Friday, May 15, 2009

Show Her the Money

Linda is thinking a lot about her pending retirement, which will start in a couple of weeks, and what she will do.

Some of the things she is doing are a natural for her. She loves to travel, and she has taken the role of family travel planner with gusto. She has long been our in-house property expert (which is to say, our in-house house expert), and probably has as much expertise on the local real estate market as most of the people who make their living at it. This will be very important down the road since selling our house is a key element of our retirement.

And just the other day potential changes in the laws affecting our retirement fund had her focus her research and thinking on that. I know it was on her mind, because over morning coffee she looked at me and asked, "What are we going to live on next year?" She didn't seem to appreciate the way I shrugged my shoulders.

It is a good question, I grant you, and it probably says a lot about us that LK is only asking it now - two weeks before she kisses the working world a fond adieu. To be fair to her, I need to stress that the question wasn't asked in a "How-in-the-world-are-we-going-to-survive?" sort of way. It was more a "When-neither-of-us-has-a-paycheck-coming-in-how-do-we-pay-the-bills?" way.

We probably should have mapped out all this pension and annuity stuff long ago - or at least around the time I stopped working. But, for all the reasons most of my friends do not sit by the phone waiting for me to call, we just haven't got around to it.

It's all got to do with minimizing taxes and maximizing returns - stuff that gets more and more important when you stop earning money. Unfortunately, I have never been able to work up enough interest in this stuff to be able to make smart decisions. I feel like I've already done my bit to minimize our taxes by no longer working.

I know we have to get some sort of income stream in place before the end of the Australian tax year on June 30, but there's a bit of a perfect storm looming because our accountant and the guy who advises us on our retirement fund are both procrastinators like I am. I suppose it will finally be LK who spurs us all onto action when she realizes that even she cannot create gourmet meals with dry cat food.

I have faith that it will all work out. But with her own retirement looming, LK seems to want a little bit more of a plan and a little bit less of my faith-based initiative. Money may be the root of all evil, but I am pretty sure that not having money coming in would be just as troublesome in its own way.

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