Enjoying a pretty well worry-free retirement

joyfulguyDecember 7, 2013

Being in my 80s, with offspring on either side of 50 who are looking after themselves, no grandkids, I've seldom had my body tell me, "Listen, you darned old fool - I can't DO that for you any more!". Some shots to shrink some varicose veins may have caused some blood clots a bit over 3 years ago, but I'm on blood thinners and it hasn't interfered with my desired pursuits ... which has included looking after a garden in recent years, this year with about a mile of row ... but which didn't turn out to my usual satisfaction.

I have a government non-contributory pension, that carries residence requirements, and a required contributory one that started in 1966, with occasional smallish escalators.

I have a private contributory pension, which had some escalators until recent years, but lacking such recently, with returns on investments having been reduced recently.

I hold a smallish personal retirement account from which I draw annually the required minimum amount ... which has reduced recently, as I followed my advisor's advice to sell Berkshire Hathaway at about $85.00 (recently grew to $116.) and buy some Canadian petroleum at about $20.00 ... that went to $10.00, now about $12.00).

Oh, well ... one chooses as best one can ... and wins a few ... and loses a few.

Being decidedly frugal ... I began learning such at farmer dad's knee (World War II began in '39, when I was 10, and hired hands went to war, so I learned early the value of work). Having spent a few years helping refugees with nothing get back on their feet just after the Korean War (having modern war sweep across most of your country four times provides major lessons in what trouble is all about) added to that training.

I live within my pension income ... so the investment game is pretty well "play money" ... for the present, at least: providing for my care down the road may chew into a good portion of it.

Having lived for years in employer-owned housing, for a number of years I didn't have to pay for house ... but knew that when I retired I'd need to, so should save toward that eventuality ... at which time, with good planning and investing, I should be able to provide such for myself (with no, or minimal, mortgage?).

A few years ago I moved from a rented unit in a townhouse to what used to be uncle's farm, which the man who bought the farm rents to me for about 60% of my earlier deal .. and he lets me use about an acre? of land for garden, cultivating and tilling it for me, as well (and he gets a good few veggies - most go to churches, social agencies or son).

I've felt for years that it makes sense for a number of singles, especially seniors, to live in shared housing ... but folks say that it won't work - that they'll fight, e.g. over moving a couch six inches or so.

Oh, well ... as I said earlier - you win a few ... and you lose a few.

Hope you've all had a good year. I flew to help my brother and wife celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary - figured I'd married them, so should be there to help celebrate the milestone ... (better a milestone than a gravestone, right?)

Oh, and by the way ... aren't these Christians a peculiar lot ... you hear them telling about what a great place Heaven is ... but how many have you met in any hurry to get there? Well, until they're gravely ill, with little prospect of substantial recovery.

ole joyful ... for many years a liberal Protestant clergyperson (till divorce intervened - tut! tut!)

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Hey I loved the "Christians a peculiar lot". About your way of life, to each his own life style. I am definitely spending mine. I get my husband's pension and soc sec and live comfortably on it. I do spend money though, why should I leave it to an heir who doesn't deserve it or need it. I am leaving it to a friend and my goal is to have anything I want. My married life started out living on peanut butter and jelly with nothing but the clothes on our back. Both of my husbands turned the financial part of it over to me and I did well. When I say I buy anything I want, my wants are small, so I don't spend as much as it sounds like. I am going to buy a 6 year old home in Oklahoma if the roads ever clear there. They were iced in and the realtor will call when it's safe to travel. I am moving to my home town where I was born to spend the rest of my years. It will be my last adventure and a pleasant one I hope. It should be a trade off, my home and it is valued about the same. This one is paid for the other will be too. I was very poor as a child and am thoroughly enjoying my golden years, except for living in the terrible HOA community. Hopefully that will soon end.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Glad to hear that things are still going well for you, ole joyful. Not much action on this forum any longer, and your contributions are always welcome.

We've done pretty well in retirement, but may have to "pull in our horns" a little now that we have moved my MIL to a retirement care center. She helped with one-third of the household expenses, no small thing in the very expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

However, her dementia was getting worse and we felt she desperately needed (altho she didn't think so, LOL) the social community and 24/7 friendly staff.

We were happy to report in the Caregivers Forum that indeed, this has been an excellent move for her. She is much more lively and engaged. She's in Asst. Living, but this facility also has a Memory Care unit which she may eventually need as she has mild dementia.

Unfortunately, in the US it takes $$$ to afford these kinds of places. It costs close to $5K/month to pay for this facility, and Memory Care is even higher - currently around $7800/mo. All of this is private pay; our healthcare system is sadly unprepared for the growing group of elderly needing varying levels of eldercare.

Fortunately she has the funds. This is not a Medicaid facility, the only government program that does pay for long-term care for indigent elderly. Like most of the better senior facilities in the US, they don't accept Medicaid patients.

Still, we are much more fortunate than most of our family/friends, with a full pension and retiree medical benefits. We have been able to avoid drawing down our retirement savings so far, although a whopping increase of 85% to our long-term care insurance premiums that will hit Jan 2015 may require a small drawdown.

We recently moved our portfolio to the same CFP firm I vetted for MIL. I'm not interested in maneuvering through a tumultuous macro-market, and decided it was worth the expense to simplify our financial lives going forward.

Could I do the investing cheaper myself? Yes, of course. Could I do it as well without spending a fair amount of time researching and worrying? Nope. I'd rather spend my time doing other things!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Best Christmas gift was talking with son and his partner on speaker-phone to daughter who's involved in a motorcycle rental business mainly to tourists in Cozumel, Mexico.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 3:33PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois

Greetings to all,

We retired about 12 months ago and are still adjusting to all the extra time. I have been an active volunteer for many years and I have increased my hours through the local RSVP organization.

We took two cruises in 2013 and two planned for this year. It is always difficult to plan those, as I insist on going during the non-gardening part of the year (veggies and flowers).

I believe that my wife has knitted a pair of socks each month since we retired and that keeps her happy. I am going to attempt to write a column about travel for our local newspaper (who knows how much they will edit the thing).

Planning ahead, we purchased some long-term care insurance several years ago, with the hope that the kids won't have to try to have decisions to make about our care. It's not that expensive when one compares it to the actual cost of assisted living or nursing home care. Our wills are completed (and everyone involved has a copy) and advanced directives are on file at the appropriate places. I believe that we have most things in order.

For us, retirement is good. Some folks ask us when we will return to work and we smile and let them know that it ain't gonna happen!

Be well and be happy,


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Everything Jim-dandy, sounds like, Jim-1.

Good wishes to your wife ... and loved ones.

ole joyfuelled ... with a bit o' help from a shot o' coffee, now and again

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:27PM
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