Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Retirement is in the Air

Not for me, of course. I never stay at a job more than a few years, so I have never been vested in any retirement plan. Any money I accumulate in a 401K-type plan, I just cash out when I leave a job and use the money to keep the bills paid while I look for a new job. I used to put substantial amounts of money into various mutual funds and other financial scams, but I grew tired of the below-money-market rates of return, once I subtracted all the fees to put money in, take money out, and just leaving the money there. I'm sure someone was making a lot of money, but it certainly wasn't me.

So what brought all this on? My employer has a new retirement plan. It's such a great deal for the employees!! And it just so happens to relieve the organization of millions in future liability under the existing defined benefit plan. Now understand, I realize that every defined benefit plan is headed for bankruptcy, so I understand the need to make these sorts of changes. But please don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining. The end result is a massive reduction in expected retirement income if I work here until age 65. Not slightly less; significantly less. And that assumes no major financial "events" in the next 25 years, which I find to be increasingly unlikely.

My retirement plan is very simple. Step One, learn to live with less. So much less that no matter how feeble I get, I can always earn enough to get by. Of course job one is to ditch the damn house. Talk about a money pit. The second part is to move to a temperate climate. In the north, it will cost me $4,000 just to heat my home this winter. If I move to some hothouse like Arizona, I'll spend a similar amount to air condition a home. The ideal place is somewhere where the temps are pretty much in the 70's all year. There are such places, and they are not hard to find. Step Two, don't live long. My health problems will cut my life short, probably no more than 65 or 70. That's not pessimism; that's what the actuarial tables say. No life insurance company on the planet will sell me a policy, and with good reason.

So I live for the moment, rather than planning for the future. I'm sure that makes me a horrible person; immature, selfish, and stupid. I figure I'm going to burn in hell anyway, so I might as well have some fun in the 20-30 years I have left.


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