Warning: Italics-heavy post ahead. 😉
You know what? When I started this challenge I had figured that by now I would have a much clearer understanding of what my thoughts, feelings and especially direction in retirement would be.
Hah! Far from it.
I’m still not even sure when I’m going to pull the plug on my steady paycheque. It might be as soon as 60 but then again…I might not feel financially comfortable or otherwise ready then.
I do have a sort of “magic” number in my head, that I would like to see to see in my RRSPs (registered retirement savings plan), and another magic number that I would like to see in my TFSA (tax-free savings account) before I stop being employed.
I would also like to see the demand loan on my building (what I call my “mortgage” except it’s not one, really) knocked down as much as possible before my paycheques end. Especially if I am going to be staying on here – at the current Chez Badass – for a while yet, instead of living the lakeside dream. I do not want to be caught tenant-less at some point in the future and be having to pony up the (hefty) commercial property tax bill PLUS the loan money every month with no rent AND paycheque coming in to help cover it.
It would drain me in an awful big hurry. I would feel compelled to find work again. Which is not to say I won’t ever want to work for pay again in my retirement years…I just don’t want to ever feel I have to do so, if I can help it.
What I have gained an understanding of is this: I want maximum possibilities to be able to explore in my retirement.
I understand I don’t want to hear the word “No” for the relatively modest (but extravagant for me) post-work life I have envisioned of yearly winter escapes and other occasional explorations abroad, North American road-trips (with a funky trailer or hippy van), hiking, art, and whatever else takes my interest as I progress through this thing called the rest of my life.
And I understand now that I have an over-arching goal for my money. Whereas for the past three years (and first time in my life!) I have been thoroughly enjoying spending my free (and borrowed) cash on whatever the WB wants*, now I am exploring how little I can live on and how much more I can squirrel away for future freedom.
You know what, maybe I have gained the most important understanding about retirement of all. I do have choices and I can create the type of retirement that I envision with proper planning and a little luck. It just needs me to continue on with the inner and outer information-gathering. (I admit it was a little ambitious of me to think I would have it all sorted out within the 26 days of this challenge…)
Life is a journey and retirement is not the end. It is the continuation and hopefully one of the better parts of the journey.
*And by whatever the WB wants, I mean things like cleaning up a lifetime of my late husband’s hoarding; replacing knob and tube wiring and a heating/cooling system, plumbing and roofing; installing solar panels to generate income; creating a functioning home including new kitchen, laundry and bath; getting dining room furniture, putting curtains (finally!) on the windows, refinishing beat-up furniture left to me; treating myself to a new mattress/bedding; and many more mundane home-establishing type things, too numerous to mention. Oh yeah, and the occasional cheap holiday. And kick-ass boots. You know, real Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous -type stuff…hehehe!