Retirement is for the old. Or the rich. And let’s face it, I’m neither.
But when your investment advisor calls you to discuss your retirement portfolio, you start thinking about it.
If the lady selling pre-paid funeral packages calls you a few months later, it’s probably a second hint. You know, that maybe you SHOULD be thinking about retirement.
There’s plenty of press that says Americans better start planning to work until they’re 70. And why not if you’re healthy? And if you’re going to live until you’re in your 80s, that still gives you plenty of time to enjoy life.
If there is life after work.
I’m not so sure. My mother retired and a few years later she was struck by lymphoma. Five years later, we were weeping at her funeral.
There’s not a single guarantee that any of us will make it beyond today.
So why think about retirement?
Well, if you want to retire, you’ll need to make a plan.
What’s the Right Age?
According to the TIME MAGAZINE article I’m referencing, most Americans are planning to retire too early. Half of them retire between the ages of 61 and 65.
What’s the problem with this?
Well, you can’t claim social security benefits until the age of 66 (67 for those of us born after 1960). And you can forget about Medicare until after you’re 65.
My husband would like to retire sometime between 63 and 66. As an author, I don’t plan to ever retire, but I do hope to stop substitute teaching when my current license expires.
We’ll see if that dream comes true.
What’s After That?
My thought about retirement is: Why?
What are you going to do if you don’t go to work?
In my experience, people retire and their health fades. This is true about nearly half the people I know. They stop getting up in the morning and they don’t make any plans for their days.
This wasn’t the case for my mom. She enrolled in Master Gardeners and learned a new skill in an arena she loves. She worked with her husband making items to sell at bazaars. They traveled.
And then disease struck.
Poor health is one of the things that robs retirement of any of the expected joy of living.
It’s also the reason some people plan to retire on this side of sixty.
A teacher I worked with for ten years retired before her 60th birthday because she had the means. She’s still substituting at the school, but most of the time she’s involved in home improvement projects, riding one of her horses and spending time with family and friends.
She decided when a friend of hers received a horrible medical diagnosis, that she wasn’t going to wait. She wanted to live, not just work all her life for someone else.
I admire her. Her mother is 90. Will my friend’s financial resources support her if she lives that long?
Our Early Plan
This month, we borrowed an RV and traveled over to LaPine, Oregon. It’s the place my husband has scoped out that seems to have inexpensive land.
His plan: Get an RV and travel a week here and there but keep a home base. When we’re done traveling, sell the RV and settle into a 2,000 square foot house (paid for) that’s close enough so the kids and grandkids can (and will) visit, but is also located in an area with enough outdoor activities to keep us active.
My plan: Be debt-free. Yeah, that’s about it.
I’m all for traveling in an RV. I think I would enjoy it as long as it became “my home.” Because I’m a home body. I love my bed more than any other place to sleep in the world.
But my idea if travel in an RV involves being on the road for a month or more at a time. I want to explore every state in the US and drive coast-to-coast through Canada. You’re not going to do that in a week and see anything.
I’ve always envisioned myself being part of my grandkids’ lives, though. When my Gram moved away, I was heartbroken. My best childhood memories involve visits to her house.
Can I be a grandmother if I live hundreds of miles from my grandkids?
What do you think is the prime age for retirement? What do you hope to do when you’re retired?