Update from the original personal blog post from a year ago...
The other day I came upon an article in the WSJ about retiring (2011 article here).
From the article:
"Don't let the rally in the stock and bond markets fool you. Many Americans are still hurtling towards a retirement disaster. Few realize it. Even many of those running the big pension funds don't know.
That's the conclusion of John West and Rob Arnott at Research Affiliates, an investment management firm, in Newport Beach, Calif. In their latest report, "Hope Is Not A Strategy," they have some numbers to back it up.
"I worry a lot about people reaching their golden years and discovering, 'Oh, I should've saved more,' and 'Oh, I don't qualify for Social Security any more because it's means tested'," says Mr. Arnott, a widely respected market strategist. "We're headed for a retirement train wreck," he adds, "and it's going to get really ugly over the next 15 years."
Remember, there's something like a $55 trillion (with a "T") unfunded set of liabilities (a years worth of global GDP) - Social Security, Medicaid, etc. to be paid for. My guess is that bill will be coming due during my retirement.
Its certain to be a financial train wreck...
Do I have savings - sure. But what will the landscape in retirement be for me in say, 15 or 20 years (I'm 53 [54 in 2011]) factoring in the bigger financial picture?
The answer is it will A) not be like today, B) not offer much I am interested in, C) no amount of reasonable planning will protect me from societies great rush to catastrophic failure.
That's right - not offer much I am interested in. There's a way to post comments over there [ on the original article ]. I wrote this:
- Never retire and work at something that makes you happy.
- Accept that you will eventually die and don't waste time and money on keeping yourself alive in a state worse than death.
- Change your lifestyle to require less.
- Take better care of yourself by changing your life style.
Yes indeed. Anyone who believes in all the statistics of the financial world must also see this statistic: retirement = death. (Do your own research, start by Googling "retirement death"). Personally I think how long you live has a lot to do with how you perceive your "value" relative to the world. If your life's value is your work and you stop working - surprise - you have nothing to live for. Statistics bear this out.
The second big, and I mean really big problem, for the elderly is the disaster of modern medicine. I have written here about this before. This is going to get a lot worse and probably will never get better. My rule of thumb is this, past about 60 if you go into a hospital for anything serious you will die or end up in a nursing home within a year.
Its bad enough doctors prescribe medicine willy-nilly based on what the big Pharma sales "skirt" tells them to do. But once you're in the hospital your doomed - because - just like with heroin - you get "addicted" to the process.
How do you stay out? By doing research and learning that 99% of modern medicine is about making money for someone else from your misfortune. Pills prescribed for things you can fix by changing your behavior. More pills to avert the side effects of the pill you don't need. More pills to fix the side effects of those pills. On and on until you die. (See my previous post on "Does My Medication Really Work".)
And yes, you will die. Get over it. Everyone is going to die. The only question is "Do I want to die in the hospital or nursing home hooked up tubes, tanks, pumps, and fluids?" Do I want the "plug pulled"? Do I want to be "Left to die by people I don't know?" Modern society has created ridiculous expectations for living forever. Try valuing your life on accomplishments and goodness instead - had kids and raised them right, had a good business and made money fairly with no regrets, treated the spouse right, learned to forgive... Don't have much of this? Its not too late to change.
Before I was born society handled the elderly much differently than today. Grandma died in the back room taken care of by the family. Today grandma is trundled off to the nursing home after a broken hip where she's abused by stupid, careless 30-somethings that hate their job. If she complains out come the OC-80's until things are fine.
You can prevent this type of death - my wife is working on this - by properly training the family about what's important. As important as any retirement account is the investment you make in keeping your family intact and educated on life - from end to end. Teaching the value of having grandma around to help teach and direct the kiddies - both grandma's own kiddies as well as the grandchildren.
Modern feminism has destroyed this part of our lives. Women dealt with this part of life until about 50-60 years ago when it was ceded to modern technology. Re-assess where you are. Go to a nursing home or hospital and see what's in store for you.
The modern educational system turns out, for the most part, modern idiots. They are clueless about education, nutrition, and life. You want to have proper nutrition.
Most modern people are malnourished. I write about this a lot. You want to stay out of the hospital and nursing home? Get your nutrition right. Exercise and learn to keep moving. Most elderly sit around all day - surprise - blood clots form, etc. They eat crap and its killing them. Remain active and eat right.
The goal of the "end of life" game is to remain yourself as long as you can. I don't want to live if I am not me anymore. Modern medicine wants to take this from you so the doctor can get $22.00 US for an office visit to prescribe a drug you don't need and you can be an OC-80 zombie.
And what about stuff? Do you need all that? Is life a game where the person who dies with the most toys wins? No. I hate to say it but life as you age is not like that nonsense they show on the TV commercial - the perfect house, grandpa and grandma, fit and trim, sun shining, flying around the world to spoil grandkids. Life intervenes and the last thing you want is a lot of stuff (cars, houses, crap) that you have to worry about and manage. Its just a burden. Am I advocating living in a box under the bridge - no. But stuff = aggravation. Greedy kiddies wanting it and the related stress. You get the idea.
While all this may seem like the Borg - resistance is not futile.
Do your own research. Learn. Grow. Stop expecting nanny government to save you.
What's really ironic to me is that all the sixties hippy radical types that went on into public service, who promote universal health care, and all the rest are so dumb about what this system is doing to them.
Technology is not the answer - particularly in medicine.
Thinking for yourself is - using modern technology to make the right decisions is what needs to go on - not having some government flunky controlling your morphine drip.
For me - death will begin by enslavement to Medicare - so I want to stay as far away as I can.
I've lived a good life I can be proud of. I certainly don't want to die but when I do I do. Its certainly a lot less stressful than worrying every minute about my cholesterol level.
I enjoy my life now because I am free.