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Save for Retirement – Seriously

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. I’m finding that using grocery shopping apps are saving us more money.
  • 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?

33 thoughts on “Save for Retirement – Seriously”

  1. Melissa

    Unfortunately, we are not currently doing enough to avoid Meals on Wheels. 🙂 I do have a retirement plan from work that I will walk away with after my official resignation date, but I would like to set up and start contributing to a Roth IRA for both of us. My husband will just begin his retirement savings when he gets his post doc this fall. I think his Ph.D. program was not retirement friendly in that he doesn’t start his real career until 38!

  2. Hunter

    We are busily preparing for retirement with Roth IRA’s for each of us, a pension for my wife, and my Superannuation retirement plan from my work in Australia. But, we need to do a LOT more. Personally, I’m not counting on social security at all.

  3. No Debt MBA

    We’re doing pretty good on retirement savings but the idea of running out terrifies me slightly.

    Glad you’re finding time to volunteer!

  4. Everyday Tips

    My husband and I both max out our 401k plans, and save whatever I make. (Well, not all of my salary is saved, some is put toward paying down the mortgage, but that is like saving, right? 🙂 )

    I will definitely be moving into that one story home. It will be about 1200 square feet, complete with someone to do all the yard work.

    I want to travel a lot, but more than anything, I hope our health holds up.

    My grandma had meals on wheels for years and years and loved them! Great job volunteering Crystal!

  5. Money Beagle

    I think that having a plan is the first step to being able to have success at that plan. For many, retirement is just a concept where people don’t have any idea what they really want to do, so they have no idea what it will take to get there. The fact that you’ve set those goals may seem obvious to you, but for many, that’s way further along than they’ve ever been.

  6. My University Money

    Luckily my love for living rural will go a long way towards insuring that I am able to save a lot of money for retirement, and that I will be able to live cheap once I get there (even though that still seems soooo far off).

  7. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    We have defined benefit pensions that we contribute to every paycheck. We also put money into our RRSP’s and TFSA’s. If we have extra we put it into the general savings account. I think we should be on track to retire when we want to.

  8. Money Matters Guy

    A single-story home is a good idea. Both my parents and my in-laws had to deal with stairs as they got older and it really made their lives difficult at times.

  9. FinancialAdvisingGuru

    I’m with My University Money on this one. I like to think my retirement will take place in a small single story home out in the country. Hopefully by that point, I will own my home and have an adequate savings to provide a comfortable lifestyle so long as I stay well within my means. Hopefully keeping hard at work on growing food can keep us from having to put down microwaved Salisbury steak!

  10. Tony @ Investorz' Blog

    Hey, could you run advertising for my site?

  11. Harri @ TotallyMoney

    Good for you for volunteering. I’m in my early(ish) twenties (just turned 24 is still early, right?!) and I’ve been useless at saving for retirement so far. Right now it still feels so far away but I know I need to buckle down and get on it. That Salisbury steak doesn’t sound particularly appetizing.

  12. Kellen

    I’m putting some money away, but no where closing to maxing out my 401(k) or Roth IRA. I’m not planning on getting any social security to help out by the time I retire though, and maybe not even Meals on Wheels will be around anymore to help!

  13. Melissa @ BrokeTo

    Honestly, I don’t really have a plan for retirement. I’m young, so maybe it’s not terrible, but it’s not something I think about. I’m putting money into an RRSP (the Canadian equivalent of a 401k, I think), but I’m really only doing that for the tax break, and I’ll almost definitely withdraw all of it at some point to either put a downpayment on a house or go back to school (we’re allowed to withdraw for only those two things, otherwise you pay a hefty penalty). Retirement is a good 40 years away for me, and I just have a hard time really planning that far in advance when I only have so much money to put aside, and I have smaller, more achievable goals that I want to accomplished in the next 10 years. I’m not really sure how to balance it.

  14. Suba

    I think we are on track for our retirement. We are not saving as much as the companies would recommend (for that we need to save the entire salary!) but saving enough to live the lifestyle we absolutely want. That itself is a pretty costly dream for us, so we are putting as much as we can already to make it work.

    If I make more or somehow the stock market rewards us, we will have extra for our indulgences.

  15. Ashley @ Money Talks

    I hear ya. Living in an area that’s high retirement lets me really see the results of a lifetime of saving (or lack thereof).

  16. krantcents

    Since the financial side of retirement is on auto pilot, I am concentrating on what I want to do! I am planning the 30 years in retirement, it should be filled with interesting and stimulating things that keep me interested and engaged. I am starting to volunteer next year, I think I will take some classes, I want to keep up the bicycling and last keep up the blogging. I think this is a good base for me to build on, it gives me flexibility so we can travel and other things.

