by Carol E
(Louisiana USA)

Ok I am a newbie to this retirement site. I suppose, like some of us, I don’t like to think that being over the age of 55 is considered being a senior.

I retired at 53 but never had a retirement plan… I remarried after 23 years of marriage to a man retired from the military. We have been married for 15 years now and he continues to work off and on for offshore jobs.

We now are thinking about him completely retiring, but for some reason neither one of us can really make up our mind on how to go about doing it. I inherited a little money along the way and was planning on that to supplement our income.

I have children and grandchildren nearby and what I have been reading on the posts, most people plan to move closer to their children. I cannot decide on that one, I look at it two ways. One It gives me pleasure that my family needs me and I get to see the kids and grandchildren regularly, but on the other hand, I feel it’s time my husband and I get a chance to experience a chance to travel or move or relocate.

But that is where we get stuck…. His dream is to buy/build in Tennessee with lots of land. We currently own 2.5 acres with a large home which we both complain that it is getting too big for us to handle.

We live in the south so the humidity/dampness is rough on our joints. I have been told moving to the mountains can be just as bad with snow and being cold. I don’t care for the mi-west and he cares nothing for the eastern coast. So that leaves Florida.

I love Florida and the beach, but then you have to contend with the hurricanes. Also, I keep thinking I might not like leaving my home, I know it’s a material object, but it’s all I have.

I do not have but one friend that I can bum around with once in a blue moon. My husband really does not have anyone either to do same. So it’s just he and me 24/7 when he is home.

I had gotten into sandblasting glass but with the economy, people are holding on to their money as I am, so that has come to a close.

So here we are, he piddles around the yard, but mostly sits watching TV and playing games on the computer and because of that I usually find something else to do, sometimes I go sit in the computer room and work on my computer working on little projects or look at options out there for retirees or look at property and dream of what we might want.

The sad thing is we cannot seem to sit and discuss how we want to get where we want to go, because we don’t know where we want to go so I suppose because of that, we don’t know how to address it.

Wendy: I simply MUST jump in here: Retirement is a Journey -- Not a Destination.

BUT at the same time when we do bring up discussion on it, it’s always; we can’t do anything until we are totally out of debt and that ends the discussion.

Now who has had these issues deciding what to do as they retire and what have you done to take that step?

Carol E.

Wendy: Carol, I am going to write to you privately... but I have one thought here. You seem to have the perfect retirement scenario (lots of options) and yet still stuck. Life is funny!

THIS is the statement that gets me: "we can’t do anything until we are totally out of debt and that ends the discussion."

I get it... but quite honestly, if you waited until you had enough money - you'd never get married, you'd never have kids, you'd never purchase your first home... Right? My question is: when is enough enough?

If that really is what's holding you back, please consult with a retirement financial planner. Normally the first consult is free... you don't have to go back or take the advice given. In fact, you might make appointments with several to see if their two cents points in the same direction each time.

If they all say you aren't ready... fine. If they all say you are, you simply do this and that... fine. Either way -- their advice simply negates that one "we can't, until" statement and gives you options again.

One last thought, maybe HE isn't ready. When he is really ready, he will KNOW it and the "we can't, until" won't be important any more. He will know when he is ready...

Best Wishes!

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Still here and moving along a little bit more
by: Carol E.

This past June I got full control of a duplex I inherited in Tex... Spent 5 weeks gutting and remodeling one side.

Just finished up loose ends this past week. It has been on the market now for a couple of weeks and several folks have checked it out. I am hoping to get it sold before the end of the year. Once that is sold I plan to pay off the home equity loan I got to do the remodeling, pay my home mortgage off and a credit card.

Then I will still have some funds left over to help me purchase a new vehicle and still have some to put away. Whew! can't wait for this to happen. To be debt free? Won't know how to act. But really looking forward to it. I decided not to hold on to it because I live a 9 hour drive away and just too much for me to maintain...

Also currently we are in process of building a covered outdoor kitchen off our patio. I look forward to using it! If and when we decide to sell our home it will be a very nice selling feature.

I am very fortunate that both my husband and I can do these things ourselves as we save mega bucks on contractors.

Well, that's it for now....Will post more when things start changing again.

Wendy: Hey Carol, thanks for the update! Sounds like you guys are making progress -- kudos to you!!

by: Carol E

Hi everyone!

Ever so often I reread your post to my original comment and I have to say they are motivating me.
The wheels in my head are beginning to turn, wow they just needed a little grease to get them moving, HA!

I made a big and bold decision (at least to me anyway) I have a full keyboard clavinova piano which I use to thoroughly enjoy playing, but over the past 15 years I have moved it from one room to another and the grandkids will pick at it ever so often...sooooo, being that my grandson is into music, plays flute, and guitar and wants to learn to play the piano and sing, I decided it was time to let him have it...I also have a ton of piano and vocal music I collected over my life time. It is time to let that go as well. Whew! I supposed I always felt that others would not appreciate all that I had therefore it was hard to let go, but I did! and I am feeling pretty good about it.

Now I just need to convince huz that it's time to let go of his old stuff....he was in the Navy and has boxes of manuals...

