Working in Retirement – The New Reality

Category: Work and Volunteering

October 15, 2017 — The idea of retirement is supposed to be – that you get to relax and not work anymore. Unfortunately that concept is running up against a harsh reality; not having enough money to retire. In this article we will talk about some creative ways folks in that predicament are managing to survive.

A harsh reality
A record one in five Americans over 65 is working today, a reflection of our longer lifespans and a changing world. An increasing proportion of retirees in the workforce coincides with the avalanche of baby boomers hitting retirement age; the oldest boomers are 71 this year. Although many are employed because they like working, millions of others are forced into it because of their fragile finances. Three quarters of Americans between 55 and 64 have less than $30,000 saved, according to the AARP. According the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security constitutes at least 90 percent of income for more than one-third of retirees. And, since the average Social Security recipient received $1360 per month in retirement benefits at the end of 2016, that is a significant cut from pre-retirement income. Welcome to retirement in the new millennium!

A paucity of choices
For those who want or need to work there aren’t always that many good choices. The fortunate ones have a competitive skill to offer employers, or one that can parlayed into a business. Unfortunately, our skills are often out of date. Physical labor, even jobs that require standing, can be exhausting for people with aches and pains. Many people might find competing for jobs with teenagers as demeaning. So what can you do if you need to work to maintain your lifestyle?

The vagabond experience
Jessica Bruder is the author of “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century“. She also wrote a fascinating article for Wired, “Meet the Camperforce“, based on her book.
“Nomadland” details the experiences of boomers like the Stouts, who travel the country as vagabond workers. Chuck and Barbara both lost their investments in the 2008 crash and were facing bankruptcy. They sold their company and just about everything else they owned. Whatever survived the purge had to fit in their new dwelling: a 29-foot 1996 National RV Sea Breeze motorhome. The Stouts roamed the country in their RV for a few years and saw quite a bit of it. They were campground hosts and found some other temporary jobs. Then they heard about a website called Workers on Wheels, which helps people on the road find jobs, including volunteer positions. Now the Stouts do seasonal work for the Amazon’s “CamperForce” program, which provides seasonal labor for the retailer’s giant warehouses across the country.

Other seasonal hirers include Fedex, LL Bean, UPS, or Walmart – which hires greeters or cashiers. Walmart also welcomes RVs overnight in their parking lots. Many nomads work in state parks and campgrounds, sometimes trading work for a free spot to park their camper. Many boomers seek out employers who need temporary, seasonal workers – but don’t want full time employers. The pay isn’t always great, perhaps $10/hour, but the opportunity to pick up some additional cash can make the difference for a comfortable retirement.

The sharing economy
We have written several times about the opportunities that the “sharing” economy offers. You can be an Uber or Lyft driver, do errands for Taskrabbit, or hire yourself out for jobs that you have the skills to do – whether it is cooking, escorting seniors to appointments, writing, or whatever. See “Further Reading” below for more on those opportunities, as well as ways to cut your expenses so your retirement income goes further.

What kind of interesting jobs have you found in retirement?
Necessity is the mother of invention, says the old saw. And we bet that a lot of our Members have found some creative and interesting ways to maintain their lifestyle. Please share your experiences and ideas in the Comments section below.

For further reading
The Sharing Economy Could “Lyft” Your Retirement
Seven Out of the Box Ideas for Surviving Retirement
The Kids Are Gone, You Are Retiring Next Month…And You’re Dead Broke
Golden Girls: Is A Roommate the Key to Your Retirement Shortfall
Turning Your Passion Into Retirement Income



Posted by Admin on October 14th, 2017

37 Comments »

  1. The linked article, “Meet the Camperforce” in “Wired” magazine is depressing but important reading. There’s a more in-depth version of the writer’s experiences here:
    https://harpers.org/archive/2014/08/the-end-of-retirement/ (Harper’s permits non-subscribers to read one article free per month.)

    The Workampers profiled are the modern version of “The Grapes of Wrath” migrants, but this time around it is the elderly who are itinerant workers surviving on meager means, their wits, a sympathetic community of people in their same situation, and very little else. What will happen to when they can no longer handle the manual labor at Amazon and other seasonal employers? Where will they go and what will they do?

