‘Re­dun­dancy used up a lot of our sav­ings’

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - FACING THE TOUGH STUFF -

Anne Lewis thought that when it came to re­tire­ment, the sav­ings she and her hus­band John had worked hard to ac­cu­mu­late through­out their work­ing lives, topped up with NZ Su­per, would be enough to see them through.

But things didn’t quite work out that way. When John was made re­dun­dant in his early fifties from a man­age­ment job he’d only been in for a cou­ple of years, it had a huge im­pact on their fi­nances. He only got a small re­dun­dancy payout and it took him nearly two years to get another job, which paid a lot less than he’d pre­vi­ously been earn­ing.

“We went through just about all of our sav­ings at a time when there were a lot of ex­penses, such as university ed­u­ca­tions for two of our kids,” says mum-of-three Anne (75). “It set us back, so that by the time we were due to re­tire, we couldn’t. We had very lit­tle money

in the bank, quite a few large debts and we weren’t mort­gage-free.”

John (now 76) con­tin­ued work­ing un­til he was 68 and Anne didn’t re­tire from her part-time ad­min­is­tra­tion job un­til she was 70. They even­tu­ally sold their large fam­ily home and down­sized to a town­house, and the ex­tra money that gave them has pro­vided them with a small fi­nan­cial cush­ion.

“That has helped a lot, but it is still quite stress­ful,” says Anne. “I worry about money all the time. One thing that was dif­fi­cult was the fact that most of our friends didn’t have to worry about money, while we did. They’d in­vite us out to din­ner and shows, but we couldn’t go be­cause we couldn’t af­ford it.”

Anne avoided see­ing some of her friends be­cause she was em­bar­rassed that she couldn’t keep up fi­nan­cially. But she has re­mained close to oth­ers and says their sup­port has helped in the tough times.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I don’t know what we could have done dif­fer­ently. I imag­ined we would be able to travel all over the world but that hasn’t been the case. We go to see our daugh­ter and grand­chil­dren in Aus­tralia once a year, but get the cheap­est flights and save money by stay­ing with her.”

Anne says they have tight­ened their belts by do­ing things, such as hav­ing one car in­stead of two and can­celling their Sky TV subscription.

“You just have to ac­cept that you have to make con­ces­sions when you are re­tired. Luck­ily, we both still have our health, apart from a few mi­nor nig­gly things, and that’s what is im­por­tant at this age.”

Make sav­ings by down­siz­ing to a smaller home, only hav­ing one car and cut­ting down on en­ter­tain­ment.

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