9 real retirees share what it's like to stop working and live the life you want

9 real retirees share what it's like to stop working and live the life you want
Courtesy of Joe and Karen Stermitz

Leaving work isn't easy — generally, it means making a new life for yourself, making new friends, and finding new hobbies, say these nine retirees from Business Insider's Real Retirement series.

While some have chosen to travel, others keep a more low-key lifestyle. Several chose to work again after retiring.

But, their impressions of retirement so far are similar, whether they've been retired for six months or five years: Life gets better when you're retired.

If you'd like help planning for your own retirement, SmartAsset's free tool can find a financial planner near you »

For nine retirees, the circumstances of retiring and how life looked afterwards have been very different. From living a low-key retirement in the Midwest like James R. of Minnesota, to selling their home to travel the world like Joe and Karen Stermitz, there are lots of directions it could take.
The way people end up in retirement isn't always the same, either. Some, like David Fisher of upstate New York, retired at the traditional 65 years old, while others, like Dirk Cotton, retired early. Some retired sooner than they expected, like Bill Davidson, who retired when his former employer downsized, and Edd and Cynthia Staton, who lost their roles during the recession in 2009.
However they came into retirement, these nine retirees all faced the same question: What comes after work? These retirees weighed in on what it was like to put working life behind them.
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