Friday, June 22, 2012

Retirement: Are We Really Ready For It?

Many years ago, on one of my first dates with my now-husband, he purchased discount movie tickets for us using his AARP card (which you can get at 50). Now as much as I hate getting ripped off by movie ticket prices, what I learned that day was that I hated being called a senior citizen even more. I made him return my ticket and pay full price.

Fast forward to today and I'm flashing my own AARP card around with wild abandon. It isn't because I think age entitlements are based on any real logic (I don't). I've just grown more budget-conscious as the sand runs through the hourglass of my working life -- it has resulted in an attitude of greater frugality. If someone wants to sell me something for a few bucks less, my palms are open.

While I'm not really close to an expiration date on my working life, I find that my sights are focused on it with greater intensity. We all know that the day will come when we no longer set an alarm clock. What few of us can imagine is what we do after we wake up at leisure that day. And for the most part, that day is shaped by how and what we do now to financially plan for it.

Me? I'm saving like the squirrel who knows the apocalyptic winter is coming. Like many of my peers, I literally spent like there was no tomorrow during the glory years and then when I lost my job in the recession, it came as the proverbial bucket of ice water dumped on my head. No need to dump a second bucket; I got the message.
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