There are presently only two people who listen to me. One is my husband, and he listens only to what he wants to hear from me. Most of the time he just tunes me out. The other is my therapist and she gets paid to listen to me.
Actually, that’s a GREAT gift! I am always happy after I see my therapist because I know that for 50 minutes, someone listened to me!
So, it comes as no surprise that there is nobody around to listen to my constant whinging and whining about my desire to retire. Retire from my job, that is. And as there really is nobody to actually listen to me regarding this issue, I took my iPhone, scrolled to my bank’s app and used my “face ID” to connect. And there I was, sitting on the sofa of our living room, feet curled over sofa’s edge, knees to my chin and I went directly to my account. I spoke into my phone as very politely and sincerely asked my bank account if I could retire.
Daddy Cool from Capital One thought my question to retire was far more than amusing. It was laughable!
I thought I heard a slight chuckle coming from my phone. Then I heard a guttural laugh. My phone answered me. My phone, through the laughing so hard it started to cough, told me that I could not retire. My bank account also went further in conversation to ask me if I was out of my mind.
I got the hint.
I want to retire but I simply cannot afford to do so.
The future of me!
Now. Before I go on, this blog post isn’t being written in a bitter tone, nor is it angry. It just is…well, it is what it is. I do not begrudge those who have been able to retire in their mid-60’s or even younger. I mean, come on—my dad retired from the New York City Police Department with a full pension when he was 45 years old. That’s 21 years younger than I am now! What happened along the road to retirement?
Yes. What DID happen to the road to retirement? For me it’s more like dirt than yellow brick!
During the evening hours when I do get the chance to watch TV, elusively nestled among the many health-care and drug advertisements, I’ll watch ads regarding the wealth of retirement that various financial institutes are showcasing. These ads fascinate me to no end. The calm and reassuring voiceover will captivate as the impeccably-dressed and groomed older couple, that you know is even far above the wealth of the one percenter. They listen to their financial advisor, an older man in a suit explaining to them how they can retire, travel the world in luxury, perhaps downsize to a one-million-dollar townhome rather then spend their days in their seven-bathroom estate!
This Charles Schwab ad always cracks me up. Look at the smug on that woman’s face. She’s sooooooooooo one percent!
They look lovingly at each other then give the financial advisor their nod of approval. Yes! They are ready to retire in the lap of riches and luxury!
This couple has finished looking lovingly at each other and their bank statement. Now they are simply laughing at those of us who can’t retire!
But that really isn’t the case for the other ninety-nine percent. Actually, I would say more of us can’t retire. At all.
Hmmm. How many decades can I shave from my resume?
And if you are of that certain age who experienced life’s events such as the Economic Recession of 2007 into 2008, major illness, a divorce, (that would be me), the loss of a home (that would be me) a company restructure (where you were the one let go and didn’t get to enjoy that restructure–would be me times three), you know what it is like to hit rock-bottom and try to claw your way back to a job with a salary that is no longer attainable.
Sadly, 13 years later many in the 50 and over demographic haven’t fully recovered!
Let me put it in simpler terms. I’m 66. Should I decide to retire when I’m 67, which is next year, I’ll be at an iffy level of income simply because my present salary is not a livable one. Even if I wait until 70 to bask in the glory of additional monetary benefits due to delaying said retirement, I would still be a poor person. Basically, I can retire next year but I still can’t retire. I would have to continuing working. ( Caveat: The full-benefit retirement age is 66. However, the longer you put retirement off (Until age 70), the more money you get per month)
And note how the retirement age is slowly increasing. Personally, I think it’s a disgrace–especially since many haven’t recovered from that last recession.
Trust me, I’ve thought long and hard about this. I want to write and my present job drains my energy. My job is akin to an energy, or psychic vampire. Rather than sucking blood, my energy is completely sucked. Upon arriving home from work, all I want to do is go to bed. I figure if I retire, then I can become employed on a temp or part-time basis. But the question remains—is my demographic being hired for non-full-time positions? Does ageism flow over into that non-career area?
My job literally sucks all the energy out of my body. By late afternoon, I’m burnt out. Don’t get me wrong. If I had a job I loved I wouldn’t even consider retirement!
