Retirement Reality, Really?

Retirement Reality, Really?

Dear Facebook,

I thought you “got” me. I thought you knew my wants and needs. I expected this of you. No longer do I need to search for stuff. The stuff – be it shoes or how to be a better parent or fabulous wrap dresses, just appears in my feed.

However I am upset with you this morning.

Now I’m still not 100% sure on how you gather your intel. Google, fb, whatsapp aside there are some things that are just spoken and yet still you just seem to know. We have an experiment going on at the office where we just talk about a topic to each other and no mention about it online or on phones and see if we get served up a related advert. One topic was an all inclusive cruise around the Mediterranean. A few days later I saw a sponsored advert for Club Med. close?

But every now and then you get it wrong. Very wrong. I would go so far as to say you F&£!ed up.

Case in point below…

Ok yes I may have entered Noordhoek into my maps for a visit there the other weekend. And yes I attended an Alexander Forbes financial wellness workshop at work and the advisor used my laptop to do a retirement projection. So yes I get it. I can see how you joined the dots.

But what you didn’t factor in is that my poor advisor looked a little nervous and perplexed as she crunched the numbers.

Um ok, I must have entered something wrong here”, she mutters, as the result showed that unless I plough 60% of my salary into my pension I ain’t retiring on my “current” salary. And worse is that it’s based on 75% of my salary as it is generally assumed my (non existent) bond would be paid up by then and, AND.. she had upped my retirement age to 65 not 55 like I had hoped. 😱

Ok well you can’t do that” she mutters again. “Let me rework the figures.”

Really? Ya think? Are you serious?

I am all for future planning and perhaps I got it wrong or she didn’t factor in some other things but what about living in the present. Living in the moment? Where is the balance? What’s the point of living on bread with no butter (butter is clearly for those whose retirement is sorted) and having no experiences in order to live it up when you are in the tail end of life. Who knows, maybe I won’t be able to even butter my bread, or walk without something rattling and squeaking? Perhaps the point of working is to afford to look after kids then later on afford for someone to look after you? My kids will probably be jolling in some far flung country and wouldn’t want to help me to the bathroom in any case.

Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong? Maybe I am meant to only travel in luxury with my Louis Vuitton matching luggage set and be dripping in diamonds and expensive perfume in my golden years? Hopefully silver grey hair colour will still be a fashionable.

When I saw this photo in a magazine the other day I said then and there that when I am that age, I want to be as glamorous as Jackie Burger, wearing leopard print heels. In that case maybe I best downscale? The kids and I can share a room? Heck the way we live these days we just need a studio cottage with fibre, a set of earphones each and a swimming pool – heated – it must be heated so that may add a few years onto my retirement age.

In all seriousness though, is building up a big pension still required in this millennial age? Are Bricks and Mortar still the best option? My bitcoin retirement plan went to shit. I am pretty sure the Luno app says I now owe them money it’s gone that bad. Maybe I should invest more time and energy and money in my writing? So many people’s side-hussle ends up being their bread and butter if … and only IF they are intentional about it and give it the focus it requires.

I’m really asking here? Any thoughts?

Perhaps any real financial planning gurus out there can point me in the right direction? Bearing in mind that between tax and the proposed pension contributions I think I have about 2% income left.

In the meantime, dear Facebook, thank you for showing me a lovely retirement village option in beautiful Noordhoek at the ripe old age of 38 having just found out there is no ways I’d ever be able to afford it. You suck.

Sorry I stand corrected, it is a stress free retirement opportunity because here is the reality – retirement is not the stressful part, it’s the 45 odd years you have to make enough money to live in the present and to be able to live in the future and for some of us unfortunate folk, to afford for our parents to live too!

All this retirement talk has stressed me out. Think I’ll order sushi and plan a weekend getaway. So what if I only retire at 80.

Move. Change. Adjust.

Move. Change. Adjust.

As moving goes, be it houses, towns, Provinces, County’s and countries, I have done it all. 17 times to be precise. Yes you heard right. 17 moves in 17 years.

