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Retirement Counselor

Posted by Judith (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 12, 03 at 15:53

I set up an appointment and had a talk with a retirement counselor of my retirement fund today. It was very depressing to say the least. He kept saying that I may have to put off retirement until I can afford it and that he sees many, many people who think they are going to retire and then when they sit down and determine what their expenses will be and how much they will need, they have to keep on working. I absolutely don't want to have to do that. I have looked forward to retiring this year for the past 10 years and I am now very depressed at the thought that I might not be able to retire. His first question to me was to ask was I really going to quit work and retire or was this just a change of jobs. He said over and over that I would probably have to keep working. That is the Pits. He said a large number of the baby boomers that think they are going to retire at 62 will find out that they will have to work into their 70s. Oh how I wish I had planned on my retirement when I first started working over 45 years ago.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Retirement Counselor

First of all, do you know what your Soc Sec benefit will be when you retire? and are you retiring early or at 65?
Do you have an approximation of what you'll receive from any retirement plans or other sources?
I really took early early retirement because I couldn't stand to work with people anymore!!.
Because my house pmt was so low at the time I was able to manage on income from investments for years until my Soc Sec kicked in.

How do you want o live? What kind of lifestyle. Were/are you a big spender and used to paying high prices for things or have you become more frugal as the years have passed and look for good deals?
You can always get a job later if need be if you truly need/want one.
I took the early SS pyment and probably should have waited until 65 but who knew what would happen. I don't regret that I've had to cut back on things for the sake of a peaceful mind.
Don't get discouraged. Just find out yourself how much you can count on each month.

It should work out.


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RE: Retirement Counselor1

I just looked at your member page and thought you've already gota head start in growing a vegetable garden and able to get around your acreage.
I think you have to add up just what you need to survive each month
Rent/mtg/taxes
Utilities
Insurance
the rest (food, entertainment, clothes etc)is what you'd have to eeek out of what is left after those from what you get for your benefits.

Over at AOL we were busy setting up our preparedness pantries so we'd be able to survive in any disaster etc. I'm sure you already do that . It is something to start doing now for the future if you don't already do it. Let us know how it goes.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Thanks Minnie for your reply. I will be 65 in August of this year. My Social Security will be around $1,000 per month and my pension from work will be around $430. I am in the process, now, of doing a spreadsheet to determine exactly what my monthly expenses are at the present time and how I can pare them down. I am not a big spender but I have 4 horses, 9 cats and 3 dogs that take a lot of my money for upkeep. I didn't go out and get any of the cats or dogs, all were dumped on me because I live in a rural area. The horses are aging with the youngest being 19 this year and the oldest is now 26. My house is now 36 years old and needs repairs. It was a small, cheaply built house to begin with. I do have a piece of property in another state that I will need to sell and I hope that will bring a good price. But, I also have an older sister that I will need to share the money that I get from the sale of the property and also will have to pay a large capital gains tax on it since it was a gift from my mother, (a long story). Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Judith, I know it sounds scary right now. I think when you realize the $$ from that sale it will also help. Your animals will be the biggest cost probably. I know they are probably more like friends than animals. Is your house already paid for or can you refinance it now that the interest is hitting an all time low? My son just refinanced the house he bought a year ago. You'll want to contact SS dept soon anyway for a more accurate determination of your benefit (if you haven't already done so.) I think you'll want to do that anyway for Medicare purposes.

When you get an average expense for the year it will give you a little better feeling I'm sure. A lot of people have done it for less than you'll be getting, it may mean taking on a part-time job but you'll be able to choose something less demanding. Keep in touch with us. (My retirement check is the same forever - I could have received more for a lesser period of years but I choose the other so that I'd always have something coming in.)


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RE: Retirement Counselor

My house is paid for. I am the one who had it built back in 1967. Back then things were so much cheaper and I wish I had built a better quality house. I have not contacted Social Security yet but plan to do so in the very near future. I thought I would be able to get along on what my pensions will bring in, but that counselor really depressed me when he said that I might have to put off retirement for another 10 years. I want to talk to a different counselor the next time. This guy was not what I was expecting, but, maybe it was for the best because it has really got me to thinking about what my expenses will be and what they are now. I have already completed my spreadsheet for February. I will go back to January and prepare one for each month through June. That should give me a good idea of what I can eliminate in my current expenses.

