One year into retirement – dealing with financial market madness & mayhem

Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since hubby put corporate life behind him. This time last year, he was making his “farewell tour” and we were trying to figure out if we could make it work financially if I joined him when my teaching contract ended in May. We decided to go for it and make any necessary adjustments as we went along. Many adjustments yes, but ZERO regrets.

Some financial pundits said 2022 was definitely not a year to retire. Perhaps not, but when is it ever the “ideal” time to retire? It was the right decision for us. Watching the stock market gyrations over the past year has been hard. And now we have the banking collapse unfolding before our very eyes…it’s always something. What do you do? We keep the faith, review our budget and tune out the noise as best we can. Read that last sentence again if you need to.

No one could have predicted the high inflation we’ve experienced or the continued supply chain and labor woes. Groceries, home maintenance and car repair costs are WAY up. Our whole house painting cost 40% more than quotes obtained pre-COVID. I’m sure we were charged a premium to replace the gas valve in our upstairs HVAC unit, but this company actually had the part when others didn’t. My SUV required expensive repairs this past year. Normally, we would fix a car and trade it once repairs reached this amount. Not this time. Hanging on to it for at least another year. We’ll rent a car if we need to travel any lengthy distances.

Health insurance/medical is our largest monthly expense. We are paying unsubsidized (COBRA) insurance rates until my pension begins. (Interesting fact: in GA, if you have 8 years of service credit working for the state and you leave employment, you can keep SHBP coverage for as long as you’re willing to pay for it – even after COBRA continuation coverage is ends.) Many teachers use this to fill in the insurance gap between their last day of employment and when their pension begins. If you don’t keep this insurance in place, it does not follow you into retirement. Insurance rates drop to active employee/retiree rates once pension checks begin. I’d still be working if this unsubsidized coverage option wasn’t available to us. Healthcare Exchange Plans were not an option for us as MD Anderson – where hubs goes for treatment – does not accept any of those plans. FWIW – quoted rates for us on rival COBRA rates, but with significantly higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Random observation: Does it seem to you that the medical, dental and pharmaceutical professions are now trying to make up for revenue lost during COVID? Have you noticed the uptick in medical & pharmacy related ads? Are your dentists and doctors trying to upsell services or call you back for more screenings/tests than usual? Our dentist retired and sold the practice. First visit with the new dentist was routine. At the second visit, we were both told we need Invisalign for our bottom teeth. I have a chipped front tooth that needs repair and the dentist stated he will not do the work until after I complete Invisalign treatment. Guess I’ll be finding a new dentist. In December, I was called back for additional imaging and an ultrasound after an abnormal mammogram. Self-pay rate: less than $500.00. Negotiated rate: $1,136.00. (Plus my monthly insurance premium) Very thankful it turned out to be a benign cyst but the price differential leaves me wondering, “Now why do I have insurance? ”

What about returning to work? I’m actually open to working part-time 2-3 days per week. Anything more than this would impact my volunteer and quilting activities. A former colleague suggested I look at a part-time reading teacher opportunity in a neighboring school district. I did and reached out to a friend who works there. It sounds like a great opportunity to learn, help kids read and be part of a new initiative. The downside is the hours appear to be spread M-F. To me, this is equivalent to a FT job commitment, but with part-time salary. Not exactly what I’m seeking.

Another former colleague offered a more intriguing proposition: Offer CraftLAB after school one afternoon per week at her school. 10-12 sessions per semester, lasting about 50 minutes each. Everything is run through the PTA. Kids are required to go to ASP if parents don’t pick up at the end of class. PTA gets a percentage of the class fees as “space rental” – usually no more than 10-20%. This definitely grabbed my attention and is something I thought I would be able to do when I started my biz several years ago.

Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “One year into retirement – dealing with financial market madness & mayhem

  1. Great advice: “keep the faith, review our budget and tune out the noise as best we can”. I retired last April and I’ve tried my best not to react to all the crap in the news cycle. I’m still enjoying myself and the only change is I evaluate something at least three times before I buy/invest.

  2. Most of the adjustments have been minor. Amazing how much one can spend for the sake of convenience when everyone is working full-time. I also spent a lot of my own money on books, supplies and apps the district didn’t cover when I was teaching. Like you, I’m much more intentional with my purchases nowadays.

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