Once You’re 40, the Reality of Retirement Smacks You in the Face

Reality of Retirement

Oh crap! Saving for retirement is smacking me right in the face. It was so much easier when I was working full time. My 401 (k) contributions were deducted directly from my paycheck and my employer matched them. Since I’ve been unemployed, then self-employed for five years  – it’s definitely put a dent in my efforts to save for retirement. Are you a parent who decided to stay home while your children were young? How do you handle saving for retirement while you’re out of work? What’s the reality of retirement for you?

Earlier this month my husband and I took the “write down everything approach” to tackle our debts and assets. I knew the balance on my student loans, but I needed to know what his were too. The reality hit that we need to cut our expenses ASAP so we can start chipping away at our debt and saving more for retirement. Since I’m nine years older than him, retirement is directly in view if I want to retire at 65 (or sooner). It also occurred to me that A.J. will be in college in 13 years, so that’s a lot of major financial decisions and milestones we have on the horizon.

The plan?

Cut the cable. This will be harder for him than it is for me. My husband is an ESPN junkie. But I’m working to persuade him to get his daily sports fix from apps and downloads. I’m inspired by fellow Atlanta mom blogger Bernetta Style who cut the cord this summer and has no intentions of turning back. Coupon Divas also shared 13 Ways to Ditch Your Cable Company,  which includes suggestions to add [eafl id=”35253″ name=”Amazon Prime Trial” text=”Amazon Prime for $99 a year to stream video”], as well as get free two day shipping on products. We already have Apple TV so we can stream some shows and apps like YouTube from my Macbook and iPhone.

Move to a more affordable home. I’m in the depths of searching for the next home we’ll lease. It will definitely be less than our current home. We’ll have to adjust to a new neighborhood and stores, but the lower overall monthly cost for housing will help us a lot.

Four Year Old Allowance

Plan for A.J.’s college savings. Considering how fast the first five years of his life flew by, we’ll be taking college tours momentarily. A.J. already has plans to save for his first car with his allowance. It’s up to us to make sure we can afford any college he’s accepted to – without the burden of paying for our own student loans at the same time.

Track our progress. One free tool I plan to use as we focus on our financial goals as well as retirement is GetWela.com.  I was invited to a focus group for this Atlanta start-up in 2014, then started following them on social media. GetWela allows you to connect your bank accounts, get free tools & recourses to grow them. See how you stack up against your peers. Chat with financial experts for free.

Qualities of Wela


Try Wela

Comment below: Have you tried any online tools to track your family’s assets? What keeps you financially accountable?

I’ve shared other financial planning perspectives in “If Stay At Home Moms Got Paid a Salary” and “4 Financial Mistakes I Hope Our Son Avoids.”


About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

Check Also

7 Self-Confidence Scriptures for Moms

I wish I could say I woke up every Monday morning ready to tackle the …


  1. We’ve used a few different websites to keep up accountable – mint.com, but I”ll have to check this one out.

  2. It’s too bad people wait until 40 to think about this. Live below your means and you’ll have enough to retire early!

  3. Yep! I am turning 38 this year and I started really thinking about recently.

  4. We are in our 30’s and have been saving for retirement for awhile, I know it can be a process for sure to save! Great way to raise awareness about it!

  5. Financial planning and retirement planning definitely need to be a joint project! Even if only 1 person is working you both need to ensure enough is being put away for the both of you. It can be an eye opener to have these type conversations and realize maybe your 5, 10, and 20 year goals don’t align. But im glad to hear you’ve made the first and most important step to lay out all the debt and income and start planning.

  6. I love that you can get free advice from experts. It’s hard to understand if I am making the right choices for our future.