Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Living for Now, Planning for Future

I've developed friendships or minimally friendly relations with many coworkers that I keep in touch with over the 29 years of being in the adult workforce. Some have been younger, particularly as the years moved on, but many are a decade to two older. Many of the latter have either retired in recent years,or would like to very soon. Some have had to push back retirement by 3 or more years, pushing what they thought would be 65 to now closer to 70. The recession really sucked, didn't it, and I wonder if we really ever will be completely out.

I'm completely rubbish at understanding how the market works, and understanding where to hedge your bets and move assets around. I can understand simple compound interest, and have set my goals based on average rates of return that lean to the conservative side. I put as much in tax deferred options and after tax accounts that will be tax free in retirement that we can. My husband wants to get into investment property, but I know how we operate life, and with his job, that doesn't seem to be a realistic option.  His parents did it, but his mom did not work a regular job outside of the home and handled showings, collecting checks, bookkeeping, and coordinating work. In the real estate area, keeping our housing expenses low, and eventually downsizing will be our only real estate strategy. However, when we do downsize, it will be to something below market that we invest elbow grease in, as we did our first house, in order to bank a substantial amount of what we sell this place for.

Where was I going with both of these ramblings? A sad series of real life anecdotes about so many of my older friends has me thinking hard on DH and my retirement strategy. I shared last year about a recently retired colleague that had a stroke and died at 67, within a year of retirement. A colleague from my last job has been on  family medical leave for over a month out of state after his younger wife, had a debilitating stroke while on vacation. They are getting ready to move her back here, and outfitting their house for all the modifications required, rather than adding more travel to their schedule. He was getting ready to retire next year at at 68, but who knows if this changes their plans. I hear what happens to so many people who have worked so hard, and in some cases longer than they wanted, only to have another sucker punch push plans yet further away. I have so many plans for my future post work life, I want to do everything I can do to preserve my dreams, but am a little wigged out that it seems a little luck of the draw sometimes, and I don't want to look back, or have my kids look back, and wish i had done more in my younger years.

First, I don't think all travel, hobbies, entertainment, and relaxation should be put off until retirement. However, I have insurance to carry for my family through my work, a child at home and to put through college,  so neither DH or I are in a positions to reduce work, so need to fit in things when we can. Second, as much as financial needs are critical, as much and maybe even more so for that future is to have healthy body's in retirement. DH had a TIA shortly after his 50th birthday four years ago. That knocked us into reality that if something didn't change in his diet and exercise, he might not see his kids graduate college let alone see retirement. When my health issues surfaced, I was so good for so long following the regimen of physical therapy and diet, but  have become undisciplined. This will not do, and part of the blog is to help me keep focused on leading an active and healthy life through diet, exercise, and  mental health breaks.So while I can save money buying really cheap groceries that fill up bodies to save money, I need to ensure optimal nutrition is purchased with those grocery dollars, hence my move towards more economical and meatless. yet delicious and healthy meals. On the flip side, investing in a gym membership for me would be a waste of money when walking and light weights and resistance is really the only exercise I do (when I do exercise), and I have a free wellness center at my office and can buy a $14 annual walking pass for the indoor track at the high school. 

No one's ever accused me of not putting deep thought into a subject. Some days I am confident in our retirement plans, and other days, I think I will be like my friends that have pushed retirement out later. So many readers are also bloggers I follow so I have a good range of different plans, or different experiences for retirement, and learning more keeps me grounded but not naive. While you can't control for the totally unexpected, even the investment ignorant can do things to hedge our bets. I just need to make sure it is in both the financial and health areas.

9 comments:

  1. You've really thought this through!! Good job.

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  2. Yep-a lot of inner navel gazing on this one.

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  3. Life is uncertain, that's why I eat dessert first occasionally. I think we have to allow ourselves some planned indulgences or we might never get to enjoy them. There has got to be a happy medium somewhere between being the grasshopper and being the ant.

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    1. I'll be an anthopper! Deserts are sometimes best eaten hungry-or vacations taken when already relaxed so it can really be enjoyed.

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly about not putting things off until retirement, as neither my Dad nor John's lived to retirement age ( mine died at 55, John's at 61). That's why we intend that John will retire from full time work at the hospital when he is 60. He'll get a part-time job somewhere or do some handyman/ gardening work which is plentiful. We also have the option of downsizing to a retirement apartment which will leave us with a decent lump sum, particularly as the price of bungalows in our road seems to be increasing much more rapidly than the price of the apartments we like. You are wise to consider investing in your health; we both do our utmost to give ourselves the best chance possible of a long, healthy life. Whether it works remains to be seen, but at least we should be fitter along the way.

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    1. It is hard though. I get busy and its skip a meal then later eat too much junk. 60 is what I'm aiming for but maybe with something part time at first, and DH at 62 a couple years ahead of me. I hope your plans work as well.

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    2. Making the decision to retire at 56 was massive for me. I'd spent 15 years on my own with my kids building up my career and financial independence so to suddenly decide to finish early was whoa wots going on etc. I have no regrets. My pension is a quarter of what it would have been if I'd worked until 60 but I want to have the energy motivation and enthusiasm to travel and live my life now. Who knows if I'll still be on this planet when I'm 60 I'm here now so I'm living my life now. This is just how I view my life I do appreciate life is different for all of us.

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    3. Wendy,

      Thank you for weighing in on the subject.I felt a bit like I took a backwards slide (and others publicly commented that I went down in the world) just leaving my last job where I had built up after 21 years a position of influence and authority.It also came with anxiety, tears, and stress, and moral dilemmas on an almost daily basis. I miss the extra income-would have made some decision this last year easier, but long term, I think reducing the strain that was on me and my whole family was worth it. I've had to economize in other areas to not lose momentum on the retirement plan.

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  5. Stress can reduce our lives to misery. Money is like the tide, it comes in it goes out. I think you made the right decision Sam.

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