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I just started volunteering for Meals on Wheels this past Monday and I have already learned something.  Save for retirement or else.

Don’t get me wrong.  Meals on Wheels is offering a great service for people in need.  Drivers like me walk a lunch directly to the door of people in need.  These are complete meals, but we are not talking about fine cuisine.

Monday’s lunch was a tv dinner of warmed up Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli, a packaged piece of bread, a plum, a packet of butter, and a small carton of milk.  Based on the smell, we are talking about an 88 cent tv dinner, not a Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine (which are pretty tasty in my opinion).  A couple of the people I delivered to have disabilities and several just need the financial help of a free meal.  But how much over-microwaved Salisbury steak and broccoli would you want to have when you’re in your golden years?

I personally have a much higher standard of living and plan on sticking with it.  If I ever have a tv dinner when I’m 85 years old, I want to be able to look through my own freezer and pick the one for the day.  I also want it to be a choice and not a financial necessity.

Here are my plans for retirement:

  • One story house or all important rooms downstairs so our knees don’t suffer.
  • Weekly trips to the grocery store or ordering groceries for delivery from places like Amazon or Schwan’s when we can’t get out as easily.
  • Traveling every few months as long as we are physically capable.
  • Host even more groups at home when we can’t travel easily anymore.
  • Enough money to cover any health problems that pop up and give us a very comfortable end-of-life care.

Here’s how we are preparing for those plans:

  • Keeping my 401(k) balance and watching it grow from my day job.
  • A Roth IRA for me.
  • A Roth IRA for my husband.
  • My husband’s pension.
  • Investing in stocks through Scottrade and researching stocks and shares ISA packages.
  • I am now researching self-employment retirement account options as well as 401k conversion to roth IRA.
  • Hash out all the medicare supplement plan options years in advance. I watched my parents struggle with this and I don’t want that.

I’m actually looking forward to my whole life, the 20’s are a ton of fun, but I think the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and retirement years will kick butt too.  I just wish each year didn’t seem to go so fast.

What are your retirement dreams and plans?  What are you doing to avoid needing Meals on Wheels?