Too Old To Retire "Young"

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EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:10 pm

So hitting the big 5-0 has not been nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be. I took the whole week off last week—had a “staycation” where I stayed in town and did some things I’d been wanting to do, did some chores and projects around the house that I’d been putting off for no good reasons, and most of all, kind of took stock of life.

And came to the conclusion that all things considered, it’s pretty damn good. Yeah, I’m not super crazy about my job, but there’s more to life than work, and the job allows me to do a lot of things I want to do. So for right now, I’m staying put. I’m mostly over that whole “I’m supposed to have a corner office and a team to work for me.” Not that life is about comparison, but financially I’m doing so much better than SO many people, I have nothing to complain about.

My week off did show me that unless I have something to work on (side job, etc.) it’s going to be pretty easy to briggle away a ton of time. I slept in every day (it was wonderful), getting up about 8 or 8:30. I fixed breakfast for myself several days, which is a luxury I just really enjoy. There’s something about making and sitting down to a simple, hearty breakfast/brunch of (don’t lecture me, health nuts) of eggs, potatoes, bacon or sausage and good hot coffee that just sets the day for me (I’m a farmer’s granddaughter...). For the record, when I have a big breakfast, I don’t eat again until dinner. And I took the dogs to the park for a good walk. By the time I did all that, it was well after noon. When I’m at work, I’ve accomplished most of my tasks for the day by noon, so having breakfast and walking the dogs is not all that impressive. I also think that without something, I’ll become pretty anti-social. I had two entire days where I didn’t leave the house at all (didn’t mind a bit), but in general, that’s probably not a good habit to get into.

Most important, during my time off, I kind of figured out a business I want to try my hand at. It’s something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time, and found a ton of reasons/excuses not to try to do it. Well, today I took the concrete step of registering my domain name. Seems like a big step to me!! Maybe there’s something about getting a little bit older that makes you realize that 1) life goes by a lot faster than you thought it would, so why wait and 2) failure, if it happens, is not fatal and 3) there are solutions to financial issues and questions that used to feel insurmountable and 4) for me, I’ve spent a lot of life worrying about how family would react to things and trying to get approval that I’ve finally realized I’m never going to get anyway, so I might as well please myself.

So, here I am. More on the business thing later, at some point—a lot of stuff to do there. But I feel really good about things—better than I’ve felt in a long time. Life is good.

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Dragline
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Dragline » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:24 pm

Hear, hear! Of course, I just turned 50 myself. Good health (and a little good scotch) and everything is good.

The second half is about to begin and we're ready. Good luck with your business!

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:55 pm

I just got back from visiting a friend. It convinced me even more that I'm on the right track, first with working to minimize my possessions, etc. and also with my goal to save and invest and retire as soon as possible.

My friend has a beautiful house. It's three bedrooms, but it's big and elegant--high ceilings, nice open floor plan, formal living room as well as a big den/great room. Over-sized 2 car garage. She lives alone. I hate to think what the utilities cost and the insurance and property taxes are. (I actually happen to know roughly her total monthly payment, and it's just under my total budget for the entire month).

And when I say my friend couldn't get another thing in the house, I'm not exaggerating. There are literally (narrow) paths through the house. Everything you've seen on an episode of "Hoarders," minus the dead cats (as far as I can tell). Countertops piled with so much stuff there is absolutely no space to put anything. Boxes of stuff piled on top of and under the dining room table--every horizontal surface covered with stuff. I offered to help her clean and was told "no, I need to sort through it." She needs some work done to the house but either can't afford it or doesn't want to let anyone in to see the house. Seriously, if you've ever watched "Hoarders," you've seen this situation.

And it makes me so sad. She's a kind, sweet, good person. She's older than me and told me "I'll never be able to retire." She had a period of unemployment a few years ago, and apparently spent every penny of savings. I asked her if she ever thought about buying a smaller, cheaper house and she told me no, she doesn't want to move.

