Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Retirement Revelation

Dear John,
 
I'm a grown-up now. Starting next month I'm eligible for the 401K at work, and my paperwork is in. They'll match the first 5% at 100% and the next 3% at 50%, so I'm having the whole 8% taken out. There's no sense in leaving free money on the table. Choosing an investment plan wasn't difficult. I took the 15% maximum in our own stock and put the rest in a timed plan based on my projected retirement date of somewhere between 65 and 70. I'll be fully vested after five years, when I'm almost 65.
 
And all this got my head started. While I was mowing tonight I realized how far I've come in three years, to be able to think about retirement. I'm actually looking at my future, looking farther ahead than paying the bills on time. And I can look it in the face without flinching. For over two years I couldn't bear to even take a peek. While I wasn't looking, I made progress. This is encouraging. And I'm taking charge of my financial future, making plans and decisions. That feels good.
 
But I can't say that I'm excited about the idea of retirement. If you were alive, I couldn't retire soon enough. It isn't the same to think about spending it without you. I have some ideas of things I'd like to do. But, for now, I need the structure that working full-time gives me. I need something that makes me keep a regular schedule and structures my days. I'm sure the time will come when I can do without those things, but I'm not there yet.
 
While I get there, I'll be taking full advantage of this 401K. Be proud of all this progress I'm making. Three years ago I could never have imagined the person I've turned into. But you knew all along, didn't you? I'm doing exactly what you expected. I have no idea what other changes will take place in me. But I'm sure that you won't be at all surprised. Thank you for always having more faith in me than I did in myself.
 
Yours always,
Joan.

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