Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
I've lived on a farm all my life, but after my husband from the city and I got married and we purchased five acres of the family farm to build our home on, I haven't done much farming. Hubby works in the city still, and I was a nurse under a lot of stress. Recently I decided I was sick of it, and left nursing with plans to do freelance writing and more homesteading things. So far we are doing fine, but my husband worries. We don't have a lot of money put by for retirement. We don't live very extravagantly, our biggest fun is going to a flea market or maybe the library...once in awhile we've been known to save up and take a trip but that's pretty rare. For the most part, we make our own fun here at home with bonfires, swimming in the family pond, etc. My husband knows my nerves just won't take the stresses of nursing anymore, and I was never happy in that field, and we have no idea how much I'll eventually be able to make as a freelance writer. He worries that when we get older and I'm unable to do things here on the farm, we will be in trouble because we don't have a big enough retirement saved up. I've grown tired hearing that everyone has to have a couple of million in the bank or else they should be afraid. I don't want to live my life in fear! We'll be putting more back for retirement, but I doubt we'll ever have tons of money. Do any of the rest of you worry about what will happen as you get older and are unable to take care of your farm work? Who will look after you, that sort of thing? Or did you do the smart thing and save up a bunch of money for retirement like "they" tell us?
I'm trying to make up for my lack of earning power at the moment by decreasing excess spending and making do on much less. That's why I'd like to raise a few animals for the meat (my city hubby remains concerned because he doesn't want to see the animals slaughtered....sigh), maybe a few chickens for eggs and meat as well. We drink so much milk, I think it would be nice to have some goats, too, since we don't have enough pasture for cows anyway. Although, I thought about raising one cow at a time and getting a freezer full of beef that way. I just want to get back to the simpler times I knew as I was growing up, and doing more things the healthy way while also decreasing our cost of groceries. I believe, in time, I will make a good income from my freelance writing online, but it takes time. I just don't think retirement has to be incredibly expensive when you are entertained pretty simply. I love camping! I love my bonfires and fishing and being with animals. I love gardening, heading out to the yard sales and flea markets, taking a nice drive a couple hours one direction or another and seeing some new things, but I don't go see 8 dollar a person movies, I don't eat out except rarely, I don't go shopping unless it's really necessary and if I do then I probably have a coupon. We live pretty thrifty! Sorry to ramble on...it's great to be on here and be among people whose ideas I identify with so strongly!!
I think I understand where you are coming from on this topic and I'm sure there are many of us out here in the same position. I have no idea how much of a retirement nest egg is enough, but it seems to me, neither does anyone else really. Almost all the financial advice you read online says you need a million or more tucked away, but where exactly are all these millionaire retires? Personally I don’t think listening to the conventional wisdom on this is such a good idea for a couple of reasons.
First, these financial advisors that tell us how much we need to save have always been in the difficult position of essentially living off their customers, but as our society has slowly become a place where selfish/greedy behavior is more tolerated and in some cases even admired, the behavior of many of these advisors has become questionable to say the least. I have to wonder if these numbers we see aren’t more about getting people worried enough to hire financial advisors more than anything else.
Second, I certainly think that some talking head on MSNBC telling people they need to save enough to have 80% of their current salary in retirement is not thinking about someone who can grow enough food to support themselves and provide a little income. Nor are they thinking about a future that could include hyper inflation or a financial crash etc, basically all their prognostications are based on past performance and an assumption that the future will reflect the existing financial and social environment. If that changes, their statements on what you need in retirement are quite literally worthless.
So, in my opinion any worrying about reaching one of these prognosticators retirement goals is a waste of time. The kinds of dollar numbers they tout are for the couple that wants to move to Boca and buy a nice condo near the water, travel abroad once a year, golf every day and be fully covered for every little ailment.
It’s always nice to have a little more money, but if you have a bit of land, a house to live in, wood for the fire, veggies in the garden, few chickens, pigs, goats and the right attitude - you can look forward to a happier retirement than a lot of people, (including that couple in Boca!)
Cara, You have a retirement fund ,your land, try and find a cash crop to grow that thrives in your area. Friends of mine that had 401ks, now have 25% of what it was once worth.. My best friend worked for Bear Stern for 15 years and now has nothing at 60. so consider what you have in front of you and make that your retirement by creating income from the land. Just my view on retirement. I have no retirement fund and enjoy to freelance, the dream of working for 30 years and retiring is a hard to reach today.
