Planning Ahead helped my Retirement Income Now
I didn’t plan to retire. I quit work to take care of my terminally ill husband. The last eight months he was alive were pretty tough. He was depressed and in pain. I was unable to concentrate on work. I had to quit.
He had been sick for 10 years. We knew he would die if he didn’t get a heart transplant.
So, we were in “super-savings” mode for 10 years. We lived a quiet life and saved and saved and saved.
He received about $4,000 per month from Social Security, his military pension and his civilian pension. I mostly banked my $100,000 per year paycheck.
The $4,000 per month stopped when my husband died. Just after he died, the Great Recession hit.
After I closed up his affairs, I went looking for work. In the three years since, I have had all of three interviews. I have finally lost hope of getting a job and shifted into thinking of myself as retired.
I am living off my savings. While my husband was sick, I turned our financial affairs over to a money manager and let them handle the investing for us. They did a good job, and have recouped the losses that occurred during the recovery from the Great Recession.
My husband left me with some interesting tax problems.
-- I ended up paying about $18,000 to the IRS. Hubby was losing it mentally and made mistakes on our return. I was horrified to discover that liability, but I paid it off and moved on.
I spend more than the interest income from my portfolio. I am living on about $3,000 per month. I have sold a stock that I bought 15 years ago. That supported me very nicely for a year.
I have four such stocks left, old blue chip investments. Between that and my managed portfolio, I worry that the economy will go into the tank again. I don’t have much of a safety cushion.
I stay in town, read books, go to movies, and play on the Internet. I love to lunch with friends. I am mistress of my own life now and I am growing to like it. I calculate I can take an exotic vacation every two years, like a cruise to Aruba or attending the Iditarod in Alaska.
My only fear is that I will outlive my money.
And I really hope that Social Security is still there for me. I don’t have a backup plan.
I am sharing just to say -- you can do this, save like crazy in ten years before you retire -- I did. be wise.