The last place the wife and I expected to discuss savings tips for retirement was in a retirement home with her grandmother by our side.
The kicker is sometimes you don’t even have to say a word to understand what someone is trying to say or feeling.
While visiting my wife’s grandmother after almost 13 years in a retirement home we learned that saving for retirement doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be living the high-life.
Our emotions and actions speak louder than words and in this case it was clear that grandmother’s past words were surfacing in my wife’s mind.
Her grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and although she does have days where she talks there are days she says nothing at all.
She’s been heard saying she’s waiting to visit the marble stone. In other words, she’s waiting to die. Although it’s heartbreaking to hear she’s lived a long, long amazing life,nearing 100 now. She never went with-out but with that came hard work and plenty of financial planning.
My wife and I said that we are either going to die before we make it into a retirement home or we will spend our last days doing the same thing as most retired folks who roam the halls of these buildings. I can’t even tell you what that life is like.
When my wife was a little girl she remembers her grandmother locking her purse in a bathroom drawer even when she was at home. This was where she would stash her cash. Although it may seem odd, back then money would be hidden under mattresses, in freezers and other odd spots in the home.
She told my wife that you have to protect your money from people who might want to take it from you. Of course my wife was just a little girl but she remembers her grandmother vividly saying this to her. Sometimes she wonders if she meant that she hid her purse to stop her from wanting to spend more money than she should.
There were no computers or online shopping influences back then, just cash, credit cards and banks.
Saving tips that haunt
My wife’s grandmother also used coupons in her day and saving money was always a priority even though they had money in the bank. My wife remembers seeing her write numbers in a book but doesn’t know if that was a family budget or just financial tracking of sorts. Her grandmother always used to say, “No one will pay the bills when you are ill” or “We need to save money for our retirement“.
What’s retirement a younger Mrs. CBB always used to wonder? These days she understands loud and clear, although you never really understand it until you live it.
There was never any mention of life insurance only retirement which leads Mrs. CBB to believe that their future was more important than paying for risks of death.
Although she’s been living in the retirement home for years her late husbands work pension has paved the way. Her bank account is still bursting with that retirement money they worked so hard to save. Sadly, she likely will never get to use it all for what they may have intended to. This is reality for many of us but we can learn a few lessons from grandma about living life to the fullest while you can.
She was a stay-at-home mother to her 5 children and part of her role was saving money. It wasn’t uncommon for her to offer savings tips when she could to a younger Mrs. CBB along with how to protect herself from the boys- wink, wink.
As Mrs. CBB grew older she went back to live with her grandparents for some time while attending school where she understood a bit more about money but was hardly a frugal saver like she is today.
Her grandparents although money conscious always made sure to spend money on quality items that would last. They were Sears fanatics because everything bought as Sears was good quality and they took care of their customers equally well. That was their reasoning and my wife still likes to shop at Sears Canada although the department store has seen better financial days themselves. Quality is key, that’s what Mrs. CBB learned.
Eating out hardly ever happened because grandma was always cooking amazing homemade food, says Mrs. CBB.
“My grandmother never blinked once though when someone needed financial help.”
Although grandmas savings tips always followed when money was needed it was understood that she did this because she wanted everyone to learn how important saving money was. Her grandmother did live through the great depression and going without as she grew up.
When Mrs. CBB had finished her studies she realized just how broke she really was. She had no money to go home and had to rely on her grandparents to pay. Her grandmother told her that if she plans to live a good life and to retire early then she needs to save her money.
Mrs. CBB says that everything her grandmother ever told her about money never really left her mind. It really hit home when Mrs. CBB moved away to live on her own for the first time and she had to call her grandmother for financial assistance. Her parents were already helping her with food and she didn’t want to bother them.
Her grandmother once again encouraged Mrs. CBB with her savings tips saying this time that enough was enough and that she had to get a job and fend for herself. It was then that she knew that her grandmother meant she was no longer reaching into her pocket. “I have to save for my retirement and although I don’t mind helping it’s time for you to grow up“, she said.
Mrs. CBB went on to get a full and part-time job all the while watching her money grow in the bank. Although she learned lots about money from her own parents her grandmother’s savings tips were powerful. There’s something explosive about learning from others who aren’t your parents.
Despite Mrs. CBB’s grandparents enjoying lots of travelling after her grandfather passed away her grandmother ended up in a retirement home. When we visited my wife was very distraught to see her grandmother almost lifeless in a wheelchair staring into the sky.
She knew from the look in her grandmother’s eyes that she knew who she was. She also nodded when she showed her photos of a young Mrs. CBB. Lots of Kleenex and lots of love surrounded these moments.
Mrs. CBB took her grandmother for a walk around the retirement home so she could spend time alone with her to chat. I took our son and played with him although there wasn’t much to do at the retirement home for a baby.
