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The retirement of the future? Sounds like crap to me!

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I found this story on SmartMoney.com posing the question “What will retirement be like for GenX and GenY?”. For answers, they turned to some people calling themselves “futurists”, which I suspect is another name for the people who spend their every waking moment watching the Sci-Fi Channel.

Anyway, their vision of future retirement doesn’t sound too appealing to me. Their projection is that due to the poor financial condition most new college graduates of today find themselves in, their insatiable desire for material things, the demise in most areas of the traditional pension plan, and the idea that most in this age group will easily live to be 100, we will have what amounts to an 80-year career. The idea is that once this group approaches retirement age they will still have several decades of viable life ahead of them and not enough in savings to pay for total retirement, leading to the rise of second and even third careers later in life. They also predict an increased dependence on entrepreneurship, as this group seeks to supplement their regular paychecks with outside income to support their standard of living. Honestly, one career is enough for me, so the idea of pursuing one or two more isn’t my idea of fun.

The lessons from this scenario are numerous:

  1. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford!
  2. Save money for your own retirement, as you can’t depend on the government or your employer to make sure you aren’t dining on ramen noodles and mac and cheese during your golden years.
  3. Avoid debt. That debt will keep you from retirement by keeping those principal and interest payments from going into your savings.
  4. Make sure the retirement savings you do have is properly allocated. If you have more than ten years or so until retirement, there is no reason you should have any more than a small percentage in bonds and debt instruments. You need that money to grow!

On the upside, these trekkie freaks do think that improvements in technology will make our lives much more pleasant. Specifically, they predict technology in our homes will help monitor our health and that advances in artificial intelligence will allow robots to do the dreaded manual labor tasks we as humans dread. This sort of reminds me of the old “in the year 2000” bits from Conan O’Brien. But to steal from another Conan bit, this whole scenario is great…FOR ME TO POOP ON! =)

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May 15, 2007 - Posted by | Retirement

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