For most of my adult life I think I’ve lift for now. Maybe I am in the minority for that with so many investing for the future, ensuring their retirement is the best time of their lives. There is a lot of merit in that but, here is why I chose not to do it.
Way up there on the top of that list is that my mother died at 52. Her and Dad went down the route of saving for their retirement, buying a house and so on and yet, there she was. For her it didn’t pay off and how might her life had been different had she lived to the full whilst she could?
My nan would have got another 13 years out of her life in retirement though, she didn’t take the route of investment for the future. She remained in her council house her entire life and seemed happy. Nowhere near as stressed as the home owning elements of the family. Her husband, my grandad, he went at 67. He got just two years of retirement before he died.
A boss of mine had this huge retirement party when he left at 65 on his last Friday which turned out to be just that, his last Friday.
You may have gathered that what I am saying here is, to me, buying a house, going short, managing for most of my life didn’t seem to make sense, I just didn’t know what the future would hold.
I cannot say how my life would have been different if I had of gone the house ownership route. What differing opportunities I may have had and taken. Would I have picked up a virus in 2014 which would leave me disabled for the rest of my life? Maybe not.
If I did not invest for the future, what did I do?
Travelled mostly. My kids didn’t just read about Europe at school, they went there and not just the tourist places either. I know I got a lot out of that and I am sure they did too. Perhaps even a love of travel which will pass to my grandchildren, a legacy maybe?
My homes were always comfortable. Furniture was placed when it needed to be as were carpets and walls decorated. The kids grew up in lovely places despite all the family difficulties we were to face.
Sure, in the back of my mind there was always that question: What about when I am older and perhaps in need of extra love and support? I always imagined it would be like my nan. Always getting someone popping in, invited over for Sunday dinner, doing holidays with her children and never alone at Christmas. Sadly, it is looking like that is not going to happen to me but, it was my gamble to take and I would do it all again just the same.
Here and Now I still need to invest in my comfort. All the carpets needed to be replaced, many are over 20 years old. It was bugging me that they looked so horrible and were impossible to keep clean so, they are being done. I still feel the need to feel safe and comfortable in my own home. I know it is ‘only’ a rented place. These spends will gain me nothing financially but, that is not my chosen path. What they do now is to ensure my life is as pleasant as it can be.
The problem for me, having a much younger husband is that we differ in our outlook. When he retires I will be 83 presuming the retirement age remains as it is. I won’t have many years in front of me assuming I last that long. Investing heavily now for that future is too high risk for me. For him it makes perfect sense. In 20+ years he can retire in comfort to his country of birth still a relatively young man. It makes sense for him and yet, not for me. Sure, I could get lucky and live until I am 100 but, it doesn’t look likely given my health issues.
My children, they aspire to house ownership and I would always argue, if the salary is high enough that it’s not a significant drain on daily living and leaves plenty of saving room then, it’s good, long term it makes sense knowing that some day that mortgage is paid and that will be extra in pocket income. However, if they must struggle to afford it, I can only advise, don’t do it. Enjoy your lives and your time with the children whilst you are able.
Ultimately, we only know which case is right or wrong when we die. Only then do we know whether we made the right choice or not. For now, I have some amazing memories to carry with me, worth every penny.
I’ve included a gallery which only brings me up to 2010 with so many great times after that.