Monday, 5 September 2016

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ Financial Freedom

Midlife Rocks! Reaching the stage of life where you aren't controlled by your finances

LIVING FRUGALLY

We've never had buckets of money - we don't lie in bed throwing handfuls of cash in the air to watch it shower down on us (does anyone do that other than in the movies?) We've always run a tight ship financially and worked on the principle of not living on credit. If we didn't have it then we didn't spend it. We lived frugally and things were often a bit tight, but we managed fine and the bills were always paid.

Fast forward to midlife and things are really cruisy - all that care and frugality has paid off and we are doing fine. It makes life a lot easier when there's only two of you in the house - the electricity bills and the food bills are a LOT less when there are no teenagers around eating you out of house and home and leaving the lights on everywhere!

PAYING THE BILLS

All my married life I have worked to help pay the bills - quite often in jobs that haven't been thrilling to go to each morning, but I went none-the-less because we had gotten used to eating regularly and needed my income to balance things out when my husband decided to change professions, or stay at home and freelance, or stay at home to write the Great Australian Novel (I have a copy of it if you know any publishers....) Having an erratic breadwinner in the house meant that I needed to pull my weight jobwise to keep the wolf from the door.

One of the benefits of being a descendant of good Scottish stock is that I am amazing at stretching a dollar so that it goes a long way. The frugal Scots could teach us all a lesson in that department. One of my friends has Jewish heritage and she is convinced that's where her frugal-ness comes from. Wherever it originated, being careful with money over the years has meant that we are now in a place where we are basically debt free and we can afford to make career choices based on what we like to do rather than what we have to do to make ends meet.

when you love what you do it's like being on a permanent vacation ~ Zen to Zany
When you love what you do ~ Zen to Zany
DITCHING THE AWFUL JOB

A year or so ago I decided that working in a soul sucking job where I wasn't appreciated wasn't bearable any longer. I'd stayed because I needed the assurance of a regular income, but when I looked at our situation, my happiness and my need for some peace of mind, far outweighed the lure of the dollar. Living within our means for so long meant that I could jump ship and take a risk. I figured I could always get a job as a checkout girl at our local shops if nothing else came along - I think it would be quite nice scanning groceries and chatting to people all day.

My husband had been studying for three years and had finally emerged from his ivory tower of academia and back into the workforce. With him bringing in enough to feed us, I could afford to take a bit of time to clear my head and look for something that would make the next 15 years of working life a lot more enjoyable. Taking the pressure off myself and allowing a bit of breathing room was such a blessing. I couldn't do that when we were raising our family, but midlife has brought with it a nice sized helping of financial freedom.

RIGHT SIZING FOR RETIREMENT

Needless to say, I haven't slipped gracefully into retirement (we haven't won the lottery) but I now work hours that suit me in a job I actually like. My husband works part-time from home and enjoys the flexibility of not being stuck in the 9-5 grind, but still earning enough to keep his nagging wife happy. I've worked out that we are actually now THINKS - Two Half Incomes No Kids - and that fits us perfectly. 

My blogging buddy Kathy from smartliving365.com talks about "right sizing" which means we live in a way that frees us from having to work all the time to maintain a standard of living that we don't need. Basically we live within our means - it's so much easier to enjoy life when you don't have a mountain of debt. I love working part-time and having time left for other things - not being glued to the daily grind is a surprisingly pleasant gift I've been given in midlife. Retirement is still a long way off, but it's nice to slide into it gracefully rather than hanging on for grim death and hoping we won't end up living under a bridge!


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Midlife Rocks! Reaching the stage of life where you aren't controlled by your finances

36 comments:

  1. Yes! Simplify! I found a great website by Joshua Becker www.becomingminimalist.com. I'm retired now and volunteer in two areas I believe in. I'm now doing what I love writing and watercolors. Life is good!
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/
    P.S. I love the Z2Z quote and picture, Leanne

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    1. I love her work too Mary Lou and I'm glad you are finding retirement so good - I'd love to be able to paint, but I think blogging might be as creative as I get! I'm off to check out that website :)

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  2. Right-sizing is the way to go, no matter your circumstances. Glad you found a fit!
    Carol

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    1. I couldn't agree more Carol - and if we all practiced it the world would be a simpler and more pleasant place.

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  3. I think the older we get, the more we realize we don't need so much! I love that term, "right sizing".

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    1. I really liked it too Ellen and I agree that I seem to need less now than I ever did. I was never a hoarder, but simplicity is a joy in itself.

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  4. I love the idea of right sizing! We are in the process of cleaning out all the crap we don't need and are really trying to simplify. We're also getting organized in our finances so we can focus on the things that are important to us.

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    1. It's so easy to accumulate a pile of stuff over decades of married life and parenting Lois - culling it and clearing it out is so satisfying!

