What will my retirement years look like?
Around the year 2002 – 2003 (can’t remember exactly when) I’m in my early fifties when suddenly the reality of retirement appears like a huge whale breaking through the surface. Oh my gosh, I’m almost retirement age!
What the heck am I gonna’ do?
At this point I’m about three years into my teaching career. I can draw a small pension, based upon years of service, after ten years actively in the profession. Social Security sends me letters estimating how much I can expect for retirement checks. In short, not a whole lot. My savings, although remarkable in light of my modest income and the responsibilities I’ve carried over the years, aren’t much in terms of providing for retirement.
I take a hard look at my situation.
Hmm . . . I have a house. I have a large garden and a large lawn. The house needs painting, both inside and out. The roof needs to be replaced within the next year or two. The driveway could use more gravel. The heat pump and hot water heater could quit any day now. The dishwasher isn’t working. The flooring needs to be replaced. The car is dependable but it’s not going to last forever.
I don’t have the money for these things with my present, working income. How am I going to manage on a reduced retirement income? Oh yeah, and there’s the lawn . . .
The lawn is huge.
That dang lawn can suck cash like there’s no tomorrow. No tomorrow. That pretty much sums it up. The property taxes keep going up. The mortgage won’t be paid off until I’m 70 years old.
Retirement looks dismal.
If I let life roll along without making major changes I’ll end up an old lady in a dilapidated house struggling to pay her bills and buy food with nothing left over to enjoy.
Day after day, year after year, I’ll stare out the window at the frozen lawn in winters and at the blanket of grass constantly growing in sweltering Georgia summers. I’ll sit under the redbud tree and wait for a car to go by. I’ll drive the same road to the same grocery store and I’ll drive the same road home. I’ll never go anywhere new, never do anything more exciting than pruning tomato plants or hugging my dogs.
The awful predictability of the years ahead . . .
No one’s going to bail me out, that’s for sure. No inheritance is going to fall into my lap. It’s up to me to chart a different course.
I don’t want to work for the rest of my life. I can’t! I’m already tired of working and I have seven years to go before I can collect pension money or Social Security.
Well, the first step in fixing anything is realizing it’s broken.
What I need is a new vision for retirement!
(Now that I’ve set the scene, in upcoming posts I’ll write about finding that vision and what I did to make it real.)
Monday, March 17
Another beautiful day in the desert near Bouse, Arizona!
Blue sky and sunshine, although the wind is picking up as I write this. Yesterday I decided to move us to another camp today. Now that it’s a new day, I’ve changed my mind.
Our only timetable is the weather.
I’m anxious to move northward out of Arizona to find some more splendid, springtime camps like last year’s.
Remember this? Heaven!
March and April snowstorms, however, are a real possibility in northern Arizona. (If you don’t believe me, look at my April 14, 2012 post entitled, “Caught in a snowstorm in Ash Fork, Arizona!”
Really. Click that link. You gotta’ see those photos. That snowstorm occurred between the towns of Ash Fork and Chino Valley, not much further north than where the crew and I are presently camped, and it happened during the month of April.
Our high for today, the 17th of March, is predicted in the high 80s.
I wanted to end this post with a photo of the crew. Bridget and Spike, however, are lying around like slugs and I can’t get a decent photo out of them. Actually they have the right idea. I’m going to crawl into my lounge chair like the mother of all slugs . . and relax in the shade with a drink and my kindle . . . and enjoy our present view.
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