February 26, 2021

The Limits of Self-Sufficiency

Americans hold tightly to the belief we are self-sufficient. With enough "grit" we can accomplish almost anything. "Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps" has an almost religious sound to it. Work hard and our future is assured. There is nothing we can't accomplish, both as a country and as individuals.

If nothing else, the past 12  months of Covid should make us wonder if that is still true (if it ever was!). Our need for others has come into sharp focus. Our ability to earn a living is pretty tightly wrapped up in what's going on in the rest of the world. The ability to protect ourselves from some of the ravages of illness or poor health habits is not as much under our control as we once thought.

The belief in our self-sufficiency has been built on tales of rugged pioneers, explorers, and cattlemen (women's contributions were basically ignored), opening up the west and overcoming hostile conditions.  A native population who resisted being ejected from their own lands had to be displaced, moved, or eliminated. Manifest Destiny was granted by a supportive god. 

Industrialists, inventors, real estate moguls, and a government/tax structure designed for maximum exploitation helped create the legend of self-made people.
Technology advances, lax environmental regulations, and the safety offered by thousands of miles of ocean between us and possible invaders allowed America to achieve more than many others.  It is no wonder we have developed this self-sufficient attitude, a belief we are capable of anything and everything. 

Certainly, for the past year, America has been forced to face an uncomfortable truth: the concept of self-sufficiency no longer works as well in today's world. A pandemic doesn't read the history books, hear the stories, respect national borders, or even 3,000 miles of ocean.

We have learned of the importance of so many people and activities we had taken for granted for far too long. The catchphrase, "essential workers,"  now includes many who were once regarded as invisible. The people who stock the shelves at the store, drive the delivery trucks, check us out at the register have been vitally important since last March. They have literally risked their lives to keep us fed and clothed, have gas for the car, and keep medicines on the shelves.

The food that we pick up or have delivered doesn't magically get prepared or drop onto our doorstep from the sky. Very human people are doing their jobs. Sure, these people need the income; they are not performing these tasks out of love. But, that doesn't make what they do any less important.

It almost goes without saying, but it shouldn't: medical workers, nurses, doctors, custodians, lab techs, and aides in nursing homes have been the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of us. Police, firefighters, ambulance drivers, and paramedics are literally on the front line performing their jobs even when doing so puts them and their families in real danger.

The folks who have moved heaven and earth to develop effective vaccines in record time are absolutely heroes. The people who have churned out hundreds of millions of masks, ventilators, and other pandemic-oriented items have saved countless lives. I don't want to forget the tens of thousands of brave individuals who took part in all the testing to develop these vaccines. They were putting their lives on the line when they allowed someone to jab them with something not yet tested on humans. 

in addition to being the provider of comfort and security, moms and dads have taken over the role of teacher, day-care worker, phys ed instructor, and recess monitor. The professional educators are often pulling double duty: some in-class work, and lots of virtual teaching. Once their workday is over they must do all the things stay-at-home parents must do.

Ask virtually anyone who has had their world upended by Covid, and that person is nearly desperate for human contact. We are social animals; we will never again take the simple act of being around other people for granted. 

With this as background, let me suggest that the idea of self-sufficiency needs to be rethought. It is very important that each of us takes charge of as much of our life as possible. We want to stand on our own two feet (metaphorically for many). We deserve the ability to succeed, or fail, on our own terms. We don't want to turn to others for everything.

Even so, that idea must be blended with the absolute fact we are not alone, nor can we function without others. Even if you are one of the dwindling few who live on a farm and can raise your own food, you cannot string your own Internet connection, refine oil into gas for the tractor, or cure your own illnesses. 

You cannot build a television or even a radio without parts. You can't produce the tractor the gasoline goes into. Children? You can't weave fast enough to keep them in clothes or learn cobbling skills to make shoes for their feet.

There are limits to self-sufficiency. As our year-long shattering of normal should make abundantly clear: we need each other in virtually every aspect of our shared time together on this planet. It is irrelevant what job we hold, what skills we possess, or any of the normal social markings that create artificial boundaries between us. 

Our ability to be self-sufficient only reaches to the ends of our extended arms. And, isn't it comforting to know all of us have a role to play and a function to perform to make everything work together?  

