Every Day

What Your Most Important Goal Should Be This Year

That would be to save for retirement! But AD, I am only in my twenties and I want to have fun. But AD, I am only in my thirties and my kids are so expensive. But AD, I am only in my forties and I need to pay for my children’s college. But AD, I am only in my fifties, the kids are leaving, and and it is time for us to spend on ourselves. Now I am in my sixties, AD, and I will never be able to retire. I will be working until I die.

In  all my years of living, I have heard it all. There are always excuses and the biggest one is that I have lots of time left to save for retirement. Tell that to all of the seniors who are living on social security only and wondering how to make ends meet, skimping on food to pay for medical prescriptions or going without. They are also wondering if their social security and medicare will be cut because the government spent all the money they put into pay for those things in retirement. Now they say the system is going broke in a couple of years.

Funny thing about time, it flies right by so fast that you really don’t even notice until it is too late. 

Pension plans were a terrific retirement vehicle in my day but they are almost non existent now. Besides so many companies pension plans have gone broke and their retirees have lost everything.

Government pensions plans were better. However take a look at how many states like California and Illinois and many others did not fully fund their employees pension plans while those employees were working. Now they are in the hole trying to pay them. Unless you have that money in your hand, you can’t count on it. These states could easily tell retirees, we can no longer afford to pay you so sorry. Some states have already reduced the amounts the retirees are getting monthly. You can only count on yourself!

I can vividly remember the first time we put money away for retirement. I was 19 years old and Hubby was 20. We are so glad we saved because if our small pension goes away and social security too, we will be just fine.

If you are in your twenties or even thirties, you have a long timeline to invest and be set in retirement. If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, it is a necessity that you save for retirement. You will have to put more away but it isn’t too late. Many retirees ramped up their savings when they were in their fifties and now are living a great life in retirement. Waiting until your 60’s is much harder. You may have to always supplement with a full or part time job. 

For those of you whose  employers offer a match on your 401K, make sure that you are taking advantage of that. If you aren’t, you are throwing away free money.

To go along with this, pay off all of your debt before you retire including your mortgage. The last thing you want hanging over your head in retirement are mortgage, car, or credit card payments. If you have a paid off car going into retirement, start saving to replace that car.

Too many seniors now have debt in retirement. The most recent debt statistics that I could find were for 2016. It shows that seniors over the age of 65 had a median average debt of $ 31,300. That has to affect these seniors mental health. The stress must be tremendous!

Do something to save for retirement now! You do not want to be one of these seniors when you retire.

all know that prices go up. We will be retired 19 years in 2020. The
money that we retired with has lost  45.3% of it’s buying power due to inflation since we
retired. An item that cost us $1,000. in 2001 now costs us $1453.15 in 2020. So you have to account for inflation when you are saving for retirement. It is a fact of life.

I hadn’t planned on writing on this today but looking at everyone’s goals on their blogs or on You Tube, only a couple suggested saving for retirement and I believe it is the most important thing that you can do.

Now for an example of rising costs. We got our January property tax bill that I will be paying today. Since we moved here 10 years ago, our assessment on our home has gone up by $ 50,700. and our property and school taxes have gone up over $ 1250.  annually. If we hadn’t accounted for these increases, we would not be able to stay in our beautiful home that we love.

I think back to when we were paying a total of $2500. in property and school taxes in AZ when we moved. That was wonderful. Now we pay about $ 8400. annually here in New York. Yes, moving was our choice. We moved to be near our children and our grandchildren. But isn’t it fantastic that we had that choice!

So please save for your retirement this year! When you are as “young” as me, you will be so happy that you did.

Every Day

Time Is Money

Time is money even when you are retired. All of the things that we do whether large or small take our time but most of them save us a ton of money annually. In that way we keep our expenses low and can continue to save and keep our investments intact and actually grow them year after year.

But today I want to talk about the other aspect of retirement. Aging is a huge factor in what you spend in retirement. Medical, dental, and vision costs are large when you get to be our ages. Just the fact that the doctors and dentists want to see you more than once a year can be costly. And the lab tests all the time- UGH! According to my doctors, now that I am almost down to a perfect weight, I am in excellent health. Hubby is pretty good too even though he has back issues. 

Aging and the back issues can be very costly. Because of Hubby’s bad back, we have had to hire landscape crews from March through October almost every year of our retirement(19+ years).

