Retirement Dream Night

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A few months ago, we met Chris Hogan at the Smart Money Conference.

Since the age of 13 he has had an “Allstate” baritone voice. “Trick or treating was…cut short.”

He had been helping professional athletes with wealth management for years before joining Dave Ramsey on tour.

The night in Houston, he described dreaming about retirement out loud. He calls it ” Dream Night”.

We loved the idea of having a Dream Night. Fancy with wine perhaps, but it happened a little more organically while driving out of Moab yesterday.

We drove passed a Rock Shop + Petting Zoo on the outskirts of town. Thinking about a remark my husband said the night before about opening a wine bar in Moab, I prickled, afraid of being tethered to a business and working long hours. 

I piped up about the zoo to start the discussion  “I have to say that that (zoo) is on the low end of my retirement dreams. The Petting Zoo at the edge of nowhere. Or owning a business that we’re tied to in a small town.”

I had drawn a line in the orange desert sand.

He agreed “Yes, I would want to live where we could travel and be around people. Being a hermit would not be good for me.”

“Me either.”

I was relieved.

I saw that we were discussing the dream and prodded “so, best and worse-case scenarios for you?”

“Best is a nice house at the ranch if the bullet train gets built and Roan’s Prairie grows. Also, having a ranch hand to help with chores. Travelling.”

“Me too. Nice house. Master up. Master down. Office. Indoor garden room. Elevator for surgeries. Cooktop island facing windows. Some like-minded friends to visit with.”

“And no snakes because I would have gotten rid of the poisonous ones.”

Hey, I can dream.

He chimed in “Worse case? Not enough money to travel.”

I thought ‘hmmm..we should build with selling in mind…’ and said “My worst fear is that I’m all alone and unable to sell the house and land for years. It chokes me up to speak it out loud.”

I couldn’t bear the thought.

Lump in my throat, I changed back to Best-Case.

“So, it’s a sunny day in retirement, what do you envision?”

He said “Lining up chores. Prepping fields, spraying, repairing fences.”

“With our ranch hand?” I tested.

“Yes.”

Whew.

After my last surgery, I realised my age and physical limitations. My age won’t get younger and it isn’t my dream to be a ranch hand.

“I think on the sunny days when you are running the tractor, I will be swimming, writing or shopping. I get lonely in the house.”

It was difficult to say this out loud.

It’s difficult to “stand in your truth” the way Suze Orman says. For fear of hurting another’s feelings or fear of losing the other person.

But we’re doing it.

Saying our dreams out loud makes it more real, helps us plan.

What if no bullet train comes through?
No access to 2 major cities and family.
No access to some lifelong friends.
No access to great medical care.

The hermit life?

No.

We agree that this is a deal breaker and we would look elsewhere.

Last night at sunset, we arrived in Sedona, Arizona as the cherry-on-top end to our grand geologic adventure. I wanted to show him the beautiful red rocks of the Hermit Shale. He was Gobsmacked by the geology and the town.

“Why did I never know about this place?!”

We had dinner creekside at a beautiful restaurant that I think is Rivendell on Earth. “The cottonwoods smell like my childhood.”

I asked “if we had another day here, what would you do?” (I was thinking of coffee all morning in a robe, writing, followed by walks in the shade and a nap-I’m such a hobbit).

He said ” Go see a realtor”

So here we are, with another amazing option by happenstance.

And we started looking at properties on realtor.com and Arizona taxes on Google. Social Security is not taxed and property taxes are half of what they are in Texas.

Being hermits not an option but living near The Hermit is.

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