    What isn’t discussed in the article is why people who reported having had very, very good jobs (that should have earned high incomes) now receive such small SS checks. Even if they took SS at 62, their benefits should be higher. These campers are scraping by with very little overhead and SS checks between $500 – $1187 per month. Were some exaggerating their earlier employment successes and financial investment losses to the author? Almost certainly. Perhaps many were also part of the shadow economy for more years than they acknowledge, working under the table to save themselves and their employers from the taxman, only to have those decisions bite them in the hindquarters later on? Entirely possible.

    The reason I bring up SS is not to find fault with people who’ve fallen on hard times, but rather to try to figure out why they slipped through the financial rescue cracks of at least average SS payments. Two people – a couple or roommates – can survive on the average payments of $2720 per month SS. Maybe they won’t live in high style, but they could certainly endure without working the extraordinarily labor-intensive jobs offered by Amazon warehouses and agricultural companies.

    However it came to be, Jessica Bruder’s report is a heartbreaking, cautionary tale.

    In answer to your question about whether I’m working in retirement, yes, I am doing some consulting in my former field of employment. It takes very little time and I can do it from the comfort of my home computer. It’s enough to keep my hand in the business world and brings in some extra money.

    by JCarol — October 16, 2017

  2. It might be a little late for retirees who find they cant make ends meet and are not happy about finding a job but hopefully everyone who reads this blog will use the info to teach their children and grandchildren to save for their own retirements and make good investment choices and if they are not financial savvy to hire a financial planner to help them!
    Few if any employer (other than govt jobs) even have pensions these days and 401k contributions wont necessarily be enough to tide you through retirement. And learn to say NO to children and grands when they ask for college and wedding money, remind them that the best gift you can give them is to be financially independent into old age.

    by jean — October 17, 2017

  3. Please….my parents live very comfortably on $2000 PER MONTH in an oceanside San Diego condo, and that includes taking vacations. My husband and I live in downtown San Diego for less than that too. Maybe not having a car payment helps and spending less than $400 on groceries per month makes it work though. All I’m saying is you do have options and I get upset everyone telling us new retirees that you have to have 1 million dollars in retirement….

    by Mary11 — October 17, 2017

  4. Mary11, There is no possible way anyone couple could live on 2000 per month unless they are getting subsidized housing or own their home outright. Rent or a mortgage alone would be more than that unless is is government housing. Are you sure you have your numbers correct?

    by Mamie — October 17, 2017

  5. Mamie, I have my numbers right. My parents purchased their 2 BR 1200 sq ft seaside condo for $58000 with a monthly mortgage of $350 . They don’t receive any help from the government either. THEY have a very good supplemental medical insurance policy from GM for $17 per month and a car thats paid for so maybe that’s where they are saving on their monthly bills. You don’t need to have such a large home when you are retired. I’d rather live in a smaller home and have money to travel and enjoy myself.

    by Mary11 — October 17, 2017

  6. Here is state by state information on what they say you need in retirement.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/make-the-most/heres-how-much-you-need-to-survive-in-retirement-in-your-state/ss-AAtyhSN?li=BBnbfcN#image=45

    Mary11 I give you credit living on $2,000 a month. Our expenses in CT are very high. Hubs Medicare, Drug plan and Medigap cost $442 a month. I am on Obamacare and that is $510 a month. Our house tax is almost $5,000 a year. We have no mortgage or car payments. We spend a lot on food as it is a bit of a hobby for us to cook gourmet meals now and then. We also eat cheeseburgers too! We have two dogs and they get groomed and visit the Vet regularly. We have normal bills like cable, cell phones, internet, garbage removal, electric, land line bill, and all sorts of odd ball bills that are one time bills. Car insurance, house insurance it goes on and on. We just bought a new snow blower at a cost of just under $2,000. We could never live on $2,000 a month and we probably are closer to $5,000 a month. Great you found a way to live frugally!

