Friday, August 19, 2016

Dear Friends,

I'm one who likes to think of my readers as friends I haven't met and my style here will be one of writing letters to y'all. I don't intend to write a lot of posts but will update resources.

ADDITIONAL NOTE ABOUT VIEWING THE SITE. I recommend viewing this site on a desktop or in the desktop view, not on a mobile phone. There are several links and it can be confusing finding the navigation bar. If you must use the phone, there is an orange bar that says "home" and a small arrow to touch for a scroll-through menu. At the bottom of the screen, you will see the options available and you can select one then click "done."

At a career planning event, a speaker said that most people plan more for vacations than careers. We look up locations, attractions, where to stay, how to get there, how to get around, currency, weather, language, and so on. Most people don't plan as much for their careers and often fall into jobs or become complacent and remain at jobs far too long. This has stayed with me as I feel it is absolutely true.

It made me think about my own future: what would my career be? What should I add to my skills? Where do I go to learn the new skills? How would I find my next job?

And it also made me think about retirement. I have read many articles about how ill-prepared many people are when it comes to their finances and interests.

I don't want to be one of those people! I've read quite a bit and thought deeply about how I want that next stage of life to look like.

Here's what we don't know: what's our "expiration date?" It would be much easier if we knew that in advance so we could plan accordingly. It isn't morbid to think about this: it's practical and will affect most of your own decisions.

The best we can do is look at family longevity and personal health, eat healthy foods and do regular exercise. We can look at mortality tables on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website for general information but we can't predict accidents, illness or other factors in your life.

I am making the assumption that I'll live to be at least 90 and be pretty healthy till the end. Is it practical? Maybe, maybe not. But it is a start in planning.

I've run through calculators and looked at present/future estimated income and savings. With a spreadsheet, I listed our savings, bank accounts, retirement funds and listed our assets including our home and cars. I listed our usual budget based on a year's worth of checking account entries. That gives me a baseline from which we can make other decisions. Do we move or stay where we are? How much can we travel? Will we need to reduce expenses?

That's the practical side of understanding finances so we can make some decisions about our lives.

Now we are looking into an important part about thinking about retirement - how to use that time so that we are enjoying life, feel active, engaged and useful.

I'm one who loves to keep lists of resources and I am sharing them on this site. Along the way, I plan to add to the resource list and update  you on my own progress. I welcome your comments and hope you enjoy this site.

All the best,