By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement

 

In David Mitchell’s book, Cloud Atlas, when people retired they got to go to Hawaii.

At least they thought they were going to Hawaii.  What really happened once they arrived, is they were made into soap.  When I read this book several years ago, the fiction struck me as incredulous.  Probably, how people reacted to George Orwell’s view of the future in his book 1984.  Now so many things that he predicted are commonplace.

Well, I don’t think we are candidates for the soap factory, but it does make me wonder what is going to happen to retirees.  We are in an unprecedented time in history in so many aspects of our culture.

Republicans don’t want to do anything to improve jobs and wages so the economy stays in decline through the next election.  Democrats don’t want to admit there is a problem.   Meanwhile people in our country are hurting.

While I think it is important to stay optimistic, there are certain facts that we must face.  Not matter how financially stable your portfolio is, or how stable you thought it was, we have recently learned things can change very quickly.  We live in a world economy and many aspects of our life are frankly out of our control, no matter how carefully we plan!

What i think is gone is the security we once felt.  No longer can one feel secure.  And that is a horrible feeling.  The other feeling is guilt.  Guilt over what is going to happen to the future generations.  We are staying in the workforce longer, afraid to retire, taking jobs that the younger people need to start building a life.   We are also spending the money that we had planned on leaving our heirs.  And we are using medical resources to keep us alive longer.  Social Security will probably be there for us, but who knows what the future generations will have.

It is a gloomy time.  We need to be realistic.  If you haven’t met with a financial manager to plan your future, or make adjustments to our current situations, it is time.

Just when I am starting to feel depressed I receive a call from an old friend who shares the fantastic news her daughter is pregnant.    We briefly discuss the state of the world and then reminisce it was like this in the 70’s and we survived.  The future generation has hope, not gloom.  They are looking forward to an exciting life and we get to watch and cheer them on.  No one likes a gloomy cheerleader.

 

About Alane Cunningham

Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.

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