Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SLICE #29- The language of money

OK, I'm going to admit it right up front.
The language of money
is a language I don't speak.

I'm not one of those people who spends lots and lots of money.
I don't have a fancy house or fancy clothes or a fancy car.
I don't eat out at fancy places
(or even unfancy places, actually)
or spend a lot of money on exotic vacations.

But I'm also not one of those people who is super careful with money.
If a student asks me for a book, I order it.
If I need snacks for a meeting, I buy them.
If I'm teaching a class and I need markers or copies, I head over to Office Max.

My money habits have never been a problem.
Until now I think maybe they are.
Because now I'm thinking about retirement.
And all of a sudden I'm thinking I should be worried a little more.
I'm not sure I should be.
But maybe I should be.

It all started this afternoon.
I went to a retirement meeting.
Not because I am sure I am going to retire.
But because I might sometime soon.
And if I do, I will need to understand this stuff
A whole lot better than I do.

I had coffee with a friend before the meeting.
She is much, much younger, than I am.
As in her parents are just a few years older than I am.
As in she is expecting her first baby in June.
"I'm not good at money," I confessed to her.
And she told me she wasn't good at money either.
I felt a little better until she told me
that it was ok because her husband is really good at money.
Which might be ok. Except I don't have a husband.

So I went to this meeting.
And I was surprised at how I felt
when I walked in the door.
I really don't want to retire.
I still love, love, love my work
Love, love, love the kids.
I'm not ready to retire.
And it kind of feels like I'm not sure I will have a choice.
I really wanted to just run right back out the door.
But I forced myself to sit there.
And listen.

And I felt like I do
when I am listening in Spanish.
I can understand the conversation
if I really, really concentrate.
But the minute I let my attention stray
even for a millisecond
I'm lost.

And there were so many Option A
and Option B-1
and if you do this
and if you do that.
And most people seemed really happy
and really excited
And I really just wanted to cry
or run right out of the room.

At the end of the meeting
I gathered up all my papers
and walked out
I didn't fill out anything
or sign anything
I just walked out.
And now I'm sitting here tonight
pushing arond all of these papers
and trying to make sense of everything

The language of money
is a language I just don't speak.


Linda B said...

Well, I'm glad you went, and wish I could help, but know nothing about public school retirement. Would talking with PERA alone help? Hope to see you tomorrow, but understand if you're busy!

Amanda Regan said...

I find a lot of that financial stuff utterly confusing. I'm still a few years away from retirement, but I keep thinking I should attend one of those meetings just so I am fully prepared for when the time comes. Good luck figuring it all out!