    by louise — October 17, 2017

  7. Louise, my parents property taxes are $850 yearly. Total medical outside of Medicare is $34 monthly and that also includes drugs, dental and vision. We have 3 cats, but expenses for them are only about $50 monthly. Cable and phone and internet is $210. Mortgage is $350. HOA is $370. Electric is $40. Car insurance is $32. House insurance is $30. They do eat out once in a while but don’t travel because of their age. I guess living in CA isn’t so bad after all!! My hubs and I are moving to northern CA or southern OR when we finally retire. Its a lot cheaper there….

    by Mary11 — October 17, 2017

  8. Mary11, when did they purchase that condo for such a low price? There is no way anyone could live on 2000 per month on the east coast unless they owned their won home outright and had governmentmassistance. Just my medicare and supplements alone are 500 per month. To live anywhere that I have ever been in the USA, even as a single person modestly, you would need at least 50k per year and I don’t know anyone who even gets by on that. Just my condo fees alone are 650 per month. Food, car insurance, gas, heat, etc. my electric bill is 300 per month. 24k per year for a couple is well below the poverty level here.

    by Mamie — October 18, 2017

  9. Mamie: Californians tend to stay put in their houses due to our beloved Proposition 13, which rolled back and froze tax assessments to 1976 levels. It stipulates that homes cannot have tax reassessments unless sold or given construction additions (only the improvement gets added to the owner’s tax base). In the eyes of the taxman, property tax assessment increases are limited to no more than 2% per year (some years have been more, others less).

    Prop 13 also froze RE tax rates at 1% unless increases are approved by popular vote. We are currently at roughly 1.3%.

    In practical terms it works out like this. DH & I bought in 1983 for $130K. We nearly doubled the square footage in the first years, bringing the assessed value to $190K. It’s currently valued by realtors is $750K, but by the taxman at only $296K, making our taxes are $3900. Should we sell this house, the new owners will be assessed at the new price with $9200 in annual RE taxes. Within a given neighborhood RE taxes can vary wildly. One of my neighbors bought in 1974 (probably for $65K or so) and made no improvements. She’s 93 and pays $1375 in taxes.

    Lest you think that Californians have become completely stuck in their homes over fears of higher taxation, people over 55 can sell their principal residence and within two years move within a county to equal or lesser value homes and bring their previous tax base with them. Somewhere around a dozen CA counties have reciprocal agreements with each other so that we can carry the tax base across those county lines. With an exception for disability, CA residents can take advantage of portable RE taxes only once.

    Bear in mind that western states tend to have enormous counties. The area covered by counties permitting portable taxes is over 50,000 square miles, including the most populous counties. So I could sell for $750K, buy for $750K or less anywhere in that 50,000 square miles, and keep my taxes at $3900 rather than $9200.

    Granted, Los Angeles has a 9.5% sales tax, so taxes get collected one way or another. Fortunately, as most of us age we tend need fewer non-food items so the sales tax burden doesn’t fall too heavily on the older set.

    p.s. Proposition 13 is a third rail of California politics. So much so that when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, Warren Buffett recommended figuring out a way to repeal it. Arnold reportedly Warren that if he brought it up again he’d have to do 500 sit-ups. Prop 13 was the only way that many could remain in our houses during periods of enormous housing price increases.

    by JCarol — October 18, 2017

  10. JCarol, thank you for taking the time to explain Prop 13! A very interesting read! You explained it in a very easy way to understand!

    It could really be a deterrent to people buying homes seeing the jump in taxes from seller to buyer.

    by louise — October 18, 2017

  11. Louise: Don’t you find that website’s nest egg numbers to be incredibly high? Less so with the annual cost of living, but those also seem high. The article apparently doesn’t factor in SS benefits and doesn’t explain their methodology or cite research sources, leaving us speculate about them.

    Mamie & Louise: Without a lot of extras, but including cable, cell phones, animal care, gardener service and so forth, DH, pup and I can live on $2600 per month. Throw in travel expenses, gifts, and other niceties and we’re at $3500 per month. No government assistance.

