Wednesday, June 09, 2010
The Retiring Mind
Lately I've been reading, talking and listening a lot about retirement. The pros, the cons. Unexpected retirements (laid off, golden handshake, buyout, etc.). Retirement by choice.
Finances, cutting back, travel, counting pennies. Giving up the car. Travelling to relatives (usually adult children) or taking care of grandchildren, filling time, TV drones, fusspots, gamblers.
I absorb everything I glean on the topic. The moves to sunnier climes, the mistakes of the moves, the corrections of the moves.
And so on.
As to me? I share my experience:
Outwardly I give the appearance of being a fairly haphazard person. But I'm not underneath. Six years ago I put this current plan in place. I bought this house in Newfoundland having sold an investment property in Toronto at a gain and using those funds for a cash outright payment. I retained my Toronto house which was mortgaged to approximately 50% of its value. I had accrued a lot of debt in the running of my own business – some poor decisions about expansion and additional staffing. The overhead nearly killed me financially (and mentally). I down-scaled the business and moved it back into my home office where it originated. Growing a business can sometimes be a BAD thing. SMALL can be beautiful. A lesson I wish I'd learned at 50 and not at 59.
Over the years I slowly spent more time annually here until two years ago I decided to sell my Toronto house and use the funds to retire most of my debt – mainly my business debt and concentrate on building my life here.
I absolutely adore living here, in every sense of the word. I have an old house, a bit of a financial sinkhole at times with the needed improvements – all necessary – and 7-1/2 acres of land, much of it sustainable woodlot which heats my house in the winter. I have never regretted buying here. My feelings for this magical place grow deeper each passing year.
I downsized much of my contents and found that simple is very much agreeing with me. For example, there are simply a bed and a trunk in each bedroom, including mine. Once I have books and music I am a fairly contented person.
I still work at my business (software training, corporate and personal accounting) and have only retained my favourite clients but am hesitant to let it go completely. And ironically, without marketing, am gaining some clients in Newfoundland and could grow quite a business here.
My overhead is very low, I could get by with absolutely no frills on my pension. I eat out rarely. I rediscovered my joy in cooking and baking. My income from my company I use for travel and granddaughter and daughter endowments and maintenance of home and vehicle.
My dream would be to concentrate on my writing. Polish the 3 novels I have completed, edit the short story collection as per publisher request. Not feel so pressured at column deadlines in two publications I write for. But I am held back. Fear of poverty (although I have a little savings), fear of becoming demented in a bed in a Dickensian ward in an old folks' home, discarded, abandoned and alone waiting for death, having forgotten, in my dementia, to stockpile some serious outta-here drugs.
The biggest fear of course is FAILURE. What if I give up my main source of income and concentrate on my writing and it is all a huge bollox? Then I'm left with nothing. No work, no writing. Thumb twiddler of the year.
See where I'm coming from? Any insights?