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Living for Now

A friend of mine and her husband were talking about retirement. As a young woman she had cancer and learned to not delay living life to the fullest in the hopes of enjoying it after retirement. Because of that she decided that if she had to choose a time in life to be broke, she'd choose retirement. Probably because of her cancer history she wonders if she would even get there. Some people put away a ton of money and live cheap now in order to save for retirement. Perhaps that makes the most sense, to give yourself a "cushion" for those waning years. But, I agree with my friend. Life is for enjoying now, as much as you can. I'm not saying don't save, don't plan for the future. Just don't put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak

Due to cancer in my twenties and thirties, I was forced to live on disability income only, long before retirement age. When the savings are gone and there's not a spouse or family member to give support, the choices become easy. Don't go shopping. Stop wishing for "things". Find the real value and joy in life. Try not to let being "poor" get in your way. Learn how to navigate the social services system in order to get food, a roof over your head and transportation. Accept that soon people who might have been friendly to you in the past will not be the people who would not want to be in your life now. 

Note: Even if you've had a healthy life, and healthy finances, there is no guarantee those funds will support you in your declining years (unless perhaps you are a millionaire). One heart attack, stroke, prostate or breast cancer can quite quickly diminish your funds. Even if you have the type of cancer that is "curable" or can be managed, you can lose your home before you are cured. Even if you have good medical insurance, they balk at paying $8,000 a month (or co-pay) for the rest of your life if you have Leukemia... for example. Living in the style to which one has become accustomed is not the American Dream. 

Speaking from experience watching my own parents and the parents of my life partner these last decades proves it's the American Nightmare. I don't think the elderly are bent over and have sagging jowls because they are old. I think it's because their self esteem has been stripped away and their new found poverty shames them. 

Sorry....  I didn't mean to sound so negative, but that is the way I perceive it. Planning for a more secure future would take great sacrifice and a will of steel, yet without covering every possible contingency. all that putting the enjoyment of life aside would be for nothing. Enjoy life now while you can. That's my philosophy.

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