Retirement Money Worries

I constantly worry about money. So much so that sometimes my friends and family do not want to be in the same room with me because I am constantly talking about money. While I understand their reserved treatment of me, I can justify my actions due to the fact that I’ve gone broke twice before in my lifetime. When you experience not having fifty cents to your name, trust me, it’s a life changer.

It doesn’t take much to go broke in America. A few bad decisions, a wrong turn of events, can wreck havoc with your finances. I used to be a risk taker. I’ve taken chances in the stock market, real estate and various business ventures. Sometimes I’d win. And sometimes I’d fail. Miserably. I’ve gone broke two times and I’ve recovered (quite nicely) from both events. Do I want to make it a third time? At this point in my life, the answer is a resounding ‘NO!’

I’m retired now and that alone opens up a whole new can of worms.

One of the top main concerns most retirees have is running out of money in retirement. I’m no exception. Life may be short but retirement can be longer. Especially if one retires earlier than expected, as is in my case. I retired fifteen years sooner than I should have. That means I had to financially carry myself fifteen years longer than most other retirees. I’ve worked for thirty-two years and if all goes well I will be retired for forty years. How does one provide for themselves for forty years without a steady paycheck coming in?

money worries

That’s where my experience going broke comes in to play. You learn an awful lot about proper money management when you’re trying to recover your financial life after going broke. Personally, I think the only way a person can truly accomplish successful money management is by going broke. And then recovering from it. If you learn from your mistakes, vow to never have those same calamities befall your way ever again, you get mighty smart in Finance 101.

I planned my retirement on the ‘sure thing‘. I calculated how much money I would receive in social security, pensions, saving investments (no stock market fluctuations) and I structured my life to meet its financial match. If only an annual, guaranteed income of $25,000 a year was to come into my retirement life, then so be it. I structured and downsized my life so that I could live on $25,000 a year.

I’ve done all of the things suggested in this video from #FinancialWoman as she suggests. I came to these conclusions back in 2001 long before the author had a YouTube channel. That’s because in order to alleviate oneself from future money insecurity, there really is a proven pathway to our retirement journey. Figure out your bottom line and conform to it. If you can accomplish the least, you’ll be better off than most.

Having a secure roof over my head, healthy food on my table, paying my monthly bills in a timely fashion, competent medical care, a cash cushion and family and friends who can tolerate me, have all contributed to what I want and expect in securing a comfortable retirement lifestyle for myself now, and in the future.

I trust that God will make certain that nothing interferes with ‘our’ retirement plans.

 

 

22 comments

  1. Hi Cindi,

    I recently discovered your website and am enjoying it immensely. I retired at the age of 59 after heart surgery. I had spent my entire career in jobs with increasing responsibility, greater stress and less free time so when I started having cardiac issues, it was time to stop the crazy train. I wasn’t much of a saver until later in life and then some of that was wiped out after my divorce but I’ve recovered for the most part.

    I left my job in 2015, moved back to my home state to be closer to family, bought a small, affordable home in a wonderful rural community and I have a quality of life that I once only imagined.

    I live on two smallish pensions and hope to hold off collecting social security until my full retirement age. I’ve run the numbers and the difference between collecting now and waiting three years will be significant to my budget. Like you, I watch my money carefully every day. I budget for my expenses including a few vacations over the next three years (one per year).

    I relate to much of what you write about and thank you for your candor and for sharing your experiences. It is a tremendous help.

    Kindest regards,

    Lisa

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    • Hi Lisa. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I try to be as honest as I can in my retirement journey because I believe there are a lot of retirees out there just like you and I. yet, no one talks about us or offers much realistic advice. According to dave Ramsey, we were supposed to have saved $4million dollars for a good retirement. Can you imagine? How can anyone who had earned a combined income of about $70K a year (as my husband and I did) ever amass such an amount?
      I say BONK!
      My husband is going to wait the 3 years also till he is 65 vs 62 to collect his Social Security benefit. The difference will make a world of good for our later retirement years. Kudos to you for doing the same!!
      Thanks for reading my blog and welcome aboard! We’re all in this together and we need to help each other. 🙂

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  2. I’m with you about having millions in the bank when you retire. It’s &^%$#@. We earned about the same as you, Cindi, second marriages for both of us, and we ended up with savings of less than $200,000 at retirement, now closer to $100,000 after a few major expenses. BUT, our house and cars are debt free and we have more income per month than we can use. Yes, honestly. We have social security (which I don’t worry about collapsing, I don’t care what the journalists say) and a nice pension. Even if the pension should collapse, we could squeak by on the social security.

