I ran across this article on MSN about retirement planning if you’re broke.
There were five main suggestions in the article:
- Postpone pulling the trigger on Social Security payments. As in, retire later, so that your check is larger and has more room for growth.
- Take advantage of home equity. For reverse mortgages, and an old-age emergency fund.
- Bankruptcy. This protects your remaining assets, but at the expense of knowing that you’ve stiffed your creditors.
- Downsize. Fewer expenses means that whatever you have saved up will last longer.
- Get retirement-specific financial planning advice. In contrast with advice for someone younger with more time.
I have a suggestion. (It’s not advice, because, well, I can’t do that.) But it is something to think about.
What about planning to not retire? Retirement has nothing to do with age, and everything to do about money. Retirement, if you so choose, is an option largely if you’ve planned ahead, and if nothing really devastating financially has come your way. (The latter isn’t always within your control, of course, but the lack of money doesn’t change just because life dealt you a two-seven off-suit for hole cards, unfortunately.) So, if you have no money, shouldn’t you be considering no retirement?
The mid-70s lady who cuts my hair
My hair is fine, and pretty much straight as an arrow. Which means that any gaffe sticks out like a sore thumb. (One of my more irritating moments was when I had to have my hair cut twice within a couple of weeks. My fiancee didn’t want our engagement pictures to have a crappy haircut in them forever. Twenty bucks well spent, I suppose, but grrrrrr … )
I found my current hairdresser while staring down a long waiting list for my previous favorite. (She was very meticulous.) I was looking really shaggy so I took a chance. She was fast. More, she was confident. I’ve had hairdressers actually ask other hairdressers for help when cutting my hair. Apparently it’s fairly tough to cut. But Carol didn’t need any help.
Carol is in her mid-seventies. She has several old-age things going on that make it extra challenging for her to go to work. But she does, and does so nearly a decade after the point she “should have” retired.
I fully expect that one of these time I’ll show up for a haircut on some weekend, ask where Carol is, and find out that she died. I don’t see her quitting.
She’s not broke. But I don’t sense that she’s comfortable. Carol is doing what she has to do.
She’s working during her retirement years.
I don’t continue to have her cut my hair just because I think she needs the business. I continue to go to her because she’s very good at what she does. Might someone be better? Sure, but why take the chance when I know that I could get much worse?
Things do get harder as we age (I’m finding this out already!) but that’s life. And people do still take experience into account, so having some years can be an advantage.