Sometimes it seems people are in the money race to retire, comparing who has more money saved, who’s making the better investments, who has bigger goals and it becomes a whirlwind of dreams and a fixation that many get sucked into.
When I was writing my post about pre-paying the mortgage last week I started to think about how far ahead we are in comparison to our parents. There are times I think we are missing things along the way and why we as a couple need to take a step back and evaluate life, money and retirement.
I’m not going to say I’ve not had my head buried in the sand when the topic of early retirement comes up but I’ve also been thinking about how not to fall off the ladder on my way up. Retirement and keeping up with the Joneses is an interesting topic. You don’t have to live and think in the present just to keep up with “stuff”. In one form or another we are also rolling the dice for our future along the way.
When to retire and at what age still remains a mystery to me. Some people have a definite number in their head and they are sticking to it, I don’t. I’ve read all sorts of personal finance blog posts about those who want to retire by 40, retire by 45, retire by 50 and so on, but it’s not something I’ve nailed in concrete as of yet.
Look at the likes of Hollywood A-Listers, developers, business owners or musicians worth millions who continue to work. I know their lifestyle is far more inflated than the regular person but many high-profile people still work, but why? I’m sure it’s not only for the money (although some still need it to keep up with their “frosted” lifestyle) but because they love what they do. They could pack it in and say, enough is enough but many continue to work bringing in income any which way they can even if it is selling jewellery on The Shopping Channel.
“Create wealth that matters as it’s only a tool for getting what we want”
Retirement Means What?
Retirement also has different meanings to different people but I’m guessing it’s that end number that helps put it all into perspective. How much money do I need to retire? How much money will I have when I retire? Making money is nice but making money doing something you love is even better.
Others may still want to work on side hustles to earn passive income or simply volunteer to pass time. I don’t really know what I want to do, in fact if I can keep working or even work part-time on the side I might just do that. I am hoping to have investments that generate passive income just like my parents do in which they tell me it was the best investments they every made.
How many of you find that you no longer have beautiful penmanship like you once did?
That’s right, because most of us are texting, and typing on a keyboard these days and our writing looks a bit wonky. What happens is over time when we stop doing something repetitively we may not lose the skill but we might not be as good at it as we once were.
Picking up a pen to write a letter is a thing of the past for many, in fact most people only use a pen to sign documents or to write quick notes. I’m not saying the pen is dead, I’m just saying we aren’t using it like we used to.
Over time you just don’t want to pick up that pen any longer because it’s easier to use the likes of technology. Of course there are some folks who simply refuse to use any electronic gadgets and hold their pen up high revolting from the technology movement.
That’s pretty much describing my baby boomer parents in a nutshell. They have no desire to ever use a computer, let alone a cell phone and prefer handwritten letters. I’m not quite sure I agree with their desire not to keep up with technology but I also won’t fault them because we thrive on what we are used to, that’s how many of us are programmed.
Slowly though we start to see people wander over to the mainstream world and delve into the easiest way to communicate next to the telephone, the computer.
We even see students bringing net-books to class to type out the lecture because it’s easier, especially with the keyboard typing skills of many today.
Remember the typewriter anyone?
My wife does, and she hated that class. “Most people would have given just about anything to just pass the course because they hated it”, she says. Back then the words, “Just give me a pen, please, that’s all I need” was the easier way to go.
Twenty years later and many would likely ace any keyboarding test if given one. Many of us and our children are pros at typing and would ditch the pen in a heartbeat. Why? It takes too long to write something that we can type in mere minutes, but it’s something we are used to, yet didn’t plan for.
As our lives evolve what we all believe was once a phenomenon (such as the pen, then the typewriter) may change or even get better, we will all change, our lives will change. It may not change completely but the momentum should be with-in us to either grasp change with a desire to move forward or to let it go and hang on to the past.
Living Now And Planning For Tomorrow
The same goes for retirement what you are doing now and what you think you will be doing in the future may be 2 different things, just like the invention of the ball-point pen. We can plan our lives down to the last dollar but we also have to remember what we think we will want to do in the future might not actually occur.
As we age our bodies might not handle the hard pounding we give it when we are younger. Many of us prolong our happiness today to save all of our money for down the road because we are more concerned with the future than the present.
We may feel like we are strong as a horse now but that can all change in an instant. I’m sure there are many people who wish they used their money to accomplish passions in their life while they were still healthy. Most often we don’t know it will happen when we get ill, it just happens and may be life altering to anyone who has to live through it.
You Can’t Skype Heaven
We still plan to budget for all the things we want to do as a couple in retirement such as go on holidays, spend more on things we want, etc by sticking to our personal financial goals.
The two of us realized the need to enjoy what life has to offer now so we don’t look back and say, ”I wish I did this”, or “Why did I wait to do that”. How much fun will I have if my wife is not by my side in retirement (or vice versa and I’m gone) and all I have is a bank full of cash and no one to enjoy it with?
A Canadian Budget Binder fan said to me, “Skype doesn’t reach heaven” when talking about her loved one. This had me thinking about why we need to enjoy our time today while planning for tomorrow. When we are gone, we are gone. Like I mentioned a few days back, we can either change our life or change our attitudes.
Change and Life
There will be a time in my life where I will slow down, where I don’t want to do what I thought my body could do. We have a friend who keeps fit, is young, eats well and is sick, very sick. Her dreams are gone because she no longer can do what she wanted because of unforeseen circumstances.
We quit smoking last year but realize that any damage we did with our addiction could come back to haunt us.
The reality though is when our time comes it doesn’t matter how well we think we have been to our bodies or how great a person we are, how smart we are, how rich we are, how much stuff we have, how beautiful we are, how important to society or this world we are. When our time is up, it’s up.
I am optimistic I will live a long, healthy, prosperous life but I am also realistic about my life’s journey. As much as I want to believe I will be around forever, one day I will be gone with no options to look back on the things I should have or wanted to do with my life. I miss my family back in the UK and know that although we are apart that doesn’t mean I’m not with them.
Skype doesn’t reach heaven, so the message today is to take some time away from work and spend it with the people you love. Not just for the day but make it a part of your every day plans in life. My plans in life include budgeting to live life in the moment with my wife and loved ones while planning for our future retirement together. That I can Skype!
Are you budgeting your money to live for today while saving for the future?
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- Mr.CBB’s Personal Finance Reading List #8~ Working Past Age 65 (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
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- How I Reduced Our Grocery Budget From $1100 To $600 In 6 Months (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Family Finances: Somebody Is Watching You (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
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Photo Credits: Banana Smoothie by Justingun/freedigitalphotos.net and Man climbing Ladders by Master Isolated Images