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Monday, February 16, 2015

aging and retirement issues...

Oh lord, I was so tired when I left pottery class Saturday.  We worked on the hand-built kilns from 9am until 4pm.  I didn't realize how leaning over a table and hand-building for that long would affect my back. When I got out of the car at home, my back seized up... and for a few moments I couldn't move. But it passed and after a cup of tea, a Tylenol, and a hot soak in the tub, things were better. Ah, the joys of getting older!

And now for some other *issues*...


this about covers it...

This blog was originally planned to be about *our retirement years*. And I guess it actually is since we are in the mist of them and thus, everything we do has to do with our life in retirement. But I do tend to go off on tangents and speak of other things - like cats, pottery, quilting, family, likes, dislikes, etc. - and may not stick strictly to *retirement issues*.  

But today I will... (or at least I will start out that way). This issue is the constantly increasing cost of things. Nothing new of course, but now that we're on a fixed income, it's become an issue. I guess the government refers to it as the cost of living increase and this CLI is included in many things... even social security. However, although it's included (and I'm grateful for that), it never really covers the actual increase. 

In general, most things are going to increase with time and even though I understand why they must (at least for the most part), it still becomes an issue. While perfectly able to cover our expenses, I do find myself juggling things around to meet the unexpected increases as they occur. Recently we dropped the daily newspaper delivery service as the price has gotten beyond what we thought was reasonable... and after all, it was a luxury (and if I'm going for luxuries, I'll take chocolate and coffee over the newspaper any day).

This week we found out that our Internet/Cable/Phone service was going up $60/month! When we called to check on this, we were told that the other price we had was just an Introductory price and the time span for the offer was over. We were never told this was an introductory price and asked them what we could do (change some programs, reduce our channels, take out the land-line, etc.) to go back to what we were originally paying. Nothing apparently. So we dropped them and took on another service - one which was happy to have us and gave us the same service for less than we were originally paying the other company. Again... a luxury I guess, but we aren't ready to do without these services altogether. I do need PBS!

So it all works out... but it's a constant juggling act. And I imagine this will continue in other areas as time goes on. For instance, at the moment and for the last 10 or so years, we have carried a Long Term Care Insurance policy.  This past year the payments increased by more than 50% and we had to negotiate with them (changing some of the benefits to fit the payment we could afford).  And I fear that in the next 10 years, they may *price us out* completely. 

I guess the retirement benefits (owning one's own time) continue to outweigh the disadvantages (juggling the increasing cost of living on a fixed income). But my concern lies in whether this balancing act may become more difficult with time and age.  Right now DH and I can easily sit down and figure out how to overcome obstacles. But will this be true 10 years down the road? And will we be here 10 years down the road? Do we even want to be?  

OK, now I'm getting maudlin (is that the right word? - maybe I mean morose?).  Either way, let's not go there. Right now things are fine and retirement is wonderful. This is today and life is now, right?   

Back to *other things*....  (but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on retirement issues)



sun and salmon are my choices!

I went to see our Gastro-enterologist yesterday. It was just a 4 month follow-up visit and all is well. But he and I talked a bit about things in general.  I asked him his thoughts on cleansing diets (my daughter is on *The Clean Diet*), probiotics, the necessity of vitamins, the case for additional Vitamin D, and B12, etc. It turns out he and I agree that if you eat right and exercise and have no particular problem, there's no need for additional supplements. This was good to hear because every time I pick up a bottle of multivitamins and read the list of ingredients (and don't recognize all the chemical names written there) I end up putting it back on the shelf.  I don't know what those chemicals are and I don't want to put them in my body. But on the upside, it's obvious  that I could never have a problem with drugs when I can't even make myself take vitamins!






