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:
- Enjoy our grandchildren
- Be active
- Spend winters in the sunshine
- Expand our hobbies
- Such as scrapbooking, hiking and biking for me
- 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?