We were on track in our 40s, but at 49, my husband was diagnosed with MS. Within two years, he had to leave his job. Over the last ten years, our savings are gone. I've had layoffs, been downsized, and now work two part-time jobs with no health care. He is in a wheelchair and only has use of his left hand. Retire? I'll be working until the pigs fly!
Leta and Dan
I am 64 and semi retired on Social Security and a very small pension. Our house is paid off, but I intend to keep working part time as long as I can so I will have money to travel to see grandkids and such. My husband doesn't think he will retire until at least age 70.
Jane in Kansas
Our retirement nest egg did take a beating in 2008 and that is when I decided to manage my own retirement money. Since then, our retirement savings have grown and we also purchased two foreclosures that we are renting. If I did not take control and manage our retirement savings, we would not be able to retire. I am 50 and we will be able to retire comfortably. We have no debt and most of our retirement money, other than the real estate, is in individual stocks that I manage on a daily basis.
I'm in my mid-50s and work for a Fortune 500 company. That's the good news. The bad news is that I married young, divorced (which devastated my savings), returned to college while raising children, then in my late 30s began my real "working years" (up until then I had low paying jobs with no benefits). I was able to buy a house and get my kids through college. One of my children (in his 20s) had a serious illness and I used part of my savings for his medical costs. Then I had several health issues, which, even with insurance, ate up more savings. At 55, I am once again saving for retirement for the third time. No, I will never be able to retire fully (if that means not worrying abut money), but I have long experience with struggle, poverty, a vast history of work experience, and a mind that is still sound. Therefore, I will not retire in the traditional way. I will use ingenuity and experience to support myself, just as I have always done. The future looks bright!
Assuming that one's home is paid for and that Social Security and Medicare are there to help, it seems that retirement with a continued frugal lifestyle is definitely possible. Based on the projected SS figures we receive periodically from the SSA, we can continue our way of living. I guess it all depends on what people think they want to do or society hypes as the retirement lifestyle, such as worldwide travel or golf at the best resorts. Those things are unlikely, but not desired anyway. Most people's day-to-day lives are fairly simple. Retirement adds the time (opportunity) to take part in activities that were not possible before due to time constraints. I don't see a problem.
It's a subject that is undergoing a lot of discussion right now for good reason. Personally, I am going to turn 60 this year and have been working part-time for a long time. I have no health benefits through the job so I pay for my own health care. My husband is in his 70s and continues to work as well. Our savings are not doing well as the interest rates are pathetically low. As those rates will continue to stagnate, it's a given that we will continue to work as long as we are able. As a side note, we have a rental property as well and depend on it to help pay our bills. Needless to say, we are having problems renting out the unit. It's not that the rent is high, but potential renters have poor credit reports, low-paying jobs, etc. This is another indication of the poor economy.
I'm a government employee, and until the last two to three years, I felt that my retirement was on track. But with the higher-ups in Washington messing with everything from salary freezes to an increased contribution to our retirement accounts, I'm not so sure any more. I sought the advice of a financial counselor about four years ago (before the housing/economic crises) and he told me I was fine. But with all the rumblings in Washington, I recently decided it would be better to pay off my mortgage so I reduced my contribution to my 401k-style retirement to matching only and put the extra against my mortgage. I'm happy (ecstatic) to report that my mortgage will be paid in full next month (March). I am now debating whether to increase my 401k (Thrift Savings Plan) again or put that extra towards a land note. I'm still hoping to retire by the age of 62, but with all of the uncertainties in Washington, it's a wait-and-see issue.
My husband and I own three homes and had planned to sell two for our nest egg for retirement. With the current housing market, we can't unload the houses, and at ages 63 and 70 years, we still have to work. Working is not an option. It is a necessity. Thankfully we have no debt but also we have no money.
Been there already done that. We were caught in a business moving and the ending of a 29-year job. We kept lesser employment until 62 and decide that we had enough for retirement. Now we wonder, but we have already made our move. Sometimes we regret it because now we don't think it will last our lifetime. Like others in our situation, we are caught in the choice. We never hear much about the people who have done this.
I am currently 53, turning 54 in June. I've worked for the same company for almost 25 years. My retirement isn't anywhere close to allowing me to live comfortably. We've lived in the same home for 21 years, and drive cars that are 12 and 8 years old. We eat in most of the time and do not have any outside hobbies that take a chunk of change. Even with living fairly frugally, I do not see me being able to retire at all.
My husband's in worse shape. He's not had a steady job for most of the time we were married. And while he's managed his bills (most of the time), he has nothing saved for retirement. And he's older than I am, so he will not be able to rely on my retirement. So we will be two older people out there in the working world until we are kicked out or go kaput, whichever is first.
I'm 56 and ready to start a new career. I don't even think about retirement but do worry that there might be health issues down the line. There aren't many now.
However, I can't imagine not doing some kind of work, especially in my fields of music, education, and cultural studies.
We do have an IRA and a house with equity. We started late in the public school system so full retirement would be in our 70s. I'm not even sure it's good to stay in public education with all the problems.
Janet in Boston, MA
I just read your article about the fact that some retiring baby boomers will not have enough saved up to ever retire. Also, I just watched a one-hour town meeting that U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader had in neighboring Stayton, Oregon on Saturday February 11. He is from Oregon. He said that the current estimate for Social Security running out of money is the year 2036. The federal government borrowed from this account and has not repaid any money yet. You can watch his presentation at StaytonEvents.com and hear it yourself
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