Cash Savings, Florida, Positivity, Retirement, Retirement Journey

Plans are changing. A retirement update.

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on

In a past blog post, I listed how we planned on retiring in 2023, even with inflation looming. If you missed it and want to know how we thought we were going to do it, you can read it here.

Fast forward 2 short months. A lot has changed, and most of the changes have been out of our control.

  1. Our retirement nest egg: i.e. the stock market.

Since January 1st, we have lost 15% of our retirement portfolio. The stock market has gone up and down so much it rivals the Yukon Striker! For all intents and purposes, that loss equates to three years of living expenses. Because my husband is so ‘young’, we wouldn’t be able to access social security for at least seven years, so our portfolio and personal savings is what we had hoped to draw from when we retired.

2. Selling our home and moving. Our original plan was to sell our home and buy another, smaller home without a mortgage. Since we still have a small mortgage on our current home, this would allow us to be not only mortgage-free but give us some extra cash. Our home’s value has gone up 17%, but we believe finding another home would be difficult. Real estate values have exploded, and homes are going very fast BUT for way more money than they are worth. I refuse to play that game. 2006 – 2009 was not that long ago. 😉 Florida was once on our possible relocation list, but the overpriced real estate and the problems with homeowner’s insurance are making us rethink this possibility. At least for now.

3. Cash Savings. This is one thing that is in our control. My husband is still working, and will continue to do so if the market continues to be a bear. In the meantime, we are on schedule to put a year’s worth of expenses away by the end of the year. If we decide another year of work is necessary, we will continue to put cash away as well as pay off our mortgage in full.

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances require a change of plans. We are adapting to these changes – even though they may require a change in our retirement date. However, we still believe our retirement is right around the corner, and are looking forward to a new adventure.

If you are retired, or are planning on being retired in the near future, how has the present financial environment changed your plans?

Cash Savings, Florida, Inflation, Retirement Journey

Think inflation is 7%? Think again.


Just as this cartoon portrays, I was able to save money during the pandemic. My husband was fortunate to keep his job (although they lowered his pay for a short period), and we didn’t do anything for almost 12 months. No travel, no eating out, no clothes shopping, no ‘extra’ shopping in general. Instead, we were able to pay down a significant portion of our mortgage.

In 2021, we spent money. Our bills remained the same (i.e. insurance, utilities, etc.), but we did some home improvements, traveled, and went out to eat. We took advantage of exceptionally low interest rates and refinanced our mortgage one last time (2.25%). It lowered our mortgage payment by $1,000 a month. We were in a great situation.

Fast forward to 2022. All of our regular bills (except the mortgage) have increased by between 20 and 50%. The economic pundits have you believing it’s only 7%. That is simply not true. Every company has jumped on the ‘inflation’ bandwagon and raised prices an astronomical amount. 7% would almost have been okay. But it is just not so. We have personally been experiencing numbers much higher than 7%.

Here are a few examples: Subscription services were raised by $1 a month. On $7.99, that is a 12.52% increase. A recent gas utility bill went from $192 (2021) – to $272 (2022) which is 41.67%. (I highly doubt this past January was that much colder than last January.) I just received a notice that our property tax is going up to more than $9,000, which is a 20% increase. Our sewer line insurance and water line insurance increased by 56.18%. I have yet to get our new car and homeowner’s insurance policies, but based on this article, I should expect a significant increase.

My husband’s pay raise for 2021 was 0%. Houston, we have a problem.

Even with these increases, we are fortunate. We make enough income to cover our increasing bills, but we have less disposable income. If we were in retirement, on a fixed income, this would be frightening. A 40-50% increase on the essentials such as utilities and insurance is insane and non-sustainable. What can we do?

We can only control our own situation, and we are taking action to do so.

We are going to continue with our plan to retire in 1 year, however, we are tweaking our plan slightly. (The bullets in bold are new!)

  • Saving as much cash as we can (the no/low buy year!).
  • Selling our home and buying a smaller home. (Lower taxes, insurance, utilities)
  • Selling one of our cars. (Lower insurance/maintenance/gas).
  • Moving to a state with no income tax and more sun!
  • Utilize retirement savings to purchase real estate for rental income.
  • Establishing part time work for another source of income and mental stimulation.

I have yet to discuss the last two bullet points with my husband, but I’m sure he’ll be receptive to it. 😉

I believe diversification is going to be key in retirement and getting income from different sources may be the ideal solution to this crazy economic climate we are in.

How are you handling this wild inflation? What are you doing to take control?

Florida, Retirement Journey

A Move to Florida?

coconut trees
Photo by Nextvoyage on

My husband and I have money meetings every Saturday morning to discuss our savings goals, plans for the year, etc.  Mostly we dream about the day my husband retires.  Today, instead of reflecting on the stock market losses, we started reflecting on our monthly expenses and how they would change if we moved to Florida.

We found this site that compares locations economically.  Here is how it came out.

Comparison Highlights:

– Overall, Northern Virginia is 48.0% more expensive than Sarasota, Florida
– Median Home Cost is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.
– Median Home Cost is 108% more expensive in Northern Virginia.

Cost of Living Indexes Northern Virginia Florida Difference
Overall Index: Homeowner 152 102.7 48.0% less
Food & Groceries 114.1 106.5 7.1% less
Housing (Homeowner) 238.4 114.4 108.4% less
Income Taxes* (number reflective of what we will live on) $6,500 $0.00 $6,500 less
Home Price Average $515,000 $228,300 $286,700 (108.4% less)
Utilities 94.2 97.4 3.4% less
Transportation 127.6 90.0 40.4% less
Health 99.9 97.6 2.4% less
Sunny Days 199 257 58 more
Personal Property Tax 4.13 per $100 in value N/A 100% less
Miscellaneous – clothing, entertainment, etc. 114.2 101 13.1% less

100 = US Average. (Below 100 means cheaper than the US average. Above 100 means more expensive.)

Although Sarasota, FL is higher than the US average in most categories, it is lower than where we are living now.

Of course there are other factors that go into a move, but financially it appears that moving to Florida would  help our wallet. (The extra 58 days of sunshine doesn’t hurt either! 😉 )

And that’s a good thing.







Florida, Retirement

Mother Nature’s Apology and a Retirement Epiphany.

person spreading hands against sun

After the polar vortex last week, this week has been a dream.  (Mother Nature – you are forgiven).  We’ve experienced sunshine and temps all the way up to 72 degrees.  Yesterday I started some 5K training on my 3 miler route and I felt amazing.

And then it happened.  My epiphany.  I NEED sunshine and warmth to feel good. Of course I’ve always known this, which is why I sit under a light therapy lamp every morning in the winter.  But this time the answer to my retirement housing conundrum came to me as clear as day.

I’ve been struggling with where I’m going to live in retirement.  My health and well being seem to improve with the sunshine.  Yesterday’s run (jog) solidified the answer.  I need to spend winters some place warm.  My pick? The gulf coast of Florida.  A single family home large enough to house family and friends.  There are two cities I already am familiar with and LOVE.   Of course I will need to research everything from taxes to healthcare before I dive into such a large investment.  My daughter lived in that area for over 3 years, so I will start with her insights.

I still want a place here in Virginia to be close to my family the other half of the year, and it has now become clear as to what kind of housing that will be.  Of course, in order for it to work, both homes will be have to be paid off before my husband retires.  I guess we shall see.

I’m happy to have a vision and a direction in which to move forward. It may not work out, but at least I have a clearer picture of how I want retirement to look.

Time to do some research.

If you live in Florida, please share your thoughts!