Monday, May 28, 2007

"Are You Crazy" lets get some Horse Sense

After all of the excitement about retiring in a month, I finally came down to earth and decided to met with my Financial Adviser. My FA just happens to be my Son In Law who works for Merrill Lynch. We met at his home and planned our strategies for retirement. This was done during our Hamburger and Hot dog cookout in their back yard. He started out by asking me what my assets are, how much in the 401K and my pension plan. I gave him the information needed to give me his professional opinion relative to retirement and his comments to me were "Are you crazy? Lets get some Horse Sense. Keep in mind my FA is extremely , shall we say, conservative, and feels if you don't have a million bucks in your savings account you cannot retire. Well, the possibility of me and my Hubby ever acquiring that much cash in our life time is slim to none. Now, bear in mind if we did not have this little hobby of ours, we could have had a million bucks in our savings account by now. Well, I am exaggerating of course, but it would be more than we have now, by a long shot. Our little expensive hobby happens to be purchasing our beloved Belgian Draft Horses at a very high price and selling our beloved Belgian Draft Horses at a very low price. You see, you just can't make any money when you do things like that. My Hubby has a very kind heart and thinks that everyone is honest and fair in their business dealings. Now, lets go back a step. We are dealing with HORSE TRADERS here who make their living by selling horses. Every horse we ever purchased was sound, ( in good health), eight years old (they all say that the horse is eight yrs old, because after eight yrs old you can't tell how old they are by looking at their teeth) and they all are stout and can pull like the devil. Well some of them turned out to be all of that, but the ones that were not , we really took a licking on the resale value of the horse.

So, that is my story on why my FA thinks I am crazy for considering retirement at this time in my life with my, less than impressive nest egg. In taking everything into consideration, it is the right thing for me to do at this time of my life. I could always get a part time job being the "Greeter" at Wally World. "Hello, Welcome to WalMart" A friend of mine suggested that perhaps we should considering down sizing to Mustang Pony's. We won't have to feed them grain or hay every day, but the gasoline my be of concern!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Playing the Retirement Game

I have been working since I was 15 years old. My Dad was the Principal of the High School and I worked during the summer in the office ,typing, running that messy mimeograph machine for $1.50 per hour. That was a good amount of pay back then. As an adult, I have spent the last 38 years working in insurance adjusting claims. I was on a three year plan. When I reached the age of 62 my plan was to retire. I had it all planned out. My new car that I just purchased would be paid off and I would be able to collect social security and also my pension. What a plan I had. It was perfect. Then on Saturday morning I walked to my mail box and saw a registered letter from my employer. It really looked important and very scary. What was this all about? I opened it up and read the content of the letter. Early retirement package was being offered to some of the employees. They included me on their list. I was so excited all I could do was say, "Yes, there is a God"! I danced around the mail box, (neighbors looking at me) and ran to the house to tell my Hubby. Now that I have decided to take their offer I find myself scared, confused and very nervous. How do I retire? I am too young. My car is not paid off. What will I do with myself. Being with my Hubby 24/7 could be a concern. I have always worked. Attending meetings with financial planners on how to roll over your 401k and are your retirement expectations realistic is just blowing my mind. Help me someone!!

Ok, I have settled down now. I am really excited about retiring and will accept the challenge head on. You go girl, and all that good stuff. Actually, I am scared , excited and happy. It is not easy to accept the reality that you are getting older and that you now could be on Medicare in a few years. Where has the time gone? Well, we shall see what the next chapter of life has to bring. I have been so blessed lately, that I can't wait to embrace the challenge of retirement. Watch out everyone, here I come!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Things happen for a reason. Just believe

My life is a little complicated now, but in a very good way. The pondering of accepting an early retirement package my employer has offered. Decisions on how to manage my, not so impressive nest egg, and the best thing of all, being reunited with my Son after 40 years. A great story that I would like to share.

40 years ago, I gave my Son up for adoption. I have had a hole in my heart for all that time. Wondering about him, did I make the right decision, etc. Sept. 9th, 2006 at 9:15pm is a day I will never forget. The phone rang. A woman asked me my name and date of birth and had I given up a baby boy for adoption 40 years ago. My heart sank as I answerd yes to all of her questions. She told me that my Son had hired her to find me and would I be interested in being reunited. With tears of joy and disbelief, I said, "absolutely". The next morning the phone rang and it was my Son. "Hi Mom", he said. Wow! I can't explain what I felt at that moment. To be finally called, Mom. I never had any more children and this was truly a blessing, indeed. The next step was to try to explain to my Boss that I needed some unexpected time off from work. I started the conversation with "how does one apply for maternity leave"? I flew to where my Son now lives and for the first time in 40 years our eyes met. There was an instant bond that fell over me. For the first time in my life, I really know how it feels to be a Mom. Things happen for a reason. Just believe.!