Her grandmother loves chocolate and the outdoors so bringing her to the window to look at nature made her happy. It was raining outside otherwise we would have taken her out but we could not.
Retirement doesn’t mean forever
What shocked Mrs. CBB was that all those years when her grandmother told her that they were saving for their retirement she never quite pictured it this way. Mrs. CBB always thought that the money would be used to travel, dinners out, fancy clothes and stress-free financial living.
She never thought that one day those savings tips that her grandmother would always seem to squeeze in conversations about retirement would end up this way. I talked to my wife after we said our good-byes and she told me that her grandmother lived a good life.
Although they saved for their retirement every chance they could and travelled here and there my wife now knew that retirement also means end of the road living. We tend to push this out of our minds because if we don’t have anyone to visit in retirement homes we don’t give much thought to life with assisted living.
Change your retirement mindset
When most people think about retirement we think about good times to come not times where we might not even know our name or who our family are. We don’t think about diseases and other health problems all we think about is money and how much we will need to retire.
The fact is that retirement is more than fancy living it’s about ‘living‘ and having the ability to pay for living our last days in a comfortable place where we are taken care. The longer we live more often we will need help with everything from financial concerns to daily living.
Retirement is more than just money it’s about living so do what you want to do while you are able and remember one day we all say good-bye without money nor a worry in the world.
Just because her grandmother didn’t say anything to Mrs. CBB her actions spoke louder than words especially when it came to those past saving tips and living out the retirement years. Oddly enough, Mrs. CBB could hear her grandmother speaking to her though her eyes.
What was shocking about grandmas savings tips were not just about money it was about enjoying life.
What goes through your mind when you think about retirement?
Our net worth 2015
RESP Contribution 2015: $208.33 a month.
What Happened in August?
What didn’t happen in August? I honestly thought that our Investments would have taken a beating due to the panic created by the downturn in the Chinese Economy and the resulting mass sell off of stocks.
After the initial period of craziness the markets actually returned to somewhere near normal. We pulled the numbers for the end of the month and found out that we actually made gains, not bad considering what happened.
Along with our income, the total Net Worth change gave us a healthy $10,000+ gain bringing us that little bit closer to the 3/4 Million dollar mark.
I can only imagine what will occur in the following months due to uncertainty in the economy, as well as the housing market. That is why investing is for the long term not the short term.
Understanding net worth
What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?
Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.
We credit the growth of our net worth due to patience, perseverance, using a monthly budget and not giving up. Your numbers may go up and down but don’t let the numbers scare you rather understand why and move on.
If you would like to use our budget I offer a FREE downloadable budget which I created and that you can use at home just like we do. I don’t charge for it because I want you to save money not spend more!
There are tonnes of other free printable lists offered at Canadian Budget Binder to help you achieve some of those financial goals and build your net worth.
Now… what you need to do is determine just how much net worth you actually have and go from there….
Determining net worth
Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances which means you need to do your homework. Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.
Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities
Calculate net worth
Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?
Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine. We like to calculate our net worth every month so we know if we are still on track. Some people calculate it yearly or quarterly. It’s really up to you and how informed you want to stay when it comes to your financial health.
Net Worth is essentially an estimate and not everyone uses the same type of figures. Some people don’t include vehicles like we do or they may leave out the assets inside the home like we have. It depends on what you want to calculate or what you can sell today and make money on.
Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)
Why you should set goals
Setting goals are the only way we work towards achieving what we want to get done as a couple around the house and in our financial life. I know that without them we would be flying by the seat of our pants which wouldn’t work for us.
I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you. Yes, my wife refers to the list when she asks what I plan to do next. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for me or not.
In the graphical representation below, I have used excel to provide a prediction based on the past years monthly net worth figures.
Using figures from our actual net worth gains over the past 12 months (the red line) it has suggested that by the end of this year we should be at approximately $700,000.00.
This is nice to know but anything can happen over the next year. Hopefully with some careful planning we can achieve this goal and go beyond it.
Do you set goals for the year?
Our financial numbers
When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.
We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.
We all have different financial paths
Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.
Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, suffered job loss, fell ill or was injured on the job etc. but you can’t let that stop you from achieving your financial goals.
Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.
Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.
The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.
Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who have a negative attitude towards their own financial situation.
I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.
Net worth updates 2015
Below you can click the links to read past 2015 net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.
In the last year since August 2014 our net worth according to our figures has grown $114,835.49
August 2015 $721,922.26 – August 2014 $607,086.77 = +$114,835.49
That’s all for this month’s net worth update but please check in at the beginning of October 2015 to see how we made out in September 2015 and what has happened to our finances since.
Do you track your net worth? Share your net worth updates with CBB! You don’t have to give your name just a bit about yourself and what you are worth.
Remember: “It’s Not About How Much Money You Make It’s How You Save It“