Turning 65 in America. Thoughts of a new Retiree and some hard learned lessons.

A Retired Pelican

A Retiree, sitting on the fence of life
A Retiree, sitting on the fence of life | Source

Fear no more the heat o the sun, nor the furious winter's rages. Thou thy worldly task hast done, home art gone and taken thy wages.

— William Shakespeare

Introduction

This article is in two parts. It starts out a short article I wrote on another Blog of mine when I turned 65.

It was just a simple reflection on where I felt I was in my life and what I was seeing as a new retiree.

As a retiree, you do develop a new vision of people, their views and a different perspective on what is going on around you.

The second section is a collection of my thoughts as I look back on those days as opposed to now.

My thoughts at age 65, a look back.

Well, Here I am.
I turned 65 last month, and I am 5 days into this month, so I guess I am officially a RETIRED BABY BOOMER".

Even our omnipotent government doesn't seem to agree among themselves on what that really means.

First, let me mention that I really had a great time over the last 6+ months traveling across the southern part of this great country of ours, in our RV. It was one of those "Bucket List" things that the wife and I always wanted to do, and we did!

Along the way, we spent a considerable amount of time, sitting in Bars, on Beaches and in casual restaurants just enjoying ourselves and often talking to the other patrons about my impending retirement. This brought on more conversations about their imminent retirement, and what it means now, and what it will mean in the future.

And, looking back at those conversations, there is a lot of confusion on such subjects as; when to retire, how much money you need, how much insurance you need, and how you will take care of yourself, among other things.

And, while traveling, I also spent a lot of this time, on my PC, researching this insanely confusing subject hoping I would learn enough to make the appropriate decisions for myself and my wife.

And, honestly, when you "sift the Wheat from the Chaff" I found that there is a heck of a lot more Chaff than Wheat lying around for us Boomers to go through.

When to think about your Retirement

The Best Time to think about your Retirement, is before your Boss does. (Unknown Author)

A Retiree's First Major Concern, Insurance

And, as a warning, BEWARE!

I soon found that most of what is out there, for me to choose from, has a "Hook"

By Hook, I mean that when you go the the typical site offering to help, you will often end up with offers to sell you something, such as; Buy my Insurance, Let us do your Planning, Let us invest your money, etc.

They all want a piece of the pie, and Brother, we, the world of retiring Boomers are the PIE!

I have managed, after numerous months of research and planning, and even a few interviews (just plain talking, actually) to end up with the truly "best for me" Medicare Parts-A,B,D plans. We implemented these basic plans as well as a comprehensive Supplemental Insurance plan.

Remember, Medicare only pays around 80% of costs, typically, so yo need to at least understand and consider Supplemental Insurance.

Everyone has the best plans (according to them) and I ended up following the advice of some friends that had already gone through this process.

Finally though, the deed was done. I did the best I could with what finances I had to work with, and eventually I "pressed the SEND button"

This experience was so stressful that I took a couple of weeks of just "not thinking about being 65, and the life changes involved". As I said, it was that stress-filled a process to go through.

Now, I can move on to trying to live the good life as a BOOMER!

Wish me Luck!

Looking Back on turning 65.

And now, looking back over three years later, there really was that much stress involved in the process of selecting the appropriate insurance for myself and for my wife.

You see, starting about six months before you turn 65, you will be inundated with offers to "Help You Make your Decisions" about what insurance coverage and company to select.

And, remember, each of them tell you that each and every one of then is the absolute BEST!

The truth is, once you go to the OFFICIAL SS and Medicare sites on the web, and read the facts about what is allowed by the government, you soon see that,simply put;

There are "X" number of possible plans, Nearly all of these plans are sold by most of the companies. You just need to select the coverage that fits you and then select the company that you want to work with to handle your benefit money.

And here is a rule for you. The less you pay monthly, the lower your actual benefit payout is going to be and the more you are going to have to pay when you do get sick. Simple right? Medicare Insurance as well as supplemental insurance, is a "Pay me Now or Pay me Later" kind of thing.

Go Figure!

But, back to my little reality, once I had decided my future insurance fate, I can now say that my friends advice was right on, my insurance is accepted across the country, and I consider the coverage fantastic ...... for ME.

(PS. But, Damn it's expensive!)

Retiree Vampires, waiting to suck your saving dry.

And, it is true. For you soon to be Retirees and Boomers, there is a whole industry sitting out there, around every curve in your life, that is waiting to "HELP" us retirees relax our grip on our savings.

