About Crystal

Crystal Marie lives by the philosophy that needing less rather than earning more is the key to happiness and financial serenity, which allowed her to “retire” from formal employment in health education at the age of 44. She can be found making the most of the second half on her blog, The Best 50 Years.


  1. AvatarMatt @ RamblingFever Money says

    A specific amount of money may not be needed at all! If one could create a passive income source that will last all through retirement, a certain savings goal would not be necessary. This is something I’ve known for a long time, but only recently decided to get serious about implementing.

    Very nice insights here. Kind of reminds me of the minimalist way of thinking. Turns out, there is a whole movement of minimalists out there. I’ve heard of, but haven’t visited, their blogs.

    • Avataradmin says

      You have hit on the bottom line. Retirement shouldn’t be about saving while working and spending those savings later when not working. It should be about cash flow and finding assets that can deliver the amount of cash you need to keep living and paying for your expenses.

    • AvatarCrystal says

      Rather than focusing on saving, I’ve focused on developing a few streams of (at least mostly) passive income that are independent of one another so that if one disappears, all is not lost. Keeping expenses low allows me to dabble here and there to see what works.

  2. AvatarMoneySmartGuides says

    When determining how much you need for retirement, many think that their expenses will decrease since they aren’t traveling to work everyday. But, your expenses might stay the same or increase. Just because you aren’t driving to work everyday doesn’t mean you aren’t going to drive places during the day. Also, you might take up new hobbies which cost money.

    You are right though, you have to figure out how much you need, not want.

    • Avataradmin says

      I know that I want to do some travelling so I don’t expect them to go down dramatically. I just hope to be able to spend a little more on myself versus watch all my money go to VISA.

    • AvatarCrystal says

      You’re right – some expenses do increase in retirement. We travel more and tend to sightsee rather than marathon drive to our destination, so a more fuel-efficient car was in order. As for hobbies, look for ways to turn them into a money maker. I now create custom memorial quilts, which gives me a creative outlet as well as a small income.

  3. Avatar[email protected] says

    Ah but needs and wants are the kicker -we are so conditioned to believe in what we should “have” that I think most people don’t even sit down to work out what their “needs” and “wants” are.

    OK – right now I “need” a house that I can raise my kids in – but once they are gone that might not be my choice at all.

    I “need” a car to get them to school – but when they go to High School I don’t need one at all.

    Better that we keep asking and answering these questions than living life on auto-pilot.

    • AvatarCrystal says

      You’re right, Elaine – your housing needs will change once the kids are on their own. When our kids grew up, we sold the big family home and paid off our rental property, which consists of five small cottages. We took over one for ourselves and have income from the other four. Free housing AND a little cash each month – it doesn’t get much better than that!

  4. AvatarDonna says

    Thanks for bringing up some important aspects of retirement planning. In assessing wants and needs I think it is important to determine why a person considers something a need. For example; beyond necessity, how does a new car, a new coat, or the latest gadget contribute to my overall well being, and peace of mind?

    As a retiree, I find many of the things that seemed necessary years ago, are now just superfluous “stuff” that clutters up my life. Sometimes, indeed, less is more!

  5. AvatarDonna says

    Thanks for pointing out some of the important aspects of retirement planning. It seems that flexibility and self-assessment are keys to successful retirement.

    In retirement, the way we have always lived, spent our days, used our time, earned or spent our money, may not suit us anymore. Retirement is a time when we can choose again.