Rocking Chair Plan

Posted on May 6, 2014 | 0 comments

rocking chairs

Have you planned for your retirement?  Are you hoping someday to be rocking on the front porch, lemonade in hand, while everyone else is at work?  It’s a question I’ve been contemplating recently.  As a dad and a husband how should I be planning for our future?

It all started with a visit from a financial planner.  The lady was very patient with us as she collected our data and helped us dream.  Her magic computer program soon spit out a stack of colorful charts and graphs.    It didn’t take long for us to realize I’ll be working until I’m dead.  I’m sorry. That’s a bit dramatic.   I should clarify.  I will not be able to retire at my current standard of living.   If we moved into a nice cardboard box and learned to like SpaghettiOs, retirement is just around the corner.

So what is my big picture plan for the golden years?  I can tell you what it is not.   I will not be accepting my gold watch, have an estate sale, and move to Florida so I can play golf for the rest of my life.   I probably won’t get behind the wheel of an RV and collect souvenir plates from the national parks.   I really hope the highlight of my day isn’t trading stories with my buddies at McDonalds at 7am, drinking discounted coffee, and complaining about the weather.  I also know I don’t want to accrue a big investment portfolio only to cash it out when my medical bills come due.

My goals for the future are simple.  I want us to be comfortable and I don’t want to be a financial burden for my children.  That’s a pretty broad vision.  My hope is that we are able to help our kids go to college, learn a trade, or start a business.  I hope they’ll get out of the gates without being in the red.  I hope to retire, have my wife at my side, travel a bit, and get to know my grandkids.  I also want to slow down and rock in that chair on the porch.

Retirement raises questions.  You begin to run through tons of scenarios in your head.  Do I invest a moderate amount and work until I’m 75?  Do I live an austere life, invest a lot more, and get to retire at 60?   Do I invest in the stock market or buy property?  I’m not so sure I would stop working completely when I reach retirement age.  I think I’d enjoy supplementing my income with some odd jobs.   Working  part time will sure beat the nine to five I had been clocking.  Maybe I’ll have a job that I love too much to retire. With each answer comes another question.  At the end of the day, I don’t want to forgo a trip across country with my kids just to invest in a mutual fund.  I would rather spend more time with the family, live a little more modestly, and work longer.  I don’t want to miss adventures now just so I can be living high on the hog tomorrow.

I think like most life questions, the answer is usually balance.  I think we should heed the warnings of the Ant and the Grasshopper fable, work hard, and plan for the future.  BUT working all the time not only makes Jack a dull boy, it makes for absent dads.  I want to work hard for my family, but not at the expense of my relationships. Like any plan, ours will be a work in progress.  I believe if we live below our means, save a bit, invest a bit, and adjust to life as we go, we’ll be okay.   Planning for the future can be a daunting task, but it’s a task we can’t ignore.  So now I’ll ask you, “ what’s your rocking chair plan?”

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