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When in doubt, keep working

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Welcome to 2013. As 2012 drew to a close, my husband and I moved into the retirement house we built, and we're celebrating the new year by unpacking boxes. Believe me, it is even less exciting than it sounds.

Building a brand-new house was a marital challenge. It took more money than we had earmarked and more time than we wanted to spend. And we had to agree on more decisions than even the most happily married couple should have to make all at once.

Along the way, I learned a few things about retirement planning. At the top of the list is the joy of continuing to work. It's simple. When you work, you get a paycheck, and having money flowing in steadily makes everything easier.

My husband is 66 and still working as an accountant; I'm 61 and still writing, editing and otherwise wrangling words. Last year, we saved a whopping 40 percent of our income -- a number that amazes even me. Throughout our lives we've both suffered setbacks -- divorces, joblessness and big college bills for five children -- but thanks to my husband's financial savvy and basic frugality, we're heading toward retirement with enough money for all the basics -- with a little left over to help the kids and still have a little fun.

Once in awhile, I get sick of working. Some days are tedious and the idea of quitting for good sounds appealing. Then I think again. I'm four years away from age 65 and a pension and five years from full Social Security age. Why quit now?

So, I'm decorating my new office in my new house and settling in for another year. And I hope lots of you are doing the same. Here's to more paychecks.
robe créateur

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January 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I am 62 & my husband is 65. We both plan on working for another 5 yrs. at least. We save 30% of our income towards retirement & see no reason to slow down yet. With people living well into their 80s and 90s, we want to make sure we have plenty of money set aside for our retirement. Medical is what is going to eat up our nest egg the fastest in the future.

January 06, 2013 at 3:56 pm

There is time and there is money. I've yet to run into a "time" store to spend my money in. I'm 57 and retired this year. My wife will continue to work for another 5 years or so. I planned well and we are more than comfortable but if I had kept going we could have certainly had an even better lifestyle in retirement. But I wouldn't trade the time for any amount of money. It's a personal decision for sure but I knew there had to be more to life than my nearly 40 year career. I was right and wouldn't change a thing.

Kim M
January 06, 2013 at 3:04 pm

My husband and I worked for 30 years with passion for the careers we had but in hindsight, retiring at 65 is too late. Once you start encountering changes in friends' health - strokes at 70, for example, you become fully aware of how little time is left before physical and cognitive change occur- sometimes quite suddenly. Volunteering in retirement is considered a great boost to longevity but you can't volunteer if you wait too long to retire.
Saving prudently for future medical expenses is essential these days. I say we need to create jobs for the many college grads who can't find work as easily as we did.

ron in caa
January 06, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I totally disagree John. If they live to be 85 to 90, they will leave little to the kids. I'm going to be 60 in two months and plan on working until December 2018 and my wife and I bank about 40% in savings per year plus contribute to 401K programs and other investments. That should just about get me through my 90 years with all the entitlement programs eating away at my income on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

January 06, 2013 at 1:01 pm

We're about the same age and retired a year ago. It isn't bad doing with less to leave the rat race.

As John G alluded to: I listed to a talk show commentor ask a caller who had just flown 1/2 around the world that hopefully for such a long flight, she flew first class? She said, "If I don't, my heirs will".

John G
January 06, 2013 at 9:36 am

One admires your thrift to save, but 40%? Appears that
your heirs stand to benefit the most.