I know it's hard to release one's past, but if I am gonna feel good about retiring and moving on I can't be held back by past memories. It's time to look at what the future might hold and not have extra unecessary baggage to move too. :)

Punching Ahead
by: Carol E

Yes I am very fortunate and I do not take that for granted. I was raised to be a productive citizen, earn my way, be a Christian, and treat others with respect. I am just in a little jam right now as I am ready to cut the strings and retire, but not sure huz is quite ready.

Some of you are so right on about life being too short and like Nike, "Just Do It". Well, yea and no because in order for me to "Just Do It", I have to have the finances to do it. So....still have a little planning left to do.

I am doing a questionaire module with Wendy and now that we are moving along with it, I do believe I am beginning to zero in on some things I know I have in me but have been dormant for what ever reason.

So I am hoping to find my mark in retirement soon. We all have something within us that keeps us getting up in the morning, right?

It's a good thing knowing we are taking another breath to start a new day. Isn't it wierd..... just a few days ago, I was feeling sorry for myself and now I am beginng to show life once more.

I contribute it to you all that have givin me a kick in the keaster, had kind words to share, and expressed their opinions. It has been great hearing from so many of you.

Now this is not to say, I won't fall down a few times, but knowing you all are out there to say brush yourself off and get back in the ring, will be something I can look forward to.


you are only of the millions
by: Anonymous


you are one of the luckiest civil servants to have served and retire successfully at you age. you are not tired, you can still take care of your self. visit post retirement plans for your future success in life. you have more to offer the society and human you live together. we want to here more advices and contributions from you on how to punch ahead after retirement.


Wendy: WOW, Carol, you now have a fan club... looking for YOUR advice on how to punch ahead after retirement. Maybe you should start to blog on my site, like Irwin and Gordon do! Look under Retiree Blogs on the navigation bar to the left.. and you'll see links to the few blogs on my site. Just an idea!

by: Helen

Carol E, I've been reading your posts and others comments. One thing I have to say is that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow!

My husband died at 53 years old -- 10 days before my 50th birthday -- after a four month battle with heart problems and lung cancer. It's been almost 16 years (August 19).

I retired at 60 years old, at 65 I uprooted myself and moved from PA to DE into an 0ver 55 community. I started volunteering and enjoying the activities at the community. Both have added purpose to my life. I found a friend to travel with on an internet site and have been to every continent, including Antarctica, except Australia.

Obviously, I can't tell you what to do. Several people have mentioned a part time job... and you mentioned your husband's job and not being able to schedule things because of his work schedule. You should be able to work and you both can work around his work schedule. Either work or find somewhere to volunteer.... do something for YOU.

I hope you both can decide what to do soon.... you're not getting any younger!

Take care! Helen

Live, love and smile a lot
by: Postworksavvy

Hi Carol,

Like many people, you may be worrying too much about the future. Life is so short so my advice is to focus on today and enjoy who you are and what you have. It's great to make plans but my observation is that too many people try to control what will happen to them as they get older.

In reality, much of what happens is beyond our control. There will always be uncertainties, so take care of your health, get a financial plan and spend some time with your husband deciding on the real priorities that each of you might have.

Live, love and smile your way through!

Comments are very helpful
by: Carol E

Thank you all who have responded to my dilemma. Each and every one of you has more than valid points toward my circumstances. I am beginning to start trusting my own instincts as some of you have confirmed thoughts I have been thinking.

Why do I want to leave a large property for another? Why do I want more responsibility in keeping all that up and cleaning a large home?

For me it's ok to say no! Right? Yep!

I think it's time I take a step forward into doing what I think or rather know deep down inside what is the best for me.... Huz can decide to come along and enjoy the journey or he can keep hitting his head against a brick wall....:)

I do want to do some traveling and see the U.S. we have a 5th Wheel and have only used it maybe a dozen times. Had it since 2008...That says something right there. The intention was to get away and do things, but never got around to it because we were always, working in the yard mending, fixing things around the house. So this is a good example....

I own a duplex in San Antonio which we had been remodeling to get ready to sell...Again something else I don't want to have to deal with. I want to sell it a.s.a.p.... I also have property in NM I want to sell....I am tired of keeping up with all that stuff out of state and having to deal with my finances at home as well.

I used to have the desire and energy to want to forge along with all that, but especially with the economy, I would rather be out of debt completely and not have all that hovering over my head.

One of you mentioned PT Work. I am inclined to agree....That is something that would probably help my self-esteem. It would give me a purpose. I have not really looked into it that hard because huz works off shore and schedules are erratic....never really know when he will leave or when he comes it’s hard to plan anything and that is why I hate to commit myself to a routine. When he gets home, that is the only time I can plan something for us to do and still because we don’t know how long it will be before he gets called out again, we can't stay long. If we do, he could miss out on a job, which has already happened twice. This is another reason I want to get debt free.....we don't want him to have to keep working like eventually takes a toll on anyone our age...

