How are your savings?

Pondering American’s net savings, in essence how much wealth households have accumunated, might lead you to this article from TheBalance.com, a finance site with the slogan “make money personal.”US Census Bureau household wealth

This should be an easy example to take your own advice and save. It’s what will make retirement possible. Or if you save enough it will enable an employment optional life.

First Loaf

Many people obsess on their 401(k) and IRA balances when preparing for retirement. They would do well to obsess on activities. This was central to my planning. The finances were on auto-pilot. The what to do and when to do it took a lot more thought. It’s more personal than financial planning. We each have a fairly unique set of interests.

One of the activities I’ve planned is more cooking. Lots more cooking. This loaf, Irish Soda Bread, is a start. I’ve not baked bread in years, may be even decades.

First loaf of Irish Soda Bread, December 27, 2017.
First loaf of Irish Soda Bread, December 27, 2017.

Retirement

Not My Retirement Destination

This is a bit drafty. Expect updates over the next week, until September 24.

It’s official.
I’m unemployed.
As in retired.
Yayz!~ FB and Twitter announcement

A bit early by American standards, I’ve taken one of the big steps in life.

Whew.  This step is made possible by savings in 401(k) and IRAs, faith that Social Security will not be gutted or hyper inflation will not arrive, an expectation that the stock market will tank in the next decade, and modeling that shows pessimistic market returns (low) and expected inflation (bit higher than historical average with lots of variability) our saving will see us through.

The dominant reaction is congratulations. Age-peers who are still working expressed some wistfulness bordering on envy.

The number one question is far and away “What are you going to do?”
I’ve planned for that. Starting a few years ago two questions became a concern.

  • How will you stay healthy to prolong your life?
  • What will you do in retirement?

As a now 40 year cancer survivor facing some long-term side effects from the treatment the first question deserves more than special attention.

As to the second question, there is common advice for creatives that’s appropriate. “Talking about your work saps the energy to do it. Talk with your work.” You may recognize this as “let your actions speak for themselves.” That’s why I’ve refused to answer the question publicly.

My life has traversed a winding path. Over the years many interests were explored. There’s no one hobby or  side job to devote more attention to. There is not even a top three or four. Revisiting those is a top interest.  A structure for daily activities has been defined, it’s now time to test and refine that structure until it becomes an ingrained habit.

For those of you who are curious for  more details here are some hints.

  • I have a degree in fine arts. Imagine what you will
  • Jennifer and I will continue to travel with a preference for cities that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites .
  • Three volunteering commitments are being explored.
  • The “to be read” collection of books is approaching the size of a small library.
  • “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” ~ Charlemagne.  A third? Fourth?
  • Food is fundamental. Food is fun. I can cook passably well. There is much to explore.
  • An early career path was in radio.
  • Written words to communicate and preserve memories are valuable.
  • Bicycling is a good time.
  • There are a lot of tools in the basement.

For now I’m going to clean out the basement and garage while building the daily habits to support those interests.