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Nowadays there’s all sorts of good advice on the Internet and in the media about when to retire. All kinds of experts from Suze Orman on down are pontificating on the subject. If you like to take advice, by all means take it, but with a grain of salt. You aren’t living their lives, but your own. This post isn’t advice, but rather an explanation from a regular person about why I will retire at 65, the old standard retirement age.
Why retire at 65?
After acquiring first-hand experience with cancer, I’ve had a change of heart about working till 70. I used to think I should do that. But even though my cancer was little, easily cut out, and didn’t require a lot of fooling around afterwards, it makes you think. After all, is cancer ever really gone? Many find it comes back even after years of remission. So maybe it’s a good idea to have some good times before that comes back.
My husband is nearly 5 years older than I am. I would like to have some lighthearted times with him before he has too much physical trouble. He has some health problems too. And though we both have people in our families who lived into their 90s, we also have people in the families who didn’t make it to 65.
Practically speaking, why 65?
First of all, 65 is when you can get Medicare if you aren’t already on due to disability. I have the dubious honor of having pre-existing conditions so my safe choices are insurance through work or Medicare. Nothing else is remotely affordable for me, nor is it as secure in the current regime. I’m not ready to be left on an iceberg by the insurance industry. Besides, we’re running out of icebergs.
I plan to get Medigap insurance to pay copays and such; it’s about the same amount as what I pay at work for a big deductible policy. The part I’m not thrilled about is the Part D prescription plan because that will be my new big deductible, and I have some pricey pills. Time to start talking to doctors about quitting the extra-fancy add-on pills that make me able to work.
The other thing I really don’t like about Part D is that what happens to you when your meds are denied does not affect the insurance company in any way except to save them money. They aren’t the company who gets stuck with your hospital bill if you relapse for lack of a good medication. This needs fixing!
At 64 I am in good health and could get in shape again in a reasonable amount of time if I would only do it. So at 65 I would be able to shed work as an excuse for not exercising and just do it already. That’s the plan. I hate exercising but obviously the best way to stay able to walk is to do it, so I will take walks more regularly. And with time to do it, I can go to the pool and swim all year round!
If I wait till 70 the inactivity and stress will probably kill me or leave me sitting. What good is all the extra money if it’s only for long term care?
But what is there to do?
After the self-care and reduction in stress, plenty!
My hobbies are perennially neglected with me working and limited to part of my weekends. After all, I have a lot of them and many are processes that take up a lot of time. Weaving and quilting are not getting done much at all now. I love doing both. I’m not affiliated with any quilting or weaving group as such, but have considered doing that. Maybe I’ll have time after retiring.
My current hobbies are limited to dyeing and spinning wool and other animal fibers, and knitting. I can just about do those by getting up early to spin on weekends and knitting in front of the TV nights. I sell many of the things I make at a consignment crafts boutique in town. (Almost time to load up a box for them!) When I retire I may open an Etsy shop for yarn, since there’s too much for me to use and I keep making more!
Spinning is also a big social outlet for me. The statewide spinning tea in February, the regional biennial Gathering where we have workshops on fiber arts, and the twice-a-month local get-togethers of the group where I first learned to spin and knit are currently fit into my schedule. But I could add spinning group monthly at an historic site not too far from my town, once retired.
I joined a service organization a couple of years ago and though I haven’t done much with it yet, the group is always looking for people to pitch in on this or that. They do historical preservation work, and that’s interesting to me. Not only that, I think I can make a contribution there.
Years ago, before my pre-existing conditions hove into sight, I spent 20 years on the planning and zoning boards of my town. At some point they made me chairman of them so they didn’t have to run the meetings. With treatment regimens I couldn’t continue with that so I stepped down.
However, I enjoyed the people and the work. Even reworking the Town Plan every 5 years had its moments. So since they are chronically looking for help I could probably go back, or maybe explore the community development group that sprang up during the Great Economic Downturn a few years ago. Or maybe help out at the historical society or the library.
Another excuse besides this blog to be on the computer, definitely something I need, right?
But languages have always interested me and been relatively easy for me to pick up, so I’d like to study some. Definitely Spanish, maybe Russian, but how about Swedish too, and Irish Gaelic? And Chinese while we’re at it? The list goes on. Let’s see how far I get.
And being a reader when I have time, I always run across more to investigate. Now that there are college-level courses online for free, I could do that and someday be relatively well-educated.
But what about the money?
That, admittedly, isn’t great. I did the best I could with what I had, but most of the time since getting into the IRA and 403(b) business, I was the lone earner in the household so didn’t put by as much as some could. Still, it’s nothing to sneeze at.
Social Security will be enough to cover monthly expenses once I settle a couple of things. It’s not worth another $40 or so a month to wait for full retirement age another year down the road. I’ve routinely put my raises, which were about that much, in savings and done without them, for years. I could actually live long enough to get it all back anyway so what the heck?
If the economy doesn’t go into the toilet and suck down my savings too bad, I will concentrate on using the savings to set things up so we can live mostly on Social Security and just pay taxes and insurance with savings.
And when that runs out, we sell the house and spend that down. When that’s mostly gone we transition into subsidized housing or go find an iceberg if there are any available. Who knows which accommodation will still exist at this rate?
Anyhow, too much can happen to be worried about how to control money beyond a certain point. Doing that will soon have your money controlling you. As long as I can still do things, I can adapt and do what needs to be done to get along. And meanwhile, I can have some fun and sleep in every day if I want!
So there’s why I will retire at 65. When will you retire, and why?