Wednesday, November 11, 2015

MY FINANCIAL MENTORS and RETIREMENT PLANS

I got an email a while back from a reader.
Actually I apparently had another email prior to it
but I think I must have dismissed it as spam and it wasn't.
She wanted to know if I'd write a post about a female mentor I might have.
Someone who I has come up with a novel way to save money!
I told her that I doubted that I would be the person to ask to write this but she urged me on.
She stated that only 53 percent of women have saved and made a retirement plan
compared to 65% of men.
I responded back to this that it didn't surprise me as typically women make less money than men
so therefore don't have the funds to save.
And also, so many times a single woman is taking care of others too.
I told her that I had friends who might make for a good mentor on saving money
but ultimately they all have a common factor in their lives
and that was having a husband who helped add to the financial situation.
But Marianne, still wanted me to write about a female mentor.

Now, truth be told. My biggest financial mentor isn't female.
His words echo in my head and sometimes I swear his voice still guides me.
Whenever I've gotten myself into financial trouble, it's because I ignored his voice and
rebelliously went ahead and did what I wanted to.
So, I will include him too, my dad who passed many years ago, even if I'm not suppose to.

But first, I'll start with the only female role model I have who is not married.
Now let me take a moment here and make it very clear that I mean no
insult towards all my married friends.
I'm very happy that they found someone to share their lives with.

I unfortunately never found that and that's OK.
I'm just saying, I imagine life might be a teeny tiny bit easier having someone help
with the financial load.
Therefore the best tip on saving some cash, planning for retirement and all that stuff, 
would be to find a good mate, a funny compassionate person with a good job.
There you have it. My best tip.

But life doesn't work out as we plan (and I've probably let a good one or two slip away)
but obviously it wasn't meant to be.
So.... Who is my FEMALE role model?

It would have to be Tammy.

She's worked hard and took care of herself and always kept a very positive attitude.
She lives simply but beautifully. She rejoices in minimalism and does not need THINGS.
She's the most caring and giving person and I think that's why she's so happy.
Her wonderful energy radiates out and circles back to her. 
I'm trying EVERY DAY to be more like her.
To let "stuff" go and to just appreciate BEING.
To experience real joy from a puppy's face or a good book, a movie or
conversation over a great meal.
The woman is a true inspiration and all it takes for her to be ecstatic is for it to rain!
That's not to say that she wouldn't like to win the Lottery.
But for her, it wouldn't be about big houses and cars.
It would about seeing friends she's never met.
Or helping out the whales, the elephants, the animal rescue groups...
So she's my mentor financially but so much more.
She's my reminder that once the bills are paid and the critters are cared for ...
Well,...most important things are free or not all that expensive.

And then there's my other mentor, my Dad.

Who tried to be my financial mentor from day ONE and I now regret not following his advice earlier.
It's only in the last few years, I realize how right he was about MONEY.
Maybe not about a lot of other stuff, but money, yeah. He had that figured out.

His tips for saving money are not gender related and I think would be useful to anyone. 
Here they are:
Buy quality.
Buy it once and make it last.
Repair don't replace.
Don't charge what you can't pay off next month.
Don't charge unless it would be foolish not to. -
Example: you need a refrigerator but don't have the full amount and
you find the perfect one and its on sale and you can pay it off before the
no-interest offer expires.
Then he might say to charge it. But begrudgingly.

NO, now that I think about it,

what he'd really say is that you KNEW that the
refrigerator was OLD and you SHOULD have been saving up for it.
More tips -
Don't pay rent.
Buy a house you can afford that's nice but not too big and easy to maintain,
in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Take care of your home.
Caulk the windows, clear the gutters, be watchful and save for rainy day repairs.
Don't pay others for what you can do yourself.
Help your friends and they will help you when there are things you can't do yourself.
Make good friends, real friends - once again, QUALITY over quantity.
Save your warranties.
Be polite but firm in financial transactions.
Don't let people walk all over you, have a sense of humor but don't back down
when it comes to getting your money's worth.
Eat healthy and don't waste food.- he always said to push yourself away from the table
a little bit hungry. That it's not good to be FULL.
(OK, gotta admit I don't do that one for sure!)

