Kenwood Press


Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

email print
Understanding Your Relationship with Money: 11/01/2015

It’s never too late to save for retirement



Recently I took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa, for a family reunion to celebrate our oldest living relative on my mother’s side. Aunt Helen is 87.

Aunt Helen is number five of six daughters. She went into the convent when she was 16 and dedicated her life to God and education. She chose the religious name Sister Lourdeen. She received her bachelors in English Literature and masters in School Administration.

I was able to spend a whole day with her alone while she told me about her past, including stories about my mom (her sister), their parents, and their grandparents. It was fascinating! I recorded everything with my cell phone. I loved every minute of our visit because it was much like being with my mom, who passed in 1992 at the young age of 68.

One of the stories I heard when I was growing up was that Aunt Helen left the convent at 50 “for retirement purposes.” I was always intrigued about this so I asked for details.

It was in the late 70s, and the Bishop came to Sister Lourdeen’s parish to meet with the nuns still actively teaching. He announced that for budgetary reasons it wouldn’t be financially possible to take care of everyone in their old age. The older nuns currently retired would remain taken care of but there wasn’t enough money to take care of the incoming retirees. What a terrible shock that must have been! You dedicate your life from age 16, now you’re 50 and have no financial security.

I also learned that, at that time, nuns couldn’t leave the convent without a seriously valid reason and permission from a Bishop. In other words, you couldn’t say, “Um…I need to go now, I didn’t know I wouldn’t be paid for my job,” or “I changed my mind. I need a little more color in my life and would love a pair of red shoes,” or “It’s 95 degrees with 87 percent humidity…can I slip out of this habit just today?”

So after the Bishop’s meeting, the nuns would be allowed to leave their order to find jobs outside their vocations to take care of themselves. After giving it much thought, that’s exactly what Sister Lourdeen decided to do. She would leave one world to create a new one for herself. She and her best friend, Margaret, also a nun in the same parish, decided to be roommates for the new adventure in living financially independent lives for the first time. I want to mention here that my Aunt Helen dedicated her life to God and service to others no matter if she belonged to a convent or not. In my eyes, she’s still a nun and one of the most pleasant and happy-go-lucky nuns I’ve ever met.

The first thing Aunt Helen did was hire a financial advisor. So, no, she didn’t go out and buy red shoes, but she sure had on her Warrior boots. She informed him of her new situation, and that her primary goal was to save for retirement. Since Aunt Helen received a fine education completely paid for in her earlier life, she was qualified to teach high school. Later on, she became a principal for years. All the while, she was saving her money for retirement.

I was amazed to hear that from the age of 50 to her retirement at 70, she managed to accumulate over $250,000! That goes a long way in Iowa, and she was accustomed to the frugality of convent life. She lives alone now in a lovely two-room apartment for elderly retirees. Visiting her, I noticed furniture from the 70s arranged well… and only pieces she really needs plus a small flat screen television, and a handful of framed family pictures. There’s nothing complicated, messy, or unnecessary. A daily prayer stuck to the refrigerator brought tears to my eyes, and I realized as I turned to say good-bye that this visit would probably be our last.

My Aunt Helen had to create a new vision for herself (Creator/Artist). She made a plan (Warrior) for her future and stayed with it, and she had faith that it would all work out (Magician). For all of you who feel you started too late to save for your retirement, it’s never too late to make different choices, even if it means relocating, rethinking your lifestyle, and living more simply. It takes courage and can be a true relief to know there’s a plan in place.

Learn more about your relationship with money: visit www.BuildingWealthFromwithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.
Understanding Your Relationship with Money

It’s never too late to save for retirement

By Donna Colfer

Recently I took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa, for a family reunion to celebrate our oldest living relative on my mother’s side. Aunt Helen is 87.

Aunt Helen is number five of six daughters. She went into the convent when she was 16 and dedicated her life to God and education. She chose the religious name Sister Lourdeen. She received her bachelors in English Literature and masters in School Administration.

I was able to spend a whole day with her alone while she told me about her past, including stories about my mom (her sister), their parents, and their grandparents. It was fascinating! I recorded everything with my cell phone. I loved every minute of our visit because it was much like being with my mom, who passed in 1992 at the young age of 68.

One of the stories I heard when I was growing up was that Aunt Helen left the convent at 50 “for retirement purposes.” I was always intrigued about this so I asked for details.

