To Pre or not to Pre (Retire, that is)

money-happiness-scaleMy husband and I had one of those just-before-falling-asleep conversations a couple of nights ago. I love those conversations. There’s something about the time of day/night and the closeness of sleep that takes away the barriers to really honest communication (not that we have any – I’m pretty sure I’ve never talked with anyone so much in my life! If we look like those other been-together-forever couples in restaurants who aren’t talking it’s because we’re actually taking a break from that to eat!). There’s also a lovely level of light, the equivalent of outside dusk, to our bedroom at night because of the outside street lights, that lends itself to being able to talk in a kind of confessional.

Anyway…(I do go on at times)…we were talking about pre-retiring, mostly because neither of us feels anywhere close to retiring and let’s face it, my husband would work till his last breath if he could. Financial security is the highest priority for him and since he’s incredibly better/more interested than I am, I support that completely. Almost completely. Sort of.

Here’s the view I wanted him to understand. My father died two years after he retired. He never really had a chance to enjoy retirement, and my mother never really had time with him to do so.They never did “the big trip,” and while there’s a chance he would never have gone anyway, I fret about it.

As this road to sixty gets closer and closer, I am more and more convinced that I don’t want to be like my dad, working until I can’t move anymore, and then falling to illness almost immediately. I want time to enjoy this life and do things while my joints can still take it. I’m not as worried about having it all as having it while I’m healthy. For my husband, it’s critical that we have as much as we can, without worries.

So there’s the conundrum: How long do we wait until we retire? Or, can we pre-retire, working at jobs that allow us some life at the end of the day? Will half our salaries give us twice the joy? And, can we continue with enough of the things we enjoy to feel that we left it “all” at just the right time? Stay tuned for further details. There are plenty more bedtime chats to go yet.