    Admin: it would be an interesting exercise to survey how much TR retirees budget monthly (by category) for various bills. It appears these costs vary wildly across the country.

    by JCarol — October 18, 2017

  12. Mamie, my parents purchased their condo in 1995. The value of their home has increased by 400% but the taxes have not. They only pay $17 per person monthly for their Blue Cross coverage through my father’s retirement benefits that General Motors provides. I tell them their very lucky to be able to receive those services for such a low cost. I was raised in NY and believe it is more expensive to live on the east coast, not including the south. I lived in Fla for several years, it was pretty good there. I’ve lived in all 4 corners in the US so I’m used to relocating and actually like it, but I’m used to that because I’ve been travelling internationally since the age of 1. Future retirees really need to do their research and decide what they can live with and without to make their retirement years more enjoyable and less stressful regarding to their budget. Most people in the US retire on less than $50000 per year. It can be done believe me…..you only need to find that special place that is more cost effective.

    by Mary11 — October 18, 2017

  13. JCarol, I do agree that the nest egg numbers are high and seems like they are saying that amount of money is for one person. I couldn’t see where they were talking two people for that money. In CT they indicated that the income needed was around $57,000 per year and believe it or not we are hovering around that range. Probably closer to $60,000 ($5,000 a month). Our Social Security is above average for those who draw at age 62/63 so we don’t have to pull out too much from savings. With stocks going up, our savings are getting a good boost. We are not all that frugal and we set the heat at what is comfortable and don’t bundle up in coats inside the house. Our ac runs all summer and is very cool. We spend a lot on food because we like to cook and experiment. We could cut back if we needed to but so far, so good! Healthcare expenses (Medicare stuff and Obamacare) right off the top costs almost $1,000 a month. I would also like to see a survey on how people budget their monthly expenses. The monthly expenses are okay to deal with, it is when you get hit with unexpected expenses that kill you. Car repairs, AC repairs, boiler repairs, surgery for a pet, Dr. bills. Also, it is easy to forget those once a year bills. I have an awning that I pay once a year to have them put up, take down and store for the winter. We buy a service contract for our boiler once a year. Those things add up! $6,000 a year for town taxes on 2 cars and house. Between health care costs and taxes that is $18,000 a year!

    by louise — October 18, 2017

  14. At 67, I continue to work fulltime, but I intend to retire at the end of January 2018. I kept working to increase my SS, which will be around $1650 when I retire. I could not live on that amount alone, even though I will have no mortgage/rent when I retire. My modest, but healthy, 401k will give me 4% a year and at that percentage of withdrawal, will probably not run out before my death; however, I will adjust as needed. I created a document from software on the Wells Fargo retirement website (available to all) that allows one to list needs, wants, and the totals of each, plus overall total. Before I made my needs/wants list, I had a lot of wants as needs, which was stressful because I thought, how can I live on only this amount? Once I understood that my want of $35 a month for the local senior center gym/pool was not truly a need, things became more clear. Once the needs and wants were separated, I realized that I can meet my needs with SS and 401k annual dispersements, but my wants would go over budget. So income streams are critical for me to have fun in retirement by meeting some of my wants. BTW, the gym is 2nd on the wants list, just after a monthly savings deposit, but before DirecTV.

    From my perspective, some items listed in some of the above posts are “wants”, while others are clearly needs. An example is that my current pets are needs (I must care for them until their deaths as I committed to them when I chose them), but any new pet is a want. It is important to be honest with ourselves about what we need and what we want. My choices in retirement will be through data driven decision making, not an unconscious assumption of what I think I need or “deserve”. Many people are living a lean retirement, just able to meet their needs. I would like to hear more from those who are living lean because they could teach me a lot.

    by Elaine Cubbins — October 18, 2017

  15. Elaine, you might save money on house insurance and car insurance by changing providers. We had one insurance company for probably 25 years. It kept going up in price. I called them and asked if they could lower the cost of my policy. My agent called back the next day and said flat out NO. Well, that irked me so I called AARP and was able to save around $850 a year and got a better policy for house and cars. It was a bit of a lengthy process with what they wanted to know. Have your current policy in front of you and they will also ask you about the value of your home and what it was assessed for. You might need a current tax bill. I spent a long time on the phone but was really happy with the end results. They also want to know how far you are from a fire hydrant.