And finally the last piece of advice of his that I remember and will always, is....
Time with your loved one is more important than any amount of money.

He used to work all week and go out in the evenings and work some more.
He was an insurance agent.
In those days he'd go on calls and do sales and also collect money in the evenings!
He actually had his own route of his clients who he'd stop by monthly
and pick up their payments.
He made a very nice living and we lived in a nice home and then
my mother got Cancer, was ill for long while at home, then hospitalized and then died.
Afterwards he told me that his greatest regret was leaving her home alone so much
and how if he had known how life would play out,
he would have spent every moment he could have, with her.

So, my two mentors have helped me to decide a few things about my own retirement.
They have both shown me that life isn't all about having things.
That there's nothing wrong with having a few nice needed or treasured items but
just remember to take care of them so as not to waste money replacing them.
To spend times with those I love and to realize real friends are priceless.

And then I've decided a few things on my own.
I know that we are all told to invest and while that might work very well for others it won't be
happening with me except for how they invest the money in my 401K at work.
A 401K that doesn't have enough to buy a good second hand car!
But someday might be able to replace my roof.
Sigh.
Instead I will invest in myself.
I will work on my Art, that right now isn't a business yet. 
It's just me selling a little bit and then buying more Art supplies
but I will keep carving out spare moments and someday it WILL be my business.
And I will never retire from that, I will never want to.
I will work on paying down my debts and repairing and then maintaining my home.
Some day I will be debt free.

I don't think I will move but rather live many places.
I was telling my sister that this weekend. 
How maybe I will rent out my home and drive an RV or something

and stay with her in Vermont when they retire there and when the weather is beautiful
and then when it turns bitter cold, me and my current old dog will head south!
LOL!
Yep, I could do my Art anywhere and just keep moving and having adventures
until the day comes that I don't.

Yep, that's today's plan...but who knows.

I should mention that you can track your personal finances with free apps like those from Personal Capital.
You can check those out here!

This isn't a sponsored post or anything.
I just agreed to do it to make myself actually THINK about it.
So, all in all, this has been a good thing.

It's something that I would kinda start to think about but then push from my mind...
Like last month when I carried out that Golden, I didn't mention it before but,
I messed up my knee.
I really hurt the dang thing and I've been stretching and twisting and
sleeping in weird positions, hoping it will go back to where it was and feel better.
I've been careful and babied it and finally today it doesn't ache.
Yep, I think I learned that from my mentors too.
To try to walk it off, if possible!

But it's also a little wake-up call to me to think about the future.
So there you have it. 
That's MY retirement plan. 
At least for today.
(On a side note. This text is still wonky! The spacing is weird and... it's got to Blogger.)

16 comments:

Doreen@househoneys said...

Cindi, all your posts are such fun, but this one touched my heart. I was not at all surprised you picked Tammy! She is all you described and more.

Your father's philosophy was so much like mine as well. I think it was a generational thing, but it's difficult to find fault with anything he proposed. Good, old fashioned values never hurt anyone.

tammy j said...

i don't even know where to begin.
to be mentioned in this post in this way.
my face feels hot and i have tears welling in my eyes.
because i was up to my eyebrows in debt. and i was thrown a life raft.
you know all about it. and not everyone has that happen for them.
so i take no credit in handling my life well.

i think you had the best mentor of all. and i think he must have been related to my beloved gram. what you wrote about him and his advice is her to a tee. i could hear her words in everything he said.

and i remember my own dad always saying... "NEVER owe anyone.
that way you can always ride out of town a free man." LOLOL.

yes. he told that to his daughter. but it's true.
and i didn't listen.
i listen now. and i finally have the hang of it. but it took me a long time. and many mistakes.

and your idea for living after your retirement. PERFECT!
i can see you doing that! just the way you described it!

and if it weren't for working for state tourism and them taking money out of my check for retirement every month and investing it FOR ME...
i'd be up a creek without a paddle now.

though... you'll be FINE. you are an artist. and things are going to just get better and better in that department for you. i'm convinced of that!
and the only secret i would have is... "if your needs are few... it's easier to supply them."

i think this was a beautiful and helpful post. it has inspired me!
and marianne will think so too.
love and huge snoopy hugs. from the little brown dog in the picture.
XOXOXOXO♥

Vicki said...

