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.

retired man playing guitar
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 at here.

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 work.

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 plan.

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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