The main reason I want to retire is that I just want to enjoy the rest of my life. I may be older but am at that age where when I fall, I can get up!
Even if I drank too much wine and fell, I can still get up…and drink more!
I don’t need “The Clapper” to turn lights off and on. I’m very capable and physically able to get up off my ass and turn the light switch on and off.
Even on my laziest days I wouldn’t settle for using this thing.
I can still climb stairs—and I do this very quickly so there’s no need or a stair lift. And..I don’t need a Hoveround® to get me where I’m going.
I can still RUN up and down our three flights of stairs–God knows it’s the only phase of exercise I get!
I’m not ready for a Hoveround yet either. I can’t even sit in a moving car that long–I need to get out and stretch!
I want to enjoy my grandson. I want to enjoy being a part of my children’s adult lives. (Even if they feel differently).
Hey, I want to enjoy this little ishkabibble!
I want to enjoy my time with my husband. And waiting for the three-week’s personal time off that I’ve accumulated after a number of years just isn’t cutting it anymore. I want more time. And given that time is of the essence as we age, more time really isn’t that much to ask for.
And I would like more time for me to laze around on the loveseat in our sunroom like the princess I am!
It’s also the little things that become increasingly important to me. I want to walk every day. This morning as I drove through Valley Forge Park on my way to work, I passed a few morning walkers. They looked so happy and at peace and they were doing something good for themselves. They were maybe a bit older than I am and for a fleeting moment, I was envious and as that moment passed, I was happy for them.
I pass this bridge twice a day, two and from work. I’ve walked across it a couple of times while enjoying time with my son. I want to do that on a regular basis!
Remember when it was normal to work a 35-hour week? Somewhere along the line that 35-hour work week morphed into a 40-hour work week. For some it’s 45 and others in managerial roles work with no life balance. We need to enjoy our lives. Enjoying life makes for less stress.
A week-end is being off work on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday you run errands like a crazy person because you didn’t have the time to do them during the week because you had to work late. And on Sunday, you are miserable realizing that the next day you have to go to work. And the cycle keeps spinning!
So that’s about it for this post. I needed to talk about this. There’s no way I’m the only one who feels like this—am I right? If you are thinking about retirement or are retired or are retired with another job, give us your thoughts. It’ll make for a good conversation!
Seriously. Is is ME? Am I the only one? I will say, though, that I wish I had a writing job. Writing makes me happy! So what do you think? Are you ready to retire? Are you retired? Let’s tawk!
You don’t look old enough! I DO get it though!
You are wayyyyyyyyyyy too kind! But I thank you! XOXOXO
I am totally with you on this. I too ‘plan’ to retire next year. I am the same age as you are. I hope to find a small part time job. I live in a rural area. Largest town (10,000 population) is 20 miles away, closest is 9 miles and it has a pop of 300! My children and grandchildren all live hundreds of miles away. And we have suffered multiple financial set backs. never fully recovered from. Back in 1973 none of this entered my brain! What to do!
Gerri! We are so on the same page here. OMG. In 1973 I never thought of any of this! Yeah. I never fully recovered from losing my home and just going from one day of having everything and overnight nothing at all. It took years to recover but I haven’t recovered fully. It’s scary! Like you, my kids don’t live too close. XOXOXOXOXO
I am wondering if you have the option of reducing your work week or have the option of working from home since you mention mostly computer work? Since COVID, I think work options have changed considerably and this might be better for you. Perhaps your firm would be open to these options if they thought you might leave the workplace. Many things can be negotiated now–it’s worth a try.
I am retired–actually took early retirement while my husband was still working
and enjoyed grandparenting when they were young and our daughters needed the additional help. If you do not love what you are doing, it becomes a chore. Maybe your therapist can help you rethink this. I hope you can find a happy solution.
Cathe, if I recall correctly you did have a job making considerably more money. Your monthly SS will be based on that higher income. If you haven’t taken that into consideration, please do. We probably all know someone who delayed retirement and then when the time finally arrived they suffered an illness preventing them from enjoying the fruits of their labor.
We might be surprised how we can live life not defined by the number of shoes we have, but rather the joy we wake up to every morning.