Note: I think I have finally found a way to eliminate all ads from this blog, even the ones Google inserts on its own. They have irritated you (and me) for quite some time. I hope this makes your time spent here more pleasant.

Please let me know if any sneak their way back onto these pages.


February 22, 2021

Five Things That Can Spoil Your Retirement


Why would anyone want to look at a list about being unhappy?  What good could possibly come from looking at this account? Actually, quite a lot. If you think about some of the things that can make people unhappy, maybe you can choose to not do those things and be happier as a result. 

While five is an arbitrary number, let's start small!

1) Lose your sense of purpose and passion for living. If you simply settle for how things are, you are not truly living. You are existing. We are created to move forward, change and develop. A life that doesn't have a purpose is stagnant. A life that doesn't have a passion for something is missing an opportunity to grow and ultimately risks being unsatisfied and unhappy.

2) Don't strengthen relationships that mean the most to you. Make no mistake, building and keeping an important relationship takes work. Whether it is a spouse, good friends, a parent, or a child, a loving connection is essential to a happy life. If you are not willing to work at that relationship, it will not bring you as much happiness as it could.

3) Worry about stuff you can't control. It is amazing how much of our life we spend fretting about things that have already happened and can't be changed, things that may happen but hasn't yet, and things that are happening now that may have a negative outcome. Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. Worrying leaves you stressed and accomplishes very little.

4) Ignore your health. This seems so obvious, yet our culture struggles with bad health habits. Obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and the list of problems caused by poor physical health habits are endless. Why does our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it?  Ask someone who has been affected by the pandemic for a powerful reminder. Certainly, many can't resolve physical challenges, regardless of all they do. But, for those who could live a healthier lifestyle and choose not to, the risk to long-term contentment is great.

5) Hang around unhappy people. We tend to become what we think about most. Just as true, we can adopt some of the attitudes of the people we spend the most time with. If you know someone who is unhappy by choice,  gripes a lot or complains about everything, avoid them or help them change. Whenever possible, choose to spend your time with people who are supportive and positive in their outlook. It will rub off.

I know very few people who are not troubled, at least to some degree, by our Covid-defined life at the moment. Whatever normal was seems gone, either forever or at least a long time. Fancy face masks may become the new rage for Christmas presents. A giant container of hand sanitizer is a better choice for a welcoming gift than a bottle of wine.

I know it is sometimes hard to think of better days ahead, but they are coming. The vaccines are effective, and enough people have the smarts to protect themselves and others by taking a few shots in the arm. Betty and I get our second shot in about 10 days. We are so relieved.

The destructive habits or behavior noted in this post are different. They are mostly under our control, whether through attitude or behavior. Does that make it easier? No. But it gives something to focus on that we can actually affect. 

February 18, 2021

Loving Where You Live: Is That Part Of Your Housing Decision?


At least by our standards, the nice weather is here in Phoenix. Though we know it isn't all that long until triple digits, warm sunny days and cool, clear nights, broken up with an occasional cloudy rainy spell make me almost forget the furnace of summer in the desert. Each day is simply gorgeous. Typically, we get some of our meager yearly rain in January and February. The tourists have arrived for the season but Covid concerns have reduced the number of snowbirds tremendously this year. Resorts and restaurants remain shuttered or largely shut down, so the normal throng of happy, money-spending out-of-staters is missing; not so good for the economy but a welcome change of pace for those who live here.

After 35 years in this part of Arizona (with almost three years in Tuscon in the early '80s) we are Arizonan natives by local standards. Betty would move to a small town with white picket fences and much less heat in the summer, but such a place doesn't exist close to family, and that fact is the driving force.

Personally, I'd live nowhere else. After all these years I am comfortable with the harshness of the summer, the brown, unforgiving desert just outside of the city, and 5 million people all rushing to or from somewhere. I know where things are and how to adapt to the climate. Not having hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, polar vortexes (Texas?), mudslides, or any of the usual natural disasters plaguing many parts of the country is a major plus. Some day we will run low on water, but that is a problem others are addressing. 

.All this made me me wonder if most people feel the same way. Do you love where you live or do you simply live where you live? No place is perfect. But, there are certain factors that will determine whether you are content with the place you call home. Take a look at this list and we'll have a quick quiz at the end.