I find it amazing that there are so many people like ourselves out there. We worked hard all our lives, invested well, and now it is all gone. Our money was in real estate.......
We are a new class of people! I do believe those of us who have decided to opt-out of conventional thinking are the smart ones. So heres the challenge....all of us who did a good job in the past of creating fortunes small and large now lost....lets put those good minds to work and figure out how to live those golden years on our own terms!
Wow, reading this just makes me smile! I am a nurse too, a LPN right now, but I am in school full time going for my RN. I am in my early 40's and I know I am getting off to a late start in the career world, but I definitely know what I want later on. I too am planning on having a farm some day. I want some land and a farm. I want an orchard and a garden big enough to feed us well year after year for my family of five and about five more others. My parents are hoping that I get a farm soon. They want to help work it, but I live far away but I they still want to visit and work it. They are happy for me and my career choice, but I know that I too have been stressed out doing this kind of work. My body is also telling me to slow down. I just want to make enough to purchase the land, the garden and the starter farm essentials that we will need. I want to get our debts paid off, and then purchase the land and home. Within my first year of farming, I am hoping to get a garden plot planned out and ready and start on the livestock, maybe a few chickens. I later want the goats, the cows, the pigs, and the turkeys. I also want to have some bees and such too. I think retiring to the self sufficient life is definitely the key to living in the future. So nice to read everyone's post and how like minded we are. Working outside the home isn't everything, but making sure things are prepared for the roads ahead is.
Well, here's an update on what is happening with me right now. I finally graduated college back in January. I got my RN certification, finally!!!! I thought that day would never come, but it's been since March 28th, and I haven't found a job yet. I am getting very worried. As I have a mountain of debt to pay off. I know the loands from college give me about 6 months before I start paying it back, but I really need money for other things right now. And I also want to make a dream of retiring to a farm or a homestead with a garden at least and some chickens would be nice, but now the outlook doesn't look all that great. I have physical limits so I have to make a choice in a job. I have to do what I can physically do, and not put myself back the positions that I've been in times past. I just don't know what to do. Right now, I don't own anything, no land, no house, not even a car. I thought about trying to raise money for an RV and movie into that, but with all 5 of us, that would be hard as most of us have physical problems and no one is small in our household. I don't know anymore. I know I have to stay put right now, but hopefully later on, maybe we find something. My parents want us to move back toward home, but there's nothing there, not even land. I just hate being in this situation, and I know I am not alone. I am going to try to get on at the health department even if its a cut in pay. I have to have something and something is better than nothing, but I don't know if they will hire me due to my physical problems. I just don't know. I didn't get my RN to give up so easily and I didn't get it to go sign up on disability either. I just have to find what will work for me, so its tough right now.
They have glutted the market in many areas with nurses. Many people believe that becoming an RN offers tons of opportunities, but it purely depends on what region you live in and how many nurses they have been promising that and churning out.
Having a physical issue makes it doubly hard, as nursing is quite hard on the body in just about any position. If you can't find something in a hospital, maybe try nursing homes. Don't take the night shift, as that is when you'd have to help with bed checks and that is a back breaker (I know, I did it for a year). Currently I work in a nursing home on second shift, because they do 8-hour shifts (SO GLAD!) and it's not nearly as physically demanding.
I hope you find something soon, so you can save up money to get your dream in time. Nursing jobs just aren't nearly as plentiful as schools want everyone to believe. In our area, rural and smalltownish, people can almost never get on a hospitals, and they bounce from nursing home to nursing home. I'm sticking where I am. .I love those 8 hour shifts!
Ann, just reread this post from before...
Sounds like a great plan, but if you are physically challenged you might think twice about the bees. That is a very physically strenuous hobby, as I found when I did it. When those boxes get full of honey and comb, moving them is pretty rough. When you're out there looking for the queen to make sure she is okay, and it's 89 degrees outside and you're all suited up, sweating down into your boots...lifting those boxes to locate the queen just gets miserable. Eventually I got tired of doing it and gave my equipment and hives to people who were getting started. So take your physical issues into account when you plan to farm. It's a LOT of labor!! Don't hurt yourself!
