Tricia Conover thought she was ready to retire five years ago. She was in a high-stress corporate job and the idea of living a life with little to no stress in retirement seemed to be the right decision. As it turns out, she says her first retirement was a valuable lesson on how not to do it.

Her decision to retire was more about escaping from a bad situation than it was about the type of life to which she was retiring. Though she tried consulting for a couple of years, it just didn’t work for her. So back to work she went. But after only two years, she knew she wanted to do something else with her life. However, this time when she retired, she had a plan.

Tricia’s advice for anyone looking to retire is to do likewise. First, educate yourself about some of the pitfalls waiting when you cut the cord to a full-time job. “I always tell people to think about what you want to do with your day,” she said. “I really think in retirement you have to think about it. I see a lot of people like me take false steps and not really have a plan.”

She read books to get ready for her next effort at retirement, and particularly recommends two from her list. One is How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie Zelinski. The book walks the reader through a checklist of things you might want to do when you retire. “You see themes that pop up. It is kind of like a bucket list, but it also kind of tells you if you are ready.”

One other major concern was to avoid spending the retirement nest egg prematurely, which is where the other book she recommends came in handy: The Big Retirement Risk – Running Out of Money Before You Run Out of Time by PRiME contributing editor, Erin Botsford.

Besides needing a source of income to avoid drawing down her retirement fund, Tricia’s second retirement revolves around the passions of wine and travel, and has included lots of education. She has taken enough classes on wine and wine tasting to be considered an advanced sommelier. She is a Certified Wine Professional and has reached the Level 4 Diploma status as certified by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Her solution for funding all this education and travel was to do part-time consulting work, using her “old” skills to provide a very nice source of income. Since Tricia excelled in her career in software sales, it’s not surprising that she is excelling equally well in part-time consulting and writing.

In addition to being the wine editor for PRiME Women, Tricia is a Commissioner for the Arts Council for McKinney, Texas, writes for the Somm Journal and served as a USA wine judge at the International Wine Challenge in London. This spring she was chosen by the International Wine, Food, and Travel Writers Association for a paid media trip to the Greek Islands this fall.

A successful “retirement” indeed.

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About The Author

Dorthy Miller Shore

Chairman of the Board of The Miller Agency, the largest women-owned automotive ad agency in the U.S., and owner of Miller Wired interactive website development company, Dorthy Miller Shore is an award-winning, international advertising veteran. After stepping down as CEO of her company, Dorthy is board chair and managing editor for PRiME Women.