Four years ago I was both a newbie blogger and a newbie prepper. To be honest, I had a lot of angst about a lot of things. Unemployment was rampant, the housing market was in shambles, and people around me were suffering. As a woman of a certain age, I was upset and wanted to do something, anything really, to relieve some of the stress while sharing my new found journey down the path of preparedness.
At the time, my long time friend, George Ure, suggested that I start a website that would complement his own Urban Survival website. Little did I realize that this small suggestion, made in passing, would become a life-changer.
This is not the article I intended to write today but for a number of reasons, my focus changed this afternoon and after my daily hike, I decided to shift gears and take a walk down memory lane and share a newly updated muse having to do with the promise of retirement.
My goal is twofold.
First, for those of you that are baby boomers like me, it is important to know that you are not alone in your thoughts and much-altered retirement dreams. And second, perhaps more important, I want to encourage the all-important younger generation to remain laser-focused on self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Life has a way of tossing curve balls and everything you believe about your future may change.
The Promise of Retirement…Someday
Years ago, when George posted an article titled “You’ll Never Be Able to Retire”, buzzers and bells went off as I ticked off his salient points. Yes, I said to myself, I am part of the group that will never be able to retire even though I had done everything right. Or so I thought.
Does these money management and pre-retirement tactics sound familiar?
- Save for a down payment on a home
- Purchase a modest starter home
- Budget wisely for food, shelter and the other necessities of life
- Save Save Save
- Work 50 to 60 hour work weeks to get ahead. Ignore friends and family in the process
- Purchase a larger, more permanent home once I could afford the monthly mortgage payment with a healthy sum left over
- Drive automobiles for 8 to 10 years before getting a new one
- Save Save Save
- Invest in a “balanced” stock portfolio
- Sock dough in to a 401k
- Pay off the mortgage
- Save Save Save
And the promised reward?
- Retirement at 62 or even earlier if you are both smart and lucky
- 20+ years of travel, the pursuit of hobbies, and plain old relaxation
- Interest and dividends on savings equal to 80% of pre-retirement income
- A bit of social security income
- Generous healthcare benefits through the federal Medicare system
The reality, not only for many in my generation, but for for those that follow is this:
- Retirement is pushed out indefinitely and possibly never
- Interest and dividends of less than 1% result in less than 5% of pre-retirement income regardless of the size of your nest egg
- Social security is stalled out with nominal annual increases in spite of the increased costs of food, shelter, and healthcare. In the meantime, financial company executives and corporate bigwigs have received record bonuses many of which were funded by taxpayers
- Healthcare premiums, co-pays and drug costs at an all time high. This includes Medicare.
So where does this leave those of us who did everything by the rules? Other than move to Costa Rica (which presents another set of problems), I have come up with an 11-point survival plan.