Tag: wife

Why Does Retirement Mean I Have to Get a Job?

Retirement: that time in life when you cease being employed for money and start employing your time on your personal interest. Isn’t this a fair assessment of what it means to be retired? Then why am I looking at getting a full-time job?

A few months ago, my husband and I met with our financial planner. He’d been hounding us to send him all the various retirement account information (which happens when the major bread-earner has worked for multiple companies) and we’d finally supplied everything he requested. He wanted to talk about HOW we planned to spend money once we retired.

Did I mention I’m not planning to retire from writing books? Not ever. Well, unless my mind goes and I can’t come up with decent stories to engage readers. After a lifetime of longing and dreaming of writing stories, I have no desire to stop creating in the name of “retirement.” (Based on the definition of “retirement” I supplied above, I’m not employed for MUCH money doing the writing anyway, and it IS my foremost personal interest.)


Retirement: the Why

If I’m never planning to retire, why is this a discussion?

Because Mr. Computer Engineer doesn’t want to keep commuting to his office five days every week. He has no desire to be flying off to the uttermost part of the globe to install a new network security system. (Or whatever else he does in both foreign and domestic locations without me.)

Does he think he’s going to sit around playing video games instead of earning a paycheck?

No. In fact, he doesn’t want to stop working altogether. He’d rather build things and be a handyman rather than report to an office every day.

And it would be great to take days off or work only a few hours each day…on his own schedule.

Retirement: the When

Back in the day, people retired at age 55. I know teachers who still do this.

And then they turn around and work as substitutes for the next ten to twelve years to afford their insurance premiums.

My husband plans to retire at age 67. By then, I will be old enough to receive Medicare (supposing that isn’t a government institution that gets disbanded). We’ll still need to have supplemental medical insurance, and those premiums (even for relatively healthy people) are ridiculously expensive.

In fact, that’s what most of our money will be spent on in retirement. Crazy, right?

Retirement: the What

Now, on to those personal interests we’ll be investing most of our TIME in once retire. We’d both like to:

  1. Travel
  2. Enjoy our grandchildren
  3. Bowl
  4. Be active
  5. Spend winters in the sunshine
  6. Volunteer
  7. Expand our hobbies
    1. Such as scrapbooking, hiking and biking for me
    2. and golfing, building things and exploring for him

Most of these things take more than time, they take money.

Retirement: the Where


Unfortunately, we haven’t nailed the where down. We’ve considered relocating to Central Oregon where there are more sunny days and we could lead a more active, outdoor lifestyle.

But that means further from the grandchildren. (By the time we retire, I expect we will have at least TWO.)
Now that we’ve spent WAY more money to remodel our master bathroom than we’ll ever recoup, it seems we need to stay put for at least five years. Since retirement is a decade out for Mr. Wonderful, this should work out okay.

Double bonus: we have more time to decide on the where of retirement.

Retirement: the HOW

This is the biggest question mark.

Our financial guru’s special software, says we’re on target to have the right amount of money to pay ourselves for 25 years at the rate the same program says we’ll need to travel and keep our house.

But it was a pretty close thing.

And I’m not one who likes to risk homelessness or hunger.

That’s why I applied for a full-time job as a communications assistant with the local school district. I could return to school (online at WGU costs less than $3500 and if I work fast and hard, I’d have a MAT) and take a teaching position.

But I know myself well. I plan to work for a couple years, pay off our debts, build up my Roth IRA and then withdraw back to my full-time author status. During that time, I hope I can still release a couple novellas each year and expand my back list of published titles.

If I spend money and time to get an advanced college degree, I’ll feel obligated to work longer. Will I make more money? Well, I hope so, but I don’t actually need to make a TON of money. And the more I make, the more Uncle Sam will take because he’s stingy that way.

Would I enjoy teaching? Sure. I enjoy subbing now and I don’t have to bear the brunt of work and responsibility.

But I also remember how jaded I’d become about education when I quit working in it full-time nearly six years ago. The climate in education hasn’t changed all that much. Do I really want to deal with all those politics again?

“There’ll be politics no matter where you go,” says Mr. Helpful.

Yeah, thanks. That makes this decision so much easier.

What advice to you have for me as I search for a way to ease the financial stress of retirement?

Does your ideal date include a test drive?

A sunny Friday night spent dining with my husband in one of our family’s favorite restaurants. A prefect date night. Then comes the suggestion: how about test driving a Durango?

Yep. I want the red one.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when date and drive are used in the same sentence, this is what I think:

  • “Let’s do a date at the drive-in” (I know, I’m old.)
  • “How about a drive up to that scenic viewpoint to end our date?” (And then we park and, you know the rest.)

Test driving a car wasn’t on my radar. Until Friday night. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been married for 26 years. All the other exciting date options have been done to death (*rolls eyes*) so you resort to consorting with car salesmen.

