Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Don't Want That

I've mentioned my co-worker before and how her poor health serves as a cautionary tale about getting older and (possibly) making poor choices.  I really don't know too much about why she's so sick, but she takes 25 pills a day, and that's just not something I want in my future.  I don't want to seem like I'm picking on the woman, but we had a brief conversation a few days ago that terrified me to my very core.

The organization I work for recently switched dental insurance providers, so we were all waiting for new cards to arrive in the mail.  Mine came--with a horrible, laughable misspelling of my name and a misprint of my address.  I'm not even sure how it actually arrived at my house, or how long it took for the mail carrier to figure out it was supposed to come to me (they put a Z in my last name--there's no Z).  My co-worker was wondering aloud when we would get our cards, and I told her that mine had arrived about two weeks ago.

"I've been avoiding looking at the mail lately, I guess I'll have to take a look." She said.

Her husband has been in Intensive Care with a laundry list of problems since before Thanksgiving.  They had to bring him in am ambulance more than 60 miles at one point and I can't imagine what other expenses are piling up--even with the decent health insurance we have.  She's over 60, in poor health herself, in a constant state of worry about him and also money and I'm pretty sure that she has no savings and probably a paltry retirement fund.

That is my worst nightmare.

Whenever I try to talk myself out of putting money in my IRA, I think of her.
Whenever I think it might be more fun to buy something silly, I think of her.
I think of the fact that she probably wants to retire--in fact she had retired two years ago and then had to come back to work full time, and I just don't want that.

Saving for the future may not be the sexiest thing in the world, and plenty of people think 'oh, I'm too young to start worrying about that', but she's only 30 years older than me, and both she and her husband are falling apart--financially and healthwise.  I don't want that.

I want a real retirement and to be healthy enough to actually enjoy it.  Sure, things could change and my health could go south through no fault of my own, but to have the added stress of being broke on top of that?  Not interested.


  1. Over 20 years ago, we "did without" to put money in IRA for my husband and for me as home-mom, all while paying child support, college tuition, and preschool. We didn't think Social Security would still be paying-out when we retired!

    Now, just turning 70 1/2, he must withdraw the required minimum amount annually from now on (and pay taxes on it). He deferred his Social Security checks until age 70, so those are coming in now. And he's still enjoying his work!

    Would having a few more dinners out back then have been worth it? No way! Who can predict what your health or earning power will be in later years? Protect your health through good habits now and save what you can now for the future - better to have lots of both in reserve...

  2. This is related, although not directly. For those who would ever consider taking a loan out of their retirement account: that's like going into the future and robbing yourself at gunpoint and then traveling back to the present time to spend the money. Just heard that recently and it keeps popping back up in mind. :)