Ask Terry Questions Soon to be 70, I’m still working and have no retirement

Soon to be 70, I’m still working and have no retirement

By Terry Savage on March 31, 2015 | Financial Planning / Retirement

My wife and I really need someone that we can trust to discuss our financial plans. My wife and I still work and are Independent contractors for travel suppliers IE hotels, tour operators, tourist authorities. Our financial picture has been up and down all of our life with not only the economy but family medical issues etc. We are both currently working and our combined monthly income fluctuates between $9,000 and $10,000 a month. We don’t have huge debt now but we used to. We have almost nothing saved, maybe $15,000 and we have a 35 year old daughter who is getting married this fall. It is going to cost us most of that. We still have a mortgage, which we are trying to pay off in 6 years and have a few minor assets. We live on a horse farm with 5 horses. HELP!

Terry Says:  OK, lets start with first things first.  The first step is to cut costs.  And the very first step in that process is to tell your daughter that you will contribute $5,000 to her wedding.  And that’s it.  Sorry, but she is 35 and should have her own appreciation of money by now.  Tell her right now — and show her this posting, so she will blame me, not you!  Stick to your guns, and don’t offer to pay for the last minute extras that always come along.  Do her the favor of giving her plenty of advance warning; don’t procrastinate on this!

Now, I must confess that I am not the right person to tell you what to do with those horses, since I myself have three horses.  I am constantly reminded that they are eating while I am working or sleeping.  Horses are NEVER a business, and always represent money in the manure pile!  It’s time — although I can give you dozens of good reasons (used them on myself) why you have to keep each horse.  Re-think that.  Find some of them a good home.

Congratulations on paying down a lot of your debt. That’s really hard to do — and it should be empowering.  You might want to call the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.  That will connect you to the nearest local office, and you can do this by phone.  They are experts at looking over your spending plans and making good suggestions.  Every little bit counts.  As Ben Franklin said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  So true.

And now, though this is obvious, your work is the real place to make a difference:  Step back and figure out what else you could be doing, what time you are wasting, how much more money you could earn if you rearranged some things you are doing.  What is the most profitable use of your time?  Do that, because time is really the scarce commodity now.   Given your situation, you may never fully retire —  in the traditional sense.  So concentrate on the best earnings possibilities and don’t waste time on work that does not contribute to profits.

Finally, count your blessings.  You are healthy, you are mostly out of debt, you can still work — and it seems you like most of what you are doing.  From that point of view you are on the right track!


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