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Thanks for your response, Joanne. I am also a musician and learned early that I did not fit into the corporate model of life and work. In college my studies and degree were more practical, in healthcare, as I have no family money and had to work for a living. Yet I am a musician at heart and I hate competing in the corporate work place and undergoing demoralizing performance reviews. I feel quite fortunate to now be able to work from home (knock on wood that it will continue). I am hopeful that if I can continue living frugally I can possibly retire at a reasonable age (67?)

I also live in a blue state with liberal social policies which helps.

Like you, I have no children and no big house. I rent a tiny apartment. It’s fine for me but my mortgage-holding, renting from the bank peers would call it “living like a college student”. Currently I am trying to figure out where I will live and spend my later years. Not having children was not a choice per se, I think it’s just the way my life worked out.

For me, not having the nice stuff or lifestyle that some of my friends and family have and feeling the judgement regarding such lack (and for me, it’s not a big deal — I don’t need much) continues to wear me down. I can’t entertain in my apartment so I don’t have people over. My boyfriend is also a musician, living hand to mouth, as the saying goes….if we live together, I will surely be supporting him. My family does not approve (although they don’t come right out and say it), and despite the fact that he is kind, funny, smart and talented and provides me with wonderful company, he does not have material assets so he is not good enough. Sigh.

I have the freedom to go sit by a pond or go for a walk in the woods in the middle of the week while these people are chained to their desk under fluorescent lighting and planning how they “request” to take their two weeks off. I’ll take $2.00 jeans from the thrift shop rather than those expensive designer ones in order to have this lifestyle, thank you very much. And the messages I get from more wealthy family members are I should be “treating” myself by getting that brand new car, or splurging on those expensive clothes, or spending a lot when I go on vacation. The pressure gets ridiculous, and I realize, part of the problem is my reaction to it. I don’t want to work until I drop, that is part of my plan but man, I get tired of having to explain myself.

Ah, sorry for the rant. Sometimes it feels good to get it all out, and I am certainly not paying for the luxury of a shrink (been there, done that). :-)

I agree, retirement in the U.S. will be very difficult or impossible for many and no walk in the park for others. I hear Spain is a nice retirement option and just think, in most European countries, if you get sick or injured, they take care of you before confirming your insurance status or how much money you have. And you don’t get a letter after the fact that your care was not medically necessary and was denied. What a concept!

A basic universal income would indeed be a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, I think things will get worse before they get better and it is important that we can band together with like-minded people to form a community for support and companionship in this “fend for yourself” social structure. Some days I really wish I had been born in France or Denmark…