Black AmericaBlack InterestsMr. Free Spirit

Mr. Free Spirit Talks About Retiring


Retirement Sign

Well, folks let’s talk about retirement for me. I have done some things in my retirement that I had no idea that I would ever do. I took 5 months to just travel around the United States and visit family and friends. You know you talk to a family member and they will inform you of another family who lives in a city that you have never visited. So after a phone call to make the initial connection to that city I would go. The cities I have visited are too numerous to list, however, I did meet the children, grandchildren and even the great grandchildren that I never knew about. Some of the cities are in the cold part of country which is not for me. I also rekindled my friendships with friends that I have not seen for years including my British Virgin Islands friends from many years ago.

Modern technology has saved me more than once.  I do everything online.  I’ve almost packed and departed for a trip, only to have my PC pop-up and remind me that I leave “tomorrow.”  Since I have purchased plenty of warm weather clothes for the islands I don’t have to worry about what I need when I get home. Yep, it’s time to head home to warm weather now.

However, let me provide some retirement wisdom about me

Going home to hibernate for the winter. If you plan to ever use an auto transportation company, please be careful. Do your homework.  The things you have to worry about are numerous.

  • Read the fine print and ask questions about a deposit and weight limits regarding your vehicle. For example, if you’re planning to put all of your suitcases in the car DON’T DO IT!”  That adds to the weight of the vehicle.
  • The driver makes the decision as to when he/she will depart and arrive. In other words, your timeline may not be the same as the driver’s timeline.  In some cases, the transport driver has been known to ask for additional monies to deliver your car.  Watch out for “low ball” companies too, they are good at “bait and switch.”

Some of the Biggest Retirement Planning Mistakes You Can Avoid

One of the biggest dilemmas for those approaching retirement is balancing the life they want to live today with the life they want to live in retirement.

There are some common, yet avoidable mistakes that prevent many people from retiring “on time.”  With some planning, you can steer clear of the mistakes that could derail your retirement.

Financial Advisor Talking To Senior Couple At Home

Retirement Planning Mistake: Living Too Large

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to a retirement plan is:  “How much income do you need to maintain your current lifestyle in retirement?”  Not surprisingly, most people don’t know how much money they need.  If your estimate is too high, the goal of retirement may seem unattainable, and the entire planning process is discouraging.  If the assumption is too low, (which is most often the case), you are likely facing a difficult financial situation that would require you to make drastic or unwanted changes in your plan.

The general rule of thumb is to plan that you will need approximately 80% of your current annual income in retirement. I’m not a fan of this rule, however, some people underestimate how much money they will need in retirement.

Keep in mind that retirees spend more on travel, entertainment and eating out especially earlier on in retirement when they have the time and good no health concerns that prohibit them from enjoying activities.  Keep in mind, health care costs are expensive and can escalate quickly.


When looking for a home, it is easy to get caught up on glitz. I almost got caught up in that one. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need in your retirement house depends on family size when the family comes to visit. We all want our toys; however, the word WANT vs NEED are two different things.  I learned the difference.  I adopted a new phrase from a friend—“like minded people.”

During my travels I have met some like-minded people. Keeping up with others is something I don’t do.  When looking for a home, I would suggest that you select a home that meets your needs and allows you to do what you really like to do in terms of the design and living space.

Finding a weather pattern that suits you is a must.  Some people need a financial planner and others are budget minded and can determine what will work for them vs. what will bankrupt them. As we get older our issues relating to health change. Will you be shoveling snow?  Will you have climb stairs?  These are important questions that need to be answered.

Many middle-class Americans find retirement to be tougher than anticipated. Learn what you can do to prepare for the most common pitfalls.

Black Mental Health 3

Will You Have to Retire Before You Are Ready?

Forty-nine (49%) percent of retirees quit working sooner than they planned, usually because of health problems, according to LIMRA, a worldwide research firm focused on the insurance and financial services industries.  Job loss, burnout and negative work conditions also can force people to retire earlier than expected.

