We learned about a month ago that my wife would likely be replaced in her position as a personal care aide to a student, because the school felt that having only one person in that position for more than a couple of years would lead to the kid becoming used to them, and dependent on them. The idea was, therefore, that the kid would move to a new aide, and my wife would move to a new position in the school. She was a little sorry about this, because she likes the kid she has, but the logic made sense, and she does like other positions in the school where they deal with special-needs kids.
Yesterday we found out that it is going to happen, because the kid is moving out of the school district at the end of the school year. Somehow, that made it more real, leading us to say well, what if she just stopped working, entirely? Well, that would mean loss of her modest salary, and, more importantly, loss of her (and our) health insurance. Which is what triggered our desire to look at finances.
The fellow who watches out for our account (one of many that he looks after) told us about two years ago that we are substantially ahead of where most people are in their lives, financially. In fact, if we don't dramatically change how we spend money, he said, we will have, in twenty years, about as much money as we have right now -- our expenses will be covered by a combination of Social Security, retirement pensions, and occasional modest withdrawals from assets.
The key phrase is dramatically change. Thinking about going to France every year qualifies as a dramatic change.
On one hand, we can do it. On the other, it would over time substantially reduce the amount of financial cushion we have - and while the cushion is there to be used, to provide a buffer against surprises, and to allow the occasional splurge, that doesn't mean that we should feel good about diving into it (to mix metaphors). And we don't. Despite my new-found love of France, we're still financially cautious.
So we're doing a little planning.