Calm, peaceful and untroubled are not words people use to describe a single, working mother. Before 2011 when Rosa Green retired at 57, you could not use those words to describe her life either. But today, Rosa, (62), is a SAGE Sistah All-Star because she planned for this stage of life and now is living life as Jill Scott would sing…Living my life like it’s Golden, Golden! After working 32 years for the federal government, raising two daughters and putting them through college as a single mother living in Los Angeles, she’s enjoying freedom, spontaneity and adventure in a way that simply was not possible when she was working and raising her daughters. But, after retirement, she redefined her life.
Rosa started planning for retirement in her 30s by purchasing a home and starting a savings program. She started early because she wanted to leave a legacy for her daughters and she wanted to be a good financial role model for them.
“My motivation to retire early was that I wanted my freedom. If I would give an employer 30 years of my life and dedication, surely I could give myself 30! I also knew I did not have to be a billionaire to live a comfortable life. For me, what I know now is “less is more!”
Rosa moved from Los Angeles to Rock Hill, South Carolina and left her home in Los Angeles to her daughters. She has traveled extensively, through the world and the United States. Her social life is full, she dates but is not as concerned about marriage as she once was. She works at home part-time as a virtual assistant, manages her two homes and rental property. A couple of years after retirement, her days of leisure and freedom were interrupted when her mother who lived in Boston became ill.
In 2013, Rosa relocated to become her mother’s primary caregiver. When she first tried to get her mother into a care facility, she quickly discovered that her mother’s substantial savings would not qualify her for many government programs or benefits. In essence, her mother had to exhaust her assets. As a result, her mother remained in her home and Rosa became her caregiver 24/7, which was both emotionally and physically challenging.
Today, Rosa recommends that adult children talk to their elderly parents before they become chronically ill to transfer their assets to a responsible child or Trust at least 5 years prior to any anticipated illness. Governmental agencies are permitted have a 5-year look back period for eligibility for health care assistance. Additionally, having a Trust in place can alleviate many difficulties in the Probate Court, which is time consuming and costly. At the very least, encourage parents to have a Will.
Rosa’s mother transitioned in June 2014 and Rosa is so grateful that her mother heeded her advise to put her assets in a Trust, which made the closing of her mother’s estate a much easier process and curtailed family disputes.
Presently, Rosa has settled back into her days of leisure, travel, and freedom. “What she knows for sure is that she lives a healthy lifestyle, and keeps positive friendships”. She says the one word that defines her life today is “Serenity”-calm, peaceful and untroubled.