Category Archives: Retirement

I’ll Retire When I Die

“I’m going to work until the day I die.  That’s my retirement plan.”

I was doing an audit at a major pharmacy store when I heard the long-time manager of the store give the above response to a customer who had asked him if he was ever going to retire.  I laughed when I heard that and told the manager that was my retirement plan also.  By the time I shared this with my wife that evening, I could no longer find any humor in this encounter.

At this point in my life, I really felt like I would be working at a job I no longer enjoyed until I died or I just wasn’t able to work anymore.  I was manager of a small bookstore making a moderate salary with little upside. Days off from the bookstore were spent doing audits and merchandising jobs at other retailers.  On top of our normal living expenses, we had credit card debt and medical bills.  Even making minimum payments left no money for savings.  If I didn’t make some changes, it would be years before I had my debt reduced enough to start saving for retirement.  It wasn’t a pretty picture for my future.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

There are lots of resources available if you are looking to reduce debt.  One of my favorites is Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness A common theme among most resources is to live a frugal life – cut your expenses and only make necessary new purchases.  You then apply every dollar available to building an emergency fund and to paying off your debt.  My wife and I moved to an apartment where our rent was about $400 less, we went to one cell phone instead of three, and instead of having 100s of TV channels, we now have only basic cable.  The day may come when we just throw the TV out completely.  All of these things helped us pay down some of our debt.

Just recently, we discovered another set of resources that have really put us on the fast track to, not only getting out of debt, but also to living an independent lifestyle.  Our lives really started to change when my wife discovered Tammy Strobel’s website called Rowdy Kittens.  This site was my introduction to what it means to live a minimalist lifestyle. The first time I visited, I spent hours reviewing the archived posts and following her links to the sites of others writing about minimalist living.  In addition to reducing expenses and spending, Tammy’s site showed us the importance of reducing the clutter in our home and life.  We really took a hard look at all the stuff we owned and asked ourselves how important it was to us and had it even been used in the last 6 months, or 6 years.

What we discovered is that we had 100s of things that we never used anymore.  We moved a lot when I was  in retail management and it is amazing how much stuff we had that never got unpacked from place to place.  It was time for us to downsize!  We begin to look at each item we owned and to make decisions whether the item should be kept, donated, given to family/friends, sold, or trashed.  The book, The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta, was very helpful in suggesting a process for dealing with our clutter.

We still have a long way to go in our journey to remove the clutter from our home and lives, but I am confident that we will be successful. I am also confident that I can show you how to take this journey.  Will you join us?



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Live Your Retirement Dream Now

The Yelp RV.

Image via Wikipedia

I had my retirement all planned by the time I was 35.  At that time I was the manager of a Wal-Mart store making a decent salary, Wal-Mart stock was splitting every two years and the company had a nice profit-sharing plan.  If the company stock growth continued at anywhere near the same rate, I calculated that I could retire by age 55 with over a million dollars in my profit sharing account.  Then I planed to buy a RV and travel the country with my wife, bugging friends and relatives and taking our future grand kids on trips.  When we weren’t traveling I could read, write, play music and work at whatever interested me at the time.

Things didn’t work out according to plan.  I’m 55 and I don’t have a million dollar profit sharing account or own an RV.  Years ago I revised my plan to working until 60 before I retire. Then the age went to 65 and finally to 70.  I scrapped the whole idea of getting an RV.  Last year when I read some stories about Charlie Terry, Wal-Mart’s second oldest worker at age 93, I joked with my wife that I would probably have to work longer than that before I would be able to retire.

Greeter Charlie Terry

Recently I discovered that the problem wasn’t with my retirement plan, the problem was that I thought I needed to wait until retirement to travel the country, take the grand kids on trips, and work doing what I like to do.  Like most people, I believed that I needed to work 40+ years for companies with 401k plans.  I believed I needed to wait until my financial planner and tax adviser determined I had saved enough money to retire comfortably.  We all believe this because it is what we are taught from the beginning of our careers. Even teenagers have the company 401k plan explained to them during orientation.  Google search retirement planning and you will find thousands of websites offering tools to help you calculate how much money you will need to retire, how much money you need to save each month to reach your retirement goal, and how to invest your money in retirement accounts.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for saving money for the future.  I’m just saying that there is a way to live the life you dream of now even while you are saving for the future.  The internet holds the resources you need to escape the conventional way of thinking about work and retirement. In future postings I will share my experiences with you and show you the resources I have used to start transforming my life.  I will show you how to:

  • simplify your life and unclutter your home
  • rediscover your interests and your passion for life
  • rearrange your finances and reduce your expenses to make a career change possible
  • use the internet to turn your interests and passions into a means of supporting yourself and your family

If you have any interest at all in living your dreams of the future now, then please take the time to investigate the resources that will be discussed in the near future.  Please take the time to leave comments or to ask any questions and share the link to my blog with anyone you think may be interested.