I haven't read this for awhile and there are lots ore posts since I first put my little story up here. My dream is slowly coming true. VERY slowly. We have a little chicken house and we are going to buy the fencing shortly. That will be the first stage. Another important aspect of the "plan" coming true was that I finally found a nursing job I really like. A lot of my desperation to get out of the work force was having a high stress nursing job I couldn't stand. Now that pressure is off of me, and I work 8 hour shifts. Because I don't have to work myself into the ground, I pick up shifts sometimes. This means I'm making more money than I ever did when I worked 12 hour shifts, but feel a much better balance with the rest of my life! HA!
We're stashing back money for retirement as best we can. I think we will be okay so long as we both can work until we're in our mid-sixties and no health problems crop up. But who can tell about those things? We're just crossing our fingers.
Hubby still isn't interested in being a farmer, but says he will help me here and there. He's willing to help put up a high tensile woven wire fence for the sheep...with my help and someone else's guidance who's done it before. We know that will be a large expense, but a lasting one. I have read that if it's done well, such a fence can last a lifetime with few problems.
We also need to figure out how to afford putting up a storage building/barn. I think I talked about that in the past, too. I know that my husband is still sold on a standard metal building with a poured concrete floor for his tractor and other machinery to go into. I think I still am impressed with the cost and structure of the hoop house type barns. I've seen some pretty nice ones for sheep, it provides good ventilation, and should be less expensive.
Progress is slow. I have developed some chronic pain issues that I am working at improving and it makes it hard to do the work I'd like to do. Fortunately, I believe with exercise and weight loss, a lot of my problems will improve. I'm also avoiding foods that might increase inflammation in the body, since my family has a history of rheumatoid arthritis. Grandpa had it, and used to "scare up the bees" in his hive so he would get stung several times. He swore that it helped his pain. I'd like to avoid having to do something like that...I get big welts from bee stings.
Now that I don't hate my job as I did in the past, it's easier for me to see my future taking shape. I'd like to have a few goats, a couple of alpacas, bunnies...lots of stuff. Of course, the more critters we have, the less likely it will be that we'll ever take big vacations anywhere. But then again, maybe some of my kids will give us a week off once in awhile.
Before we ever put the fence up, or look at what sheep to buy, I want to know I will have a vet who can deal with sheep that is in our vacinity, and I'm looking up shearers, too. I know I don't want to do the shearing, but I need someone who will do a careful job with an eye towards excellent spinning fiber. That means no second cuts, and trying not to butcher up my sheep in the process.
Either way, I know it's all going to work out. My mother, who has inherited the family farm, says she's fine with me annexing the back 8 acres or so onto our property. This will give us another large field to feed livestock on. YAY! She doesn't want livestock so she won't need the field.
That's about all that's happening with the plans and dreams since I posted last. They are key developments, though. With my nursing situation, I can easily still work part time in the future if we still need extra money. I hope to move into an office position at the nursing home I'm at one day, and that will make continuing work much easier for me as I age. If I manage to snag one of those jobs, I expect to be able to keep from drawing social security as long as possible.
Don't let your husband read this, Cara, but he may just more on board once you start in a small way. :) I just reminded my husband yesterday that when we moved out here he didn't want me to get chickens! I reminded him that because the grandkids are coming tonight, and he said he'd make a big farm breakfast tomorrow with (our) eggs and (our) bacon! We have the two horses we came with, but have added a pony for the GKs, a Dexter cow, her heifer that we bred (and both of them are due to calve soon), six ducks, 9 hens and a rooster, two sheep (for a change instead of 2 pigs, which he also didn't want until he had some and loved them!), the one dog we came with, another dog for my husband, and a livestock guardian dog. The secret was A LITTLE AT A TIME!
If your husband is into a barn for "his" tractor and stuff, I'd let him have it! The happier he is, the happier you'll both be! And just like our Kubota dealer told us "No one ever comes back and says they bought too BIG of a tractor!" I would say, "You'll never say 'That barn is too big!'" Good luck as you continue!
Hey, Susan...hubby has a Kubota, too! Mostly he needs it for mowing the grass, but I think it will get a lot more use as time goes on!
I hope it's true that he will be more involved as time goes on. It would help him to be more active, too...he seldom gets exercise outside of work.
I keep hearing about Dexter cows....hmmmm, might have to look into that. Are they easy keepers? Would it be a problem to pasture a couple with my sheep? I know sheep and cows eat pasture differently, but I wasn't sure of the pasture requirements for a Dexter.