    We’re in our 70s and we traveled like international spies for the first years of retirement ( smile ) but have now tired of it, mostly. We never worry about money any more, at least, not compared to the years of raising kids when there NEVER seemed to be enough. Right?

    It’s nice and peaceful at this end of life.

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    • Hi Anne. I love the part where you say you and your husband traveled like ‘international spies’. Love it! My hubs and I traveled a lot while we were still employed. That helped us when those travel bills came in. You could always get OT or a side hustle to pay it off. Funny…..we don’t remember how we paid it off BUT we do remember the experiences, and that’s what counts! I always envisioned myself RV traveling in our retirement. That was one of our goals and that’s exactly what we are doing. We winter in our RV in Florida and during the spring and summer we head out over to a beachfront. It’s been working out AOK, now that we discovered the affordable state & national parks. Who knew?
      Our home is paid off (we never really had a mortgage. sold our marital home of 16 years and made enough equity to build our current, smallish home for cash) and we have 2 paid-for cars, which even though they are a depreciating asset and I include them in our net worth, they can be sold in a hurry should we need cash.
      We started off with around $200K cash as you and are now down to $172K. If we have major expenses, we put it on a zero interest credit card and keep flipping it (no transfer fees) till it’s paid off. I do have a very small loan on our RV but at a 4% rate, it’s just noise and very affordable.
      We heavily depend on our Social Security benefits as our pension is smallish (but it can pay at least 5 bills off a month). Every little bit helps. And I’m happy with the rate of returns we are getting from our cash investments. That money comes in handy every month also. We don’t worry about SS or medicare. I don’t believe any of the fear mongering oozing out of politicians mouths either. They’d be strung up if ever they manipulated those two benefits.
      Thanks for your comment.
      We’re all doing well, aren’t we? I say pooh to Dave Ramsey!! 🙂

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  3. Currently, the full benefit age is 66 years and 2 months for people born in 1955, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Early retirement benefits will continue to be available at age 62, but they will be reduced more. I don’t know what year your husband was born but the age for full benefits is going up. This will hit those who do manual labor very hard.

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    • Hi Florence. Yes, Nick’s full retirement age is 66.5 years but he’s taking it at 65 regardless. The difference between those two dates is miniscule but monumental between 65 and 62. My husband started his career doing manual labor but eventually made the leap into management. He uses his brain now. Not his brawn. Even so, those early grueling years can take a toll on the human body. He really wants to stop working completely now, wait it out till 65 and call it a day. We have a three year rough patch till then, but if we watch our Ps & Qs, we should be OK.
      Thanks, as always, for your comment.

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  4. Great article as usual Cindi ! I retired at almost 60, but do plan to collect my Social Security at 62. I receive a pension which is pretty adequate except that it takes quite a bit out for additional health insurance. I don’t want to do without that health insurance because it cost less than what we would pay in the open market. We have Dad I retired at almost 60, but do you plan to collect my Social Security at 62. I receive a pension which is pretty adequate except that it takes quite a bit out for additional health insurance. I don’t want to do without that health insurance because it cost less than what we would pay in the open market. We have debt, and we’re not adding to it but I am reluctant to pay it all off because it would take a big chunk out of our savings. We don’t have much in savings, I mean in cash savings in the bank. And what I have in my 401(k) is $200,000. So for now we will be in debt and pay it off as best we can. We are
    reading blogs like yours, which is extremely helpful. We have been traveling like, as another reader said “international spy” LOL which is where some of our dad has gone to. But we realize that we have very few years left where we can enjoy any sort of travel due to some health issues so I am not going to stress too much about it. Just enjoy it and pay it off. Great article as usual!

