Retiree Speak

Rewards during retirementI know retiree speak. I don’t know how or when it happened, but somehow I now know this once-foreign language and way of life.

If you are a retiree, see if the following is familiar. And if you are not yet retired, here’s what you have to look forward to…

I am very careful spending money. I have to really want something to buy it.

Yesterday I spent about an hour roaming through Kohl’s trying to spend $10 in birthday cash and some money on a gift card. I know. Crazy. It was “free money”, and I still had trouble spending it.

I shop at Goodwill, but I usually buy on Wednesdays when our local Goodwill stores have 30% off for senior citizens. I used to be embarrassed by that label, but I proudly proclaim it to get 30% off the price of a $4 item.

Today I tried to spend a 15% off coupon at one of my favorite women’s clothing stores. Unfortunately 15% off a $59 blouse doesn’t make sense to me. So, I walked out empty handed.

I complain about things that break. Take my eyeglasses for example. When I got them about 18 months ago, they screwed up the order several times, and it took more than a month to get the glasses. I complained to the office manager, and I got about 30% off the price.

These same glasses are now my nemesis. The lens pops out, the temple screw comes loose, and they are crooked on my face. Today I stopped at the optometrist’s office for about the 5th time in 3 months to get the lens put back in. After fixing the glasses, the lady ordered me new frames free of charge despite the fact that the warranty was up. Maybe she is scared of me?

I use rewards cards. I carry all of them on a key ring in my purse. I LOVE my discounts and free stuff. Here are a few of the cards: CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Marsh, Bath and Body Works, Big Apple Bagels and Panera Bread. And oh yes, there are the daily emails from The Loft, Pottery Barn and Pier One filled with savings!

I talk with my friends about mortgages. Is it better to continue paying the mortgage or to pay it off because the mortgage interest rate is higher than the value of investments?

And should we be downsizing our home? Some friends have already done this, and others are in the process. And most are moving to single story houses as they anticipate problems navigating stairs in the years ahead. We are in a large two-story house, and my excuse is that we are still dealing with merging Mike’s house and my house into one place.

We frequently discuss prescription drug plans with our friends. Yesterday’s discussion was whether you get rewards points on the CVS Care Card when you buy prescriptions.

And as much as I hate to admit it, we talk more about our health. There is high blood pressure and diabetes and rotator cuff surgery. And then there is the occasional hip and knee pain. Make no mistake. Our bodies are betraying us!

Pensions and retirement plans are often a subject of discussion. One of our friends recently retired, and he talked about the company’s retirement system dashboard. Before he retired, the web site gave him a green light telling him he had enough saved to retire. After he retired, he went back on the web site and was surprised to find a red light (meaning do not retire). Oops! He called some of his friends at the company and yelled about this red light (apparently a program glitch). Ah, yes… he has now earned his wings as a retiree.

And earlier this week I went online to check the statement on my retirement plan. Imagine my surprise to find the balance was zero. And I called one of my friends at work who explained I needed to look in a different place on the web site because the plan administrator had changed. Thank goodness we still have friends at work.

We often discuss whether we want to work again. Consensus is that no one wants a full time job though sometimes finances necessitate that. The discussion is often about whether a job would be in the same field or something entirely different. One friend who worked with me at an insurance company was able to leverage her experience as a Master Gardner into a part-time job at a local nursery each Spring.

And volunteering is a big consideration now with more time on our hands. Some of our friends volunteer and others do not. And for those friends who volunteer, there is a lot of variety including: Habitat for Humanity, their church, teaching drums in an after-school program and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Everyone talks about having time to exercise once they retire. And you know what? We exercise more now, and so do our friends. From walking, biking, tennis and exercise classes, most of our friends are more active with more time. Hopefully this offsets the lower metabolism and resulting weight gain that comes with aging.

So I learned retiree speak without really trying. Seems like it just snuck up on me in the darkness of night. And now the label “retiree” fits a little easier. I’ve gotten past my concern that “retiree” meant “old”.

Why just this week I heard “60 is the new 40”. Hey, you can’t beat a bunch of baby boomers redefining “old”! For someone who is turning 59 tomorrow, this comes just in the nick of time. And if I use my rewards card to get $2 off a meal at Panera or a free glass of tea at McAllister’s, life is good!

1 Comment

  1. Enjoyed reading this .
    I`m headed for 62 next time as a widower .
    I feel I am stable and wanting retirement.

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