Wonderful post Cindi!
I think you chose your mentors wisely, and have very good advice to follow.

I wish I'd known Tammy years ago, I know with her as a role model, I'd be in a much better place.
She has had to take care of herself, and I admire her so very, very much.
She really is an inspiration! And, continues to inspire in her wonderful posts.
We do love our little wren.

Your dad had some very, very good words for you also.
And stands in very good stead, even today.

I wish I had parents that were wise. But, I wasn't so lucky.
They were truly dreadful about money. Drank it all away.
So, I was aimless for so long.
I wish I had studied hard and became more independent and careful.
Hindsight...

Continue on the path you are on, and I think the Universe will reward you richly.

And, do take care of your knee. Knees and backs are so crucial to getting around.

Maybe I've recommended it before, but, I can highly recommend going to a health food store (not a pharmacy) or look online for Arnica ointment - the good stuff, which costs a little more.
It is truly a miracle healer.

Take care of yourself Cindi.
Hugs to Blue too - I hope he's on the mend... any pebbles yet?

xxx

Cindi Myers said...

Doreen,
Tammy is indeed a rare gem, an inspiration!
You are right, there is so much more besides what I mentioned.
There is also the fact that, though her, I have found so many other great friends that I would have never known!
Yep, we are blessed to have her in our lives.
I agree about the financial matters being generational.
I wish I had always listened to him (about money) but I'm fortunate that I'm able to have had his words of wisdom on the topic.
One thing he always said to me that I left out though is...
(and this remark was because I tended to date younger than me)
He said that I needed to find a man with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel!
He always had a sense of humor, but I think he actually meant that one.
But I just laughed and told him, that it was "daughter like father"!
(He didn't think THAT was too funny! LOL!)


Cindi Myers said...

Tammy,
You ARE an inspiration.
Maybe even more so because you learned from past mistakes
and you stopped repeating them.
Yes, you were thrown a life raft but I know many many people who have been thrown the life raft and they somehow forgot that they were drowning and then jumped right back into the deep end.
Or worse, people like my boss's grandson. Who he bought a car for so that he could drive to work. Work here at the clinic, doing odd jobs and mowing and...
The kid doesn't show up! The older grandson was given the same deal a few years earlier and got pulled over and was under the influence so had his drivers license taken from him!
I have a friend whose parents bought her a starter house and she complained so much about having to work on it, that finally her father just did it all himself.
She never realized what a gift she had been given. She took it for granted.
I know kids whose parents worked two jobs to save up money to send them to college and the kids just drank and partied and dropped out.
So many people are thrown life rafts and never acknowledge it much less pay it FORWARD.
No, you ARE my inspiration. To be a better person.
To remember to be grateful for all the gifts and people in my life.
To be grateful because I'm able to enjoy the weather.
(though I prefer wind to rain! LOL!)

About investing. Yes, it's a wise thing to do if a person is able.
The money in my 401K is controlled by investing.
But I know it took a big dip not too long ago.
I'm not going to count on it.
Hopefully it will surprise me. LOL!
I agree with your Dad about being a free (man) woman
but right now I'm not and it is a bit stressful.
I won't focus on THAT! I will focus on some day actually being FREE!
Yep, writing this post has helped me.
And made me feel grateful for what I do have.
XOXOXOXO

tammy j said...

good grief charlie brown.
good grief.
but thank you.

Cindi Myers said...

Vicki,
Yes, our little wren is a HUGE inspiration!
We are so lucky to have her and I'm so glad she introduced us!
I value both your friendships SO MUCH.

