You want to know what all this saving money gets you? Some die at retirement, or get sick and end up in nursing care, or just age and one of you needing medical or nursing care. They take your money at a clip of 8k a month per person. You eat up all your savings in a few years then the state takes the rest of your assets, moves you to a sh1tty nursing home and your die out of boredom. Was it worth it? Live like Raymond Burr, spend every dollar you have, die with no money in your pocket. Enjoy your money while you are healthy enough too. Besides the govt wants us to work to 70 now, and I'm betting our country will go bankrupt before I ever get to retire or I will die from working so many years.
First of all "saving money" does not add time to your busy schedule. "Not spending" saves a lot of time. I haven't seen the inside of a mall in over ten years and don't miss them one bit. Once you stop viewing "shopping" as entertainment, the world gets happier.
Every time one of my pals has to fix the navigation system on a car, I'm glad my cars don't have them. Ditto the "eco" folks across the way who spent $20k on a central heat pump then $4200 in four years to repair it (3 year warranty). I rebuilt our entire electric furnace in two hours with $120 in parts...good for another 50 years.
I get way more entertainment out of riding 100 miles in a day on a bicycle, through the trails in the foothills, than I get out of the entire ownership of a $350 television set.
I'm not cheap, nor frugal. I just measure, very carefully, what complexities I put into my life. If they increase the amount of time I spend in nature or in community, then I consider them favorably. But if it takes me away from either, then I view very cautiously. I spend on certain tools - a riding mower slashes the time required to maintain my modest acreage, so I have one.
What did I gain from getting out of debt before turning 45? My employer knew that I did not need a job, therefore they didn't give me crap assignments. When I told them that my personal financial goals required me to consider looking elsewhere, they made sure I was rewarded for the successes I had given them in the past year. When I told them that it was important to me to have an impact on management decisions, they put me on the Mergers and Acquisitions team, and I influenced what other companies they bought. Not bad for a lowly undergrad.
And, when the company got bought and the acquiring company shut down 25% of our divisions, I had no problem walking away. The severance check was for only a few months, and I was only in my mid-50s. I looked at how much moolah we had, and realized that we could do just fine without any more income to age 70, so we could hold off SS payments until they were maximum. Mind you, that might not have been my choice...but my wife prefers it, and the spousal benefit, upon my death, will be contingent on how much I was receiving before death. To me, it doesn't matter, but to her it does, so I made this decision for her benefit.
No, the government does not want us working to age 70. The US government is in a constant struggle to defend the economy and if they can get people to retire sooner, it means more jobs - a lot more, since younger employees usually get paid less. That's why it's possible to draw SS at age 62 instead of 65 and that's why, if you get laid off at age 55, you can draw from your company 401k without penalty.
The variation in payout from SS is dependent upon your age, and they've worked out the formulas so that it doesn't matter to them, if you live to be the average age. For every $1 that you'd get by starting SS at age 62, you'd get $1.75 if you begin at age 70. You're also likely to not live as long if you begin at at 70 and to the gov't, it works out the same. So, they don't care. (figures valid for those born 1955 or later)
It takes little effort to learn to enjoy happiness, not materialism, and once you do, it takes very little to live. My wife and I live what we think is a modestly luxurious life - we go out to eat a couple times a month at local family-run places, we have a potluck at least once a week, we escape to the beach a couple weekends a year, we don't delay vehicle maintenance and so on. How much a year does this lifestyle cost us? Approximately two minimum wage jobs. Money isn't enjoyable to us...people are...exploring nature is....learning new things is...none of that is expensive.
You brought up two things that are very important to consider. First, how long will you live and how will your health be. Nobody can predict, but if you know your family history, then you can come surprisingly close. If you've taken care of yourself, you'll live 5-10 years longer than your relatives one generation older, and have the same number of, or fewer diseases. If, however, you've been less active and eaten badly, you may do just the same as them, your poorer lifestyle being compensated by more readily available medical help. Based on a study done by the life insurance actuarial study group (I forget their name), only one in 2500 people will live significantly less or more than this basic estimate.