And what was she doing for at least part of her day off? Working. Because she's in one of those jobs like I used to have, where the company won't hire enough people to do the work, and still expects impeccable results. She does not like her job.

So much waste! Wasted money, wasted opportunity--someone else could use that stuff, wasted time stepping over and moving things around.

There are times when I look around my extremely modest house and think, "Seriously, you really could do better." But it's cozy and comfy, reasonably tidy, warm, and PAID FOR. And it's really the one single thing--this tiny, unassuming house on what some of my friends think is the "wrong side of the tracks" that is going to allow me to drop out of the rat race in not very long. And I don't buy a lot of stuff I don't need. Where would I put it?

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:21 pm

Here we are, at the end of one year, the dawn of another. Every time I see that it’s nearly 2015, I have the same old thoughts about “Where’s my robot? Why haven’t I been to Mars yet? Aren’t we supposed to be working about 3 days a week by now?” But then I shake it off and remind myself that I read too much Sci-Fi as a kid, and that humanity is drowning its aspirations in consumerism. But that’s an opinion best shared another day. (However, I am reminded of JG Ballard’s “The Subliminal Man,” a great study about consumerism. I think we’re there. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to do so. I can’t find it anywhere online, but here’s a quote to give you a taste, and remember this was written in the 1960’s: “Ultimately we’ll all be working and spending twenty–four hours a day, seven days a week. No one will dare refuse. Think what a slump would mean – millions of lay–offs, people with time on their hands and nothing to spend it on. Real leisure, not just time spent buying things . . .The fear of a slump. You know the new economic dogmas. Unless output rises by a steady inflationary five per cent the economy is stagnating. Ten years ago increased efficiency alone would raise output, but the advantages there are minimal now and only one thing is left. More work”).

When I look back at 2014, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. Financially, my net worth increased by about $80,000, which is only slightly less than my gross income. Thank you stock market, thank you good tenant in my rental house, and thank myself for doing a much better job of putting money away, paying off debts, etc. 2014 has been a good year financially.

Work-wise, I can’t complain. I make a very good salary, my job is relatively secure, and while I don’t love the work, sometimes it is interesting and challenging. It’s now been 2.5 years since I stepped down from my management job and moved back closer to my mom. There are times when I really miss the old job, I’ll be honest. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, and I get that rush at work from impossible deadlines, a demanding boss, stressful customer interactions, long work hours, no personal life…. yeah. I was addicted to all that, and just like a former crack-addict, I hated it, but I miss it occasionally and think I want a fix. Despite the fact that I know it’s bad for me, it was cutting my life short, and even though I thought was doing something important, I had just deluded myself. And I also, just like that crack addict, told myself I could quit anytime. But I’ll tell you, quitting is sometimes harder than you think it is, even when the addiction is legal and certified as appropriate and desirable by society. Workaholism is real thing, and the further I’ve gotten away from it, the more I appreciate that. So to summarize re. work: the work itself if OK, it’s normal-moderately challenging, it pays well, and while my ego is still adjusting to the new normal, it’s all good. I need to work on ignoring the nitpicky bullshit.

Life-wise, taking into account the workaholism recovery noted above, is OK. Family is good, and I’ve been very grateful, and very frustrated sometimes, but mostly grateful, to be geographically closer to my mom. We’ve settled into a routine, and I know that some day she’s not going to be around any more, and I’ll be glad we had more time together. The rest of life needs some work in 2015; I don’t do very much socially, and I won’t tell you the last time I had a date, let alone sex. I mean, with another person.

Art/Spirituality. I put these together because to me, they go together. I’ve written more stuff this year, including about half a novel I’m working on. I have amassed several short stories that need to find homes--I have written a good bit this year, but have done nothing with respect to marketing them, so that’s a goal for 2015. Spiritual-wise, I’ve spent more time in nature, but my goal for 2015 is to increase that time. I’m not a big God-person--I’m a pretty skeptical agnostic--but actually like going to church, enjoy the music and the message. Going to try to do more of that in 2015.

