Wednesday, December 23, 2009

While You See A Chance Take It...

Tip #218 - While You See A Chance Take It. I've been going around singing this Steve Winwood song lately in regards to this post. I'm not usually one to be spontaneous - even when I was single I wasn't - especially with three kids and a husband who has a job. But this time I saw a chance and we're taking it.

Several years ago, when my parents were in their mid-fifties, they were deciding what to do in their retirement. My dad was not yet retired but was planning to do so in the next few years. My dad really wanted to do some traveling when he was no longer tied down to a job. My mom wasn't so sure as she likes to be closer to home. Then they agreed to look for a small place in Florida that they could visit every winter - a home away from home - a compromise of sorts. So for about 7 years they would take a two-week trip in early December and drive down to different cities and towns in Florida on the East Coast and West Coast. While they loved the beauty of the West Coast, they had more friends on the East Coast and settled on a 1-bedroom condominium in South Florida where some friends of theirs already lived. It wasn't big; it wasn't fancy, and it wasn't expensive. But it was just right. So now every December they make their journey south and spend the winter in the warmth and sunshine.

The characters that live in their development, along with the goings on of thousands of seniors playing golf, heading to the early-bird specials, and running condo boards makes for some humorous stories. In fact, I wrote a story several years ago about my parents' experiences in a retirement community in South Florida. It's an exaggerated profile of life in the golden years. I've been slowly posting my story chapter by chapter, part by part, on my other blog called "Start Packing; We're Retiring To Florida.

Now back to seeing a chance and taking it. Every year, we head down to Florida ourselves to visit my parents and my mother-in-law and to get out of the frigid cold. A week in sun is just what we need to make it through the rest of winter. This year, the plan was to leave on January 23. But a few days ago mother nature decided to dump a foot and a half of snow in our city, and I was starting to get the itch to go away. After all, we don't celebrate Christmas. Our plans for winter break were pretty nil, our New Year's plans were to stay in, and the schools decided to add an extra three days to the already long break. What's a mom to do? See A Chance And Take It. I saw the chance to hop in the car and head down to Florida ourselves and leave a foot and a half of snow behind - no school or activities to be missed and sunshine and warmth to be gained. All that was standing in our way was my husband's job. He knew he couldn't take off work for a week, so we looked into flights and saw that he could fly home for the short week of work between Christmas and New Year's and then fly back for only $269. And after about 10 minutes of deliberation, I called my parents to tell them of our plans, booked my husband's flight, and started packing.

So for the next 12 days I will be in Florida - probably with no access to the computer. If you want to visualize what we will be doing while we are there, feel free to check out my other blog. (Yes, it really is like this there!) When I get back we can do a final review of how we did in 2009 and go over making our financial plans and a budget for the upcoming year. And in the meantime, if you see a chance, financial or otherwise, take it...

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