protagonist wrote: ↑Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:06 pm
OP, this is a reprint of a post of mine from 2015. I hope you find it relevant to your dilemma (especially given the pandemic wake-up call of 2020):
by protagonist » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:39 am
I'm 63. Last week I had a heart attack on the way to the airport to play music abroad.
I'm 6'1" and I weigh 162. I workout regularly (rode 30 miles on my bike the day before the incident). My blood pressure has never been above 110/70. My total cholesterol is 190 with a high HDL fraction, which puts me in the low risk category. No significant family history. I never smoked. No diabetes, substance abuse, or other medical problems. Nobody I know would call me a "Type A personality". My doctor told me I have the body of a 35 year old. My only risk factor (not at all insignificant) is being male.
I was fortunate (for a healthy 63 y o guy who has a heart attack)....it was a relatively minor incident, I got prompt care and now have a stent in my circumflex artery.
Though my profession was inherently stressful (physician), I have always approached my work on my own terms, and never compromised my lifestyle for the sake of making more money, working jobs or moving places I did not enjoy, or for empty titles/prestige. My priorities were my family, living where I want to live, having enough time off to pursue my other interests, enjoying my work, and creating my own schedule. This did not come without risks (comical compared to the risks that others have just by virtue of their birthright), but in the long run, the risks were worth it, as I feel like I have lived a very rich life. I was never drawn to an extravagant lifestyle (fancy cars, clothes, whatever), but I lived well, and never felt wanting of anything I did not have. I made enough money. I could have made a lot more if I was willing to compromise my day-to-day life, but I didn't need any more.
My most valuable possession (other than my lovely "middle class" 1885 Victorian home in a very cool college town) is my tenor saxophone. I bought it about 10 years ago for $7000. It's probably worth close to $20K today, Even at $7K it would be my most valuable possession. It's worth a lot more than my car.
(By American standards, I have always been under-insured. I figured that the chances of my kids inheriting more money was greater that way, and I am pretty sure I was right.)
I was fortunate to be born in the mid-20th century as a relatively intelligent white American male during one of the greatest growth periods in the history of civilization, so, despite not having affluent parents and living a hippie lifestyle throughout the late 60s and 70s with no concern whatsoever for money, and putting myself through med school later in life, I did OK. In my demographic it was hard not to do OK.
I made money. Money didn't make me.
I retired in 2008 at 55, right before the crash. The crash (and divorce) took a big hit out of my savings, which caused me some worry about the future, but (as was reinforced yet again last week), the future is chaotic, so I figured what would happen would happen anyway. My savings came back with the market. I'm not filthy rich, but I'm comfortable, and I am not worried about money. I don't budget but I don't spend all that much and I live well. I probably won't run out, but anything can happen to any of us.
I could have panicked in 2008 and went back to work, delaying retirement until 65 or later. I would then be more secure about my money not running out when I hit 95. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was a heart attack at 63. I could just as easily have died with all my toys unused last week. When I asked my cardiologist how often he sees people in my shape in their 40s, 50s and 60s have heart attacks, he said it is "much more common than you think". 25% or so present in cardiac arrest.
Why am I sharing this with this community? I feel like I might be able to help some folks out there with my story.
I'm usually a rather private person (other than here, only a few of my closest friends know what happened to me). But, in the time that I have frequented this forum, I feel that there is a significant segment of people who post here who, IMHO, are overly obsessed with making money and planning for a future that they cannot control. You can spend your life from age 18 predominantly dedicated to making sure you don't run out of money when you are 100. You can postpone joy indefinitely and just hope you are healthy enough down the road to enjoy your bundle. Or you can live the way you want to live today, staying well within your means, try to save if you can, enjoy your life, just not sweat it....knowing you might run out of money at 95, but on the other hand you might die at 40 or 50 or 60 or tomorrow, and some things just cannot be controlled.
You can do everything possible to avoid the inevitable or you can just live and take your chances. You might not realize it, but either way, you are gambling. Which gamble is more enjoyable?