Thanks for your interest. Judith


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I think you are ahead of the game and whoever the counseler was may be used to handling "big" money people too.
If your place is paid for and all you have to worry about is the ins and taxes that is way ahead of most of us. Congratulations.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Judith
My income is less than what yours will be when you retire. I also have to take a mtge pmt out of it but I manage ok. Of course I only have 4 of us to feed. Me and the 3 cats, and a $30 lawn care pmt each month


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RE: Retirement Counselor

It sounds like you should be able to retire if your home is paid for. We went to our company's retirement seminar and it almost scared us to death. BUT we are fine. We have a pension, it is only about $450 more than yours. We have no debts other than a new car every 5 years and utilities.

I hate to say it, but your draw back will be the animals. If you are to attached to find new homes for them, you could get a part time job the help with that expense. After you are retired a while you may find you enjoy working somewhere 3 days a week.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

I agree with Jonesy. I would take a job tomorrow if something I liked fell in my lap. I miss what I did but not necessarily the people I had to work with.
When you are retired you can pick and choose and leave if you find you don't like the work etc.

Pleae let us know how things are working out.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Thank you all for your encouragement. I really thought I would be able to survive after retirement until that counselor insisted that I would have to have either a home based business or a part time job. I have worked for over 45 years, it will be 46 years if I retire in October, and I have never gotten a chance to stay home and have time to do anything that I wanted to do. The weekends fly by and several of my animals have lived their whole lives and died and I never really had the time to spend much time with them. I am a homebody type and I don't like pressure and stress. My life is constantly rush, rush, no time to stop to admire the flowers, a long 1 hour or more cummute each way to work through now major highway construction and bumper to bumper traffic, usually late for work, just have time to get home and feed the animals before it's time that I should be in bed but I never manage to get to bed before 10:00 PM. I get up at 4:00 AM every day and it's rush, rush. I get home in the dark for over 7 months of the year. I just want to be able to have some leisurely time to enjoy what I have. Even though my home is paid for, it is now needing some major repairs. Needs a new roof, new plumbing, new gutters, new kitchen floor, new doors, back and front and lots of other things. I just noticed last weekend, there is water standing under part of my house. My house is only one block high off of the ground and no one will go under there. Sometimes I get very down and depressed about it all. I am totally by myself, no family except an older brother and and older sister who live in other states. But, if there is any way to do it, I do want to retire and I hope I can make it somehow. I am used to not having a lot of conviences that most people take for granted. Thank you all for your advice. Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Jusith, Fear is trying to overwhelm you. My definition of FEAR is
Future
Events
Anxiously
Reviewed.

Of course everthing has to get fixed but take it one step at a time.
It sounds like you really need to get out of the rat race too.
I'd go for the retirement. take the total of your pensions/retirements and SS and then subtract the total of what you HAVE to pay out(taxes,utilities etc) and then divide up the rest for the montly living expenses (food etc)

Is your house on extra property? Maybe you can sell an acre or half acre.

You may even have valuable stuff you can sell on EBAY. Someone on our forums just told of putting her husbands old tractor on ebay (that didn't work) and it sold.
Sounds like you're pretty tough. Get back to us.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Hi Judith,

Please don't let yourself get all bent out of shape due to the recommendations (opinions?) of one advisor. Maybe he had his eyes more strongly on his preconceptions than on your situation.

Last night I looked at a site that quoted a book written several years ago, something like "Possum Living", by a young woman who lived with her Dad just north of Philadephia. Now out of print.

They didn't work. Quite an interesting story about how they managed.

Lived two miles out of town, walked, ran or used a 3-speed bike: not so easy to carry a couple of bushels of wheat home, etc.

Made a deal with a neighbour who boarded horses to exercise them by driving to town in a cart.

She babysat, cleaned house etc. Dad worked occasionally at odd jobs.

No TV - read books from library, played cards with neighbours, crafts, etc.

She dressed well - few knew of their low-cost lifestyle.

I don't remember where I found it - was it from a link on "Money Saving Tips"? Maybe from a while back, as I was looking at some old posts.

