Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The other day I wrote and said why retirement at an early age is out of the question.

Let's look at John, a guy I discussed this with a while back. John is an avid golfer and works now 40+ hours a week and most likely has some serious coin put aside for retirement.

He was talking about golfing six times weekly. Right now he golfs two or three times a week. He says it runs him about $30 a round, or $60-90/week. It is his only outlet as he does not have any other interests and doesn't drink, smoke or have any real vices.

He's married and his kids are long out of the house.

I said to him that retirement meant less golf than he plays now and he looked at me like I was nuts. Then I asked him if he could afford $180/week in greens fees. He looked thoughtful for a second and opined he could likely afford it.

Then I asked him what he was going to do when the price of a round of golf went up as everything seems to be doing these days. Say it goes up to $50/round. That's $300/week.

"Yeah," he said. "I see what you mean. I guess it means I'd need a retirement job doing something."

"Which means a pretty good sized hourly pay cut," I replied. "Maybe your employer would let you cut back on your hours, but then you'd lose your insurance and Medicare doesn't really cover it all."

"I suppose they'd let me cut my hours back," said John. "But the truth of that is that I suppose I'd wind up working full time anyway because they already offer me overtime and I pick up a lot of it."

"You really are in the age old bind of time and money," I said. "You never seem to have both. Either you have the time to golf every day or you have the money to, but never both."

"I've saved for this," said John.

"Inflation is a devious thing," I replied. "It makes $30 rounds of golf turn into $60 rounds of golf and then it turns them into $100 rounds of golf."

"Hmm." I see your point. "That means a whole lot less golf."

"And a lot more hanging around the house getting on your wife's nerves," I added. "Ever wonder why older retirees sit around a lot? It's probably because they can't afford $30 rounds of golf that used to cost five bucks."

"Interesting point," he replied. then he shuddered. "I wonder how many people in their late 80s we hear about eating dog food were playing golf in their mid to late 60s."

"That, too." I answered. "Probably most of them. Back 20 years ago a $1000-1500 a month pension and untaxed social security was pretty good money. Now it ain't squat. Inflation and taxation has eaten it down to peanuts."

"Putting it that way, Pic, retirement seems pretty scary."

"Damned right," I replied. "Most likely it's why my mother-in-law worked at her trade as an RN until she was well into her mid 80s. She knew how to count."

My hobbies are shooting, putting around in the Miata in good weather and ham radio. When I retire the Miata will go upon the auction block which I can live with. Shooting will likely have to cut back because prices are already going through the roof and even reloading components are getting harder to come by and prices are skyrocketing.

Try finding $15 and $20 bricks of .22LR these days.

Ham radio is pretty cheap, though after you get your shack set up. It costs electricity and even that I can get for free from the sun. It is a relatively inexpensive hobby...unless something breaks.

Still, hilltopping and running portable means gas and vehicle wear which is getting more costly. 

In short, unless you have won the lottery it means that either you still have to work part time or you have to cut back because the extras you have now are likely to dry up over time as inflation grows.

The way I see it, I suppose I ought to simply keep working because my job is OK and pays the bills with something left over for the time I can't work.

I guess I'll just have to stick with it a while longer.

Why not? I'm in good company. John has decided to stick around a while longer.

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