Rolling With Retirement Lifestyle Volatility and Disruption
I had a great run. My chosen path of personal finance and frugality got me to early retirement. Then followed by over a decade of successful and enjoyable freedom. I really loved how it was all working. But noooo, now I have to deal with some retirement lifestyle volatility and disruption. No doubt about it, it’s really messing with my mojo, if only temporarily. It’s the same old cautionary tale to anyone contemplating retirement. Nothing lasts forever and being messed with doesn’t end with ditching the rat race. Better plan on someday having to be forced to adapt.
Change isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It’s more about how even the best plan and lifestyle choices can become obsolete due to uncontrollable outside forces. Like it or not, what we think is there for the long haul can blow up. We’ve got to be willing to go with the flow and adjust to required lifestyle tweaking, both mentally and financially.
What Has Got My Goat After All These Years of Early Retirement
There are a few things that have recently got my goat. The last thing on my retired mind was having to shift my lifestyle to accommodate irritating new world changes. By irritating, I mean some of it is a hassle to get around. Others just have no viable solutions to rectify. Basically I’m seeing some forever changes in my retirement’s universe. Little stuff when just looking at it from high above. But big, at least mentally in the way that we only have so many simple pleasures. They’re sure hard to give up. It’s small stuff but definitely something that as a retiree I would’t want to build up and cluster into one big mentally aggravating retirement bomb. Here are just a few silly but annoying examples.
My Automotive Hobby
I’m one of those people who loves cars. From design and function to performance. When I find one I like I will hold onto it forever. Something that was not only a financial benefit over my life but a pleasing hobby. I did need to move on from my sports car because of back issues but I still tinker, show, and drive my now “classic” convertible beach cruiser. A 1981 Toyota Pickup that I’ve been driving since 1993.
Although I do a lot of the work on my cars myself, there are things I can’t do. The retirement lifestyle disruption I’m hitting is that now the mechanic shops in my town will not work on anything older than 20 years old. It’s some kind of post-pandemic change in business practices. Our 2002 Chevy is on the cusp of repair aging out too in a couple of months. The couple of shops that still will touch an older car will now charge a high premium. I would understand if it was a supply chain related to getting parts, but it doesn’t matter if parts are readily available.
The older we get the more reliant we are on medical support. Healthcare has been a growing hassle and something that takes more self management. First, my long-time Doctor retired. Since then I have had to change doctors 3 times due to them moving out of the area or changing practices out of my insurance network. I am now on the hunt once again for a new doctor along with everyone else being displaced in their practice. It’s a pain as timing is necessary to maintain medication refills and staying current with everything the insurance company loves to nick you for if missed.
Canceled Cell Phone Plan
I have had the same grandfathered cell phone and plan forever. Yes, I still use a flip phone. But it only costs me $100 a year and meets all of my lifestyle needs. It all ends this December when 3G will no longer be supported by wireless networks. I’m being forced to switch to a higher cost plan. I have my reasons why I’ve never accepted the smart phone into my lifestyle. It has a lot to do with my over 30 years in the telecom industry and my disdain of being tethered to technology. My wife uses an i-Phone we have on a discount wireless plan through Tello so there are at least low costs options available.
Favorite Places Closing and Replaced With Expensive High-End Offerings
This isn’t a case of my being some old codger griping that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It’s just the way of things now. People seem to prefer trendy-updated-swanky eateries and retail. They are willing to pay more for that kind of experience. In our case we’ve always preferred simple and reasonably priced. It saved us a lot of money over the decades and now there are less options within our chosen retirement lifestyle. Our town is a higher cost area and we don’t kid ourselves that we couldn’t afford to live here in retirement on our budget if we hadn’t set ourselves up over the years as we did. Just going out and about town is now a constant reminder of that. We’re just not the customer base they are chasing after. We will have to figure it out and find some other places that fit well.
