Sunday, July 15, 2012

Potential Negative Quiddity: Retirement

Philip Moeller of U.S. News and World Report wrote an article called "Eight Retirement Realities in a Stumbling Economy." The eight points were:

Continue employment (until at least 70).

Go back to school (even if it is a junior college to pick up new skills)

Social Security claiming strategy (don’t claim until you have to because the check grows at eight percent a year)

Taxes (are likely to rise and eat into your discretionary income)

Health insurance (basic care and prescriptions will be cheaper under Medicare [if Obama Care stays legal, an issue not addressed in the article])

Reverse mortgages (help retain independent living but are risky—sometimes scams)

Revised glide paths (clever slang for mixture of stocks and bonds in the nest egg – the article waffles on the appropriate mix of the two and offers no coherent advice)

Spending retirement assets (do so slowly, perhaps as little as 4% of principle per year)

A comment to the article had 20 – superior – suggestions!

Bad Money Habits to Drop by Retirement

4.Driving a gas hog
5.High end cell phone
6.High end cell phone plan
7.Extended cable
8.Premium channels
9. Changing oil at 3000 miles (7.5 to 10k is fine)
10.Washing clothes in hot water. Cold is better anyway
11.Going out to eat
12.Going out to movies
13.Going out to clubs
15.Buying the latest gadgets
16.Pets,plants and anything that cost to keep up, feed, etc.
17. Gym membership
18. Country club membership
19. Coffee of the month club.
20. Buying almost anything from a convenience store.

These are things that work for me (they are not for everyone), so I may have more money to take trips ,etc..
I know many will come back with stupid remarks like "quit breathing," "quit living," etc…

For those there is little hope until it gets late in life.

Learn to really enjoy life. Go for a hike. Take in the arts. Go to a museum. There are a lot of things you can do that are free or cost very little. My town has many FREE concerts and other free events all year.

-- a comment by "Vagabond"

An Additional Comment by the Blog Author

I agree with "Vagabond’s" list of 20 items except for pets and gym membership.

A pet, especially a dog, increases alertness and happiness in the pet owner. Pets are good for the nerves. Dogs are superior fire alarms, burglar alarms and earthquake warning devices. Consider "splurging" here on a doggy and scrimping by getting your pet dirt-cheap thirty cents a pound pet food when on sale at a supermarket or discount store.

Gym membership: consider joining a gym with a pool and whirlpool, especially if you have osteoarthritis.

There’s no substitute for hydrotherapy for these problems. And it gets you out and about without having to spend much money – an annual membership is going to be $2 or maybe $3 a day. You can lollygag there for two or three hours a day and get your joints moving without pain.

I retired myself at age 53, so I also want to say…

Unless your doctor forbids you from doing so (and this is true for about one person out of a million), once you are 35 and for the rest of your life, take a "baby" aspirin tablet (81 mg) every day or split a 325 mg tablet into fourths and take that every day. This tiny amount of aspirin in the blood stream delays the onset of your first heart attack or stroke by five full years on average. Give yourself five full years of additional normal mental activity for almost no money. Do it. No one’s personality ever improved after having a stroke. It never happens.

And I have more advice: retirement is a miserable, humiliating, nerve-wracking experience – regardless of the size of your bank account! – because people will treat you like a zombie or ghost who is not really alive anymore. The defense against this certain shunning is to keep your mind active. Read all of Shakespeare’s plays. Or all of Dickens’ books. Or all of Kipling’s stories and poems. Stock up on your favorite genre of music by buying 50 used but like new CDs on Listen to them each day. Learn to play pool. Volunteer at church. There’s a "Hoyle" CD program for $12 or so that contains dozens of card games –buy it and keep playing one or two of your favorites on the computer for a couple of years until you become an expert that usually beats the computer. What I’m saying is stretch your mind and your mental skills a little bit every day you are in retirement. Every day experience a mental challenge for yourself. "You’ll be very sorry if you don’t do this."

Link to both the U.S. News article and hundreds of comments at:

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