Ah, spring! After sweeping up the birdseed off the front porch, I walked out in the early morning light to take a picture of the beautiful flowering cherry tree in "our" front yard. That's our rented apartment top left, on the south side. You can see six of the 24 apartments in this picture. The complex extends northwards, 12 on the top, 12 on the bottom. Some have two bedrooms, others have one (we have a two-bedroom, with almost 1,000 square feet, enough for the two of us, especially with that ten-foot-wide covered porch). We walk through three of the porches to gain access to our apartment. The end porches are the only ones that could be considered private. We also have a back door and a smaller porch on the back of the apartment.
We just received our annuity income assessment for the next year and found that we will be receiving 20% less. We put all our retirement funds into annuities and when the economy went bad, we figured there was nothing to do but wait it out. With our annuities, we can move assets from one to another, but nothing was safe. It could have been worse; I know people who lost half their annuity income, and we will be okay, partly because we have a nice rented apartment, enough income to pay the bills, but not enough to feel "well-to-do."
I might have to think about budgeting, if it gets really tight. Keeping us in fresh veggies, the birds in birdseed, and devising ways to keep the squirrels off the porch will occupy my time for the immediate future. My monthly gym cost is paid through April 2010. That, and my Thursday hikes with the Senior Trailblazers (only cost is sharing the gas and bringing a treat for my fellow hikers) is enough to keep this senior happy. I might not be able to skydive as much as I would otherwise, but I'm gradually moving away from that activity anyway.
It seems that health is the truest measure of wealth. Exercising in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the ability to hike around in the Chuckanuts and the Mount Baker wilderness areas, well... I am not complaining. Instead, I am counting my blessings.