Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: Overcoming Hindrances as Empty Nester/Retirees
By Martha Bartholomew
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What do empty nesters do after the children are gone and the work days are over? Do they spend their days traveling or do they retire into the serenity of their homes? Are they able to afford their new lifestyles or do they struggle to make ends meet? As I observe empty nesters/retirees I realize the key to how they spend retirement depends on how they prepared for the occasion. Today the economy also helps determine one’s retirement plans. I have identified three types of empty nesters/retirees: the disciplined planners, the extravagant retirees and the unprepared.
Many Americans spend their lives working to achieve the American dream and after raising their children and sending them off to college they have to decide what happens next. For someone that is disciplined, and planned well for retirement, his or her lifestyle would be different. Those individuals could take vacations and or enjoy the local leisure of life without having to worry about funds to maintain their lifestyles. The majority of those retirees could be rather frugal so although they enjoy the finer things in life it does not cost them as much because they purchase at the right times for the right prices. Most of those individuals are what I call good stewards. During their working years they accumulated wealth by maintaining a budget, spending within their means and avoiding debt. They are prepared because by the time retirement comes they are debt free and only have to meet their daily need.
On the other hand we have some people that live extravagant lifestyles during their working years; over spending and accumulating debt. As they retire they want to continue their lifestyles but could only maintain them by accumulating more debt. They use one credit card to pay the other; they take out risky second mortgages and they live in constant worry. Though their lives seem great from the outside looking in, the likelihood of maximizing their credit and not been able to keep up, haunt them on a daily basis. Sometimes pride keeps them enslaved in their state of being. There are times fear cripple them from been transparent with family and friends. They don’t want people to know the truth because they have to maintain the habit of keeping up with others.
Unfortunately for some empty nesters they just did not make enough to save. They spent their entire lives working mediocre jobs with minimum wages and although financial retirement is not possible, physical needs force them to retire. What could they do? Their only choice is to live within their means which is usually insufficient. Most of them have to turn to government programs to provide them with healthcare and or food. The sad thing is that they work hard during their working years with minimal or no real vacations. After retirement the table does not miraculously turn; those individuals spend their days in the solitude of their homes and local neighborhoods.
In general, some empty nesters/retirees need to learn how to be content, others may need to trust in God for provision and yet some would have to release their worry over things that they have no control over such as the economy. To overcome the hindrances created by today’s economy, over spending or the lack of planning I believe all retirees should be flexible and willing to live within their means.
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