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Remodeling and Retirement

retirement incomeThe drywall work is finished.  The door from the kitchen to the master bedroom is no more, to be replaced by a spice cabinet in the kitchen.  The work went well, the only glitch being some spilled water running down into the globe of the basement laundry room light fixture.  Fortunately the water had someplace to go and the ceiling was not harmed.

Paint work has started, choosing paint colors and coordinating with the contractor being our part.  It took several trips to the paint store to get sample colors and applying them to decide on the colors.  With different colors on several walls it got a bit confusing.  I hope all is well.

The contractor is doing the painting, and the bedroom wall where the door was is his first attempt at a faux finish.  It looks good to me, but we will see what Carol says.  I do some cleanup, try to keep everyone informed and try to spot problems while mostly staying out of the way.

Right now there is scaffolding in the basement stairwell so the painter can reach the ceiling.  I am sort of trapped in the basement until that is finished.  This is a good incentive for me to sit down and write.

I am using spray foam to fill voids in the flooring where it joins the wall where the sink and dishwasher cabinets will be.  That is the area where mice made their entry into the kitchen from between the basement ceiling and the kitchen subfloor.  Unless they develop a taste for foam, their route is blocked.

I also plan to use the spray foam fill in a big hole in the brick wall where the first generation plumbing from 1937 was.  It will be out of sight behind cabinets, but I will always know that ugly mess is there.  I will fill it in.  There is no structural problem with the brick wall, just an example of my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder manifesting.

I retired from full time in March 2011, immediately taking a part time job.  Last year I earned $5000 at that job.  Carol is still working part time as well, making substantially more than I did, but that follows as she is smarter than I am.  This continuing to work after the traditional retirement age of 65 or younger puts us in the mainstream of elders.

The New York Times  in a recent story documents how the prospects for retirement have shifted.  The defined benefit retirement plans are mostly gone, 401(k) plans are underutilized, and many have no retirement other than Social Security.  The boomers will not do as well in retirement as their parents.

Carol and I continue to work because we can, and so far, our pension and part-time work provides enough to avoid tapping our savings.  We are even remodeling the kitchen, thanks to cheap mortgage money.  So, we are doing all right, having saved prudently and having retirement income close to the traditional middle class goal of the previous generation.  It is scary for many workers younger than us who won’t have the range of options we enjoyed prior to non-retiring.  Retirement may be bleak for an increasing percentage of those retiring.

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1 comment to Remodeling and Retirement

  • Judi

    Thanks for the upbeat predictions Bill. Anyway, this is why I am working so hard to start my own business. I will never be able to retire comfortably if I continue to let someone else dictate what my time is worth.

    My 401K won’t cut it for sure and the profit sharing stock is worth less now then the option price so who needs it?

    Keep us posted on the remodel-funny how those mice can get in…when we re-sided our house, we found spots where they had chewed right through the sheathing near our laundry room.

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