It sounds exponentially more horrifying when you phrase it like that.

Fortunately, our salesman didn’t feel the need to press us forward. Of course, hubby didn’t drive either of the vehicles we might trade in for the new car either. He knows himself very well.

The model in the color I wanted with the options I like was still in transit to the dealership. Darn. I guess there’s no chance of a sale tonight.

Hubby drives the car off the lot. He takes it on the highway and punches it. Pretty fair response for a V-6. I’m enjoying the view from the passenger seat – above all the minions in their sporty or economical cars.

Eventually, I get to drive sedately down the road back to the dealership. The only reason there’s a blind spot is because of the window sticker. I could be a back-up pro with the reverse camera. Acceleration – check. Braking – ditto.

I’m still not sure I want such a big vehicle. I’m happy to whip in and out of tight places with my little RDX. Really, I just wanted to move up in the world to a stellar luxury brand.

Do I really want to be that girl? I’m thinking about it. Still. Okay, no, I don’t want to be all about the brand. “I drive an Audi.” “Oh, well my BMW cost more.” “Ha! My Mercedes trumps you all.” You know the type of person I’m talking about.

No, I don’t want to be that girl. Of course, the major selling point for the Durango is that it will whittle us down to one vehicle per person in the house. Yes, hubby agrees to let the truck go if we get something that can haul a utility trailer.

It’s not every girl that can separate a man from his truck.

What’s the strangest “date” you’ve ever been on? For the record, I have been on stranger ones.

Musings on Marriage

Happily ever after?
Happily ever after?

Marriage is meant to be the joining of two individuals into “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Unfortunately, there’s a lot of severing of body parts in the realm of marital bliss because many people don’t see it as a binding, lifetime contract.

Or maybe our society’s idea of being faithful to your word is so diminished that every contract can be negotiated or terminated at a later date. Why does it have to be binding? A lawyer somewhere should be able to get me out of it if I decide I want out later.

People are flesh and blood. Businesses might be made of brick, mortar, wood or stone. Flesh cannot be patched in the same way a building can.

When business contracts are broken, people lose jobs, money and security. On the other hand, when marriages fail, people bleed.

Contemplating causes for different outcomes keeps my mind occupied. Rather than analyzing data like a scientist, I consider people and their actions and attempt to determine motivation. In my warped way, I think this helps me create more realistic characters in the stories I write.

Two important people in my world have suffered through the agony of amputating a spouse in recent months. Sounds painful, right? Yep. If you think divorce is the easy way out, it’s time to rethink your options.

Two hearts become one. Two lives become one. Two people become one. Oh, those are just romantic words on Hallmark greeting cards which accompany wedding gifts. Those poetic souls understand marriage.

Some people don’t give their hearts fully to marriage, causing the marriage to fail. Many individuals want to keep the single life they love and that dooms a marriage. Even if you keep your heart and life, the two people are joined into one flesh. Cut your flesh. It bleeds. Cut your marriage, you bleed.

I see a few broad reasons why marriages fail. I’m musing here, not accusing. My list isn’t meant to be all encompassing or judgmental. I’m just doing my people analysis thing.

Marriage ends because:

  • People have the wrong expectations. If you think the other person will be your “everything,” you’re condemning them to fail. They will never be perfect. Newsflash: neither will you. Expect success, not perfection. Success is something you can work toward, while perfection is unattainable.
  • People lack commitment. They say the average person will change jobs every three years. Those people retiring now after spending 30 or more years with the same company are no longer the pattern for younger generations. If you’re unhappy, move along. Unfortunately, having this attitude about marriage relegates it to failure.
  • People hold onto secrets. Secrets aren’t just about infidelity or impulsive spending or gambling. Sometimes one spouse needs support, but rather than seeking it from their mate, they pretend it doesn’t exist or search for it elsewhere. The best relationships are built on the foundation of truth.
  • No one wants to be accountable. The “it’s her fault” finger of blame is as old as Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:12-13). Unfortunately, society seems to be promoting this sort of excuse-making. If a child is substandard, look to the parents and find fault. If a marriage is unhappy, it must be the other person’s fault.
  • Everyone feels entitled to happiness. After all, the “Declaration of Independence” makes the “pursuit of happiness” a basic human right. Well, someday when people are perfect, happiness will reign. Until then, problems happen and bomb our happy lives. Rather than run away from the problem, we need to face it down. Happiness is fleeting, but the joy that comes from keeping your word can sustain you in the dark times.

Marriage binds two people. When two people commit to the contract of marriage, “they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

Can you end your marriage contract? Sure. But if you think it’s going to be painless, cut off the end of your index finger. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why do you think so many people avoid marriage? Why isn’t marriage considered a lifetime commitment anymore?