Turning 65. Thoughts of a new Retiree and some hard learned lessons.
A Retired Pelican
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.
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
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!
Understanding your Medicare Insurance
Yeah, I have this book. And it really helped me prepare for the change from corporate medical insurance to medicare. Boy, what a difference.
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.
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.
Retirement Plan Reality
I had to get this book because I quickly realized that I had been led down a path for fools when my company pushed me into a deferred tax savings plan
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?
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?
Social Security Explained
Social Security, the Top-10 things to know
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