Friday, May 27, 2011

The Budget

Paul has been very diligent, for as long as we’ve been married, at keeping a watchful eye on our finances.  He was very surprised when I asked him for a “date” to look over the finances for retirement, but because he is always prepared to answer financial questions, this one came easy to him.

The picture looks good.  He is already collecting social security disability and has a small pension from the company he took early retirement from several years ago.  The rentals are self-supporting and have good cash flow. 
He showed me several years of annual expense data, and smiled as he told me the bottom line on our current expense figures.  Without changing our current lifestyle, we can cover our current expenses with his income, leaving the rental income for expenses we don’t have today.

The biggest of these expenses, and the biggest unknown, is health care.  I have a good idea of what medical insurance for me and a Medicare supplement for Paul will cost, but I have no idea about Medicare premiums, co-pays, the dreaded “donut hole,” or even the required timing of when he should apply for Medicare.  Need more research. 
In two weeks we plan to review the numbers again with the Medicare information we need in hand.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Crazy?

“Don’t retire – you’ll miss the money.”
“I can’t believe you would ever want to stop working.”
“What are you going to DO?”
As I’ve begun to tell people about our plans to retire, responses have run from hearty congratulations to doom-and-gloom disbelief.  Retiring is a huge change, and change is scary – even when you’re only pondering someone else’s change.
It must be said that corporate America has been very good to me over the years.  And it must also be said that I like my current job, and I am doing rather well at it.  I’m not retiring because my performance is slipping; I’m retiring to live my dream.  Is living my dream – living our dream – going to be worth giving up the security of nine-to-five?  I believe it is.
I haven’t yet told anyone at work of my plans to retire.  It’s a year away, and a lot can happen in a year.  Change is scary.  Besides, I want my co-workers to continue thinking I’m in my 40’s for as long as I can get away with it. J

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Long-Standing Dream

From as long as I can remember, I have loved to write.  I’ve written the newsletter for every volunteer organization I’ve ever belonged to.  I’ve written magazine articles, collected rejection slips, and even had a few published.  And I’ve written down ideas, tucked them away in a file, waiting for the day when I didn’t work 9 to 5 and was able to write whenever I wanted.

So I’ve always known that I would write when I retired.  I’ve already started – I’m writing a blog called “Ready to Retire – Really?”  Of course, you knew that.  I will write this blog for a full year after the “official retirement date.”  I am also going to try my hand at writing fiction, and perhaps look into newspaper and magazine articles again.  Who knows – maybe the AARP needs a roving reporter.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Long-standing Dream

My husband, Paul, and I have always planned to retire “early” and work in resort areas.  From our mid-20s on we’ve dreamed of working at Lake Powell, of working a fishing lodge in Alaska, of working as camp hosts in the mountains in the summer; at the beach in the winter.  We’ve always expected that we would work these types of jobs, not only as part of the adventure but as a way to continue to make a little income – making our adventures somewhat self-supporting.  I’ll document my research into what it will take to become a camp host and to work in resort areas. 
During the non-working seasons we planned to travel.  I’ve never been to Washington, D.C.  I’ve never been to New England.  I’d like to see a ball game in Wrigley Field and a ball game in Fenway Park.  I’d like to visit Italy and Denmark – the homes of my ancestors.  We’re hoping to be able to spend some time in many locations we’ve never even visited – to get to know the culture and the people who call the place home.  And we’re hoping to become re-acquainted with our own home.