Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lifestyles Vary, As Do Goals

A lot of bloggers, particularly the more seasoned ones (Ahem! That would be the OLDER bloggers!) are talking about frugality, lifestyle changes and altered goals in the face of our current economic situation. Morrison at "All Doors Considered" has addressed this issue in several posts, as has Syd from "Retirement: A Fulltime Job".

One of my anonymous commenters took issue with Syd's lifestyle, quite as though everyone has the same goals and wants the same lifestyle when retired. Syd chose to retire earlier than most folks--that means some careful conservation of financial resources that those of us who retire later won't have.

It was a choice. She made hers and she's enjoying living with her choice.

Tony from "My Road to Freedom" says he's fine, living on $13,600 a
year. He lives in an RV by choice, doesn't stint on his hobbies, one of which is gun-collecting, and clearly has savings because he's in the market for land on which to park the RV. His lifestyle is a far cry from what I want in my retirement, but it obviously suits him, which is the point.

Another of my anonymous commenters (why don't these folks ever put their name to their rants?) has nothing good to say about today's "forced frugality," insinuating that those who say they've learned from this crisis are deluding themselves.

I don't know if he/she is right, but I hope not.

With all the money in the world, I'd probably live in a McMansion. But to be comfortable, I can make do with much less than that.

Watching every penny for the rest of my life would be a depressing prospect. But paying closer attention for the next eight years, so that my retirement years will be adequately funded doesn't seem all that bad.

It's becoming clearer to me that practicing a moderate level of frugality both now and in retirement will allow me to live out my life in comfort if not excess.

5 comments:

Morrison said...

Grace,
Thanks for the link. I think you mean Tony lives on $13,600K a year. Not per month. Right? If not, I want his phone number. LOL.

I watched a recent episode of Suze Orman this morning (via my iPod) and she is most insistent that we Americans face our new reality. It is that our standard of living has gone down for everyone. We must accept it and it's tough to. We have to stop making excuses or finding justifications for our dropping a few pegs in life. It is what it is. Saying that we like or accept the 'new poor' is a fantasy. No one really likes it. Me especially. I've always been frugal but now I MUST be frugal. It's no longer an option. We clearly have no other choice.

As a 9 year veteran early retiree, no matter how much money I have amassed, it has now become quite painfully realistic to me, that it wasn't enough. Because of the current economic condition. Not because of bad planning on my part. Things happen. I like to face reality head on and make the agile adjustments. I do not delude myself for one moment. If I made a statement that I was fine with the downturn, I'd be insulting my own intelligence. It's not OK. It's sad. Finding comfort that others are experiencing the same fate as me, doesn't make it better.

I have to watch every penny now. Yes, it's upsetting. This isn't what I had originally planned. My early retirement now has to be partially funded through part-time work. No, I'm not downsizing anymore because I am already at barebones as it is. Yes, I may have to sell some assets in order to maintain myself. That's a full 10 years ahead of my pre-planning. (At least I'm thankful for the option).

Lifestyles vary, of course. We all get to choose whatever we want. But as Suze Orman stated, we Americans should not delude ourselves. Even Ms. Orman has made cutbacks to her budget and she still continues to work. She's concerned about her Florida Condo & it's dropping value. She refuses to invest in the stock market preferring muni bonds instead and she dresses appropriately because she knows her audience is on the downslide. Even Suze Orman is watching her pennies, she is not happy about it but doesn't pretend her life is still peachy keen.

That's the key. Life is different for all of us. We have to make the best of it, keep a stiff upper lip and move onward. And, as with what Ms. Orman does, we must be sympathetic to others.

Carol said...

$13,600 a month?! I could be very happy on that. Perhaps it's a typo?

Grace. said...

OOPS! I'm sure Tony would be thrilled to make $13,600 a MONTH! But it was a year, and I'm correcting the entry!

MasterPo said...

REALITY CHECK.

While it's good to plan things out and always be frugal (regardless of which side of retirement you're on) the fact is whatever NET income you're living on the day you retire will at least be what you need when your are fully retired!

It is probably the worst lie being told people that their expenses will drop sooooooooo much when they retire. That just isn't true in 99% of cases.

Other than your friend who now lives in an RV, most people won't. Most people won't move out of the house they have lived in for decades.

You still need food, clothes, energy, transportation, and probably a lot more for entertainment.

Don't fall for the trap of "you don't need so much when you retire"!

Living Almost Large said...

I agree they do vary and change.