Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Retirement Comes Calling

My husband was just beginning to think about retirement, but it was still in the future.  Then, two weeks before Christmas retirement came upon us.  His employer called with this message:

Hello!  As of December 31st you will no longer have a job!

Two weeks before Christmas!  I was already preoccupied with holiday plans.  The gifts, the food, the decorating.  Suddenly we had to think about how to live without a paycheck and without health insurance.  We had to get insurance through Cobra, which replaces the employer provided insurance but the employer no longer pays for it.  He had some questions to ask his employer:

How do we sign up for Cobra?  How much will it cost?  How soon can it go into effect?

Of course, since it was the holidays, it was almost impossible to get answers.  Everyone was on vacation, either in fact or in their minds.

January was a blur for us.  We were still trying to get answers to our questions.  He was finding out about unemployment insurance.  I was scrambling to get information about Medicare.  We sat down and began looking seriously at our assets and our budget.  What could we eliminate?  We eliminated some unnecessary things and set up a spreadsheet to record our expenses.

We went to get advice on "diversifying our portfolio".  What savings plans, pensions, IRAs, etc.  do we have, and how can we make them last?

Is our retirement going to look like this:

Or is it going to look like this?

We're still working on it.  My husband is finding it difficult to have so much free time on his hands.  He misses traveling and being busy.

I think I'm going to need this book:


rachel said...

Well, I hope you'll come to find retirement as enjoyable as I do - I stopped work under the most difficult circumstances, but haven't looked back since. A reduced income was a great trade for free time and no stress. Good luck, both of you!

Pam said...

Good luck Judy!
Those 'happy retirement' advertising pictures are a bit much aren't they - the people chosen by ad agencies featured on the walls of retirement villages here look absolutely demented with delight.
Yesterday the pamphlet for my seniors card featured a "look -no hands' elderly woman sliding down a slippery dip laughing in 'what the hell' abandonment. Said to my Mum 'she won't be laughing so hard when her cocxyx crumbles at the bottom' - take that as you will.
How is your Mum going now? My dad is presently in hospital. I think of you and your husband as we face the challenges we have with a resilient practicality.

the veg artist said...

I would have thought that the question would be "How am I going to cope with him having all this time on his hands?"

judy in ky said...

Rachel, you are my retirement role model. I hope to enjoy it as much as you do, too.

Pam, you made me laugh with "demented with delight". Some days I feel demented, but hardly with delight. We are still adjusting, but I plan for it to get better. My mom is still happily at home. We are holding our breath, hoping she doesn't have another fall or other incident. We are checking in with her every day, and reminding her to be careful. I hope your dad is dong okay... it is indeed a challenge.

judy in ky said...

Artist, that IS the question now. He gets very restless. He will be better when the weather warms up and he can play golf!

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