Secret time: My husband, Michael, and I haven’t handled his retirement well so far. As a financial advisor, I feel horrible writing that.
To be sure, there’s a lot that we enjoy. It’s fun to sit outside in the mornings and drink coffee together before I head to the office. I appreciate that he does the grocery shopping and countless chores around the house. I’m eating home-cooked meals that I didn’t cook. Our garage has never been so organized. My horse trailer has never been cleaner.
But for all the projects he’s tackled in the past few months, never in a million years would I have believed that it would be so difficult to wrap our minds around his steady paycheck coming to an end.
I’ve missed that paycheck. My heart broke one day when he said he didn’t feel like a “contributor” anymore. And so many stupid little things have broken or needed to be replaced since he retired. My printer died. My horse trailer needed work. Our homeowners insurance increased. The bottom line: life happened.
Why am I bearing my soul, gentle reader?
Because this chapter in our lives has me making my way toward gratitude for this uncomfortable experience. The shift from saving, saving, saving to spending the money you’ve squirreled away your entire adult life feels like driving 60 miles an hour and then slamming your truck into reverse. As of this writing, we still haven’t turned on his retirement income. Which is silly! Because of that, I sweat the small stuff. Example: I researched the peak energy usage hours are for Lakeland Electric and reminded Michael not to do laundry or run the dishwasher until after 10 a.m. to save a few bucks—useful info but also a little ridiculous.
I’m bearing my soul because I want you to know that I now understand why you’re filled with doubt and disbelief when I show you a plan that says you’re financially capable of retiring. I now understand the difficult psychological hurdle of no longer saving but spending your retirement funds.
Don’t feel like you need to bring me a care package.
I’m not starting a GoFundMe anytime soon. We’re fine. I’ve simply reminded myself to follow the advice I routinely give you: I’ve reviewed our financial plan– The one I created last year to confirm that we were well-positioned for Michael to retire at age 61. The one that after I shared it with him, he asked me to get a second opinion. I mostly controlled my facial expressions when he said it. I understood this was a big step for him, and he was nervous. That second plan confirmed that my plan was correct (smirk).
The next time we meet and you express nervousness over whether you’re reeeally in good financial shape to retire, believe me when I tell you, “I understand.”