I'll go looking again. Having retired (more or less) a few years ago, I have more time than you.

Some time ago a professional person consulted me about retiring early and I said that he'd probably need to work up until retirement age - but he wanted something like $40,000. - 50,000. income/year (he hadn't allowed for inflation).

Some say that a rough estimate of income needed after retirement is about 70% of one's employment earnings. A rough estimate.

Good wishes as you make your plans.

joyful guy


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That was nice joyful guy. It made me feel good too. I think after working for so many years - just the thought of not working can be pretty scary. In this day and age a lot of people are worried about being laid off.


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Thank you Minnie, and Joyful guy for your comments. I guess I am suddenly in fear that I won't be able to make it when I retire. I have talked to counselors from my retirement fund at other times and none forecast such a bleak outlook as this last guy. I wasted my time talking to him. I have already gotten my credit cards almost paid off and my car is paid off but I bought a used truck last August and I will have 2 years left on that to pay, plus property taxes and insurance. I am on 3 prescription drugs and they are expensive. But, if I am careful and go slowly and sort things out and plan well, I still think I can survive. My sister survives on less than I will be getting and pays $400 a month rent. I have always bought things ahead so I have just about every thing that I will need as far as things go. Thank you for your encouragement. That counselor just about put my in a panic.

Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Judith, Do one thing before you retire, and that is to get those house repairs done. That is one thing that is going to cost you a lot more than you plan on. Also, the longer you wait, the more repairs will be needed. Just fixing the roof will blow any budget you plan.

I know that you are dying to retire, but try to stick it out until you fix up the house. Even if you have to get a second mortgage or a Home Equity loan, it will be a lot easier to get if you have a steady income. Everyday as you make that hateful commute, don't think of it as going to a job, think of it as nailing shingles, or painting. Might work...it would be a goal to be achieved.

Also, ask you physician if he/she can give you a generic drug for those that you are taking. Mine gave me one that by sending in the sales slip, the drug company sends me a $30.00 rebate everytime I get it filled.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Hi again, Judith,

When you say that the discussion with the retirement counsellor was a waste of time, may I disagree slightly? Though it scared the heck out of you - it gave you the incentive to look at the situation from a different perspective than you had previously.

That will probably be helpful as you go forward making your plans and carrying them out. It's good to look at a problem from several directions - especially one as crucial as whether you'll have enough to live on not only now, but ten and twenty years down the road.

When you refer to the drugs you need, I wonder whether you have extra energy and strength. I gathered that you did.

Have you thought of other ways of earning income than going somewhere to work for someone?

Would it be possible to have some local kids pay to ride your horse(s)? Could you give riding lessons? Board horses/other animals? Maybe do temporary boarding when people go on vacation? House-sit when (nearby, due to your animals' care) people go on vacation? Baby-sit?

You have an acreage. Would it be possible for you to grow vegetables, etc. to sell? Maybe operate a pick-your-own place, for strawberries, etc.

Would some local people who would like to have a garden but don't have room be interested in having a garden on your farm?

Do you enjoy house work? Many people are willing to pay for regular cleaning - or perhaps spring cleaning, etc. Such outreach into the community would allow you to let people know of the other services that you might choose to offer, as well.

Are there seniors nearby whom you could provide some services for, in order to permit them to remain in their own home longer? Trouble is, they often think that paying some helper $2.00 is a big payment. My stepmother's brother, whom I've been looking out for some since his wife died just over a year ago, thinks that the $700./mo. that I pay rent on a 2 br. townhouse is criminal.

You'd have a lot more freedom in such situations than you have now, where you must be at work during certain hours, five days a week - and drive a long way to get there.

It appears that the most serious issue with regard to the house repair is fixing the roof. Is it leaking now? Do you have any idea whether there's damage to the structure, or does it just need replacement of the shingles/covering?

Would it be possible for you to do some of the work yourself? Are there local people who know about such things? Have you talked to them? You can pick their brains. The library has a number of books that explain how to do such things. Such work is not as difficult as we often think. It would make it a lot easier if you can find someone locally that you can go to for advice if you get into a bind.

