The Golden Years
Most of my career has been spent working in retirement
communities, in Mobile Home Parks, RV Resorts, working on shade
solutions. During this time I have had a lot of opportunity to
watch people in their latter years of life. I have
watched them spend their money and enjoy their golden years to the fullest.
Most of my work has been in a snowbird state where winter visitors fill our
parks and resorts each year. They come from the northern states to escape
the snow and cold weather. Over the years the tougher economic times have
forced many of them to keep only a single residence. For some it meant
staying home all winter. For others it means selling the home back north
and enduring the Arizona summers.
And for a growing number of residence in the 55 and older parks much of their
time is spent working. It has become very common for out winter visitors
to spend a good portion of their time working. The retirement community as
a whole is changing and there are many reasons why, some of which we will look
According to government statistics the average 50 year old has a savings
account worth about $2500. That's an eye opening figure and sure explains
the decline in seniors being able to enjoy their golden years without having to
These figures are just as amazing. For every hundred people turning
sixty five this year:
- Sixty two will have assets worth less than $25,000. This group will
depend on little more than social security for their livelihood.
- Thirty five will retire with less than a hundred grand in assets.
They will have some form of pension plus their social security. These
people will probably be just fine as long as both the social security and the
pension keep paying.
- Two seniors over 65 will have an adequate pension or
retirement account. They receive social security but would survive just
fine without it. Their assets are between $100,000 and $750,000.
- One out of every one hundred people turning 65 this year will be
financially independent. This person will have assets near, or over, a
million dollars. The retirement years will be good for this individual.
The truth is, with large pension plans gone by the wayside, and social
security an uncertainty, many of us approaching the age where we can retire will not have it
the same as the people I sold awnings to for so many years. The days of
golfing, fishing, swimming and playing pool with the boys may only be a reality
on weekends. The rest of the week will be spent working, just like it has
been for the forty years prior to now.
Are you wondering how you can be one of the lucky ones? Here's a few
tips, but you need to start now, don't waist another day.
- Seek expert financial and retirement help. The money spent is a
worthwhile investment in your future.
- Realize that you will need x number of dollars a month in your retirement
years. Your financial planner can help with realistic figures for this.
They will probably shock you.
- Start now setting up your long term care insurance.
- Don't count on social security, if you get it great, but if not have
another plan. Plan to retire without the need for it, so if you do get
it, it's just a little icing on the cake.
- Be realistic with your medical costs and needs. Many of us who are
in good health just assume it will always stay that way. It might not,
and you need to be prepared. Medical costs can wipe out years of savings
in just days.
- Don't make the mistake in thinking you will retire early. In most
cases it just does not work this way, unless of course, you have an excellent
If you start now and really work at it maybe I'll see you poolside at an
Arizona RV Resort, that's where I'll be.
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