It’s tough not to buy stuff. Clothes, trips, electronics. There’s cool stuff to buy and do.
Most people think they are immune to advertising and marketing, but marketers know differently. For the record, most people also think they are better drivers than average, and many (mostly men) think they have better-than-average trading and investing skills.
But all too often, I see people close to retirement who are living on the edge. They spent their money on trips and stuff while they were working, and didn’t save enough money for later.
We love our consumer goods, but that’s often to our detriment.
When people reach that zone between 62 and 70 – not coincidentally, the ages when you can begin claiming Social Security – they start thinking they’d like to stop working. Really let this sink in, because you’ll probably want to stop working someday.
Trust me on this: Despite the current hoopla (aka “denial”) about never retiring, most people want to stop hustling for a paycheck, and start relaxing. I’ve written about this extensively in my column for the Santa Fe New Mexican.
But people run into a problem because they aren’t financially prepared to live another 25 or 30 years without income from a job.
American society, and our media, seduce us into thinking it’s endless summer, that we’ll never grow old. And even if we happen to find ourselves celebrating a 75th or 80th birthday, we’ll never, ever want to retire, because that’s what our grandparents did.
Do yourselves a favor. Just assume there will be a day when you don’t want to work because you have to. I work with plenty of active seniors, for whom retirement doesn’t mean shuffleboard and rocking chairs, but travel, volunteer work, lobbying for non-profits, playing music, spending time with the grandkids, or anything else they enjoy.
They’re having a lot more fun than the people who didn’t acknowledge that this day was coming, and neglected to stash away savings to cover the bills.