It’s No Fun Hanging Out with Your Spouse 24/7

Financial planners say many couples have trouble getting used to spending more time together.  Everyone gets excited about retirement — they think they’re going to walk out the door and never look back and spend their days relaxing and traveling with their spouse, but then they get home and they find they can’t actually stand the person they’ve been married to for the last 30 years.


To be sure, many couples love 24/7 togetherness. But not everyone. A person I know has stated the toll retirement can take on marriages. He observed that husbands who have been extremely focused on their jobs are particularly likely to struggle with this adjustment.

Relationships can endure this transition. Finding retirement pursuits that give life meaning — philanthropy or volunteering, and not just a life built around golf and travel.

It’s Boring

When you hate your boss and feel overwhelmed by work, retirement sounds ideal. The reality is that many retirees long for the camaraderie, structure and sense of purpose that work delivers–not to mention the money.

What will you spend your time doing after you retire? Whatever you spent your time doing before you retired, minus the job. While I’m sure my interests will evolve over the years (just as they did while I was working), I now spend my time doing exactly what I did before I retired, only more of it.

At The Wall Street Journal, a panel of experts advises taking on new challenges by learning, working, advising, volunteering and experimenting. One aging expert says she learned that saying, “yes” to new experiences opens doors to much-needed variety.

Working Until Age 70 May Not Be an Option

Nearly 75 percent of pre-retirees said they expect to work in retirement. But life’s realities often intrude on such plans.  In recently published research, the AARP Public Policy Institute says:  “Depending on your profession, it might be wise to invest in disability insurance.”


Money’s Tight — Really Tight

Social Security pays only $1,290 a month on average, according to October 2015 figures from the Social Security Administration. In addition, most retirees have very little money in savings. In its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employment Benefit Research Institute looked at the savings of current retirees, not including the value of a primary residence or a defined-benefit pension, reporting that:

  • 26 percent have less than $1,000 in savings
  • 10 percent have between $25,000 and $49,999
  • 10 percent have between $50,000 and $99,999
  • 12 percent have between $100,000 and $249,999
  • 14 percent have $250,000 or more

Such meager savings puts many retirees at risk.  With the decline in employer-sponsored pensions and retiree health coverage, fewer retirees in the future will have benefits that have helped keep seniors from falling into poverty.

Black woman sitting in wheelchair in hospital

Growing Old

Growing old is a lot like being a teenager. Your body and your looks change rapidly, and that can be surprising and discomforting.

The first phase is where you feel young because you actually are young. The third phase is where you feel old because you actually are old. And the phase in between is where you feel young but everyone thinks you need to sit down.

The inevitability of aging can be tough to deal with, especially if you’ve made plans only for your finances. Before you receive that gold watch for retirement, do some thinking about what you want your retirement life to look like.


Taking Care of Elderly Parents or Relatives

Taking care of elderly parents or relatives forces many workers into retirement. Eldercare consultant Carol Bradley Bursack got an earful when she wrote Should You Quit Your Job to Care for Your Elderly Parent?” at More than 100 readers commented, many describing their anguish at having to choose between their financial security and caring full-time for parents.

One, “Caregiver yes,” tells of managing his own aging and health problems along with those of her parents:  “It was sad when Mom passed away, but I was physically and emotionally spent and had to take early retirement. My marriage also suffered. Weekend evenings out with friends dwindled to none. My husband and I have already made arrangements so our children do not even have to consider taking on this responsibility. And, it has nothing to do with love or commitment, for me it was more than I could handle physically and emotionally.”

You May Outlive Your Money

Longer lifespans today put the nest eggs of even the most scrupulous retirement savers at risk of being exhausted in their owners’ lifetimes.  What’s worse, just one-quarter of pre-retirees believe they’re at risk to outlive their income.

Here’s a side note for you Black Boaters. The 2017 British Virgin Islands reunion will be something you won’t want to miss. It will cover all ages, not just retired people. People from all over the U.S. will attend.

Mr. Free Spirit leave you with this thought:

Every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.

Black Men In
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Mr. Free Spirit Talks About the 2017 British Virgin Island Reunion

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  1. You are very welcome!!

  2. Thank you for this insight. Phenomenal.

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