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    • Thanks Terri. I took my Social Security at 62. In retrospect, I should have waited. It’s tough getting so little per month, where if I had waited, I would have gotten hundreds more per month. It comes in handy as we get older. That’s why I am happy my husband is waiting. He was the big bread winner, so his check will be good for the both of us!
      Because of my husband’s heart health, we really can’t be traveling as we would like to. RVing is OK because hubby can drive and hospitals are always nearby.
      I like my retirement life and I am certain you do too. We don’t need millions (however, it would have been nice….) We know how to have fun, how to enjoy life and we have our wonderful families. It’s all good. We know what to do to pay our bills and keep a roof over our head and food on the table. We know how to sacrifice when the need arrives.
      Thank you for your comment. See you on Instagram!!

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  5. Yeah, I lost everything, and I mean everything during the Great Recession. Luckily, after my job fizzled out in May 2011, (after being reduced by 2/3 funding in 2009 and I limped along for two years trying to make it), I found another job four and a half months later (September 2011) for almost the same pay I as making in 2009. But, I had to move, nobody would buy my house because all the jobs had dried up in my old job area, the house was defaulted on, and just a hot mess. I did, eventually get another small, very cheap house in a sketchy neighborhood at my new job location, that was paid for just this year. It has been a long, painful, and slow recovery. I do have a pension where I work now, that increases each year I work. I am age 59. The pain from the Great Recession is still too fresh for me. I will probably keep working until I am 65, or at a bare minimum, 62. I realize 67 is the age for me to draw full Social Security, and I may keep working until then, if I can hold out and not have a heart attack from job stress. While I sometimes read Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Mr. Money Moustache stuff, I really do not relate to any of them because there is no way in h@#l I can have a million dollars saved, or even $500,000. I hope I can have $150,000 saved by age 65. I think I can live off my pension and social security at age 65 and the savings be a backup. At least, that is the plan now. I anticipate having to buy one more vehicle before I retire, and I hope to pay cash for it, but not with the $150,000, I have a vehicle medical, tax, and house repair fund, that is separate which is quite pitiful at the moment because I just bought new tires, paid taxes, and had a huge dental bill…ugh.In fact, that fund is now sitting at $500 dollars….sigh…. My current little newish vehicle (2017 Toyota Yaris) is paid for, my very unglamourous small town, rural house is paid for, and I shop very carefully for food, hit the thrift stores for other items. Aldi is over 65 miles away so I only go there if visiting my kids. I shop at Dollar General and Walmart because that is what we have. I also go to the local farmer’s market. .I use a prepaid cheap smart phone ($40 Total Wireless from Walmart) and do not have internet connection nor TV at my house. I do not want to end up like that Glenda lady you talked about in earlier posts. That could easily happen to so many of us, despite our having worked our whole lives. I am determined for it to not happen to me.

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    • Cindy In The South, your determination will see you through. I know it. I can feel it. You’re on the right path. You’re making good decisions. You’re going to be OK.
      It always fascinated me when I discovered, about myself, how little in this world could make me happy. Roof over my head, food on the table, paying my utility bills on time….it all means something.
      Please try to visit a local park or just stare at a tree and feel the sunshine on your face. That will help a lot in reducing your stress. When I was a little girl, growing up in Brooklyn NY, our neighborhood was cement city. But in my parents backyard, a little tree grew up from the concrete into a very big tree. My dad never cut it down. He called it a ‘swamp tree’. I used to sit and stare at it for hours. Watch the leaves sway in the breeze. Trust me. It helps.
      I don’t like Mr. MMM. It’s no wonder that his wife divorced him. His frugality and cheapness left something to be desired. Plus the fact that he only wanted one child, as a means to save money, completely turned me off.
      I read your story and I feel your pain. Life can get pretty touch for us gals. Friends and family sometimes can not comprehend what we’ve been through. It wasn’t totally our fault. Sometimes sh**t just happens. It makes us stronger, however. Better able to meet the challenges of life that waits before us.
      Pat yourself on the back.
      You did a good job!
      We’ve got one more vehicle to buy in our future also. That’ll be the day we go from two cars to one. So far, the time is not yet. But we’re gearing up for it.
      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your story with us. 🙂

