Oct 10, 2015

How Do You See the Future You?

We dropped in to have a cup of coffee with my daughter and her husband this morning. They had been to a Weight Watchers meeting so of course the conversation turned to what was going on there. My son-in-law told me that the question for the morning was "How do you see your future self?" He said he saw himself as Tom Selleck. I am not sure if that dates him or not but I guess even the old Tom is not bad!

Then he looked at me expectantly. I am almost 74 years old so seeing the future me means something entirely different. I am living my future. The outcome was determined many, many years ago. I am the answer to the how the future will look, not the question.
Our future now...grandchildren, visits with family,
travel, an occasional golf game, long walks,
our garden, friends and a snowbird lifestyle.

I suppose the two things that I thought about when I was younger was money and health if I indeed thought about anything. I was never the primary breadwinner although I did work most of my life. I am a retired teacher. I always saw my role as keeping things under control so we could live on what we had not what we wanted to have. As for my health, I have always been active both mentally and physically so what is, is.

I don't think I am the best example for independent women of today. But I knew women that made some very smart financial choices that left them well fixed in retirement. The thing that always impressed me about those women was their determination to finish what they had begun. They found careers and worked very hard to advance and learn within those parameters. Women my age did not change jobs if they were smart and had a good position. The grass did not appear to be greener to them. Those women retired and could be self-supporting if they needed to be.

Of those women, one stands out in my mind. She was a home economics teacher turned counselor. She earned a Master's Degree when her children were young. Her home was beautiful even though she did not spend very much to make it that way. She was all about creating and doing it herself. Her husband was a wonderful partner. She probably visited the second hand stores and looked for deals. She covered her family room floor with carpet samples and found uses for wallpaper sample books. We are very lucky now because information on DIY is everywhere we look. Doing what she did would be much easier now.

They sold that home making a big profit and built a new one in town after she and her husband retired. I am sure it is as beautiful as her country home. Like me, she is now living the future.

If I were to give advice to a young woman today that is not married and the primary breadwinner, I would tell her that living on what she will retire on and saving the remainder is the answer to providing for their future. The phrase that so many use, "I cannot retire to the lifestyle I am living now," is very telling. The future depends on living in the lifestyle you will always be living. It is all about self-control and seeking help from a professional for working out the details.

One resource I found for retirement planning is this tool from Personal Capital. It's a retirement planner that's 100% free to use for anyone in the U.S, and it really helps you see how much you're saving and when you're planning to retire.

I am very grateful for the way things turned out for us. Would we have done things differently? I don't know. We live a very full life on what we accumulated. Now we are reaping the rewards.

So, how do you see your future?


Note: I received no payment for this article.


The Metaphysical Quilter said...

Love this post. I am proud to say I am living very well in retirement because I believed in making it happen. We didn't use our home as a cash register. We enjoyed vacations that we could pay for in full before we left. We cherished our family home and paid it off so when the time came we could reap the rewards. We can live a creative happy and unstressed life. It's a new beginning without worry. I try to share with my children how happy we are and how happy we were as a family not keeping up with the Jones.

RJ said...

Very wise words Barb. I guess I was living them without really knowing it. Since I have always lead a fairly frugal lifestyle nothing much changed when I moved to the retirement phase 15 years ago. You got me thinking here. Maybe I will have to pen a post using your "live on what you will retire on". Thanks for the message, I just hope a few young people take it to heart...

Linda Myers said...

That's good counsel, to live on what you will retire on. I think we actually did that, in a backwards sort of way, because I note that what we retired on is about what we lived on. But not because we were super frugal. Just because the retirement income came to pass. If that makes sense.

Barbara Torris said...

Good for you! I love stories like yours. Self control is the answer and you are an example to all younger people for how it is done.

Barbara Torris said...

RJ, yes you really should do that. Your readers would benefit from your words of wisdom.

Barbara Torris said...

Yes I do understand. We all worry about it and try to visualize how it will work out. But a lot can happen to change the outcome. Like you and Art, we were indeed very lucky that it did.

See you soon.

Deb Shucka said...

It was fun reading this, knowing you'd just read all the Vashonistas' posts about plans for wild and precious lives. The other Vashonistas have talked about you enough that I feel like I know you a bit. I'm glad to make it official now. :-)

DJan said...

Me, too! I am a Vashonista who is happy to read about others who are in retirement and happy with their lives. Today was a very special day, from start to finish. I hope you will let me follow you without too much trouble, Barb. :-)

Retired English Teacher said...

You post gives much food for thought. Thank you for sharing this wisdom. I think I could write an entire book on this subject. My life has been through so many ups and downs financially, but thankfully, I also took the words of wisdom that my father gave me about retirement and followed his words. I see so many women in my generation struggling with retirement because of the lack of foresight when it came to finance.

Thank you for dropping by my blog. It is great to meet you! I look forward to getting to know you better.

Barbara Torris said...

Oh Deb, that means so much to me. Take such good care of yourself.


Barbara Torris said...

Come along for the ride. I need the company and the conversation.

Barbara Torris said...

Come back soon.

Brenda Coffee said...

Hi Barbara,
This may be the wisest advice I've read. Most references about retirement and the lifestyle that comes with it is from financial planners, but you are the voice of experience. BTW, I remembered a comment you'd made on one of my 1010ParkPlace posts, but only now found it so I could track you down. You write so very well.
See you again,

Barbara Torris said...

Thank you so much Brenda. I have quit doing any advertising and returned to what I intended from the beginning...to tell about retirement out here where the rubber meets the road. Hopefully, the voice of experience holds some water.

Be well.


Jane said...

My advice would be to live on less than you earn and to spend on that which provides lasting pleasure. There is no point in being miserly or buying unaffordable luxuries. If saving becomes a habit, the future is more likely to take care of itself.

Barbara Torris said...

You are so right Jane. It is the middle road that is the healthiest approach. Thank you for making that point.

Featured Post

HOW TO BE A SNOW BIRD...answers and lists!

I published this article 4 years ago but most of it is still relevant. I hope it is helpful. I love being a snow bird. But I wish someone h...