Number one on most lists is the presence of family and friends. If you have good relationships with your family members who live nearby it is likely you haven't given much thought to moving. Most of us will put up with a lot to be close to loved ones. Good friends are also important to how you feel about your home town. As we age it seems making new friends becomes more difficult. If you live close to people you genuinely like and can turn to when you need help that is another check mark in the plus column. Colvid has made this abundantly clear.

The cost of living affects us all. This includes the cost of housing, taxes, food, and energy. Some places are just more expensive to live in than others. Southern California, New York City, Connecticut, the Bay area, parts of the Pacific Northwest,  and Scottsdale  are well above average in this regard. To love living in one of these places is to accept that fact and budget for it. Other parts of the country are relative bargins in these categories. If your budget is tight, the cost of living may play an important part in where you hang your hat.

Recreational opportunities. Being outside and enjoying nature is an important component of happiness for many. Being close to lakes for fishing or boating, having mountain trails to hike or bike or ski in deep powder, being able to play golf or tennis when you want is crucial to many. If you live in Manhattan I will assume this isn't a key priority for you. But, if you do live where you can't satisfy your nature fix on regular basis that could be a big deal.

Educational and cultural offerings. College towns or cities with major universities often rank high in resident satisfaction. The concerts, plays, lectures, community classes, and art exhibits that are usually part of educational institutions may be quite important to you. A symphony orchestra or venues to see live plays and musicals may be the elements of a community you need. Then, again, maybe you could care less. But, the lack of these opportunities may be troubling to you.

Transportation. If you don't like to drive or own a car, don't live in L.A. or Phoenix. Cars are the only reliable form of transportation in these cities. If you prefer public transportation or walking to get from here to there how does your town satisfy you? This could be a major factor in how happy you are living where you do.

Sporting and Entertainment activities. Some of us are happiest as spectators of professional or college sporting events. Others require a variety of soccer fields, horse trails, golf courses, or baseball diamonds for comfort. A good selection of movie theaters and restaurants is a necessity for some. Can you satisfy your interest in sports where you live? How about being entertained? Have you had to give up what you love because it simply isn't available?

Health care facilities. The Phoenix area is blessed with excellent medical facilities. There are two Mayo facilities in town, along with dozens of hospitals and specialized treatment centers. Several medical schools provide us with a better than average doctor-to-patient ratio. In many parts of the country the residents aren't so lucky. If you or a loved one has a medical condition that requires specialized treatment, odds are you will need to live where those options are available.

The weather. We all talk about it. We all complain about it. Yet, most of us tolerate wherever we call home. There are some folks who love to ice fish when it's 10 below zero. I know some guys who love to camp in the desert when it is over 100 degrees. Take away someone's ski trails and you'd be in trouble. Portland or Seattle can get gloomy in the winter with month after month of rain and drizzle but, when the sun comes out the greenery and views are stunning. Both cities consistently rank as some of the most popular places to live.

Weather is something over which we have no control. Your only ability to affect the weather where you live is to move to where that weather isn't. Are you sensitive enough to your hometown's weather for it to make you unhappy. Or is it simply an irritant that doesn't change the way you feel about where you live? Are you in the Jimmy Buffet camp who thinks, "the weather is here, I wish you were beautiful?"

Especially in retirement, moving is one of the most critical decisions you are likely to make. So, ask yourself this important question: "Am I unhappy with enough of the parts of where I live to consider a move?" Or, did reviewing the list above make me think, "This really isn't that bad, in fact I really kinda like where I am and I can tolerate the not so perfect parts."

I love where I live, though come summer I'm inclined to be in Oregon or Flagstaff. But, I have carefully considered what parts of living in Phoenix are deal-breakers. So far, those parts don't equal a move. I can say I love where I live. I am enjoying a Satisfying Retirement where I am.

How about you? What factors are keeping you where you are? What things that are missing are making you consider relocation? Let us know. It's like the weather, we are all interested in how others address this issue.

February 14, 2021

Accept This and Your Retirement Will Be Much More Satisfying

Just a quick review of the titles of some of the top-selling books about retirement paint a picture of ease and contentment. If you were just starting to think about retirement, here is what you might find available:

*You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think
*Victory Lap Retirement
*Purposeful Retirement
*The Power of Positive Aging
*Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Aging
*Living a Satisfying Retirement ( a classic !)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these books. I have read all of them, and written one of them. They contain valuable information and practical information about this transformational time of your life.

