I recently had the pleasure of surpassing five decades of existence. An accomplishment? I suppose that remains to be seen. It wasn’t marked by much. Some birthday wishes, a pair of new socks. Birthdays aren’t what they used to be after the first couple of dozen.
Now at a half century, retirement is on the horizon. I’ve spent probably thirty plus years “living in the moment” only to realize I probably should have been planning for the future. I have a 401K that really isn’t that impressive unless I spend the next decade living a deliberately spartan life and saving every cent that doesn’t absolutely require spending.
The thought of that doesn’t really bother me all that much. My youngest child will be 18 in just over 3 years, and assuming he can keep his shit together long enough to get out of high school with a diploma, will join the military soon after.
Hopefully, that leaves me at roughly 53 years old with greatly reduced expenses and able to save a much larger portion of my income. Getting teenagers stood up and ready for life on their own is an expensive hobby and one I greatly look forward to.
On the positive side, I will start a new position in management in less than a month. The annual income will be a small reduction but the paychecks more consistent during the year I currently make a large portion of my money during the summer and fall months because of massive amounts of overtime. With the new position, my overtime goes away, but so do 60 hour work weeks. The other positive is that there is far more room for advancement, with both position and pay.
Currently, the rules, requirements, and the way forward in general are a vague, mostly undefined cloud that comes down to when the manager feels like handing out raises. And even then, there’s a cap. The new position as a more clearly defined (and encouraged) career path. Plus, in the short term, the ability to gain up to 30% more in salary.
Overall, I guess I’m cautiously optimistic about my future. Retirement scares the shit out of me more than turning 50 ever did. But, I’m feeling better about my investments and where they’re going. The important thing is to keep saving and getting rid of debt (and not acquiring more). Baring an unseen emergency, I think I’ll be fine.