I’m Stephanie and this is my story of how things have a way of hitting us out of the blue.
In my mid 50’s we were actively involved in planning for our early retirement. My goal was to transition from my full-time career to part-time work or occasional work as a contractor.
I had consulted a financial planner, explained our retirement goals, and implemented some of his recommendations in preparation for this major shift in our lifestyle.
My father and mother-in-law were both facing serious illnesses, and both passed away about 3 months apart.
Although these were very sad times for us, it made our retirement hopes even stronger.
One thing we wanted to do with our free time was to be able to spend more time with our families.
Seemingly out of the blue, my husband crashed into a crippling depression. After the second funeral, he could not bring himself to leave the house, much less go to his job.
Indeed, he could hardly face going outside without experiencing frightening panic attacks. He made arrangements to see a doctor immediately.
As days and then weeks went by we agreed he was not in a position to make good decisions, especially about major lifestyle changes, so our retirement plans were put on hold indefinitely while he was in treatment.
Finally, after being on medical leave for more than a year, we decided retirement was the right thing for us after all. The stress of dealing with his condition on top of my highly stressful job was just too much, and he was still not ready to return to his job.
These days, Phil is getting better but still isn’t quite back to normal yet. But where we are now is not where I had hoped we would be when we retired. I’m hoping that we’ll eventually be able to do the things we had planned.
Even so, we don’t have the stress of our jobs anymore, so we feel very fortunate about that.
The point of this story is that none of us can count on things turning out the way we imagine, so we need to be prepared for things we don’t expect.
This is especially true for women who may be counting on their husbands to take care of their retirement needs.
Don’t do it! Take care of your own future, just in case things don’t turn out the way you expect them to.