Unfortunately, there is one part of this stage of living that most retirement books tend to overlook or downplay: this is a journey without a reliable map.

As someone who spent most of his working life traveling around the United States, have been to Europe, Canada, and Mexico a few times, and traveled almost 19,000 miles in our RV, I depend on maps. Today it is more likely to be a GPS system on the dash rather than the folding type. But, I still prefer to do all my initial planning with paper maps.

Imagine my shock when I retired 19 years ago and realized that there were no easily accessible, easily transportable, easily understood maps for one of the most important trips of my life. I was about to embark on a journey without any idea how to get to where I wanted to be.

A few years later I finally understood why there are no maps for retirement: every trip is unique and no one really knows where he or she is headed. The journey has never been traveled before in exactly the way you will. Kind of scary? Yes. But, quite liberating when you understand that you can't really make a mistake.

A mistake requires a "correct" or acceptable way of doing something. If I slice the ball in golf, back my RV into a picnic table, or forget to pay the water bill I have made a mistake. If I spend all my retirement money in the first five years, I would suggest that is probably a mistake.

But, when you take a while to figure out what you want to do with your time, decide that naps in the hammock are one of God's gifts to mankind, go back to work because you want to, or enjoy a 10-mile hike at 4 in the morning,  then you can't possibly make a mistake. There are no rules that you are breaking, no normal ways of behavior that you have bypassed.

OK, there is one "mistake" you can make in retirement: allow others to tell you how to live your life. They are in no position to suggest what you should do or how you should act, for the simple reason they are not you. Even the most well-meaning advice-giver can't give you the best road map for you.

So, the one thing that they should tell us about retirement is this: collect all the information you can, talk with anyone with something to offer, read some good books, and then strike out on your own, unique path. The only "mistake" you can make is following someone else's path.

Knowing this is tremendously freeing.

P.S. Today is not only Valentine's Day but also my wife's birthday. She is certainly the primary reason my retirement is much more satisfying!

February 9, 2021

Simplify: One Room At a Time

I am one of those lucky retirees who has accumulated enough savings to feel pretty safe financially but still hesitates to spend much of it on extras, or non-essentials. Our ten-year-old car had $2,000 worth of repairs done last week; a new car seems like such a waste of money when the 2011 version is performing well, even with occasional expensive repair bills. 

One benefit of our perpetual lockdown has been a refocus on our living space and a new-found easing of the purse strings. Before we move sometime in the next seven or eight years to a retirement community the late 80's-early 90's decor of several rooms will need freshening. Oak cabinets were quite the fashion thirty years ago. White Formica countertops in bathrooms were chic. But, I am sure a real estate agent would strongly urge some updating if we want the maximum bid on our home.

So, I swallowed hard and agreed with Betty to have some work done in the kitchen. A new sink, refinished cabinets, the painting of two accent walls, added sliding drawers and other fixups having been OK'd. The fellow doing the work comes with very high marks; maybe that is why he is unavailable for several months. We are willing to wait to have the job done well and for an acceptable cost. Assuming he performs as promised, the two bathrooms will come next.

In the meantime, we have begun to slowly declutter, modestly redecorate and simplify our home, one space at a time. An example is the guest room. It is bland and not especially inviting. Betty has ideas for painting the walls and furniture, rearranging things, and adding our artwork to make it a more welcoming space. 

Her office and closet are home to a woman with more projects, creativity, ideas, old photographs, and scraps of paper than any human should have to juggle at once. A bomb couldn't create a bigger jumble than what is in there now. It is also the room where I paint, so the clutter and storage needs have only increased. 

Just to use the computer mouse one must navigate around a few dozen sticky notes,  some yellow legal pads, stacks of papers, opened mail, and a few catalogs. The closet has more art supplies, paints, papers, pens, clipboards, and bits of this and that than a well-equipped hobby store. 

My simple male brain concludes: what a perfect place to simplify and declutter. Well, no. Thinning out an artist's space is a bit like asking the Sistine Chapel to consider a new coat of paint on the ceiling; it is not going to happen. 

She did agree to move several boxes of old medical files into the garage, and then to the attic. Her new endeavor, flow art, has been set up in one part of the garage instead of the dining room or her office. Baby steps. 

