A recent study by Charles Schwab found that on average Americans believe they need $1,700,000 to retire. And according to another study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, two-thirds of U.S. workers said they are very or somewhat confident they’ll be able to live comfortably throughout retirement.
Encouraging stuff, right? Except other studies pull back the curtain to reveal the shocking gap between our collective fantasy world versus harsh reality.
Let’s start with this—the 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey finds a jaw-dropping 47% of Americans age 35-44 have less than $25,000 saved for retirement. “Well,” you’re thinking, “those younger folks have a lot of time to catch up.”
Yes and no. Check out this chart from the same survey:
Amount Saved for Retirement
Ages 55 and Older
Less than $1,000
$1,000 to $9,999
$10,000 to $24,999
$25,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $99,999
For years we’ve wanted to take a trip up the Hudson Valley during foliage season. So when neighbors of our daughter moved there and invited us to their new home, we decided to finally make it happen.
Our destination of Hudson, New York is a pleasant (and inexpensive when you’re a “senior”) 2-hour Amtrak ride from Penn Station. After an up and down history the 19th century town has become an uber-trendy landing spot for artsy types and weekend getaway for New Yorkers.
From the train station we walked the length of Warren Street, the main commercial artery, to get a feel for the place. Hudson’s description of “shabby chic” is spot on. Beautifully renovated row houses sit next to ones desperately in need of TLC. High-end shops are across the street from a mom and pop convenience store.
The 3-story skyline is dominated by the steeple of The First Presbyterian Church.
Regarding leaf peeping, we were a bit concerned about our timing on the...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s Edd’s Choice from Volume III, “Living the Dream.” Enjoy!
Self-help gurus often recommend stepping "outside the box" as a way to learn more about yourself. After uprooting our lives and moving to Ecuador over three years ago, I can certainly attest to the wisdom of this strategy. I've discovered how to live life more fully than I could have ever imagined. I’ve relished reviving dormant talents and interests like art and writing.
But you can also learn a lot about yourself by doing something you haven't done in awhile.
Like taking care of two babies full-time after 35 years.
We had planned on visiting our family in the fall anyway, so when our son told us he and his wife wanted to attend an out-of-state wedding and asked if we would consider watching our oldest granddaughter (2 years, 3 months) and...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s Cynthia’s Choice from Volume II, “Letting Go.” Enjoy!
It's moving day. Our current landlord (and friend) has kindly offered to take us, our suitcases, and groceries from his furnished studio we have occupied for a month over to our new apartment. We've huffed and puffed all our stuff down the stairs and are waiting for him to bring the car around so we can load and go.
Then he appears at the gate.
A man selling brooms, of all things. Not the straw brooms we're familiar with in the States. Synthetic ones with bristles maybe 3 inches long. But brooms nonetheless.
Now there are numerous vendors on the streets of Cuenca---lottery tickets, "street meat," assorted candies. We've even seen a guy carrying around handfuls of rabbit-ear antennae (remember those?).
The broom man obviously speaks zero English. He...
Note ~ While we’re on vacation we’re sharing some favorite stories from our best-selling trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement. Here’s our Reader’s Choice from Volume I, "Leap of Faith.” Enjoy!
As I sit here swirling a snifter of Tequila liqueur to begin this blog I ponder several questions. Like, what in the heck is Tequila liqueur? How did it get into my house in the first place? Why am I drinking this weird stuff?
I've written previously about the process of sorting, packing, selling, and giving away all manner of items as we've rummaged through drawers and closets preparing for our move. Perfectly good clothes that we don't wear any more--consignment shop; a set of encyclopedias--Goodwill; George Foreman grill (and yes, the "rock" of a previous entry)--Craigslist.
There have been numerous old family things like a broken rocking chair that belonged to my grandmother we've been robotically hauling around for years. It's been...
Edd: I read an article about lies people tell themselves in retirement.
Cynthia: Yeah? We’re retired. What lies are we telling ourselves?
E: The author covered three, but one of them I thought was particularly interesting: “I’m busier than ever… I don’t know how I ever fit work into my schedule.”
C: That’s a lie? We’ve said it ourselves many times and so have a lot of our friends.
E: That’s why I found the article interesting. The author says the translation of this “lie” is, and I quote, “I fill my life with whatever I can because I don’t know what else to do with it.”
C: Huh. Well, I’m guessing this “expert” on retirement is not retired, and he obviously doesn’t know anybody in Cuenca! I mean, as an example, here’s a story from one of our lunch outings.
A group of ladies met for a midday meal and were spending the afternoon...
Cynthia: First conversation we’ve done in a while and it’s called “Lappy Labor Life?” I can’t believe I’m okay with such a silly title.
Edd: Well, we said we’d be focusing on fun and the alliteration seemed kind of catchy. Anyway, Labor Day weekend. The last hoorah for summer. It’s an odd holiday, right? To celebrate work by---not working.
C: Hah! And just another day in Casa Staton. Ecuador has more than its share of holidays but Labor Day isn’t one of them. Wow, talking about this subject makes me realize neither of us has had a real J-O-B in over a decade! How do you feel about that?
E: Is that a trick question?? I feel absolutely great about it! Yeah, we consulted with a tour company here. I wrote for International Living for 5 years and we spoke at their conferences. And now we’re doing our thing with Retirement Reimagined! But since retiring overseas it’s all been on our terms.
“My goal is to work as long as I possibly can. At least until 70. In fact, I hope I work so long that when I finally do retire I’ll be too old, too tired, and too sick to enjoy the few years I have left.”
Said no one, EVER!
Yet to believe what most financial writers say, that’s the hand you’ve been dealt. You haven’t saved enough so you’ve gotta work, work, work. And slash your current budget immediately because you’ve gotta save, save, save. Even Suze Orman proclaims that 70 is the new 65.
Oh, and after all that working and saving, downsize those retirement dreams of yours too because, well, by then you’ll probably be a candidate for long-term care so there goes the old nest egg.
Isn’t retirement supposed to be fun?
Didn’t you enter the workforce way back when with a vision of your future that included relaxation, the freedom to travel, maybe spending...
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~ Dakota Indian proverb
The sayings for folks around retirement age are often less than kind: “Over the hill”--”out to pasture”--”on your last leg”--”worse for wear.”
And let’s not forget the classic “no spring chicken.” Yikes!
Here in Ecuador where we’ve lived for almost a decade locals have a more respectful term for their over 65’ers: Tercera Edad, which means "Third Age."
How much better does that sound? No negativity. No judgment. Simply a recognition that one has moved into the next stage of life.
Ecuadorian culture takes matters a step further by honoring the older generation with numerous perks and discounts. Banks, government offices, utility companies, and even the grocery store have special lines and windows for members of Tercera Edad.
It’s said that age is just a number, but how many of us think and behave...
Cuenca’s annual Corpus Christi festival took place at the end of last month, but we’ve been so busy we’re just now getting around to telling you about it. Oh well, in “Ecuador time” we’re still early!
When we say “annual” we mean annual. As in since 1557! Although Corpus Christi means “Body of Christ,” somehow over the years the sacramental bread transformed into candy.
LOTS of candy and other sweets. Like 117 booths with over 60 varieties. The booths were set up all around Parque Calderón in the historic center of Cuenca so we decided to stroll over and check it out.
We crossed the Tomebamba River that separates New Town where we live from El Centro. First we stopped for lunch at a great Mexican restaurant near the festivities.
Edd had the BIG burrito...
And Cynthia barely finished her chicken tacos. With all that food plus a side order of guacamole and lemonade the bill was about $16. Love it!