Momentous Monday

August 18, 2014

magritte13Light fog and cool this early Monday on California’s north coast as we start another work week. And from this vantage point, Friday looks years away.

Today is special — for me. This is my last full-work week as I’m retiring, and the liquor store I manage will have to continue running without me. My replacement starts his final training this morning and I hope to be away, and out of having to deal with an ugly public by early next week — maybe at the end of this one.
Depends on the replacement, and so far, he seems up to the task.

(Illustration: Rene Magritte’s ‘La Clairvoyance‘ found here).

As for my aging ass, retirement is a white-smoked dream waiting out there — for the last couple of months, Third-Eye Blind‘s old tune, “How’s It Going To Be,” has been trashing around inside my brain, but instead of some pitiful lament over a girl, my special lyrics form a song of silly mystery about how life will be without a time card to punch.
Since June 1965 I’ve just about always worked somewhere — that first one was Avis Rent-A-Car (“We try harder” our slogan at the time, focusing on Hertz as #1, and we’re #2, so ‘we work harder’ for you, the customer), where I washed the rental cars. And over the years I’ve worked at all kinds of jobs, from air traffic controller (USAF), newspaper reporter, carpenter, dishwasher (and at one time, even a restaurant owner), barista and coffee-shop manager, and the list seems somewhat endless — all kinds of different jobs.
Some under the table, but most the old-fashioned time-card variety.
Despite paying into Social Security for nearly 50 freakin’ years, my return via Social Security ain’t nothing more than a drop in the work bucket. Already signed up for Social Security (I’m 65) and getting ready for the payments, but beyond that, future finances are way-slim.
I gotta figured out something — SS alone ain’t gonna cut it — as for me, there’s no pension, retirement fund, or whatever the name of whatever that holds money for you when you quit working, or even a rich relative.

A hard fact of life — and I’m not alone.
A lot of Americans are in the same leaky boat, and getting on in years — from USAToday:

A third of people (36 percent) in the U.S. have nothing saved for retirement, a new survey shows.
In fact, 14 percent of people ages 65 and older have no retirement savings; 26 percent of those 50 to 64; 33 percent, 30 to 49; and 69 percent,18 to 29, according to the survey of 1,003 adults, conducted for, a personal finance website.
“These numbers are very troubling because the burden for retirement savings is increasingly on us as individuals with each passing day,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for
“Regardless of your age, there is no better time than the present to start saving for your retirement.
“The key to a successful retirement is to save early and aggressively.”
Other recent research confirms that many people aren’t saving enough for their golden years.
About 36 percent of workers have less than $1,000 in savings and investments that could be used for retirement, not counting their primary residence or defined benefits plans such as traditional pensions, and 60 percent of workers have less than $25,000, according to a survey of 1,000 workers from the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates.

If you’re a worker at the lower end of the pay scale, how the fuck do you save when most everything goes to keeping you and your family alive? A shitload of us never had that ‘key to a successful retirement,’ plus we never could figure out which door that key worked.
Maybe I can still keep working? Not physically, I’m shot to shit, health wise.
Work after retirement — a fantasy?
Also from USAToday:

About 65 percent of workers plan to work for pay in retirement, but only 27 percent of retirees say they have managed to accomplish that goal, according to a recent survey.

And advice?

Exercise, keep a positive attitude and engage with others as much as possible.
You should be looking forward and not back.
Whether you are engaged in the workforce as a seasoned worker or trying to return, talk about your vision and hope for your future.

Dude, utter bullshit — the future sucks really, really bad, and it’s only going to get worse.
In the world this morning, among the top horrors, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, and of course, our own, Ferguson, Missouri. And that’s just a top-of-iceberg of shit.
A topic of icebergs — climate change with alter any/all end-of-work plans.

So much for “retirement” — “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

(Illustration out front found here).

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