If you need to open the roof up, you'd need a tarpaulin to cover the whole space from the peak of the roof to down over the hole - but more than likely a neighbour may have one that you could borrow for a while. Heavy blocks, old tires, etc. to hold it down when wind comes, also - as it often does when there's rain.

Enough for now.

Most of us have more strings on our violin than we realize. We get so used to thinking of issues in only one direction or so, when there may be other possibilities that we hadn't thought of.

Good wishes as you make your plans.

joyful guy/Ed


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Thank you Joyful guy for your suggestions. My horses were never trained so they are not broke to ride or even to lead. I do have 17 acres of land but 2/3 of it is woods and the other is very poor soil. Because it is on a slope, I lose a lot of topsoil every time it rains. I am all thumbs and can't seem to do anything in the repair category. Yes, my roof is leaking in spots. I had a guy from church to come out and put on a new roof a few years ago. He didn't do a good job and soon quit the church not long after he did my roof. I think there is some rotting around the overhang but I am not sure. I am very much afraid of heights, small enclosed spaces, and numerous other things. And I hate housework. I had thought about growing a few vegetables to sell at the local flea market in the summer. I live in a rural area and I have lived there for 35 years, have owned the property for 39 years and I don't know anyone on the street. They are mostly people who work in Nashville and they tend to keep to themselves. In all the years I have lived there, I rarely ever see anyone out in the yard as I pass by the houses. I am now faced with a very large dental bill, close to $3,500 at least plus all of the pain and suffering I am now enduring since I had a 2 hour dental appointment this morning. This is something I had not expected. Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

If you can live in the house as is then relax and do it. Perhaps you might consider getting a manufactured home (a mobile home) My friends live in a beautiful - made to order 3 bedroom one in a retirement community and love it. You at least have the property. Maybe what you see from the sale of that property could be banked to take care of the animals.
Have you thought of relocating (with the animal) to a smaller property and selling yours?
You can put the mobile home almost anywhere where there are hookups and things might be more manageable.


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RE: Retirement Counselor

maybe the counselor is trying to keep as many people as possible working, so there will be more money paid into SS for His retirement! Anyone with you wonderful spirit as only an animal lover has--- will be o.k. Good luck!


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Poor Counselor...I know the feeling as I was a retirement counselor many years ago. I can only speak for myself & my research, but I did often upset clients when I suggested they take another look at their spending habits vs.the real income they would be working with. They had forgotten the little stuff like a trip to barber shop or hair salon, spending time in the coffee shop chatting with co-workers, etc., The $3.00 cup of coffee for one, the list goes on & on and while we're working those "little expenses" aren't noteworthy. Trying to project cost of living against what retirement pay is, can be a chore for the best CPA. You have your golf clubs, fishing gear,a car, etc. brand new and paid for NOW, but how about in 3-5 years when these things show wear and need repairing-replacing. Well the lists can go on and on, but by and large most of the people I dealt with eventually thanked me for bringing up things like gas price increases, car insurances and don't forget your health insurance. I've been retired since 1976, my health insurance went from zero to $165.00 per mo. just for basics, plus what is deducted from SS for Medicare. I'm just thankful that I got the training and experience at being a counselor and learned to practice what I preached. I also found out that when I was working a career job, there were things needed for appearance, time needed for preparation, money needed for immediate work expenses...I no longer have to worry about that. I was a "depression" kid that never knew that I was poor, so I get along very well and enjoy life as it comes my way. As long as you have a roof over your head(get that roof fixed while you're wowrking), forget the porterhouse steak dinners (you don't need the meat anyhow), set aside your fears (In God We Trust)pursue your passions in life & get on with it! You've got a lot of friends, right here on this forum, that are supportative and knowlegable, willing to suggest and help. But first you've got to take a good look at YOU, be honest with what you can and cannot get along with or without. Fear gets you nothing but more fear, so try being realistic, make a plan and stick to it!


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Good advice CalPat!!!


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Hi again, Judith,

Haven't heard from you for a while.

How are things going in the Terrible Tooth dept?

Has the work all been done? I hope you didn't have a number of painful sessions.

I've been going to dental school all winter - south Asia Indian woman doing my work. I said to her supervisor that she has gentle hands, and she said, "Yes, she does".

