Help! I’ve Become a Grown-Up!

It’s tough being a grown-up. You have to do stuff, take care of stuff, and sometimes take care of other people and their stuff. But it’s always a challenge when you have to deal with your own stuff.

Several years ago, I did the adult thing and wrote up a will using software recommended by our work attorney. I will admit that the best part of creating the will and all accompanying paperwork was deciding which Duran Duran and Rick Springfield songs I wanted played at my memorial service. I also freaked my brother out when I handed him a copy of all of my papers to keep, but I was glad it was done.

There’s been one area of adulthood I’ve trying to avoid: retirement planning. I’m too young for that, right? Wrong. Even though I often joke that my nieces and nephews are my retirement plan, it was time to be a big girl, suck it up, and figure out if I was going to spend my golden years eating cat food or not.

The kind HR folks at work have been offering a series of retirement seminars based on our generation. So, I finally decided to take the bold step and attend the Generation X retirement seminar.

As I entered, Courtney, The Bubbly HR Chick, was there checking us in. You could see the guilt everywhere. All of us were slinking in like we were entering the principal’s office.

I told Courtney: “Okay, Courtney, I’m here to be totally depressed by how ill-prepared I am for retirement.” Courtney, ever bubbly, said, “No, no, it’s empowered. You are going to feel empowered.”

I thought to myself how I was going to need more caffeine if I was going to feel empowered.

The Guys in Blue Suits talked to all of us about retirement plans, the stock market, Social Security, and all sorts of money things. Guy in Blue Suit One talked about how the recession was the perfect time to buy stocks since they were so low in 2008 and 2009, and several of us looked at each other. During the Great Recession, people were worried about their jobs and paying mortgages, not how many cheap stocks they can buy.

Blue Suit Two was a bit more down to earth when he gave us the details about the retirement funds we could set up. Math is not my favorite topic so numbers get a bit jumbled in my liberal arts head, and I still had visions of cat food in my future.

Okay, so it was good information to hear. I also checked the information box that I wanted to set up a meeting to go over my retirement plan options. Blue Suit Two showed up to my office a week later, and he ran the numbers and showed me nifty graphs and such.

I was relieved. Turns out I won’t have to eat cat food since our state pension fund is pretty good. I even opened up a 403B with Blue Suit Two.

After he left, it struck me. I was feeling something. What was it? Oh, dear. I realized I was empowered.

Since we met on a Friday, I took the weekend to make sure I felt empowered. By Monday, I was still feeling relieved and empowered. Holy crap. I’ve become an official grown-up. With a freaking retirement plan.

I called Courtney, The Bubbly HR Chick. “You were right,” I said. “I met with Blue Suit Two and I am feeling empowered.”

Courtney was thrilled. “That is great,” she said. “I’m so glad you called to tell me.”

I felt good and empowered, and Courtney was happy and bubbly. Okay, so maybe this grown up stuff isn’t so bad.

I’m Janice. I’ve been a Professional Organizer since 2001, and I love every minute of it. I’m also the Organized Auntie on the Savvy Auntie blog and the in-house professional organizer at a major cancer center.

Comments ( 2 )
  • Julie Bestry says:

    I remember my first job (in my former career) having a big meeting when we finally had a 401(k) program, but I couldn’t fathom how I could afford to put $20/paycheck (this was many years ago, obviously) towards my life in 2037 when I couldn’t afford gasoline and groceries in the same week. Eventually, though, I got an IRA (OK, a few) and a somewhat cogent, if anemic, retirement plan.

    But I think most of us, at whatever stage we’re in, unless we have a background in finance, have an iffy sense of investment planning. In recent years, the no-load and low-load companies have made it easier, but you’ve made the case for the freeing sense of at least doing SOMETHING, ASAP. Good for you!

  • Deb Lee says:

    @juliebestry:disqus – Retirement planning is important but it can sometimes seem daunting. I love your story — and Janice’s, too — makes it seem less intimidating as we travel this path to adulthood. As usual, thanks for stopping by, Julie! =)

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