This financial planning and retirement story (submitted anonymously) shows how unexpected events can change even the best plans, but a positive attitude helps us adapt with success.
When my father graduated from college he began his career as an engineer at a local department store. This was many years ago and when a person got a good job they kept it until they retired.
I know my father was planning for retirement, but the cost of raising three kids was more expensive than he probably imagined.
The public school systems at the time were terrible and that meant putting three kids through a private school.
This was expensive and was not conducive to saving money.
The downside of working as an engineer is that although it was a well-paying career, there was not a lot of change in the amount of income he got every year. As the expense of raising a family grew, the salary did not grow at the same pace.
While it was difficult to save, my father did manage to contribute to a retirement account and had a good pension plan with the company that he worked for.
All of the financial planning and retirement ideas that he had were tossed aside 4 years before he got to retirement age. The company was sold to another department store. They offered all of the executives at my father’s department store two options. They could accept a position with the new company or they could opt for an early retirement buyout.
My father was a very smart man and he knew that if he accepted a position with the new company it was only a matter of time before they would let him go without any of the retirement benefits he had worked all of his life for. He made the difficult decision and decided it was the best time to retire.
There were many problems with this decision. Since he was only 60 years old, if he started collecting social security, his benefits would be drastically reduced. It would be difficult for him to find a new job at his age although he was able to get a few consulting projects.
The package he received did provide him with some money that he could use as a retirement bridge until he reached retirement age and he was still eligible to get his pension package. The only thing he had to do was to make it financially until the age of 65, and find something to do with his time.
The financial part turned out to be easier than he imagined. The house was paid for and the kids had all moved out. There was no school to pay for anymore and there were only two people to feed. My mother had worked most of her life in part time positions in the medical field and was going to continue doing this. Since they knew that the money aspect, although it would be tight, was going to be okay, my father had to concentrate on finding something to do.
Many people are so focused on their job that when their career is over they have nothing left to do. It is not uncommon for people to die shortly after they retire, because they do not fill the void left by not working anymore. Since my father was an engineer, he came up with an organized way to tackle this problem. He came up with a list of retirement hobbies and things that he could do to help others and then turned to the internet to help research them.
He was able to find several organizations that interested him such as a German club. He also decided to volunteer his time to help tutor students that needed it. He was able to use his knowledge to help the kids who could not afford the private schools that his kids had gotten to attend.
The four years until he reached full retirement age flew by and he is now busier than ever.
The influx of money from his social security benefits is providing my parents with the ability to travel and they are taking advantage of it.
They are living their life in retirement and are doing more than they ever did while they were working.
They get to enjoy the things they want to do and they have a bunch of grandchildren to play with.
The retirement plan they originally had may have changed in some ways, but they have managed to handle the changes well.