    Another thing is to get a credit card with cash back rewards. I have a Costco Visa and I use it on everything I can possibly pay with it. It adds up. It isn’t a fortune but if you are going to spend the money anyway on groceries, gas, retail stores, tires, new appliances. Just make sure you put the money aside and pay off the bill each month. I spoke to a rep at Costco and she said she knew this lady who religiously used her Costco Visa every where. As soon as she made a purchase anywhere, she would go to her on line checking account and pay the amount she just spent. So she didn’t have a bill at the end of the month! I thought that was awesome! I got $440 last year in cash rewards and this year should be at least $500. Then you can buy a few of those things on your wish list! If you have a grown child you could also purchase things for them and have them pay you back but get the rewards!

    Another thing we did after my Hub retired was call AARP and ask that now that we drive less miles on the cars could we further reduce the cost of car insurance. Sure enough it was lowered again. Then we sold our 3rd car and that lowered it again.

    I am frugal in certain ways but not frugal in other ways!

    by louise — October 18, 2017

  16. As an experienced heavy equipment operator I find work up North in the warmer months, April thru October, then hook my camper back up and head south. I am 66 and was retired until the now x told me too move out. I have a pretty happy life and usually make enough too enjoy an easy winter while doing minimal work. Plus I am building up some more money for my next retirement

    by Steven — October 18, 2017

  17. You are so very right about the important, but difficult task of separating our wants from our needs.
    Thanks for the info on Wells Fargo’s downloadable spreadsheet.

    For others who want to give it a whirl, here’s the link:
    https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/retirement-plan/pre-retiree-worksheet.pdf
    A link to Wells Fargo’s retirement tools & calculators:
    https://www.wellsfargo.com/retirement-plan/tools-calculators/

    by JCarol — October 18, 2017

  18. I truly enjoyed this read of retirement and will take these pointers into vital consideration, for my next 6 years upon retirement.

    by Patricia Jordon — October 18, 2017

  19. We moved the comments that dealt with Medicare issues to a different Blog for further discussion and to keep comments here to a discussion of working in retirement and jobs members have experienced.

    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/health-issues/medicare-open-enrollment-period-almost-here-medicare-advantage-vs-original-medicare-which-is-best-plan-for-you.html/

    by Jane at Topretirements — October 20, 2017

  20. Working in retirement may become more commonplace or near impossible to avoid if a current proposal under consideration for the new tax law revisions should become reality. There is a proposal to reduce the maximum annual limit for tax-sheltered 401k contributions to $2400 — down from the current limit of $18000. https://www.wsj.com/articles/talk-of-retirement-savings-cap-rattles-financial-industry-1508497200 (or see the article in Money).

    Those of us retired or about to be won’t impacted, but what about our children and their peers? With most people today already not saving enough to retire, this proposal could severely impact any chance to correct the problem. Anyone want to claim Social Security will be the answer?

    by Rich — October 20, 2017

  21. The IRS announced yesterday that the amount for 2018 increases to $18,500 – google it for more info.

    The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,000 to $18,500.

    by Tessa — October 21, 2017

  22. My MIL worked as a cashier at a college. And I have an older friend who drove a school bus. Both were supplementing their Social Security until age/health reasons interfered around 68 yrs. Neither had 401k opportunities. Both had savings and had a home but times got harder for them to afford to live alone. Neither seemed to understand about financial things, after losing their spouse who took care of things. Married couples need a plan for after losing a spouse.

    by William DeyErmand — October 21, 2017

  23. William – I so understand this. My mother and father divorced in their mid 80s. As I was going over my mother’s subsequent finances with her, I noticed that her IRAs had been cashed in years earlier and her liquid assets were precariously low. I asked specifics about their retirement plans. She shrugged and said that they’d planned for my father to work until he died. Not much of a plan, but all too common among that generation and ours.

