Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today the woman in the office next to mine turned 68. Yup, she is still working. She actually doesn't look that old but I keep telling her she should retire and enjoy life - move up to Washington where her sister is, the pace is slower, and the cost of living lower.

But she keeps telling me she can't afford to retire.

What I have told Greg and Katie from when they were probably too young to understand is to start saving and investing as soon as they hit the working world and by the time they are in their 40's, being able to retire would be a distinct possibility. That was said also with the regret that I was too dumb to do that back then, and actually, when I was just starting out and then for many years afterwards I never really gave it serious thought.

I probably have a lot of company - we always think we're young and there's still plenty of time but then time keeps moving on. The power of compounding is diminished!

So today I pondered what it would be like if I am still working when I hit the age of 68. That sure isn't what I'd like to be doing. Now I guess some people are married to their work and for them that's the passion that keeps them going. Not me!

Let's see... when I am 68 I thought it would be nice to look back and see at least 10 years of being retired and being able to pursue other things in life besides having to wake up each weekday morning to go to work. Now what if, instead of 10 years, it was just one year? If it's all history, what difference does it make if it is 10 years of history or one year of history? It's all in the past. The focus should be on what's in store going forward.

So at 68, that means in probability terms, God willing, of course, that there is less in store (in terms of years) going forward than there would be at 58, even less than at 48, another reason for planning for an earlier rather than later retirement. Where we are right now - it is what it is. But going forward, we have some influence over that and we have to make the most of it.

I don't know if this mindless philosophizing made a whole lot of sense since it rambled all over the place but that's what rambled through my mind today.

"Mindless philosophizing" also brings to mind a certain favorite movie from the 70's, and another phrase that came from it - "Jedi mind trick."

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