on birthdays and books

March 28th, 2008

On Birthdays and Books

My 34th birthday is tomorrow, and although birthdays don’t usually bother me like they do many people, I’ll admit, this one is getting under my skin a little bit. I attribute that to the fact that I’ve started in the past year to become very serious about our financial situation and about our future financial health, so a birthday is an indication that I’m another year older and time is ticking away that I haven’t taken full advantage of in saving for the future. Probably the same reason many people don’t enjoy their birthdays once they pass a certain age, but with a little financial twist. I’m fine with getting older, physically, so far, but I’m impatient to get my money in order completely and start truly saving for a comfortable retirement.

Although the emphasis in my mind lately about saving for retirement is valid, I do once in a while think about what if I don’t even make it to retirement, why am I worrying about saving for it? I know that for some people, this thought is what keeps them from saving as much as they feel they should. But just like life insurance and auto insurance and homeowners insurance, I have those things in case I need them. In those cases, I hope I *don’t* need them, in the case of retirement, I hope I *do* need the money I save.

This past week, I have been reading a book called Alive and Kicking: Legal Advice for Boomers. I was offered a review copy of the book a while back by the publisher, and I accepted it not because I’m a boomer, but because my parents are, and as they approach retirement, I think more about if they’re prepared and how they will manage. I thought, when deciding to accept a copy of the book, that if I didn’t find the book personally useful, I would at least find some information for my parents and could pass it on to them. I’m not all the way through the book yet, but I have found it an entertaining read so far, and have learned a few things along the way. Although I’m not quite sure if I want to continue doing my Friday book reviews (the first two books had a really positive response, the last one seemed not to interest people generally) I am going to review this book hopefully next week in a one-post review. And now you know why retirement has especially been on my mind this week. ;)

I wonder why it is so hard for some of us, me included, to talk to our parents about money. I actually bit the bullet over our Christmas vacation and broached the subject of retirement with my parents, and they seem to think they are prepared for it, which I hope is true. I didn’t ask for any specifics as to amounts saved or anything like that. My parents will both get social security, at least at first, for they are close enough to retirement that the system won’t have gone bankrupt yet, and I know my father has a 401K. He talked about aggressively saving in their 40′s in their 401K, and I hope they’ve saved enough. But one of the nice things, for us, about the fact that we’re getting our financial house in order is that the idea of them coming to live with us eventually if they needed to, for whatever reason, doesn’t completely frighten me from a financial standpoint like it used to.

Although I’d rather they were doing fine and could choose to do whatever they want.

Apparently, the combination of reading a book geared towards retirement-aged individuals and an impending birthday has made me reflective and a bit tangential. Happy last day of being 33 to me. :)

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15 Responses to “On Birthdays and Books”

  1. Hi and Happy Birthday!

    If it makes you feel any better, one way to look at the financial package that you are putting together for your retirement is for the “we” you mention. You aren’t saving just for yourself but your partner as well.

    Good luck.

  2. Happy birthday! Mine’s tomorrow too! This is my last day of 26.

  3. Happy birthday tomorrow!

  4. Happy un-birthday/almost-birthday!

    On the plus side, this celebrates you getting even wiser and more on track financially. :) And you’ve still got 30 years+ for it to compound. That’s much better than 10, right?

  5. Happy Birthday, tomorrow.
    Saving for your retirement is not something you do only for yourself but for your children as well. It is a gift from you to them that they don’t have to worry that mom and dad stopped taking their meds in order to have food on the table. If your parents do not have plans to purchase long-term care insurance when they turn 60 years old as part of their retirement planning you need to encourage them to think about it. We have purchased it with coverage for in-home services. It made a world of difference to all concerned when our father was able to remain in the home with daily help. We could visit and tend to his more general needs while his daily chores were being taken care of. It is scary to talk to our parents about their money but in a good family relationship it is possible. Good for you for opening the communication door.

  6. Happy Birthday! :)

  7. Happy birthday!!! Birthdays always make me more introspective about where I am and where I want to be. You’re doing great and making huge strides. Enjoy and be proud that you’ve gotten a hold of things now and are on the path to financial freedom and a very very bright and exciting future.

    Says the youngin’ :roll:


  8. Great post, talking to those you care about retirement is important but it is difficult for many. Still you should do what is important even if it is difficult. Most people are not at all prepared for retirement.

    While you do what to need the money you save for retirement (that is you live a long life) there is also a insurance like aspect. It would be very scary to need exactly what you saved. You would have to time things amazingly luckily to run out just as you die. For me anyway that time of seeing the cash running out would be quite scary.

  9. Here’s hoping your birthday is as wonderful as you are, my friend.

  10. Happy Birthday!


  11. Happy Birthday

  12. Happy Birthday!

  13. Alive and Kicking is laugh-out-loud funny. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more entertaining book about death, failing memory or nursing homes.


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