The BIG QUESTIONS!!
“What Is It I WANT in Retirement?”
“What Am I WILLING to Sacrifice?”
“How do I do it or ‘Get There'”
“What is it I WANT in Retirement?”
The first question: “What is it I WANT in retirement?” Or, “What is my DREAM?”
Your first thoughts are most likely the most accurate. The most common answer is “I want to travel and see the United States and it’s beauty.” You may live in the west and have never stepped outside your state. Your children or relatives may live outside the state and you haven’t seen them in years. Whatever the definition of “Travel” you come up with, start here.
The second question: “What am I willing to sacrifice?”
This question must be answered by all members of the immediate family you live with. Your wife may have different “sacrificial lambs” than you have! You may find that your offspring (if you have any) may have certain things that they definitely feel they CANNOT live without. Write all of these down and take serious thought over each item being considerate of “compromises” that may need to take place. Make a detailed list of each consideration or compromise and then discuss options.
Along with this question, include the family pets, do we keep “Fido” or do we leave him with a relative? Pound? Or give him to a family friend that will love him and still be “in the family.” In our case, “Tiki” our seven year old cat, became our “workamping partner.” We then had to make adjustments that applied to keeping a pet on the road. We will discuss this more in a future post.
The third question: “How do I/we get there (the achievement of our dream?”
This question will most likely take the deepest thought on everyone’s part. Each person’s feelings and concerns must be honestly addressed. Deep seated emotions, convictions, concerns, on each person’s part usually surface. To come to “agreement” may take some time; days, weeks, month’s, even years! You may have to “agree to disagree!” in order to maintain harmony in the family!
The fourth question: “What is it that I/we WANT in Retirement?”
Again, your discussion must be honest and open with ALL persons involved in this solution. Keep in mind that if you have kids that are going to be part of this new adventure, you want their experience to be a very positive one as well. Their “wants and wishes” are paramount to keeping peace and harmony inside a very small space!!
The significant other, we will assume the spouse, may NOT retire when you do, as was our case. I retired earlier than I had planned due to health reasons, and the wife retired over a year later. The fact that we had a significant amount of time to consider this lifestyle change, I went immediately to doing my RESEARCH!! The question, “What is it that I want in retirement” became extremely important…to both of us.
We both agreed that we wanted to be as happy as possible. We also wanted our adult offspring to give us their blessings as well. This was going to be a HUGE and significant change of lifestyle. From living in a “bricks and mortar” home to living in a “box on wheels!” One that could take us miles away from where they choose to live. Grandma and “papa” would no longer be a close drive away.
Another desire was we want to TRAVEL and see friends, family, and relatives that we haven’t seen in years. That means travel to Florida to see the grandkids, to California to see the wife’s family, Arizona to see my family, and visit college friends in AZ, CA NM, AL, NC, LA, and other places along the way. It also includes visiting State and National Parks, Scenic Byways, and heritage sites.
These are ALL very big question’s.
Of course, I want to be happy, feel comfortable, provide for my wife and myself adequately, and the list could go on. Here you have to separate out “wants” and “wishes” and determine what exactly are the MINIMAL NEEDS and the WISHES that each of your travel companions come up with in their list. What can we get along without in this life? Do we really need a three bedroom house and a two car garage? The hard-to-keep-up big yard? Do we really need five suits, 25 dresses, twenty short sleeved shirts, 20 pairs of pants, twenty-three pairs of shoes, two pairs of boots, and the list goes on and on. Do we really need ALL the holiday decorations? What about the items we have never used in over 2-3-5-10 years? What is it that it REALLY takes to make us “happy” or “content”. In our case, being faced with losing it all, our list quickly became shorter and shorter. As we did you find that you revise this list over and over again!
“What CAN we do without?”
This is where we face the real difficult decisions, reducing 3,000 square feet of living space and storage (three bedroom house with two and a half car garage) FULL to the rafters! Cramming ALL of that or part of it into a 35′ Motorhome or travel trailer! Never happen!!! Some serious rethinking of “what we want to”, and “what we need to keep” to live comfortably must take place.
I’m sure many will stop right here and say, “that isn’t for me!” I couldn’t possibly give up all the memories, treasures, and keepsakes! Guess what though? When you cannot afford the monthly rent, utilities, commuting costs, etc., it calls for some TOUGH choices to be made! DOWNSIZING!! That’s what it is called, and that is what we had to do.
We now had a deadline, we had to notify the rental agency and the owner our intent to move.
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God Bless and keep the “Dream Alive!”