Tuesday, December 12, 2006
It's too late for me, but maybe not you!
Over the brief history of this blog, there have been a few occasions when I've joked around about having to eventually forfeit our home under increasingly dire economic circumstances brought on by the follies of our government we trust to "protect" us.
"There's a new freeway bridge just a couple of blocks from here," I've said kiddingly. "And if we're fortunate enough to be in one of the earlier waves of new dispossessed, we might be able to claim a spot towards the bridge's underside middle where the hordes of homeless will insulate us from the cold in winter and heat of summer."
But I'm not so sure that's a joke after reading another one of those articles in our local newspaper yesterday. You know, one of those by some recurring financial adviser that tells us, in order to retire in these United States, you'll need a nest egg of about $1 million!
Now, one of the descriptions I chose to set the mood for this blog when it began back in June, 2005 was a quote from a little book entitled "E.T. 101." It takes a light approach to some serious shit, much like my humor about being homeless. "E.T. 101" is a book supposedly channeled from aliens. And looking down on us from above, they posit: "Keep in mind that this planet is no model for rational thought, and that what passes for sanity here is sending chills down the spine of the remainder of the universe."
I'm sure that was said in regards to our endless, senseless wars, unending genocides, the starvation of masses, etc. But I'm sure it could also be applied to articles by financial advisers telling us we Americans need $1 million in retirement if we're to live comfortably and avoid all those unpleasantries the rest of the world seems to be drowning in.
So when I say each of us needs about $1 million before we can retire here in this country, juxtapose that with what's going on in other places like Iraq, or Darfur. Suddenly, reading about how much we need to stay comfortable, to avoid living under a bridge and retire comfortably reinforces the E.T.'s claim that, "what passes for sanity here is sending chills down the spine of the remainder of the universe."
But let's assume that we all buy into this retirement requirement. Pretend that's rational for a second. (And it may be!) If so, me and Mrs. Dada are doomed. It looks like the underside of a freeway overpass for us.
However, before you get too depressed, take heart. If you are not yet retired, if you have a few years to go, there may be hope for you. As the article tells us, if you are 40 and have managed to save $50,000 towards retirement to this point, there is still hope for you to reach that magic retirement goal of the $1 million nest egg. All you need do is stash away $500/month at annual growth rate of 6% and,"Voila!," you'll reach the necessary $1 million goal by age 84! Now here's the sad news: Life expectancy for a male in the U.S. is 75.4 years. That's a white male. (If you're a black male, you can expect to expire shortly before your 70th birthday.)
The point here being, whether you're a white or black male and only have $50,000 saved by age 40, you and I may get to know each other one day--underneath a freeway bridge (if I live long enough). Oh, and as for you ladies out there, white or black, you can expect to expire by 80.5 and 76.1 years respectively. So we'll see you under the bridge also.
But here's the one encouraging note for those of you who are 40 with a current retirement savings total of $50,000. If you up your monthly contribution towards your retirement to $1,653 each and every month the article tells us, and you take greater risks with that money earning a 13% return on your money (!!!) , you can attain the mythical $1 million American retirement requirement by age 65! (In that case, we probably won't be sharing a spot under a bridge, you lucky bastards!)
This leaves me with only one question. What fucking Universe are the financial advisers who write this shit living in? Obviously, not the same one as me.