But I think we eat well (at least most of the time). I love to bake, but we generally give the bulk of my baking to the kids and grandkids leaving a few pieces for DH and I to have with our 4 o'clock tea or coffee. We only eat fresh fruits and veggies (never canned and very little frozen since my Oncologist recommended this almost 15 years ago). We do eat chicken and fish... and red meat (although not a lot). We use brown rice and whole wheat pastas and breads... and we do use regular sugar (never artificial sugars as they will bring on a migraine as well as make me feel awful - almost like the flu). We hardly ever eat fried foods and I don't deep fry anything at home. But we do both enjoy fried catfish on occasion. This seafood restaurant we like sends us a 2 for 1 coupon once a month and we do use it.

And speaking of coupons... we do clip and use them... but only for the products that we would normally buy anyway. It doesn't amount to much, but I'd say that out of a normal week, we may save on an average of $5 - not a big savings, but every little bit helps.

I'll leave you with this picture I found recently of a cat at the Vet's. It was on a blogger's site and I would gladly give them credit if I could just remember where I saw it. Since our *Ghost* is not feeling well today, it made me think of her. 
















12 comments:

  1. I saw that cat on The New Sixty--Arkansas Patti's blog. I do hope Ghost is okay.

    Sometimes I wonder why I have cable television at all. I cut back on channels and the price went up. There is just no figuring it out. But, among the many reasons that I miss Mike, his ability to handle the financial aspects of our life always rises to the top when I sit down to do bill paying or checkbook balancing or any of those things. At least he left things in good order and I can carry on following his routines. I have all the paperwork for the taxes, but I can't make myself look at it yet--and I just have to send it to an accountant.

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    1. I guess we could do without cable television - at least during the day - but I would miss PBS. DH has already done our taxes and sent them in. I probably should know how to do that...

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  2. Great kitty picture. I eat essentially as you do, though our diet contains more canned veggies. The extra two mouths to feed mean stretching the budget a lot. I think when you're young, perhaps the body can take the drastic diets and processes, but this old lady cannot imagine putting synthetic everything in her mouth.
    PS--the budgeting process doesn't get any better.

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    1. No, Joanne, I didn't imagine it would.

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  3. You're speaking for all of us as juggling expenses and necessites gets harder each year of our golden days.

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    1. "Juggling expenses" isn't new... even newlyweds have to do that, but when there's no paychecks coming in anymore, it becomes a little more critical. I'm sure it can be done effectively - just hope we continue to be
      physically and mentally *up to doing it*.

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  4. I agree, the cost of living increases will never keep up with increased costs...that even goes for wage increases negotiations. While retirement generally means a reduced income (unless one was lucky and either inherited a boatload of money or won the lottery), learning to live simply is the key.
    It's all about priorities and it seems to me you know what is most important to you. BTW I gave up the newspaper years ago and get all of my news now online - most newspapers have an online version and I suspect the paper copy will eventually go the way of the dodo bird.
    The pie looks very yummy! The picture of the kitty makes me laugh.

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    1. Yes, the newspaper as such does seem to be on the way out... guess it's considered *old school* by most. But similar to real *books*, I preferred it to online (habit I guess). And we must embrace change (esp when we can do little about it). And I agree living simply is good... how simply may be another question.

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  5. I'm also finding it hard not to run up what I owe on my Visa card. In a few years Lynette will be on Medicare so we can drop her private medical insurance of about $1,300 a month. Then a year after that she'll get Social Security.
    We just have to careful while we wait.
    You're right Cable is overpriced but we're not ready to give it up yet. I'll have to shop around for a better deal.

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    1. We also try not to use credit cards, John... but do when things get tight. It should be great to be able to get rid of that private medical insurance.

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  6. I totally agree with your outlook on retirement...I am facing the same $ issues with everything going up and up and up. I need PBS too LOL but there is so many other things I can live with out. I am glad that as we grow older we do not have the I wants as much and simplicity is nice.

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    1. Dee, you are right about not having as many *wants* as we age... and I don't mind in the least waiting for a while if I do want something.... makes it all the sweeter when (and if) the time comes. Sounds silly, but I wanted a Kitchenaid stand mixer for years (never told anyone - too expensive), but when I did finally get one... again it sounds silly, but I love that thing.

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