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Jeepers, I'm a codger and never think about any of this scary stuff.  I made the best financial preps I could and don't think about them anymore.  Hope the Nobel money will get me across any unexpecteds.  I don't worry about decline so long as I have grandkids to cuddle.  Now I've just got to get some.
 

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mike h said:
All you have to do is put up with the snow.
Snow isn't as big a problem once you retire. You no longer HAVE to be at work, and you can arrange winter life to avoid have-to-be's.
 

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ellenoc said:
Snow isn't as big a problem once you retire. You no longer HAVE to be at work, and you can arrange winter life to avoid have-to-be's.
I live in the inland northwest where winters can be very snowy but never harsh. Summers are thankfully brief. My yearly utilities cost less than a friend in Atlanta spends just to survive summer. I frankly don't know how people survive the heat and humidity back east.
 

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mike h said:
I checked out the neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio where I grew up and was amazed to find the neighborhood looking better than when I lived there but the average cost of a house there at $60 to $80K. When I checked out the expensive neighborhood, Ottawa Hills, huge mansions with huge yards were going for $300K. All you have to do is put up with the snow.
Similar prices in south Texas and you don't have to deal with the snow (small dusting maybe once a decade). You might want to get friendly with an exterminator though.
 

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Once long ago I went to a writers conference and there was a very elderly pulp SF writer selling his old paperbacks at a table. He was apparently once very famous because he had many followers. He told me: "I don't write anymore." But wouldn't tell me why. I thought that was crazy. I would write forever! Now I finally understand. The body, mind or heart gets tired and suddenly you can't write or don't want to. So I'd never count on my writing income into old age. And as others have said....save, save, save. Have your SS and investments. I always had this thing about hating debt so when my husband retired (I stopped my graphic art jobs 18 years ago and went into writing my books full time though I had been writing since 1972 and published since 1984) 3 years ago we didn't owe anything to anyone. No mortgage, no car payments, etc. My husband had a 401K and we rolled it over into an investment account. I had a 401 K I had begun in 1979. We never took any of the money EVER from our 401Ks. But here's the thing...though when I was young I thought I'd be able to write forever I've learned there are many reasons why I won't be able to. I've seen family, friends and acquaintances fall ill in all possible ways. I, myself, got a huge wake up call last year when not only my husband got cancer, so did I....at the same time! Thank God I didn't have to have Chem, just radiation and pills. But the whole experience changed my whole outlook on my writing future. It changes your whole outlook on life. Also, working on my 28th novel I've begun to see a memory problem that I never had before or thought I'd ever have...I keep forgetting what I wrote chapters earlier. That had never happened before. That and with my cancer came a strange exhaustion that still hasn't gotten much better. Over my 46 year writing I have had my ups and downs in writing income so I would never ever depend on it continuing. It could vanish overnight. It's done that to me a couple times in the last 34 years. So...my advice for what it's worth is: prepare for the worst and cover all your bases. Have savings, investments and live simply. Write as long as you can. But realize things can change on a dime.
 

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I plan to keep writing. The alternative is to go back to dancing at bachelorette parties...

Seriously though, a couple of years ago, I posted an article on my blog about the "Lost Art of Hustling." That's not hustling in the sense of being a grifter or a con artist, but as the word "hustler" is defined by Dictionary.com: "an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter." Basically, the word "hustle" has gotten a bad rap thanks to movies and television, but I feel that hustling is what we do as indie authors, and for me that also applies to my golden years.

Basically, I'm not banking on Social Security at all (plus I've got a ways to go before I get there, anyway). I think it's going to be important to rely on savings and investments to see you through. That said, I'm blessed in that my books have found an audience, so I plan to continue writing indefnitely - maybe even full-time, if I ever quit the day job. However, if I ever sour on writing, there are other ways to generate income (eg, selling covered calls in the stock market), so it's important to continue those efforts as well.
 

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I shall write until I drop. I also intend to work until I drop.

For something interesting to do, aside from the normal sturm and drang of life.

Also, I need the money. I can't count on a pension -- whatever pension I may have gotten (from a job I held when I was younger) I was screwed out of a long time ago.

