Well not really, but feeling a bit like it as my husband has been on a roadtrip driving cross country with an old friend. It got me thinking about how my life would be if I were to find myself suddenly single. I will tell you, it was a bit lonely.
It happens all around us all of the time. A freak accident causes an untimely death….a serious illness takes someone in the prime of their life or a marriage fails for whatever the reason. Now I am the eternal optimist, but I am also a realist….My mom didn’t make it to her 60s because of cancer. While my dad had time to understand that she was not going to make it, his life was just never the same. The roles that she filled in their marriage were void. My dad started bouncing checks because he just didn’t know how to move money between accounts. She had handled the books for his businesss on top of having her own career at a bank. Of course he was lonely…..I remember that first Christmas and my dad attending parties all alone….it broke my heart.
Sometimes a death or divorce causes a financial hardship that means selling a home and moving into someplace smaller or cheaper or closer to family….perhaps all of those. I am constantly asked….how are you doing after selling your house? Do you like living in your office? Don’t you miss your big house??? Well, I am doing great, our office is lovely and cozy and fine for the two of us and NO, I don’t miss my big house. I loved that time in our lives when when the girls were growing up and had room to roam, but those days have passed. I also do not miss my beautiful things that are tucked away in two storage units. I am sure I will be happy to have them again when I get another home and start hosting family events again. I am at my daughter’s home this weekend watching my four year old granddaughter. Seeing our lovely piano and dining room furniture in her house makes me nostalgic and happy. I’m so happy that she and her husband can enjoy them in their home. I am looking forward to helping her to host some of the bigger family gatherings.
My husband and I are embracing this point in our lives and enjoying the ride. We really are in a position that gives us lots of freedom and options that being tied to a bigger property did not. We are hoping to travel even more and spend more time with our daughters and granddaughter.
We are also working hard to get our finances positioned so that one of us will live very comfortably without the other. Doing it TOGETHER is truly the loving thing to do. That probably means building a house that will suit us better as we age but also one that is easily managed by one of us.
We have saved for our future retirement all of our married life. At this point, we could retire (I understand the math as a financial advisor). Shedding the upkeep on the other house really was a big potential drain to our retirement.
We were at my husband’s high school class reunion last year. One of his friends and his wife worked for the airlines all of their careers….he was a pilot and she was a flight attendant. They never had children (one way to build wealth!). They were telling us that they had sold their boat. Their financial advisor told them that their boat was going to “SINK” their retirement. Taking a good hard look at those things that are a financial drain, but may not provide enough joy to justify keeping them, is really important.
We choose to continue to work because we both love what we do. I am passionate about helping my clients to protect the people that mean the most to them and also to plan for a secure retirement or transition of a business. It also means building plans to have enough joint lifetime income to support the survivor for the rest of their lives. I see folks failing to plan for the loss of a spouse’s social security payment or pension. Without a plan to handle that, especially for couples who rely heavily on social security for their retirement income, can lead to a life of fear of running out of money. That is a common worry that I hear from people when I ask them what keeps them up at night.
As a financial advisor, I have dealt with the suddenly single situations a number of times. I have seen couples plan well during an illness for the survivor who will be alone and I have seen others ignore it….only to leave a mess for a loved one during an already difficult time of mourning. If a sudden death happens, it can throw a family into chaos during a time of extreme loss.
So, we choose to plan for the big ugly things that can and do happen over a lifetime. No one wants to think about those things. Putting a plan together to deal with those “what ifs” can allow retirees to face the future with anticipation versus fear and worry!
Wishing you a day of great anticipation for the future!
Kim and the team at Legacy Wealth Solutions and Seeds of Abundance