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Old 01-16-2018, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Seattle Eastside
640 posts, read 334,169 times
Reputation: 1485

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This is in the same family as "what advice would you give a [20/30/40] year old" except I'd really like to hear from people who came back from a big retirement setback.

When we were in our late 30s, all of the following happened to us:
  • *Divorce (not mutually agreed but you can't stop someone from an affair and walking out on small children)
    *Job loss during recession
    *Car accident
    *Medium health issue ($5k costs not covered because it was dental, during unemployment + divorce)

Those were the major things. After surviving about a year on all emergency funds and retirement cashed out during a low, we started at about $0, good credit still. Other people we knew faced major health issues. Some lost their homes because they had to sell underwater to move to remain employed (we didn't know anyone with subprime loans), tanked their credit anyway.

But I'm only 40.

For those who faced serious misfortune, and made it to 60 - 70 in good shape, how did you come back to get into the retirement phase? What did you do to make up time?

(No lectures about how people aren't supposed to get sick, divorced, or why anyone should take a job that pays less than their unemployment insurance even when it will cause them to lose said insurance, please.)
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:56 AM
 
1,168 posts, read 2,402,296 times
Reputation: 3485
Wow if that's the worst that ever happens to you I'd say you made out pretty well so far!

I'd hardly call any of those events "major" or a "big retirement setback" just a bump in the road. No lectures from me- especially at only 40. I'd just say carry on- what else can you do?

Last edited by exit82; 01-16-2018 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:04 AM
 
Location: equator
3,436 posts, read 1,532,968 times
Reputation: 8538
When unexpected job setbacks whacked my husband and I, we sold it all and left the country so we could afford to retire. That's how we dealt.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:24 AM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,202 posts, read 1,346,551 times
Reputation: 6336
I didn't start saving/investing in earnest until I was somewhere in my 40s. Single mother from the time my son was a baby. Still single. When I got to the point that I started having "extra" money, I contributed max to my 401k and made extra payments on my condo so I could enter retirement with no mortgage. I think I did pretty well. LIving comfortably now; have been retired for 7 years.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia/South Jersey area
2,875 posts, read 1,404,432 times
Reputation: 10088
Lol, most of my "setbacks" have been emotional. 2013 husband of 30 years loses battle to cancer. 2014 baby brother loses his battle to cancer. 2015 best friend of 30 years dies from obesity related heart attack.

I come from old school pick yourself up and keep moving stock. My mother was a civil rights attorney in the heart of Jim Crow south so she always instilled in us that as long as you are alive things will be ok.

I'm 58. I'm also a women of faith so I do believe that I will survive whatever heads my way. lol, it may not be pretty but I'll survive it. I've been laid off twice, I didn't start seriously savings until my 40's mainly because my late husband and I have really good pensions, which I know today are a rarity. when I started working there were no IRA's or 401K's in most companies.

Hurricane Katrina, hammered my relatives. we simply pick ourselves up and keep moving As my mom says "as long as you wake up in the morning you're ahead of the game"
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:22 AM
 
15,149 posts, read 19,759,536 times
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I've had plenty of hard times in my life -- but two especially tough ones.

My first husband walked out on me in 1968 and left me with two babies, 18 months old and five weeks old. He said he had married me only to avoid the draft in 1965 -- and, when he became a policeman, he didnt need a family any more to stay out of Viet Nam. I cant even describe what I went through in those days, both emotionally and financially: working three less-than-minimum-wage jobs to barely make ends meet, never seeing my babies, having a car with only one working gear and a house with no heat in the Denver winter. (Years later, when I finally got on my feet financially, I started donating money to other needy single mothers and have continued to do that for the past 30 years.)

The other tough time was my second marriage. My fault -- I rushed into it without really knowing him and learned, too late, that he was an abuser. I stayed with him, though, because I didnt want my children to suffer like they did after the first marriage. Then, one day he broke my younger daughter's nose -- she was five years old and he did it just because he'd had a bad day at work. Leaving him then without his finding out about it was the most dangerous experience I've ever had (even more so than when I was carjacked 12 years ago). Again, we started over with no home, no money, no nothing. But we got through it -- and it really is true that what doesnt kill you makes you stronger.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,546,296 times
Reputation: 16771
Just out of high school, I got very ill. It was one of those oft ignored at first illnesses, and it took two years and a hospital visit to identify what was wrong. I was told by a lot of people that I was imagining it.

After an emergency hospital visit, I got a doctor who knew what to do. If it had been treated five years before, most would have worked. Then, it didn't. After an assortment of new medications, which also didn't work, it was surgery. It got delayed because that insurence at the time I was ill had terminated. So when they did the surgery, it was a call, that it was okayed, be ready to go into the hospital tomorrow.

It was never really 'fixed' and as time went on I found ways to get around symptoms. But I'm always tired. My absorbtion of food, vitamies, and medicines is iffy. Pills with a coating has no chance of doing anything. I've been using supliments and vitamines and alternate meds without hard coatings and more natural ingredients. I know the leftovers from the illness and side effects of the surgeries will never go away, but am very aware of how I feel. If I'm tired, and want to push through, then I try to slow down. When the moment which says your tired, quit, I listen.

