Scheme before playing the retirement card | The Latte Guy | Feb. 27

I received my quarterly statement from my employer’s tax-deferred retirement plan the other day. Like many of you, my retirement plan has been impacted by recent events in the stock market, and by “impacted” I mean it has been reduced to the investment grade just above financial toast.

If we had to rely solely on my employer’s plan to support ourselves in our retirement, we’d be in serious trouble, and my dream of retiring before I turn 90 would be in serious jeopardy.

Fortunately, my 401(k) retirement plan is only one of the Four Pillars of my Personal Retirement Plan. (The other Three Pillars are 1) targeted, strategic and measured investment in Washington State Lottery futures; 2) the possibility of discovering oil, gold, and/or the remains of Jimmy Hoffa in my backyard; and 3) reliance on the kindness of strangers.)

A friend of mine recently took early retirement, and I can hardly think of a better time to get out of the job market than right now. I have other friends who have turned down the opportunity to take early retirement, not because they can’t afford to stop working, but because they are afraid that without their jobs, they’ll be bored by retirement and find themselves with nothing to do all day.

There are a lot of things in this world that cause me anxiety, but worrying about not having enough to do in my retirement is not one of them. In fact, I spend half my working time right now trying to figure out how I’ll organize my days once I retire.

I’ve recently begun compiling a list of things I want to do in my retirement, assuming, of course, that there comes a day when I actually can retire, and further assuming that when that day comes, I’m still more or less ambulatory and reasonably mentally intact, both of which assumptions look more dubious every day.

I keep my list in a hermetically sealed peanut butter jar in the kitchen cupboard, right next to the list of possible conversation topics that Wendy and I have archived in anticipation for that day in the future when our conversations no longer consist almost exclusively of wondering what the kids are up to. So far, my retirement to-do list looks like this:

1. Improve my golf game to the point where I can shoot my age, or, in the alternative, hone my golf cheating skills to the point where I can shave a dozen or so strokes off my score and still not be struck dead by lightning.

2. Take up new hobbies such as stamp collecting, coin collecting, gun collecting, butterfly collecting, baseball memorabilia collecting, and collection collecting.

3. Improve my carpentry skills so that I can add a room on to the house to house my burgeoning collection of collections.

4. Learn to speak better Spanish, or, failing that, learn to correctly identify Spain on a map and figure out why the language they speak in Spain is called “Spanish” rather than “Spainish”.

To jump-start my retirement, I’ve begun practicing some of the skills I think I’ll need to see me through my reclining years. For example, I’ve recently been working hard on growing hair in my ears, and am happy to report good success in the endeavor. I’ve also assembled a nice collection of mismatched socks and decrepit baseball caps to wear whenever I leave the house.

I never drive over 30 miles an hour anymore, and I make sure to leave my left turn signal on. I’m close to mastering the art of eating dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon and waking up at 4:30 in the morning.

Finally, I’m getting better at offering up impromptu and indignant rants aimed at the many horrific sins of the Liberal Media Elite, the Tax-and-Spend Socialist Democrat Feministas, and anti-American, tofu-eating, soccer-loving Tree Huggers. Soon I’ll target the entire younger generation, with its unhealthy obsession with bad haircuts, tattoos and cell phones.

Gosh, I feel better already…

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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