Yesterday, I had the snow tires taken off of our car.
Snow tires for two wheel drive cars are pretty much a given here in the mountains. Today, I woke up and looked at the weather and what was suppose to be rain/sleet is now looking like 6 inches of snow. The reason I had the snow’s taken off of that car is because the upcoming week is spring break for my son and it is our turn taking care of my father-in-law. He is 90 years old and about 6 months ago had a couple of falls at home. He refuses to leave his house to move into a assisted living facility [that day is coming]. Fortunately for him he had 10 children, and we are rotating based on our ability to get to Boston and take care of him [he really needs minimal help, just making sure he can get a shower in the morning and helping cook]. So, I wanted to bring the car that got the better gas mileage to Boston.
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In the fall we prepare for the winter. That means, getting cordwood delivered and stacked, putting up Christmas Lights, getting snow tires on for one of our cars, turning off outside water, etc. My wife’s family came up with the plan to help their dad based on what he would do and wouldn’t. His wife spent her last couple of years alive in a nursing home and he is pretty adamant that he will avoid that for as long as he can. Up to 6 months ago when he had his falls, that was having someone look in on him a couple times a day, do errands for him, etc. After the falls that meant having someone actually live in the house with him, drive him wherever he needed to go, etc. The next step will be an assisted living facility, but that will be a battle!
Change will Happen, and You Will Have to React to It
Our second car is a Suburu Outback with all wheel drive [pretty much the state car here in New Hampshire!]. So if we have to, we will drive the Suburu down. When my father-in-law had a series of falls the family had to adapt to the change. Sometimes the adaption might not be comfortable, but you have to be willing to make those changes.
I talk to people all the time about their retirement. Almost all of them had been doing what the mainstream financial advisors had told them. That is, invest in mutual funds inside a 401K/IRA wrapper. About half of them get a match from their employer. It is tough for me to tell them that they are likely to fail if they continue to do what they are doing. Interestingly, I have spoken to only a handful of folks who had more than $500K in their retirement accounts and these folks all had top 2% incomes. Some, when faced with the real math of what they are doing, are able to make the change to a more viable strategy. Others still can’t give up that 401K mentality. That is fine, of course, at least they are reaching out to see what else is out there. They think they are preparing themselves for retirement, but in reality the environment has changed on them and they need to adapt. Back in the halcyon days of the 1990s one could think that you would get double digit returns from your mutual funds. However, now 13 years later, that is really unrealistic, as unrealistic as those charts that went straight up that the mutual fund sales people were using.
It’s real easy to be in denial about dramatic shifts. My wife’s family certainly were when their mother went into a nursing home and their father was alone in the house. Having gone through this with my parents, my wife and I tried to raise the alarm to the rest of the family to no avail. It took several falls for the rest of the family to recognize the situation as what it was and make the needed changes. Their father had always been independent, had built a successful business, and never needed help from his children. That is how they saw him. They were in denial to the current situation.
Don’t be in denial about your retirement. Don’t let that company match lull you into thinking you will be fine. Recognize your situation for what it is and react accordingly.