Thinking about retirement

42-15619238I read a lot of personal finance blogs.  They all have excellent ideas for living a frugal (not cheap) life.  Some of them have had a lot of debt in the past that they have paid off; some of them are still paying down their debt.  Some of them are stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs, a new acronym for me).  Some are politically conservative, some are liberal.  Some are in the UK, some are here in the US.  It’s a pretty diverse group.  They do have one thing in common, other than being interested in personal finance: they’re all pretty young.  From what I can tell, most are in their 20s and 30s.  I suspect that’s the age range for many, if not most, bloggers. 
A couple of days ago, Trent at The Simple Dollar did a post where he answered readers’ questions.   One reader asked if he could recommend a blog for people who are retired.  Here is his response:

 “I think there is a huge audience for a retirement-age personal finance blog. The only problem is finding someone to write it.

The truth is that most bloggers tend to be young – in their twenties or thirties – and are simply not facing these issues. That’s not to say there are not older bloggers, it’s just that the blogger demographic tends towards Generation Y.

Why is that? I think there is more of a willingness among the young to reveal their flaws openly to others, to tell the truth. I don’t know whether that’s a generational divide or a old versus young thing, but I know I’ve heard from many older readers who seemingly can’t believe I would admit to giant mistakes so freely.

I would love to see an older blogger in his/her fifties or sixties take on the issues of people facing retirement.”

I don’t know that I agree completely with his reason for the lack of older bloggers.  I suppose that could be a factor, but it’s been my experience that people in my age range either a) don’t want to be bothered to learn how to do something new; b) don’t think they have enough computer skill to do a blog, or c) think they don’t have anything to say.  Three years ago I started a blog for our faculty senate, and almost no one used it.  Our faculty’s average age is exactly my age (51).  What I heard at senate meetings was “I don’t want to create an account” and “It’s too much trouble to sign in and use it.”  And that was just to post comments.  I’ve also heard librarians at conferences go “ooh” and “aaah” when they were shown how to set up a blog (picture me in the back of the room, rolling my eyes).  Obviously the amazed audience didn’t think they were computer-savvy enough to have their own blog. 

Anyway – back to retirement.

I’m not quite retirement age yet.  Because I became a librarian late in life, early retirement is not an option for me.  My plan from the beginning of this job has been to put in 20 years.  I’ll retire at age 67.5, in 2024.  I’ll have full Social Security, if it’s still around, since my official retirement age is 66.5.  I also have a defined-benefit state pension.  The Florida Retirement System is consistently rated as the most fully funded of any state plan.  I don’t have to contribute anything to that.  I’ve heard that new state employees will not have the FRS option any more, because the state is going to a 401-K system.  I’m not surprised.

I have never previously had a job with a retirement plan as a benefit.  I had an IRA and at times an SEP, but I also started those later than I should have and they haven’t accumulated an enormous amount.  (And of course their value has shrunk considerably with the market dive; but since I have nearly 16 years until retirement, I’m still thinking long term and I’m not too worried.)

So, if nothing changes between now and then, when I retire my income will come from Social Security, my FRS pension, and a little extra from my IRA.  My house will be paid off in 2021, three years before I retire, so I won’t have a house payment – my biggest monthly expense right now.

But, I have lots of questions.

This is getting to be a long post – I’ll do part 2 tomorrow.


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