Thursday, September 13, 2012

Watch Out for the Gap

I was looking over a site that estimates your retirement income needs as opposed to the actual income you will end up with.  They say you need about 60% of your working income in order to be able to afford continuing to live after you've reached that certain age.  According to this site, there's a wee bit of a gap between my preparations and what they consider to be the necessary reality.  They estimate that gap to be $1.3 million.

I thought about that for a while and at first it seemed an insurmountable chasm between my income and my estimated expenses in my dotage.  But after considering a few things, I realized they are probably estimating for someone who is used to enjoying a certain lifestyle.  I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed a lifestyle since the children were born.

They probably figured reasonable housing expenses into that amount.  I don't require reasonable housing.  Not at all.  In fact, I have lived in more unreasonable housing than anyone could imagine.  And I don't mind that most of my residences have had little peculiarities and imperfections.  If they were perfect, they'd cost a lot more. For instance, I don't think I've ever had an apartment with a bathroom that was heated. It changes your whole attitude about that hot shower when you step out of the tub onto icy ceramic tile in the middle of January.  So I think I can shave a little off the gap based on my ability to be uncomfortable.

I am sure they expect me to require entertainment - going out to dinner, going to the theatre or the movies or even taking vacations.  I don't.  I need never leave the house, as long as we have an internet connection and some food. The gap narrows even more.

Transportation expenses - don't have any.  If you don't have a car, you don't have to buy gas, and let's face it, that's the expensive part.  It used to be that insurance was the most expensive part of maintaining a vehicle, now it is supplying the vehicle with enough fuel to get across town on a regular basis.  Well, I am shaving all of those skyrocketing gas prices right off that $1.3 million.

Alright, so I still have a gap and it's still probably in the hundreds of thousands.  But how much do I really care?  I think that most people these days are finding it's hard to get by, hard to pay the bills, hard to keep up a mortgage or car payment and hard to fund an enjoyable lifestyle.  I am not really any worse off than they are.  In fact, I might be a little bit better off.  After all, one day The Boy will be grown and working and perhaps he will take pity on his aging mother and support me.  If not, maybe he'll put me in a home.  Either way, I am not going to have to worry that much.

And in the end, it's not been worry that's helped me through the years, it's been prayer.  God hasn't forsaken me and He's always provided.  I think He likes to fill in the gaps for us.

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