Self-Development. I’ve worked on this some this year. I actually spent a little time and money with a career counselor, looking at different work I could do now, instead of my current job, and what my “retired job” might look like. I’m not sure that we came to any conclusions, but it got my mind going, which is a good thing. I am pretty convinced that I will need something to DO when I retire, whether it’s volunteer work (the argument for getting more involved with church), or something else. I recently bought some books on coding and self-publishing, and am going to spend some time with those in 2015. Even if I never use them, working on that will fulfill a need that I have to do SOMETHING, especially during dry writing spells.

Health. Well, I joined a gym. I intended to swim in the morning, and have had spurts of this over the year, but those spurts have been too few. I’ve lost 15 pounds, need to lose more. Definitely need to work on this for 2015.

To summarize then, I will say that I think I made progress in 2014 in several areas. When I look at my first post in this journal in March 2014, I noted that I wanted to:
---Pay off the debt I’ve accrued
---Eat out less (putting a huge dent in my income… and I actually still eat at home quite a bit)
---Look for additional ways to cut expenses
---Start investing outside my retirement accounts.

I’ve actually accomplished all of these things, though some can still use a little fine-tuning. So my goals for 2015 are to:
---Continue to increase savings/net worth by cutting costs and investing more.
---Be more accepting and appreciative of my current job. It’s not ideal, but it’s not bad and it’s allowing me to accomplish my goals.
---Be more social. Look for opportunities to meet more people, expand my ring of friends.
---Write more. Sell some.
---Be more mindful of health via diet, exercise and going to doctor. Yes, I will have a colonoscopy this year. Can’t wait….

And… I’m going to add “Get a robot and go to Mars.” I mean, everyone needs stretch goals, right? And it IS 2015.
Last edited by EdithKeeler on Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IlliniDave
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:28 pm

Sounds like a great year EdithK. One of the nice things about all this is that once you get going there's a nice snowball effect. That's not to say every year or quarter is objectively positive, but the upside gets higher and the downside lower over time. I have just started reviewing my 2014/planning my 2015. I don't think I'll be able to put it together with your eloquence, but it is clear that in 2014 I got by more on the snowball effect than any astute activity on my part. Best wishes for a great 2015!

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Dragline
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Dragline » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:07 pm

Happy New Year, EK! Sounds like you are doing quite well with many irons in the fire.

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Chad
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Chad » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:22 am

Sounds like it was a very solid and successful year.
I get that rush at work from impossible deadlines, a demanding boss, stressful customer interactions, long work hours, no personal life…. yeah. I was addicted to all that, and just like a former crack-addict, I hated it, but I miss it occasionally and think I want a fix. Despite the fact that I know it’s bad for me, it was cutting my life short, ...
I have a friend who is a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They did a study on how long partners live compared to everyone else. They died significantly younger (I can't remember the actual numbers). I guess a half-million a year can't buy enough healthcare to compensate for the stress level.
And… I’m going to add “Get a robot and go to Mars.” I mean, everyone needs stretch goals, right? And it IS 2015.
Some studies suggest that certain people fail because they don't set their goals high enough, which results in the reward (not necessarily money) not being worth the effort. Thus, they consistently fail or don't even start. I like the Mars goal.

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Carlos
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Carlos » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:53 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:Health. Well, I joined a gym. I intended to swim in the morning, and have had spurts of this over the year, but those spurts have been too few. I’ve lost 15 pounds, need to lose more. Definitely need to work on this for 2015.
Congrat's on the 15 pounds! Keep up the exercise at the gym. I struggle with getting enough exercise also and need to make it a focus for 2015.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:29 pm

Wow. January came and went mighty fast. Nothing new and exciting to report, but I feel compelled to make an entry here.

I refinanced my rental house. I'd been resisting for a while, but it's going to increase my monthly cash flow by about $400 a month, so totally worth it. I'll direct most of that to some sort of savings.

