By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement

One of the hardest things about retirement is deciding if, and when, it is okay to spend some of your money.


If you have kids or grand-kids it is also a dilemma to know how much of your money you can or want to preserve for them.


We have all seen the t-shirts or the license plates “Enjoy Your Retirement or Your Relatives Will”. This might have seemed funny at one time and a good reminder to enjoy life, but with today’s economy it is not so funny. People that have retired are wondering if they will have anything left to pass on to the next generation, or even if they have enough for their own old age?

Of course, our heirs would just as soon we lead a conservative retirement or not even retire at all! And who can blame them as the financial futures of many young people look a little bleak today. A recent headline in USA Today asks “Can joblessness be forever?” Rick Hampson warns “if you are a travel agent, bank teller or a file clerk, if you run a printing press, answer a switchboard or work at a sewing machine, if you repair watches or cameras, if you make anything that can be made more cheaply elsewhere, or do anything that can be done by a robot or computer then you may feel history is against you. And even if you are lucky enough to keep your job your real wages are likely to decline for the foreseeable future as the less skilled work is devalued.

You have to feel sorry for your kids who are working in a job they hate, but dare not leave, or grand-kids coming out of college unable to find a job. The Labor Department predicts that over the next decade there will be fewer workers in almost one-quarter of the 750 occupations it tracks, even as the total number of jobs increases by 10 percent. And if you think high tech jobs will be the answer, think again, since the creation of many high tech jobs lead to elimination of other jobs. There are some estimates that each high tech job eliminates two low tech positions and while these high paying, high tech jobs are good for our economy in many ways, these high tech jobs eventually become lower tech jobs that can be done for much lower wages outside this country!

So, what can we do? Unfortunately, women often take a backseat when it comes to handling family finances. We cannot afford to do that. Read. There are many basic finance books and Suze Orman has written a new book, Suze Orman’s Action Plan: New Rules for New Times which is geared to women in these economic times. Another book to get the basics is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Manage Your Money by Robert K. Heady

A new movie “Inside Job” gives an in-depth look at how we got where we are. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but if you want to understand finance and the best ways to handle your money or who to trust with your money, this is the movie to see.

Of course, there are the ubiquitous Cable T.V. finance channels with opinionated personalities ready to tell you what they think. After watching you can

sift through which opinions you value.

There are so many things you can do to educate yourself, but the one thing you can’t do is be passive and wait for someone else to make decisions about your money. Financial Planners are educated to help you plan your retirement and help you organize your finances. When you go to talk with someone, hopefully, you will go armed with enough information that you can make educated decisions.

As we weather these economic times beware of those who say they will look after your financial security for you. Make sure you learn and do everything you can to make the best decisions. The best person to look after your money is you!






About Alane Cunningham

Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.


Alane Cunningham

Alane is the author of our Contemporary Retirement Section. She is retired from the University of Michigan and now lives with her husband in Florida. Her goal is to provide you with insight into life after retirement.

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