Broke at 49, Retired at 50

Most people have at least one goal, that would make their life better and allow them to make a difference in the world. At first, the goal is exciting and you’re going full-speed ahead, but you’re not progressing as fast as you would like, so you give up.

You may be closer to your goal than you think. That was certainly the case when I decided I wanted to retire at age 50.

I lost my husband to liver cancer in 2002. My company offered me a few free sessions with a financial planner. Financial planners usually give advice to celebrities like Brad and Angelina, not a single woman who was paying half of her paycheck in rent. But hey, it was free, so I signed up.

The nicest man called me from Texas. The financial questions were answered quickly. No I didn’t have stocks and bonds, no 401(K), or gold stashed in a safety deposit box. I did have a minimum balance in my checking and savings accounts.

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, and I thought he was probably trying frantically to make something out of nothing, but bless his heart, he was willing to jump in there and give it the old college try.

He gave me a pep talk about saving so much of my paycheck, taking advantage of a company 401(K) plan, and cutting my expenses. Then he asked me at what age I wanted to retire. My dream was to retire at age 50. Ok, how old was I now? I would be 49 in three months.

Well of course,  that seemed ridiculous with my finances, as he was quick to point out. I had to agree. The only way I could retire at age 50 would be to hit the lottery or marry someone who could support me. Both options seemed like longshots.

Let me put this in perspective for you. I lived in a town of 170,000 people and I didn’t know one eligible man. Oh well, I appreciated the sessions, and maybe I should plan to work until I was at least 70.

I did in fact retire at age 50. I tried online dating, and after kissing many toads, I met the prince. So if you have a dream goal, go after it, even if it seems impossible.

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One thought on “Broke at 49, Retired at 50

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