Afraid to Retire

by Kay Lynn


I love to read money makeovers in financial magazines and newspaper business sections.  Usually, the story is of somehow struggling to catch up in retirement planning.  The people are often disappointed to learn they have to work longer than planned and give up on some dreams.

This time the story was different.  Carole and Dave did everything right but are reluctant to stop working.  This couple is age 68 and 64 respectively and still work full time, have no debt and own a six bedroom home in California.

Journey to Retirement

The Lutnesses practiced frugality by rarely turning on the air conditioner (despite living in a warm area) and line drying clothes. They drive old cars and use public transportation. 

By living frugally they have saved a nice nest egg and have no debts.But they made one crucial personal finance mistake. 

They forgot to plan retirement. 

What’s Next

In case you don’t click through to the story the financial planner advised the wife retire at the end of year…but only to give her time to get used to the idea.  He advised the husband to retire a few months later when he turns 65.  He’s not reluctant.

Why?  Because he wants them to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor while they’re still healthy enough to travel. 

Retirement Planning

Their story struck a chord with me because I think people are likely to get so focused on the journey the destination gets lost.  My plan is to retire in 9-10 years and travel with my husband while he’s still able.

We will sell our current home and transition to a one story.  We may also buy a place in Florida for wintering but there’s time to figure that out.

Do you have a plan of when to retire?  Will you sell your home, move or change living situations at all?  Just don’t be afraid to retire.

photo credit: The Rocketeer

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Jim July 28, 2010 at 11:42 am

currently i don’t have a plan to retire within the next 15 years. i have a long career ahead of me. that said i don’t want to wait until retirement until i enjoy the fruits of my labor.

it is a goal of mine to save for retirement but live everyday as if it were my last.

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:22 am

Jim, I wholeheartedly agree with your strategy. That’s why we splurge on a nice trip every year instead of waiting for retirement.

There is no dad died at age 65 so I really appreciate your point.

Evan July 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

While I may be too young to give an opinion, but I couldn’t imagine retiring. I think I would go bat shit crazy with nothing to do. If I had like a semi-retirement situation I could see that.

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

Evan, retirement doesn’t mean not doing anything. You just need to plan and prepare for it as much as you do (should) for any major life change.

My Personal Finance Journey July 28, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I’m still pretty young (age 24), but this is a good thing to think about. I am with you that it can be easy to get caught up in the journey of saving and being frugal, and forget to leave time to figure out what you are actually wanting to do during retirement. One system that helped force me to think about my life dreams and values was David Bach’s Purpose Focused Financial Plan in his book, Smart Couples Finish Rich. In the book, he encourages you to list out your top 5 dreams and values in life, and create an action plan around them! It’s interesting to do “soul searching.”

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:26 am

I’ll have to check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

Joe Plemon July 29, 2010 at 9:17 am

I am retired now – sort of. I draw three pension checks, have no debt and could do nothing if I chose. But I agree with Evan in that life is too interesting and challenging to not take on new challenges. Whereas many people think of retirement as doing nothing, I like to think of my retirement years as a time of having more choices. For me, life stays very fun.

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:27 am

Joe, you’re a great example of what retirement should be like. You have lots of interests and a full life.

I’m so glad to know you and have this chance to learn from your experiences.

Jackie July 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I had hoped to retire by 40, but missed that by a couple of years. My new goal is by 45 or sooner, and that does seem very feasible — especially since by “retire” I mainly mean “work on my own random stuff while we travel around frequently.”

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:28 am

Jackie, that’s the beautfy of retirement. You can define how you want to live it. It’s about more than just making sure you have enough money to survive (although that’s important).

Nicole July 30, 2010 at 7:56 am

Some people just like working. There are a lot of psychological and physical benefits to staying active as we age and work is one way to get them. Most people in my profession retire in their mid to late 70s and still come into the office on a regular basis after they’re emeritus.

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

Nicole, I agree with you. My stepfather still works full-time at age 76 (although he’s comtemplating changing that).

This couple has health issues and no plans about how to ease out of their full time jobs. I think they wanted to retire just weren’t confident that they could.

Len Penzo July 31, 2010 at 12:12 am

I plan to retire from my current 9 to 5 job debt free at age 55 (barring a lay-off, catastrophic accident or health issue, of course). I don’t plan to quit working, however. I’ll just be taking on new and exciting challenges and projects that I can do at my own pace – and I’m going to enjoy being my own boss too! 🙂


Len Penzo dot Com

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:32 am

Len, I plan to do exactly the same..but at age 60. It’ll be fun!

Financial Samurai August 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

Since we all have blogs, I think retiring would be SO MUCH FUN! We can work on our sites and build relationships for 4 hours a day, and the other time we can go explore and do whatever we want.

Here’s to you Bucksome retiring in 8-10 years, and me to being right there with you!

Hope everybody got a chance to read the latest Google Groups update on the proposal of how will come about. Love to get your thoughts and everybody else’s.

Cheers, Sam

Bucksome August 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

Sam, that does sound like the plan for many of us! I read through your post quickly last night and plan to give it a thoughtful read again today.

I’m excited for the next phase!

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