Many are honest business' with products that are of use to retirees. but, some of them?

Well, there are some companies and individuals who are "Retiree Vampires". They smile at you, hand you glossy brochures, maybe even buy you lunch, all while they explain how they are going to suck your savings dry as fast as they can. Of course. for our own good!

I could list many of the traps, but I think I will save that for yet another article.

Just remember, keep your grip tight on your money, because these Blood-Suckers, whoops, strike that, Retiree Vampires are all just waiting for you; with their time-shares, retirement communities, fancy boats and recreation vehicles, and other sleazy traps set for retirees.

Congress Lied to us! IRA's and 401k's are BAD!

Right now, I think the biggest concern for those of us that are retired, as well as those that are soon to be retired is how badly we were lied to by Congress and Corporate America.

You see, we were told, over our whole lives, that we should put our savings into tax-deferred IRA's and 401k's. What a farce.

Their explanations were fantastic. We would retire and our cost of living would be so low that we could take this money out at a much lower tax rate and live well on it.

Again, what a lie! Our cost of living today is exorbitant and is projected to remain so. The tax rates are high and we are paying more and more for our homes, our foods, and; OMG, our medications and our health care keeps sky-rocketing.

I have already found that these escalating costs alone have forced my wife and I to withdraw much more of our saving after just three years of retirement than we had planned.

And, that means we have had to claim higher income levels and pay much higher income taxes than we had planned. Which, of course, requires removing even more of our savings for these higher taxes.


When People Plan to Retire

When do you plan to Retire?

  • I'm already retired!
  • At age 62.
  • At age 65
  • At age 68
  • Probably Never. I'll have to work until i die!
See results without voting

A Retiree looking at tomorrow. What now?

Now, after just a little over three years, my wife and i are taking a serious and hard look at our finances.

And, considering that we (hopefully) will live for a long time, we need to come up with a supplemental plan. By that I mean, how do we supplement our existing savings, in a way that we can live comfortably for our remaining lives.

Don't snicker, you are going to have the same problem.

Our problem is that our government is spending so much money at such an amazing rate, that it will constantly require fresh money to keep the fires going.

Where will they get this money?

Sorry folks, it won't be from me. You see, if I don't do something, get some new opportunity, I will be one of those you are supporting, along with the already record numbers of people on government benefits.

You see, I did my part.

I worked from the time I was 16, until I retired.

I eventually made very good money and I paid high taxes. And, i paid into the SS and Medicare systems at their maximum rates.

And, I saved some of my income; not a lot, but as much as I could raising three kids.

So, don't look at me. I did my part.

But you? What are you going to do? Fire Congress? Elect an intelligent President? Force our government to spend frugally and intelligently? Force a restructuring of our medical care that is not a designed-in free ride for millions? Force higher taxes (logically) on the every growing wealthy class? Retrain and re-educate the poor on welfare?

The list goes on for you to select from. But it is you, now! We can help a little but, we, the retirees, are dying off as we age, and we are not organized.

So, what are you going to do? You see, I do have a future, not one as long as yours, but I want to live mine as fruitfully as you do yours.


How long will your money last?

If you are already retired how long will your money last?

  • I'm Broke Now! living from check to check.
  • 1 or 2 years max.
  • 2 to 5 years max.
  • 5 to 10 years
  • at least 10 more years.
  • I'm Lucky, I'm Loaded
See results without voting

Social Security Explained

Social Security, the Top-10 things to know

© 2014 Don Bobbitt

More by this Author


Comments 35 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

It's always interesting to read your reflections, Don. I took early retirement at 62 and became a writer. If this is retirement, I'd hate to see what full-time work looks like. LOL


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

billybuc, old son!

Thanks for the read.

And Yeah, I understand. Most of the non-writing world really has no idea how much sweat goes into the creative process.

Oh Well, If I wasn't doing this, I would jut be sitting in a Tiki Bar somewhere, all sweaty after a round of Golf.

Who needs that? Right?

Have a great day, my friend,

DO N


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great hub and very disturbing. I do not ever plan on retiring. But then I am a lousy golfer and drinker so what else would I do ;-)


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 23 months ago from Arkansas

Don, you’ve brought out some specific problems that retirees are facing. I’m too chicken to face them right now although I'm older than you.

