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October 28, 2010

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Great post!

We have been retired now for 18 years and both agree that they have been the happiest years of our whole life and truly "The Golden Years". We never want them to end but of course they will at some time. We are now 76 and 77 and one thing that we have come to realize is the importance of being in a really great healthcare plan. When you are young you may think that it doesn't matter where you get your healthcare but believe me it may end up mattering a great deal. Healthcare providers are by no means equal and there are huge differences between them in the standard, quality, and availability of the care you may end up needing. Even when you have medicare it helps a lot if you and your dependent can still be members of the group insurance plan of a very large company (my former company has 135,000 employees).

That doesn't mean that the years spent working hard, having, and raising children weren't happy because they certainly were. However those were the years when the responsibilities of providing financial security for a family weighs heavily upon the parents. We both enjoyed our work very much indeed. My job as an aerospace engineer gave me plenty of opportunities to be creative and I used to look forward to going to work every day. When my wife worked with young children as a teacher she was also in her element and enjoyed every minute of it. We both actively participated in the children's activities such as baseball, football, swimming and skiing and had great family vacations but there are always those times when you have to lay the law down and be disciplinarians. This is also a period where its important to have babysitters so that the parents can have evenings by themselves to ensure that their relationship stays healthy - without a happy marriage the stability of the family is in deep trouble. We purchased a ski cabin at Lake Tahoe during this period and spent lots of quality family time there, especially all of the holidays, and all learned to ski at the same time.

The next phase was when the children were teenagers but still living at home. This was a time when we could get away for weekends on occasion and yet have enough trust in our children to know that they would act responsibly while we were gone. Once they attained the age where they preferred being with their friends rather than their parents we sold the ski cabin (which was 250 miles away) and bought a condo at the beach (which was only 25 miles away), it became primarily a weekend getaway destination for my wife and I.

One benefit of being young parents was that when the last child left home we were still 8+ years away from retirement and by then I had 5 weeks vacation/year and we used that period to start seeing the world. We realized that strenuous trips are best done when you are as young and healthy as possible so that's when we travelled to 3rd. world countries and went on many adventure travel trips to exotic and exciting far off places. These trips exposed us to all of the world's different religions and were very educational indeed. These kind of trips have continued during retirement but have gradually shifted to easier types that are still within both of our capabilities as we have grown older.

One way that I have helped our children after they married was to offer to manage their investments. All three accepted my offer and are very pleased with the results so even though they will be beneficiaries in our estate they each have good sized estates of their own (two are already well into 7 figures and the youngest one a couple of years away).

We have been savers from our earliest days together and even after 54 years of marriage we are still savers whether we want to be or not, thanks to the power of compounding.

My investment motto is: Don't lose money, and understand the power of compounding.

Always enjoy reading your stuff Old Limey. I wish you would write a guest post on the strategies/methods you sed to follow your investment motto. Really enjoyed the comment!

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