Cathe, I can SO relate! My work history was quite similar to yours. My earning peak was in my 50s and after that it was downhill all the way. It was encouraging, however to learn that your Social Security rate is based on your 5 years of highest income. So that made it a little better. i
I hope that’s true for you too. I did go back to work, three more times. I was 78 when I finally fully retired!
I worked past 65 ( which is standard retirement age in Canada) because I was in school longer, had my kids later and worked part time for many years before going full time ten years ago. Although I contributed to my employers private pension over the years the big contributions come with full time
hours. In Canada we also have two government pensions CPP ( which we contribute to) and Old Age Pension which all Canadian citizens over 65 are entitled to if they worked or not. Like you, my pensions increased for every month worked past 65.
I dunno, if I were you I’d chuck it, move to France, buy an auberge or B&B and work that. They have FREE healthcare, you are comfortable there, your husband is def comfortable there….maybe it’s time for a change not retirement. I know..them kids!! Well they have to fly to see you anyway so they will just have to sit on the plane a little longer…or you have to fly to see them.
Realistically, I agree with Jeanette about looking at reduced hours or contracting yourself out. I don’t know about PA but up here there are SO many jobs going begging. My son walked into a bookstore and got hired! My other son who had been waiting on a hospital position for two years suddenly got a phone call, interviewed and was hired in a few days. A restaurant posted a sign asking for patience because they were short staffed and requested that if the patrons did not have any patience could they at least fill out a job application!
Sit down and consider what you need to live on, what expenses are not negotiable and what could you let go. If you weren’t working do you need a second vehicle? Do you need to live in a town house? Could you downsize? Do you owe money? I would suggest paying off all credit cards and mortgages. We are selling our house and looking at a condo, ditched the second car. We don’t go out as often as we did but I love to cook and friends would rather come over then go to restaurants and the wine is cheaper at our house:) I shop my closet a lot but if I need something I buy it, now I have the time to look for sales on line. Yes I get my hair and nails done on the regular…non negotiable!!!
You can never buy this time back, consider your choices carefully, if you want to retire you will find a way. Don’t leave Vincent out of your decision, he needs to be on board and contribute his thoughts to the dialogue.
I agree with Momcat. It’s an opportunity for a new lifestyle based on the things that are REALLY important to you. At the beginning of my career, I made the decision to retire the instant I was eligible, my 55th birthday. (I was a geologist with the federal government and started my career right after college, at 22.) As time as elapsed, I’ve never regretted that decision because I’ve seen way too many of my coworkers either die unexpectedly (one was at his desk in the office!) or develop health problems shortly after they did retire and not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Sure, some postpone taking Social Security until they are 70 because they have other sources of income. But a person needs to ask themselves if those 4 years between 66-70 are worth spent working when they could be out walking over a covered bridge each morning while drawing on their standard Social Security check??
One thing I have noticed quite often is how difficult it is for some folks to retire. They have been used to a schedule their entire adult life and suddenly it’s a bit of withdrawal that takes place when they suddenly are no longer working. My next door neighbor is currently experiencing that – and she went out to find a part-time job, and also is taking a Spanish class. I have a lot of hobbies and so I never really felt the pull to find another job, but a lot of people do. Sometimes all it takes is a new job to lift your spirits. Given your talents, my guess is you can find a way to make this work. Good luck to you and the Frenchman in ironing this out. All the best!!!
I completely understand your predicament. My husband and I sat down to review what we had and what we would need (estimated with SS, etc.), and what we learned was that if even one of us retires, the other one has to find a job that pays A WHOLE LOT MORE that what either of us have now. A WHOLE LOT MORE. That’s even with finally paying off our house at the beginning of 2022.
On top of which, one of us (me) has had major health issues over the past few years, and even if we downsized to a one-bedroom apartment and no car, one bout with a major illness would sink us completely. Both of us grew up in non-rich families (my husband’s was working class, mine was just plain poor), so it’s not like we don’t know how to live frugally.