Did my taxes--I have to pay this year, damn it. I've received a lot of advice from well-meaning folks telling me I "need to buy a bigger (ie, more expensive...) house." No thanks. I don't see the benefit in paying $1000+ month to a mortgage company to save $700 a year on taxes. I'll just pay the taxes, thanks.

Slow and steady progress in the health arena: good.
Slow and steady progress in the wealth-building arena: good.

Still frustrated with my job and the inanities of corporate life, but these days, the finish line is sort of visible, so that makes it more bearable, I think. Well, until the next thing pisses me off.... It did my heart good to read recently that 70% of all workers hate their jobs, and the most satisfied with their jobs were people at the manager and CEO level. Well, DUH!
http://www.gallup.com/poll/181289/major ... -2014.aspx

I'm at the "not very engaged" level. I'm not completely disengaged, and I still do quality work, I just no longer feel motivated to volunteer for things, or go out of my way to suggest changes for improvement, etc. I suppose I'm still engaged enough to lie on the annual employee engagement survey my company puts out (haha) because I suspect it's not anonymous.

I'm currently reading Barbara Ehrenreich's "Bait and Switch." It's a few years old, but she goes "undercover" as a middle-aged job seeker. It's hilarious and really, really sad to read some of the goofy mumbo-jumbo that "career coaches" try to peddle her, but it's nothing i haven't heard from various places in one form or another.

I'm absolutely convinced that we (meaning modern corporations ) have over complicated work in such a way that virtually no one can really truly excel and make a difference. We get memos about having greater autonomy and more authority, while at the same time they've introduced more and more levels of approval. Preaching Theory Y, but operating under Theory X. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

But life is not all about work, and everything else is going well.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:48 am

One of those interesting moments this week. They announced our profit sharing for employees--a percent of our salary that will go directly into our 401(k) next week, and also that any bonuses we receive will be in our first April paycheck, thought we still haven't been told individually how much it will be. I'm guessing that mine will be about the equivalent of a paycheck. Any more than that will be gravy.

Talking to a coworker, and she was lamenting that we haven't been advised of the amount, and that she needed to know for vacation planning, and also wished that the profit sharing came directly to us instead of our retirement account.

I mentioned that I didn't really have any plans for my bonus, if I receive one, but that I needed to go into my online 401(k) account and increase my contribution percentage so that more of my bonus will go into the retirement account. In other words--since I'm getting unexpected money (most likely) I want to make sure a bigger chunk goes into the retirement account before I use it for other things. I've done this for years, and it has helped me to max out my account. She told me that she does the same thing, only she LOWERS the percentage before bonus time so she gets more money in hand. Others have told me that they do the same thing as she does.

Sometimes i just feel like I'm so WEIRD, that I'm this odd person who swims against the tide that everyone is being carried along by. There is no doubt in my mind that, barring some fatal financial crisis, that I will be in good shape to retire in just 5 years, at age 55. I might--maybe--decide to wait until 57, but only because lately my job has not felt as miserable to me as it had been. I attribute that more to some changes in my LIFE that have nothing to do with my paying job. The few people that I've shared this with are absolutely appalled that I would consider retiring "so early" because 1) I won't have enough money and 2) what will I do all day.

I just don't have a lot of concerns about either one of those areas.

One thing I will say about my employer--they aren't so bad in the benefits department. We have the 401(k) with a decent match, plus the profit sharing (which is OK--but not like Silicon Valley stuff--my profit sharing has run from between the equivalent of one paycheck to 2 paychecks over the years) plus a quasi-pension plan. But all of these things, plus my contributions, have made such a difference over the years, and I'm starting to really see the benefits of having contributed heavily, even during the down times.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by George the original one » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:36 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:The few people that I've shared this with are absolutely appalled that I would consider retiring "so early" because 1) I won't have enough money and 2) what will I do all day.
Just goes to show how few people can imagine their lives without the prison of employment.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:18 am

April has been quite a month! I know it's not quite over, but I'm posting now to push any calamities over into "next month."