I’m a WWII baby well past retirement age but I’m still working and have insurance. You mention having good Medicare Parts A, B, and D because medicare pays only 80% of the cost. Come January 1, I am switching to medicare with a supplemental and dropping my current state employees insurance PPO because it all of a sudden has high copays, plus it only pays 80% of any additional medical costs. Our good insurance has gotten worse than medicare with no supplemental. We are also relegated to generic drugs, and I pay nearly full price for a drug which has no generic substitute in my particular case. I paid dearly for a broken leg when I slipped on the ice at work last winter (not considered workers’ comp). Medicare with supplemental is a helluvalot better deal.

And you are correct about 401Ks and other company plans. My brother lost his proverbial donkey with his 401K when the economy went belly-up in 2008. He will never get his money back. I, on the other hand, have a good financial planner and had zero dollars in 401K, so my retirement has come back and is starting to multiply again. I do have one annuity the state will give me when I retire, and if I roll it over, Uncle Sam automatically gets $20,000 of it. If I keep it intact, my survivors won’t get a penny, so what’s a mother to do? I just can’t make these decisions, so see why I’m still working! Anyway, as a result, Mr. B and I will be comfortable when I retire. He has been disabled for years, but I’ve made up for it because I have done more than my part.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 23 months ago from Central Oklahoma

Don, congratulations on surviving 3 years of retirement! The average lifespan of many men who've been going to work every day for 40+ years is only a year or two because NOT going to work every day can be just as stressful if they don't have a serious hobby or another vocation (like writing!) to fill the time.

But as you already know, a happy retirement is nothing more than a positive attitude and a good grasp of reality. If one intended to travel the world in their "golden" years, but their retirement income will only support trips to the next state, the retirement years won't be happy.

Upped and shared! ;D


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

Yes, there are some issues we think lightly of, or take for granted before we actually retire. Thanks for the reality check!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 23 months ago

Enjoy the writing and who cares what anyone else thinks!!!!


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Eric- Thanks for the comment my friend.

Without a nice glass of Wine after my horrible golf round, what else would a poor retiree do? LOL!

DON


Nurse240 23 months ago

Don,

I really enjoyed your retirement article. I retired at 62 after I had surgery on my foot and leg and could not run the rat race anymore, that is be on my feet 12 to 14 hours a day. What a blessing in a way. I am with Billy buc on his comment. You are never ready for retirement, you just go for it and it is what it is.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 23 months ago

I love your reflection on retirement and advice to those approaching this time of life. I am semi-retired and looking forward to the adventure along the way.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

MizBejabbers- I see you have been hit by the old trick that so many company insurance firms are using.

They say: "So you want cheap Insurance? And You don't want your premiums to increase. We can do that! Heh! Heh! But now your pre-pay is going to skyrocket, Fool!"

And the killer is that this sound good to all of those "thirty Somethings, and forty-Somethings".

What they heck, they think. I'm healthy as an Ox and I'm going to live forever! So why do I care if my insurance has a large pre-pay?

Meanwhile, the older people end up paying more and more for their care including these larger deductibles.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

JamaGenee- Thanks for your comment.

You are so right about people retiring and not being prepared for the dramatic change in lifestyle and "purpose in life".

I keep telling people things like: Man, if nothing else, learn to knit or crochet, or paint, or something. Otherwise you will go insane very fast.

But do people listen?

Oh Well.

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

MSDora- I appreciate the read and comment.

And, always remember, regardless of what anyone says;

If you think you can Retire, DO IT!

All of our days are numbered, and potential problems in the future are just that, potential problems.

Live you life to the fullest, and eventually, our bodies tell us when it is time to step off of the treadmill and walk at your own pace.

Thanks again.

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Nurse240- Sorry aout the feet, but I have two relatives who were nurses, and over the years, they were eventually nearly cripple with foot problems.

They ALL spend far too much time on their fet, and they end up paying for this in their later years.

Good Luck.

DON


Iris Draak profile image

Iris Draak 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

Don, even those of us who have a quite a few years to go, and for whom the retirement landscape will look quite different, can learn from your experiences and reflections.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

teaches12345- You hit it on the head!

Retirement is an adventure, an adventure full of change, some good and some bad.

I think we all need to stop being afraid and "Just Do It!" as the ads say.

We are only given so many days to our lives, and we that are ready, know it and need to take the plunge.

Thanks for the read and comment,

DON


bradmaster from orange county ca 23 months ago

I guess that you were not a public employee, otherwise retirement would be a vacation.

Government workers have great retirement plans, this is especially true in California.

Many government employees have several retirements, including SS.

401ks took a hit in 2008, but not Federal Employee Retirement System defined benefits pensions.

