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Old 06-27-2014, 09:08 AM
 
Location: it depends
6,074 posts, read 5,339,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
So much goes into retirement planning including dreams of what we'll do and where we'll live. I wonder, after reading some stories here, how well we adjust (or don't) to the unexpected that "cannot be planned for" (re: Curmudgeon's recent post). I'm a what-if person (probably due to a former stint at the American Red Cross) and like to have backup plans. Do most folks have a Plan B, and even a Plan C? Or fully confident in Plan A?
We had Plan A, then improved it a lot by going to Plan B--start snowbirding ten years before retirement age. (I can work from anywhere most of the time.) Five years into Plan B, a progressive terminal disease struck DW. So now we're trying to wake up every day and make the most of it, I guess that is Plan C. I don't spend a lot of time on Plan D, but I know what some of the pieces of it will be.

Like Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:06 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,510,101 times
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"Man proposes, God disposes."

When I retired we were doing fine. We had both started from Ground-Zero financially when we married. I'd been wiped-out in a divorce. My wife earned less than I did and had spent 18 years raising her two daughters on her own with no support whatsoever from her ex, their father. We had no money but we did have good, secure jobs and she had her pension fund as did I but only half was left after the divorce; ditto for my 401(k).

By the numbers, here were/are the unanticipated issues:

1) My wife had to retire early for health reasons which meant no more accrual of pension or Social Security credits.
2) My wife took a serious fall crushing her left shoulder and it could not be reconstructed so she lost 80% of the use of that arm meaning I had to step up and make up the difference. This was a factor in my earlier-than planned retirement which also reduced future benefits.
3) We moved to a new state, bought a house, had a handily absorbable VA mortgage, furnished and appointed it and life was good.
4) Prior to reaching Medicare eligibility my wife had serious emergency surgery and accompanying hospital stay. Her insurance paid 80% of the costs. We had to come up with the rest. While our out-of-pocket for the surgeries was capped, follow-up costs were not and our 401(k)s were wiped out, plus some. We were back to square-one financially or less.
5) Next up, my spinal cord started dying thanks to spinal stenosis I didn't know, I had disk degeneration I wasn't aware of either and severe pinching of nerves and my spinal cord. I lost all feeling in my lower arms and legs, most of my balance, a significant amount of muscle use and lung function - tricky little devils those nerves. Fast-track surgery stopped further degeneration but has not "healed" the issues so I'm pretty severely impacted and there's much I did two years ago that I can't do now.
6) Enter hired help for yard care and housekeeping. Yet another drain on our quickly dwindling finances. At this stage those costs come from income which impacts our ability to build up a reserve again.
7) My wife recently suffered from an auto-immune disorder which is still not resolved and has resulted in numerous medical appointments - as many as eight a month. While she's now on Medicare and there are absolutely no medical costs to us thanks to our retirement-provided supplements, some appointments are 60 miles away and "local" ones mean driving 50 miles round-trip. Add in the costs of medical supplies we have to pay for and those, coupled with travel costs, are significant.

We have the good fortunes to have both reasonable pensions incomes, even if reduced, for life as well as reasonable Social Security incomes so we'll never end up homeless, on the dole or dependent upon our children. However, if six years ago when I retired in robust good health and with the aforesaid pensions and SS "awards," if anyone would have told me the comfort level could have been snatched away in the course of a very few years, I would have laughed at them uproariously.

Don't take anything for granted and understand that in the end, all your good planning can be for naught!
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:48 AM
 
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,583,976 times
Reputation: 3810
This is why I don't really have a plan.
Just go with the flow and hope for the best.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
"Man proposes, God disposes."

When I retired we were doing fine. We had both started from Ground-Zero financially when we married. I'd been wiped-out in a divorce. My wife earned less than I did and had spent 18 years raising her two daughters on her own with no support whatsoever from her ex, their father. We had no money but we did have good, secure jobs and she had her pension fund as did I but only half was left after the divorce; ditto for my 401(k).

By the numbers, here were/are the unanticipated issues:

1) My wife had to retire early for health reasons which meant no more accrual of pension or Social Security credits.
2) My wife took a serious fall crushing her left shoulder and it could not be reconstructed so she lost 80% of the use of that arm meaning I had to step up and make up the difference. This was a factor in my earlier-than planned retirement which also reduced future benefits.
3) We moved to a new state, bought a house, had a handily absorbable VA mortgage, furnished and appointed it and life was good.
4) Prior to reaching Medicare eligibility my wife had serious emergency surgery and accompanying hospital stay. Her insurance paid 80% of the costs. We had to come up with the rest. While our out-of-pocket for the surgeries was capped, follow-up costs were not and our 401(k)s were wiped out, plus some. We were back to square-one financially or less.
5) Next up, my spinal cord started dying thanks to spinal stenosis I didn't know, I had disk degeneration I wasn't aware of either and severe pinching of nerves and my spinal cord. I lost all feeling in my lower arms and legs, most of my balance, a significant amount of muscle use and lung function - tricky little devils those nerves. Fast-track surgery stopped further degeneration but has not "healed" the issues so I'm pretty severely impacted and there's much I did two years ago that I can't do now.
6) Enter hired help for yard care and housekeeping. Yet another drain on our quickly dwindling finances. At this stage those costs come from income which impacts our ability to build up a reserve again.
7) My wife recently suffered from an auto-immune disorder which is still not resolved and has resulted in numerous medical appointments - as many as eight a month. While she's now on Medicare and there are absolutely no medical costs to us thanks to our retirement-provided supplements, some appointments are 60 miles away and "local" ones mean driving 50 miles round-trip. Add in the costs of medical supplies we have to pay for and those, coupled with travel costs, are significant.