My only concern is that I will die at work. I told my husband that if that happens, he has to at least drag my body out of the building before calling the coroner. 😉
Hi Bridget. OMG. I have that same concern. I just don’t want to keel over at my desk and that’ll be the end before I could enjoy the remainder of my life! I think that thought process is more common than we think. It’s also funny because I have a great home but need the double income to really enjoy it. . Like you I grew up on a non-wealthy family. My dad was a police officer and there were five children. But whereas he could retire in his forties then go on to another career, our hands are tied. I swear this country has regressed! XOXOXO
I think Id like a week on and a week off type of arrangement, I love my colleagues and I love my job but I loathe the politics and nonsense. Where I work there is a small sane pool of us hunkering down in the storm of overwhelming lunacy at times – it is like watching a crazy soap opera all around you. I am 57 and wont be retiring for ages, but already working from home has given so much positivity, I can get out and walk and do stuff whereas my previous commute was an hour and 20 minutes each way from a small town 17 miles to the north of Glasgow. Now if I wanted to go to Glasgow I could get the train and be there in an hour and 10 and its 90 miles… it was the commute that killed me, I hated it. Hopefully the balance can be improved even with small tweaks
Hi Juliet! Wow. That is one long commute. I’m lucky to be ten minutes from the office on a good day and about 20 to 25 minutes on a “bad” day. I adore my immediate coworkers. My boss, supervisor and the three people I work directly with. We are an excellent team. It’s the company I’m really not crazy about at all. The more I think about it, the more I’m prone to retire next year! XOXOXOXO
Same age and would love to retire, but no money:( I did start collecting my SS benefits and it’s a nice raise every month. Luckily I work at home, so it’s not that bad and my husband and I traveled a lot when we were younger.
It’s becoming more and more the norm for our age demographic to want to retire but due to life issues, we haven’t the money needed. You’re lucky to work at home. I prefer going to an office though. This topic can go on for days! XOXOXOXO
I only know you from what you write and you are so good sharing thoughts and your life. Everything you share is uplifting and something I can identify with. I recently began reading your blog immediately read every previous post until the beginning. Just thinking, you could use your gift of writing as your future source of income and passion. Write books for us to help navigate this uncharted path of aging. Best wishes!
Kathy. Thank you. I’m hugging yoru comment now. Honestly. I am. I would LOVE to write a book but I have absolutely no connections. It’s sad. I reached out to Judith Regan who went to the same high school as me to kind of ask if she would mentor in a way and if she could set me on the path. I received no response. It’s still kinda hurtful! XOXOXOXO
Perhaps in today’s job market there are opportunities for us older adults. (I’m retired and too old to go back to work – haha) Could you do some “looking around”? There might be part-time work that would get you to the level of income you need, along with savings and SS.
I certainly know how you feel, in that now is the time to find a way to have more personal time. We all feel father-time breathing down our necks
Why not attempt to monetize your blog and influencer status? Get it off word-press to begin with and take some lessons from Wardrobe Oxygen who has posted on her approach to having the blog and her social platforms allow her to have left corporate America. This is something you could do – at least get it going – while working. If you know you have 6 months of working everyday and night, I know you can do it with a goal of changing your life in mind – even though you are exhausted. You could be successful and should go for it!
Hi Christina. You know, I’ve thought about monetizing my blog and Instagram but I really am torn. I have literally followed so many blogs because they turned into nothing more than advertisements with no substance and I don’t want to do that with the blog. Same with Instagram. I’m sick of influencers MY age (yes there are plenty) who do nothing buy advertise shit and I know they aren’t even using the stuff. I can’t do it. It’s a double-edged sword because I would love to earn income from the blog but don’t want to shill to do it! XOXOXOXO
You are right about how people’s videos go downhill when they slide into advertising, Cathe. I’ve followed so many people who just became advertising shills, and often started subscriptions to their blogs as well. I just dropped them. I am on a very, very tight budget and I’m not willing to pay for an infomercial. But I also agree, you have such a genuine, appealing way of expressing yourself that you could and should think about exploring ways to use it to make some money and have some fun in retirement. You could try a little something very easy for you, locally, to test the waters and get more inspiration, and see how it goes – like maybe charging a few bucks to teach how to make some French dishes in a community ed class. Or how to manipulate a wig, for wig wearers. If I lived in your town, I’d pay to come in and have you advise/teach me how to make it suit mr better and look less wiggy. You have many talents and I love your natural, open enthusiasm.