Down to eight teeth - looks as though they may be going to take out another. Had a lot of fillings, some down around gum line.

I still have one that had a gold crown installed about 35 years ago.

Does anyone have some good recipes for soups?

I'm to get a couple of partials in before long. Total cost under $2,000., they said last fall.

Just got two pension cheques on Thursday - with the interest rate that they pay these days, I can't afford to drive half a block to the bank to cash them, let alone the ten blocks or so actual distance. It's near the food store in our village so I'll be there before long.

The other pension will be deposited in my bank account on Monday (as the first is on Sunday).

I'm required to remove a certain (increasing) amount annually from my retirement account, as well.

I've been more or less retired for a while. Worked as a security guard for a few years, part time in the later years, till age 70 - fussy about locations. I wanted a site where I had only a few minutes per hour to work, base inside with good light and table that I could work at - read, check financial papers, do stock charts for my financial planning business, etc.

I said it was like gettting paid for mostly doing what I'd be doing at home - for no pay.

With the extra costs dealing with the teeth, Judith - it'll be hard to find some to pay for fixing the roof.

When the roof's leaking - leaving it usually means that it'll cost a lot more, later, for buidings really need waterproof roofs.

I hope that things are going well.

joyful Ed


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Thanks to all for the replies. I am finished with the new teeth bridge. The final cost for all of it was $3,179.83 for the bridge and 116.00 for the x-rays and cleaning. Quite a hefty little dental bill that I wasn't expecting or planning for. Back about 2 years ago, my dentist predicted that I would have to have the bridge replaced and when I told him that I wanted to retire in October of this year, he said I had better plan on working a couple of months more to pay for the bridge and that is what I am going to have to do. It took a lot of filing and fitting to get the bridge to fit and I guess it's O. K., but it isn't as nice or as sturdy as my previous bridge which only cots $642 back in the early 1960s. This new bridge is smaller and all white instead of some metal and gold and the tooth to the front that is a crown that holds that end of the bridge, is a large, odd shaped tooth that is nothing like my real tooth was and it is taking some geting used to. I had to deplete most of my savings account to pay for this new bridge.

As for my roof, it is leaking around the fireplace in the living room. I wand to replace it with a metal roof if possible and I know they are expensive. I had the roof replaced about 10 years ago and it was supposed to last for 20 years but the guy who did it was not very reliable and I think he used the cheapest materials he could get. I need new gutters because this same guy did a number on me when he installed the gutters too.

Maybe the retirement counselor did me a favor after all by telling me now that I might not be able to make it financially after I retire. I am hoping to be able to sell a piece of property in another state and hope it will bring in a little money to help out with my expenses such as the roof. Insurance is another problem that I am going to have to deal with. Also, I need to get new tires for my pickup truck and my car while I am still working. I will have to access what repairs I have to do on the house and see what I can get by with not doing.

Thank you all for your interest and helpful advice.

Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Hi, Judith. I just ran across this thread. Thought I'd jump in because I surely understand the frustration you feel at not being able to act on a long held dream. In my own case, nine years ago I put a little "countdown" program on my office computer. I set it with the date of my planned retirement on my 62nd birthday. It started with 3,285 days and for nine long years it faithfully counted them down. Every couple of months I'd crank it up to see how things were going. Then every couple of weeks. Then every couple of days, then every day. And finally, on the last day, it switched to hours, minutes and seconds. My co-workers all gathered 'round to watch as it ticked off the last seconds. TaDa! I made it!

That was 2 months ago and I'm still working. Like you, I found that I just couldn't handle it financially. I had accumulated more debt than I should plus the medical costs when you get out from under the company plan are just plain frightening. Even with Medicare they are way more than when I'm working. So the !@#$% alarm that I've hated for the last 45 years continues to roust me out of a sound sleep 5 days a week and off I go to the !@#$% job. But I've got a new plan that may take about 2 years and, like an earlier poster suggested, I think of every paycheck now as a step toward the new goal. And I crunch the numbers often. Something I should have been doing 45 years ago.

Anyway - I do empathize with your situation. I hope you've got some new plans laid by now and are looking forward to whatever you've decided to do.

