Sunday, November 15, 2015


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There's a scary word for ya.  I do think about it, and often for I'm one of the 50% in my country with no retirement savings.  (Sourced here and here.)  I'm 43.  Luckily I have one of those young buck husbands (31 years old) and he has a strong back.  For now.  There aren't many old-timers in his field.  Once you hit 45 you'd better be in a foreman's position because the workload is just too much.  Yeah, he could just straight weld at that age and give up fitting, but it would be a big pay cut.  I'm not all about money, but we do need it to accomplish some things.

We are not in our retirement years and so I cannot give you a success story.  God willing and the creek don't rise though, we will make it and without relying on anyone but us.  That includes taxpayers and debt.  We do not use credit cards at all.  If we don't have the money right then, we make do.  A popular quote from The Great Depression is "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."  This is how we honestly live.  We've hand-washed clothes and hung them up to dry in our living room.  We've had to heat water on the stove for bathing because the hot water heater melted its thermostat.  I've darned socks.  We've eaten potatoes, beans, and rice most meals before.

I think the first thing one should do, and at any age, is reassess what makes you truly happy.  I wrote on this, and this is the cornerstone to our personal plan.  If you haven't read Afford to Stay at Home, I gently suggest you stop here and give it a read before you finish this post. 
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What about Social Security?"  Rand Paul just went on a rant that we are robbing from Peter to pay Paul using Social Security.  In the middle of the night just last October they voted to steal $150 billion from the fund.  I doubt it's going to be there 30 years from now, but if it is, it won't be enough to pay our bills.  People today can't live on Social Security alone easily, if at all.  Don't let Social Security be your only plan.

We have been through layoffs and tough times.  Even through hand-washing clothes and eating potatoes, we were truly happy.  Stressed?  You bet, but we took refuge in each other.  We supported each other.  Spent all of our free time with each other playing games, watching movies, and having wonderful conversations while having coffee.  Quibbling went on from time to time, but we maintained our focus and goals.  We still aren't out of the woods, and truth be known if one more large scale thing happens we will be right back in that predicament.  Experience has taught us that we will get through it though.  We are capable of being up against it and pushing through that wall.  I say all this because I know we might very well go through a rough retirement.

We've discussed what we are going to do.  It's a plan and nothing more, but it seemed pretty good to us considering we can't rely on Social Security anymore, we do not do debt at all, and the economy being what it is precludes us from saving up enough to live on for 20 years when we hit 65 years of age, especially when you account for inflation.  We also don't trust IRA's.  In short, we trust no one but ourselves.
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Firstly, we took over the payments on my parents fifth wheel.  We pay $600/month for the payment and another $350/month in lot rent.  Included with our lot rent is electricity, water, sewer, internet, and cable TV if we chose to use it.  This will be paid off in about 5 years, as opposed to 28 more years on a mortgage had we gone that route.  We have no car payment and will never have.  We need only liability insurance and that is running us about $50/month.  Our cell phone bill is $50/month for unlimited talk, text, and some data for one phone.  We spend about $10/week in laundry (and I need to make it a goal of getting it down to half that).  I believe that is all our bills.  That's it.  That's about $1100/month.  Not included in this budget is gas ($35/week or so), propane ($25/bi-monthly tops), and food which fluctuates markedly.

Already we will be doing pretty well I think once the fifth wheel is paid off.  Even if we did nothing else we'd still be sitting pretty good.  Our main bills would amount to $490/month not counting gas in the car, food, and propane.  Not bad at all and very doable.

The next step is to purchase land, free and clear outright.  No payments to the bank.  We've seen 10 acres go for $5k for undeveloped land.  At that point, we will only owe taxes on the land and you can bet it's far less than $350/month.  Bit by bit, we get a power pole installed, septic, etc. 

Now that our bills are cut down to the bare bones, at this point my young buck husband will not be so young anymore.  What now?

We want to have an RV park.  They have a relatively low start up cost.  My husband knows how to pour concrete.  So you pour some pads, run the electric and sewer yourself, then you have to pay the electric company to come out and inspect it and actually turn it on.  (There's a bit more to it, but to start one up it's no more than a few thousand dollars to get started.)  Even if we only had 5 lots on our 10 acres, we'd be doing alright.  This is a business we can save for.  It's debt-free doable. 

This is our plan.  We've done our homework and this is what we think will work.  That RV park will be our retirement.  Every RV park in the Tulsa area is filled to the brink, and the owners are adding more and more lots.  They can't keep up.  Most people are full-timers.  Yeah, we think this is the route we wanna take.

This plan may not work out.  I'm positive we are creative enough to find what it is God wants for us if it is not this.  Above all else, have faith.  Faith in God and faith in your husband.  Your husband won't see you sleeping on the street and starving to death if he's anything like mine.  Whatever needs done will be done.

I'm very, very pro-women-need-to-be-home.  For Daniel and I, it is a top priority.  Because of this, we don't think, "Well, Michelle could work."  Because we don't think this, we are forced to be creative.  When you have nothing but potatoes and spices and you are hungry, you get creative.  When you have no laundry soap, you get creative.  When I do not work outside the home, we get creative.

