Muffle The Noise, It’s Our Retirement Personal Economy That Matters
There’s always noise meant to warn and influence us. A lot of it is contradictory, especially when it comes to the economy. Regardless of messaging, when it comes to my retirement I always choose optimism. Primarily because I’m certain of one thing. My time on the planet decreases every day and I don’t want to waste any of it. The way I do that is focusing on my retirement personal economy instead of merely listening to possible trends and predictions. Most of which covers the widest economic swath including a lot of financially irresponsible businesses and consumers. Some of the noise may even have a dose of self serving or manipulative intentions.
As an early retiree I’m always trying to stay informed. But depending on who says what and for what reason, their bias, or the targeted audience, it’s hard to separate the reality from the hype or horse excrement.
Some or none of the hyped-up economical news or constant reports of gloom and doom prophecies may be or come true. The way I see it, what matters is how I’m economically positioned now and will be positioned over the long-term even if I have to deploy my retirement super asset, making necessary corrections. It’s not just a financial matter either. When it comes to retirement there’s more at stake when allowing unsubstantiated perceptions and crystal ball predictions to impact how we react.
What I Call My Retirement Personal Economy
Being that I retired early at the age of 51 with less than a million dollar portfolio, I’ve been financially and lifestyle diligent. My retirement personal economy covers more than just my portfolio. It includes everything that I value and most of what I value goes beyond finances. That’s why when I was recently asked if I am better off today than 2 years ago, I could honestly answer YES!
I may have had more money in the portfolio 2 years ago, but everything else of value suffered much more when compared to today. It became obvious that it was not the answer they expected.
As a retiree I think it’s important to focus on the bigger picture. Dwelling on a single metric may cause making unnecessary or bad moves financially or otherwise. It can certainly unnecessarily rob us of retirement enjoyment. We can end up needlessly succumbing to economic fear and putting life on hold waiting for normal to return. The problem is, time doesn’t give a rip and we only have so much time to spend. Normal can also be illusive as everything becomes normal over time as we just get used to it.
I see my retirement personal economy as including:
Family and friends-
After living through lockdowns and all that was going on in our recent past, this is certainly reaffirmed as a major value. Retirement is at its best when we can share our lives in a healthy social life with people we care about.
Having somewhere to call home for shelter, comfort, remembering, and building memories is certainly a key retirement value. It’s our base for all of the retirement adventures we wish to launch. Home includes all that makes it so: Utilities, food, water, safety, etc. and making sure finances covers this valuable aspect of life. It does cost more today, but we carefully established a retirement home before retiring and we make necessary adjustments to ensure it isn’t ever under threat.
Without having decent health, nothing else matters. Having the time to exercise, the ability to have and use health insurance, and eating better is a valuable part of retirement life. It allows for activity, spares excessive budget hits, and gives us the ability to maintain an active social life. Although there is still the threat of pandemic today, we now know much more about what it takes to live and avoid the worst outcomes. Nothing is better than having a run of good health.
Interests and passions-
I value being able to freely dive into what interests me or lights my passion-fires in retirement. I see only opportunities with nothing but me getting in the way. It’s this value that breaks up life’s routines and keeps it interesting.
Freedom from unrewarding or unwelcome imposed obligation-
Time is a precious value. There were too many times in my life where I was forced into unfair obligation. I value the freedom to decide what I do and with whom I do it. It is either aligned with my values or I just refuse to engage. This value was one of my earliest personal finance motivations.
These are some of the things of value that my finances are there to support.
My retirement personal economy is more than just a number in a portfolio because that number has no meaningful value without the rest.
I think that too many people look at the volatile market or inflation and allow that narrow view to impair retirement enjoyment. A good financial plan should weather the economic storm. We just have to trust it. When things cost too much, just don’t buy it or find an acceptable lower cost replacement or alternative. Many times I walk away and later find a deal or even a lightly used option.
On the flip side, once finances are in danger of no longer being able to support what I value, then something does have to change in my financial plan. Looking at the big picture helps me understand whether my retirement personal economy is fine and I can continue enjoying our time in life. But it’s also a way to see that adjustments are required, both large and small to maintain it.
I Understand That As A Retiree I’m Fortunate – There’s A Lot of Economic Pain In This World
I don’t discount what it took for me to be in this early retirement place. But it’s obvious that this economy isn’t working for many people who are trying to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, find a decent wage, and are buried in debt. For many, their personal economy was challenged before and it’s only worse now. It’s a systematic trap that has always been there.
I was trapped in that same spot not that long ago during the first half of my life. Something I vividly remember and it’s a financial place I never want to end up in again. My personal finance story has too many years where I couldn’t earn enough to cover our basic expenses each month. It certainly made it difficult to find much joy in life living like that. I find that experience as my main motivation to stay focused on all aspects of my retirement personal economy. A life perk for having the patience and discipline to create a life of FIRE.
My Evaluation Process To Confidently Enjoy Retirement
How is my retirement personal economy doing overall?
This is where I check the way I feel about things. Obviously if something is bothering me, then I need to look at it. Even if I’m feeling confident about how things are going I still take a peek to verify that I’m living in reality.
How have any of my retirement values been impacted?
I look at all value areas, checking to see if any aspect is lacking and if so, why. While I don’t want to see any aspect falling behind, it isn’t unusual. Life is seldom without challenges. A couple of years ago I may have had more money in the bank but other values of my retirement personal economy were severely depleted. Today the portfolio is down but everything else is in full swing.
Are there any areas of spending and my value based budget being challenged?
Some years it might be a medical condition that causes health, social, and financial stress. Other years as now, it’s inflation hitting specific expenses. While budget adjustments are sometimes necessary, this is where a little work on the front end can save a lot of headache later. Sometimes it comes down to making a few compromises to other retirement personal economy values to put things back in balance.
Does my retirement’s personal value funding feel secure now and over the long-term?
Having a good financial plan helps smooth market volatility concerns and over time earn our trust. There’s only so much we can know and do when looking into the future. I used to worry about this aspect much more than I do now. I still run a good retirement calculator to assure things are safely on track. When I need financial calming, I talk to a professional to make sure my portfolio allocations and retirement funding bucket strategy holdings are in line with my risk tolerance, life expectancy, and current market conditions.
Looking beyond political and national data metrics
When I read or hear economic reports it provides a glimpse at current conditions. The problem is there’s always an expert countering the prevailing message, perception, and predictions. No wonder some people will needlessly go into fear mode or completely disregard things when personal action is actually needed. That’s why I rely on monitoring my retirement personal economy. Then I can confidently celebrate my fortunate life. When necessary I deploy countermeasures in income, spending, or other value based changes to reverse any downward trends.
Knowing how my unique economy is doing supports happiness and optimism.
Wrongly being pessimistic and depressed is of no help in enjoying our retirement life during the finite time we have. Even a disappointing retirement situation can be reversed into hope when we take control and make positive changes.
Life is hard and it takes more than smiling to get through it. We have to take control of our own situation. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the world is doing wonderfully if we’re stuck in a real or mentally created crisis. Even if economically everything trends going south, but we have done what’s necessary to ride it out, we’ve earned being able to happily live our best life that we can.
It is a waste of time being unnecessarily dragged down. Retirement success is a call for us to rejoice in our position and lend a hand to people who we can or want to.
Staying informed of our valued based retirement personal economy adds mental armor against anyone trying to sell us something by telling us that our life is worse off than it really is or that we have it better than we actually do. I prefer to count my blessings based on informed and verified retirement personal economy value based metrics.