So if everyone born between 1946 and 1964 (love how the numbers are reversed) retires sometime between now and 2030; we are going to experience a huge BOOM of retired people.
Baby boom Retirement Crisis
This huge group of people will need housing, income, recreation, and medical care. The biggest challenge will be to find a way to live on whatever they have saved for retirement, and or are getting as a pension.
This will be a retirement crisis for some, and a relief for others.
I’m probably going to go into more depth on this topic as time goes by, having already experienced my own retirement crisis dilemma in the last two years.
Even if you don’t experience retirement as a crisis, there are still major decisions to be made.
You have to figure out how your regular medical interfaces with Medicare (if it does). What part does Social Security play in this?
How much money will you actually have as disposable income to live on?
Can you continue with the life you had before retirement easily?
Can you afford to continue to live in the same house, or do you need to down scale your living accommodations?
If you own, should you sell? Is it better to rent or own in retirement?
What are the things to think about if you relocate?
Where is the best place to live in retirement? Best states, least taxes, best medical…oh my goodness. I thought I was losing my mind.
Lots and Lots of questions, all at once, and no one to answer them. It can feel overwhelming at times.
My Personal Retirement Crisis
For me, personally, the crisis was to find housing that I could afford without changing too much of my lifestyle expectations.
All of this with the knowledge that my income was going to be relatively static.
Where could I find affordable housing?
Should I rent or own?
Should I buy an RV, and hit the road?
Could I afford to move with the possibility that my housing cost would increase over time?
Could I stay in California (where I was living at the time)?
When I retired, I was renting. in Sacramento, California. My landlord had bought the house (not in a great neighborhood) during the economic downturn around 2010.
Personally, I was going through a bankruptcy prior to finding this rental (will get into that in another post) and needed an affordable place to live.
I advertised on Craigslist as “Credit poor, but great job”. Long story short, my rent didn’t go up over the six years I lived in this house next to what I called “my crackhead neighbors”.
South Sacramento has its own personal problems; yet for me it was the right place at the right time for the space it was. I worked all the time, and basically just needed a place to “crash” and eat.
Besides the house had a swimming pool in the back, and for someone working in a prison without air conditioning, it was a welcome space after work. It afforded me the ability to brush off the stress of the day, and relax by the pool after work.
Over that time the house remained the same, nothing was done to it to improve it.
The “crackhead neighbors” did eventually have to move, the house next door was completely renovated, and then rented for what I thought was an astronomical amount (much more than I was paying in rent) for the neighborhood.
Of course, all of this is subjective based on perspective (most likely I’ll come back to this idea of perspective again and again).
South Sacramento has a reputation as a haven for thugs and such; yet for me it was the perfect place for the time and space it was.
I loved the integrated neighborhood; Asian, African American, Hispanics, and the occasional white person like myself. One thing is for sure in life, everything changes.
Yep, this neighborhood did change over time. As the bay area around San Francisco became (continues to be) less and less affordable, those bay area people moved inland to Sacramento driving up the cost of living and creating a lot of traffic on the roads. Change, got to love it or something.
Housing In Retirement
So due to personal family mental health issues and problems, I was faced with the need to take some time off of work to deal with my own trauma surrounding working with mentally ill criminals.
At the time I was working as the liaison between education and psychology departments at a rather large and modern “special needs” prison in Northern California.
It was imperative that I attend weekly sessions where all the psychological aspects of the treatment of these criminals was discussed, as well as why they were incarcerated in the first place. It was stressful to say the least.
More and more the prisons are a replacement for mental health facilities, (I will return to this topic again and again over the course of this blog). Look for me to give this a lot of coverage, as it is a huge issue in my mind.
When did health issues become criminal? How did that happen? We all need to take an inventory on how we ignore mental health issues in this country (another topic).
I could ramble on and on about this job, but again long story short, I also had a family member dealing with his own mental health issues and episodes.
No, I am not talking about your garden variety of anxiety and depression; but a much more serious diagnosis.
I thought I just needed a couple of months to recuperate from the ongoing stress of my job, and dealing with the episodes of my family member. What was expected to be a month or two to mentally find my center again, turned into months and months of being away from work.
Finally, it hit me that I couldn’t return to work. Every time I even considered my return date, I would start to cry and felt that I wouldn’t be able to function emotionally in a prison safely. Yes, I was seeing a therapist, and to this day continue to seek counsel to deal with my confusion and frustration over mental health in this country.
During this time or practically at the same time, I came to the conclusion I couldn’t or wouldn’t return to work, and my landlord decided to sell the house I’d been living in for over six years.
(You see everyone has something they are dealing with; never be insensitive to others, as it is impossible to know what they are dealing with at the time your life crosses theirs.) We never know completely the challenges another has in their life. Sensitivity and compassionate kindness should always be the default. (easier said than done… another topic for blog)
Now I needed to decide if I would stay in Sacramento with the high rent (I didn’t own, due to the bankruptcy). I was facing paying much higher rent than I had been paying throughout my six years, in my lovely swimming pool house in a crappy neighborhood.
My rent was so low because I found this house and rented when the economy was in a slump. In those six years, the economy had rebounded, property values had increased, as well as rents.
In the last year I lived in Sacramento, the rents increased 26% in one 12 month period. If I kept working I could afford this rent; if I didn’t keep working (well I was operating out of a blind).
I didn’t know what I could afford, but I was pretty sure whatever I could afford in California, I probably didn’t want to live there. So now what?
I Love It When The Universe Screams
It felt just like the universe was screaming at me to change everything in my life. Change your home, change your job, change your state, change your mindset… just CHANGE THINGS. What do you do when the universe screams at you? You do what you have to do because there is no other choice; you find a way to survive, and you make it work.
So I packed it all up, put what I couldn’t live without in a POD, gave things away, took my car in to make sure it could get me where ever I was going (which at that time I didn’t know where I was going). Basically, just cleared up loose ends, put two or three suitcases in my car with bedding, waved goodbye to my friends, my job, my life, my home as I had known it, and hit the road.