    Between Mom’s meager SS check and a generous reverse mortgage loan, she was able to live very comfortably until she passed away. Not everyone is as fortunate.

    by JCarol — October 21, 2017

  24. In regards to Rich’s post and then mine about the amount workers are allowed to contribute to 401Ks, etc… There was a story on the news this evening about what Rich posted. I agree it doesn’t make sense to reduce the amount workers can contribute. I think increasing it is a better idea and at least for 2018 that’s what they’ve done.

    Sorry Admin, I know this doesn’t belong here but I’m addressing the posts from Rich and myself in this thread and trust you’ll move these to where they belong.

    by Tessa — October 21, 2017

  25. Mary11, it is obvious that you and your parents are in a unique and beneficial situation. Most companies don’t provide generous retirement benefits like GM, for ex. By the time our 20 yo daughter retires, there will likely be no benies at all.

    In addition, you were wise to stay put in your homes vs moving around. Both housing and cars are better paid off, naturally. Unless you can flip a house for a great deal of money and go small, then stay there. You got into the housing market in San Diego at the right time and with prop 13, it is the perfect combo.

    Time has changed and what you were able to do is getting harder and harder to pull off for the younger gens, and I think the older gens don’t understand this, or they act like it isn’t true.

    We have several years before retirement. We are finishing up putting the dd thru college, which is about 80k not counting books and housing. The liberal colleges have become intolerable; more political than educational, and they control the state colleges. I went to a liberal college years ago (I’m an independent, actually) and they were not so political, even in liberal arts. Not today. So you have to be careful where you send your kids if you want them to get a decent ed. I took a class at the local state college last year and the instructor spent the entire class slamming the Right and not teaching, sadly. When I complained, they just said they support the teacher and raved about how good he was. Anyway, college is outrageous even at the state colleges and No One can work their way through school any more.

    With school bills, (we make too much to get grants, etc, and I hate to say it, but we’re white… Her gpa is excellent and she did get a scholarship, thankfully, but it is still expensive) that drains you. My husband is a network engineer for the gov and he plans to keep working as long as possible. The gov is talking about cutting benies. We aren’t spenders at all and rarely take vacations. We don’t have cable, etc. We don’t even go to movies except if daughter wants to see something, but that’s rare. We don’t have all the latest electronic gadgets, either. We do all our own work except plumbing. I groom the poodle, lol. We drive paid off cars until the doors fall off. We have been putting away as much as poss for years. We live in WV and our home wasn’t expensive but it isn’t worth as much as we paid for it over 11 years ago. Sad. We moved out of MD because it was so expensive to live there. We bought the house right before the crash. The irony is, we got a good deal….at the time.

    We will prob make it, but we will not live like kings. All we want is a small rental or condo to buy if we can pay outright, and money to take trips now and then. Time will tell….

    by Kim Wibbing — October 25, 2017

  26. Kim–you are so very right in many of your comments. I bought in Washington, DC 20 years ago a one bedroom apartment in NW and I could never afford to buy it now. My car is paid off and I do not have cable–but I do pay a princely sum it seems for Internet only. I do not go to movies, and I do out to eat maybe once a month with a friend. I am still working but my job is being phased out by the end of the year so I am looking for another–as much as I can while still maintaining this one. I am 63 since the end of September. I am a bit nervous since at this stage SS pays very little compared to if I were 66 or even 70. Since I have seven years to work–I will attempt to continue on. I, too, do not expect a lush retirement, but I do hope to be able to pay my co-op fees –which keep rising! and my mortgage. I will also pay off a credit card I use for miles–but see that I do not like to fly so may not be using the miles. Like you…time will tell… I am single now so I only have myself to depend on.

    by Jennifer — October 26, 2017

  27. Kim W. I know what you mean about kids and colleges. The costs set our retirement back and we have downsized our budget to save more for retirement. Been living this way for 10 years watching the cost of living rise more and more as the value of our home depreciates. 3 years and all is paid off but I won’t be retiring. The pension was cut at work, replaced with a 401K that isn’t match by the employer. Cuts have been made to Social Security for those born after 1955. I do have an affordable health insurance with the company which is my number one concern with retiring. I guess it really is true “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Staying healthy will make the difference.

