Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Golden Years.

What retirement starts as:

1. Many meals eaten out.
2. Trips and outings to interesting places.
3. Looking to pursue hobbies and activities like gardening, reading, etc...
4. Volunteering.
5. Entertaining friends and family.
6. Paying for expensive wine and looking forward to ingesting it .
7. Looking forward to selling your house and travel the world over.

What retirement ends up as:

1. Cooking three times a day, for health reasons, for budget reasons.
2. Outings to doctors' offices, specialists, pharmacies.
3. Napping whenever possible.
4. Pulling yourself away from all the groups you joined.
5. Fretting when you have to rearrange your life to host family and friends.
6. Paying for supplemental health insurance and hoping you live to use it.
7. Struggling to hold on to your house and not miss any payments and lose it completely.

What about you? What did you hope your retirement would be like?


Brian Miller said...

well thanks for the cold slap of reality this morning...smiles...ugh...

Brian Miller said...

at this rate i will never retire so i guess i dont need to worry...

joeh said...

I looked forward to doing absolutely nothing and not feeling guilty about being the laziest man on earth!

Mission accomplished.

Cranky Old Man

Hilary said...

This is rather unnerving. I hope it's not the case for you.

Joani said...

Yup! Rude awakening. I'm facing that very prospect....Medicare, supplement & drug plan. To the tune of about $4,000.00 a year. It will probably end up like when I was a kid...more potatoes & more beans! Thanks for the warning. Hugs.

rosaria said...

Hilary: too true for many of us.

the walking man said...

Honestly Rosaria, the first thing I did not expect was to be forced out of my trade (Auto Mechanic) and then while on workman's comp for four years while my employer tried to retrain me (they paid for school...once it was determined that I could no longer work in the trades I was trained in, they figured I could teach.) Then 2 years into the four an auto accident sealed the deal, that was when through no fault of my own I was in a rollover that fractured my neck and led to 7 fused cervical vertebrae, so in between school the first years were spent on classes, and the evil clutches of the medical establishment waiting for, going to and being cut on.

Then just as I was recovering from the fractured neck et al, I was standing still in traffic and numb nut off duty suburban cop nailed me from behind at 35 MPH and that started it all over again. Back to doctors, insurance companies, and more surgery and a fight with the local PD that tried to assign blame to me for the accident, even though I was standing still.

By the time that was over and yes it was certainly a busy time it had been almost a decade. And I was able and pain free enough to assess what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

After all in 1999 when I was put off work for medical (blew a disc out in my low back and they could not find a job for me paying me what I was making) I was only 45.

Our income now is about 1/4 of what is was then and even less in real time dollars. But I worked two jobs for 12 years and was able to get us 100% debt free as this was about to happen.

I had no hope or dreams for what retirement would be like, I worked, I had been told by my father it was the only chance I ever had at life was to learn to work laboriously because I was not bright enough for school, like his other children.

At the time though the day before I retired I just figured that all the rewards of my labor would be there,Pension, SS, Medicare supplemented by my employer and my wife and I could travel in our motor home and see a bit of the country I may have missed when I went on the road after the military.

Now I am waiting to hear when my 18th surgery is going to happen to correct an issue that has arisen from the 16th.


even with all of that I remember when I was repairing cars and trucks (2500 a year) of thinking how much I would rather be doing something creative other than finding a solution to a problem no one else seemed to be able to fix.

the walking man said...

I had been a poet since my mid-teens and I took the time to recreate myself, I loved sculpture and painting but had no real skill at those so I wrote like I worked. Fast, efficient and once again became satisfied that I was actually contributing to the dialog. My wife works PT and worries about me and the dogs. Our kids are healthy and employed at jobs they love and one hates but sticks with it because it is paying for his electrical engineering degree.

Now I know that in the coming year the government at all levels is going to dip even deeper into my pocket and I will do all that I can to prevent it but all in all what this retirement means to me is that no I may not be able to travel like I want, I may not live in a good place, I may not have a lot of stuff but I am useful, I am hopeful that as long as I can continue on in my art, my craft and survive at least long enough for my wife to collect what I worked for I can be content with the days as they roll by.

Not all are sunshine and easy but for the most part I have adapted, am staring 60 in the face in a couple of years, and paid into the systems of retirement for a linear total of 50 years.

Given my choice I would rather be crawling around cars and trucks (there is nothing more fun than test driving a marked police car on the expressway where everyone is used to driving 40 MPH over the speed limit.)

But it wasn't my choice, my kids for the most part don't feel safe visiting us and I understand that and even agree, yet at the same time I have found a way to be a voice for the timid and them who are voiceless. My reputation is now one of a poet not a car guy. And in that I can say that for all the years between 1999 and now, regardless of other peoples opinion, my life has improved. And I am thankful to the spirit of creation that with me at least being forced off of my job has worked out to the best possible outcome.

And I think that is what everyone should look for as a retirement goal. The best possible outcome after a life of labor and toil in whatever kind of work they set their hand to.

Be Well

NitWit1 said...

Just about the way it turned out for us. But then I try to be thankful for every day I wake up and we are still together.

However, I grump that it takes me so long to do my daily chores I once did in half the time.

cheshire wife said...

I have just retired and this makes depressing reading!

yaya said...