Social Security will be enough to feed my cat and dog perhaps. Maybe by then a parakeet. Give inflation enough time.

My main goal is to NOT end up in a 'home'. I've been there (family member was in one) and seen that.

 

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mike h said:
I checked out the neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio where I grew up and was amazed to find the neighborhood looking better than when I lived there but the average cost of a house there at $60 to $80K. When I checked out the expensive neighborhood, Ottawa Hills, huge mansions with huge yards were going for $300K. All you have to do is put up with the snow.
Honey Bunny and I are looking at someplace a little further south. My parents live in Oklahoma and I wouldn't be opposed to that. Also Texas could come into play. Other states that come to mind would be Tennessee or Kentucky. I would love the Lexington area because that is where all the horse farms are. That area of the country is beautiful and close to the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey mountain national parks.

Anyway, having spent a good portion of my life in real estate, I can look at properties on Zillow and get an idea of whether a property is worth looking at or not. We want at least 2.5 acres, about 1500+ square feet of house and if I can swing it, a barn that can be converted into an artist studio with a writing cave built into it. I see these kinds of properties all day long for $50-100K, depending on how much of a fixer you're willing to accept. The top of that range will get you something that is move in ready. HB wants a fixer because, as she says it, "I want to fix it up in an avant-garde style." I cringe every time I hear that, but then again, I want my writing cave to be a steam punk hideaway.


edited, PM if you have questions -- Ann
 

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Я не согласен с условиями T.O.S.
  :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*
 

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I'm nearing age 61. Due to circumstances, I have no pension or savings. I'm depending on getting SS early, not because I want to, but because it's a necessity. And after all, it's what I paid into it for since I was seventeen (and at a couple of jobs I was paying in a LOT). It's my money, I'll use it when I want to.

But, I'm debt-free, own my home and land, live in a low-tax, low-expense area. I also don't "need" to have a lot of money to make myself feel good, or to survive. If I can keep my butt in the chair, writing my books, I expect to be able to hold off on claiming the SS for a few years. Both sides of my family have vibrant, active people living well into their 80s and 90s, and have had for generations. That's a plus for my plan to write for maybe the next twenty years.

We'll see how it goes. My own health isn't the greatest right now, but both conditions (Type II diabetes and slightly high blood pressure) can be reversed and I can expect to live a very good life once that happens. My children know I want no heroics in maintaining my life should something happen that would incapacitate me.

I think everyone needs to do the best they can with what they have and plan for their future. Not everyone will have money to put into extra savings or investments, but even getting out of debt and trying to live in areas with less expenses and more opportunities will help. Stay healthy, if possible. Keep job skills updated and relevant (which I'd done that, but my plans had me doing a certain type of work which it turned out I can no longer do), have fallback plans. Life has a funny way of kicking you in the rear and laughing at you. Trust me, I know all too well.


edited, PM if you have questions -- Ann
 

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It's definitely easier to control cost of living than income so that's always been my focus. I wish I had been able to save for retirement when I was younger, but it's hard when you barely make enough to survive on in your younger years and you have to live, too. If your choices are between taking one good vacation a year while you're full of energy and zest, and putting that money into retirement...I have no regret that I took the vacation.

When I was 30 we moved from our tiny condo and moved to western Maryland. I was lucky enough to get a house with 20% down when the market was at its absolute bottom, winter of 2012. The house was 115k and I could live here forever if I must. It's a decent size house with half an acre and I've been filling that half acre with fruit trees and bushes to save a little money on food. This is also a robust farming area with consistently good weather where it's easy to get cheap, good quality food. Last year I put money in an IRA for the first time. I'm also good at buying stuff to resell, which is always my backup way of getting cash and is how I survived for two years when I got caught up in a delayed contract in my trad career, before I went indie. I worry about money constantly because writing is just SO up and down as a career, but I keep my focus on being frugal and diversifying.
 