Teri


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Teri, out situations do seem to be quite similar. I also did a countdown spreadsheet on my office computer but I started mine 5 years ago. I originally intended to retire at 62 but 62 came and went and I realized that I couldn't afford it. Insurance was a shocker. So, here I still am. I then set my countdown for two months after my 65th birthday because that is when I can start collecting full social security. Then my dentist told me I would need a new bridge and that I had better plan to work a couple of months longer. So, I incorporated that into my spreadsheet. Now, after just about getting all of my credit cards and debt paid off, I have run into some big expenses that I have to put on my credit cards and I really hate that. My only hope, now, is that I can sell a piece of property I have in another state and that I can sell it for a good amount. The problem is that this land is all wooded and contains a good amount of wetlands. I have just listed it with a realtor and I am hoping for a sale but it will have to be engineered first which will cost about $8,000 and I don't have that kind of money and am hoping for someone to buy it and engineer it themselves. I have one possible prospect as of today. I hope that you will get to retire with your new plan and we can both chalk this up to a learning experience. One really needs to plan well for retirement and one needs to begin fairly early in life. I wish I had done that. Best Wishes. Judith


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Teri2 and Judith,

Don't feel that you're alone in not planning earlier for your retirement, as well as acting on it.

How often have I, as a personal financial advisor and retirement consultant, heard people say just that.

Millions now believe that they'll be able to manage well in retirement - but they have far too little saved in order to manage it. The money just isn't there.

When they're young, there are many places for the money - student loan, buying a home, furniture, golf, mortgage, vacation, kids' education (and more for self), an auto (or two), house addition to accomodate larger family, repairs/renovation, etc.

Putting away even a small amount from the early years bears much fruit at retirement. The kid who invests $1,856. once at age 20 (or $4.99 per week) and gets 15% rate of return has a million at age 65 (apart from taxes and inflation).

Give some thought to your interests, talents and skills - maybe you can harness, or develop, some of them to bring in a few dollars.

Good wishes as you make your plans. I hope that you don't suffer too many strains through it all. Shout if you think that I may be able to help.

joyful guy


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Happy birthday (if belated), Judith!!

Hope you have many more - and the pets, friends and finances, to enjoy them!

ole joyful


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RE: Retirement Counselor

Judith, I can imagine your disappointment. I remember seeing one of your post not too long ago where you were so very anxious to retire. I agree with what many here have said. I think we can live on a lot less than we may think. The the economy the way it's been, many people are in for some surprises and disappointments when retirement time comes. DH was telling me that so many men where he works, retire, and then they are back to work in a few months. I guess they thought that they could do it and then find out that they don't like living on the lesser amount. I think a lot of it just depends on how much you are willing to cut back and live without. I think many of us could surprise ourselves at how many luxuries we have, that we could comfortably live without. Maybe you could start by looking for cutbacks and see how much you can skim off the top. Good luck to you. I hope that you can go ahead and mangage it. There's nothing more disappointing than to plan on a certain retirement date and then have to work longer. I am sure that every extra day would be miserable.
Lu


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RE: Retirement Counselor

You may consider Minnie's April 7th post again!
Can the wooded areas of your 17 acres be timbered. If I were in your position, I would seriously consider selling at least most of the acreage and using that to build my retirement on. You mentioned you have no children, so who would inherit the land? Are you the sole owner??


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RE: Retirement Counselor

There are some large oak trees on my property and some tulip poplar but most of the growth is less than 20 years old and not large enough to sell for timber. The oak and poplar timber are on a steep hillside and some of those trees, for what ever reason, have died. One of the things I like about my place is that, on three sides, there are no neighbors due to the lay of the land and a large cross country natural gas line that is just across the road from me on the south side. Last year the property that borders me on the north side was sold for house lots. The people who moved back there have dogs that run through my woods and also the kids are driving ATVs through my woods and up and down a steep hill. If I sold off most of my property, I could not and would not live there. A year ago I considered trying to find a better house on a smaller acerage and I contacted a realtor. She showed me 3 or 4 places and my land was so much better than what she showed me that I quit looking for anything else. The other places all had much worse land and had houses very close and all of the properties were much further out than mine, which is really very well located.

I do own my land free and clear. I have a niece who I would leave my property to and to my sister if I should die before her. Judith


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