Not long after our kids move out, most of us start to wonder whether we still need all the stuff around the house. Then, as we approach retirement, we start to wonder, do we even need the house? Why not move into a smaller place and give our retirement savings a boost with the money that we save?
I saw this as a little blurb in an AARP article: “When you eat out, do you order lobster or chicken?” I stopped cold. I order the chicken, of course. And now I’m annoyed with myself.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
Mary Oliver’s quote was like a slap in the face – gentle, but insistent. It was the third time I’d seen that quote in the last two weeks. I wondered, “What’s going on here? What am I missing?”
In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote the song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” As he sang those famous words, I wonder if he had any idea how much they would come to represent an entire generation of Americans.
Last year, I met with two of my retired friends for a Saturday afternoon glass of wine. Both had retired within the previous two years.
We read about how wonderful being over 60 is and that retirement is almost regarded as Nirvana. Social media is splashed with photographs of retirees enjoying themselves and looking happy.
Who doesn’t love it when they find a pleasure that’s absolutely free? Not only do I know I’ve treated myself to something wonderful, I feel very clever about it, which makes me feel, well, rich. And that is the whole point of my philosophy of living like a millionaire on a retirement budget.
Many of us find ourselves living alone as we get older, whether through death, divorce or a lifelong commitment to singleness. Many of us embrace this independence, while others are not as comfortable with it.