We have the good fortunes to have both reasonable pensions incomes, even if reduced, for life as well as reasonable Social Security incomes so we'll never end up homeless, on the dole or dependent upon our children. However, if six years ago when I retired in robust good health and with the aforesaid pensions and SS "awards," if anyone would have told me the comfort level could have been snatched away in the course of a very few years, I would have laughed at them uproariously.

Don't take anything for granted and understand that in the end, all your good planning can be for naught!
I think some of us have similar stories regarding loss of health and jobs. You bounced back rather well. But whether or not you acknowledge having a plan, I think you did have one—to move away from a high COL area to an area of the country where your assets and income go much further than before. Plans don't have to be on paper and signed; they can be formulated in our heads and acted upon intuitively when the time comes. All my "different scenario" plans are in my head. Heck, if I wrote them up and read them on paper, they'd look rather far-fetched. Intuition and ability to act in the face of adversity, rather than to remain stymied, is imo necessary for survival.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcopolo View Post
We had Plan A, then improved it a lot by going to Plan B--start snowbirding ten years before retirement age. (I can work from anywhere most of the time.) Five years into Plan B, a progressive terminal disease struck DW. So now we're trying to wake up every day and make the most of it, I guess that is Plan C. I don't spend a lot of time on Plan D, but I know what some of the pieces of it will be.

Like Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."
imo, the plan kicks in when you get punched in the face.
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:04 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,510,101 times
Reputation: 29081
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I think some of us have similar stories regarding loss of health and jobs. You bounced back rather well. But whether or not you acknowledge having a plan, I think you did have one—to move away from a high COL area to an area of the country where your assets and income go much further than before. Plans don't have to be on paper and signed; they can be formulated in our heads and acted upon intuitively when the time comes. All my "different scenario" plans are in my head. Heck, if I wrote them up and read them on paper, they'd look rather far-fetched. Intuition and ability to act in the face of adversity, rather than to remain stymied, is imo necessary for survival.
Actually, the "plan" was formulated right after we married and before any of this occurred but it was sure a help when things started going south. Still is.

As both a soldier and cop I always mulled over contingency plans and "practiced" potential scenarios in my mind constantly so when things happened, as they sometimes did, I would react swiftly and pretty much automatically. I regret to say that when it came time to retire I let my guard down and now we're paying for it, literally. But the good news is, as with much if not most else, this too shall pass.

"Stymied" ain't in my vocabulary. I doubt it's in yours either.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,699 posts, read 33,718,482 times
Reputation: 51945
Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
I say the main keys are no debt and living well within your means. A bad plan is pushing the edge of your income believing all will stay the same and you can handle it. One bad burp and you are screwed.
I'm doing fine financially but how about the debt of a close relative? Who plans for that?

I have a married (third husband) sister (my only relative), in a non-nearby state, way in over her head with all of her bills. She's constantly "on the verge" of losing her house, her electric, her phone, her oil, etc. She's on all kinds of "plans" to pay the same amount monthly or get government or organizational giveaways but it's still way more than she can afford for basic living. Her taxes are outrageous, too. She's in her late 50s and does not own anything extravagant (including a falling apart house in a bad neighborhood still not paid off with outrageous property tax and a car that barely runs) and her husband (his relatives are way out of state, too, in another expensive state) does work but he's sick a lot with a long-time illness and his jobs are manual labor low wage. She is in and out of the hospital emergency room, too, for long-term sickness flare ups which her financial stress does not help. She's made bad decisions (no abuse issues) all of her life including having a kid (a second one way younger than the first she had in her 20s) late in life, job choices, staying in an expensive state, etc.. She stays in the expensive state, I think, because her late in life kid with mental/emotional issues is "special needs" and the expensive state she lives in provides all kinds of school services for him. He's still in high school but I don't see him leaving home anytime immediately after. She does not ask for money and I feel compelled to help periodically but it feels like I'm "pissing in the wind" because she's in so much over her head that she's in the same boat only a few months later. What's the point in lecturing her now about all her bad decisions? But, what are they going to do when they get a little older? I don't see daylight for her. I did tell her I think she needs to move as soon as my nephew is done with high school but on second thought, I doubt her husband would be able to find work in his condition and at his age in a new state.

How do we retirees, who made all the right choices for ourselves, plan for the bad choices of our immediate relatives (children, siblings, parents)?
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,784 posts, read 23,821,383 times
Reputation: 6195
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
I'm doing fine financially but how about the debt of a close relative? Who plans for that?

