Financially I was not prepared for retirement. As a single parent living on a teacher’s salary, it was not always easy. Compound that with the fact that once my sons entered Middle School we moved to one of the most affluent suburbs for 2 reasons. I wanted my sons to be safe and I wanted them in top schools. Renting was costly but worth every penny and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Once they graduated I was able to find cheaper living and ultimately at 50 years old, bought my own home.
So you see, my intent was to work certainly longer than age 60. However, two significant things happened prior to actually retiring. The housing market bottomed out with home values dropping drastically and our governor enacted Act 10, which to me initiated the demise of public schools and an out and out attack on public school teachers. Now you may or may not agree with my assessment of Act 10; that is fine.
So at 60, I chose to retire amid a controversial time in teaching and I am glad I did and don’t regret it for one moment. What has caused me some lamentation is my wishing I had bought earlier, saved more, had less debt, had a 2 household income, and so on and so on. Do you see where I am going? Wishing I would have, could have has taken too much of my peace of mind. My advice to you is to learn to walk in your own steps. Here are some hints that have helped me keep things in perspective:
You can waste time focusing on others around you who are more financially set or have their mortgage paid off, and are debt free, etc, but how does that move you forward? Start looking inward and forward and come up with a strategic plan for your life. You certainly have the time in retirement to create and implement one. And then just follow through. Stick to the plan and walk in your own steps and at the pace you have set.
Find peace with where you are. I know I read so much on the internet that says at this age you such have your investments diversified in this way or that way. You should have this much in your 401k and savings… I used to freak out thinking “Oh Lord, I am so far behind and now not working, I missed my boat.” Well, in creating a plan, I am finding I can still save and grow. I missed out financially on waiting but, I am learning to walk in my own steps and keep moving forward.
Last, always remember Jeremiah 29:11…”For I know the plans I have for you” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. If you keep this verse in mind at all times and fully realize it’s truth, you will move forward with peace and joy, without worry and regret because you know God is in control. Just continue in your steps and keep moving forward.