Anyway, I do want to thank all of you who took the time to read my post and respond. It's nice to know that you are out there and appreciate and want to help others or at least share your thoughts. Most of all I appreciate the honesty. That means a lot to me. I will keep you posted as things progress.

When I get the duplex finished, I will post some before and after pics just for fun!

Thanks again everyone! You all are a GEM!
Carol E

more two cents
by: Carol

Hello, I'm jumping back into the comments. I so agree with not wanting more as we age. Forty years ago we enjoyed 7 acres. a lovely large hous, a horse and children. Due to cost we moved to a smaller house.

Now at age 69 I still live in that now large twin house with a small yard that has grown too large to want to deal with as has the house. I don't want to live my life cleaning and repairing a house.

I don't know why as we age we want less but my sister who is 64 is also decluttering her house. My neighbor when he reached his 60s dumped most of his furnishings and also found the once too small yard had grown too large. What I'm trying to say is our wants of more and larger seem to change to more fun time and less work as we age.

Not a bad exchange in my opinion.

You can have the best of both worlds
by: Barbara (H.H.) NE N.J.

Dear Carol E, I was downsized 3yrs ago at 59 and a half - this was a few years ahead of MY schedule!

Retirement leaves you with a lot of time to fill and going out costs money. When you are working your time is occupied by making money - when you retire you have to entertain yourself, and even hobbies can cost money.

You are relatively young. I would consider working at least P/T and get my bills paid off (I might even bite the bullet and work F/T for a yr to get them paid off).

If I had your scenario, I would have a little place to live near where my children are (I wouldn't want a large piece of land anywhere - as you pass 60yrs the desire to have anything "own you" passes and you begin to see that having less (property/objects) is having more freedom. (The only thing to have more of is MONEY - it's portable - and goes where you go!)

Make weekends count - do/go somewhere! In a yr or 2 then retire (or not and take time to travel. (By all means travel!) Think of all the traveling you can do if you don't tie up your money on a big piece of land and house! (Not to mention all the housecleaning you won't have to do!)

NOW THAT's FREEDOM! Best wishes!

Barbara (qeenofhart at

Arm-chair philosopher
by: Anonymous

Hi Carole:

I can certainly understand how you are feeling. I retired two years ago from a job and co-workers I really enjoyed being with. My husband retired a few months earlier then me.

After retirement we went down the east coast, across the I-40 to Palm Springs then back along the I-10 to Florida and back up the east coast to our home in Nova Scotia.

After we got home, I decided to get a part-time job. Not even a reply to my resumes - I honestly never thought I would have a problem getting another job.

So, after sitting around, complaining, depressed and generally panicked about what to do with my future - two years of this, I decided that maybe I was happy enough doing what I was doing and I did not have to make any major changes or decisions right now.

Maybe that's you - maybe you are overly concerned with the future and not realizing that you are very happy with your present ?

Well, that's my rant - obviously too much time on my hands this afternoon.

My two cents
by: Carol

Being near your chldren/grandchildren can be a pleasure or not. Do you really want to be available to babysit or would a visit be better for you and your husband?

Also, where the kids live are there things you would want to do yourself, could you build a life separate life from the kids and of course the cost of living. I am learning to say NO to babysitting if it doesn't suit me.

Slowly I am realizing that I deserve to have time to myself and to do fun stuff that I at my age enjoy.

Sometimes my kids include me in their plans: sometimes my kids do fun stuff without including me (later I hear about their parties, and places they went to).

If you move to Florida could the kids visit you? That might be the best solution.

Retirement has choices
by: Liz

Carol, know that retirement can be a big step and often times kind of scary because I found it that way when I retired at 67 years old five years ago. Scary is usually in our minds and nothing is like we think it's going to be.

As Wendy said, who would ever do anything if they waited until they were financially secure. I too live in the south, in Georgia, and there are many things to think about when you relocate. You mentioned Florida, the other day I was looking at ads that I get from The Villages near Ocala. I was surprised at what you can get for your money there and the homes are really good looking.

One thing to be said about large senior communities, there are all kinds of options for social and physical activities.

You mentioned Tennessee and I do agree Tennessee is a beautiful state with beautiful mountains. You are, indeed, a young retiree but I would think long and hard about getting any place that has lots of land because it is so quick that the years fly by and who needs too much to take care of when we're older.

As far as your children, wherever you go, you're only a plane ride away from them. My only son lives in Califonia and I see him twice a year, which isn't much, but when I do see him it is wonderful. Liz

Good luck with your plans.

Response to DFD
by: Carol E

Joe, good thing is we do have good credit. It's just the indeciveness I think. Making that decision. I think Wendy made a good point that huz just might not be ready to take that step and he doesn't want to admit it.

by: Joe W.


Hi! There is an increasing incidence of Seniors(50 Plus) with a significant Debt position and heading toward pre-retirement or retirement.

Definitely, if you have BAD debt I would focus on paying this debt off ASAP by re-arranging your assets. Also, any employment income you might get could also go towards eliminating the debt.

But, I think the biggest challenge for you will be deciding what you and your husband have as options in your retirement life. Fortunately, you have both assets and age still on your side with adequate time to make some good decisions.

Joe W.

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