In times of plenty, save.  Have a plan for that money.  We are about to the point we are thinking about moving to a whole other state altogether, because much of the economy in Oklahoma is tied to oil and gas.  Daniel needs to make enough money to make our plan happen, as well as feed us.  This means working.  It means working 2 jobs sometimes.  It means bidding jobs in the gigs section on CraigsList such as pouring concrete, or moving furniture, or demolishing a house. 

Many wives do pretty well selling things.  Either things they have made, or things they have picked up at garage sales and whatnot.   Etsy is a place where people will buy homemade goods.  They sell everything from homemade laundry soap to quilts.   Another source of income for housewives is buying and selling on Ebay.  We lived next to a retired couple for a while.  Their whole job was buying clothing from thrift stores and selling them on Ebay.  The gentleman was a retired cop and knew a lot about men's shirts, so he only sold men's shirts.  When I thought about doing it, he said to take lots of good pictures and take them outside on a sunny day.  Look for stuff with the tags still on them, or things that looked new.  He also said to research it on Google, and I did.  Indeed there were some tips I learned about wording and pricing.

It also means we have to make cuts it seems like no one else makes.  I'd love to get my nails done and eat Klondike Bars.  I'd love to have this trailer paid off and on some land more.  Know what I mean?  We all have things we want just because it's nice to have things.  And Daniel and I do treat ourselves, too.  But we make essential cuts more often than we treat ourselves.

A couple of links here and here that might help some small somewhat if you are approaching retirement all too quickly.  I'd be interested to know what others are thinking about in their retirement plans, particularly if they are 40-50.  I'd say this is going to be an ongoing topic I'm going to be researching for weeks to come.


  1. I found a great post on retirement. This is a great blog. She is very uplifting and a great source of all kinds of information. She's very motivating for me personally. Copy and paste the link below.

  2. Great post and terrific links! Thank you, Michelle!
    It is helpful to realize I'm not alone in my concerns. My husband is 48, and works very hard, and many hours to provide a home for us. We have actually just purchased a home again, after the downturn and collapse of the building industry in the US, led to redundancy and our moving back to the UK in 2009.
    My husband started his business again (and believe me it was a scary time to do it), we stayed out of debt and never had a credit card or car payment.
    I believe that if we can do all that, we can start now to save for our future. There are some very enterprising souls out there (including yourselves) who have some wonderful ideas.
    I look forward to gleaning more knowledge and perhaps some different ways of doing things as time goes by. Still not sure that it isn't a good idea to go back to work two days a week, but I want to see if I can't put my "thinking cap" on for ways to save us money in our current situation just now.
    Thank you so much for addressing this topic!

  3. You are so welcome. I thank you for giving me food for thought. This is one of the most important topics of life. Hey, if you go back to work two days a week, don't be too hard on yourself. I think you are going to land where God wants you to land ;) I would love it if you'd comment again, especially when you discover new ideas. I don't even care if you post a comment on another post that seems off topic. I'd just really like to have more ideas for us personally, just in case. Thank you!

    1. Will do, Michelle. BTW, I met my husband online in late 1996, which was kind of unusual at that time. Three months later, I moved to Scotland. We've been married almost 18 years :-)

  4. We just met with a financial planner back in Jan. about our retirement plans. It's hard to think of when you're 43 and in the midst of raising two young kids, but time flies! As long as we are both in good health, my husband and I would love to get out of the cold and head to FL. He would love to work for Disney somehow, driving a boat or a bus, being productive but not under such crazy pressure as he has been. I did look up RV parks there and would you believe some go for over $1,000 a month during peak seasons! Not much less than our mortgage on a 2,500 square foot house in Chicago! I'd definitely have to research more reasonable locations! Right now we have to get through this layoff and our son is going to be ready for college in just 5 years. We both left college with no debt and want the same for him if that's the route God has for him. Retirement is something to really think about, as I am 43 and still have 3 grandparents alive! My family lives long,lol!
    P.S. The "young buck" comment just cracked me up! I would love to hear how you two met! You seem like such a sweet couple!

    1. That's really cool driving a bus or something for Disney! I lived in north central Florida for a few years and the environment was more like Georgia. Alligators are like deer there. It's a different culture much like New York is completely different from anywhere else in the world, Florida has it's own mindset.

      We actually met online playing a game. It was a sort of MMO strategy game where you built cities and armies. We talked online for a long, long time before we finally even met in person. But yeah, that's how we met, lol! Not traditional, and very unexpected, but I suppose that's how we live our life too, lol!

      Oh, and yeah, RV parks there get invaded, lol. There are a lot of them with older couples living out their retirement. They flock to Florida in the fall, every fall. It's really cool. A lot of them will have bonfires every night and eat good food and really just kinda hang out. From the outside looking in, it looks like a pretty good life to me.

  5. That's sweet how you two met! I never get tired of hearing other people's love stories! Just makes my day!