Monday, November 19, 2012

Readjusting Retirement-Moving Towards Final Decisions

I hope you are all planning to have a Happy Thanksgiving, and that you enjoy the holiday in full before moving on to Christmas. Advertisements  are bombarding us with Christmas hours and Christmas deals and I haven't even had Thanksgiving dinner yet!

 As often happens, holidays and traditions change as families change. My mother in law remains in rehab (but is expecting a day pass), so Thanksgiving will be casual (paper plates and the like so that father in law won't be tempted to go overboard) at my in laws.  Christmas will be three hours away, and an overnight. My thirty three year old has a serious guy for the first time in years, and it looks like this year she will do the two holiday thing-Thanksgiving day with us and Christmas day with his parents. I never want her to feel that she needs to run between houses on Christmas day or Christmas Eve-we will work around her new plans.

In other news, I've had some time to seriously rethink my retirement and make some more definite plans and choices. I already blogged about some of these considerations here and here-and got plenty of good input from other retirees and pre-retirees. In these last few months I've had the opportunity to evaluate the reality of some of those plans.

 I now know that it's time to let this house go-that may be easier said than done of course. This house needs major foundation work (hello, Texas clay). I'm aiming for someone who's willing to take on the work and take it out of closing costs when the house sells. More about the house challenges another time. it deserves an entire blog post of it's own.

I've enjoyed my quilting business, including the craft fairs and the online store I've built.  I actually appreciate the ability to create things I like and put them in a store or a booth. While custom work has it's place, I'm an artist at heart and prefer to create something myself and put it out there. I still receive custom requests but it's amazing how self fulfilling it is to simply make something because I like it and have someone else think the same afterwards. I'm not sure what kind of "business person" that makes me. I also have a short attention span on occasion. As a result, I've now created a line of painted birdhouses and body products and haven't decided where to sell them! I've gotten a realistic idea of what "high season" income can be.

However, I've come to recognize that I don't want to be dependent on that money for day to day living. I hope to use it for special travel goals and perhaps to pump up that old security cushion. But as far as day to day living-I don't want to rely on that money. Frankly, I don't want to get up and think "I have to go to work today"-period. Taking on a special project or projects to support a specific goal-that's both fun and creative-is perfect for me. I have no problem working intensively for a month or so in order to go to Washington DC for two weeks. That's the kind of income style I want to have.

The bottom line is that there are two truths (at least). I want to do what I want rather than what I have to do. That sounds more selfish than I mean it to, but I expect you get my meaning. I want to travel a fair amount, volunteer more than a fair amount (including long term and travel projects)  and be laid back at home the rest of the time.

The second truth is that I want to live on what I have coming in. Without giving too much information, I am not at a poverty level in any way. My social security and pension give me an annual "salary" in the mid-thirties.  I'm blessed with good, low cost insurance for my lifetime-an issue that makes my low "salary" more palatable than it might be for other folks.

Taking in my lifestyle, that should be more than sufficient if I adjust my housing situation, and lessen some car expenses. As most frugal retirees, I tend to spend a fair amount of money on travel and my hobbies and not much on many other things. Another blog post in and of itself on this one, coming shortly.

I have no idea where I'll end up (in terms of living situation or location at this point). I do know that I have absolutely no problem with a temporary rental situation while I go about figuring that out. (as long as the place is dog friendly).  I'll even go further and say that I have no problem renting for longer. I know that goes against the natural grain of some other retiree readers. I just don't necessarily equate home ownership as being necessary for financial security.

I also know that I will not end up in a 55 plus community anytime soon. Again, I realize that goes against the goals and plans of some readers. I NEED to be in a multicultural, multi ethnic, multi age living situation-and I'm talking about my immediate surroundings. I also know that sharing is not for me. I like living alone, am not lonely and don't think house sharing in the long run would work for me. Other than that, I'm still evaluating future needs and locations-at my own pace and on my own time.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to sew and create.......I've spent days sewing and painting, so now it's time go outside and do some photography-and look at the outside of my house with a stranger's eye. Onward and forward, as they say.

In case I don't get here again for a few days, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


  1. I'm glad you are ok. I was worried when you didn't post for awhile & wondering if you've been keeping up your Denver Bronco watching.

    Good luck of the decisions. I've done a re-boot/start over in the last couple of weeks during my rookie retirement year. It's good to re-visit those topics periodically.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!

  2. What's retirement for if not to do what you want rather than what you have to do?

  3. Good post Barb.

    You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    God bless.

  4. I am not one of your readers that thinks owning a home is the end all and be all in retirement. In fact, I think it's foolish that I will die with a home that will have something like 15 years worth of living expenses trapped inside. That's money that I could have spent while I was alive! For the price of my property taxes, repairs and maintenance, and homeowners insurance, I could find quite a nice rental. And free up a huge chunk of change! My husband is not really with me on this analysis. But somewhere down the road, he might get it.

  5. Sounds like you are on a good road for decisions!
    Happy Thanksgiving

  6. I've enjoyed reading about your journey with regard to this decision, and I look forward to reading about the next chapter when it gets here.

    We enjoyed a Texas Thanksgiving ourselves last year. This year we're all together in Rhode Island. Our family is small, so we have initiated a habit of celebrating Thanksgiving away from home in California, which makes it feel special and festive.

    May your turkey be moist and your plate full tomorrow. Wishing you the happiest of celebrations.


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