At one point I was going to make a scrapbook of all the homes I’ve lived in, as if it were something to be proud of, like some kind of accomplishment. It wasn’t. Well not for me in any case. Being a homebody who loves nothing more that to put down roots as quickly as possible and get entrenched into the community and routine, moving is somewhat counterproductive.  Unless it’s a move in the area to a specific estate or house you had your eye on that would further entrench your life there and make even more convenient and comfortable. On the positive side, I can count having expert relocation skills and experience under my belt that’s for sure. (Note to self to update my LinkedIn profile with that!) I have learnt to execute the logistics pretty seamlessly. And for the most part, the majority of the moves were pretty much like the other, from one house, flat, duplex, semi-detached, cottage to the next.

Until now.

Leaving the home where Aiden was born was difficult. And now leaving the home I owned, where Ava-Jane was born, where Aiden spent most of his life and where I not only planted roots but an entire orchid in its fifth year of bearing fruit (It was also the longest I have ever stayed in the same house apart from Spence Rd, where we grew up – was there 20 years), you can imagine was devastating.

A place is a place. You can make new friends. A house is a house, they said.
But it’s not. It wasn’t.

For me, the place and the friends and family created this rock-solid foundation on which I not only built my home, my castle, my life, but my confidence, my happiness, my well-being, and controlled my anxiety.  It felt like I knew everyone and everything. Everything had a place, and was in place, and there was a place for everyone and everything. I had tweaked and refined my life to the point that it hummed like a finely tuned engine. This removed an enormous amount of anxiety from my life; Kids are sick and need the Drs – sorted, my Dr was like a best buddy. Need a wax? Sorted, a bestie was on hand. Hospital? Sorted, been there so many times I know what who and where the best parking spot is. Kids dress up day at school? Sorted. Cake for a birthday? Sorted.  Feel like hitting a class at the gym? Sorted, I could call on a number of besties to meet me there at a moment’s notice. I had it timed down to the second how long it would take me to stop at Dischem and the KwikSpar before fetching the kids.  #sorted #organised #perfectrhythym

This move felt like an earthquake.

It was one of those moments that you have to wrap up carefully with bubble wrap, tape it over a few times and pack it up in a box to deal with later as dwelling on it would prove futile, just get in the way, and render me pretty useless.

That was the problem right there. I packed it away.

The actual move was well-planned and pretty perfectly executed. Schools sorted. House sorted. Removal truck booked. Boxes packed. Flights, car, doggie transport….. everything rolled out in military precision. Even the truck arrived exactly when I wanted it to. 9am sharp.

The labelled and numbered boxes, 48 of them to be precise, kept coming in. And they kept piling up until I felt like there was no more room to move.  As I looked around I realised that the castle I had meticulously built was now reduced to bricks, stacked as high as the ceilings. My rock-solid foundation obliterated.

But me sobbing in the middle of Aiden’s room, surrounded by boxes and staring at a bed in pieces wasn’t going to help to get my castle rebuilt. I had to get everything in place and instil some semblance of routine for my babies. I would move mountains for them, or in this case move to the Mountain, to be able to do what I can give my little family the best life I can. I had to start somewhere and the beds seemed like the most logical.

I think the point of all this, for me was to admit that this was hard. That I miss my old home. I miss my old life and all the special people I left behind. I was so busy planning my new life, that I forgot to grieve over the old one. Because, for all intents and purposes, it is gone. I needed to say it out loud so that I can acknowledge it, give it its dues instead of packing it away and bury it somewhere, in order to focus on starting again, building my new life in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Yes, it will be hard.
Yes, it will take a lot of effort.
Yes, it is stressful.

But it is not insurmountable.

It will take time.
It will take patience.
It will mean being out of my comfort zone.

Move. Change. Adjust

We will rebuild.

As they say Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Meaning… “A complex task or great achievement takes time and effort and should not be rushed.”.

I would make one small adjustment to that phrase.

Home wasn’t built in a day”




It was one of those days… ok who are we kidding right? It was one of those weeks/months/hell let’s just say since 2010!!

And I needed a time-out. I, me. Not the kids. Moi.

You know the signs all too well. Getting all snappy, moody, overreacting, sometimes even tears and a full on meltdown. It happens to the best of us. Unfortunately there is no parent yelling at me to go to my room (I would gladly oblige) so, us parents have to orchestrate our own time-out. The time and effort involved in setting up our own time-out dwarfs the likes of organising a 3-weeks, 4-country holiday with 11 people with food allergies, or even a 200-guest corporate event. Arranging an adult time-out requires precision planning.

