I retired on my sixty sixth birthday three years ago almost to the day.
I had been with the same employer for some thirty eight years. I started as the youngest employee and a new father and remained until I became the oldest employee and a grandfather.
Much water has flowed down the stream of life since I walked into that office looking for ANY type of job to support my young family. I did not think of retirement programs, pensions, health care coverage or life insurance, really no thought to benefits whatsoever, all I wanted was a pay check to cover the costs of basic life for a growing family.
I think on occasion now how foolish I was back so long ago and how much my thinking has changed over the years. As it has turned out, and as the years passed, we lived a rather frugal life, for I never really made a lot of money, and on occasion got into debt with plastic because the paycheck just went so far.
I never realized that frugality over time coupled with reasonable employee benefits and a stable workplace would pay off in the long run.....well, it did.
I was lucky to be covered under a defined benefit retirement program which are now almost nonexistent, and along with that, whenever I received an increase in salary, I always managed to put a majority of it into savings. I was never "financially oriented", but, I knew one thing for certain, I would NEVER get anywhere in life if I spent more than I made, regardless of my salary!
Three years now into retirement, I am appreciative that I stayed with that employer, was frugal when I needed to be, invested in my health.....that is the BEST investment, and now am reaping the rewards of my past years of life, and hoping for many more. Now I find myself doing what I want and when I want and reflective of my past decisions.
We only have ONE chance "at the plate", and I try NOT to take ANYTHING for granted......life is TRULY a gift, enjoy it!