It was in the late 70s, and the Bishop came to Sister Lourdeen’s parish to meet with the nuns still actively teaching. He announced that for budgetary reasons it wouldn’t be financially possible to take care of everyone in their old age. The older nuns currently retired would remain taken care of but there wasn’t enough money to take care of the incoming retirees. What a terrible shock that must have been! You dedicate your life from age 16, now you’re 50 and have no financial security.

I also learned that, at that time, nuns couldn’t leave the convent without a seriously valid reason and permission from a Bishop. In other words, you couldn’t say, “Um…I need to go now, I didn’t know I wouldn’t be paid for my job,” or “I changed my mind. I need a little more color in my life and would love a pair of red shoes,” or “It’s 95 degrees with 87 percent humidity…can I slip out of this habit just today?”

So after the Bishop’s meeting, the nuns would be allowed to leave their order to find jobs outside their vocations to take care of themselves. After giving it much thought, that’s exactly what Sister Lourdeen decided to do. She would leave one world to create a new one for herself. She and her best friend, Margaret, also a nun in the same parish, decided to be roommates for the new adventure in living financially independent lives for the first time. I want to mention here that my Aunt Helen dedicated her life to God and service to others no matter if she belonged to a convent or not. In my eyes, she’s still a nun and one of the most pleasant and happy-go-lucky nuns I’ve ever met.

The first thing Aunt Helen did was hire a financial advisor. So, no, she didn’t go out and buy red shoes, but she sure had on her Warrior boots. She informed him of her new situation, and that her primary goal was to save for retirement. Since Aunt Helen received a fine education completely paid for in her earlier life, she was qualified to teach high school. Later on, she became a principal for years. All the while, she was saving her money for retirement.

I was amazed to hear that from the age of 50 to her retirement at 70, she managed to accumulate over $250,000! That goes a long way in Iowa, and she was accustomed to the frugality of convent life. She lives alone now in a lovely two-room apartment for elderly retirees. Visiting her, I noticed furniture from the 70s arranged well… and only pieces she really needs plus a small flat screen television, and a handful of framed family pictures. There’s nothing complicated, messy, or unnecessary. A daily prayer stuck to the refrigerator brought tears to my eyes, and I realized as I turned to say good-bye that this visit would probably be our last.

My Aunt Helen had to create a new vision for herself (Creator/Artist). She made a plan (Warrior) for her future and stayed with it, and she had faith that it would all work out (Magician). For all of you who feel you started too late to save for your retirement, it’s never too late to make different choices, even if it means relocating, rethinking your lifestyle, and living more simply. It takes courage and can be a true relief to know there’s a plan in place.

Learn more about your relationship with money: visit www.BuildingWealthFromwithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.

To learn more about your relationship with money, visit www.BuildingWealthFromWithin.com and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you will see the results. Or contact me at donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com.

Donna Colfer has worked in financial management since 1987. As a Financial Counselor and a Certified Money Coach, she blends her financial expertise with spiritual counseling in her private practice in Sonoma. A Valley resident since 1981, Donna and her husband, Randy, reside in Kenwood.

© 2017 Donna Colfer

Email: donna@BuildingWealthFromWithin.com

Recently Published:

03/01/2017 - Three ways to save money
02/01/2017 - Conscious bill paying
12/01/2016 - Embracing the groundlessness of our situation
11/01/2016 - Over-spending on grandchildren
10/01/2016 - Growing up with forgiveness
09/01/2016 - The “what-ifs”
08/01/2016 - What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
06/15/2016 - Find your center
05/01/2016 - Changing your story is about choice
04/01/2016 - Who can you trust?
03/01/2016 - Clean up your financial house
02/01/2016 - Crossing the pass
12/01/2015 - A Girl Scout attitude
09/01/2015 - Starving artist or desperate designer?
08/01/2015 - A Fool's Story

Community Calendar

Evening walk at Hood Mountain
03/28/2017
more...
Star of the Valley Church hosts Lenten retreat
03/29/2017
more...
Crushers of Comedy come to Landmark Vineyards
04/01/2017
more...
Volunteer trainings for state parks
04/01/2017
more...
Wildflower hike on East Slope Trail
04/01/2017
more...
Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble Gala Concert
04/02/2017
more...
Annadel Half Marathon
04/08/2017
more...
More Oakmont teams needed at Paws for Healing
04/22/2017
more...