Just a thought

bradmasterOC


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 23 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

bradmaster- Thanks for the comment.

And, I realize that Fed employees have so far ben immune to pension problems. But be cautious.

Living in Florida, I have access to many people with a wide variety of pension and Insurance systems. And in case you didn't know it, a number of states are making changes to their insurance and pension plans. And usually the changes put more of a financial load on the states retirees.

So, be careful not to "Gild the Lily" too soon.

Thanks for the comment,

DON


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

Hi Don,

This is an eye-opener of a hub here and very useful! Thank you for sharing. Yes, insurance for retirees is so expensive. You have presented a lot to ponder over for sure.

I do hope you and your wife can enjoy your retirement years.

Up interesting and useful, tweeting and pinning

Blessings


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 22 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Faith Reaper- Insurance was probably the biggest and first shock we went through when we retired.

And, my expectations are that it will get worse, but what do I know? LOL!

DON


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Don....This is one of the very best and thorough articles I have read on retirement. I could relate to so much of it.

I had stopped working before eligible to actually "retire".....due to Family Health issues ( I had a sister and a Mom with terminal illnesses.....dad was already gone and I was IT) So much for that. Fortunately, my husband had a business that kept us afloat just fine. Then, finding myself the lone survivor of my birth family and only a couple of years to retirement, rather than go back to work, I worked for my husband's business. (trust me, the pay sucked!! LOL)

Now, with my husband deceased, I live very very carefully, shall we say? I do some work from home and also will teach courses now & then. I am penny-wise and frugal since birth, so I've got that down to a science.

I couldn't help but see where some people have mentioned being "sedentary" or having no outlets, hobbies or enough to do to stay active and healthy. This is a shame and has got to be difficult for retirees. Quite honestly, I've never had a "bored" or inactive day in my entire life. Even now I keep a schedule and push myself to do things. I come up with one project after another, so much so, my sons are always telling me to take it easy.......I usually tell them "YOU take it easy......I don't have the time left to sit around!"

Excellent article once again, Don. Wish you MANY years of Boomer Retirement enjoyment!..Up+++ tweeted & Pinned


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 22 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

fpherj48- Good Comment and you have had a, shall I say, "interesting" life path over the past years.

The main thing for everyone to remember, in my opinion, and I suspect, as you have learned, is that we all get one trip to make through life. Some are hard and lined with perils, while some are smooth and easy.

Whatever path we get to travel, I believe that we need to keep; learning, pushing, and growing. And, oh yeah, we need to love whatever happens to us, and what the Hell, laugh at the bad things. Laughing doesn't change anything, but it really makes me smile.

Have a great day!

DON


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 20 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

I'm 66 and retired, my husband is 74 and still works as a fireman in our PA township. He plans on retiring at the end of this year when his contract is up. Everything sure is different when you are retired. I still do a lot of things, but he worried about what to do. There are a lot of decisions also as you already mentioned in your hub. Thanks for your hub. Blessings to you.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 20 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Rachel- Thanks for the read and the comment.

retirement is more of an evolution than just a slight change in things you do.

You quickly learn that essentially, everything changes. Your income, your expenditures, your attitude, your prioritization of tasks and much more.

I have found that, I just had to relax and take on the world "looking through a different pair of glasses". LOL!

And, I relaxed and now; Life is Good!

DON


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 20 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Thanks for the comment "looking through a different pair of glasses". That is a good way of putting it. I'll have to remember that.

Blessings to you.


ThatMommyBlogger profile image

ThatMommyBlogger 18 months ago from The Midwest

I've been freelancing for 10 years, so retirement scares me. This article reminded me that I really need to step up my savings game.

Enjoy your retirement!


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 18 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

ThatMommyBlogger- I've been retired for a while and it still scares me. But, at least we have the time to do what we want to do, even if that happens to be nothing some days.

And that is worth retiring.

DON


Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 16 months ago from UK

I live in the UK and was 'retired' from local government at the age of 58 when a fixed term contract expired. Thank God for the National Health Service, which provided me with a total knee replacement at nil cost and will hopefully continue to look after my medical needs in the ethos of 'care from the cradle to the grave'. Money is a bit tight but I have limited caring responsibilities for my father, for which he receives and passes on to me an Attendance Allowance from central government. And one of my sons shares my home and contributes to costs. Retirement has given me the opportunity to do things that I didn't find time for before - painting, writing,studying etc.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 16 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Glenix Rix- Sounds like you have things under control, and that you are having a good time in your retirement.

Good for You!

