by Dave Hughes

The word ‘retirement’ carries baggage for some people, like it’s a finish line or the beginning of the end.

But Dave Hughes, the founder of Retire Fabulously, has a completely different viewpoint. He sees retirement as more of a Renaissance – a time to reinvent yourself. Why? Because you have the opportunity to do what you want to do and live where you want to live without having to consider career advancement and earning potential.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s incredibly liberating,” Mr Hughes tells Health Wisdom Magazine.

“To me, retiring fabulously means rediscovering your true passions and engaging with them. It means becoming the person you truly are or want to be, as opposed to the person you had to be- come to be successful in your career. It’s having the freedom to live life on your terms and do what makes your heart sing.”

Long before he was recognised in Next Avenue’s 2017 Top 50 Influencers in Ageing, Mr. Hughes spent most of his career as a software engineer and then
as a manager.

“I enjoyed those things and I did reasonably well at them, but that was a career path and an identity I chose because I could make a good living at it. In my heart, I have always wanted to be a jazz trombonist. With my level of talent and discipline, that probably would not have been a very successful
career path for me. But now that I’m retired, I can do that,” he says.

“I play in several bands. My ability to earn a living doesn’t depend on it. I have also discovered that I enjoy being a writer. Retiring fabulously doesn’t mean you need a large amount of money to spend on lavish, extravagant living. Many of the things you can do to enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement are free or inexpensive, and for those things that have a costthere are senior discounts. You may be able to earn some extra money from pursuing your passions. I get paying gigs every now and then and I earn a little bit of money from my writing.”

Mr Hughes, who wrote the popular Smooth Sailing into Retirement and Design Your Dream Retirement after Retire Fabulously was born, admits that while he looked forward to retirement throughout his working career, he didn’t get serious about designing his own ideal retirement lifestyle until his final year at work.

Like many others, he found his retirement “popped up on the horizon” sooner than he expected when his company offered him an attractive early retirement package.

“After debating for a half a year with my husband, we decided to take it. I started looking around the internet for information about what retired life was really like and how to maximize this great opportunity, and I didn’t find very much. Everything was about saving enough money, how to invest and so forth,” he says.

“Of course all of that is important, but I knew that there was more to enjoying a happy retirement than simply saving enough money. Money does not buy happiness in retirement any more than it does at any other time in your life. So I started Retire Fabulously to fill that void.”

With more people spending two or three decades, even longer, in healthy and active retirement, Mr Hughes says it is a significant portion of your life and presents a wonderful opportunity for freedom and fulfilment, as long as you envision it that way and plan for it.

“Retirement can be the happiest period of your life. I encourage people to have something to retire to, not just something to retire from. It gives you
something to look forward to and more incentive to save,” he says.

“If all you do is stop working, then you’ll probably end up spending more time in front of the TV or the computer, in which case you probably will be bored. There are many ways you can lay the groundwork for your retirement while you’re still working, especially if you plan to launch a business or start learning new things.”

Mr Hughes says a fabulous retirement includes a mix of activities that provide physical activity, mental stimulation, socialisation, and fulfilment.

“I encourage people to curate their life, just like a curator at a museum decides what will be displayed in the museum and what won’t. Sometimes the quality of your life is determined as much by what you take out of it as what you put in,” he says.

“I think the chances are good that your retirement will turn out the way you visualise it. If you think your retirement will be a period of decline and boredom, it probably will be. If you envision your retirement as an exciting new life stage filled with discovery, engagement, freedom, and fulfilment, it probably will be. People who are happy, engaged, and active usually live longer than people who are lonely, bored, and sedentary.”

Because a fabulous retirement is different for each individual and couple, those who might need a little guidance can download a free guide from

“While you’re there, you can sign up to receive a notification whenever I publish a new article. My next book, tentatively titled The Quest for Retirement Utopia: How to Find the Retirement Spot That’s Just Right for You, will be released in early 2019,” Mr  Hughes says.

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