First the good: my bonus was quite a bit more than I'd anticipated. I was very pleasantly surprised. I also received an unexpected raise. It wasn't huge, but it's big compared to last year's, and huge compared to the 3 years prior when it was a big fat zero. So that's all good.

I also re-financed my rental house, which has improved cash flow. I'm redirecting the difference into a special account that I've earmarked for my next real estate purchase, which will most likely be someplace on the Gulf Coast. I envision a beach-ish (meaning not right on the beach, but near enough I can still rent it weekly as a beach rental) rental, where on the weeks it's not rented I have the option of going down and enjoying it myself. There are bargains to be had in and around Galveston and Biloxi/Gulfport; by the time I get ready to buy, I'll have figured out where I want to be. Still a ways off... but maybe not SO far. Galveston appeals more because of its proximity to Houston--I'm a beach girl, but also a city girl, and sometimes I need to go to town to get my fix of culture and fancy meals, etc. I also have connections to Texas, and the lack of state income tax is appealing. Biloxi/Gulfport appeals because the beach is prettier. But dang, it's far from civilization... But not that far from NOLA. I may decide on a completely different place eventually. The plan, of course, is to buy it soon, use the rents to pay for it and use it a little, and when I pull the ripcord and retire, move there.

So raise--good. Bonus--good. Refinance and cash flow--good. Work is also going pretty well; it's taken me a while, but I think I'm finally over the ego issue (mostly) of "I'm not the boss any more, my career is in the toilet" issue. I make really good money for the area, my work is not hard, my boss is OK, and most days I work 9 hours and go home. It ain't so bad, and it beats the 60 hours a week I was putting in as a boss for less money and a boss that was often not quite so... genial. (Yeah, there are other words I'd like to use to describe the boss, but we'll go with "not so genial." Polite company...).

So here's what else happened this month: My brother, who lives with my elderly mom, got really, really sick. In the hospital for 2 weeks, home now but it's going to be a while before he's 100%. But he's doing much better and the worst is past. (And just a comment: it's all well and good to preach the gospel of diet and exercise as so many do on this site--and I don't disagree. But just know that sometimes a big health punch can come from nowhere, that all the diet and exercise, etc. couldn't have prevented. It can happen). What my brother's illness made me realize, though, is how untenable my mom's situation without him is. I was running over there almost daily to take care of things that she couldn't, etc. I've made the decision to hire her a cleaning lady, which should help some and make her happier, but the day is also coming, it's clear to me now, that she's going to need more help. And they only person to pay for that is me because of her money issues.

The other thing that happened: I came home one night and the ceiling in one room of my house had caved in. Yes, that's correct: the sheetrock had just completely pulled away from the rafters and fell on the floor. I have never seen a bigger mess in my life. Insulation EVERYWHERE. The cause was not something significant fortunately, and I have good contractor, so repairs will begin next week. Getting that work done plus a few other things around here I'd been putting off, so while the original problem didn't turn out to be horribly expensive, the other things have added up to a bit more. But it's all good. I haven't spent much on this house at all since I bought it, and my monthly costs are extremely low.

So, all's well that ends well. It was a very, very busy month because of some travel, too, and I'm glad to put April behind me this year. "April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." Yeah, that about sums up April. Net worth increased about $10K, though, so if I could do that every month, I'd be very happy!

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:44 am

Hi Edith!

I am going through similar thought processes regarding my parents. Fortunately their financial situation is pretty good (a COLA-adjusted pension that is twice what I'm planning to live on in retirement). But their physical ability to be totally self-sufficient in a day-to-day sense is waning. Even though they can afford it, their value system abrades with the notion of hiring people to do the things they've been doing for themselves through the years. So there will be some interesting dynamics to navigate down the road.

