Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Early Retirement - What Makes Me An Expert?

I thought I’d address right from the get-go why I’m writing this blog and why anyone should listen up. What makes me an expert on early retirement? Well, I’m not. But I did manage to quit my regular job at the ripe old age of 44 and start enjoying the rest of my life

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Early Retirement and Social Security

Job Losses, Early Retirements Hurt Social Security was a Yahoo News headline today in the top, featured, most popular, politics, and business news categories. The article talks about the current state of the system and that some people, due to job layoffs and the economy, are starting to draw their Social Security retirement earlier than expected. But just yesterday on talk radio I heard a question from the other side of the aisle.

The caller to a financial advice program wondered what effect quitting work at 56 would have on his monthly Social Security check when he reached retirement age. By not paying in for several years, he would be reducing the number of years of income on which his benefit would be calculated. What comes to my mind is that the system’s trouble will be compounded with fewer people paying in whether people start drawing early or not. Where exactly is the security part? Does anyone know?

So I have a word of caution. As there can be serious ramifications and unintended consequences to early retirement, whether you’re discontinuing paid employment or applying for Social Security benefits, be sure to consider all factors. Do your research. Discuss your options with a financial advisor, if necessary, so that you understand how various choices will impact you now and in the future. At the age of 44, I chose to discontinue my 9-5 job and more fully enjoy my life. Before I made the plunge, however, I realistically analyzed my situation and projected to the best of my ability whether this was a prudent decision. I also took other steps prior to resigning, such as eliminating all debt. I haven’t regretted it one minute, and the older I get, the happier I am that I courageously moved forward with my dream. Who knows if Social Security will even be around when I finally reach my mid-60s. Whatever form it takes will probably look very different than it does today. But it’s not the only egg in my basket and I have the benefit of time to modify my plans based on the current reality when the time finally comes.

My Longest-term Friend’s Birthday

To celebrate her birthday, I spent Friday evening and most of Saturday with my longest-term friend. Can’t say she’s my oldest friend beings she’s not age-wise – but we have been friends since 8th grade so she is the friend of longest duration. Having a close friend for nearly 40 years is a gift. We went through the teen years, marriages and kids together. And now we’re doing the second half.

No Job for Mom Blog

Many people who are dreaming of early retirement are looking for ways to make a little extra money at home. The No Job for Mom blog contains a wealth of information on just that topic. Felicia Williams is a freelance writer and blogger who is supplementing her family's income while raising her kids. Seems she's figured out how to have the best of all worlds and she's willing to share! She also recently started an email newsletter that I'm very excited about. The current issue, which I received today, explains a little about her and how she went from commuting to work to working from home. So check out her blog and sign up for her newsletter. She's been an incredible help and inspiration to me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Homemade Salsa Anyone?

To deal with the abundance produced by our gardens and fruit trees, my husband set up a simple and inexpensive outdoor kitchen. Consisting of a salvaged 10-foot long, one piece stainless steel counter with double sinks and a multipurpose cooker he made from an old propane tank, this outdoor kitchen allows us to efficiently process large quantities of fresh fruits or vegetables.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cash Money Retards Blog

It’s rare that I run across a blog that is not only informative, but highly entertaining as well. I recently found one, however, and I’d like to share. Cash Money Retards is the diary of Dave Lopan, a young dad who is trying to supplement his family’s income through various online endeavors. Not only have I learned a lot by reading his blog, I’ve also laughed a lot. He’s very witty and I know you’ll enjoy him, too. Whether you follow his progress for the wealth of information presented or just for the entertainment value, tuning into Cash Money Retards is time well spent.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Early Retirement – Is It Feasible?

Most people dream of an early retirement, especially while they’re at work! But is retiring early an actual possibility? Whether you can afford to retire early depends largely on your definition of retirement. If you envision retirement as spending your days soaking up the sun in a tropical paradise with nothing to do but read and enjoy drinks with little umbrellas, early retirement is extremely unlikely. If your idea of retirement living, however, is freedom from the daily grind of going to a job and having the flexibility to pursue other interests, then your answer to the early retirement question may well be a definite yes!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What I'm Reading Now - 50 Things To Do When You Turn 50

Just got this book through titletrader.com, an online book swap site I joined a year or so ago. Haven't read much yet but have looked at all the chapter headings, the first of which is Stop Complaining. Good advice for any age!

Anyway, the book is broken into eight sections, as follows:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Loving Life at 80 -

Today I had the opportunity to visit with a delightful lady who recently turned 80. She's quite sprightly and obviously enjoys life. When asked what her secret is to staying young, she said that she stays active and is involved with a lot of people. She has a wide circle of friends, travels with a specific bus tour company on a regular basis and socializes frequently, participating in game nights and other activities. I’ve realized of late just how important these human interactions are as we age, especially for seniors living alone. People who are isolated for one reason or another seem to experience a decrease in communication skills. Once those skills are gone, they are difficult to re-develop. Don’t let this happen to you! Cultivate friends of all ages, stay connected with a variety of people and keep up your communications skills.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Did You Say?

Having to ask people to repeat themselves is all too common as we age. Just how important is your hearing anyway? Have you given this much thought? Of the senses that tend to lessen with time, I believe hearing is the most essential. While loss of vision separates us from the world around us, loss of hearing separates us from other people. Connecting with others is what keeps our minds young and active. The ability to hear also allows us to appreciate music, savor the sounds of nature and enjoy the delighted laughter of grandchildren.

Preserve What You Have

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Long Do I Really Have?

The women in my family tend to live long, healthy lives. My grandmothers both lived independently into their late 80s or early 90s. One actually tried an assisted living facility but decided it wasn’t for her so found a small cottage to rent. My mother is still very youthful and active at nearly 70.

Some of the men aren't doing so bad in the longevity area either. My dad is going strong at almost 77 and his oldest brother intends to hit 100 (he's close to 90 now). So these are the examples I look to. I plan to go to at least 100, so I guess I’d better get started!


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