Across the hall, I must admit my office is almost as bad. At last count, there were eleven vintage radios on wall shelving, a guitar and associated supplies, ham radio equipment, a large, wooden file cabinet, two desks, and a bookshelf.  I have thrown out old paperwork and made minor attempts to tame the stuff, but so far to little avail.

Both of us are going through every cabinet and storage space in the house and finding six years' worth of stuff that needs to make its case to stay or go. Clothes that haven't been worn often enough to keep, 15-year-old sweaters and T-shirts, shoes with worn-down heels...isn't it amazing what we find when we are motivated to look. Goodwill is very happy.

The items in the hall cabinet that held our dog's belongings have sadly been removed. Some books for the grandkids that were favorites when they were 4 or 5 don't make much sense now that two of them are teenagers...to the library donation pile they go. Likewise, some young children's games, like Shoots & Ladders, have also left the building. 

We have freshened the various knickknacks and photographs in our bedroom with things that had been languishing in the attic. I am urging Betty to create a large piece of abstract flow art for one wall that needs brightening. Overall, though, we have not let our end-of-the-day space get cluttered. Sometimes, simply swapping out belongings brings a sense of freshness that helps the stay-at-home blues.

I have left the biggest hurdle for last: the garage. We have a house with a three-car garage. With only one car, that creates tremendous opportunities for clutter and chaos. I proudly state that we have maximized that potential. Part of Betty's art setup takes over one car space. Tools, woodworking machines, and file boxes fill up a second part. The car just fits in between.

There are all sorts of cans of leftover paint from other houses and long-delayed projects. Tools, fertilizers and weed killer spray, a lawnmower and leaf blower, several ladders, extra folding chairs...heavens, this is just a partial inventory.

We have promised each other that this space will be tackled when the weather warms up a bit. Excuse me, but we've made this vow before.  Well, Covid has taken away some of our excuses, so this time around I am hopeful.

How about you? Have you ever taken each room in your home, condo, or apartment and made everything justify its continued existence? If your possessions could speak would they be able to convince you they deserve space of their own? 

February 6, 2021

Making A Change On a Dark Dreary Day

Rarely do I post something written by someone else. But, today I am making an exception.

Eugenia Zuckerman was the arts correspondent on the TV show, Sunday Mornings with Jane Pauley, for the past 25 years. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Instead of bemoaning her fate, she is using her time to inspire and motivate anyone affected by this disease. She has written a book about her experiences and shares other written material.

One such piece is the poem I've reproduced here. It fits perfectly with a recent post of mine about hope, and my overall message of staying involved and active during retirement.

I hope you enjoy what Eugenia has written.


By Eugenia Zukerman

Even though the difficult year of 2020 has finally passed, we are all now faced with the reality that not everything is going to magically get better overnight, with the shout of one Happy New Year. After the tumultuous transition of power in Washington, to the continued news about COVID cases climbing, worrying if we will be able to get our turn for a vaccine added onto the looming gray of winter, things can feel, well, bleak. 

But, even with all the difficulties, I strongly feel that staying positive is a choice we can make -- or at least fight hard for -- no matter what comes our way. Through my own battle with Alzheimer’s, I have learned that yes, some days are harder than others, but it is important we keep focusing on the goodness of life, as best we can.

Writing poetry during my diagnosis at the pandemic has brought me so much joy.  Here is one that I wrote on the morning of a particularly dark morning, that I hope will inspire others to keep staying positive and looking for the light, even when things feel dark.


              You have a choice say I to me

           as I roll out of bed cranky as can be

   you can hunker down and refuse to smile

           sit up in bed  -  stare at the radio dial

      or flop back on a pillow, lie there and pout

    bite your nails – enjoy some deep existential doubt

But turned on my side I try a little test ----

                   just out the window

             I see a bluebird’s making his nest

his twitter and tweets are charming, in fact the very best

Soon I’m happily humming along with his simple tune

                     and it goes like this –

If the weather’s dreary  and you’re feeling down and dark

   talk to the bluebird!  Change your dark and dreary to

                        light and lively --- that’s the trick!

Whatever 2021 has for us, I will continue to create art, take walks in nature, and work to stay positive. Life is precious, even during hard days, and we can all keep looking ahead for the light that is sure to come. 

