|Retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)|
First off I was surprised to note that she had not posted anything since July. At least not until Monday's post at In Search of a Title. What a thoughtful beautiful post it was. In her post Gracie expresses some concerns that more than one of us share to some extent or another. After you read my post I encourage you to visit In Search of a Title and give Gracie some encouragement in return.
How Can I Afford to Retire?
In my post of February 25, 2013 Graciewilde said...
How can I afford to retire? I need stupid heath insurance but I want to free myself from the stupid daily work grind. I like my work (most of the time - but I want time in my life to read, to write, to hike, to paint, to be, to travel - oh yeah, that costs MONEY! Answer me that :)
So I want to know what you did. I think I blew it already by being the responsible (read: good) parent and refinancing the house to pay off student loans for two offspring - good for them but now I am tied to house payment when I had been within six months of paying if off.What did you do? teach me!
Oh Gracie, you don't want to do what I did because I didn't do much as far as retirement goes. I wanted to have a good time in my younger days and do the things that fulfilled me the most. My show business career allowed me to have some great experiences, live comfortably, and do something that fulfilled me. During those years I had plenty of time to do all the fun things that you say you'd like to do and when I was working I was doing something I loved. I did not, however, put away much of anything for retirement and what I did have I blew on business investments gone bad after I got off the road in 1991.
If you like your work enough then make the best of it while you can and be thankful that you have that job. After I lost my regular job in 2009 I thought finding a new one would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong! I had enjoyed my job in the 18 years I worked there even though it provided virtually no benefits for retirement or health insurance. Call it another bad career choice, but the job served me well in many ways during that period of my life and it was something I enjoyed doing. I miss that job!
Outcome of that story is that I didn't find anything suitable and started collecting social security which doesn't get me far. I felt forced to retire, but I can't really afford it. Thank goodness my wife still has a good job with benefits. I'm looking for new opportunities, but so far--nothing.
One thing my parents taught me was if the money's not overflowing don't pay for your kids' college. I paid my own way for the most part and I didn't take any student loans at that time. When my own kids got out of high school they had to do like I did when I was their age. I didn't have the money to pay for schooling for them so they were on their own for the biggest part of the venture. I helped where I could, but all three had to make their own ways in life and they've been doing pretty good so far.
My big dumb mistake was that I took out a student loan to finish my own degree. Since I had my job at the time, paying off a loan didn't seem like such a big deal. A few years after I got the stupid degree I lost my job and the degree wasn't any help in me finding another one. My B.S. in Business Management was a lot of B.S. I don't regret the degree, but now I'm saddled with a student loan that will take a few more years to pay off with me getting my pittance of a social security check.
So, Gracie, from what I know about you from your blog and comments you have left me, it sounds like you have a fairly decent job and you need to try to enjoy it as best you can while balancing out your free time doing things you love and spending time with family. It's too late to teach me anything, but I could have learned something from your experiences. We can pass on what we have learned in life to our kids or other younger folk, but will they listen? I sure didn't listen to a lot of the advice I was given when I was younger. But do I regret my decisions in life and get depressed about my current state?
There's nothing we can do about our past other than accept it and try to find all the best parts of what our lives have been and put them to good use as memories or lessons learned or however we want to refer to them. No point in worrying ourselves sick over yesterday or tomorrow for that matter. I like to subscribe to the Matthew 6:34 philosophy. You can look it up, but essentially that very wise verse advises us that worry is unproductive and we need to focus on today. If we worry ourselves sick in mind or body then what good have we accomplished?
Sure, I know it's pretty simplistic, but why should we fret over things that are not even guaranteed? I don't mean to neglect things like health, retirement, or where we'll get the money to pay the bills. It's important to do some sensible planning. But we can't count on anything in this world. We can look at affairs in current society and see that plans can be dashed in a short matter of time. Some people who have saved for retirement may not be as set for comfort as they thought. The whole economy could crash for all we know and then what would all of our slaving and worrying of the past be worth if that time comes.
For me I might not have much, but I'll have had a lot of years of great memories and experiences and a life that had a pretty decent quality to it. For you I hope you find the best things that your life offers now and savor them. I know you have plenty to be thankful for and if you focus on those positives then the other things you want in life will fall into place naturally.
7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now (from the Tiny Buddha blog)1. Enjoying the present moment is a habit that takes practice.
2. Finding reasons to be happy now can benefit your future
3. Tuning into joy can improve your health
4. Consistent, long-term happiness depends on your ability to notice and appreciate the details; you can hone that skill right now.
5. Every day is a new opportunity to be better than yesterday; that pursuit can increase your self esteem and, accordingly, your happiness.
6. You can be who you want to be right now, no matter what your situation looks like.
7. Finding joy in the present moment—no matter how inadequate it may seem—makes a difference in other people’s lives.
(To read more about these visit Tiny Buddha)
If you are already retired, are you enjoying your retirement? What advice would you give to those facing retirement?