I don’t think anyone plans on retiring on a shoestring. I think it just happens. Call it bad luck or good luck or any kind of luck, somehow despite all your pitfalls and errors you find yourself retired with a mere pittance to get you by. If you handle it right, however, if you’re frugal enough and creative enough, you can make it all work out. Sometimes seamlessly as if no one other than yourself will know.
We think it shameful to ‘just be getting by’ but we don’t realize how fortunate and blessed ‘just getting by’ can be. Why? Look at the alternative. Look at how ‘not just getting by’ really is. If you have a roof over your head, food on the table, paid-for affordable health care (Medicare plus an Advantage Plan) and your lights are still glowing and your car is still running, you, dear reader, are in great retirement shape! Consider yourself successful because it took guts and creativity to get you here.
You cut your own hair (or get deep hair styling discounts) you clean your own home, you do your own manicure, pedicure. You cook your own meals. You troubleshoot your own cars. You do your own repairs. DIY to you is like nirvana. You take advantage of senior citizen discounts because after all (these years) you deserve them! You cancelled cable because you learned how to stream. You shun the gym because you’ve mastered the great outdoors. You attend free concerts, free festivals, free lectures and self-educate at your local homegrown library. You’re smarter than anyone you know. You’ve mastered the pathway to zero-interest loans which has afforded you to upgrade your lifestyle, your appliances, your vehicle tires, your big ticket items with feeling nary a tug at your pitiful retirement savings stash.
You qualify for no-fee admittance to national parks, state parks and the local park down on your favorite neighborhood corner. You vacation off season and get to enjoy the property mostly all to yourself. You see the latest release movie for a pittance while enjoying that dollar-off, medium sized tub of buttered popcorn. You have so much time now to seek out sales and discounts that you no longer have to scavenge the racks at Goodwill. You’re wearing new clothes at prices better than any consignment shop a residence for the one percenters (1%’rs) could offer. You’re having fancy, well-rounded meals out, all thanks to that often maligned early bird special. You got your property taxes lowered because you qualified. You’ve got one car and it’s the most newish you’ve ever had. Or you take public transportation via a senior citizen discounted fare card.
You don’t take crap from anyone. If you’ve been cheated, you fight back to maintain your rights. Barely 10 months ago I bought this white holiday motif sleepwear (pictured on the left) from Lands End before the material thinned and frayed, causing holes everywhere on the fabric. It took me over 6 weeks but I got Lands End to replace the sleepwear, free of charge with absolutely no shipping charges in either direction. My new pj’s (valued at $60) are pictured on the right!
You live well. You eat well. And you feel well. You enjoy your life and despite it all, you choose not to concentrate on its pitfalls but rather on its enjoyment. You know the value of a dollar as well as the value of a dime. Most of all, you know the value of your family. The value of having friends. Acquaintances and neighbors you can rely on. You understand money isn’t everything. Money’s not the only thing of value or to be used as a yardstick for judgment. Your honesty, integrity and how you treat your fellow man, woman, child and animal is your guiding light. You don’t lie or cheat your way up to the top. You respect everyone until proven otherwise.
You’re not your child’s friend. You are their parent. And you want them to grow up big and strong; just like you. And they have.
Not only are you retired and ‘just getting by’.
You’re retired and ‘just getting started’.