Back in my 20's I was in very poor health, and in the thirties it improved and I had my son. My marriage split when he was just in school. Money was the problem after. To me my little house in a small town is a castle since my housing for a while was uncertain.

But I didn't give up. I kept finding that one good thing that happened every day. I looked at small details and controlled what I could. And somewhere inside me I still believed it would get better.

Don't ask me where it came from. I don't know. But for a while I lived day by day and still do.

I have lost parents, seen my dad's mind fade away, been without a home and stayed where I could, and been homeless. I don't 'assume' anything. But I've managed each time, and done it by microsteps. Do what you can for yourself today, even if it doesn't seem like much. Don't give up. Take joy from the good things, even if they aren't much. Even if they aren't in any way guarenteed. If you let them in, you could worry about a mountainside of things, but worry doesn't fix anything. Better to spend the time finding little things which help. Remember life gives no guarentee it will stay the same. But always be aware of what's around you, and take all precautions you can for those big ifs.

I was already 'retired' medically when I 'retired' paperwise. And I have added my experience to the thread about living on a 1k check. And I'll keep on keeping on by appreciating the good stuff, and dealing with now, preparing as much as one can for some bad thing, and accepting that we don't know what tomorrow brings but always know the options and any fallbacks you can, and will just do as what it takes.

Life often has tricks, and you'll find your nice secure dreams and life and plans all ascew, and if you're not careful, the confusion and pain will drown you. It's not a bad thing to discover how to see life as a series of steps, each a small change, and learn how to see where those steps are taking you, and how to find the door out of the secret room if its not a good place.

My first big problem was getting very ill the last year of highschool, and the worse later was life as I'd made it falling apart when I lost my programming job when those like me were being let go all over the place. I had two more, but technology had mostly already supplied the basic programming. Then came the recession. Even my boss with 20 years bank and tech experience was let go so anyone below was gone.

I've learned to look for the gains when change repaints your world. I got married. I had my son. I had time to meet friends outside of work. Looking back, it was a time I cherish as much as the best of my 'work' life. It was when I found myself, in the strengths and the not so goods, and why I have come to not regret any of it.

Life is an adventure and we should all understand that there will be ruts on the road and the best of times and the worse, but the ruling force is change, and once you quit remembering to bend you've lost.

Sounds a bit etherial, but I do believe we live multiple lives, and carry fears and perceptions to the next life. People who just 'feel' like they've seen this before, or felt it and realize its a part of them, but have no idea how they may have known. Maybe those are the things which fuel the survivor in those who wouldn't seem to have ever had to learn how. But when life was lemons, it was very easy for me to slip into survival. And it still is. But I plan some backup to them now, and then go on with living.

The really odd thing about growing older and having life experience is how in time you gain an appreciation of the mistakes, and they teach you how to get through the hard tunnels and dark shadows and come out a better person than you were.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,579 posts, read 17,567,761 times
Reputation: 27661
I got into a bad job situation two years ago. I knew I made a mistake within a week. My finances were shaky at the time and it could have gotten out of control if I hadn't found my current position.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Southern California
23,747 posts, read 8,259,495 times
Reputation: 15476
For me a shocking divorce in my early 30's left me alone with a 7 yr old and no family, very far away from my root.

I could have run back to my roots, but I stayed and worked for 40 yrs and had a good life raising my daughter and didn't start serious saving until 40 something, but all has worked out for me so far.

The MAJOR health set back was a knee infection in late 2016, that was a major major setback and I'm coming back but it's a painful journey.

For me, marriage was NOT ever in my mind again. BF's yes, but no one to rule me, etc with their controls.

A lot of spiritual work in the 80's has made huge changes in my mind/thinking.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Idaho
1,454 posts, read 1,155,024 times
Reputation: 5492
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neerwhal View Post
This is in the same family as "what advice would you give a [20/30/40] year old" except I'd really like to hear from people who came back from a big retirement setback.

When we were in our late 30s, all of the following happened to us:
  • *Divorce (not mutually agreed but you can't stop someone from an affair and walking out on small children)
    *Job loss during recession
    *Car accident
    *Medium health issue ($5k costs not covered because it was dental, during unemployment + divorce)

But I'm only 40.

For those who faced serious misfortune, and made it to 60 - 70 in good shape, how did you come back to get into the retirement phase? What did you do to make up time?
Neerwhal,

Looking back at our life's experience and especially that of our parents, I firmly believe what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Few of us can go through life unscathed, many people have experienced similar road bumps (divorces, death of loved ones, job losses, accidents, health issues etc.). Some experience even more drastic life changing events (wars, natural disasters etc.). Speaking from my own experience, I often have to reach deep inside my mind and heart to find the courage and the capacity for endurance which I learned from my parents, and the examples set by others to move on.

I do try to look back often on the past, not for self-pity, excuses or justifications but to reassure myself that I am a survivor. Nothing that I face now or in the future that I can not handle when I continue to draw from the deep well of experience of my own, my parents and many others.

You are only 40 but have survived quite a few life bumps since your 30's. You will be doing just fine when you are 60 or 70. Just try to remain resilience, flexible and optimistic.

Last edited by BellaDL; 01-16-2018 at 12:53 PM..
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