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A Lesson About Retirement, from My Dad

My Dad is one of the hardest working men I have ever met in my life.  I don’t say that just because he’s my Dad and I love him, although he is and I do.  Dad

Dad is 66 years old and has been with his employer for nearly 43 years (that, in and of itself, is remarkable).  He works 40-60 hours a week, every week.  His mornings often start before 4 a.m. and despite his age, he still routinely pulls twelve hour shifts.  He works at a barge cleaning plant, and will likely continue working for at least another five, if not ten, years.

Growing up, my Dad taught me a few things about work ethic and retirement.  While some of the lessons were spoken, I learned most of them by just watching him.

Dad taught me to…

    • do my best, even in the tasks I didn’t like, because anything less was cheating myself
    • give an honest hours work for an honest hours wage
    • never burn a bridge you may need to cross again later
    • give at minimum two weeks notice to an employer if I needed to move on
    • plan for retirement and do everything in your power to protect your retirement savings

Unfortunately, that last one I learned at Dad’s expense.  Years ago, Dad had a pension plan.  Then the company changed hands, and the pension plan got dropped.  He started saving in a 401K.  Fast forward to the 2008 stock market crash, and Dad’s retirement planning hit the financial doldrums.  He lost quite a bit of his 401K.  At this point, he can’t afford to retire any time soon.  If he does, he and Mom would have exist off of his social security and what meager pension he does get from that long ago plan.  I say exist, because you can’t really live off of what they would bring in. So, Dad works.

Hubs is 35 years old, and hopes to retire at 65.  Knowing that my Dad will HAVE to work well into his seventies, just to make ends meet, is all the encouragement we need to learn all we can about annuity’s, which can provide guaranteed income for life.


When will you retire? How are you planning for, and protecting, your retirement?

This post was brought to you by J Women’s Network and Genworth. All opinions are my own.

This site uses affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
About Virginia

Hi there! My name is Virginia, and I am the author/owner of That Bald Chick. I am a Christian, wife, mother of three, full time homemaker, homeschooler, and ministry volunteer in addition to being a blogger. In my free time *cough* I enjoy reading, writing, taking walks with my family, and listening to music.


  1. Frugality, hard work, and living below your means are all helpful for those planning to retire.

  2. You dad gave you some great advice! We hope to retire at 65 and try to make responsible financial decisions now so that can happen. Living within our means and saving when we can are important.

  3. Amazing advice! Not sure when we will finally retire but it will take some planning now.

  4. Wow your daddy taught you a lot, and I think that all parents are good at that. We learn from them by watching them. This is great advice. I thank you for sharing

  5. It’s definitely best to start saving early, diversify your investments, and work to pay off your cars and home by the time you retire.

  6. Woow! Your dad sure is a great mentor! ♥♥♥

  7. i need a nest egg, lol

  8. Your dad is a great role model. I hate to hear about his 2008 401K loss. I try to teach my kids to be frugal, work hard, and save their money. This economy is scary, you have to have a plan.

  9. thank you for the information. I haven’t worked in 8 years – quite my job when our 1st child was born. I do not know if I will ever go back in the workforce but the info is good to know for my husband.

  10. This is such great advice! Retirement is so important and something that I believe should be thought about and saved for the moment you get your first job

  11. I like to think that God willing I will probably never retire. I will always do so something to keep money coming in

  12. Your dad sounds like a fantastic man, he reminds me in some ways of my own dad. Such a hard worker!

    Thanks for sharing these resources and reasons as to why this is certainly important!

  13. I’m sorry that your dad lost money. Saving for retirement is so serious but my hubby and I are struggling to just figure out student loan debt. I’m not even sure when we can start a retirement fund. Hopefully soon.

  14. This same thing happened to my husbands grandmother…like it was all there and then it wasnt. Its good to be diverse for sure!

  15. Retirement can sound so scary. It’s hard to save for life let alone retirement and then to see those plans just disappear would be heart breaking. My parents have NOTHING and will be working until they die. It makes me sad.

  16. Your dad sounds just like my mom. She has nothing. I don’t either. My hubby has a pension though, so I’m banking on that. I need to start somthing though.

  17. Your Dad is an amazing man to show such a good example of work ethic! It is so important to plan ahead for retirement!

  18. I also would like to retire early and have many eggs in many baskets. Good idea to never count on one.

  19. This is a great post with some really sound retirement advice. It sounds like your Dad is an amazing man to have instilled such great qualities and values! Unfortunately, he is not alone is having to work well past a reasonable retirement age.

  20. Always thinking about this- we have a 401K and funds. Thanks for the info.

  21. I was just telling my daughter and her fiance the importance of saving for retirement. This is all great advice from your dad.

  22. I am sorry to hear about your father’s 401k money. At the same time, I am glad that you learned something from him about retirement that will help you.

  23. It’s never too early to think about retirement. I need to start getting ready for it soon.

  24. What a beautiful, touching article for your dad. It is always nice to recall what we have learned from those who have walked this path before us. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Such a sweet post about your dad! I AM so bad with this and this was a great reminder on what I need to do. I read the book the millionaire next-door and that helped me somewhat but that was 10 years ago. LOL

  26. My dad was really hard working too. He worked since he was 14

  27. We have been lucky that my mom planned her retirement well. Hope I have the same luck!

  28. Smart man. People are weird today. I have a few friends who would rather spend their money on gadgets and phones..or phone gadgets than save for their retirement. I don’t know when it became boring to save for your old age but nobody want’s to even talk about saving money anymore. It is as if everybody thinks they are never going to be old and always have a wage coming in.

  29. Good Advice. It is never to early to start saving and thinking about retirement

  30. Your dad’s advice is great. He is very right saving for retirement. We have been saving for years. We would rather do without some toys now in order to live comfortably when we are older.

  31. Amazing advice. Your dad taught you well.

  32. Maria Iemma says:

    I am sorry your Dad has to continue working and I understand fully. I became widowed three years ago and at 68 I was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer yet I still continue to work as I would not be able to pay my bills without my salary…

  33. Tami Vollenweider says:

    Your Dad gave you some great advice! Appreciate him,and what he has to offer You!

  34. Rebecca Parsons says:

    We have been saving now for our retirement for the past 10 or so years. We really stepped it up in the past couple of years because we know all too well how a 401k can get hit hard. Luckily we decided to change our plan to a psp and it has done well even through the crash.

  35. That’s some great advice from your dad. I wish I could still talk to mine. He passed away in ’06

  36. Start early and diversify your retirement savings. I had the maximum taken out of my paycheck when I was working and have always been glad I did.

  37. I worry about retirement all the time

  38. Stephanie Larison says:

    My mom always told me no matter what, give a 2 weeks notice too. You never know if you might go back, or what they’d say to the next job you’re trying to get. It could come back to bite you in the rear! It’s always best to do the right thing.