Thursday, September 5, 2019
I'll Take the Time, Thanks!
The other day I was talking to a gal friend who wondered if she would enjoy retirement and if I ever missed working. She (who knows a bit about my financial situation and experiences) also wondered if I was feeling hemmed in by the difference in income from the working days and now and if I was worried I might need to make further cuts or return to work. I jokingly told said friend that I would live in a travel trailer rather than ever get a job again.
That was kind of simplistic, first, because I am not poverty stricken by any means although my income is slightly low compared to many and truly fixed. And I don't have that "pot" of money that is an IRA or 401K to pull from immediately for large expenses. I have a monthly income that never changes except for COL increases. There is no "how much should I put out per month to live on".
Things have changed a little bit from that article on the sidebar. Thanks to cost of living increases in Social Security and Pension, I''ve increased a bit from that thirty thousand dollar mark and am in between thirty four and thirty five thousand annually. Still less than 3000 monthly. Also simplistic because occasionally, very occasionally I add a bit of cash to my pot. But that's generally silly low effort stuff like earning gift cards or occasionally selling something I make.
But for Kathy, and anyone else wondering (retired or pre-retired), here's where I am on the working versus not working or the time versus money issue in retirement:
I don't want to spend my retirement working, and I am willing to make the savings decisions necessary as I go along the path. It's that simple. Even the hard, not fun decisions (which don't come too often, thankfully). I would much, much, much prefer to have the free time for myself than try or put any effort into income at this stage in my life! Like the title says, when it comes to the time vs money equation, I am always going to choose free time to do what I want! The Frugal Retiree is also the Lazy/Leisurely Retiree
Most of the time those decisions are easy to make: We've been cutting the food bill but eating well. I made that capsule wardrobe list (posting on Friday) and am determined to only add what I need and what works with other clothing. I've decided to shop first from the second hand market when possible-for sustainable as well as financial reasons. When the gals go out for happy hour or lunch I have an appetizer or choose from the ten dollar menu most of the time. My goal is to get my SUV to 200 thousand miles. I take the time (most of the time) to consider and compare purchases. When I travel I chose options such as Airbnb, earn gas cards through Kroger, take advantage of discounts and enjoy the experience as much as the paid sightseeing options. I do mainly free and extremely cheap entertainment with a couple big exceptions this year. Thanks to Silver Sneakers I work out at all kinds of nice health clubs for free. And I made the big step of downsizing my overall living situation in order to free up funds for my lifestyle (not a difficult decision to make but an admitted pain logistically as others can attest).
Occasionally there is a hard one, usually when it comes to spontaneous purchases, and those times when I wish I could be giving adult children more (although they both now make equal to or more than I make!). I wish, for example, that I could contribute more to adult daughter's wedding (although she's forty years old, makes what I do, and I am already spending money for travel, hotels and clothes. Mother guilt!) I've begun planning on some big travel again post tuition payments including a two week road trip and a possible cruise. For me that means save save save rather than pull extra money out of investments for a quick deposit.
But the hard ones are never enough to convince me to return to my quilting business, look at part time work or take a similar step. And in fact, to keep my time to myself, I would be willing to make greater cuts than I have to this point if it became a true need to do so. I want my life to be about health, hobbies, helping others, family, experiences and freedom. And I am willing to make cuts everywhere to enjoy all of the above. But not to make the effort of added income.
Because (again, for me) the very, very best part of retirement is to have time to myself, to make my own schedule, to sleep when I want to and get up when I want to. To spend a day reading and sitting on the swing with an iced tea (my body has had to give up those mimosas and wine). To spend another day painting pottery and then lunching with friends (for a whole thirty bucks for both events). To shop only on the weekdays. To have a week (this one) full of volunteering and another one (next week) full of sewing. To grab my car, drive for a day, spend the night and come home the next day on the spur of the moment.
Right now it's eight thirty. I'm sitting up in bed with a pillow on my lap and my tablet on top of it, typing and drinking my morning coke. At some point here I'll get up and have some oatmeal and juice, and then I'll sit outside with the dog for half and hour to an hour reading or writing. I need to go to the rec center and work out for at least forty minutes. After that I pan to chill and work on whatever project grabs my fancy and then go and help serve dinner to the homeless families sleeping in my church. Then I'll come home, read, cuddle with the dog, and go to be early. Tomorrow will be different. But it will be spent exactly the way I want it to be.
To keep that freedom, I am happy to cut an expense here or there.
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