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.