In Arizona, we needed them not only because of his bad back but because our landscaping grew so rapidly out there and to do it in the heat was not pleasant. They came every other Monday during the season and I actually don’t even remember exactly what is cost. I know it was just over a couple of hundred dollars a month. 

When we moved here, we have a much larger piece of property than we had there. We have a lot of lawn and many, many gardens with landscaping that need trimming, weeding, mulching, and the occasional planting. Hubby does the mowing on his John Deere riding lawn mower which he really enjoys. He used to hire a neighbor boy to do the weed whacking because we have lots of stonework around all of our gardens that needs to be trimmed every time he mows. However, he has since gotten rid of our heavy weed whacker and purchased a more light weight one that he can manage with his back so he does it once a week. 

The same company that does our landscaping once a month, comes and does our fertilizing about 6 times a season. Then once in a while, like today, they bring  4 bushes that we order and plant them for us along with doing the monthly maintenance.

All of this comes at a price of $3383. for this season from March through October. It is not cheap.

The reason I tell you this is so that you plan to be able to pay this in retirement when and if you can no longer do it. As you age, you just can’t do as much as you used to. Hubby always did his own yard work and enjoyed it until he no longer could. 

It’s the same with pest control. That costs another  $ 562. a year. 

These are just two of the costs for your home in a year and believe me when I say they go up annually. 

People ask us when we will be ready for a condo. I don’t know if we ever will be but it is a possibility. However we would still have these costs but they would be built into the condo monthly maintenance fees. If you rent a nice place, you pay it in the rent. There is no way to get away from the high cost unless you are able to do it yourself.

For now, we love our home and all of the square footage we have. We enjoy our yards and the beauty of it. I am healthy enough to be able to maintain the inside of our home with a little help from Hubby. Even if I couldn’t, we have planned well and could hire a housekeeper to come once or twice a month.  We have no plans to move any time soon. So we trade our money for their time which is why we trade our time to save money where we can.  

I tell you all this because these expenses are real in retirement and you all need to plan for them when you are planning for your retirement years. Even if you are in relatively good health when you retire, things happen and health deteriorates. You may not be able to do your own work forever. 

 They are just two of the many expenses you will need to work into your plan to maintain your home.

So when you are doing your retirement planning, you have to get real about what it is REALLY going to cost you.    

Every Day

Why Do We Save So Much Money?

So many people have asked us why we save so much money especially since we retired. There are many reasons. Inflation is one of them. We don’t ever want to worry about going without as our money depreciates. If we need a new furnace, car, roof repair, appliance, etc., we want to never have to worry about paying for it.

If our car dies tomorrow, we want to be able to walk into the dealership the same day and plunk down the cash for a new one. The same with anything else that needs replacing. 

If we need dental work, we want to know that we can afford it. We want to be able to pay our medical insurance and bills.

We have moved twice since we retired. We want to be able to move again to a condo or townhouse when the time is right. Right now, we pay someone to maintain our outside property. So we will buy something where everything is done for us for monthly maintenance fees. When we get tired of the big house and want to downsize to a condo, we want to have the cash to do that. 

We want to be able to give nice gifts to our children and our grandchildren. We definitely want to leave them a nice inheritance.

We wanted to do things like join the YMCA to be able to use the machines and go to the Aqua Fit classes. We did that even though the cost was more than I was told. When the old Y closed in the city, the new YMCA in our town costs us $48. per month instead of the $37. I was quoted when I called the old place. We are loving it but I have to admit it takes a lot of time out of our week. However we are doing it to get fit and we are worth it.  

When I went to Dick’s for a new gym bag and swim shoes this week, I didn’t have to worry about where the money would come from to pay for them.

If we want to go out to dinner or a night out on the town like last night, we know that we have the money to afford it.

You see when we first got married, we saved for a nice life for our family just like you do.  But we also saved for the future because we knew that life is short and the future and retirement would happen rapidly. It did in a flash. 

I am always amazed at people who say that they are going to spend all of their money before they die. How do they know when they will die? No one does.

So if they spend all of their money by the time they are 80 and live to 100, what do they do? Live in poverty? That is not my idea of living a good life.

So I think I have answered that question that I get asked over and over again.

The moral here is that you should save and save. Not only for the things you want now but for the future. You can live a good life while married, while raising your families, and then when you are retired. It’s all in the planning. If you fail to plan, your retirement either won’t happen or you will run out of money before you run out of life. 