  17. Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

    We’re already retired and doing quite well. For years I maxed out my company plan. Hubby’s got a for real pension (score!) and our other investments are well allocated to reduce risk, get growth and get income.

    I think that a lot of old folks like to get things like meals on wheels because it brings someone into their home for them to interact with. If you live long enough, at some point at lot of the people you knew are gone!

  18. You are not only delivering food, but you are a way for these people to be checked in on. That’s a valuable service you are giving even if the food isn’t so great. My mom gets meals like this 3 days a week, but the food quality is better–meals made at the local deli. Since we live far away from her, it’s peace of mind that she’s being checked on fairly often. Thanks from me!

    You are right to prep for retirement. Your ideas for retirement sound great. With your planning I’m sure they will come true!

  19. Retired and still budgeting

    I agree with [email protected] You are not just delivering meals. My mother volunteered for Meals on Wheels in the 1970’s. The idea wasn’t just that home bound people would get at least one meal, but that they would be checked up on, as some of the elderly were being found days old dead. Mom would always check on the person, chat a bit and come home later than she meant to with stories of the area we had never heard of before. One of the old guys agreed with you that the meals were not very good and he would feed them to his dog as he chatted with Mom. He was a good cook and gave her brownies to take home for us. I have 7 siblings; he sent home a dozen brownies. So delicious they were gone in less than 5 minutes.
    I am living in retirement. Broke my ankle trying to take a turn too fast on a recumbent. Stairs were/are tricky,but I have found them also to be helpful in the rehabilitation process. We were going to move to a more rural area with a one story house, but this one is paid for and we still have college aged children who need help, so that may not happen. We have fully funded 401K, some nice sized traditional IRA’s, a pension worth 1/3 of what my gorgeous husband was making, stocks, and our house and cars are totally ours. In our 2 years of retirement we have traveled, bought state passes to parks to ride our lawn chair bikes, indulged in hobbies of renovating the house, adding pets to our diminishing family, taking care of our aging parents as possible, and arguing down our tax appraisals district valuation of our house,and are dealing with health issues. We are planning on receiving SS within the next 5 years. Everyone should. (When you allow someone to take away something you have paid for you are allowing the misuse/abuse of public funds. By expecting this type of behavior you are supporting and encouraging it.)
    So I guess we will not be getting any visits from anyone volunteering for Meals on Wheels. No matter how much you save though, it can be wiped out(my compound fracture of ankle bones set us back quite a bit, we dipped into one of our IRA’s as we are in lower tax bracket), so being self reliant helps where ever you are in life. As you age and have health problems, the option of being self reliant will disappear. Huge numbers of our aging population are becoming home bound with no one acknowledging their existence. It is good that someone like Crystal is looking out for some of our most over-looked and forgotten fellow citizens. Way to go.

  20. Crystal @ BFS

    I went of town this weekend and did not properly keep up with all of your comments! I get them automatically sent to my email, read them, and then come back here to answer. So when I was away from the comp, I just read all of them from my phone instead. Thank you for commenting!

    Thank you very much for all of your kind words of support!!! I am glad most of you are either already saving or making plans! I’ll try to answer any of your questions…

    @Tony, shoot me an email at budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail *dot* com if you are still looking. 🙂

    @Maggie and Retired and Still Budgeting, I do like the fact that I am basically checking in, but I have to move so fast that I don’t really get to talk. So, I am switching to be a substitute driver and am signing up to volunteer as a home caller for the elderly regularly. I would actually have a calling list and be able to talk. It’s less driving and way more socializing, which fits me better. 🙂

  21. lana

    We are (God willing) going to pay off our house next year and then have 20 years to save up
    for retirement. Our two sons are in or going soon to college, so we are juggling those expenses also. We have been saving for retirement for 20 years. The market is so volatile that I think we will be laddering cds
    and stockpiling cash. I also would like to invest in some art that could be sold at a profit in the future. Our main investment is in tithing, for our eternal future.

  22. Paul @ The Frugal Toad

    A cabin with a view of a lake where I can blog from my porch!

  23. jack-of-all-trades

    I’m not that much into 401k retirement accounts, largely because is tax-deferred, not tax-free, meaning that if one puts money into a 401k account, taking advantage of the tax break now, he hopes that taxes will not be significantly higher a couple decades from now when he retires. 401k’s are a very questionable investment for the lower and middle class. The lifetime tax increase and spending reduction experienced by low and moderate income households from participating fully in tax deferred 401k can be argumented in several ways. First, withdrawals of tax-deferred balances push households into higher tax brackets in old age. Second, contributions to tax deferred 401k retirement accounts lowers one’s tax brackets when young and, consequently, the size of the tax break from itemizing mortgage interest and other deductions. Third, and most importantly, withdrawals of tax-deferred balances when old can trigger much higher levels of Social Security benefit taxation under the federal income tax.

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