Today marks ten years since I retired back in 2002. Over that ten years, I have traveled to more than ten countries, including living in two of them. I learned to speak a little (or a lot) in five languages. I've met so many new friends that I could never count them. I've picked up new hobbies and put others aside for a while. I lost (and kept off) 35 pounds and learned so much about health and fitness. And I found someone with whom I want to to spend the rest of my life.
It seems to me that I have made a pretty good start to the second half of my life!
Yes, I do consider my retirement date to be about the half-way point of my life. My maternal grandmother lived until just short of her 99th birthday. Living to 100.com says I might live to be 106.
US female life expectancy at age 60 is another 24 years of life. But 25% of 65 year-olds in the US will live past 90, and 10% will make it past 95. I'm going for the long run. At least, that is the way I'm planning my life.
Financing a Longer Life
Although I knew that I might have to come up with some sort of income some time in the future, I thought I had everything all planned out. I had a couple of annuities to support myself until Social Security kicks in at 62. I thought I might be tired of traveling and ready to settle down after ten years. If that were true, the Social Security would be enough to support my Mexican lifestyle for the rest of my life.
It turns out, though, that I have no intention of settling down and staying home any time soon. So a few months ago I started looking for ways to supplement, or even postpone, those small Social Security payments. This is what I can up with:
- I can sell something I make.
- I can sell something I own and don't want anymore.
- I can rent out my casita (guest house) through airbnb.com or similar services.
- I can teach something I know how to do.
- I can publish my writing.
- I can find cheaper ways to live.
So Here's the Current Plan...
The final item on the list is the fall-back, if-all-else-fails plan. It's a possibility, but I don't even want to think about it at this point in my life.
I'm a retired quilt artist, and I have lots and lots of quilts I can sell.
It seems like no matter how much stuff I get rid of, there is still more that I don't use and probably never will. I'd rather give it to someone who needs it rather than dealing with selling it, but that is always a possibility.
I like the Airbnb idea. My casita just sits there empty for 50 weeks of the year. I've been having fun painting and decorating it so it will look appealing in the photos when I'm ready to advertise.
When I made my list, I assumed that the thing I might teach would be quilting classes, since I have so much experience at that. But - surprise, surprise - in five weeks I will begin my new job: tutoring college writing students via the internet. It will pay enough to allow me to postpone accepting Social Security until I'm older and the monthly payment will be higher. AND, it's only eight hours a week so I still have lots of free time, and I will be able to work in my jammies right from my own home here in Mexico.
Finally, I've discovered just how easy it is to self-publish these days through Amazon.com. So now I am in the process of following through with various writing projects started over the past ten years.
Growing Old in Mexico
One thing I was excited about this year is that, at 60, I qualify for Mexico's DIF and INAMAP cards, which show that I am eligible for all kinds of "old people's" discounts.
Most of the discounts are for stores and businesses that I would probably not use anyway, but the part I like is the discounts on travel in Mexico. Some airlines are offering a 10-15% discount on fares, but the big one is the 50% discount on long-distance buses.
Mexico has very nice long-distance buses (much better than Greyhound.) They travel all over the country. The fares are very reasonable, but now I can pay just half price. For example, I will have to pay only about $35US for a round trip ticket to the US border and back. I'm ready to hit the road!