Retirement Is Serious Business

All the saving, planning and prepping in the world can’t prepare you for what retirement life is really going to be like until you actually retire. Plain and simple as that. When those employment doors officially close and you come to the realization that no more payroll checks will be rolling in, and you are totally on your own, with your own retirement planning intact, that’s your first wake up call.

happy retirement.jpg
Most retirements are NOT two lounge chairs in the sun on a beach. Sorry.

Even though I have been retired since 2001, my husband was still working. Granted, each year he worked less and less BUT he was still working. A payroll check was still coming in! Sure we had my Social Security check, a pension check and an interest check too but there’s something about that payroll check as a crutch that I didn’t see coming. After 18 years of MY retirement, hubby doesn’t want to work anymore. DH wants to retire also, and rightly so. He also doesn’t want to collect his own Social Security till he is 65 and qualifies for Medicare. That’s less than 3 years away.

In other words, we, as a couple, are officially retired. Our retirement now is based on all our planning, saving and prepping. When I realized that no more payroll checks were coming in, that now we had to live our lives based on a fixed income, only then did I realize what true retirement meant. People, retirement is serious, serious business! Now I can fully understand all those warnings the financial advisers had been alarming us about all these years.

Much of the retirement planning I did in the past hasn’t worked out as I wanted them to. For example: when I inherited money from my father, rather than invest in the stock market back in 2005, I bought in to beach front Newport, RI real estate instead. Fast forward 10 years later and I lost $100,000 on the sale of that property in 2015. Since I had done so well with my primary NY real estate in 2001, I thought I could replicate my success once again. I was wrong. Ditto for the condo I bought in Florida in 2016. Fast rising HOA fees, taxes and smoking neighbors shut that investment down in only 1.5 years when I realized the property was unsustainable for a couple (us) on a fixed income.

That’s two strikes.

Thank goodness for our NY real estate holdings.  Our current abodes’ meteoric rise in value has wiped out all previous real estate losses. We can’t, however, eat our home. So any increase can only be recognized if and when we sell. Hubby and I have great plans for our equity. That is until I read this article, gracefully sent to me by one of my readers,  ‘Seniors Face A Grim Financial Future‘ (click here). It’s yet another retirement naysayer who has people like me doomed and gloomed.

The rising costs of housing and health care will nearly double in 10 years, growing from 7.9 million to 14.4 million by 2029.

More than half of middle-income seniors 75 years or older won’t have enough money to cover assisted living rent and other out-of-pocket medical costs a decade from now, even if they were to sell their homes and use all other financial resources.

That number will sharply rise to 81% if tomorrow’s seniors choose to keep their home but commit the rest of their annual financial resources to cover the nearly $62,000 annual cost associated with senior housing and supportive personal care services.

That’s according to a new study published this month in Health Affairs by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care at the University of Chicago.

The researchers used demographic and income data to forecast estimates for those who will be 75 or older in 2029, with a focus on those who earn between $25,000 to $75,298 per year.

I had my husband read the article because I wanted his reaction and opinion. Hubby said that what the article predicts will never happen to us. My husband said the author kept using the word ‘may‘. It may happen. This may happen. That may happen. In other words, the author was just guessing. She wasn’t positive. That’s because no one can be positive when it comes to retirement because things change almost daily. No one can predict how their retirement years are going to unfold.

For arguments sake, I asked my husband to think about what if the improbable does happen to us. What if the article was true? After all, we did fit the description. We did fit the scenario. Hubby didn’t have an answer but I did.

I’d like to retire as my dad did. He stayed in his $2million dollar home till he passed away at age 92. When his health was failing, my sister hired a live-in caretaker to watch over him at a cost of $600 a week. My father had the best care, better than what he would have received from any assisted living arrangement. My sister and brother (a doctor) looked over my father’s finances and medical treatment. My father had enough money in the bank to continue to pay for the in-home caregiver. The in-home caregiver was MUCH less expensive than any assisted living care could have provided. I guess the author of that article didn’t realize that until you are actually in retirement, you can’t come up with any viable solution.

Thankfully, DH and I are blessed with two daughters who can easily follow in my sister’s footsteps and take care of us as my dad was. Our town offers plenty of free services to the elderly (home repairs & upkeep, ramp construction etc) and we can also contract with a local company here that caters to the older crowd. Rides to and from your doctor’s offices, shopping trips, food delivery, medical emergencies can all be arranged with just a phone call. DH and I won’t be a burden to anyone.

I still say, owning your home outright in retirement is still a very good bet. Also, have a family and be kind and loving to them as best as you can. Family, as well as good friends, can be your best hedge in your retirement. I guess the authors don’t figure that in to their scare tactics.

Live well and prosper my friend. Live well and prosper.

8 comments

  1. That is exactly why I went with the LTC plan I did. Instead of getting the inflation rider, I chose the higher payout to a family caregiver. My daughter (the future PT) has already told me she wants to be the one to care for us. I guess we’ll see if and when that happens because things change. BUT, because she will have a medical degree, she will be entitled to the full monthly amount of $5000, at least for 3 years.
    Joe and I may die before the plan is ever used or needed, but at least we are prepared. I wouldn’t believe all these naysayers out there Cindi. My parents are doing fine, and living on $2500/mos. in upstate New York. They make double that in pension and social security, but just let the excess grow in their accounts. They have a warm bed to sleep in every night and delicious food on the table. They are in their 80’s and their health is still okay. I pray that I have their life when I’m in my 80’s. 🙂

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    • Hi Sharon. I agree with your LTC plan also. Never knew it existed. I don’t believe the naysayers. You’ve got to be in retirement to understand it. They’re not. I am.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  2. I think of those things all the time. Especially when I’m all gung-ho to just retire early. I’m amazed at the people who retire in their 30’s or 40’s…WTH are they thinking…what will the do in 40 years when they are 80 if they are ‘lucky’ to live that long? Thanks for sharing your perspective. As a baby of the baby boomers – our future doesn’t look so grand when it comes to expenses and healthcare and such does it??

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