Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I Want to Retire But Can't Afford To!


You want to retire?  Can't afford to?

You're not alone.

It's no secret that millions of baby boomers are approaching their retirement years with meager savings and no pension at all.

This means retirement in the traditional sense of "not working" while maintaining your standard of living just isn't a possibility for many baby boomers.

Here are a few ideas that might help....

First, downsize everything.

The most important thing to do is downsize your debt. If you are not part of the millionaire’s club, you will struggle without your career paycheck.  Attack your debt with intensity. Start by paying off your credit cards. Ditch the car payment by driving a beater. You must downsize your debt.

Consider downsizing your home and possessions. Sell your house and use the equity to buy a small place with cash and pay off your debts. Find a way to pay off your mortgage.  Get rid of the clutter with an auction sale and use the proceeds to attack debt. You really don’t need three cars, two boats, a fleet of ATVs, and a time-share-condo. Downsize your home and possessions. 

Downsize your retirement expectations too. Sure, a few people made smart investments and can retire to Tuscany and live in a Villa. But many cannot. If you picture retirement as one big party on the Love Boat you need to downsize your expectations. The post-career years can be some of the best years of your life but you need to be realistic.


Second, explore an encore career.

An encore career is a job which gives you greater personal satisfaction while earning an income. It combines enjoyment with a paycheck.

Before you walk away from your established career ask yourself some of these questions. What would I like to do even if it paid nothing? Which of my hobbies could be turned into a revenue stream? What need exists which could be met by combining my strengths and passions?

Encore careers, depending on individual interests and financial needs, range from starting a travel agency to buying garage sale items and selling them online. Give it some careful thought. Go with your gut. Start exploring these possibilities now while you still the security of a regular paycheck.


Third, get in the best physical shape possible.

Stop smoking.  Eat better.  Exercise.  Get plenty of rest.  Take care of yourself.

Extra weight is a killer. And if it doesn’t kill you it will cost you. Those added pounds cause diabetes, heart disease, and other health related concerns. If you face retirement age with little cash reserves you cannot roll the dice on your health. You must do everything possible to lose weight.

If you are overweight and have failed to lose the pounds in previous attempts remind yourself now is the time to get serious. You may not have another chance to attack the weight. It is now or never.

Even if weight is not issue start a walking program. If you can only walk one lap through the local mall start doing it. Progress until you are walking at least two miles a day six days a week. You will be surprised how walking helps you physically and makes you feel sharper mentally.

Before you leave your career make an appointment with your doctor and get a complete physical. Now is the time to address any health issues. If you wait to check on your health you might discover a need after your income drops and your insurance isn’t as good. Take the time now to deal with any health issues.


Fourth, get on your knees and thank God that you will continue working in your retirement years.

When your friends talk about 401ks, IRAs, pension plans, and a couple million in the bank, you feel the need to fight back tears.  Right?

You didn’t intended to end up this way, but things just didn’t work out… for whatever reason.

Get over the tears… get on your knees and thank God that you will (might) have to continue working in your senior years.  Here’s why:


(1)  When you keep working instead of taking conventional retirement, you stay more connected instead of less connected.

Many people who retire tend to unplug from the world. Their world grows smaller. The circle of work friends disappears. Any social engagement from the job is gone. Golf courses of America are full of lonely retirees fantasizing about the good old days when they were involved in something meaningful. But if you continue to work you maintain friendships. You meet new people. You stay connected.

(2) When you keep working instead of taking conventional retirement, you remain active and healthy instead of becoming lazy and unhealthy.

How many people have you known who retired and “enjoyed” a life of watching old TV shows while they got bigger and lazier? It’s easy to do.  But if you keep on working you stay active and keep the extra pounds off.

Finally, The traditional understanding of retirement is no longer relevant to a growing number of men and women today.  They continue working for the purpose of fulfillment, often choose second or third careers, or find non-profit organizations or religious causes to dedicate themselves to, and stay fully engaged in the process of living an active, productive life.

Myself, I am unwilling to winter with the old folks in South Florida.  Playing another round of shuffle board is not my thing.  Neither do I want to live at the same maddening pace of my first half.  Knowing that I have another twenty years or so to live (God willing) I want to live them as productively as possible, vigorously pursuing the things that mean the most to me.  I want to run my race well and cross the finish line strongly.

I think that's what you're supposed to do in the 2nd half.

If you start doing these things ( and many others like them) you will not enter into panic mode when retirement comes knocking on your door. Begin now.  You will be glad you did.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Buy Less but Buy Better Quality


The purpose of having money – you would think – would be to buy more things and enjoy the finer things in life.  The more money you have, the more choices you have.  Right? Buy anything you want!

But you don’t have to be rich to enjoy nice things in life.

You just have to buy better quality.

Take steak for instance.  You can buy a New York Strip at Bonefish Grill in Pensacola and you are eating the best steak money can buy for around $30.  Eat the same piece of meat at New World Landing and you’ll pay $100.

What’s the difference?

Prestige.  That’s all.

Better yet, go to the grocery store and buy the same steak for $18 and cook it at home, and you're eating as good as a millionaire.

Take sleeping.  What does a millionaire want when they go to bed at night?  The same thing you want: a good night of sleep and waking up feeling rested.  And what will give you that?

Answer:  A great mattress.

Get rid of that lumpy thing you’re sleeping on and get the absolute best mattress you can afford.  Buy it and go to sleep, content that Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg have it no better.

You can pay almost any price for anything, but after a certain price point you are no longer paying for quality.  You are paying for prestige.

Your Wardrobe.  What does it cost to wear the nice clothes?  Much less than you think.

If you can forget about brand names and fashion trends, and learn to look for quality instead, you will save hundreds (thousands) and look better.  Look for natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk, etc) and strong stitching.

Go for classic looks and stay away from trends.  That way you won’t have to discard perfectly good clothing simply because it has gone out of style this year.

The other big secret:  less is more.

Ralph Lauren, a guy who is rich and has access to clothing like none of us, wears the same things (almost) every day – classic cut jeans and a quality tee shirt.

Simple, yet elegant.

A few, really nice items are much better and more enjoyable (and more impressive to others) than a huge wardrobe of trendy stuff.

Want specifics?  Get yourself two or three pairs of slacks (or skirts).  One or two suits.  A few pair of quality jeans.  Two or three pair of shoes.   Buy only what you love.

The rule is to have less, but love everything you have.

Buy classic styles.  Stay away from fashion trends.  Insist on quality.  A few things are better than many things.  Simple is better than flashy.  Do this and you will have what the rich have – a very pleasant feeling every time you pull on your shirt or buckle your belt.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Turnips from the Garden


Just pulled this turnip from the garden.  The bulb is about 3-4" across.  I have a row 50' long of them that are ready to harvest.... just in time for Thanksgiving!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Couple of Photos from the Homestead


This Bell Pepper plant still producing... (we use these to cook with. Straight from the garden to the stove). I'm especially happy with my Mandarin Satsuma (Tangerine). It's putting on a good show this year - not quite ripe yet. The grand-kids love coming over to pick straight off the tree.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016