I am glad this poem was given to me for use on Satisfying Retirement. If you'd like to learn more about Eugenia and her Alzheimer's experiences, here is a link to her book: Like Falling Through a Cloud.

February 2, 2021

How Spending Changes After Retirement


Spending habits and needs do change after retirement. There is a natural realignment of what is needed and what no longer matters (like clothes for work. But, a more important question is, "Does spending drop after retirement?" That answer is not quite so simple. I would suggest that spending can drop after retirement, and for most folks it does. But, more to the point, spending shifts. It changes depending on what stage of retirement you are in.

During the first period of retirement (maybe lasting 10 years or so), it is quite possible that your overall expenditures may increase. Why? If you are like many retirees you suddenly allow yourself (before or after Covid) to travel to see family, jet off to Europe or New Zealand, or take a Caribbean cruise.

If you are not moving right after you leave the work world, it is not uncommon to sink money into your home, to make it an oasis and more comfortable. If 2020 taught us anything, it is a home that feels warm and inviting is an important part of staying sane during a never-ending lockdown. You may decide to eat away from home more often, replace an aging car, get an RV (!), or make other discretionary purchases. 

The point is, during the first stage of retirement it is not uncommon for expenses to actually increase in certain categories.

During the second phase, you will probably have gotten a lot of the travel bug out of your system and find health concerns and expenses beginning their inevitable rise. Your spending with shift more toward needs and less toward wants. If you didn't do this in earlier years, remodeling parts of your home to make it safer and more accessible are likely expenses. With more time at home, what you spend on hobbies and entertainment often increases.

Finally, your third phase will probably consist of personal maintenance type expenses. Depending on the arrangements you have made, your expenses will shift again, with most discretionary costs gone from your budget. Home nursing care, or all that comes with living in a retirement community will appear as regular costs.

The national average for retired households shows a 20% drop in spending, though because that is an average, there were many who showed an increase. Betty and I had a more substantial decline in expenses- closer to 30%, but where the money went ceratinly shifted over the last twenty years. 

Importantly, the average expenses also showed a decline to match the income drop. For those between 65 and 75 the reduction was 19%. For those who make it into their 90s, the spending drop was 52%.

So, where do the shifts occur?

Work-related expenses, including gas, work clothing, and meals

- Housing expenses. Mortgages begin to be paid off, downsizing might mean lower taxes and maintenance costs.

- Health care will take an increasingly larger share of your budget as you age.

- Entertainment. As we age we are less likely to spend money on movies, plays, or concerts because declining health keeps us closer to home. But, that may be offset by more money spend on home options: Netflix, Prime, High Speed Internet, bigger TVs, and so forth. Hobby costs can also rise as we spend more time at home.

- Transportation costs tend to drop as we age. The need for two cars usually disappears at some point. No commuting means lower gas and upkeep costs.

- Gifts and donations often see an increase. Money spent on grandchildren, more generous donations to religious, civic organizations, and volunteer causes are often the norm.

Occasionally I will receive a question from a reader wondering if a budget is still needed after retirement. My answer is always the same: absolutely. But, I will add the same information that is included in this post: that budgeting shifts and adjusts depending upon your circumstances and the stage of retirement you find yourself. 

Is it "permissible" spend at a somewhat higher level when you first retire? I believe it is OK, if you accept that will mean a lower rate of withdrawal from your resources later on. During the first decade of our retirement, Betty and I set a withdrawal rate of between 4 and 5% of our accounts. Though not sustainable for too many years, it was appropriate for us at that stage of our journey. 

In the last nine years that withdrawal rate has dropped to just under 3%, or below the rate of growth of our retirement accounts as our needs and wants have undergone shifts. With proper planning and insurance coverage, I expect that rate of draw-down to be consistent for the foreseeable future. But, if not, we will adjust.

Of course, there are unforeseen situations, like catastrophic illness expenses or a major economic downturn that can make mincemeat of even the best-laid plans. The fear of running out of money remains one of the top three fears before retirement.

The good news is that national statistics show such a fate is an unlikely scenario, unless you throw all caution to the wind, abandon the power of a budget to keep you on track and decide "it will all work itself out." 

Retirement is not a static state. If you accept that how you spend your resources changes over time to match the natural rhythm of life, you are more likely to enjoy the journey.