Fessing up

Since starting this blog I’ve become aware that I’ve changed a lot over the past few months and that things which would once have been mild annoyances now provoke a stronger reaction in me.

So, I guess that I need to examine this for my own benefit and possibly to explain to anyone reading this blog why I’m coming across as less than sensitive towards certain people.

A year ago, we were facing a rather uncertain financial future – my wife was chronically ill with Meniere’s Disease (and obviously still is) and we weren’t sure if she could get an ill-health retirement pension. We had a woefully inadequate endowment plan to pay off the mortgage and we had a rather large car loan. It’s not that we’d been reckless or imprudent with money (we didn’t have any debts apart from the mortgage and the loan) just that we were ill-prepared for retirement. We weren’t going to live out the rest of our days in abject poverty, but neither were we going to have a retirement we were looking forward to. It wasn’t that far away, either – 3 years in my wife’s case and 8 in mine.

Then something happened.

One morning in March of this year – it was actually Easter Bank Holiday Monday –  we were in bed and the phone rang. It was a policeman saying that my father had been found dead by one of his carers. He hadn’t been very well and only the day before we were talking about how he’d have to have more carers in and we were going to tell him we were going to do this – I had power of attorney so I was going to go ahead with this even though I knew he wasn’t going to want the expense.

Anyway, that immediately ceased to be relevant and the weeks that followed saw us getting the funeral sorted out, notifying everyone that had to be told, etc, etc.

(For those who haven’t had to do this, I can only say that I’m sorry but it’s an extremely stressful experience especially as it comes on top of the grief that you feel.)

Anyway, that all got sorted out and – all considerations of loss and grief aside – we soon realised that with my Dad’s savings and the property that I inherited that the future was going to be rather different.

In short, we had enough to pay off the car loan and put some money by. We managed to sell my Dad’s flat in spite of the state of the property market which meant we could pay off our mortgage in full with some left over. This also meant that we could stop paying the endowment and surrender the policy bringing in another lump of money.

So, now we own our house outright, we have no debts whatsoever and we have a substantial sum put by and I’m looking at retirement before I’m 60, as opposed to having to work until 65.

In 9 months we’ve gone from a negative to a very positive situation.

To be brutally honest, most of 2008 has been a total headfuck.

I still miss my father and every so often I get upset when something happens that reminds me of him or I see something I associate with him. Then there’s the fact that we’re looking forward to our retirement together, possibly in France if things go OK, and that financially we seem to have a lot of security – certainly a lot more than we had 9 months ago.

The two things – losing my father and being far better off – don’t sit very well together in my head but that’s my problem and, really, my head tells me that they essentially have nothing to do with each other. My heart makes me feel guilty – I’m benefiting from the death of someone I loved – but I’m sure I’ll sort that out.

A side effect of all this has been that I’m finding myself far less tolerant towards those who are in the situation that I used to be in – not fair, I know, but possibly quite human, I hope! I now look at the current economic climate from the point of view as a saver and see lots of help being given to those in debt and none extended towards those who aren’t. We’re not going to make much from our savings for the forseeable future and I can’t help thinking that this is inherently unfair.

Maybe I’m facing up to the fact that for once my destiny really is in my own hands as I now have some choice as to what’s going to happen.

After several years of having really no idea what we want to do after we’ve finished working, we now have a plan and some degree of determination regarding the future.

Who knows?

That’s enough personal honesty for now…

And I still think that anyone who hasn’t worked for 27 years should get off their lazy arse and find work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: