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Friday, August 16, 2013

Agonizing About Retirement

Agonizing About Retirement
Whether you are retired or thinking about retiring there is plenty to agonize about.  While researching for this post, I figured out that 95% percent of information on the internet if not more is written by Retirement Planners (financial planners).  From my limited experience all financial planners derive their income and/or profits by taking money from your retirement savings.  In other words, I am not aware of any financial planners that are non-profit organizations, if there is some (and there may well be) they can’t afford to hire the brightest minds.
There is no easy or satisfying answer that will fit or please everyone.  For some people that were hurt by the economic downturn of 2008, who still haven’t returned to their previous economic stability, there may well not be a retirement in sight.  I know of a very brave individual who retired from a great job at 65, while his younger wife kept working and providing the insurance coverage.
The pressure of realizing that she was the bread winner, and that insurance coverage was dependent on her, eventually got the best of her.  She ended ill from depression and lost her job.  My friend returned to work as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store chain, and two years later worked his way up to cashier.  I see him regularly, and it pains me to see him working when he should be enjoying his golden years.  For some unknown reason his wife never thought of his retirement as income.  His career job was in computers and I know that he had an above average income, with many years on the job.
Retirement is as much psychological as physical. I used not think or worry about retirement.  I was fortunate to have a premium retirement plan through my career, plus lucky enough to have contributed for more years than most to Social Security.  My best friend kept telling me to consider retiring at the right time, because unnecessary stress could shorten my life or worst yet make me ill.  He had great arguments, in his work experience he had seen many people who would work beyond 65 only to die within two or three years after retirement.  On the other hand he could attest to longevity for those he saw retiring early.
I have a feeling that he thought I wasn’t paying attention to him.  While I was, paying attention, I was struggling with my own decision whether to stop being who I was (my career) for so many years, and turn into someone that I didn’t know how to be.  Well I surprised my friend by taking an early retirement (while being financially very stable), and emotionally very happy.  I had heard so many scary stories about retirement that I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I don’t have time to be bored, I hang out with some of the most quality people I know; my granddaughters (three of them).  I wish I could have been in my late 30’s when I was having this kind of life, but then again I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I was busy getting ready for this stage of my life.  My life hasn’t always been without obstructions: I like to brag that I am the successful CEO of a chain of lemonade stands from all the lemons that life has given me.  Most important: Credit where credit is due, I have a wonderful life partner in my wife, who is younger than me and still climbing the corporate ladder.  The best is yet to come….

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