Yes, my Dad had so very wise words about money.
I'm fortunate for those, even if I didn't listen at the time.
I'm so sorry that your own were dreadful and that you had to grow up in those circumstances. I would feel dishonest if I don't admit that my own father was far from perfect. I mean he gave me shelter and didn't hit me but...
(I hesitate to open that Pandora's box) but I was not close to him growing up. That came many many years later.
No, he got rid of my best friend, my dog who I did every thing with, and my little cat that I had begged for years to have, and my mothers little poodle... all of them, right after she died. It was such a horrific scene that I can't bear to think about it for more than a few moments.
He did not allow us to talk about my mom. It was though she never existed.
He cut us off from all the relatives on my mother's side.
He went to school and talked to the High school principal and got me dropped from the language class I needed as a prerequisite for college and signed me up for typing and shorthand. He said I didn't need to go to college.
He didn't allow me to join Ski club because I didn't have the funds to go skiing. He did let me join Drama club but I had to beg and plead, but I had to quickly drop out because he refused to pick me up afterwards and I had to walk home in the dark and was one day followed and had to run most the way home...so I dropped out.
He was very critical of my looks, to both extremes. (Long story)
He was very strict and very manipulative.
He pitted me and my step-mom against each other. Something we only discovered after his death.
Oh god, lots of stuff.
I mean, I was very fortunate in many ways, but I just don't want to pretend it was perfect.
I suppose that maybe that's why I later rebelled so badly.
Yep......
anyway,
YES! I think the Universe (and the support of all my friends) will be all I need to have my dreams come true!
:)
(I will look for that ointment! Thank you!)
and no pebbles yet, but the vet isn't concerned. He said they could be there for quite a while and be ok)
I did get a quick video of him (Blue, I mean! LOL)
That I hope to post later today!
Thank you!
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LOL!

Cindi Myers said...

Tammy,
Love ya!
xo

Vicki said...

Some parents do have a lot to answer for... which they rarely ever do.
All I can say is, I'm glad that I was able to get away and make a life for myself - eventually.
I too had no direction and was very rebellious. The fact that I lived past twenty five is a miracle :)

I'm so glad you're here in the world, and that I know you - our dear Tammy is to thank for that.
Live your dreams, Cindi, for yours are very worth it.

Looking forward to the video of Blue :)

Hugs xxx

Cindi Myers said...

Vicki,
I think a lot of people had childhoods that looked ok from the outside and actually weren't that wonderful.
But thankfully we have been able to move past it.
Although I never used to talk about it but blogging has a way of making me spill my guts! LOL!
I know that you went through a lot worse, but look how amazing you are!
I'm so glad you are in this world too!
Yep, another reason to love Tammy.
:)
Hugs!

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Very moved by your words. I was like you, a single woman with no savings, when I woke up at age 45. I muddled along until I found Dave Ramsey and his book, Total Money Makeover. Twenty years later, my life is completely different. I still listen to Dave Ramsey via his free podcasts, every day of my life. Yesterday, a young man who had robbed a bank and went to prison for 3 yrs/3 months/ and 10 days called in. He has just paid off restitution for his crime and now finally feels free at last. I cried as I often do, but it was a good cry. I find inspiration every day that anyone can become debt free and succeed with Dave's principles. Listen to him and find inspiration. Good luck with your endeavors. You can't help but succeed with your talent.

Cindi Myers said...

Sharon,
Thank you so much for your faith in me.
It means a lot to me.
I started listening to Dave Ramsey on YouTube after you recommended him and now I think I will get some of his CD's from the library so that I can listen to them in the van too.
Thanks for your guidance!
XOXOXOXO

CheerfulMonk said...

Thank you so much for this touching post. It brought tears to my eyes, especially the part about tammy.

I'm glad your knee is feeling better, and good for you for heeding the wake-up call. I sure hope you can find more time for your art and that your art ends up giving you more freedom. I'm so sorry that your father made your life so hard for you. That was a huge loss.

All the best, dear heart.

Cindi Myers said...

Jean,
Now YOU are making ME cry.
Thank you!
and thank you for you know what. XOXOXOXOXO
and yes, I need to get my mind focused on the not too distant future.

And about my Dad, I can't change history but at least we overcame most of our issues and eventually became good friends.
I suppose we can love someone but not really like them.
So I feel good that in the end, all things ended on a better note.
Besides, some people had it much much worse than me!
xoxo

Christer. said...

Nothing much to add there :-) Never use a credit card is what I would say, it is better to take a loan at the bank because the interest is so much lower on a bank loan than on a credit card. But of course it is always best to save the money in the first place.

Have a great day!
Christer.

Cindi Myers said...

Christer,
You are so right about credit cards...
I'm learning that now.
Sigh.
I hope not to take a loan out again but I might have to for a car.
But if I'm lucky, the van will keep going for a while.
Thanks for commenting!