One thing all of us retirees learn, sooner or later, is that money becomes tight. Its worse here in the States, in that we pay for so much more of our health care. Our health systems are evolving and with the politicians running rampart through our now limited government monies, I really don't see much of a "good" resolution for a number of years.

But, like you, we get up every morning and we have great days doing things we were never able to do in our youth wen we were working.

Good Luck, and thanks for the comment,

DON


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 11 months ago from Long Island, NY

I just went through the same thing as I turned 65 this year. I found it very interesting and informative to follow along with your experience, Don.

I know what you mean about being stressed out about deciding on the correct Medicare to go with. I was going crazy with that too. Researching the penalties for not starting a drug plan within the initial enrollment period at 65, analyzing the difference between a supplemental plan and an advantage plan, and so on.

I can see why so many people ignore all this and just take standard Medicare, only to discover huge doctor bills later when they need medical attention. I'm not one of them. I do my research and choose correctly according to my needs, as you had done.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 11 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Glenn Stok - I remember someone saying; "Only Sick People need Insurance, and they can't afford it."

You, like myself, are a Boomer, and have probably paid quite a lot of money into Medicare over the years.

You will find that regardless of your preferences, Medicare is now the boss of your health world. They determine your treatments and how much the treatment "should cost".

Your job is to figure out exactly how comfortable you are with your health as you age, and how much you want to either pay monthly for supplemental insurance premiums or for your uncovered medical treatments.

And, trust me, you want a good supplemental plan.

Thanks for the read and comment,

and congratulations on joining our growing club of Seniors!

DON


Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 11 months ago from UK

Thank God for the British National Health Service (NHS) and National Insurance (NI). We pay into these government schemes, which were introduced after WW2, via wage deductions for our entire working lives (it's not voluntary). The money goes into a pot and everyone - man, woman and child is entitled to free medical care and hospital treatment. I myself have had a total knee replacement at nil cost.

After we retire we are entitled to draw a State pension once we reach State retirement age (it was 60 for women and 65 for men when I retired but the threshhold is increasing all the time). The pension is quite small but those who do not have any other source of income can claim supplementary State benefits.

The drawback, of course, for those of us who have always worked is that everyone has an entitlement to health care and pension/social security benefits regardless of whether or not they have worked and paid into the schemes -so we are effectively subsidising those who have not paid into the system. (There are already several million people unemployed in this country and the economic migrants continue to arrive and expect to receive financial support).

Also, anyone who opts to pay for private medical insurance still has to pay into the State fund.

All employers are now legally required to offer private pension schemes to their employees. The income from these is currently in addition to the State pension but I think that the State pension is unlikely to be available by the time that my sons reach retirement age.

I'm not well off by any means. I will soon be 68 and I took early retirement at the age of 58 (and lived on my private pension and savings until I reached the age of 60) - but I get by alright on my State pension and a small private pension. I can even afford an occasional holiday and other luxuries. But the system is becoming unaffordable for the Nation because the pot of money available for government distribution can't provide for a population that is living longer and therefore needs more medical care and longer term pensions. Under our current Conservative government the Country seems to be moving more towards the way that things work in the U.S. - but those of us already drawing the pensions that we have paid for are protected (I think!) ('The term State in the UK means the Country as a whole').


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 11 months ago from Long Island, NY

Hi Don, Thanks for the reply. In reference to what you said about supplemental plans, I selected plan N for myself. It's one step down from Plan F, which avoids any bill whatsoever. I am comfortable with Plan N, which doesn't pay excess charges. But as long as I get doctors to confirm that they accept Medicare assignment, there should be no excess charges. Do you agree with that?


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 11 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Glenn Stok- As you know, everyone has a different set of circumstances. I believe the plan you selected is one of the most popular selling right now, especially for a healthy person.

I have a transplant and a number of associated medical problems brought on by my meds, so I selected the plan F that you mentioned. I also went so far as to select the AARP United Health Care carrier because they are nationwide and I try to travel around the country in my motorhome as much as I can. This allows me to be confident I have coverage with an accepted carrier pretty much anywhere I go.

And, Yes, your plan is a really good one. Plus, we get a chance to change our coverage and carrier annually if our health changes over time.

Good Luck,

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 11 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Glennis Rix - Thanks for the great information on the system you have there.

It seems things are at least evolving towards something better over the years.

As you know, we Americans have to do everything in a complicated way, then change it a dozen times before we end up with any kin of working plan for anything. LOL!

Thanks for the read and the Comment,

DON

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working