I remember my Mom and Dad talking about what they would do when they, fun times, etc...then Dad passed away at 56 leaving Mom (age 49) with my teenage brother still home and another brother in college. His pension did not transfer to his widow...sooo..she worked hard, multiple jobs at times, invested well, saved and finally did retire and then worked various fun jobs as she took the time to travel the country and the world. She's 85, healthy, lives in her own (paid for) home and even babysits her great grandkiddos 2-3 times a week. She's active in her Church and I'm trying hard to convince her to start a blog. There were many hard times in her life. Maybe I won't be able to do all she's done but I hope I can have her attitude of "just do it" determination. My generation is not going be able to retire like past ones I think. I don't have any expectations and frankly I never talk about what I'll do..and often say I'll never retire. (that does not mean I'm not planning financially) I know this post is a reality check for many, but I've seen the reality of retirement with the people I have worked with who retire only to come back because of insurance. My main goal in life now is to stay healthy, get and keep fit, and cut back drastically so I'll be used to it! I hope you can be healthy and happy in your retirement future.

CiCi said...

All I cared about was not having to work any longer. I don't mind living a simple life; I don't have to work. Ha.

Sightings said...

We took up ballroom dancing -- something I never would have dreamed of doing when I was younger. But it's fun; it's relatively cheap; it's decent exercise; and we've met new friends. I recommend it, esp. to those on a budget.

Linda Myers said...

We're only in year 2 of retirement so our list still looks pretty close to #1.

Except for hurting my back last spring. Healing takes longer as we get older.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Like Linda, I'm just in the second year of retirement and my list would look like a mixture of #1 and #2. We ate out a lot at first, then realized it was kinder to our waistlines to eat most of our meals at home. I had fantasies about getting involved in all kinds of groups and fitness classes, only to find that I prefer doing things in my own time and my own way. I had imagined rediscovering my love of dance in retirement -- only to find that my arthritic knees and feet aren't up to it. We imagined entertaining lots of friends and family members but only my brother and one friend have come to visit in the past two years. Most others say "I'd love to see you when you get back to L.A. sometime." We had fantasies of staying up all night watching weird movies on t.v. or finishing a fat novel in one sitting -- but find we feel better when we keep a regular bedtime routine (though it feels decadent and delibious to sleep until 7 a.m. instead of getting up at 4 a.m. for the long commute to work.) I'm still grateful every day that we have been able to retire. We do live more simply -- and that is fine. The tradeoff is freedom -- and we truly treasure that.

That gentleman's lady said...

Far from retired, but I would hope that there would be time to spend with those that I love.

Eva Gallant said...

Rosaria, you are right on spot with that one! We still try to eat out once a week, but more often it's for lunch than dinner, because it's cheaper. And we too have settled into a routine that we resent having disrupted!

dianefaith said...

You're always realistic, and that's a good thing even when you have some tough things to say. I'm in my 3rd year of retirement, and so far it's going OK. We've been lucky in having few health problems. They're beginning to creep in, but we're not making those trips to the doctor or pharmacies yet.
A few years ago I got interested in simplifying my life, and that was my main goal when I retired. So, increasing frugality seems like something I've chosen instead of something being imposed from without. As time goes on, it may be imposed more than I would wish.

Christine's Pantry said...

I'll be lucky if I can retire.

Helga said...

Number 2,3,5 and 7 could put interest, excitement and purpose into our days - so I thought. But after a while, even trips and outings become routine, though they are still nice. Hobbies - well, I love nature photography and have created my own expanding flower paradise on the computer, always available when I need relaxation. The disadvantage, hubby plays second fiddle to photography on our walks. Painting can be very rewarding, but who wants to clean up the mess afterwards. Entertainer I am not, but family shows up anyways, so I won't turn into a complete hermit. And what #7 was, I forgot altogether, so I think it's about time for TV or a book which will put me to sleep, or simply being plain lazy, which beats all of the above.

Helga said...
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Helga said...
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Rubye Jack said...

My list would look much like yours. Actually I always knew retirement would be a lot of doing nothing and getting up and going to bed and reading and writing because I knew I would be quite poor. But you know if I had money the only things I would add to my present life would be movies and museums. I love having the freedom I do and not having to answer to anyone.

Helga said...

The deleted comments were just repetitions of the first one. I am still struggling with this site and blogging. Bravo to you, Rosaria, you are a true blogging wizzard in my humble opinion.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, very true, Rosaria. Happy New Year to you.

The Broad said...

Our retirement isn't what I would have planned, if I'd planned anything. We are lucky lucky lucky to live in a country where health insurance is not an issue except for when we must travel outside the EU. And then I am fortunate to have a policy provided by my bank account for any trips abroad for up to 30 days. My husband keeps himself busy with an investment property of flats -- he does all the maintenance he can and he can do a lot that others can't! The thing is we are both fit and mentally able to face what life brings. But he is now 70 and I'm 66 so it's a question of 'so far so good'! Our great luxury is being able to have a small, but not too small, house in a beautiful part of southern France -- but it means that we have to limit evenings out and about -- but still we don't have to curtail them altogether. My husband has always been 'frugal' -- some say he's 'tight' -- but mostly that means we live within our means. Our car is a Volvo estate -- but I think it's about 15 years old and he bought it second hand. To me though the biggest problem we don't have to worry about is health insurance -- to have that weight taken off your shoulders is one of life's greatest blessings and it is an American tragedy that this problem has not been solved...

Maggie May said...

Aw...... don't spoil peoples' dreams like that! Let them find out for themselves!
Its not really all gloom & doom! Really it isn't!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

shopgirl said...

Uhm....I was afraid of that... what hope do we have? .-)

Big Warm hugs!
p.s. Thanks for all your wonderful advice Rosaria!

Mona said...


this has so much truth in it that it made me smile...
maybe if more people knew what it was really like, there would be more realistic preparation for retirement and we wouldn't wait to do so many things 'when we retire'..we would do them now.....good, real post..