LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT — MONEY WORRIES
Life after retirement — money worries. Even if we have money, many of us still have worries. We may try to bury them but they’re there — lurking underneath. I didn’t know how worried I was until a nightmare woke me up to it.
In my dream, I was sitting across from a money manager. But he wasn’t the nice man who manages my money. He was more gaunt and sallow — like Scrooge. He shook his head and grimaced when he said, “I’ve assessed your accounts and made projections. With the money you have, you can afford to live another three and a half years. If you cut out air conditioning and slash your spending on heat and water, you might stretch it to four or four and a half.”
A REAL NIGHTMARE — OUTLASTING THE MONEY
“What? But I’m too young,” I cried. “It can’t all come to an end in four years. What will I do then?”
“Don’t worry,” he said cheerfully. “I thought of that and here’s the good news. Here’s a budget I prepared for you. It allows you to spend fourteen dollars a week. Just stick with it and it will keep you going for seven years — maybe nine.” I dreamed I was trying to figure out how I could live on his budget. Did that fourteen dollars include the mortgage? If it did, I was dead already.
WAKING UP TO MONEY WORRIES
You’d think waking up after that dream I’d have felt a huge surge of relief because it was just a nightmare — I wasn’t destitute. My money manager — the nice one — had promised me I was okay and could afford to live well into old age. Still, the dream left a cloud over me. Sitting at breakfast, I realized I had my iPad open and I was scanning the web to find the lowest-priced foods. I figured Mr. Scrooge’s budget would work if I lived on dried beans, canned vegetables, and broccoli — I hate broccoli.
MONEY WORRIES BECAUSE WE’RE NOT IN CONTROL
In spite of assurances from money managers, we’re afraid of running out of money. Why? It’s because all we have is our old money. When we were working, we could always count on bringing home new money. If an investment lost money, it hurt, but we could earn more money — new money. Now, all we have is old money. It’s invested and may earn newish money, but it’s not under our control. And we can’t replace it if it’s lost.
And don’t even mention social security — it’s old money too. And do you really want to stake your future security on a government that keeps threatening to renege on repaying you the money you gave it to hold for your old age?
LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT — A PLAN
If thoughts of money are driving you crazy, do something about it. You don’t want to go through the rest of your life frazzled. Cut expenses or find a way to make new money or both. You just have to make a plan and you know how to do that.
My plan is to earn new money. And it’s an amazing plan — inspired. I’ve already been doing it — drawing animal cartoons for my blog. People tell me they love my feisty frogs,
grumpy geese, caustic cats, and adorable dogs. There’s a market for original art. I’ll go to art fairs. I’ll open an online store. Everybody will want to buy tee shirts, greeting cards, and notebooks with my cartoons. It can’t miss.
I dove into my new job. As they say, it’s not work if you love doing it and I do love it.
IT TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY
I built one business and I learned that to build a successful business you have to invest in it. I made a list of the costs I’d incur — supplies, paper, paint, brushes, mats, printing, tee shirts, a tent, and display racks.
I already had money worries, so the big question for me was, could I afford it? Back to the nice money manager, I went with my plan, my drawings, and the rough amount of money I’d need to invest.
IT WAS LIKE A SCENE FROM A MOVIE
Do you remember the old Mickey Rooney movies? Mickey would come up with a grand plan to put on a show — an extravaganza. He’d gather the kids and say something like, ‘We’ll get my uncle’s barn and put on a show. Famous producers will come on opening night. Then, we’ll be on our way to Broadway. It can’t miss. Are you with me, kids?’
I played the Mickey role. As soon as I walked into Jake’s office, without sitting down, I announced, “We can stop worrying about my security! I’m starting a new business and I’ll be earning money again.”
THE MONEY WORRIES COMEDY
Jake said he hadn’t been worried, but I cut him off. “Look,” I said and waved my hands over his desk that was littered with a confusion of dogs, cats, horses, geese, and frogs. “See? This is how I’m going to make money. “I’ll go to art shows and sell my drawings, paintings, and greeting cards. I’m setting up an online store too. (It didn’t bother me that I had no idea how to set up an online store.) I’ll call it something fun and catchy — the Feisty Frog or the Grumpy Goose. What do you think?”
SERIOUSLY, CAN I AFFORD IT?
He smiled as he picked up each drawing. “These are good. What do you plan to sell them for?”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll have to figure it out, but I know there’s a market for them.” I showed him my expense journal. “I’m keeping good records of my costs, so I’ll know how much money I make. That’s why I came. I thought I should talk with you before I go too far — to be sure I can afford the upfront investment.”
“You can afford it. Don’t worry.” He set my journal aside. “The important thing is you’re having fun with it.”
“I am having fun. And I will make money and end my money worries.”
“Ruthi, I think you should aim for break even.” Don’t you hate it when someone tells you to be realistic? Okay. I’d settle for break even the first year. But after that….
FORGET BREAKING EVEN — I WAS GOING TO DIE.
I needed advice from a pro, so I went to a co-op art store and met one of the artists. She was willing to help — so willing. She started by listing basic tools I’d have to have —a self-healing cutting board (Is that even possible?), a metal ruler and triangle, a T square, and an Exacto knife with changeable blades. She diagramed how I was to cut my own mats with beveled edges.
Forget breaking even — I was going to die. I’d bleed to death. Tools are a mystery. I barely passed plane geometry because I couldn’t understand how the protractor still works when the pencil gets shorter — still can’t.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS — AND VICE VERSA
She must have taken my terrified squint for fascination because she kept going — loading me down with details. I live with ADD — attention deficit disorder. ADD means details are my enemy. I described it in a recent blog. https://lifefunscripted.com/living-with-adhd-marching-to-a-different-drummer/
That woman clearly does not live with ADD. She peppered me with details and questions. “What kind of software will you use?” I shrugged to say, I don’t know. “You’ll need the software for your inventory tracking system. How else can you keep up with your inventory and sales? How will you handle it when someone wants to return something? What system will you use for credit cards? You’ll want to get paid.” She chuckled at her little joke. “You can do it right in your phone.” Not my phone. It’s so old Apple no longer updates it.
I was getting a headache. I thought this job was about drawing frogs and horses. no! It was way more complicated than I’d expected. When I confided that to a friend who was a successful businesswoman, she said, “Everything is more complicated than we expect.”
FALLING BACK ON LESSONS MY DADDY TAUGHT ME
In my book, How to Build a Piano Bench, I wrote about lessons Daddy taught me. When my piano bench broke, he on the construction of a one. When Mama pointed out that he didn’t know how, his anser was, “You don’t have to know the whole how of it. You just have to know the right next step and when to ask for help.” He built the piano bench and inlaid the top with tiny strips of wood in different colors. I gave up on playing piano, but I still have a beautiful piano bench, a piece of primitive art.
Listen to Daddy. I don’t have to give up my dream just because I don’t know “the whole how of it.” I just need to figure out the next right step and that’s what I’m doing. So look out for the announcement: The Grumpy Goose shop is open for business.
LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT — MONEY WORRIES
Life after retirement — even if we have money, many of us still have money worries. It’s scary not to know you can bring in more money. My nightmare woke me up and got me going. I did cut expenses along with drawing my cartoons and reserving a space at the next art show. And I’m having fun building a new dream. Is money a worry for you? So what’s your plan?