I hope this finds you all warm and well! It has been awhile! In March my Stories We Leave Behind presentations moved online. As the quarantine continued I launched a 5-week workshop for those needing to make more room for a home office or just breathing space! The next workshop begins in January via Zoom. Once registration begins I’ll post a link!
But today I have BIG NEWS!
My latest book, Enough: A Retirement Life That Works for Me is now live on Amazon (here)! Enough follows The Stories We Leave Behind, where I share how I curated possessions to preserve my legacy stories and clear the way for a great retirement life. Enough shares how I sustain that life on a middle-income retirement budget.
Like many of you, I’d attended employer-sponsored workshops and free seminars, read books and articles about retirement finances, and chatted with friends. But I often felt out of place. In truth, none of them really spoke to me – a middle-income professional with savings far below the oft-cited million-dollar bar for financial security in retirement.
Advice often presumed one had significant resources or none at all. And unlike challenges such as parenting, personal health, or elder care, retirement finances is a topic we have in common but don’t share in detail. Not that we should. We just don’t. Popular articles on retirement finances can be scary and misleading. Without peer discussion I couldn’t assess how I was doing.
As I watched retired peers whose lives I hoped to emulate, I wondered if they had figured out how to live on a budget like mine or if they were secretly rich. I knew I hadn’t earned an “A” for retirement finances, but was I average – or was I on the financial edge? It was unclear. I didn’t need to sail around the world or endow a scholarship fund, but did I have enough for a lifestyle that works for me? Tired of worrying, I put on my research hat and dug in.
Enough begins by describing my experience as a middle-income retiree in a world of uncertain finances, out-of-control healthcare costs, and endless “encore” possibilities. Chapter 1 ends with a snapshot of retirement trends and retiree expectations across three generations and a brief discussion of the peer problem.
Chapter 2 is the data chapter. I dug deep. You’ll find charts and graphs, numbers and ranges, and yes, humor. My goal was to do the necessary math to locate and share trustworthy data on the financial lives of “average” American retirees. Along the way I learned that only 16% of American’s age 60+ have reached the million-dollar mark for a secure retirement. Another 36% are financially insecure, living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The remaining 48% of us are in the middle.
Chapters 3 through the end lay out what happened when the search for a definitive datapoint came up short – and I set out to create my own retirement plan. A plan “that works for me”.
My hope is that Enough opens conversations about middle-class retirement and provides a welcoming place where those in the middle can feel comfortable designing a retirement life that works for them.
Stay Safe. Stay Warm. And Happy Storytelling!