Retirement Income Obsessiongeezermailcheck

Is it just me or are you also amazed by the blizzard of information directed at us about how much savings we will need for retirement? One look at the little charts and tables and your amazement turns to depression. Who are these people that have a million or two in the bank? Did they have any kids? Were they ever sick? Did they have to care for their aging parents? Did they rob banks?

The next thought that occurs to me is that there are way too many retirement income experts. Whether it’s Parade Magazine on one end or Forbes on the other, I have never seen the same expert quoted more than once. That means there is a surplus of these experts and that, in turn, means they have to come up with completely different income projections in order to differentiate themselves from the next expert.

My favorite statistic was from a survey of baby boomers in which 90% or so of the respondents had savings of $30,000 or less, but 75% thought they would have enough money in retirement! Enough to live under the official poverty level maybe! You could drive a Class A RV through this reality square dancergap. Those who perpetually bash baby boomers (and there are quite a few bashers around still), would chalk this up to the fact that we are genetically unrealistic, and that this may often be combined with fatal doses of optimism. We think we are going to be okay. And why not? We lived through the sixties without overdosing on drugs, we haven’t damaged our hearing as much as the iPod generation is doing right now, and our music, fashion, and art have all come back for a second or third go around. That’s reason to be optimistic.

My personal plan is to work as long as I can, because A) I am going to need the money, and B) I don’t play golf. The big question for me is what happens when I no longer can work as a designer/writer? Will I have to find part-time work as a greeter at Wal-Mart? The only way I could handle it would be to take up marijuana again (maybe it will finally be legal by then). Yikes! There’s a visual. Geezer stoners all over America wearing red aprons and smiling at everyone who comes in the door. Wait – maybe that’s how the geezers who are there now are doing it! They’re all stoned!

Instead of focusing so much on how to pay for grandma bikerretirement, I’ve decided to instead direct my efforts toward figuring out how to use the time to do something useful. Travel tops the list. I must have a hundred places just in the United States that are on my Life List of Places to See. From the Grand Tetons and Big Sur to Saginaw and the Wisconsin Dells (just because it's a great name), it would be fantastic to finally see these places without the aid of photos or book descriptions. Next on the list, be a volunteer for some organization that genuinely can use my talents. Non-profits are supposedly salivating at the thought of all those altruistic baby boomers coming on line, and no one can deny that there a lot of people living in this country who need help.  Third on the list is to take the time to stay fit. I look forward to having the time to walk or hike every day, get some cardio, lift some free weights, and see if I can live a healthy life into my nineties. Genetics might be on my side – my mother is soon going to celebrate her 102nd birthday.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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