I'll also provide a solid "+1" to your remark about the vagaries of a person's health even in the presence of good activity and nutrition. I'm to the age now where I'm seeing it in myself. Not the best area of life to be cavalier about preparing for financially. I believe the top cause of bankruptcy is medical debt. When those bills hit, they hit hard. Prevention can blunt the net impact over a lifetime, but can't guarantee freedom from large medical expenses.

Seems your plan's are similar to mine, except opposite in direction (You're headed south, I'm headed north). Hope it works out well. I understand how a place/environment can get under your skin. Have you looked into the flood insurance implications of being near the beach there on the gulf coast? I'd heard some stories of staggering flood premiums showing up in the near future. Was curious if you'd found those to be accurate, or just some fear mongering?

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:54 am

I'd heard some stories of staggering flood premiums showing up in the near future. Was curious if you'd found those to be accurate, or just some fear mongering?
That's a good question, Dave. I have looked into it for Galveston--I have a good friend who is a Houston insurance agent, and he's very educated on that stuff--and while the premiums there wouldn't be cheap, they're not prohibitive either. I have not looked at that vis-à-vis Gulfport and Biloxi, but that's something I will do when making my final decision.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:17 am

I think that's all controlled by FEMA via the NFIP, and my guess is that it would be pretty uniform all along the gulf coast. I had heard things like $10K/yr for premiums for homeowners. Good to hear it's not that bad.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:37 am

You're right, Dave. Basically the only way you can get flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program, but you can still get it through you agent, as an endorsement on your policy. I work in insurance, though not in this specific area, but I've read a couple of articles where they are, indeed raising some rates, and also re-drawing flood maps as well, which makes more/different people to need flood insurance who haven't before. I think part of the deal, from what I've read, is that they are trying to discourage people from living in places that repeatedly flood, particularly along some areas of the MS river, etc.

Meh, It's a bridge I'll cross when it's time. Sometimes I think I'll just get an RV that I can move when the storm is coming...

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon May 25, 2015 9:49 am

I was told this week that I'm "living like a hermit," in that "dinky house with no TV." Told this by someone that planned very poorly for their retirement, and is now pinching every penny and still coming up short.

Sigh. Sometimes it's hard paddling against the tide. Another friend just left on a spur-of-the-moment, two-week trip to South America. He couldn't really afford it either (he's getting ready to retire), but it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I've never had much desire to go to SA, but hey, more power to him.

There's a fine line, I suppose, between planning and making sure that you have sufficient money for retirement, and also living in the "now." Sometimes I think I'm not having enough fun because of some of my savings, but then I realize it's not because of my savings that I'm not having fun, that it has more to do with family obligations.

However, I do think I need to have more fun. I don't think it entails buying a bigger house so I can have a TV, and I'm not sure it means jetting off to Patagonia at the last minute, but I suspect I could be having more fun than watching my accounts and planning that beach house purchase. But then again, that IS sort of fun....

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by George the original one » Mon May 25, 2015 9:16 pm

Family obligations are a pain. Usually we see them as a reciprocal agreement, but often they don't finish that way. On the other hand, family is usually more reliable than non-family (with a few well-known exceptions).

Have fun, remember that fun doesn't necessarily require funds.

EdithKeeler
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Groceries, damnit!

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat May 30, 2015 6:23 pm

Everything is going OK with respect to saving money, investing, etc. I recently got a job offer, but decided that the modest increase in salary probably wasn't worth the hassle of learning new ways of doing things, building up my credibility at the new place, etc., plus it was 100% work at home position, which I know 99% of the people on this board (you introverts know who you are) would love, but me, being an extrovert and having worked from home before, didn't really want to do it again. Plus I would have sacrificed a tiny bit in terms of my current pension plan, so it makes sense to stay put. I am, however, going to start working from home 1 day a week in my current job; I'm not all that busy, and this should be tantamount to almost a day off; I can do reports and junk on the office days and just need to answer the phone, and address that stuff on work at home days. Hopefully it will give me the best of both worlds--a little extra time out of the office, but the "people time" that I also need. We'll see.

