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More Retirement Discussions

June 26th, 2009 at 05:22 pm

Mr H and I had another discussion about saving for retirement. ** As I've said before, Mr H's plan is to spend what's available to us now, work until he can't work any more, then let the government take care of him. I don't like this plan. . . at all. I would rather save money now for retirement so we'll have more options when we're elderly. Mr H seems to like the idea of saving for retirement. . . but he's not invested in it. I've been down this road with him before - it means he pays lip-service to the goal, and things go along well - as long as I'm doing the work. But in the end I realize that I'm by myself. It's a crappy way to pursue mutual goals.

After we'd gone down the "How are we going to rearrange the budget to save for retirement?" road for at least an hour, I could see the above scenario developing. Mr H agreed to saving a percentage of our income but with heel-dragging, moaning, and "woe is me". So I backed up. I don't think the problem right now is "How are we going to save for retirement?" but "Why should I (Mr H) save for retirement? What's in it for me?" While Mr H thinks it sounds like a nice idea, he still doesn't see a need for it.

"Why should we eat rice and beans now so we can eat rice and beans later?" "We need to get some enjoyment (with a new TV, vacation, etc.) out of life." "We could die tomorrow. Why sacrifice now?" We can talk all we want about how to shift the money around, but unless he's invested he won't be willing to work hard and to make the sacrifices it takes to save. He's very comfortable with the way things are.

We agreed to discuss it again this Sunday. Of late Mr H has been very good about keeping his appointments with me for these discussions. But I'm not waiting until Sunday to see what happens. I'm going to prepare in advance. And I'm not going to jump into "How do we do this?" - I'm going to prepare for "What's in it for me?"

Mr H is a very visual person, and probably a visual thinker. A spreadsheet, a list of bullet points, a lecture - he tunes out. The trick is how how to sell him on the importance of saving for retirement using visual methods, and with enough impact to get his buy in. I'm not as visual. . . but I'm motivated to convince him that this is important to him as well. I'll keep you posted.

** I actually thought this was going to be a discussion about generating more income, and had my list ready. We didn't discuss it.

6 Responses to “More Retirement Discussions”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Um, let's see. You guys won't be retiring until in another 20 years right? I think that's long enough for social security to strain and buckle (in its current form), especially when you consider the fact that that will only be the beginning of your retirement.

    So, if the plan is to let the government take care of you when you retire, I think those people are in for very rude awakening....

    By the way, your Mr. H sounds a lot like a friend of mine. He loves life and is a great guy, but... honestly? They've got all wrong. Life is about learning from the past, AND live in the present, AND plan for the future. It's all of the above, and in order to lead a healthy, happy life, we have to find a way to balance all of it.

    A half truth does not a whole truth make. Yes, we need to live and enjoy the present, but not at the expense of the future. And if we don't plan for the future, it WILL literally be rice and beans.

    Well, anyway, I'm sorry you're having this difficult discussion with Mr. H. I hope that things will work out. But as much as I am sure you love him, he does not see the light in this case, and obviously, needs your help to guide him in the right direction.

  2. milehighgal Says:

    I have an older friend with a similar attitude, he lost both his parents when they are quite young in their 60s, and basically lives in the now thinking that is his fate also.

    Does your DH know of any older people who are thriving on SS alone? Maybe he should meet some people, perhaps in your church, and see how they are struggling when they are in that situation.

    I commend you for helping get your family on the right path, unfortunately there is only so much preaching you can do before you're tuned out, it's best to help the person come to the conclusion on their own, then I think you're DH would really be on board.

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    And please remember that SS today is NOT what SS is going to be 20 years from now. Most people, including myself, are very pessimistic about the outlook of SS in the future.

  4. asmom Says:

    LOL! He really thinks the government is going to take care of him? That's the biggest problem with this idea that we are turning into a socialist country. It isn't true. I have met so many people who honestly think that the government will provide for them and provide WELL if they can't work. They have heard so many stories about welfare cheats that they acutally believe it. And when they are unable to work, they find out the truth and it is NOT pleasant.

    He could spend a day with me. I'm a nurse and I work with the elderly. I see people every day who cannot afford their medications, get their lights cut off, etc. When I worked rheumatology I worked with young people in their 40s and 50s who were unable to work due to their disease (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, crippling osteoarthritis, etc) who did not have enough savings and retirement to take care of themselves and trust me, when you are sick and disabled the LAST thing you want to worry about is eating. And I don't know about the rest of the country but it is not easy to get disability in GA. Oh but I am preaching to the choir. Besides people never think it is going to happen to him.

    On the flip side, you could drive him through an affluent retirement community and let some of those folks describe their second homes and the great vacations they take. But you can't have that if you don't plan for it.

  5. Petunia Says:

    BA, milehighgal, asmom - thanks for your support!

    Mr H seems to understand that SS will not be there for us, and yet still persists in saying "The government will take care of us."

    Sigh.

  6. Jerry Says:

    This is so true. There is NO insurance that social security will be there in the future, and it would be foolish to bank on it in the current financial crisis. People in countries without a decent pension (I'm living in one right now in SE Europe) end up in really dire straits. It leads them to sell scones on the street to try to survive. Literally. Not a pleasant reality.
    Jerry

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