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  5. right sizing is so right Leanne! I'm fortunate to be at a time in my life where I can work if I choose but it isn't dependent upon our financial situation. I don't think I could give up having some kind of 'work' but knowing that I can do it when I want to is so liberating.

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    1. I love that we can work because we choose too (and the extra money certainly helps) rather than working to pay off a huge debt we acquired over a lifetime of overspending. Moderation pays off big time.

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  6. Yeeessss , isn't it a great feeling and an amazing age ?! I so enjoy my age and the freedom that comes with it.

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    1. Me too Klaudia - it's not the big things, it's the simple pleasures that result from making good choices through life and picking yourself up and trying again when things aren't so great.

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  7. Unfortunately we are going through a bad period. OUr house for sale and the housing market in our town has turned for the worse. My husband was let go of his jobs a few years ago from downsizing and we've never caught up and my disability prevents me from working full-time. We live frugally but it's not enough. I can't say midlife is being kind to us in that way. I am happy for you, I really am. You deserve this happiness and I applaud it wholeheartedly.

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    1. Cathy I am so sorry that things have hit a low point for you and your husband. When life deals us a series of blows like this it feels like we will never get through them. I truly hope your home sells soon and you find something "right sized" to move into that will free you up more financially. We have pushed things uphill many times and I've often wondered why we had to struggle, but in the end it is easing off for us and I hope the same happens for you. Keep me posted x

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  8. Leanne, you are always filled with such wisdom, and I thoroughly appreciate your posts.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Glenda - thank you so much x

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  9. Right-sizing! Perfect fit! :)
    P.S. And I love the moniker: THINKS.

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    1. I'm naming and claiming THINKS because I don't see us becoming anything else in the near future Diane and fortunately it fits our expenditure nicely.

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  10. As long as we could squirrel a little away, I knew we were on the right course. Its when things were tight and saving money wasn't possible I knew we might be living beyond our means. Looking back, I'm glad we steered away from those times.

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    1. Me too Laurie - it's easy to live on credit - lots of people do it and it works for them, but I hated the idea of paying the bank all that money and preferred to wait a bit longer. If it was meant to happen then it could happen when we had the money to afford it.

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  11. It is great to work and succeed at a great plan. Dont let life throw a wrench in it. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Enjoy your week.

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    1. Thanks Marilyn and I have no intention of letting life sneak in and throw that wrench - it's tried many times before and I getting very good at wrench deflecting. :)

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  12. More wise thoughts on midlife and financial freedom.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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  13. I like this lesson
    Living within my means has always helped me.I like planning nice holidays and saving up,rather than buying on credit.The most important thing that has helped us is we don't own a single credit card.We pay cash or use our debit cards.
    That plus keeping a record of expenses.

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    1. The secret is to not live on credit Amrita - we all need to borrow for things like a house, but to live our day to day lives by spending what we can afford and making sure we save means we set ourselves up for later down the track.

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  14. We've gotten used to eating regularly! Ha!

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    1. That darn food bill is what causes all the problems Anna :)

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  15. Ahhhh....the thought of becoming THINKS makes me smile. I dream of working part time, having a few days of work, but most days not working would be my preference. I am striving toward that Leanne and you confirm my belief that it would be awesome. We have also lived beneath our means and have been debt free for quite some time. Unfortunately the need for health insurance has kept me working full time and we are also doing some major things to our home in anticipation of retirement. I hate to always think in the future, but I am excited about the day when I will give up work hours for freedom.

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    1. You can live under a bridge with me in retirement Molly! It scares me a bit to think about how we'll survive in our old age, but at the same time, we need to live our lives in a way that works for us now too. Having a husband who likes to dabble rather than do straight 9-5 has made me adjust to the whole p/time thing and I love it now.

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  16. I like the idea of 'right sizing' - it sounds like a nice, calm, stress free way to live.

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    1. It's a great way to live - it's finding the balance that is the tricky part!

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  17. I tried laying in bed once throwing handfuls of pennies in the air...it didn't work out very well for me.

    Striving for financial freedom right there with you, Leanne!! <3

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    1. Those pennies hurt when they shower down on you Amber - it has to be $100 notes or it just doesn't work. Let me know when you get to that stage and I'll come and lie next to you in the shower of cash :)

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  18. Congratulations again, this post was among the most clicked on the Blogger's Pit Stop. Well done. Look for a feature on Friday.

    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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  19. So identified with this, Leanne. I am just starting to feel the benefits of working part time and being able to make the money we have go around. My husband is benefitting too. Not for anything, at this stage of life, would I want to be in the 10 to 12 hours-a-day high-stress job that I had not so long ago, with weekends spent toiling at my computer to prepare for the week ahead. Much to be grateful for!!

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