    by William DeyErmand — October 26, 2017

  28. Kim, thanks for the input. My being a baby boomer retirement won’t be as easy as my parents. For example my hubs and I had to cash in our retirement savings after we lost our jobs and had to move in with my parents to be their caregivers. We don’t have any children but we only earn $1300 per month on SS. I’m the only living relative so the condo will be passed on to me and after selling it will probably net $165,000 . It will allow us to purchase a home and live somewhat comfortably in our final retirement.
    Yes, going to college in the 70s was much easier than it is now. I actually was able to pay for my own education with grants and a $2000 school loan. We would like to do some travelling in our retirement but since I have travelled extensively when I was single it’s not a necessity. Just FYI….General Motors no longer provides that type of medical benefits for their retirees. I just pray that medicare and Medicaid will be there for us when we need it…

    by Mary11 — October 26, 2017

  29. Agreed that college educations, particularly at state colleges, were proportionately less costly in the 1970s. Nevertheless, 10-15 years ago DH & I paid for our 3 children’s schooling through bachelors’ degrees. They started at local community colleges before transferring to a state university, and did so at reasonable prices. They worked part-time, commuted to school, got excellent educations, and all ultimately wound up with good jobs. Yes, some of their friends took out loans, but none wound up with big bills if they lived at home and worked PT while attending state schools. Private or out-of-state schools, and/or living away from home? Those are some very different (and very expensive) kettles of fish.

    Kim: IMHO most higher education has long had a liberal tilt. (Remember Berkeley, Kent State, sit-ins, love-ins, and Vietnam protests back in the 60s-70s?) Since most Americans under 25 lean left, liberal positions tend to not be offensive to the majority of college students.

    Mary, are you saying that you and your husband will be living on $1300 per month total – or will you each get $1300 in SS benefits? Even with a paid off mortgage, that’s going to be tight.

    William – I’m both blessed and happy to still have part-time work. As this blog topic points out, being fully retired isn’t what a lot of us can or want to do, at least while we’re still in our sixties. Your strategy and attitude will likely serve you well. May you remain healthy!

    by JCarol — October 26, 2017

  30. JCarol…that’s the total SS for both of us combined. That’s why we will be moving to a less expensive state and pay cash for our new home. You can purchase a condo or mfg home for less than $100,000 in Southern Oregon or Northern California . We should be OK.

    by Mary11 — October 26, 2017

  31. Mary 11 Keep us posted on how you accomplish your goals. Living simply can have it’s own beauty and one does not need to feel deprived. It does help to have travelled in the earlier years or throughout one’s career. If you feel that some how you did a few things–then later on it won’t seem so bad if you don’t or can’t travel as much. I feel that in the world we are living in–I would travel with caution now that I did not think about in the past. I lived in Egypt for six years, travelled Europe and Canada…as well as other places –so maybe as I age I will not need to do so that much. In DC at least I do have the option–a train to NYC for the day would be a refreshing change now and then, etc. There is more to life than money. Good nutrition and exercise will help to keep us healthy as well.

    by Jennifer — October 27, 2017

  32. Mary11 – Most Boomers have experienced periods of greater and lesser financial resources, myself included. Sometimes much greater and other times much, much lesser.

    Elaine’s post above points out a great resource for discerning needs from wants. To survive and be happy, Americans generally need much less money than they imagine. Have you found websites for helpful budget-cutting tricks and tips? If so, please share them. Most of us are not going to be as flush in retirement as we were during other periods of our lives.

    You are to be congratulated for assessing your resources and making retirement plans that will not exhaust your money before you run out of month.

