Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thoughts on Retirement

I don't ever plan on retiring. When I left my law practice, I was busier than ever with volunteering at the BYU Family History Library, helping to run several businesses, teaching classes, attending genealogy conferences, and writing books and webinars. Oh, also, taking a lot of photographs all over the country and into other countries. I think the dominant view of retirement is corrosive and counterproductive. The idea of a "life of leisure" is a copout from being a relevant member of society.

We lived most of our lives in Mesa, Arizona, one of the major "retirement" areas of the United States. What are the components of the so-called "active lifestyle" that is supposed to represent retirement? If you look at the ads for "retirement communities" you see the following:
  • Vibrant resort 55+ community
  • Award-winning golf
  • Easy access to retailers and entertainment
  • Affordable luxury
  • Luxurious club
  • Live the good life
  • Active adults
None of that has even the slightest interest to me. I can't image what I would do if all I had to look forward to in life was another round of golf. Now, one of my requirements for a place live does involve access to Costco or Sam's Club, but I don't think that is what they mean by retailers. 

What are the advantages to where I live in Provo, Utah?
  • A gathering center for my family
  • Google Fiber high-speed internet
  • Next to hiking trails up a canyon 
  • Snow in the Winter
  • Access to the second largest genealogy library in the world
  • Access to a major university library
  • Access to a major university
  • Short drives to some of the most fabulous scenery in the world
  • A good mass transit system
This list could go on and on. 

Over the years, I have had a lot of my friends retire from their jobs. In many cases, they have become listless, bored, and in some extreme cases, died after only a few years of retirement. Of course, we never know when we will die, but we don't have to sit around and wait for it to happen. 

I don't know if anyone has done a study, but I am guessing that genealogists live longer than the average. We always have one more project or one more family to research. 

If you are at odds about what to do with your retirement and still have some measure of health and mobility, I suggest getting involved in your community. Start by checking out this website: I think you will find that there are lots of opportunities, not just to stay busy, but to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. 


  1. I was made aware of your blog after your latest webcast for the BYU library. My husband and I enjoyed pursuing a few of your past blogs and found this one resonating with us. We are in the last few weeks of our what will be 21 month mission as self-reliance missionaries in Sydney Australia. Retirement had come not too long before our mission. We have just sold our home in Blaine, WA and are moving to Utah. We loved your reference to Costco because we also feel that is also essential to us. Thanks for your thoughts. Fun for us.

    1. Welcome to Utah and I hope you like it as much as we do.