This past Thursday Warren posted about creating financial security by investing in the stock market. A few days before that Kim posted about real estate investing as a way of creating financial security. Now it’s my turn.
We don’t have a “retirement” plan. Retirement is not a concept I understand. It is certainly not a way I could live. I can’t imagin being “done.” When they put the last shovel full of compost on me I’ll retire. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a plan for the future. We do. We recognize that we will not be able, or willing, to work forever at the same things or with the same intensity that we do now. Life is change. Being prepared for that makes life enjoyable. So here are some of the things we are doing to be prepared.
1. Avoiding debt. Right now we have a very small mortgage on our house and farm and no other debt. That is a choice we make every day. We bought our farm about 5 years ago and put a lot down. We had money from the sale of our previous home which made a big difference. But the biggest factor was we bought something that needed A LOT of work. Because it needed so much work we got it for about 1/3 the price of a similar house in better condition. Instead of following the bankers advice and adding a second mortgage to use to remodel the house we have been doing it ourselves, paying as we go. 5 years and we are still not done. Only three more rooms and a porch to go. It is a slow process, but the house will be paid off soon and we will be debt free. We have also done the same with cars. Our two, a 14 year old van and a 20+ year old truck, are paid for and we just keep fixing them rather than buying something new. That probably won’t work for ever, but it’s working for now.
2. Creating a self-supporting way of living. We are actively investing in creating a place and a way of life that supports it’s self. Some of that is through micro-businesses we are developing. Some of it is through the gardens, orchards, and animals we are adding to the place. The rest comes through changes in how we live, how we generated our energy, where our water comes from, etc. It’s not done yet. Even on paper it changes from time to time. But the goal, the vision is out there, written down, used as the target for all our planning.
3. Investing our resources to meet future needs. We stayed with CC’s parents before we moved here. Her dad had been in a care facility and was coming home. We were there to help with that transition. It gave us a glimpse into the future. We took that knowledge with us when we came here and wove it into our planning. We have a stock portfolio through CC’s work. It’s far from perfect (we are looking at ways to use it to support greener things) but it is matched by her company, and building up some future financial reserves is an important part of meeting future changes. If we the money, I’d rather have some planned savings we can take it from instead of adding debt to the farm. We also did things in the house as we remodeled that we wouldn’t have done. We have a room on the first floor that can (and someday probably will) be used as a bedroom. The first floor bathroom has an accessable shower rather than a bath. ETC. We saw some of the future and are using our resources to prepare. We are also investing time in building community. As a culture we have become more isolated and disconnected. We are actively building connections here. Taking care of people, sharing, supporting, and allowing others into our lives and accepting their care and support (for me that is the hardest part.)
4. Insurance. We have insurance. Health, home, car. We are working on ways to reduce our need for some of those and the financial burden they place on us. But, we are also investing in insurance every day. Not life insurance, but insurance for life. It’s called EDUCATION. College is not an optional thing for our kids. They will go. They will get a degree in something. Having that piece of paper is a kind of insurance. CC and I keep up on our training and skills. We are both employable, though not both employed right now. Having a spouse with the skills, training, current licences, etc that allows them to be employed is a better insurance policy than any life insurance you could buy. Same with the kids. Instilling in them a good work ethic and a desire for education is a huge step toward insuring their future.
So, that’s some of what we are doing to finance our future. What are you doing?