Turning the Page

Dennis Friedman

I’M NOT THE TYPE of person who makes New Year’s resolutions. This year, however, I foresee some major changes in my life—and that’ll require some financial adjustments.

Now that my elderly parents have passed away, Rachel and I can live like a normal couple in our own home. As I mentioned in an earlier article, we will be moving into my parents’ house.

During the last several years taking care of my mother, I was constantly traveling from one house to another and living out of a suitcase. Rachel and I weren’t able to spend a lot of time living together. This year, we can. We can share the same bed, eat at the same table and take walks together. We can do the little things that bring a couple together and make life so enjoyable.

In the year ahead, the house we’re moving to will require a lot of time, work and money to make the necessary improvements and repairs. Although I’m going to sell my condo to pay for much of the work, I feel we need to reduce our spending in the near term. This won’t be easy because we already live well below our means. Still, entertainment is one area where we can reduce spending. Here are three ways we’ll cut back in 2020:

  • We already canceled our cable television subscription, saving us $1,680 this year. Instead, we bought a $20 indoor high-definition antenna to pick up the local broadcast stations. We also bought a $119 annual subscription to Amazon Prime, so we can watch movies and television shows.
  • Our travel plans will be more modest in 2020, resulting in substantial savings.
  • We will be eating out less often at restaurants and instead we’ll cook our meals at home.

The thing on this list I’ll miss the most: traveling. I’ve been retired 11 years and haven’t done as much traveling as I’d like because of personal commitments, especially caring for my parents. I always thought I’d wait until I retire to do most of my traveling. If I could do it over again, I would have done more traveling before I quit the workforce. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that certain things in life should wait for retirement.

Another item on my list of life changes for 2020: reconnecting with long-lost friends. Last year, I got in touch with one of my college professors and it was a thrill. I was researching an article on Social Security and discovered one of my professors wrote one, too. I contacted him and discovered he’s the same nice guy I’d known in college. After reading his article, I realize I’m still learning from him after all these years.

In 2020, I hope to contact other friends from earlier years. As you get older, you realize there are fewer opportunities to turn back the clock and reconnect with the people from your previous life. I remember my elderly mother would stare at old photos of friends and muse, “I wish I’d stayed in touch with them.”

But when I think about my life, there’s little else that I want to change. I realize I already have pretty much everything I need. I have my health, enough money for the lifestyle I want and a great supporting cast, including Rachel, friends and family. Why would I want to change any of that?

Dennis Friedman retired from Boeing Satellite Systems after a 30-year career in manufacturing. Born in Ohio, Dennis is a California transplant with a bachelor’s degree in history and an MBA. A self-described “humble investor,” he likes reading historical novels and about personal finance. His previous articles include Journey’s EndSo Many Benefits and Peace of Mind. Follow Dennis on Twitter @DMFrie.

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