What's Your Fallback Plan? by Robin Trimingham
As a child of the 1960’s I have grown up watching the ads for the “golden age” of retirement on television. I never fully bought into the Disney ‘Tomorrow Land’ idea that people would work less and less and have increasingly more time for leisure as society progressed, but I did honestly believe that retirement would be a carefree time of travel and afternoon naps.
After all, that is what my grandparents on both sides of my family seemed to be doing. One set of grandparents owned a house in the city and spent much of July and August at a small summer house on an island. The other retired to a large farm house outside the city and spent numerous winters in Florida.
They did not appear to have any money concerns at all and I just assumed that my life would be like that too.
The truth is, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have money concerns both now, and more importantly, for the future. Things are so bad that it is a subject that we just don’t talk about at dinner.
We all know that we are unlikely to have the sort of retirement that our grandparents enjoyed, but what are our realistic alternatives?
I told one friend that my happy retirement fallback plan (if all else fails) is to move to a warm place where one can live on about $1000 a month. There are several places that meet this description at the current time in my opinion but I admit that when I finally do retire the list of suitable destinations might be quite different.
She looked at me like I was nuts.
How would I consider making such a radical change of lifestyle? How would I learn the language? How would I manage as an outsider in a foreign culture? What about healthcare?
I didn’t push my argument but I have thought about these things at length and here is where I get to:
· It is more important to me to be able to afford a comfortable life than to try to dictate where this life will be
· I would rather make a radical move for the opportunity to have a long and happy life than cling to a miserable existence that I know isn’t working
· The challenge of learning a new language and finding a way to fit in would keep me going
· I am not willing to live in a cold climate just because it is cheap
· The best way to be able to afford healthcare is to stay healthy in the first place
· The best way to stay healthy is to eat a very nutritious diet and exercise sensibly all the time
· Nutritious food is worth the money you pay for it – most other things are not so I can happily do without a few luxuries (like handbags and cable) but I will NOT compromise on the quality of the food I eat
I realize that my happy retirement fallback plan is very personal, but is it also extremely realistic for me. I am still 15-20 years from retirement and a lot can change as I progress so I plan to update this list at least once a year from now on.
I may well be able to afford considerably more luxury when the day comes, but having this plan now gives me peace of mind and encourages me to save and invest wisely.
Thanks to advances in healthcare, we are all likely to live many more years than we thought we would. It is important to have a realistic plan for how you will provide for yourself for a long time. What is your retirement fallback plan?
By Robin Trimingham