To give two extreme examples:
My pal, call him Bill. His parents both died before 70. Being farmers, they were fairly physically active. Both smoked, although not heavily, both drank, again not heavily. Bill, although he enjoys the outdoors, had a desk job his whole life, and has been somewhat overweight - about 15 to 20%, on the verge of obese, but not there. Heavy smoker until 30 or so, then he decided to quit. Has a glass of wine once a week at the most. So...less physical activity (bad), overweight (bad), but didn't smoke all life long (good) and rarely drank (good). The things that went bad for his dad are going bad for him at the same ages. So, in his case, he's likely to make it to 70 but not much more. For him, it was a wise choice to take the early-out he was offered at age 58...they gave him two years pay, he only had to cover two more years, then he took SS at age 62.
This other guy, we'll call Carl. His grandparents smoked like chimneys and drank like fish. They never made it past 8th grade and worked very hard labor-intense jobs like coal-mining and timber, and they had classic diseases that come from those jobs. All four of them made it past 90, and one past 100. His parents had sit-down jobs, neither smoked nor drank, and were slightly active during the summers when they tended a small garden. Although they really didn't get much exercise, they did maintain their weight until recently. His dad is now 98, his mom 93, both with enough mental faculty to continue living in the home they've had for 35 years. While they have ceased doing maintenance like painting, they still mow the lawn and do typical dusting and cleaning and making their own meals. Carl's been much more physically active, having chosen to enjoy the heck out of hiking mountains, has a large social group (social group activity is a bigger indicator of longevity than diet, weight or smoking!), studies how to eat well and enjoys his own cooking, maintains his weight, has a very happy marriage. If someone is likely to live longer than his parents, it's Carl - and his dad is 98! So, Carl should probably be ready to break 100.
So, yes, understand you may die tomorrow - but pay attention to the odds...because if you don't
die tomorrow...and you think you can't be happy without spending...you'll have a lot of unhappy years.
The second issue is cost of nursing homes. Statistically, the more you pay per month, the less time you spend in it. A full-care memory home (most expensive there is) is under $5,000/month in 45 states....if you're in a costly state and haven't planned to be old in a costly state, most people move. Average stay in a true "memory care" facility is only 6 months. There are exceptions, but again, the stats were something like less than one in 10,000 make it past a year. And if you do? You don't remember any of it! If I can't remember yesterday, I probably don't care if I slept the night in a box under a bridge.
My wife's folks are in a senior facility now. They're bitter angry people who've never taken care of themselves. Both had debilitating strokes in their late 70s and can't take care of themselves. They share a two-bedroom apartment in a facility where a nurse checks on on them twice a day. If they can't get in their scooters to make it to the cafe for meals, they'll be required to bump up to the next higher level of care, which costs more. Presently, they're paying $3200/month for the two of them. Sounds like a lot? Not so much, really - bear in mind, because they are in this care facility, they are not paying mortgage/rent (they hadn't been for decades anyway). Cable TV is provided, meals are provided, laundry is taken care of without them even buying detergent. They no longer have vehicle expenses.
We get freaked out at the cost of senior care because we think it is "in addition" to our present expenses - but when we finally need to go into that form of living, nearly all our current expenses are fully replaced by the monthly fee. Before the later strokes debilitated them to this level, they were paying $2600 or so...the $600 change is for the twice daily nurse visit and presence of 24 hour a day on-call medical staff.
So...things are as they are, and 99.9% of people do fine, and it's up to each of us to decide if we want to do the simple things that 99.9% of the people do, or freak out because we fear we'll be in the 0.1%. My wife chooses the 0.1%, but I don't....because...just because.
As to the gov't going bankrupt - it technically got there ten years ago. What I've noticed during every economic downturn is that the companies that remain work out ways to work on lower margin and lower cost stuff becomes available - companies don't want to die, so if everybody has less money, they figure out a way to make their products and services more affordable. Our system adapts...I've seen it with my own eyes over and over.