Fandango’s Provocative Question #143

How much have you and your priorities changed over the past twenty years?

Oh, let’s see. I had my heart redesigned. I had cancer. I had my stomach removed — twice. I almost died. Twice. Garry got a lot older. We both stopped working. All our money vanished. We learned to live on less, but there’s only so much less you can live on. I calculated today that in the past 18 years, Garry’s social security has gone up by (are you ready?) ALMOST $100! Slightly less for me, but I’ve only been getting Social Security for the 12 years, so mine has gone up less than $50. Garry’s two tiny pensions are even tinier now, but our mortgage went up because taxes and insurance went up.

Meanwhile. the house got old while we lived in it. Suddenly, or so it seemed, we needed gutters, a deck, a hot water heater, a replaced septic system, a revised well. New doors, new windows. A new boiler. I don’t even know how much we have spent keeping this house from disintegrating. All the work we did when we first moved in is now 20 years old. Where did the time go?

So what has changed? Everything.

For every one of you who are “saving for a rainy day” while planning all those fun times for when you are retired? Rethink your plans. Unless you get a lot richer than we did, you won’t retire until you decide you are too old keep working — or the people you work for declare you obsolete.

What if you don’t get a pension when you retire? A lot of places take pension money yet somehow, when retirement comes, there’s little or nothing remaining — or it turns out to be far less than it should be.

Shit happens.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the things we did. We enjoy our memories. They make us laugh. If we’d been saving them for retirement, we’d have nothing to remember.

If you can, build memories now. Tomorrow is a question mark. Live in the moment. Don’t wait until you are old before you do the things about which you dream. Enjoy life. Savings are great, but so is living.

If you are saving for a rainy day, have you looked out the window? I think it’s already raining.

Categories: #FPQ, #Photography, Blackstone Valley, House and home, Provocative Questions, Remembering - Memories, Retirement, Vacation

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19 replies

  1. David and I would probably have been better off, as in had a nicer house, car etc, if we hadn’t spent money travelling overseas and going on train trips when we were younger, but I don’t regret a minute of it.


  2. What true words. I have a sibling that agrees fully with your thinking. He won’t retire until they push him out, and he’s only a year younger than I am more or less. He says there’s no way his family (which is now he and his wife, and one older kid who had plans that were disrupted by Covid) could afford things if he did retire. He’ll own his home shortly, but is already doing the ‘fix it’ dance, because the house is older than yours probably. That right there, that whole house disintegration thing puts an icicle through my heart. If something major fails, I’m screwed. No cushion any longer. I have a credit card with a high limit, but who the hell wants to make those payments until they fall off the perch? It’s no longer a great idea to own your own home, save for the fact that out here anyway there are NO places to live at all. Even the really cruddy places are rented, leased, bought…there’s a housing ‘shortage’. Thanks California. Those folks are moving here in droves. I’m grateful to have a locked in fixed mortgage that is almost affordable. But like I said, if something big goes ‘bloooey” I’m screwed. I could sell but then the problem becomes ‘where would I go?” There are no options right now. It’s terrifying. And ‘they’ wonder why I get suicidal. Yeah. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, because you know, probably better than I do, what’s written on that wall.


    • Your thinking echoes mine. Living here costs us pretty much everything, but where else would we be except an old people’s residence?

      At least here, however much work it will always need, we have room and privacy. It could use new windows (more new windows since we’ve already replace several). I dread the aging of the roof. Our fence can’t be opened anymore. It’s so swollen from rain, it’s permanently stuck. We put a ton of money into it when we moved in and I never imagined time would march on and then — we’d have to do it all again plus a bunch of things we didn’t do the first time.

      EVERYONE with a home goes through this. But — if you rent, at time like now when rents go sky high, what then? At least when your mortgage goes up, it’s doesn’t triple or quadruple (unless you got a really BAD mortgage). I have friends who rent and they’ve seen their rent double and redouble over ten years.

      There’s no simple answer. Surviving is hard. Unless you made a lot of money “before,” keeping your house functional makes it a classic money pit. By the way, if you have never seen it? There’s a movie starring Tom Hanks called “The Money Pit.” It is hilarious until you realize you are living in your own money pit.




    • It sounds so familiar. I always thing that a single four hours of the money some of these monumentally wealthy men have coming in would fund us for the rest of our lives. Too bad we aren’t on their donor’s list!


  4. I agree with you Marilyn, living life and enjoying it when you are young (er) is better than saving all that for post-retirement.


  5. You sure speak the truth here! I kinda wish you had left out the amount Social Security has gone up though. I knew it wasn’t much but gee, I had some dreams about it before (LOL). And as much as I wanted my own house I’m now happy I don’t have that particular headache.. Buying groceries is bad enough. At least I can still buy some of the food I like as well as some special products to just enjoy. I’m weaning myself from the things I just enjoy now, Can’t afford afford them now.


    • Food is at LEAST 50% higher than last year. We eat a lot less — which is easier as we get older, but we never go out to eat. Not only is it expensive, but any good restaurants this little town had are now closed. No one has reopened them and I know of no plans to open them or new ones. I’m not sure when or if this will change, but I’ve been doing mountains of creative cooking to keep us from being too bored with food — what we call “food ennui” — to eat at all! And now, time to start preparing fried rice with chicken and snow peas.

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  6. “Build memories now.” is so apt especially after what we have gone through during pandemic. Enjoyed reading it all.


    • I am so glad we didn’t wait for retirement! Those memories really do make a difference and you just never know if you or your mate will make it to retirement. Many don’t, so living in the moment (which isn’t the same as blowing all your money) makes more sense than waiting until you are old and then thinking “NOW it’s time for fun.” By then, you’re ready for a soft chair, not traveling.


  7. Too many people put things off for a rainy day or for retirement and then don’t ever get to do whatever it is they wanted to do.


  8. Good point! We should make sure to enjoy life in the present 🙂


    • Waiting is fine — but not waiting for life to happen. It should always be happening, It’s not always an easy balance to reach, but it’s worth it. Memories are great and gathering them is, quite simply, FUN. I think over the years, while we didn’t take many expensive vacations, we never took a vacation that wasn’t a joy. Really, we had a good time together before getting married and afterward. I’ve only regretted what we didn’t do — never what we did 😀

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