Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Live As We Know It - Again

Just some general thoughts on life and decisions in the current frugal retirement zone, and life in general on a Wednesday morning:
  • My thirty two year old and I are currently having a "discussion". While I'll dedicate a whole blog to this issue later, her basic point is that I should be thinking  positively about my business and that I CAN earn the differential (and that in Texas renting is more expensive than a monthly mortgage). She feels that by being so very ready to sell the house I am not showing confidence in my business or financial abilities. She may be right and I am still working through all this.  She notes that although she agrees that I don't want to be working at seventy, that's then and this is now. So very true.
  • In previous posts, a few people have asked how I still get a pension and social security, and that I don't fit the normal demographic because of that fact. In some senses they are correct. However, with regard to the social security question, I would certainly rather have the husband than the cash. In terms of my small ($900 monthly) pension I would simply say this:  My husband deliberately chose a job in government service-where promotions are based on time in service, success is generally rewarded with a day off or a piece of paper instead of a promotion or bonus, and where you go where you are sent much of the time.  The family is not government issue, after all.  Even at the pinnacle of his success he made much less than six figures (about a third of what he probably would have made in the "real world".  Do I think that more companies should offer pensions? I don't know. I do know that if we did not have that pension we may have made different choices. But I don't feel guilty about the choices made.
  • While I often talk about income streams or "working in retirement", doing so is not feasible for everyone. This should be taken into consideration (in my opinion) when making retirement lifestyle choices over the long run. It's also something those who want to raise the retirement age even further should consider as well. I am blessed that I have skills I can use to make money. However, these skills can be used in my home and don't require true physical labor-we are not all so lucky, no matter our education. Relying on retirement income for the short term may be a smart solution but planning to "work your whole life" is probably not viable for most of us.
  • While I haven't joined the compact officially (a promise to buy only used goods with some exceptions), I have been leaning in that direction-out of choice as much as need. I've been trying to only shop for so called "replacement items" both in terms of clothing (weight loss is not cheap when it comes to clothing replacement, although it may save money in other areas) and the house. Truthfully, I have missed little. The less I spend on "things" for the most part, the less I want to spend (and no, this is not a pollyanna, see how well I docomment). However, I have a family wedding with four separate events over a two day period and only one dress that is neither too casual or too dressy (the others all hang and show my undergarments). So this week I am exploring the early sales to come up with at least one dress that will work for both a rehearsal dinner and a meet and greet. The joy (not) of mall shopping!
  • I'm a little bit "homesick". Someone sent me a picture of my home in Germany, and tomorrow it's supposed to be just 82 F (today it's cooler and raining).  Its the very end of white asparagus (spargel season). It's coming up on berry season, and Germany is doing well in the European cup (I want to celebrate too). Add to that my impatience with our health care system issues lately (the Germans have a five million health care surplus to deal) with, and the fact that I would kill for a "quiet Sunday" with no law mowing, hammering or loud music and there you have it. While I may not be ready to be an expat again, it's surely time to plan a lengthy visit to see friends. Time to start searching for those dirt cheap tickets for next year.
  • Finally, I have to say this: I love really good food, music, art-you name it. I've been called a snob when it comes to gourmet food especially. But I've realized that I enjoy all of the spectrum. I've also come to realize that one doesn't need white table cloths and fifty dollar wine to taste gourmet food (after all I live in Texas and spent twenty yearson the east coast eating expensive looking seafood on paper tablecloths), and in fact, homemade barbecue chicken with homemade cornbread, salad and lemon meringue pie has it's own value. Love what you have, save for what you want and don't worry too much about what you can't have right now. At least that's my attitude for today, who knows?

9 comments:

  1. "Love what you have, save for what you want and don't worry too much about what you can't have right now."
    Wow...perfect life plan for all ages! Let's bottle it and give to everyone!

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  2. Congrats on the weight loss that means you need a new dress for the wedding! Any good consignment shops in your area or a friend who might lend you a dress or two for the occasion? I feel for you on the housing decision but the thing about owning is that when anything goes wrong you have to pay to fix or replace it and that can get very expensive.

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  3. Regarding working in retirement, I go "back and forth." Yes, I still do a bit of part-time consulting. No only is the extra income handy, but more-so, I enjoy the intellectual challenge. Though when the summer comes around, I certainly enjoy spending time playing at all of the outdoor activities. Bill

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  4. Juhlie unfortunately I am still a voluptous gal and finding "plus sized" clothing is difficult to nigh impossible on the used market, much as I try. Ocassionaly I find a gem. YOure right abou the extra expenses of a house, but then again with two active (often barking dogs), any rental plae will increase hte rent by almost a five hundred dollars a month-and no the dogs will never leave my side. even though the puppy just ate a sandal...sigh

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  5. Bill, i agree with your philosophy on working. Like school it keeps me active and thinking. Unfortunately, being a crafter, some seasonal work has to be doneduring the summer. Then again, since Im retired, I can put that two week road trip off until october if I desire

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  6. Try Norstrom's on line sale pages. They have beautiful plus clothing at excellent prices. Plus they send you the bag and postage to return it. They keep the price of postage- which is far less then the price of gas. I sent for five, picked out one and sent the rest back.

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  7. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of an easy retirement until at least 70 or older.

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  8. Frank, im not sure my retirement is easy, but it is what I make of it.

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