Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thrifty thoughts and looking down the road...

I have been thinking of thrift, savings and retirement after reading Living The Savvy Life.
Curious about what others do to stretch their after tax dollars... if rational and conscious thought regularly factor into the paycheck to paycheck seems to be very common.

Retirement is nudging closer  (I will be 56 in March) and thoughts of modifications to the "budget" do worm their way into my reality, rather more frequently. I do not focus on money, I am not "obssessed" with it, it has a purpose but beyond that I don't dwell on it....maybe I this stage of my life I might need to be more proactive in my financial house.

I am not a big spender, maybe because I am not a big earner.
Working part time, by choice, I have taken a cut in pay but the trade offs are much to my liking...
less stress and time to do what needs to be done and what needs to be enjoyed.

Money must be managed or it manages you.

Spending without thought = trouble.
Debt can mount up quickly if one is not mindful...
a healthy balance is the goal...

I have an obvious weakness for luxuries...
and splurge now and again.

Bubbly beverages, Hermes scarves, clothing, shoes and bags....

I also like to get away where sightseeing, dining out, and shopping, all play a major role.

There was a recent report released in the news about how ill prepared Canadians are when it comes to planning for their retirement...and as unbelievable as it sounds most people polled said "winning the lottery was their retirement plan."

I am not sure how well prepared we are for the future but I do not think that the lottery will be our plan, it would be nice but that's just absurd!

I can and do economize in certain areas...
we had a bad patch back in the 80's when there was a slump in the economy. We managed to pay all our bills and a large mortgage payment and we did without frills so that our children could still enjoy lessons and that "most things" remained unchanged...we made our own fun.
The children still remember drinking skim milk and eating the bumper crop of zucchini and rhubarb that year!

Our lifestyle will be affected as our pensions will be smaller than our current salaries
and the RRSP investments will need to be carefully guarded.
Medical and dental plan premiums will increase....other things will disappear...professional dues, parking fees and work clothes, for a start.

I will re-evaluate my personal expenses and think that things I "take for granted" now will have to be prioritized on a scale of what is most important.

Things such as my hair regime, which involves a trim every other month and highlights which I cannot do myself....this is #1 now and I cannot forsee this changing.

Seasons tickets to the two local live theatre productions might need to be replaced with "seniors seats" for matinees which are less expensive and by then we will have met the age requirement!

Our boat and boathouse are expensive and I cannot envision boating in my late 60's or beyond!

Thoughts of choppy seas and me slipping and falling onboard and possibly breaking my bones does not sound very attractive. Sea legs, agility, quick thinking and balance are vital for safe cruising.

More than likely we'll sell one of our two vehicles as this would amount to a very large saving considering there is maintenance, insurance and gas. We are close enough to walk to the city or hop on a bus... besides which, that's the greener option.

I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, so dining at home is what I am used to and would not expect this to change.
Hostessing and entertaining casually for friends could definitely increase when I do not need to get up early for work.

I may host a weekly bridge group. I played for many years until one of our key players passed away from cancer. It's a wonderful game that requires concentration, counting and strategy. It can be very social depending on the skill and seriousness of the players.

My wardrobe is smallish and colour co-ordinated for maximum versatility and wearability....
so I do not forsee a drastic change here either.

If you are nearing retirement what thoughts or considerations are you wrestling with?
Have you planned for every eventuality?

What does retirement look like for you?
Are you planning to travel, move to a new place or stay put?

Are you confident with your plan and feel that you will have enough to live on and still have some money left for luxe treats?

 I hope we have planned adequately for the future...
and if not, 
there are plenty of lottery tickets...
 available every week.


  1. Ah yes we seem to have the very same weaknesses, hmm maybe we could share scarves, champagne and bags?
    My hair costs a fortune to maintain, I'm 100 percent grey now! I tried dying it myself but it caused so much mess and I kept missing bits. I so resent it being my biggest expense each month - well every 14 days.
    Oh we are having your beef daube tonight!

  2. Retirement - I have been enjoying it for 15 years. Your pension is usually smaller than your income; but remember, you do not need working clothes, lunches at work, contributing to gifts for fellow employees, two cars, tickets to entertainment are usually cheaper. You also enjoy (usually) going out to lunch rather than dinner - which can be cheaper. You have a bit more time to thrift shop - the beautiful clothing you have acquired will not be going out of style - enjoy and worry less. I am very happy in retirement. Peg

  3. I believe I've retired already:). I have absolutely become more frugal - mostly by cooking at home. And you could always replace your boat with the occasional cruise:).

  4. hi leslie,

    we have not always been as frugal as we are now. we made a conscious decision 3 years ago when we downsized to take control of our money situation. life is so much better. the only problem i see in your plan is selling that boat. don't do it! unless you sell it to me. my father in law will be 80 next month and is still an amazing skier. i can barely keep up with him. don't ditch the boat b/c of age, i think that would be a mistake.


  5. We have to think not only about retirement, but also about providing our developmentally disabled son with a fund to help him through life, as he'll probably require full-time care and will be unable to work. Though I've saved the max in my 401K ever since I've worked for an employer that offers one, we probably could save more. I bought this book on your recommendation, and have been reading it and thinking quite a bit about what the authors have to say. I really like their approach as opposed to a lot of thrift-promoting books whose ideas often seem to me like "fiscal anorexia."

  6. As a retired person I can tell you that your expenses probably won't dimish after you retire, unless you cut them drastically. Somehow costs just keep rising even in the non-luxery areas. It is a fine line between doing without and enjoying life. Sounds as if you have lots of years left to plan for it.(-:

  7. I agree with Janet about the boat! Fishing and boating are my husband's passion and he looks forward to retirement so he can do more of both. Does your husband share a similar passion about his boat?

  8. Tabitha- I hope that you enjoy the Beef Daube...
    Good news! I have recently discovered small bottles of bubbly...
    that might need to be considered!
    If my hair was grey I'd be inclined to stop my highlights and just have a shiny glaze looks elegant on many women...and diamonds really set it off :)

    Peg- You sound very content and happy and you are 15 years into that lifestyle switch....congratulations!
    I am looking forward to awareness has just been re-awakened. Lunches out are something I do with my mother, sister and girlfriends...we have a few special places that we frequent and the cost is not I am trying to eat smaller portions so a bowl of soup or a salad suffice.

    LPC- As a recent retiree Lisa you must have some secrets that you could impart...besides cooking at home...perhaps there might be a WASP Guide in your future...?

    the gardener's cottage- My husband will appreciate this comment!
    We have seen many people cruise well into their 70's and have observed a few mishaps which have put others at is not something that we would enter into lightly.

    Your FIL skiing at 80 sounds very encouraging...he must have taken great care with his health.

    Deja Pseu- You have a lot more to be concerned with humbles me and I hope that my post does not seem egotistical and trivial. I have a very close friend in a situation not much different than yours and they have had to plan for this eventuality too.
    I think there's a balance of saving for the future and enjoying life...taking a trip or going out for fun events...we have tried to do this ever since cancer gave us a wake up call...

    La Vie Quotidienne- I had not been aware that you were retired...inflation is the part of the equation that is so unpredictable.
    You have retired in a very stylish way Adrienne :)

    jenndon- My husband loves boating and crabbing...he would probably rather hold down the deck chair with nose in a good book than go fishing.

  9. Oops--late to the discussion once more: what a thought-provoking post with equally thought-provoking comments. Because my husband and I went through poverty in grad school--followed by very insecure job prospects and situations--I feel that we developed skills and strength. So even though there are scary stories about cuts to higher ed (and the French dept has been eliminated, along with others), I feel pretty confident about our ability to cope with what comes. We do want to keep working beyond 65--by choice, not by necessity.

    Honestly, I think that most of your readers have the creativity to deal with whatever happens.