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I'm older than Joe by almost 10 years, and the concerns are very real. In my most lucrative years as a writer, back being traditionally published in the 90s, I could support myself quite comfortably and sock away some cash (and I'd started with a really comfortable portfolio I'd built in my previous careers). Then publishing started consolidating, bookstores started closing, and I, never a star, saw that writing income dwindle to unsupportable levels at the same time that editors and publishers became more demanding and destructive (fun things like turning in a contracted 100,000 word book, then being told they're reducing the page counts for all but their stars and I had a week to chop out 25% of my story).

I walked away from New York and went back to work and kept writing for my satisfaction but not for publication. Unfortunately, in real terms, work, even at a professional level, no longer paid what it used to. Total dollars had gone up, but in constant dollar terms, my income nose dived. (In one depressing moment a few years ago, I calculated that they would have to pay me an extra $16,000 a year to equal, in constant terms, what I made when I was 28.)

Then came 2008 and a huge hit to my investments and savings. That hit was further compounded by breast cancer, which dug an even bigger hole from which my savings, at this point, will probably never recover (and I had excellent health insurance!).

I can make it on Social Security and my pension right now, but, like many here, I'm not that confident that current trends won't change that. I publish as an indie part-time, but I'm still not a star and my sales reflect that. I have a part-time office job because, as a single person, working at home full-time doesn't work for me--I get crazy for lack of human activity around me and end up being less productive, not more. But as I get older, I am having to face the fact that I don't have the creative energy I had 20 years ago--my writing and story-telling are significantly better than they used to be, but my productivity isn't even close. I now have a hard time remembering how I managed to write while working a stressful, demanding 80-hour a week job....and still have time for dinner with friends or fun on the weekends. Forget being in my 20s and being a full time professional, a full time college student, and skiing or hiking or partying on the weekends!

My concerns were heightened this spring when I was visiting friends I've known for 30 years. They were struggling to deal with her mother's situation--in her 90s and still healthy, but she'd outlived her savings, which had been substantial at one time. it was something I'd read about but never really thought about applying to me. But....now I think about it.

Wish I had an answer. (Other than winning the lotto!) I am much more conscious of costs, and find, as I age, that I am far happier having less, rather than more. But there are still some costs which you can't reduce, or if you do, you may have to see others increase.
 

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One thing I'll add....I sold my last house some time ago and swore I'd never own another--taxes, upkeep, yard care, maintenance....I figured it would just all be too much. Two years ago I moved to Pennsylvania and rented a one bedroom, 900 square foot apartment that I really love...but....the property company is NOT lovable. Rents have gone up 2-3 times the rate of inflation every year, and promise to keep going up in every year to come. Maintenance and upkeep on the complex has gone down as the owners milk every penny from this property in order to fund another new complex they're developing. I really like apartment living and I like my neighbors, but....I'm beginning to reconsider that house-owning decision.
 

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My Dog's Servant said:
One thing I'll add....I sold my last house some time ago and swore I'd never own another--taxes, upkeep, yard care, maintenance....I figured it would just all be too much. Two years ago I moved to Pennsylvania and rented a one bedroom, 900 square foot apartment that I really love...but....the property company is NOT lovable. Rents have gone up 2-3 times the rate of inflation every year, and promise to keep going up in every year to come. Maintenance and upkeep on the complex has gone down as the owners milk every penny from this property in order to fund another new complex they're developing. I really like apartment living and I like my neighbors, but....I'm beginning to reconsider that house-owning decision.
There's always a tiny house. Just make sure there is a bedroom on the ground level. Climbing those ladders can be killer.
 

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Writing has been a real godsend for me. I retired from the fire department at 50 (physically done). We contributed a hefty sum through my career so it is a nice financial foundation but it would be difficult to live on by itself. I consulted for the next 8 years before that dried up 2008 with the crash (I was developing training and nobody has money for training when they are fighting to keep the trucks manned). We struggled for a few years until I took my social security early and that helped but I had no job. No career. No reason to get  up and get going. That what writing has given me a third career that can last as long as i can still type. We live frugally and can get along on our retirements but the book money is a nice cushion for emergencies or the occasional extra. 

