Turning 65, Some Hard Learned Lessons of a Retiree.
A Retired Pelican
A Senior Keeps Evolving
This article has two parts. It starts out a short article that I wrote when I turned 65 and the second part includes a collection of my thoughts as I reflect ack on those days, only four short years before.
.As a whole, the article gives an interesting perspective of a man's life as he retires and starts to grow older and what happens to his goals.
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, I do. And one thing is certain, now that I have taken all of the official steps one takes to extricate themselves from what was once their job, I am definitely retired,
A Mental Cleansing
First, let me mention that my wife and I really had a great time over the last 12 months or so traveling across the southern half of this great country of ours We have an RV, an it purchase 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 shedding many of the psychological thoughts that build up in a 9-to-5 person's brain over the decades of a career. We would often talk to the other patrons about the whole concept of retirement. This brought on more conversations about their imminent retirement, what that means now, and what it will mean in the future.
And, looking back at those conversations, that was when we recognized the confusion in many people's heads over 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.
While we traveled, 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
As a warning to all potential retirees, BEWARE!
I soon found that most of the Insurance information that you will find "out there", to choose from, has a lot of "Hooks"
By Hook, I mean that when you go the the typical site which may be offering to help you determine just what insurance coverage you may want, often ends up with overloading you with offers to sell you their product,
It doesn't matter what you may search for on the web, if you aren't super-carefu; with the "keywords" you use in your searches, the top ranked sites listed for you to use will be; Life Insurance, Health Insurance, and Investment companies.
They all want a piece of the pie, and Brother, we, the world of retiring Boomers are the DESSERT!
Medical Insurance coverage
I did manage, 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, the best Life Insurance plans and the top Investment companies.
As for medical insurace, because of my health situation, I need to go a step further and get a Supplemental Insurance coverage.
Remember, Medicare is designed to pay only around 80% of your medical charges, so if you expect to have higher than average medical costs then you 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 and 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 such a stress-filled process to go through.
Once done, I moved on to living the good life as a BOOMER!
Wish me Luck!
Understanding your Medicare Insurance
The Medical Insurance Selection Process
And now, looking back over four years later, there really was a lot of 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 they suggest you select.
And, remember, each of them tell you that each and every one of them is the absolute BEST, and the CHEAPEST!
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;
Many people do not understand that there are "X" number of allowed medical insurance plans and nearly all of these plans are sold by most of the same companies.
You , as a soon-to-be Retiree 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 as you go through your latter years.
And here is an interesting fact 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 and make a claim.
Simple right? Medicare Insurance as well as supplemental insurance, is a "Pay me Now (for coverage) or Pay me Later (for the Bills)" kind of thing.
But, back to my 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 take your Money.
And, it is true. For you soon to be Retirees and Boomers, there is a whole insurance industry waiting out there, ready to "HELP" us retirees relax your grip on your 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. ANd of course. what they're doing is for our own good!
I could list many of the traps you may find waiting for you, but I think I will save that for yet another article.
Just remember, keep a tight grip on your money as you go through your search process, because these Retiree Vampires, make their living on how well they over-sell you; especially when they offer you their time-shares, retirement communities, fancy boats and recreation vehicles, and other sleazy traps for retirees.
Retirement Plan Reality
Congress Lied to us! Tax-deferred is 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 true cost of living is exorbitant and is projected to remain so for us. 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 four years of retirement than we had planned.
And because we pay those taxes on what take out, 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 next year.
A Retiree looking at tomorrow. What now?
Now, after just a little over four years, my wife and i are constantly taking a serious and hard look at our finances.
And, considering that we (hopefully) will live for a long time, we already feel that we will need to come up with a supplemental income 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're 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 about my dwindling savings, I will be one of those you are supporting, along with the already record numbers of people on government benefits.
I did my part
I worked from the time I was 16, until I retired.
I eventually made very good money and I paid very high taxes. And, i paid into the SS and Medicare systems at their maximum rates for years.
Over those years,I saved some of my income; not a lot, but as much as I could. 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's up to you, now!
We can help a little, but we, the retirees, are dying off as we age, and we are not organized.
So again, what are you going to do?
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© 2014 Don Bobbitt