The dazzling Misssy M seems to inspire a lot of blog posts for me. I don’t know why that should be so – I’ve never inspired any for her. But anyway, last week she posted a panicky little treatise on being forty and all the ways she reckons she should be different at such an advanced age.
The thing that particularly sparked my interest and concern, was her worry that neither she, nor her husband had much of a pension. How you’re going to survive in your old age is something that most young people don’t seem to give much thought to. It’s not until you start heading into your 40s that you suddenly begin to realize that you might just live another 40 years. Then you realize that you won’t want to keep working for another 40 years even if you could. Then you realize that if you’re not working you won’t have any money and that without money you won’t be able to do stuff like eat, pay your mortgage or sail around the world.
Some of us — though we whine about having worked non-stop for the last 20ish years in a boring government job, at least currently believe we have a fairly livable pension to look forward to. (Unless, of course, Harper decides to slash the pensions which we’ve been paying into and which are really the only reason most of us keep hanging on in the federal public service where the only real benefit anymore is a stable pension plan, despite what the public perception is of federal public servants as “fat cats”. So yes, let’s by all means bring government workers down to the level of the lowest common denominator instead of raising salaries and pensions in other industries.)
So, really a whole bunch of us have no real idea what our futures as old people is going to look like. Unless you’ve got a hefty and absolutely secure pension and/or have pumped most of your salary into RRSPs all your life and/or have some kick-ass investments and/or a giant inheritance, what are you going to live on after 60 or 65? Your federal/state/old age pension plan isn’t going to be enough to even keep you in cat food and hard candy. And what if you become ill or infirm and can’t look after yourself properly anymore? I’m sort of hyperventilating just thinking about it.
People in my age range are getting quite anxious about this question – especially those without a job-related pension. I’ve been kind of hoping that not only will I be able to continue to feed myself and pay my bills, but that I might also have a bit extra for some travel or other fun things once I don’t have to punch a clock anymore. But who knows?
Here are some options I’ve been considering:
- Going to live somewhere warm. Right away that cuts my cost of living by 70%. And, sleeping in a cardboard box is so much more pleasant when you’re not surrounded by ice and snow.
- Winning a lottery. While it sounds great in theory, I understand there is a good chance this will be difficult to put into practice.
- Living off my child. It would be fun to spend my days embarrassing her even more than I already am by shuffling around the house in diapers and a grubby housecoat, cackling toothlessly at all her friends; but I suspect she’ll make me go live in the root cellar and I wouldn’t like that.
- Robbing a bank. Now this is a win-win option. If I get away with it, I have a nice nest egg. If I don’t get away with it I get to go and live in one of those cute cottages at Grand Valley Institution for Women
That’s pretty much it for ideas on my end. How about you? How are you going to survive in your declining years?