    As Jennifer said, many of us care and are interested in how you manage. Please do keep us updated.

    by JCarol — October 27, 2017

  33. Mary11, I have a cousin who gets a little less than that each month for him and his wife. He made the choice to retire at 62 after 40 years in construction because he figured out he would qualified for Medicaid and if he waited until 65 to retire the difference in Social Security benefit from waiting would disqualify them. They only had 4K in a 401k after 2008, their truck, a trailer on their own land and a pop up camper. They traveled a lot and are now 76 and 75 with very few health issues.

    by William DeyErmand — October 27, 2017

  34. Louise sent in this link:

    Interesting: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/retirement/how-long-dollar1-million-will-last-in-retirement-in-each-state/ss-AAqslI4?li=BBnb7Kz#image=46

    by Admin — October 27, 2017

  35. Mary11 you might look into getting your name on your mother’s home deed and car title. I wish I had known that when my mom was still alive. It would have made probate much easier. I was the heir to her home, car and bank accounts, plus I inherited an IRA she had. All that would be needed would to have your mother agree to joint ownership or be awarded the house and car upon death. You’d probably need to see an attorney to get the paperwork done. Also, if she has any stocks you might be able to become a joint owner or again, upon your mother’s death you become the owner. In the case of the home, when you go to sell, you could do a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) for which you need to be selling one home and buying another. With this type of mortgage you can buy a home at approximately half of its value and never have to make a mortgage payment. Look up HECM to see how it works. That way if you were to find a home for $150k you would put about $75k down and put the rest in the bank.

    My mom and I went to her banks and had my name put on all her accounts as joint ownership. We never thought about the car or house. She also had stocks that had to be converted into my name after her death. That was easy but the stocks were older and had merged and changed names. It was a bit of a mystery to untangle that. Fortunately our financial advisor helped tremendously with the mess. Stocks had to be listed on the probate paperwork and the value had to be listed on date of death. The probate court people were not very helpful and rather I would just hire an attorney. I didn’t! Considering I was the heir to a pretty uncomplicated inheritance but it was pretty complicated. The probate paperwork is in legal mumbo jumbo. I even went to the senior center for help and they did try but they didn’t do stuff right either. I was about in tears and one of the probate people finally helped me. It took me almost 9 months to finish the probate process and then I still had to file Income Tax. So in all it was a year. Pretty ridiculous since I was the only heir, plus it cost me quite a bit of money to file with the probate court. Town hall charged $20 per death certificate for originals. Some places required originals. For all of you who have mothers and fathers still alive, try to clean up stuff for them sooner than later! When later happens you will be running around doing probate unless you pay an attorney a LOT of money. I was going to hire an attorney and my financial advisor told me I could do it. She instilled confidence in me and I did it! By doing it myself I probably saved $6,000!

    by louise — October 27, 2017

  36. Admin – that site puts me in mind of John D Rockefeller. Toward the end of his life he was asked how much money is enough? His reply,” just a little bit more.”

    Very few people retire with a million dollars and they manage just fine.

    by JCarol — October 27, 2017

  37. Jennifer- you are correct since I’ve done so much travelling when I was younger I have gotten it mostly out of my system…lol. Hubs and I would though are thinking of doing the RV thing during the summer months as long as we can. I have lived in 4 states so far but would like to see a little more of our beautiful country. I agree with your thoughts on money isn’t everything if you can live more simply. I don’t want a big home but feel my hubs couldn’t handle a tiny home either ….lol. Of course I will continue to post how I accomplish our goals. I have done a lot of research in this area in the last 6 years and since we want to stay on the west coast we have found Southern OR and North CA to meet our needs the most.
    JCarol- I have found many free books on Kindle that show you how the minimalist lifestyle can be accomplished and also how you can live with less money. For example I have friends who live in a Mfg home community and they grow their own fruits and vegetables. They go to senior centers which provide monthly boxes of food for free. Senior centers provide a lot of help to the elderly, even transportation services for people who don’t drive any more. My parents currently get discounts on their meds through Medicare, 30% discount on their electricity, and a LAN line for less than $10. Living on only $1300 monthly would have been much more difficult for us but we have been blessed with wonderful parents and what they have willed to us will definitely help with what we need for our retirement.

    I appreciate everyone’s input and love reading everyones comments!!

    by Mary11 — October 27, 2017

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