For most of my life I've been looking forward to retirement. And to support my retirement, I've been looking for that one really big idea that'll make me rich enough to hand in my resignation and spend the rest of my life in leisure. Problem is that the cost of retirement has skyrocketed in recent years so the revenue I need to earn from my one big idea has increased exponentially. It's gotten to the point where I fear I may need to come up with TWO ideas.
Here's the way I'm seeing it:
Let's say you and your spouse want to retire at...oh...$50,000 per year. In a few years that will be just enough to pay for your taxes (unless you live in CA, NY, or NJ), and your car insurance (unless you live in CA, NY, or NJ), your food and maybe some heat in the winter, but probably not air conditioning in the summer. If you're smart, your retirement home will be a cave so you can save money on heat and air conditioning. (Don't worry...your cave is going to be a comfortable 55 degrees F all year round if you make sure it's at least 4 feet underground.)
With your $50K per year retirement money, you and your spouse will be able to buy clothes (if, like me, your wardrobe comes from Sam's Club) and maybe every few years you can save enough to go on a little trip. Plan on staying at a friend's house. Someone who'll feed you, if at all possible.
It won't be a difficult lifestyle to adopt as long as you haven't set your retirement expectations too high -- and you don't expect to do things like travel and explore new hobbies. You really won't have time for these little luxuries because you'll be busy drying peat moss so you can have a fire and making your own soap out of bacon grease...assuming you can steal your neighbor's pig.
Just think of what a happy, simple life you'll have! No worries about the cost of your cell phone service. No wondering which new movie you'll rent on Pay-Per-View. No fretting about who's saying what about you on Facebook. You'll be contentedly living out your Golden Years without a care in the world.
Except, maybe, whether the berries you foraged for breakfast were poisonous. But don't think about things like that. Be optimistic that you -- as a baby boomer -- are on the leading edge of another cultural shift.
That is, of course, if you've saved up enough money to earn you $50,000 per year in retirement.
By my calculations, with the current interest rate of about 1/2% on savings accounts, you'll need to have saved $10,000,000 for this frugal, but fulfilling, retirement. Ten million dollars. Ten million. Let me repeat that...TEN MILLION DOLLARS!!!
I've calculated everything I've saved, and I'm afraid I'm a few million dollars short. To be honest, if you round off to the nearest million, I'm about $10 million short. It's not that I've spent my money foolishly. Oh, no! I saved. And saved and saved. I actually paid off my house mortgage! And my car. And everything else I've ever bought. And I put my savings into a 401K. And then something horrible happened and I had to look up the term "over-exhuberance" and people talked about bubbles and I said to myself, "I remember something about the South Sea Bubble in economics class." And then I thought about the Dutch Tulip Bubble and I said, "Boy, I should have paid a lot more attention in economics class." But our professor, John Hughes, was dreamy and who could think about money when he was standing there looking all cute and available to the seven dorky co-eds attending Ryerson's business college?
Anyway, I've come up with my big idea that'll make me millions of dollars so I can retire to a hole in the ground (but not in CA, NY, or NJ) where I'll eat stolen pigs and make soap out of their fat an then go to mooch off my...I mean...visit my friends every couple of years.
I'm going to design and sell what every anarchist needs: a balaclava. I mean, just about everyone these days needs their own balaclava. Who wants to be recognized when they're storming the Bastille? Not me! And not any of those folks who are protesting in Athens, Rome, Cairo, New York, or any where else in the world. (I understand that the protesters in Paris have the month of October off.)
With a balaclava, you can protest anything, anywhere, anytime without fear of being identified by people who may not like that you're ripping things up or burning things down or just hanging around hoping you meet someone nice at the protest march.
I'm going to decorate my balaclavas so there'll be a little bit of variety and people will really want them. You can order yours to look like a cat face or a Schnauzer face, or a lizard face...or you could get the ever-popular Pig Face and look like someone you're probably protesting against: a CEO, a politician, a lousy choreographer, a cruel make-up artist, a waitress who forgot to re-fill your water glass, a kid who annoyed you by talking in the theater, an ex-spouse, your boss, the greeter at Sam's Club who insisted you turn your card over so he could make sure the photo matched your face, that young girl who sat beside you on a recent US Airways flight and rolled her eyes when she looked at you because she thought you were such a dork and she wanted to sit beside a cute guy she could someday sue for child support.
So, there you go. I'm now in the business of selling, "Deb's Original Balaclavas." They're energy-efficient, biodegradable, gender non-specific, fit any size head (except maybe Michele Pfeiffer's head) and are non-denominational. Perfect for the modern marching protester!
If you'd like to obtain your "Deb's Original Balaclava" please send $1 million to me c/o Yarnmarket.com. Please indicate whether you want the cat face, dog face or pig face. All orders will be shipped via Federal Express with a hand-written thank you note and the promise of a free bar of pig fat soap as soon as I figure out how to make it.