This is the first in a series of candid interviews concerning retirement. In this series, I’ll interview people in various stages in life in order to gain a real world perspective about the dangers and opportunities that confront them – their hopes, dreams and worries when it comes to financial independence. What does retirement mean to a young couple raising a family? To a retiree who retired right before the economy tanked? To someone who has been retired for a number of years?
Cory and Daina are a young couple who live in the Capital Region. They have two young children, and both have challenging careers, which means lots of juggling. They are concerned about what choices their kids will have later in life and also whether or not they will be able to live the retirement lifestyle they imagined.
Me – Hi Cory and Daina! Let’s get right into it – what concerns you most about retirement?
Cory – The 4 things for me are: How soon can I retire? How much do I have to save? How much will I have? When will that run out? And that’s the biggest concern.
Daina – Yeah, I think a lot of it is the fear of the unknown. You don’t know. People who retired ten years ago thought they were going to be okay but they were probably making a judgement based on the market 10 years prior to that, and now they’re not living the lifestyle that they thought. I think many people had envisioned that in retirement they were going to travel and do more than they are currently doing, and that’s scary for us.
Me – If we could fast forward you guys into retirement right now, what would you be doing? What would your ideal retirement be?
Daina – I probably would like to maybe work part-time, maybe 2 days a week. Not long days; just doing something I enjoy doing. I’d love to be able to travel. Cory and I didn’t have the opportunity to travel before. We never went abroad, we didn’t do any of that kind of stuff when we were younger, so there are places that I want to go.
Cory – I think in a perfect world we would love to have downsized our home – go smaller, but go to two places – two condos – one for the warm season and one for the cool season. I want to work because I want to, not because I have to. And work part-time at something that I can say, “ok, I put my 20 hours in; I’m done – thanks.” That occupied 4 hours of my day. Now I can go enjoy whatever – my grandkids, my kids, my wife.
Me – Spending time with family?
Cory – Yeah, getting out of the hustle and bustle, and just kind of…
Daina – being able to have more time for hobbies
Cory – enjoying the benefits of the hard work and time we put in for 25 – 30 years.
Daina – I used to paint. I would love to be able to do that again but I need to have the time to do it again.
Me – In retirement would you like to live close to your kids?
Daina – I would LOVE to. I’d love to have a home near them, at least one of them. Have a small beach house, or a house in Florida.
Cory – I think it’s important to live near your kids because you experience a whole different life. You experience them as adults, and them raising their kids, and the joys of grandchildren, hopefully. And that’s a whole other aspect of retirement – that you get to enjoy the benefit of your hard work of raising your kids and getting involved and hopefully seeing them successful. Sitting back and enjoying it. Retirement should be an experience where you sit back and enjoy everything that you’ve done. You’ve worked hard. You have nobody telling you what to do, how to do it, or when to do it.
Me – What is the biggest issue facing people your age when it comes to the future and retirement?
Daina – Social Security is very scary. Also I think people are living well beyond their means, they are too materialistic, not thinking about the future – they put it out of their minds.
Cory – I think our generation is living outside their means. It’s all about instant gratification. My perception is that people are spending more money, living in the now and not thinking about the future. You see it – the thought of keeping up with the Jones’. What did Santa bring the kids? How much? It doesn’t stop.
Me – Very materialistic?
Cory – It’s a rat race.
Me – Do you think your kids will have it better than you when they retire?
Daina – No; I hope so, but…
Cory – If we’ve done our job right in raising them, yes. But odds are, from everything I hear, they are going to be the first generation that is going to have less than their parents. They’re growing up in the middle of a me-me-me world. I want it, I want it now, it doesn’t matter how much it costs; I just want it.
Daina – Our generation is like that too. One thing we’ve been talking about lately – our kids are old enough to start to understand the value of money and know what things cost and be responsible. We give them an allowance. They earned those hermit crabs (points to Hermit Crab cage). They are learning how to be responsible.
Me – Thanks, Guys!