When I started jotting down my fears, I somehow forgot about one of the main fears in my life and one that holds me back: My fear of poverty, specifically of poverty in old age. I know it’s not an unusual fear. After all, women tend to live longer and work less, earning less. It’s easy to see how many women end up poor and alone. Their spouse passes away and they may have used up most of their savings for the end of his life. If she had kids, they are trying to make ends meet and start their own families, or they may just not be willing to support an aging parent. Even if not starving on the street, the quality of life can go down quite drastically; the image of an old woman (me) eating cat food in a dimly lit, cold room comes to mind.
All of this has made me less of a risk taker than many. However, I am not allowing this fear to push aside my adolescent/current dream of living abroad and my current dream of spending more time with my kids. I can’t let this fear make me stay at a job that I’ve outgrown or in a town that I no longer find that appealing. I can’t let this fear keep me tied to a commute that is increasingly intolerable. I just won’t.
As I read Your Money or Your Life, I am beginning to think that we can live on less and spend less. However, I still can’t imagine cutting our income in half or even less and still be able to save for two retirements. We could easily outlive our savings and the odds are that I will be the one left “holding the bag” so to speak.
Do you have a fear of old age and poverty?