There hasn’t been one retiree I’ve met in the last few years who didn’t whisper in my ear and told me they had a secret money-making hustle on the side. At first I thought it was due to their bad planning or bad money management. Till I stepped in to the retirement ring. I have to admit that I was warned by several financial advisors that I needed to prepare more for inflation, medical costs, home repairs and other variables. I thought I was until lately. I don’t care who you are or what you are, unless you have millions in the bank, or in good paying investments, you’re going to need a side hustle in retirement to make ends meet.
I’ve met retired doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, nurses, teachers, mechanics, federal and state employees……everyone…..and I do mean everyone…..has a side hustle making them the extra money they need either to party out on the town or just make ends meet. Whether it’s through YouTube vlogging, blogging, Tupperware parties, lectures, speakers, selling jewelry, hosting dinner parties (charging an entrance fee), booking reservations, filing, temp work or whatever else you can think of, almost every retiree I know is working on the side in addition to their pensions, social security, dividends, investments and interest on their savings accounts because they just aren’t making it. Period.
Forget about the normal rise in the cost of living expenses, this higher-than-higher inflation, oftentimes at 20% to 50% is affecting every single retiree. Now and in the future, because according to all the financial advisors out there today: inflation and higher prices are here to stay.
More and more people are going to feel the pangs of super high inflation as their pandemic funds start to wane and disappear. Thankfully many stashed their extra pandemic checks in a savings account but those too are also on the decline.
So, what’s a current retiree supposed to do if they are feeling the pangs of inflation? There’s only two solutions IMHO: #1 cut down your expenses (check!) and if that doesn’t help much, #2 get a paying side hustle job (check!)
I just found out, that a retired couple I know (ex-pharmacist and ex-nurse), who I thought were rich because that’s how they were living (exclusive single family home in a Florida gated community, complete with personal pool and two Mercedes Benz parked in their driveway) are now currently renting out rooms in their home. WTF? They’re having difficulty keeping up with their lifestyle and rather than cut back they’ve leased out rooms in their home to other couples who are waiting to close on Florida condos.
I also know retired couples who have cut back to the bone but still can’t keep up with the rising costs of living. It’s a nightmare. And I am flabbergasted that not too many people are talking about this. Yet. It’s probably just a matter of time till they are forced to see the reality as to what it is. Or they are so ashamed of who they voted for (because the current admin is 1000% to blame for the difficult living conditions we may be finding ourselves in). Between shutting down the XL Pipeline (thus causing an avalanche of high energy bills and related costs) and pumping the populace with worthless paper money (thus causing the populace to go out and spend, spend, spend, order, order, order) which disrupted the supply chain for the next year or so) they probably don’t want to hear the truth……..but here we are: truth time! IT’S NOT THE PANDEMIC!
If you think I’m bitter, I’m worse than that. I’m mad as hell and I can’t state “I’m not going to take it any longer” because I’m stuck. We’re all stuck and there’s nothing we can do about it. Except pay and suffer. Pay and suffer. I always prided myself that I always had a rabbit up my sleeve. Well, my rabbit must have died because I have no more tricks up my sleeve or in my hat. We’ve cut back. We’ve gone without. We’ve eliminated and substituted. And still we both have to hustle to bring in a few extra bucks per month. That’s our retirement reality. Along with all the other millions of silent retirees who are either too embarrassed or too reluctant to admit their mode of retirement has changed. For like forever!
Every week I see my fave YouTubers show off smaller and smaller food hauls. Ditto for my fave bloggers. I visibly see people living on less but they don’t discuss it. Why? News casts rarely talk about the dwindling food banks, small business closures or the rise in homelessness but there it is. We see it. But we don’t acknowledge it.
The other day I watched one of my fave frugal YouTubers brag and boast how they are still debt free. They boast that because they are debt free they can pay their bills each month without touching their savings. Yet, when a big ticket item has to be paid (like a home repair etc), they dip in to their savings anyway just so they can remain debt free. I don’t get it? They’re debt free but broke. What’s the diff if you go in to your savings in dribs and drabs or all at once? You’re still dipping in to your savings because you can’t make ends meet. If we need new tires or a car repair we pay for it out of our monthly income. Or at least, we used to. Now? We’re dipping into our savings OR we’re applying a zero interest loan (which I prefer because it keeps our savings intact). The fave frugal YouTubers don’t do that. They deplete their savings and then start all over again.
My husband (age 65) started his second part time job today. The first one (@$17 an hr) he tried only lasted 3 days. He was assured that he didn’t have to lift anything heavier than 45 pounds. When he started lifting 70 pounds, he quit. Thankfully, we have the good graces of quitting without starving. Today he started another part time job (@$16 an hr). Two or three days a week. Whatever he’d prefer. And it will be enough to pay our slight shortage, future RV travels AND put money away into our savings to prepare for when he really retires (he estimates age 72).
That’s it folks. That’s our reality. Like it or not. We have a net worth of 3/4 of a million dollars and despite cutting back, doing without, earning between 3% and 5% on our investments and being 99% debt free, we can’t fully make it in these current world conditions. Did we do anything wrong? Do we have ourselves to blame? Absolutely not. We’re just doing what all the other retirees we know are doing. The only difference is we’re talking about it. They’re still living behind a facade. One of my friends just bought a Prius because of the gas crisis. I asked her if she was going to sell her Mercedes. She said no. She needs it for when she visits her other retired friends or goes to any retirement socials. She doesn’t want anyone to know the truth.
And that just about sums everything up.
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