Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back for Good!! Retirement Finance Books, My RV Altrnatives and and more!!

Well, folks, when I shared my concerns about blogging awhile back, I told everyone that "life was getting in the way". The good news is that life as calmed down a bit as I have found some structure and eliminated the extraneous in retirement.  The bad news?  While I was working on becoming more flexible, I completely missed the fact that my comments had gone off automatic and left many of you out in the cold for a couple weeks.  I do apologize. I'm back to blogging two days a week, and I'll be commenting and responding to comments daily.  Thanks for your patience on this one, and please keep coming back.  

Meanwhile, these are a few of the things that have been on my mind the last week or so in retirement:

I've shared before with my readers the reason RV travel and vacationing is not or me personally. I enjoy driving and driving fast, I enjoy experimenting with different overnight alternatives, I like back road driving and more.  Another reason for preferring car travel is the ability to go luxurious in the extreme on occasion, as shown by this, my one week vacation rental in Santa Fe.  We'll be two couples sharing this beautiful house for one week, and I am counting down the days till August.  This house is also a perfect example of why I'm frugal.  Using regular reclined seating during train travel, exploring hostels and  other sleeping options in places like San Francisco and more allow me to spend money on a place like this with no worries.

As a frugal blogger, I'm always looking for interesting books on frugality and living richly in retirement. I rarely talk about investments or pre retirement finances here, mainly because there are so many books, so many experts and so much information out there. Much of the frugal literature was either written years ago (before the plethora of Internet resources) or primarily directed at families with young children.  Recently I had a chance to read a new book by Marie Brack.  While this book is not a retirement book, some of our experiences are similar.  Marie also left work to care for a terminally ill spouse and was unable to return to work. Her book covers all areas of frugal living, with an emphasis on creativity and originality. My situation is not the same as hers, I am not in the position of  having to use some of the more extreme solutions. Having said that, I always appreciate books that go beyond the "latte factor" and offer realistic deep cost cutting options.  Most boomers and retirees I know have already done those basic things that average pundits advise for saving money and occasionally  are looking for ways to cut closer to the bone, be it for a short period or more.  This book is a great addition to my digital bookshelf. Unfortunately this book is only available digitally at this time, but I hope to see it in paper soon.

Today I took a three hour nap.  Part of my retirement rightsizing has been stepping back and looking how best to enjoy my retirement.  While not eliminating everything from my life, I realized that going dawn to dusk is not for me.  I admire those extreme retirement folk who do so. I however, need serious amounts of "down" and me time.  My solution to that has been to try and implement my rule of "one". One intensive volunteer activity, a single course (online or in person), one major leave the house activity per day.  This has made retirement much more rightsized for me. On Wednesday in the morning I puttered. For me this means meditation time, working on craft stuff as the mood hits, writing a bi, taking a 20 minute walk and maybe and doing some online surfing.  From one until five, I was at a craft group and happy hour. My evening was spent reading and relaxing on the patio. This is the perfect balance of activity for me ,and what I need to return to. It works best for me to have one half of the day spent on a major activity, and the rest of the time fairly free.

I'm reading a monthly meditation for the Easter season (no, Easter is not over). Yesterdays question was to ask ourselves what practices we do that help us stay aware of God's presence in our life-to share them and consider adding a new one or replacing a practice that has grown stale.  While I am meditating on this for the next few days, it does occur to me that this response is one that applies to all aspects of life. How can we change our daily practices to keep us aware and engaged? 

I've been wanting to write (and journal) for quite awhile now-beyond basic blogging. I've not been as successful as I would like in this area.  I've finally realized that the best way to write is just to sit down and write. Every day.  And so it goes. One day a week I am writing on various "prompts".  The other day a week I am journalism about family using a family photo or two as a starting place. It's amazing how much just a half an hour of stream of consciousness writing can accomplish when one does it every day.

Finally, I'm reminded, as blogger on a different site mentioned, how rewarding life is with shared talents.  This is true with couples, groups and other dynamic situations. More importantly, the sharing of talents is much more successful when we think outside of the box in terms of expectations and roles. I was married to an excellent cook who cooked gourmet meals on the weekends and cleaned the house from top to bottom once a week even when I was a stay at home spouse (admittedly because he was more obsessive than I). I took out the garbage, dealt with the car repairs, managed the day to day money and more. While much of this was the opposite of the husband/wife expectations in terms of roles, it worked for us. Basically we each did what we were good at and liked and we divided the rest. In my current living situation my sister comes home from work and spends an hour or so working on the yard-with no expectation of help from me.  She does it because she loves it, and she knows I don't. This is the way life should be, overall.

And so it goes, this week in retirement.  Coming up next, a review of Maleficent, and update on may treating the knee, embracing the gray and more!!


  1. I like your daily "do a major volunteer thing, take a class, get out of the house". I hadn't thought about it before, but on days like that I feel especially good. Thanks for the insight!

  2. As you suggest, puttering is a much underrated activity. To me, it's just another word for meditating.

  3. I am going to start drawing back from my various activities this coming year. Not as many committees and more hands on things.

    God bless.

  4. Set up to lay the foundations for a social investment bank to help enable the third sector to respond to society's needs by facilitating greater access to investment. Milton Barbarosh


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