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I’m Retired and Do What I Want at 49.

“Dear Steve,

I lost my job in 2007 at the beginning of this downturn and I am still unemployed. I am almost 59 years of age. Which I believe is why I am not being hired. My spouse WAS planning on retiring in March 09. We have two homes.

Our original plan was to sell one and move to the resort town home. We have no credit card debt although we dipped into our stocks to re-roof the house we want to sell. We have one car payment.

The house across the street sold last August for $235K. We have a similar house which has been updated inside and out. We want to sell it for around the same price as our neighbor’s. All these homes in our neighborhood are about the same quality.

My spouse will be 62 in March and wanted to retire early because of a back problem. Should we wait to sell and continue to work? Making 2 house payments is starting to be difficult when everything else in cost is rising i.e. meds, food, utilities, etc. We just want one home but don’t want to “give away” the one we want to sell!


Dear Ann,

I hear you clearly and understand that you don’t want to giveaway the primary house. Consider this, the value of a home is not what a realtor tells you or what past sales tell you, but it is that value that both a buyer and a seller can come to an agreement on. In this economy that amount may be less than what was paid last August.

Ultimately I think your situation comes down to quality of life issues. I’ve been in a similar situation so I think I’ve got some insight in the situation.

In my lifetime I have earned far more money that I do now. I had all sorts of responsibilities and obligations and I worked very hard and took great risks to accomplish those rewards. At some point I realized that I could either scale back and live the life I wanted to or kill myself by pursuing the old life.

As I write this I am 49 years old and for the most part retired. And don’t get the idea that I’m living off of investments. My investments tanked along with everyone else. Believe me, I got my statements yesterday and it isn’t pretty.

I do still work, but this time, for myself. I wake up every morning and do what I want and all of the things that I do, I do because I love to do them. For example, I answer debt questions from people like you because I love to help others. I work at rebuilding my lifelong love of photography and I’ve been successful at doing freelance stock photo work (one of my photos is below). I also restore aviation documents and films through a business I created because as a private pilot, I love aviation.


Ann, I have been unbelievably blessed with a life that I love and you can too if you listen to those voices inside yourself. On one hand you are longing for a different life of less stress and more quality. On the other hand you are trying to get as much as you can out of what you’ve got now. If you wait for the real estate market to come back, will you enjoy living in your current situation for the next eight years?

If you can make cuts in your lifestyle that will save you money, like I did, and you find a part-time job you love in the resort town, will that allow you to get by? If it will, damn the torpedos, maybe it is time to consider going full speed ahead and live a life worth living.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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