The word “tire” is in retirement for a reason


by Mark New 5/17/15
I believe it was the great humorist Will Rogers who once said: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Well, today’s post has absolutely nothing to do with Will Rogers or his famous quote, but I like Will Rogers and his quote so I thought I would mention it anyway. Besides, I have to fill this blogpost with a certain number of words, so starting out this way puts me ahead of the game.

I recently turned 62 years old, which in my family is the new 80. I have been thinking more se-riously about how much money I will need to live on when I retire. From what I read, I could potentially have enough money to live on, unless I do something extravagant, like buy something.

The first thing people usually want to know when they speak with a financial planner is “the number.” That is, how much money they will need to save to retire comfortably. You can never get a straightforward answer about “the number.” In fact, the experts spend so much time getting around answering the question about “the number,” that it will make your head explode. The answer usually goes something like, “Well, in today’s uncertain economic times, there are so many variables to consider and so many unknown factors in the market to add to the mix…” blah, blah, blah.

As far as I can tell, the 3 pieces of advice planners seem to offer with consistency are: (1) hire me and pay me a percentage of your portfolio every month because I can get you into funds you can’t get on your own; (2) you will need at least 90% of the income in retirement that you earned while you were working; (3) regardless of your current age, rate of savings, your money in the bank and potential family inheritance—- you are not saving enough and will be destined to a life of eating Purina Dog Chow (or more likely the Dollar Store generic version) and living “in a van down by the river.” (Shout out to the late Chris Farley).

In reality, I have put aside money from my paycheck every week since I first began working at a part-time job at 16 years of age. Actually, we all have. This savings account is commonly referred to as a social security tax whose purpose it is to help support us in retirement. It is a nice idea in theory, and I am certain when the program was enacted was well-intentioned. But, in actuality, a penny doesn’t go as far as it used to. And, it never did go very far.

Unfortunately, something in the system has gone askew. In calculating my probable social secu-rity income (which I have recently become entitled to when I turned 62), unless I misplaced a digit or my calculator has developed a warped sense of humor, my social security income is not quite the little nest egg I thought it would be. In fact, if I add up the money I have been putting into the social security system each week since 1969, I think I would have had a better chance of seeing a decent return by putting all the money on a three legged horse at the track.

So, I have concluded that the so-called financial experts and our low-balled federal government do not seem to be much help in keeping me afloat in my golden years. I guess the only positive spin I can put on it is that at least I will be part of the “1%.” Unfortunately, I’ll be part of the 1% at the wrong end of the economic spectrum.

Let’s all meet at the local shelter soon and share a bowl of Meow Mix.    |      2015