Sorting out stuff and facing a shortened future

BetsieLTFebruary 11, 2003

It seems that after retirement I am much more loathe to add anything to this household. Since January, I have gone through the jewelry box and given away 90 percent of it, sorted out all photos and sent them off to new homes. I am still sorting closets and hope to pare down to bare necessities. Has anyone else looked at the fewer years ahead and sorted out their belongings?

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joyfulguy

Hi BetsieLT,

It may be that you are recently retired - but life isn't over - I hope.

Had you given thought to what you'd do after retirement, before it came?

It brings a major disruption in your activities, interests, use of time, connections with people, etc.

Are you living alone, or sharing houseroom with (an)other(s)? Do you plan to continue living in your present place?

If not, do you know where you want to go? If you've thought of moving to a distant place, many suggest going there to live in a rental place for a while, to experience it year-round before settling down.

I understand that many people, through many years of living in their home, have acquired most everything that they need/want. On the other hand, some have planned to begin some new interests after retirement and, not having acquired the necessary equipment before, may want to get them now.

I hope that you won't be in a hurry to give away most of your things - especially money and investments - as you may want/need them later.

My 86 year old uncle, whose wife died a year ago now, whom I spent several months with until his cattle went to pasture, as he had bad back, hip (3 replacements) and leg, wonders how much longer he'll be able to continue in his country home. Though he has a (nearly new) truck, his eye doctor was unwilling to give him clearance to renew his driver's licence. But he wants to go on living in the home where he's lived for over fifty years as long as he can.

He looked around, while executors were dealing with his wife's things, and said, "You spend all your life getting a number of things (he has a modest home) and now - what do you do with them?" He can afford anything that he wants.

As a financial planner and retirement consultant for a number of years, I've found that many people have major expenses in the first year or so after retirement - doing some travelling that they've wanted to do in a leisurely fashion.

And in the last year of their life - related to serious medical issues.

I hope that you have assets that allow you the freedom to do some of the things that you'd like in the way of travel, hobbies, attending shows, festivals, etc.

Do you have some friends, especially ones who've retired rather recently? No doubt you can discuss some of the retirement issues with them.

It will be important to make some new friends - for you'll find that a number of the ones you've had for years will be dropping off. In increasing numbers as the years go by.

This is a great new phase of your life - go into it with joy and anticipation. Enjoy each day, week and year to the full. There can be some wonderful days ahead for you.

Good wishes to you as you set off on this new adventure.

joyful guy/Ed

P.S. My email address is here - go to "My Page" for a better idea of who I am and what I'm about. Write if you'd like some more individual discussion. OJ (Ole Joyful)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2003 at 1:42AM
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BetsieLT

I have much to keep me busily contented, knowing my volunteer time makes a difference in other peoples lives. But things or the collecting of things makes me shudder. Two weeks ago I helped a family sort out an estate and there were boxes and boxes of collectibles that the woman had probably looked at very few times. Boxes of photos that had to be burned as no one wanted them, again covered with dust. All that wasted money that could have helped out any number of organizations. My house is very unadorned. I have nothing to dust and the memories are in my mind. Americans or westerners are really odd people with that need to collect. Other countries live with the basics and are quite content. The older I get the more like my grandfather I become. He always said "the best things in life aren't things" .

    Bookmark   February 13, 2003 at 10:33AM
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aileen

When I put both my mother and her sister in a nursing home, I had the chore of doing something with their belongings. Many of these items were things from my grandmother. A lot of it junk. Things that were never used, just kept, put away in boxes and stored in the attic. Tons of pictures that meant nothing to me and certainly nothing to my children.

I resolved then that no one would ever have to clean out my junk and I am disposing of things that I have no use for. It makes life much easier. Keepsakes and things like that aren't needed to make my life complete.

I say, if you don't want to be bothered with it....toss it or give it away. And enjoy yourself while you do it. Useless posessions can be like chains that keep up from living freely.

