The solution is not more money

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Are you worried about having enough money in retirement? That’s not going to last.

I don’t mean your nest egg isn’t going to last. I mean your worries about running out of money aren’t going to stick around, not if you’re like most people. That’s an odd little nugget I keep running across when I research retirement spending.

I see it over and over again. People moving toward retirement, and those in early retirement, like me, worry they’ll outlive their nest eggs. …

Don’t kill yourself stressing over it

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If you aim for a 4% withdrawal rate from your retirement savings, you should be able to maintain your pre-retirement lifestyle in your senior years. I know I’m not the first person to tell you that; just poke around in any personal finance blog or financial advisor’s marketing copy, and you’ll find that advice. It’s the accepted wisdom.

But it could be wrong. It could be misguided because leaving a job and being given an extra 8 hours a day (minimum) to fill in any way you choose is a lifestyle change. No amount of savings, no predetermined withdrawal rate…

Neighborhood Springfest. Photo by author.

Outdoor community space is the new must-have

Oh, how I once envied friends who lived within walking distance of the Decatur, Georgia town square. They could roll out of bed and walk to Java Monkey for their morning coffee. They could catch lunch at The Brick Store in the afternoon and watch a show at Eddie’s Attic in the evening. They could grab a train at the MARTA station and go anywhere in the city, drink up at the Square Pub and stagger their way home, pick up their groceries, go to the dentist, do their banking, all without starting their car.

That was before COVID. And…

The problem is you probably won’t

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If you’re traditional retirement age, you’re old enough to remember this scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Butch (Paul Newman) and The Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are standing at the edge of a cliff as the posse that’s pursuing them closes in. They’re outnumbered; there’s no chance they can fight their way out of the predicament. Their only possible chance for survival is to jump into the river below.

Butch sees this as the perfect solution. He’s ready to go. …

And we’re eating better than ever

Free chanterelles. Photo by author.

Last Saturday, we went out foraging with our local mushroom club and collected 8 pounds of chanterelles. We had a mushroom omelet for dinner that night and a mushroom curry and mushroom pasta the next day. The rest of the shimmering chanterelles went into a gigantic pot and simmered on the stove with other ingredients until the combination could properly be called a stew.

Some of it we ate as soon as it was done. The remainder, we popped in our freezer for later consumption along with the leftover curry. We are living large.

Finding the time to forage and farm

The mushroom club was foraging before…

You don’t have to leave the table; you just have to have a voice

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

You probably know someone who’s left a relationship over political differences in the past few years. A conversation got heated over the dinner table. Each side’s viewpoints were intolerable to the other. Voices were raised. Feelings were hurt.

Everyone talked, but no one was listening. And finally, in frustration, someone walked away, maybe for a long time, maybe forever.

Voting with my wallet

I’ve been lucky, so far. I haven’t had to let any of my people go, even though I’ve disagreed with plenty of them and they with me. …

It’s got nothing to do with money

Photo by Fas Khan on Unsplash

I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook before bed last night when an eye-opening discussion snatched the sleepy right out of me. The conversation took place in a regional group forum made up of residents from my small mountain town and others like it in the area. It was about the cost of the emergency helicopter services that transport critically injured and ill patients to hospitals in Atlanta. Take a guess.

70. thousand. dollars.

I completely believe my life is worth more than that, and I believe yours is too. If I have a heart attack and need to be rushed…

Don’t count your chickens just yet

Photo by KS KYUNG on Unsplash

“I get the mountain house,” my stepdaughter sometimes tells us as she gleefully anticipates how she’ll profit from our deaths.

“That’s not how our will is written,” one of us usually reminds her. It’s not that we don’t want her to have the house or that we’ve promised it to someone else. The sad truth is that the mountain house isn’t likely to be among our assets when we finally kick the bucket. At some point in an unknown future, we won’t be robust enough to keep up the maintenance ourselves or wealthy enough to hire paid laborers. …

Or is it?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Sometimes, when I consider the benefits of compound interest and look at the way the stock market has steadily risen over the years, I wish I’d gotten my act together sooner. I wish I’d been saving 15% of my income, or more, from the time I worked at the concession stand of a local movie theater when I was in high school up until I took down the shingle on my psychotherapy practice, packed up my office, and turned in the key.

But I didn’t. I procrastinated, always thinking I could make up for my free-spending ways at some point…

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out

Photo by author

You know all about the conventional retirement model. All through our working lives, we save and save and save for our retirement. We anticipate the arrival of our senior years when we’ll no longer work and there won’t be a steady paycheck coming in. We believe we’ll replace that regular inflow of funds with our savings, our social security checks, and if we’re lucky, with our pension.

We build up a nest egg to shield us in emergencies but also to provide us with money to fund our happy retirement — travel, golf, housekeepers, meals out. We deserve to splurge…

K M Brown

Retired psychotherapist who loves a good story.

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