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: