Retirement: Nearing the Finish Line
Retirement is something I thought I would look forward to with excitement. I mean, who wouldn’t? It is the grand prize for working all these years.
At various times throughout my adult life, retirement has been on my mind or part of discussions between my husband and me. The thought of no alarm going off in the morning or not having to fight rush hour traffic are two things I won’t miss!
However, as the date approaches (November 2020), my thoughts aren’t necessarily happy like I had expected. Retirement is both scary and exciting but scary consumes most of my thoughts lately.
We are getting ready to meet with our TIAA-CREF financial advisor in the next couple of weeks and I’m dreading it as much as having a colonoscopy! Why? Here’s why:
No steady paycheck: I have had a job since I was able to land one! Having a steady paycheck is something I just can’t get my head around – yet!
Too much time at home: What am I going to do all day? The thought of being home 24/7 is too much right now. Just thinking about makes me stir crazy.
What's my purpose? I complain daily about traffic, weather, the monotony of my routine, etc., etc. but I do like work. I’m good at it and still think I am a valuable contributor. Work has defined me in some ways and losing that part of myself doesn’t feel so good.
Did we plan well enough for retirement? I sure hope so but this is something my husband frets about. There is no magic formula, really. We have gone over the figures a million times. At this point in our life, I feel like it is what it is. We don’t have any time left to make major adjustments.
Budget is a word that I don’t like much. I grew up in a family where money was scarce. We did without in many ways and it caused anxiety and arguments between my parents. There was never enough. As a result, I grew up with anxiety about money, too. I feared it more than anything else. Scarcity is what I dreaded most.
This anxiety spilled over into my marriage. Lately, my husband has been keeping track of our expenses. Naturally, he wants to see how much we’re spending on a monthly basis to get a handle on how long our money will last. I’m going to be honest: I hate it. Whenever he wants to talk about it, I throw up and wall and get downright angry. The fear of having to cut back or do without is the only thought that comes into my head. I’m a mature adult now but the reaction I have comes from my nine-year-old brain, which isn’t good.
My husband has been patient with me but I have really started to try and get ahold of these feelings. I have plenty in my life. I find that I buy things to fill other voids – even boredom plays a role. Just his getting me to face it has really opened my eyes and face the music. Seeing how much we spend on ourselves, food, entertainment – everything – has been educational, to say the least.
Bottom line: I still hate budgeting. However, I am learning it’s necessary, especially as we near a Fresh Season of our life (retirement). The money won’t last forever if we aren’t aware of where it’s going. My feelings around money are real but just knowing what’s causing my fear surrounding it has been helpful to face. Admitting your challenges is the first step to tackling them.