Over the course of the last few years, as investment balances have shrunk, savings rates have reached all time lows and the conversation began in earnest about changes to social programs, the financial media and even some advisors have lead you down a path that is fraught with lack of any “think-through.”
While it’s been empirically easy to avoid action when it comes to retirement planning, although that will not save you, the innate ability to hide the issues has now been buttressed. And, perhaps the new “normal” is the greatest cloaking device since the Klingon’s wanted to hide from Kirk and Spock in a Star Trek deep-space showdown:
“I’ll just have to work longer.....”
That’s powerful. I say that because it involves the voluntary initiative to continue to do something known resoundingly as unpleasant; work. It is, I suppose, the ultimate “fall on our own sword.” Talk about taking one for the team. This very comment is the stuff of legends.
There’s only one problem. Other than another avoidance mechanism and admittedly one steeped in plaudits and accolades for the effort, it’s highly likely not to work.
First, it pre-supposes that you’ll be healthy enough to work. Fact is, there’s more than enough evidence that shows that this may not be the thing you want to count on and if you do count on it, do so knowing that the data shows that your likely to be in the vast minority of retirees who are not healthy enough to work in any meaningful way.
Secondarily, it pre-supposes that your spouse or partner is going to be healthy enough. Once again this is the lesser likely statistical outcome by today’s math. Reality is that when your spouse or partner is gravely ill, your ability to get or keep meaningful employment is a less than optimistic slant to take.
Third, it pre-supposes that you’ll find work. And again, not a real good bet based on the current math since the rate of unemployment is higher among older age groups than almost any other. You could start your own business and perhaps you should but counting on that as a means to provide your sustenance isn’t likely wise given that like marriages, about half of all small businesses fail within the first few years. Marriages may take longer, but the end result is about the same.
Truth is that work after retirement may be able to provide you with some bonus dollars to help but ascribing the effort the gold medal for saving retirement is, at best, premature.
Better, I’d suggest, that you give working "post retirement" it’s rightful place; it may provide you with some extras.
So where is the answer to a better retirement? It’s where it’s always been, it’s here and it’s now. Now is the time to start doing something about your future.
I watched the Little League World Series this weekend, Japan against the U.S. The young man pitching for the Japanese team threw the his fastball nearly 80 miles and hour which in the distances of Little League was the equivalent of a 100 mile-an-hour plus fastball in the major leagues. The U.S. coach told his players, “you’ve got to make you mind up to swing before he’s even let the ball go; if you wait to size it up, it’ll be too late.”
Evidently, preparing early and often works on a whole host of levels and for many of the same reasons and in many of the same ways.
As a noted motivational speaker once said, “everything you do counts, what you do counts and what you don’t do counts, it’s all adding up, either helping or hurting.”
Doing nothing doesn’t mean nothing happens.