Reaching the grand age of 58 and contemplating my future brings about so many thoughts of the past. I am down to 45 months before I reach the age of 62 and am eligible for Social Security income and can officially leave the workforce behind. Sharon is five years older than me and will be leaving the workforce before me. This is something we didn’t ponder when we fell in love so many years ago, but is more than a reality now.
We have worked hard and continue in this matter and along the way lived a frugal life and played by all of the rules, which I am learning are no so common. Our home is paid in full and we are contributing the maximum allowed into our 401k plans. From the outside it appears that we will be able to have a comfortable retirement, but on the inside I feel an overwhelming fear. Can what we are doing today carry us through years of non-employment tomorrow? I certainly hope so. It is not so much I worry about managing our retirement, but the things I fear are those of the unknown. Should we be in a better position before we step into retirement? How long will we live? Will pensions dry up and leave us broke? Will the stock market crash and empty out our savings? What if? What if? What if?
I think about the past, those early years when money seemed to come and go as quickly as a glass of sweet tea on a hot August afternoon. How much crap I purchased that today lays in the bottom of a landfill, how much interest I payed for those crappy items I thought I needed so badly. The desires of youth fuel the economies today and unchecked can leave one in a precarious position in the future. Thank God I caught wind of these behaviors years ago and developed a plan to reverse its curses.
Although I still worry I know that we may be in a much better position than many. Recent stats tell me that at least on third of those in America over the age of 65 are living below the poverty level. Most reasons are self inflicted and others caused by outside sources. The loss of a job, medical issues, the 2008 housing crash, mental health, addiction, and other reason’s.
On the upside we don’t mind and actually find great joy in living a frugal lifestyle. Other than planned trips across the country to see family, our spending is surprisingly low in comparison the the average of those our age. We will continue to do the best we can and pray for a healthy future.