Hello and Good Morning.
I had a thought provoking and inspiring email from a reader which I thought I would share with you here, with her permission of course. There must be many people in the same position who are thinking and worrying how they will cope if they change full time work into part time, or retire altogether.
My name is Elaine. I also started work full time at 16yrs. By the time I was 56yrs, I felt that I could no longer keep it up. I had no life, divorced with one grown up daughter, why was I putting myself through this daily grind?
I tell you why FEAR, work was all I had ever known. Also scared how would I cope financially?
I was able to take early retirement, some thought I was an idiot as it was less money than taking it later in life. But I was totally burnt out. I looked on websites for how to cope, and it was always American's who had the big advice. Then by chance I came across your blog. Somebody British who I could relate to. You were living a great life with little money, and there was me sad not knowing what to do age 58 trying all sorts and ending up lost.
I am 59 next month and in a much better place. Although I was shocked that my state pension was now available to me at 66 and not 62 as the government had me believe, thankful to the WASPI women fighting this.
I do still work part time but when I want to, and even this is now getting too much, but I realise I have to keep going till 66 drat!
I have a car, paid off my mortgage and am taking your great advice off the blogs.
Thank you for helping me, why should I feel guilty about wanting a nice life?
My story is that I started winding down when I was in my mid fifties, I cut my working hours which resulted in a drop of income. I wanted to get off the treadmill, wanted a better work-life balance, so the answer was clear to me, if I didn't spend anything I didn't have to earn it. I watched the bank balance go down and down, to almost rock bottom. When it got dangerously low I knew I had to do a couple of days work so I could pay my mortgage.
A strange thing happened, I didn't worry, I didn't panic. I saw my situation more as a game, a game I had to win, and winning for me was yes, I had less money, but I had a lot less stress. It was fun jiggling with small numbers. Imagine someone with big numbers in big savings, big investments, big bank accounts, and big commitments. How do they cope with that?
Money doesn't buy you happiness, as it has been proved millions of times. It is big news when a relationship breaks up and the acrimonious splitting up of the assets begins. Money makes people bitter, when they lose it they become even more bitter. It brings out the nasty streak in people. Far better to have very little and build a life around what you have, and be content in your own bubble.
Elaine, you are in a good place, you have made the changes you needed to. A nice life doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Over the next five years do an audit of your situation, an annual review. List your needs and wants, move some of the needs over to the wants side. As you get older you may find that you need less, so you will spend less. Ask yourself the question, 'do I need it', before you open your purse. You may find you can chip away at your working hours, cutting them down bit by bit. Perhaps look for another part time job that you enjoy more, rather than just working for the money.
Your nice life is taking shape, it will be what you want it to be. Keep on tweaking it, manipulating it, changing things. Life can only get better if you make it better.
Have a nice Sunday everyone. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
The time has come ...
1 hour ago