I never expected to live this long and now as I near forty, I am freaking out a bit over the idea of living into retirement.
When I was in my twenties, I got married, we bought a house, I even took a government job far from that home to try to set us up for a good life. I tried to be fairly frugal but still racked up some debt. I constantly was in my own head, fighting with myself over every little mistake or setback. When that relationship fell apart, I put myself in more debt to move and start over.
I lived in a tiny furnished room in someone else’s house. It was cheap and worked well for the nothing that I owned. I had a decent job and made okay money, but I hated myself and my life and went back and forth between self-sabotage through poor money management and trying to buy my way into happiness. I continued to be in debt and not save anything.
Years flew by and life continued to ebb and flow, then I married Annie and we started our life together. I still struggled with depression and still spent like a fool. No investing, no saving, just spending.
Now, here I am at thirty-seven. I thought I wouldn’t make it into my twenties. I was once confident that I wouldn’t survive past twenty-five. I thought for sure I wouldn’t make thirty. I am quickly realizing that I have to contend with the likelihood of being around for a good long time.
You know what’s frustrating about that though? Realizing what retirement might look like. I play around with different retirement calculators and they all basically say the same thing. If I want to save for a decent retirement for Annie and I, I’ll likely need to invest around one third of my income until I retire, and since I’m at the upper end of what someone with my skills can likely earn, that’s a bit difficult given the cost of living we currently have.
Don’t get me wrong. Annie and I have a fairly comfortable and happy life. I am not complaining at all. We don’t want for much, but that’s potentially part of the problem sometimes, isn’t it? We don’t want to live in a crummy apartment with roaches or bed bugs. We don’t want to drive a decade old vehicle that isn’t reliable. I don’t want to try to do my job on an Internet connection that would only be considered fast in a third world country.
In some ways, through surviving what I have dealt with, I feel a little like I deserve some comfort. I’m sometimes afraid that creating too much discomfort and sacrifice might make my depression worse.
My hope is that when Annie is done school and begins working that we will be able to save more aggressively to make up for the lost time we’ve had, otherwise retirement won’t ever be an option. The power of compounding interest is being ever reduced by our life delays… I have read a bunch of articles though that makes it sound a little like this is the plight of my generation.