Featured, Retirement, Saving

This Story Will Make You Plan For Retirement

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The other day, I was working in the coffee shop I usually go to for blogging. I overheard a couple talking about the woman’s grandmother. I know it’s bad to eavesdrop, but as soon as they started talking about her grandmother’s finances, I couldn’t help myself!

Running Out of Money In Retirement

They were discussing how her father wanted to put her grandmother into a nursing home. Why? Because her grandmother lived alone and was running out of social security/pension money. She was cashing out about $3500 per month for her retirement, but still needed $500 from other family members to support her lifestyle.

The woman mentioned her father was sick of adding $500 to her grandmother’s retirement considering he himself doesn’t even get to live off $4000 a month. She also mentioned how unfortunately the cheapest nursing home within her grandmother’s budget (based on what I assume was the remainder of her retirement fund) would require her grandmother to share a bathroom.

Compromises During Retirement

Can you believe it? You’re in your blissful retirement years, lived most of your adult life on your own terms, but you didn’t save enough for retirement so now you’re stuck considering going back to your college days and sharing a bathroom with a stranger.

From the sound of it, her grandmother wasn’t very excited by the idea of sharing a bathroom with someone else. But it also seemed like her grandmother wasn’t willing to downgrade her life in any other way. Who knows? Maybe she has crazy medical expenses. Maybe she still has to pay the mortgage on her house if she even lives in a house? They didn’t really discuss the other details of her situation.

It doesn’t change the fact that her father seemed resentful of having to support the grandmother’s stubborn attachment to her current living situation. Which makes sense considering he has to contribute to it. Or maybe her father is being a brat being resentful having to financially care for the woman who raised him. We’ll never know, but it doesn’t change the reality that the grandmother is running out of money. And it doesn’t change the fact that her son doesn’t want to pay for her anymore. The reality is the grandmother is now facing limited options because money is running out.

Create Options For Future You

Properly planning for your retirement is creating options for yourself. Because who wants to be 80 years old and share a bathroom with a total stranger? Ok, maybe some people might find it comforting to have a friend connected via toilet and shower, but the point is, it will be your choice if you plan for retirement correctly.

It’s easier said than done. I’m 27. I just *really* started saving for retirement a year ago. What do I know? I haven’t had my retirement portfolio weather the storms of a market crash. I haven’t had to suffer loss of income with my own family to take care of. I don’t have to contribute any of my take home salary to parents in need of financial help. But that’s kind of what makes it the perfect time to start planning. I don’t have anything working against me right now.

I know it’s not the most exciting thing in the world to think about how long you might live and when you want to stop working. In fact, it’s just plain scary. It’s not fun thinking “what if” you get some terrible illness when you’ve quit working that’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s not fun thinking how much money 30 or 40 or 50 years of living life could cost you if you actually have to make withdrawals on your nest egg principal.

But do I really want my options to be limited when I’m too old to want to think about this stuff? Do I want to have to start driving for Uber/Lyft when I’m 80?! Do I want my children to resent me for taking away their financial freedom due to poor planning on my part? NO.

Do you plan for retirement? When and why did you realize you had to? 

Jing is currently a software engineer based in Oakland, CA. She left her job in New York, moved to San Francisco unemployed, and more than doubled her salary in 4 months.

15 thoughts on “This Story Will Make You Plan For Retirement

  1. 😓 woof, bad Grandma 😂

    I think it puts her son in an awkward place. My worst fear is needing money when I’m 80 because I see the seniors who have saved money as confident, happy and enjoying the most calming phrase of their life. The seniors who don’t save are still working and they have more on their plate.

    1. Yeah I would hate to be working and hustling at age 80! Though I’d like to think I’d still be youthful enough to actually WANT to hustle on something I really really loved. Financial security should definitely be the most calming phase of life! And to even be able to help out your children when they’re going through big life phases too–not the opposite!

  2. Always a difficult situation to deal with but it’s becoming more and more common as the baby boomers age. Unfortunately, nursing homes aren’t getting any cheaper and the government won’t save you. Many people aren’t fortune enough to even have a family willing to help :-/

  3. Running out of money in retirement is definitely something everyone should be concerned about. It can put such a huge burden on your children and family! I don’t ever want my kids to sacrifice financially for me, so saving more than I’ll ever need is part of the long term plan.

    1. Yeah I would feel terrible if my children had to sacrifice their financial freedom for me, especially since I’m the one who should be setting them up for success their entire life!

  4. Heh, like you I like to eavesdrop on money conversations where I am. I also like to blog about it later. My favourite conversations these days are people who are buying houses they can’t afford thinking they can flip them easily for a huge gain.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one who’s a money eavesdropper! I haven’t heard of any of those house flipping conversations, real estate seems completely unapproachable to me. It’s more headache than I can take since it seems like it requires such active management even when if you turn it over to a management company.

  5. Creating options through financial independence was a huge eye opener for us, being financially secure opens so many doors that otherwise remained closed.

    Now that we are parents, the thought of burdening our little lady by not being prepared terrifies me!

    Great post!

    1. Thank you! I think the one thing that’s a big open question for me is how much child rearing costs, especially college. I have no idea how many children I want yet, but I know for sure I would not make them take out a student loan for college, unless the student loan landscape changes DRASTICALLY. It’s difficult to factor that into an early retirement for me along with a house purchase!

  6. Haha my ears always perk up when I hear people talking about money. My own grandparents are having to downgrade their lifestyle because of money issues as well. It’s especially hard for my grandmother, who’s used to a little higher of a lifestyle. They’ll be fine once they move to a smaller place, but it’s a testament to reaping what you sow.

    I think a lot of people just don’t think about it for most of their lives, which is why I really wish personal finance took a higher priority in public schools. If it became a bigger issue earlier in life, it could prevent a lot of heartache. I think finance blogs like yours are a great way to educate people who may just not think about the future or would rather live for today.

    1. Thanks Matt! Yeah, I think many retirees are downsizing and moving to smaller places. Plus they can get a great sum for their family home, though it’s sad having to let it go and not being able to keep it in the family.

      I agree, I think it’s not that people don’t care or just completely live for the moment, but a lot of financial goals are just so long term and we’re really not made to think that way very frequently. It’s easy to fall into the mentality of “it will all be ok”. With that said, there is a fine balance because it’s also not fun to constantly worry falsely that you aren’t doing enough.

  7. It was actually thinking about retirement that got me started on this personal finance journey. I love my job but I don’t want to be doing this all my life. I want to realise my other dreams too! I started looking at how I could achieve my hobby farm dream and that was partly when I realised it was time to wake up, stop spending like my life depended on it and start investing.

    1. Yeah, same! I think early retirement is becoming more and more real appealing for me. I really enjoy what I do, but I think the component working for someone else no matter what the product or company is complete agency the way I have over my own projects. I’d like to do more of those without tainting it with the absolute necessity to bring home a living salary off of it!

      I took the last week off and just worked on my blog for 6 hours or so in the morning/early afternoon, then went and met up with friends and spent quality time with them. I’d love my “work” to be more like that.

  8. It can definitely be eye-opening when you here of stories like this. I wonder why she needs $4000 per month. I wish they would’ve said so you could’ve shared that part too. Lol.

    We are saving for retirement in the hopes to not burden our kid(s)/family as well as so we can enjoy it. We’re also trying to have enough saved so that we can pass some on to our kid(s) .

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