Atta Ikede

February 11, 2009

Income and old people

Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 9:03 pm

I screwed up my last couple credit card payments and ended up owing > $50 in interest because I paid both bills late. So stupid. This prompted me to finally get online bill viewing sorted out with the bank out so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to check my mail or anything dumb like that next time I get a bill.

Earlier today, I found this blog called www.myopenwallet.net linked from an article I was reading on The Atlantic. It’s a blog where a woman in NYC writes very openly about her income, expenses and various schemes to earn/save/spend. In my opinion it’s a bit apologist in many ways  (she writes about her $70 haircut and then explains that’s cheap for where she lives. Sheesh. Lady, go for your haircut and enjoy it regardless of it’s $20 or $200!), and many of her posts seem to be rambling articles describing pros and cons but not making a point, but she does post her budgets for the year and it’s interesting to see the detail.

I don’t keep a budget or a financial plan for myself. In fact, I don’t know what my cumulative rate of return on my own investments is :(  In fact, most people I know who are my age pretty much say the same thing.

For me, it’s because a calculation like “if i invest x per year at a rate of y%, I can retire at age Z on an income of ABC per year until I die, hopefully at age Q since i”ll run out of money if I live longer than that” seems nuts to me.

I really hope I don’t have to work and work until I retire when I’m old and wrinkly, only to have to survive on some fixed income after that and die before I run out of money. Do you know how vulnerable a person is if they’re on a fixed income? People like that have to worry about things like downsizing their home when metro taxes go up, or when heating costs go up. I do not want to live like that.

I think instead, i’d rather just try to save a reasonable percentage of my income every year, invest a little here and then and just plan to work on and off until I die.

Think about it. A big part of the reason old people don’t work these days is that they can’t work. Work, even office work, is still physical. You have to get into a car and drive to an office and sit in a cubicle and walk around to meetings. Etc. Old people can’t handle the strain of that.

But by the time we’re old, society will finally have realized the dream of e-everything. We’ll be able to sit at home or lie in bed but still be able to contribute something to the workplace! If that’s the case, then the old model of work-save/retire-spend probably isn’t as important for people our age now to worry about.

It’s probably also true that I tell myself these things because I hate doing paperwork and really don’t feel like I’ll ever want to commit an afternoon to financial planning.

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