I have a married (third husband) sister (my only relative), in a non-nearby state, way in over her head with all of her bills. She's constantly "on the verge" of losing her house, her electric, her phone, her oil, etc. She's on all kinds of "plans" to pay the same amount monthly or get government or organizational giveaways but it's still way more than she can afford for basic living. Her taxes are outrageous, too. She's in her late 50s and does not own anything extravagant (including a falling apart house in a bad neighborhood still not paid off with outrageous property tax and a car that barely runs) and her husband (his relatives are way out of state, too, in another expensive state) does work but he's sick a lot with a long-time illness and his jobs are manual labor low wage. She is in and out of the hospital emergency room, too, for long-term sickness flare ups which her financial stress does not help. She's made bad decisions (no abuse issues) all of her life including having a kid (a second one way younger than the first she had in her 20s) late in life, job choices, staying in an expensive state, etc.. She stays in the expensive state, I think, because her late in life kid with mental/emotional issues is "special needs" and the expensive state she lives in provides all kinds of school services for him. He's still in high school but I don't see him leaving home anytime immediately after. She does not ask for money and I feel compelled to help periodically but it feels like I'm "pissing in the wind" because she's in so much over her head that she's in the same boat only a few months later. What's the point in lecturing her now about all her bad decisions? But, what are they going to do when they get a little older? I don't see daylight for her. I did tell her I think she needs to move as soon as my nephew is done with high school but on second thought, I doubt her husband would be able to find work in his condition and at his age in a new state.

How do we retirees, who made all the right choices for ourselves, plan for the bad choices of our immediate relatives (children, siblings, parents)?
That is a potentially massive issue for many of us. I know that planning only gets you so far, folks outside of your immediate household can create situations that end up making a huge dent in the finances, sometimes long term.

I know the immediate answer is let them fend for themselves, but often kids or very elderly folks are involved in these decisions. Like it or not, stepping in seems pretty inevitable.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:58 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,510,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToCA View Post
That is a potentially massive issue for many of us. I know that planning only gets you so far, folks outside of your immediate household can create situations that end up making a huge dent in the finances, sometimes long term.

I know the immediate answer is let them fend for themselves, but often kids or very elderly folks are involved in these decisions. Like it or not, stepping in seems pretty inevitable.
How right you are. The one issue we don't have to deal with is elderly parents. Mine both died within a year of one another about 25 years ago and my wife lost her father in 1994 and her mother in 2008, the year I retired. We continue to step-in for children on an increasingly rare occasion but to a far lesser extent than in the past and have substituted advice and other assistance for financial help for the most part. All but one are in their 30s and 40s and thankfully, very few ever need assistance or would think to ask for it.
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,699 posts, read 33,718,482 times
Reputation: 51945
I want to make a second post in this thread about health. I have made several posts in the past about retirement issues especially for retiree relocators but I did not plan for my own mobility issues mainly because I never had any. I retired in 2007. I live on the second floor (no elevator) of a three floor suburban apartment complex. I had the same type (2nd floor, suburban apartment complex) living condition in the 12 years before I retired in another state. Basically, I felt safer on the second floor (17 - 20 steps) when I was planning my initial retirement move.

In Sept. 2012, I developed a hip problem after a fall on a pitching boat. That was eventually fixed with therapy but then I developed an unrelated issue with my legs and a separate one with my heels and another with my toes making it very difficult for me to climb the stairs, walk any distance or stand still for any length of time. I then began different physical therapy for the permanent leg issue and added a podiatrist to my repetoire of medical assistance. About 3 - 4 weeks ago, I fell twice in a 3 day period and needed help to get up, which came fairly immediately thank God. Legs just buckled, didn't trip. For the last 3 weeks I have had physical therapy in my apartment. I have a few mobility aides (cane, walker, chair, rails) now, too.

I'm lucky I planned many years ago to chose good health insurance associated with my job even if it was a bit more expensive and I'm lucky to have a decent pension to pay myself for the therapy and devices the insurance doesn't cover. (I've previously mentioned I don't have an expensive lifestyle.)

I'll be moving to a ground floor apartment in my complex in a few days. I have no problem driving.

Some things:

Do not underestimate the stairs warnings a few people in this forum have mentioned both in the home and outside. You may be spry now but that can change very quickly. Don't pooh-pooh the stairs factor if you are looking for a new place to live. It's not just the legs. If you had to "hold on" to get up the stairs, could you still carry stuff up those stairs? Also, take a look at the room sizes and the doorways. If you had to use a wheelchair or a walker, even for a short length of time, could you maneuver/turn around in those rooms?

Don't wait to do the traveling you may want to do if you can afford it now. I don't fly anymore anyway but no more 10 hour drives for me, either. I can still travel but I have to break those drives down to smaller distances per day. Hey, we don't have to be back for work. You can take your time to get where you're going and get home if you can afford the extra overnights.

Know your neighbors, especially if you live alone. I have a wonderful downstairs neighbor who has taken care of a few important things for me since I've been housebound for the last few weeks including things associated with my move.

Keep your cell phone on your person at all times. Make sure it is up to date with business contacts, not just friends and relative contacts.
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