It doesn't matter how much longer you may live, if you don't need it, you don't need it. You may even live longer if your life is not cluttered up with "things"

    Bookmark   February 13, 2003 at 11:15AM
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lulie___wayne

Betsie, I haven't done a whole lot of that yet, but I do not feel attachments to things as I used to. There are many things that I wouldn't mind getting rid of now and truly need to get rid of. We only have one living son left and I'd rather sort now and make it easier for him later.
Lu

    Bookmark   February 14, 2003 at 9:50AM
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curlysue

I'm 41 and i need some financial advice. I'm in a 401K through my employer. I contribute 6% and they match 3%. Not much i know but is really all i can do now. What is the single most important thing i can start doing right now to make my financial future brighter. I want to be comfortable when i retire. I know i waited kind of late in the game but i'm hoping better late than never. I'm new here but have been lurking long enough to know that there are some really smart people. Joyfulguy please help. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 15, 2003 at 7:45AM
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heather_on

Betsie, I know exactly what you are saying. My house is far too cluttered with things that I really don't need anymore. I've started to do some major pitching and things are a lot easier for me with less clutter.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2003 at 9:56AM
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minnie_tx

I think it's great to clean out stuff and get rid of it (my orders are to take what you want and call goodwill for the rest) I think you are wrong in looking forward to a shortened future. That could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Live each day but also look forward to tomorrow. Who knows you might turn into the next Grandma Moses.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2003 at 5:09PM
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BigMama

I think you guys are mis-interpreting what she is saying...The shortened future does not have negative connations to me, it's a fact of life...What she is saying, as I understand it, is not that she is ready to kick off or crawl in a hole and kiss off..She is franklying saying that her years on this earth grow less every day. I can certainly relate to what she is saying......I know full well that we are approaching the twilight years but looking forward to them with lots of gusto....how ever many remain but I don't want to be bogged down with posessions. I know exactly what she is saying because I feel the same way. I don't need or want any more. I am so content with what we have and don't relish the idea of accumulating any more junk. I have systimatically gone through and done the same thing. Believe me it is liberating for us. I know so many people that wouldn't part with anything that belongs to them, but my granddaughters now own beautiful albums of all the baby pictures that were given to me. My daughter owns all the baby sweaters that I knitted for her...I can press forward to the long awaited retirement years with out worrying about any of this stuff.....Betsie..I feel exactly as you do..I am loathe to add any more junk.....

    Bookmark   February 17, 2003 at 9:06AM
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joyfulguy

Big Mama,

I appreciate your positive approach.

I hpe that BetsyLT's approach is similarly positive.

It does make it difficult to know "what to get for you" for birthdays, Christmas, etc.

In many cases - not a "thing" - but some hours of the giver's time.

Whether to sit and talk, over a cup of tea, or to go with/take her somewhere that she has a hard time finding the energy to go on her own.

Recently a friend was going for a checkup of her bowel. Had breast cancer several years ago.

Didn't know whether they'd give her medications which would make it unwise for her to drive.

She was approaching the issue with some trepidation, too, I believe.

I offered to drive her, which she accepted with alacrity.

The other day she went to hear the Dr.'s report - alone. Parked in parking garage by Univ. Hosp.

Dr. said, though some complications in bowel, no malignancy.

On her way out, took wrong turn in parking garage, scraped her Lincoln Town Car, vintage '94.

When I heard of the problem I wished that I'd reiterated my offer to go with her.

This morning, on my way to root canal work, visited her place to move some boxes. She talked of getting estimate on vehicle repair.

I offered to go with her, if she wished.

As she was ready to start, I almost suggested that, as I wouldn't have anything positive to offer, that I not go.

On the way home, she told how she appreciated my offer, that she wouldn't have gone on her own, today. (Possibly not tomorrow, either?)

Plastic moulding on one rear door - possibly over $300., if can't find replacement. Almost $100. for door handle. Some other mouldings, paint to fix.

Almost certainly well over $500.

Good wishes to you senior adventurers,

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 19, 2003 at 6:03AM
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joyfulguy

Hi all,

Bad news - estimate to repair minor problems on my friend's Lincoln - $1,300.

And, as she's 80, must undergo driver's test to continue to drive.

Figures the car's too big and ungainly, may cause her to fail the test, so thinking of selling and getting a smaller vehicle.

Good wishes to all.

joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 2:55AM
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