This week, I will be writing a series of posts on retirement, something I’m trying to sort out while I make some career decisions.
Retirement. The term used when you cease employment permanently. It can mean different things to different people. My parents have what I see as a “traditional” retirement. They stopped working at 60 (dad) and 58 (mom). Dad has a defined benefit pension plan; mom has some income from investments. They spend five months a year (November to March) in a 55+ mobile home community in Texas; they spend the other 7 months in a 55+ mobile home community here in Manitoba. They golf. A lot. Plus they play bridge, socialize with other (retired) friends, and spend a little time travelling too. They saved for their whole working lives to afford this retirement, and while they are not rich, they are comfortable and happy.
I’ve asked Bruce before what he envisions for retirement, and he always finds a way to dodge the question. Recently, I asked him again. He didn’t dodge the question, but the answer doesn’t help me plan much. The issue is, he’s 15 years older than me, and there is no way we can afford for me to retire when he turns 65, or even 70. He currently plans to work until at least 65, and probably longer – why would he stop working if I’m still working? While I don’t love that idea (I feel somewhat guilty because our age difference and young family is forcing him into this), I understand what he’s getting at.
He’d like to travel, if possible. His concern is that by the time I quit working, he’ll be too old. My solution? We travel some while I’m still working. It’s the only way that makes sense. Other than that, he has no plans, or really any major wish lists.
My own vision of retirement is somewhat different. I accept that I will likely be a widow for most of my retirement. When I am 65, Bruce will be 80. Could he live longer than that? Sure, of course, and I hope he does. But I have to be realistic, I will likely be a widow before I’m 70. So how do I envision retirement? Well, I want to retire somewhere warm. I hate Canadian winters, and the sooner we can get out of here, the better. The southern US would be nice, but our dollars will go farther if we look at central America or an island country somewhere. I’ve long joked that I’d like a 2 bedroom condo in the desert with a motorcycle out back; really, that’s about as perfect a retirement as I could plan. The issue is, how do I pay for it, and really, what do I do with my time once I’m “retired”? As part of the planning process, I’m going to have to make some assumptions. Tune in tomorrow for the next step.