Retirees spend time and money wisely

October 28, 2013

For many of us, retirement life brings the question: What else do I have to look forward to in life? And while the simple answer may be the jazz or film festival, other questions loom in little bubbles above our heads: How should I best spend the time I have left? What will happen to me when I can’t do the things I love doing?

My friend Sharon writes, “We moved ourselves to Cadbury where our children won’t have to fret about us as we grow older. In fact, we’re healthier now than when we left the farm.

“Nowhere did I read or hear about the grief of separating from a home of 40 years, built by our own hands. As I sorted and threw away files of things I had collected for teaching for years, I realized that when I threw away papers, I was throwing away a part of me.”

We do throw away a chapter in our lives, but this can be a wonderful thing. This morning I passed a bus filled with children and thought, I never have to do bus duty again.

No more opening up ketchup packages for kindergarteners during lunch duty. I was on my way to exercise class, not school. Sharon recently attended my writing class and is experiencing the joy of self-discovery as she chronicles the winter of her years.

Stuart wrote to say he enjoys reading my column and asked if I would let folks know about a volunteer opportunity. He is the local coordinator for AARP’s TaxAide program for eastern Sussex County, a group of volunteers who help seniors prepare their taxes.

Now western Sussex County will host a meeting at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the clubhouse at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville for potential volunteer tax preparers. Stuart and Leo tax their brains for the benefit of others.

Who says this is not a great country? Alan Greenspan recently said of retirement. “What am I going to do? Stop thinking.”

Kathleen wrote to share a concern about rising Medicare costs. “Baby boomers are expected to live longer and will need care longer. I had to redo my budget … and I wanted to warn other-about-to-be retirees.” Alas, Kathleen had to mention healthcare costs. Thinking of upgrading the kitchen appliances or taking a vacation, or do you need more dollars for monthly health insurance? It’s difficult to follow a budget.

Our healthcare costs are deducted from my retirement check and I know I am more fortunate than most Americans and most human beings on the planet.

I asked Rayquest if he will let me use his Social Security check to travel to Copenhagen and have my picture taken with the Cape Gazette.

Instead, he booked a Group On deal at Niagara Falls. Bet you can’t wait for that column!

I would like to warn other about-to-be retirees, too.

Myth No. 1: Retirees don’t need as much living space.

Two people who used to leave the house together every morning now need to occupy a smaller space for an indefinite amount of time?

Your floor plan should have space for two televisions on opposite sides of the house. Think Golf channel and Glee. NCIS and Masterpiece Theater.

Myth No. 2: Retirees need to let go of furniture. What about family heirlooms?

My husband’s grandparent’s mahogany four-poster beds are strung up in the garage like a side of beef.