Everything was fine but life does have surprises. I can tell you firefighting does leave a mark and for the first time since I started writing I lost time writing because of being physically unable to write. The last year was a series of operations and recovery. The good thing about the book business it's always there to go back to. It is a reason to get up and drive on. I'll be 70 in November and I don't want to stop writing anytime soon. Some mentioned the loss of your mental capacity to write and I guess that will come for us all but I think writing is exercising the brain. You exercise to stay healthy so I see writing as exercising your mental capacities to stay healthy.

For me I don't depend on the money but I need it as a cushion. Losing a year writing has made things difficult but I'm back and just put out a book. So being 70 and watching friends travel or play golf for their retirement I feel as if writing gives me a better chance to survive what may come than they have. It has it's up and downs but for some seniors it's is a way to make some money and keep involved.

We're all different and have different situations but I think being able to write and publish will always give us a leg up on those who have develop the skills needed to be an indie. Only a few of us indie's manage the kind of steady stream of income that some have seen but I think
 

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My Dog's Servant
I know what you mean by your breast cancer costing more than you'd expected even with good insurance. My final cost last year (surgery, radiation and now two more new pills) shocked me, too; though I had very early stage breast cancer and they caught it early (they said). It was still thousands of dollars....with full insurance (Medicare Coventry). So...these are the things that catch us off guard. I fear getting it again further down the line. I hope you are doing well now? 
 

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Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake' said:
There's always a tiny house. Just make sure there is a bedroom on the ground level. Climbing those ladders can be killer.
LOL! I've been looking into it. Not a tiny house (and definitely no lofts with ladders!), but a small house. I love 900 sq ft. But I also want to be in a town, maybe a bigger city, with easy access to public transportation, theater, art, good library, activities....and I'm realizing it's not so easy to get permits for something that small in many urban areas. And neighborhoods with small existing houses are often either severely depressed, or "discovered" and prices are soaring. (Friends in Asheville, NC retired there about five years ago and have been encouraging me to join them. They bought a big, beautiful older house with lots of space and a big mother-in-law suite. With renovations, it cost them a quarter million. I was recently looking on Zillow in neighborhoods near them and found two small 900-1200 sq ft homes in serious need of renovation....for a quarter million each. Once a place is "discovered," prices soar out of reach.)

I note that several people on this thread have mentioned property with fruit trees and gardens. I grew up with that. The grow your own food thing is good, but it's also a lot of work. Tomatoes and strawberries fresh out of the garden are incredible, but fending off the darned bugs and rabbits and voles and moles and birds and slugs and...not so much. And then there are the weeds! Not to mention canning the produce (which has to be done right or not at all), or preserving or freezing (easier, but a good power outage will put all that in the compost heap) is an awful lot of work. I've known folks in their 90s still working their gardens. Me, I've had enough weeds and canning and preserving to last a lifetime. And animals that have to be fed and milked every day... No, thanks.
 

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Kathryn Meyer Griffith said:
My Dog's Servant
I know what you mean by your breast cancer costing more than you'd expected even with good insurance. My final cost last year (surgery, radiation and now two more new pills) shocked me, too; though I had very early stage breast cancer and they caught it early (they said). It was still thousands of dollars....with full insurance (Medicare Coventry). So...these are the things that catch us off guard. I fear getting it again further down the line. I hope you are doing well now?
After getting a $68K bill from the hospital after the aneurysm/stroke/pulmonary embolism, I realized normal insurance wasn't going to cut it. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I could do something about it, but now I have a supplement. So far, it covers just about everything, but I haven't had any catastrophic illnesses either.

My neighbor across the street who is my age told his wife to keep him on life support as long as possible so SS would continue to be paid in the event he ends up that way.

I told my kids, unlike my parents, that I didn't want to die at home. Medicare/supplement will pay for hospitals and a certain amount for a nursing home. Not a dime gets paid for private at-home care. That added up to $2,100 a week for my Mom. I tried to take the night shift but that only lasted a few months. I certainly couldn't cope with her trying to throw herself out of bed. Even the rehab couldn't cope with that and she ended up on the floor a few times.

I think what we are all saying is you can plan all you want, but life is going to throw you curve balls at every inning. You can only plan so much. Just do the best you can and pray.
 
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