The Natural Challenges of Growing Older
I exercise every day. Usually a 1 to 2 hour hike in the morning and 30 minute elliptical ride in the afternoon. Sprinkle in 12 mile round trip bicycle rides into town a couple of days a week by way of our Plum Creek Trail system. That doesn’t mean I’m not still experiencing arthritic and other pains that are causing some retirement lifestyle volatility in one way or another. I have been an active person my whole life and believed it would provide a strong and healthy body into old age. Alas, some of my activity may have been beneficial while others caused damage that I now must adjust my lifestyle to. Some physical activities I grew to love over the decades for exercise and recreation are now taboo because of how my body can no longer support it.
Plan On Retirement Lifestyle Volatility and Disruption To Happen At Some Point
I’ve made some mistakes. I didn’t see how something that I counted on, enjoyed, and that had worked in my favor over many years, even decades, would become unviable or completely undone. I figured I would eventually grow tired of things, not things leaving my universe before I was ready for them to. When the realization first hits me it isn’t mentally pretty. I don’t want to accept it and I fight it. But time and self reasoning eventually prevails and returns me to my retirement peace.
It’s not that I’m stupid or overly rigid. There were possible changes that I knew and understood as being necessary to embrace, like growing old and changes in activity. Somehow it’s all too easy to ignore it while living our comfortable retirement lifestyle. That is until it sneaks up and throws a sucker punch or as recently happened, my insides decided to come outside through my belly button.
Market volatility is something we always hear about and we plan for and around when necessary. But retirement lifestyle volatility is just as real and an unwelcome retirement bummer if we’re not prepared to accept and deal with it. The problem is we can’t always predict what it will be or when it will happen. With that in mind….
Live it up while you can
I say this with the thought of being reasonable. Not recklessly blowing through the portfolio or our body. I put some things off for a later time. Places I wanted to go, some automotive hobby desires I thought best to wait to do, and experiences I wanted to try. Most are out of reach for me now for one reason or another.
Don’t save it all for later, later may never come and it is wasted
I’m happy that I have never been someone who buys a car and thinks of it as an investment, leaving it undriven. I drive and enjoy mine and have put over 200K miles on my beach cruiser driving it as much as I can. If it breaks down and I can’t find a way to repair it then at least I can enjoy it while I still have it. If buying a shirt or something else that’s considered special, then treat it well by taking care of it and just wear it. It will just become obsolete sitting in the drawer or closet. Same goes for everything we love and want to save for later. Other things like special aged wine or a single malt might last but your ability to enjoy it won’t. Do it, use it, and appropriately enjoy it. And yes, I did find at the back of my closet an old leather jacket only to be worn on special occasions that I have to laugh about now.
Enjoy but also push beyond our comfort zone
It’s easy to limit things to what we know and love. Why rock the boat when things are going great? The problem is that someday it might be gone. Its absence will leave a big hole in our retirement lifestyle. Enjoy what we do but always add a little something new into the routine. Even if it feels weird, stretch the boundaries as long as it’s a sane endeavor. If it isn’t a good fit then move onto something else. Explore new paths while still loving what you love while you still can.
Be willing to let things go. Nothing lasts forever, not even us
There are things that I’ve had to let go of and I really miss it. I miss my sports car and all the fun driving I had over many years. But a surgery aggravated something that was slowly occurring and I could no longer drive like I could before. I had to let her go and adjust the way I enjoy that aspect of my retirement’s automotive hobby. I still love it but have to support this passion in a different way. Then there’s how I also love good whiskey. But that little hobby isn’t as fun as it used to be when I was younger either. A retweaked passion that is now all about quality over quantity.
Now I find more retirement lifestyle volatility happening and I will have to make similar decisions on what to do. In the end they are small lifestyle disruptions. As long as we mentally adjust and take the necessary course of action to replace them with new opportunities they will remain small aggregations and not become a retirement buzzkill or turning us into fear and grievance filled jackholes.
There’s no sense in wasting time stewing over circumstances that we cannot change. Many of which we most likely shouldn’t even if we could. We need to roll with what seems to be unwelcome changes and adapt to make our retirement lifestyle the best experience that we can for as long as we can.