The plan was to move to Portugal and live cheaply on our pensions and Social Security. Living in a country with cheaper rents and expenses meant that our monies would go further and last longer, allowing us to travel all over the world. But, after six weeks in Portugal, I knew that living in a foreign country where I did not know the customs, could not speak the language, and was stared at continuously everywhere we went was definitely not happening.
So, we are back home, and now we must make some hard decisions regarding living expenses. Douglas has returned to work part-time. He was so happy to be free to live “la vida loca” in Portugal. He had it all financially planned out, so I am somewhat saddened that he had to go back to his old job, but thankful that they took him back at the same pay rate. And I must decide if I am going back to teaching, for, as much as I loved it, I have so enjoyed being free to do whatever I wanted with my days.
So, I find myself lamenting the money that I Spent so freely when I was younger. Being raised so poor that I was often hungry, I promised myself that if I could ever afford it, I would never deny myself all the goodies I craved as a child, such as peanut butter, chocolate, the latest books, and eating out.
Also, after I adopted my sister’s four children, I decided that I had an obligation to get them out of poverty. When God blessed me with a great job with the telephone company, I made sure that my children had everything that I never possessed. They had the best clothes, name brands all, and they participated in every sport or organization they wanted.
I wanted a lot for my children, going into many thousands of dollars in debt each Christmas, buying every gift my children placed on their lists. Indeed, my oldest daughter told me once that she thought that I was the “real” Santa Claus, buying for every child in the world! My bills afterward gave that impression as well! Oh, if someone had taught me a different way to curtail my spending. Maybe we should teach financial planning in schools!
To be honest, I never thought that I would live to be in my sixties. Neither of my parents lived to be 60. Yes, they were both alcoholics, and I do not drink, but people often think that they will die at the age one of their parents died. I was so sure that I would not live to age 65 to receive my pension that I started receiving it at age 55, which means I receive so much less than I would have if I had waited until retirement age.
So, today, I want to encourage all young people, meaning anyone younger than 60, to really think about the money you spend today. Do you really have to buy the latest book by your favorite authors the moment it hits the shelves, like I did, or can you wait until it is in paperback to read it, or, even better, wait until it is free from the library on your Kindle or your local branch? Do you really need a $4.00-$6.00 frappe or whatever sophisticated form of coffee drink from Starbucks or your local coffee shop, or can you just have plain coffee or tea at home?
These are things to consider when you are young, for you never know just how long you will live. Start saving today or making plans for how to support yourself when you are older, so that you are prepared to retire in style and live the life you planned for in your older years.
Don’t get me wrong, Douglas and I will be just fine, and we will do the traveling that we can do. But, when we look at the possibility that one or both of us may live into our nineties, as Douglas’s mother will be 94 in September and his father lived to be 93, we know now that we must be better money managers of the blessings we do have. I just wanted to encourage and inspire younger folks, including my own children and grandchildren, to ask yourself the question that I wish I had done when I was your ages, “Do I really need this, or should I save this money for my later years?” The answer, for me, was that so many things could have waited.
Fandango with FOWC prompt is curtail.
Daily Addiction’s prompt is afford.