My dear encyclopaedia friend Wikipedia explains a time-out(also known as social exclusion) as a parenting technique used as a type of behavioural modification that involves temporarily separating a person from an environment where unacceptable behaviour has occurred. This usually involves sitting in a corner or on a chair, preferably on a chair in a corner for a duration of 15 minutes at the most. It originated back in 1958 and I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say that, while it all sounds good and worthwhile from a child development point of view, what about us parents? (And I have my own views on the 15min time limit.)

Parenting is hard work. And sometimes we don’t wanna do it. U-u, no ways, nope!

Sometimes I also need social exclusion (Being surrounded by 6 kids counts as social right?) Sometimes I also need to be temporarily separated from my environment as a parent (who hasn’t wanted to run out the door and not look back), and yes, sometimes my behaviour, at a push, I guess could be considered unacceptable. (My facebook friends will remember the matter of that little smashing of the dust pan incident. Another blog for another day.)

So, on this particular afternoon, I knew before I even got home that I was just not in the mood to parent and needed a time-out. So I pulled in at the Kwikspar, grabbed some rolls and vienna sausages (Hot Dogs are my go-to-emergency-at-least-they-are-being-fed-dinner), quickly shot off a whatsapp to Teb’s mom, and collected the kids. When we got home, obviously Tebs was waiting by my car as we parked. I am sure there were a few more little critters lurking in the bushes. After gathering all the kids and school bags and the Kwikspar packet, I announced that they were all going to Teb’s house for dinner. His Mom has said it was fine. So off they went with the Spar packet in hand, I was on the precipice of my very own time-out.

35 seconds later…

“Mom, no one is there”.

Drat, darn, bugger.

They were not home yet.  (Should have realised they’d done a runner as soon as I got home.) I quickly go stop the bath water. I didn’t even get to to adding the bubble bath yet.

An agonising 35 MINUTES later, the car pulls up. I skip out the house with the Spar packet in hand and say here we go… the kids can eat at yours and here… I even sorted dinner for them.  And they were gone….

35 seconds later….

“Mom, you forgot the Tomato Sauce!!”

Drat, darn, bugger!

That was such a rookie error. I knew better. What was I thinking. Come on Bron, focus. Home time rules stipulate play time ends at 6pm sharp. It is now past 5.30pm, I am cutting into my time-out time here, big time.

Another packet with the Tomato Sauce is prepared. I stupidly bought the glass bottle one and not the easy squeeze one (well done to me for saving R5… doesn’t seem worth it now.) I can’t trust the kids to get it there in one piece without the lovely paved communal drive looking like a bloodbath. So I go traipse up there to hand it over, mentioning to Teb’s mom in a slightly desperate tone where only every 3rd word is audible… please.. I just… I can’t.. I need.. please 20min.. just .. quiet.. thank you. She gives me that “I completely understand nod” and off I go…. Time-out back on track.

I am finally in my sanctuary, my happy place…the bath. It’s so hot I am sure fish would cook in there. Ahhhhh. It is peaceful and quiet, I feel calm wash over me while I take a deep breath and … WTF!!!

Ava has just barged into the house, crying that the boys are being mean to her and won’t let her play. And then I hear what sounds like about at least 3 boys on the trampoline playing WWE. WTF! FML!

I get out, grab a towel and stomp through to the lounge and embark on what can only be described as one of “Britney Spears with the umbrella” type incidents. I screamed and yelled things that the boys probably just heard as Wha-wha-wha-blah-blah-blah. I can’t remember it all, I had gone to THAT place. Something about giving me a break, all I asked for was 20 min, what are you guys doing here…

I turn around and there was Teb’s mom at the door. Eyes like saucers. Ooops! Oh well, see what happens if parents don’t get a time-out? Case in point. She mumbled something about not realising they had all gone and came to find them.

By now its 5.55pm. I decided to amend tonight’s home time and barked “6.30pm SHARP!” as they kids scuttled off back up the road.  I, on the other hand, sent myself to my bathroom for a time-out to think about what I had done and to consider my actions and repercussions and to use this time to modify my behaviour Ja whatever who are we kidding. …. I had a smile on my face.

Adult time-out, perfectly sorted.


This pic and Facebook post below was from 6 months ago. Nothing much has changed. 😂