With that said, I am trying to juggle life this past week and this one. We had so many appointments last week and we do this and then tried to fit in days at the Y that something had to suffer and this blog was it. Hopefully as I get better at doing it all, things will get better.

How do you do it all?    


Every Day

Being Prepared

Sometimes bad news just hits you when you least expect it. This was not one of these times. I had an inkling that this was going to be an expensive dentist visit. However, I was hoping I was wrong. But a full set of X-rays that is more like a cat scan proved that I was right. As you can see by the treatment plan above, it will be expensive. 

I woke up a few days ago with an aching tooth and gum. I knew it was one of the ones supporting my bridge. For those who don’t know, a few years back I paid  thousands of dollars for this bridge. I have spent many thousands since every time something went wrong. I never ever wanted to have a partial denture. So Hubby has been more than willing to pay for all of this.

However yesterday, things changed. The root canal supporting this tooth has gone south and the tooth is cracked under the gum. Hence my bridge is moving.

So wanting to know every thing that could be done, I spent 2 hours at the dentist’s office discussing my options. Option number one: Pull 4 teeth(those that support the bridge) and replace them with 4 implants and have a new bridge made. Approximate total cost: $25,000.

Option number two: The one pictured. Have 4 teeth extracted and get a partial denture. This involves a temporary partial while my mouth and gums heal. Then a permanent partial will replace the temporary. This could take up to 4 months. Approximate total cost: $ 4808. 

As much as I have never wanted a partial denture, I told my dentist after we discussed everything that I was not willing to spend $25,000. on option one. I informed him that I am up there in age and I do not want to put thousands more into my mouth. I told him I would pay $25,000. for a car in cash but not that amount into my mouth. He still tried to convince me but I stood my ground. And as you can see, I got a quote for the partial denture work in writing. 

I allowed the dentist to take the molds yesterday so that the temporary can be made at the lab. Then I told him that I would go home and discuss everything with Hubby and give them a call with our decision so that he could send the molds out to the lab and let them know to make the temporary partial. 

I drove home and sat down with Hubby to give him the options. I told him option one first. He sat patiently and listened. Then I showed him option number two. Instead of offering his opinion, he said to me what do you want to do. I told him I am going to get the partial because I don’t want to spend another $25,000. on my teeth. I told him that we had spent enough with the bridge and fixing every thing that went wrong.  I told him that I am tired of running to the dentist all of the time and putting that money out.  I told him that I wish I had decided on the partial denture way back when. After listening, he said, “Are you sure? We have the money for the implants and bridge if you want to go that route.” I told him thank you but I just don’t feel at my age that I want to put $25,000. into my teeth. So I called the dentist and let them know to send the molds to the lab for the partial. 

I know it will take some getting used to. I know nothing about dentures or how to take care of it. I do know that the dentures of today are not like the old metal ones. Technology has done a lot for dentures. So hopefully, I will get used to it.

I tell you all of this, not to bore you, but to tell you this is my real life. The moral of this story is that you always have to be prepared for things that happen that will be costly. I have seen people in our town walking around with no teeth. I never wanted to be in that position. But I can understand how that could happen if you haven’t saved for retirement knowing that you will have no dental insurance. Although dental insurance would not pay much on this bill anyhow. So when you saving for your retirement, be sure to assess what you might need for dental as you get older.

So as much as the cost of this pains me, I know that we can pay cash for it. Do I hate putting even the $ 4808. out for this? Yes but I am happy that we planned ahead and we can do it.

If anyone has had an experience with their own dentures or a parents, I would like to ask a question. Do I need to buy something to soak the denture in? How about to clean it? I forgot to ask the dentist yesterday. I am sure that he will tell me all that when I go in two weeks for the 4 extractions and to get my temporary partial. But being that I like to be prepared, I would like to research the cost of those products and accumulate some coupons. So if anyone knows, please leave a comment.

Changing the subject, here are our meals from yesterday:

Breakfast: Hubby made omelets with diced ham, red peppers, onion, and shredded cheese.

Lunch: None because I was at the dentist. Hubby had a turkey wrap.

Dinner: 6 inch subs from Subway. I did not feel like cooking after my draining day. We had three Free coupons for 6 inch subs. I used one coupon to pay because that is all they allow at one time. I paid $5.09 including tax from our entertainment budget for the other.  The two that are left will get used for other meals.   

Today is another day! Let’s hope it is a good one for each and every one of you!