Anyway, in doing my end-of-month analysis, while I'm relatively happy with my progress, I'm still dismayed at how much I'm spending on groceries and eating out. It's absolutely ridiculous. So ridiculous I still can't admit the dollar amount publicly. I don't even want to admit it to myself. It's actually gotten WORSE, not better, and I can't attribute it all to the slight increase in grocery prices. Mostly it's been me being too lazy to cook. Which is dumb, because I like to cook, most of the time.

I have been helping my mother and brother out A LITTLE with groceries, but still not so much to account for what I'm spending.

So, in an effort to keep myself much more accountable, I'm going to post food and costs here. My goal is to spend no more than $300 a month for food and eating out, which is PLENTY for one person. I know it's positively exorbitant to some of you, which is why I can't even admit what I've been spending (which has, however, had dog food and paper products lumped in there... but still).

Today I spent $66.15 at Aldi for people-food only. I backed dog supplies and paper products out. I also spent another $9.46 at Superlo for a couple of items they didn't have at Aldi.

I'm going to post my food here and what I spend, but I don't want to hear any lectures from you orthorexic food purists! :D Probably too high in carbs, but whatever.

I'm prepping food for the next couple weeks. I know I do better if I have stuff made in the fridge or freezer that I can just grab and go. To that end, I'm cooking:
---Ham and split pea soup with corn muffins--all ingredients on hand before today except for carrots, so I don't know total cost, but low. I can put in containers in the freezer to grab and go.
---Oatmeal packets. I'm going to keep these in my desk at work. Oats, a little sugar, some dried fruit. All stuff I currently had on hand before my grocery trip.
---Quiche. I bought pie crust, sausage and eggs today, and I have a bunch of veggies in the fridge I'll throw in there. Cheese also on hand. Enough eggs and crust and sausage for 2 quiches; I'll make the other one next week, probably.
---I have chicken stock with veggies in the freezer already, so I'll probably have chicken soup a couple times this coming week. That's also on hand.
---Three T-bones in the freezer; I'll probably hold those back to cook next weekend for my mother and brother. I usually cook for them on Sunday. (This weekend it's salmon patties... a humble meal).
---Head of cabbage on hand; will likely make quick and dirty unstuffed cabbage rolls--basically a casserole with all the same ingredients as stuffed cabbage only a lot less trouble; you just kind of throw everything in. I bought hamburger today.
---Tons of frozen veggies on hand to round a lot of these meals out.
---I'll hit the farmers market across the street from my office for a few fresh things this week. I have plenty of frozen veg and fruits on hand, however, so I'd like to use those up.
---I also have 2 packages of chicken thighs in the freezer (on hand, not purchased today). Those will make several meals with risotto (mix--on hand) and veggies.
--Several kinds of pasta and sauce in the pantry.

OK, seriously. I have ALL KINDS of food in the house, and easy meals thought up. All I need to do is make them up and take them to work for lunch, or come home at night and nuke it.

I can't avoid eating out at work OCCASIONALLY, but i know that this coming week, I should not have any lunches for work. I'm going to be much better served taking my lunch, eating it at my desk, and taking a walk at lunch.

I really have NO REASON to buy ANYTHING except a little fresh stuff for at least two weeks. Maybe I'll try to get through the month of June without spending more than $40 on some fresh items, just eat what I currently have on hand in fridge, pantry and freezer. I certainly have no need to spend $300 in June, for sure.

I'll report back.

George the original one
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Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by George the original one » Sun May 31, 2015 10:57 pm

> This weekend it's salmon patties... a humble meal

Humble only if you used canned salmon (bty, you don't want to see the quality of salmon that becomes canned). I know a nice restaurant that will serve you the most excellent salmon patties, but only after sucking a $20 bill out of your pocket... not so humble in that context!

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