Cathe….just as vavashagwell did, I retired at 55. I worked in a non-traditional job at the telephone company. I worked as a telephone installer, cable splicer, and then was a “foremen” in a garage. After I paid for my two son’s college, every raise went into my retirement account. Due to investing my $$$ with a great financial adviser, I have done well. Retirement costs a lot less, you find that things you couldn’t live without, are expensive non-necessities. I’m in NY state and my family is in CO. At 73 I know my time is less, rather than more. None of us knows how much longer we have. As someone else said, no one wants to die at work! Sending good karma to you on this most important decision!
I did NOT invest wisely before retirement, and two major surgeries in the year after I retired forced me into a bankruptcy. However, even on a much lower income, I’ve recovered from that, and I agree with lakewoman. I do spend less. I don’t need to buy lunches or clothes for work. I don’t drive my car as much. My tastes and interests have changed. My activities have changed. Some things became less important. I eliminated memberships and subscriptions. As I become more aware of what really counts for me, I’m more selective about what I’m willing to spend big bucks on, and I find creative ways to save and pay for them. Surprisingly, although many things have changed/gone away, I’m not really doing without, and my standard of living hasn’t changed.
Well said, Anne Louise. Great points.
Catherine, I can’t give any advice but here’s my story. Second marriage. Older husband. Financially secure but he wasn’t supportive of my retiring when he did. I was an RN. FF to my retirement. He’s not well, has had major surgeries and a heart attack, has poor mobility. I’m in v good health. If I travel, it will have to be without him. I get it – we had agreed when we got together that I’d work til ‘retirement’ age (in Canada) – an easy decision when we were younger and healthier. As time went on, I started to question what would happen if one of us became ill but he refused to consider my concerns. I feel like we are a cautionary tale. It’s been very hard on our marriage. I wish I’d said F*** it and quit when he retired. The extra money hasn’t been worth it.
Sheila. We have many similarities here. I’m seriously considering retiring early after I turn 67. I can get a part time job and the stress level will fall. It’s incredible how retirement is such a damned challenge for those of us who aren’t truly wealthy! XOXOXOXO
My son used to live in Berwyn so I know about where you are. I think you should go on some job interviews just to see what is out there as jobs are plentiful right now. You may need a change or just need to be reassured that your present situation is better. Please check the websites of the several small colleges along the Main Line. You have good skills and you might enjoy a different atmosphere. I think you are very bright so please value yourself.
I couldn’t wait to retire and counted the months. I was on so many websites about retirement and investing that the WSJ interviewed me on my use of retirement calculators! Then all the attorneys saw the article and knew I was planning to go sooner rather than later! I did retire almost 5 years ago at 62. Like you, my hubby is older than me and I wanted to spend more time with him.
I did find that agencies are desperate for office workers and in the beginning took some part-time gigs – they don’t pay much – but they are still calling although I can’t take the jobs because my hubby had an accident. I’m in the Midwest.
The take away: although I’m envious of my friends who are still working and saving, I don’t regret my decision because the work environment was going downhill. I would call social security after the year ends and see what your actual benefit would be – there’s a 5.9% increase. Also call some agencies to see if they have temp jobs. Temp jobs are great because everyone is new and if you don’t like you know it’s just for a short time!
We never think we have enough. Never! Start making an escape plan and you will feel so much better.
P.S. I do miss dressing up and with COVID started wearing a lot of loungewear and UGGS. Ugh!
I was beyond blessed to retire at age 49(!) I’d worked up to that point from my late teens, my late husband and I lived in CA for almost 20 years so when we moved to a state with a much lower cost of living I stopped working. He was a civil servant with 30+ years under his belt when he retired at age 54 however two years into retirement, he passed away unexpectedly. I’d been living reasonably well on his pension and my ss until lately – cost of living is going up and up and my monies are stagnant. Here I am at age 65 contemplating getting a part time job, my heart is not in it but if I want to have extra money that allows pleasures in life it is a decision I will probably have to make 🙁
Praying you find a way to create the new life you seek Catherine. It seems that many people realise too late that they’ve ran the hamster wheel in vein, for too long. I don’t know if it’s an option but moving home, downsizing could also help with the financial side of it all. Very best wishes this year✨💫🙏