You can plan all you want for your retirement. You can save all you want. But unless that savings is in the millions of dollars (upwards of at least five million) you will have no idea how your retirement years are going to be. Retirement planning comes with a lot of uncertainty. More so than ever before. Gone are the days of working twenty years with one company and an ending gold watch reward. Not only do we have to contend with American factors, we now have to contend with global financial discords as well.
To be honest, retirement is a feat that no human being can predict.
Every four to eight years, as a new political administration moves in to The White House, the rules of the game change. I find it near impossible to comprehend that our financial well being is constantly being manipulated by whomever we elect into any political power. And the realization that other countries, such as China, Japan, England and Venezuelan can have an affect on our bottom lines is mind blowing as well.
To be retired now, in this day and age we have to be nimble, educated and quick. We have to be fluent in ALL global activities, all global corporate shenanigans and all global political administrations. It’s enough to make me want to vote yes on legalizing crystal meth (just kidding, but you get the idea).
Countless, endless studies ad nauseam have shown that it is very difficult to predict recessions, interest rates or how the financial markets are going to react. None of us have any idea how our tax rates are going to go. We’re unsure about health insurance, disability insurance (will it cover what aches me in my future?) or long term insurance. The rules are constantly being changed and many times we don’t know that the rules were changed in the first place.
Let’s face it: the ‘experts’ couldn’t even predict who was going to win our last presidential election, so how can we expect any other ‘expert’ to correctly predict anything to do with our daily lives?
When you wake up in the morning, odds are good that this new day is NOT going to be the same as any other previous day. Every day is different. We’re really handling our retirement years by instinct rather than logic or knowledge. We’re facing things that never happened before. There is no precedent. There are no guidelines.
There is too much going on in the world now that we can’t predict our futures anymore. We really are handling our current lives by the seat of our pants.
Maintaining a lifestyle isn’t as easy as it looks. Sooner or later you will figure out that frugality is going to be your only course of action to get you through your latter years. Inflation is real. Health care, property taxes or coming up with monthly rent money are big inflation concerns. We’re being forced to take on some sort of risk whether we like it or not in order to survive. If we stay on a predictable safe path eventually our lifestyle will shrink and fade. There is no such thing as ‘protection’.
We can’t even go shopping at a WalMart anymore and be guaranteed we’re going to come home that afternoon. Did you ever think that setting foot inside a WalMart was now going to come with risks?
Rather than trying not to lose, life now is starting to look more like fun if we play it to win. It’s a game of survival. Retirement is turning out to be NOT the time to relax but more in tune to a set of current top video games. Is it any wonder that Manhunt 2 has been labeled as possibly the most violent video game ever made and is infamous for being one of only four video games to have received an “Adults Only” rating due to violence, with the other three being The Punisher, Hatred, and Agony. Look at the names of these top video games: Manhunt? Punisher? Hatred? Agony?
Sounds like a normal day for me strolling around New York City.
There’s only one way we will know if our retirement years were successful. Unfortunately, we won’t be around to hear the final ending score. We’ll be dead. If we can die with our lives still intact, roof over our heads, bills paid on time, all medical needs met, and maybe some money left to our heirs, maybe then and only then will we know that all that saving, scrimping, planning, yearning and agonizing paid off.
If we can get a Significant Other to whisper into our ears just before we take our final breadth “You done good!” there really isn’t much more I can say about retirement. Except, do the best you can, live your life to its fullest each and every day. Don’t wait for your retirement years to take that vacation, learn a new hobby, live that experience. Do it now while you’re young AND still have a job.
Learn how to pray. It’s up to you and the good Lord above if you’ll be fortunate enough to survive this wicked world we all live in and yet manage to still retire well.
And save, save, save, save.