Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Meaningless Milestone

A little over a week ago I turned 54 years of age. With that, I reached another milestone. My age and combined years of service at work (80 years) enables me to retire with benefits. I may retire. It doesn’t mean I can. Certainly doesn’t mean I will.

Yet I was a bit miffed that my milestone came and went unnoticed by all. I expected some workplace communication of congratulations, maybe some offer of options, a retirement seminar--SOMETHING to tell me that I no longer HAVE to work there. But no, nothing.

Since I’m become fond of conspiracy theories lately—my wife says I’m just becoming paranoid—I believe there is a concerted effort to prevent this generation from retiring. AARP is among those behind it. Quoting from their most recent newletter: “AARP research shows that 70 percent of people who have not yet retired plan to work into their retirement years or NEVER retire (scare caps mine). Almost half indicated they envision working into their 70s and BEYOND (again, scare caps mine).”

What’s wrong with these people? Not retire? Ever??!!

Anyway, I checked out the AARP website it advertised for older workers seeking employment. There were jobs in retail, in healthcare, in temporary help, in assisted living, etc. In otherwords, pretty much the same jobs you find in the want ads of your daily newspaper.

However, it appears that these employers are more willing to offer part-time and seasonal employment to their workers. At least that’s what they say. That might be a big benefit if someone were going to semi-retire. But that paranoid, er, conspiracy theory side of me also is guessing something else about these jobs I see listed. They would pay less and offer fewer benefits than the job I have now.

So I will continue on here. Part of the reason is that there also seems to be a conspiracy out there trying to convince us baby boomers that we need a million dollars set aside in a pension fund in order to safely retire in comfort. After all we, as they say, “Can’t depend on social security.”

And then there’s inflation, higher medical expenses, and of course long-term care which runs about $50,000 a year right there in itself. My pension fund people say that a $1,000,000 pension paid out at 5 per cent a year, their favorite figure to use, will produce a $50,000/year annuity pay-out. Of course, I’m nowhere near having $1 million in my pension.

Oh, well. Why worry about it? It seems like I’ve paid about a million dollars in taxes so far in my lifetime, I figure. Why can’t the folks I’ve been paying taxes to most of my adult life worry about it? Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So I have a new motto for us baby boomers: live long enough to become a burden to your government.


Blogger Kacey said...

Jeez Beez, Big Dave! Fifty four and you are contemplating retirement? Let me give you a quick lesson in old age. My "Honey" worked until he was seventy. He had a good job--- pay in the six figures and the promise of five years bonus pay whenever he retired. The bonus pay is finished, but the price of everything is way up and it hurts when you are on a fixed income with no expectatiions of anything extra coming in. We are finally at the age when we are supposed to enjoy our golden years, but are having to decide what to give up. The extra insurance for health care is very expensive, but you have to have it when you are old. Our taxes and insurance on our home are skyrocketing. Whatever you had planned on using as a budget figure should be doubled and forget any travel plans. Retirement is not for sissies. Even any income earned on investments makes you qualify for taxes on your S.S. check. I give up!

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of retiring at 50? I did. You can read all about it on my blog, copy and paste this link:

Kacey is right. Work till you hurt.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, 54 is way to young to retire...What are you thinking? You need to sit down and write down your expenses and add a good 30% to that for cost of living. What would you do in your retiement to keep yourself busy? My husband would go crazy if he had nothing to do. Listen to kacey and boomie...they have a point there. Do you have a hobbie that could earn you an extra income? There are lots to think about before actually retiring. Don't make a rash decision..

As far as your company goes, they want you around for a long time, so why talk retirement?

3:25 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

Big Dave,
Sounds sad to me...that even if you work hard all your can't even enjoy your retirement.\
If you do have to work, find something you really enjoy! You would think your company would have made a big 'to-do' about it. Maybe take you out to Mcd's or something.
The Japanese have wonderful customs. Their children take care of their aging parents.
But not in our lifetime. Our children are too busy working 2 jobs just to get by.
Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Happy late birthday! Follow what your heart leads you to do--as Joseph Campbell said, ". . .follow your bliss."

4:39 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I know the feeling. I'll be 60 next month and I could retire with full benefits if I want to starve to death.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Squirrel said...

You are seriously scaring me. Happy belated birthday, Dave!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Big Dave,

I'll give you some figures that might make you feel better. I live on a 90x100 piece of property (considered generous in my neighborhood of mostly 60x100); I have a very small Cape Cod home with one bathroom that the county knows of (we put an eensy-weensy 3/4 bath in the basement, but haven't reported it yet); and my taxes are $8,000/year. My house is worth somewhere around the $500k-mark. We can barely make ends meet now (we are known for having the highest electric rates in the country, save for Hawaii)...we'll never be able to stay here once we retire.

And to elaborate on what Matty said...all of my grandparents lived with a child until their deaths (and my grandfathers were both 92 when they died). Not only were kids able to afford to have their parents live with them, but the parents were all "with it" enough to live with them! Once you go into a nursing home, it's like the final fronteir. They drug you up until you become a vegetable, and then you die.

What a world.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous tiny tim said...

happy birthday, bro.
the e-mail from scott was funny. tell wendy i said hi, love those cookies. deliver alot of aarp magazines, but still don't receive one. kayaked the missouri memorial day they turned the water off after we went 5 miles, gonna try a different section in a few weeks. later, tiny tim

8:00 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

54, you're young, but I understand. If I could retire from the day job and just enjoy some time w/ my hubby, children, grandchild and writing, I'd be a very happy baby boomer. Oh, I love the idea about burdening our government.

8:04 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

There is one advantage to retiring: You get paid so little your taxes all but disappear. Now if you could only scrape together enough for a meal now and then....

12:18 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Congratulations on your milestone, Dave!

Large families hate the AMT tax.

Old cellists never retire; they just bow out.

Yoga instructors never retire, they just bliss out.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Happy Milestones, Dave...may you have many more of one and less of the other! ;)

9:04 PM  
Blogger simply me said...

It is hard to be optimistic in a society that continually fails it seniors and it always looking to shaft them some more. Health insurance alone is enough to keep me working till I'm ready to drop. With the cost of living, a war with no and a national debt that our children and their children will probably see no end to, and social security on a railway to demise, Americans will work till they drop.
Hey but you my friend have talent. Maybe a career in writing is not too far off.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:02 PM  

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