shoes, and wide collars)

Be Bold – The Rest of Your Life is Waiting for You

Many years ago, Doug was operating a booth for Winding River Plantation at the LiveSouth show in Parsippany, NJ, when a huge man (about 6’5” and 300 lbs) commented on southerners being fake friendly. Doug spoke to about eight people at the time, and he quietly walked out of the booth and stood toe to toe to this behemoth and said, “Sir, even grumpy people like you learn to be friendly when they move to North Carolina.” His wife sheepishly thanked Doug, and they went on their way.

Becoming friendly takes some northerners a bit of time, and that is understandable considering the density of people in a small space up north. However, time and time again, northerners that make it a point to be friendly are amazed at the reaction of others. The result is a new outlook on life and the addition of some beautiful new friends! So, be brave in all you do, for almost everyone around you is literally in the same boat – and that is looking to make new friends, try new types of food, travel more, and stop being so uptight all the time.

If you’re ready to make the change in scenery, temperatures and prepared to venture out to new adventures in the south, give us a call today. We look forward to helping you find your next dream home here on the Coast of North Carolina!

Caution: Closely Monitor Your Real Estate Market

Recently, Doug has read two articles that talk about a potential factor that will more than likely contribute to a slowdown in our national economy – the housing market. Trust us, we are not a naysayer at all, but there is some pretty strong logic to what lies ahead for much of the country.

The “Baby Boomers” are defined as people born between 1946 and 1964. Doug is a Baby Boomer and gust what? He is one of the 74.6 million Baby Boomers born in the post war era. Today, the population of BBs are down approximately 10 million. However, if you take into consideration immigration to the US during those years, we could still be looking at about 75 million Baby Boomers here in the states.

As a group, our wealth is staggering, and our buying power almost immeasurable. We are saving and hard workers, and many have paid off their full-time residences. We invest in the stock market (and other securities) and about 10,000 of us are retiring every day.

Should You Sell Your Home Now?

However, there is a glitch. The generations behind us are not nearly as diligent as we are and the percentage of homeowners are amongst those generations is lower than ours. In essence, there may not be enough of them to purchase all our homes when we put them on the market to retire. This is what economists are concerned about, and if it comes to fruition, will certainly sound the alarms for an economic slowdown here in the states.

The good news is that we should still have another good 3-7 years of Baby Boomers selling their homes for a fair market price and retiring preferable somewhere warmer, and purchasing a less expensive home. Although Doug still likes to quote a client of his from New Jersey who years ago said to his friends, “My wife and I are downsizing to a bigger home!!”

One factor though that could be exacerbating this market trend are the new tax laws up north that are limiting the amount of annual interest from you home mortgage that can be deducted. Due to these new rules and others that are being enacted, home ownership may not be as attractive as in decades past, so the results to home buyers in these states is a coin flip, for now.

How We Can Help

Our team of 10 Brokers has worked with tens of thousands of clients in our real estate careers. We know that timing a market, whether it be a stock market, housing market, futures market, etc., is nearly impossible to do a lay person. What we have been fortunate to see though over the years are people taking advantage of the old adage of “Selling High and Buying Low.” Imagine after 25 years you finally get around to cleaning up your house and yard to near new condition and whoah Nellie, there’s nobody knocking on your door to see your beautiful home? Said it ain’t so, Joe!!

So, today’s food for thought is passing along to you what some other folks have done:

  • Sell NOW, Rent, then Purchase – Take advantage of a strong market in your community, sell for a good profit, rent something in your area until you can retire. Then you can come south and purchase your Dream Home.
  • Retire Now, Sell Now and Move Now! If your home can bring you a profit that is nearly too good to pass up now, then factor that into your financial retirement plan and you might be telling your co-workers Adios as you take that sack of unmarked $100s from the sale of your home and head to warmer and greener pastures, wherever that might be.

Just don’t be that person who knows the market so well that you are the last in your neighborhood to place that “For Sale” Sign up in the yard. Keep in mind that the choice really is yours and walk away with guaranteed cash vs giving your home away. A little bit of jostling & inconvenience for 6-12 months might have everything to do with your successful retirement. Allow us at Carolina Plantations help you find your dream home here on the North Carolina Coast!


Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

On any given day in the life of an adult, we make approximately 35,000 decisions. Therefore, in a one-year period, an adult makes nearly 12,775,000 decisions. No wonder why Doug goes to bed so early each night – he just made a whole lot of decisions!

With all these decisions to make, it’s easy for us to look back and say “hey, what would have happened if we zigged instead of zagged?” Or, what if we chose this profession over that profession? Or should Doug have attended Harvard vs. University of Tennessee? (Go Vols) Or how about if he chose this family to grow up with versus that family? (just kidding, we all know that Doug made the right decision in life.)

Should We Have Zigged When We Zagged?

Here’s a good example of a zig-or-zag story:

 Back in the mid-90s when Doug was living north of Boston, he and his neighbor Bill and his buddy Ed from Chicago, took a cruise. One evening about halfway through the 7-day cruise and before dinner, they were walking on the Lido deck in search of a cocktail, and as they approached the pool, there was a bar on the left with people and a bar on the right with people. Doug made the decision to go to the one on the right, where they met two sisters from Boston. Twenty or so years later, Bill is still married to one of those sisters and has 3 daughters. Imagine if they had zigged instead of zagged?

Important Decisions

We all make important decisions in our lives.  Some we choose correctly and others, perhaps not so well. But hey, life is too short to have regrets as the incorrect decisions hopefully pave the way for correct decisions down the line, right?

Today, we are all where we are at because we have made billions of well-guided decisions, so let’s take a step back and congratulate each other because there are a lot of places, we could be that are certainly less desirable! Doug means, our lives might be far from perfect however, on the other hand, Los Angeles currently has 59,000 homeless people – not 59,001, agreed?

Choosing ‘where to retire’ is unequivocally one of the last major decisions adults make, so it is imperative that one studies the effects of zigging or zagging, as the implications on your quality of remaining life lie in the ballast. In fact, we think y’all might be surprised how often we meet people who have zigged when they should have zagged and wound up making an expensive mistake. We all know that moving is one of the world’s worst experience and it’s also very costly too!

Best Team on the Coast

To Doug’s knowledge, there is no real estate company in America that is better educated on the area they serve than the team at Carolina Plantations. However, we know you may be checking out other areas, so be sure to find independent Brokers that can help educate you on the area/s you are looking at. Well informed Zigs or Zags will lead you to a happy retirement and if coastal North Carolina is right for you, Team Carolina Plantations wants to assist you on your first retirement move, not your second or third. We hope that you will be able to find your forever home here on our beautiful coast line!

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