Ready to get real about retirement?
It’s time to get real. Are you with me?
You are? Wow. That was easy. I thought you might want to know what we’re getting real about before jumping on board so quickly.
It could be time to get real about getting in shape. Would it kill us to go for a brisk walk once in a while? Could we think about moving the collection of shirts and towels off the Nordic Track, dusting off our old Thigh Master or taking up pole dancing?
Well, yes, these are all good ideas. Over the summer I set aside a corner of my basement and made it a home gym. I put down a rubber floor and set up a bench. Pound it, bruh!
I made a pledge to use it — and I do use it almost every day. I should have been more specific, though. Before I did one set or even a rep, a laundry basket appeared on the bench. And once a piece of gym equipment becomes a laundry accessory, it is tough to go back.
But I am not getting real about exercise this week.
What about eating better? That’s a great idea. It’s 8 p.m. and I just ate a full-on leftover turkey sandwich with butter and mayo and dressing and cranberry sauce. I chased it down with a little more turkey, straight up, dipped in mayo. It was like a sick twist on chicken nuggets.
Maybe it’s the turkey talking, but I do need more green in my life. I feel slow. If zombies attacked, I would have a hard time getting off the couch. I might just say, eh, whatever. The zombies can have me. What are you gonna do?
But healthy eating is going to have to wait. I can only get real about one serious life issue at a time and this week it’s retirement. Yes! I am getting real about retirement.
I am finally feeling mortal enough to consider what my life will be like as an old guy, and it scares me.
I’ve taken a few runs at retirement planning before. In the early 2000s, I played the same lottery numbers for years and never managed to retire. I finally gave up and I have never looked at the lotto numbers again, just in case mine come up.
Another retirement plan is to finally sell all the cards and toys and stuff that I saved from my childhood. You always see these stories about a guy who sold an old baseball card or hockey card at auction and made millions.
Or there are the stories about an action figure or comic book selling for more than I could make in 10 years of work.
I have all kinds of collectible gems and, once in a while, I drag some of them out and search online to find out they are worth about half what I paid for them 30 or 40 years ago. What the heck?
This time is different. This time, I’m getting real. I know I’m getting real because I just met with an investment guy. I have “a guy” now. When you have “a guy,” it means you are serious about retirement saving.
And my guy is good. I know he’s good because he was wearing a loud suit. It was a bright blue colour with a checked pattern, and it looked two sizes too small. It’s a serious investment-guy suit.
When we met, he explained a lot about investments and he was all like, “Mutual funds, GICs, Tax-Free Savings, RRSPs, growth, balance, premium, diversified, allocations, stocks and bonds.”
He knew all the words and I was like, nod and try to look like you understand something.
The only time I felt even a little smart was when he showed me a list that was some sort of “fund,” and it showed some of the companies that are in this fund and one of them was Etsy, and in my head, I was like, “I know that one! Buy, buy, buy!”
I don’t have any better sense of when I might be able to retire and whether, when I do retire, I will be able to afford luxuries like meat. But this was a first step. Getting real with investments and capital gains and dividend payments, and all that other stuff that I don’t understand, will take some time.
I’ll get it sorted out. I’m getting real. And I already have suits that are too small.