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      • I live near Marceline, MO where Walt Disney spent some of his formative years. There is still a tree standing where he grew up. Walt would stare at this tree for hours and it’s called “The Dreaming Tree”. Trees provide a balm for what ails us and inspiration for our soul. I hear Walt Disney went on to do some pretty amazing stuff;) Your tree in Brooklyn made me think of the Dreaming Tree.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Kim Columbia. It’s extraordinary how one memory can lead to another. Thanks for sharing. To know that Disney dreamed as I did. 🙂

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  6. It’s hard to see Dave Ramsey’s wisdom when you are starting over in your 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. I get it. For the past 25 years, (I was divorced and remarried) my husband and I contributed between 8-10% of his income to a retirement account. Not the 10 – 15% percent that is advised. We invested conservatively, so when markets crashed, we were only slightly affected. We continued to invest, even when it crashed and got great sales on stocks. My husband didn’t start out by making a lot of money. His early salary was in the $30’s. He worked hard, tons of overtime and steadily got promoted in his field. I worked part time jobs to pay for things we couldn’t otherwise afford. We never stopped investing. We paid for our four children’s college educations. They went to state schools and had to work to buy books and their other expenses. They chose fields in teaching, Physical Therapy and military (with a future Naval Officer in the family.) We didn’t inherit large sums of money. We did buy brand new cars and had loans, but kept them for more than 10+ years. I know we were lucky, in that we didn’t get hit with the housing market crisis, and my husband held onto his job for the last 25 years. We both had our health. Having said that, though, we rarely went on vacations when raising our four children. We rarely went out to eat. Sacrifices were made so we could continue to invest. Our steady investing (and never quitting) has us now in the $1M club. Not saying that to brag, by any means, but to say that it can be done.

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    • Hi Sharon. I agree that many retirees can accumulate $1million. But $4million as per Dave Ramsey or the $10million Suze Orman recommends is near impossible for the masses. No one should feel hindered if they can’t get up there.
      You are such a success story Sharon and I know it didn’t come easy. Your husband was most fortunate and I am sure he deserves his good fortune. As do you.
      My kids paid half their tuition through part time work and low interest student loans, now paid off. Thank goodness. Their dad, my dad and Nick and I paid off the balances. My girls started off at state colleges but then transferred to art specialty schools. It’s their choice. Their careers and both are thriving. Thank the Lord.
      I lost a lot of money on my risky endeavors. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My mom died of a rare cancer at age 59 and all she did was work. She found out on her first vacation at age 58 she had 3 months to live. I didn’t ever want to be on my deathbed wishing I had done more things. So, I took risks. Plus I never thought I would live longer than my mom.
      No regrets. Just happy I got the chance to live an abundant life.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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      • We will not be anywhere near $4M or $10M (MAYBE $2M) when we retire, but we’ll have a paid for house, and investments generating enough for us to live comfortably (pending healthcare, of course. 😦 )
        Joe and I have started taking cruises because we want to go while we are healthy. Both of us have had health scares. We are done cruising for a while, though, at least until May, 2020 when we go to Alaska. We’ve decided to do long weekends away for now. My sweet dog is getting older and was having a hard time this month and honestly this last cruise killed me because I was worried about him the entire time. We also spent WAY too much money for just one week — it may end up as a blog post. LOL

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      • Sharon I do hope your dog is alright. Saying prayers.
        Your retirement plans are in a good track. Congrats. Your cruise looked so lovely. Sometimes we just have to do something and not dwell on the money. When I took my two daughters, nick and I on a whirlwind 15 day vacation in Italy, back in 2007, I spent about $15,000. Gulp. That includes new Italian wardrobes for Nick and I. I still have the clothes. And I still wear those sexy jeans and shoes!!
        It is what it is.
        If you write a post, I’ll catch it when it prints.
        Long weekends here too. Like five days. Sounding good!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Living within our means should be the goal of everyone. Our society is built on constant excessive consumerism…with credit to pay for the wants not needs. We have channels dedicated to 24 hour sales and Youtube channels dedicated to unboxing of products…fueling the urge to spend. I wished everyone had your concerns…we’d all be better off. Thanks for the article.

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    • You’re welcome. It’s strange. But when I watch TV, I just don’t see the commercials. I don’t have anything that’s new and trendy. Go figure. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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