Tag Archives: Social Security

The Long Arm of Corporate Big Daddy

My version of the Golden Years

I’ve been getting these calls from cheerful lady at a “placement agency” who desperately wants to help me. I blew her off by saying that I hadn’t decided. I decided I was leaving corporate America the very nano second I found out our department was moving to Mexico. Don’t know why I was being so wishy-washy.

After several such calls she informed me that there was a deadline and that I had to make a decision. Deadline? What deadline? I asked her “what do you mean? Are they going to repossess my retirement?” What she meant was that there was a deadline the corp I worked for set for funding their services. Oh, I see. She finally talked me into accepting a package of information about retirement they provided.

It came in the mail. An appropriately subdued color scheme book. It looked a lot a book you get from a health insurance company, with 2 pages outlining what you are covered for and 180 pages of scourges that you are not allowed to be afflicted with because it’s not covered by insurance. I don’t even want to know that because I don’t want to put the possibilities in my brain pan.

Back to this book . It’s called What’s Next? A Road Map for Exploring the Rest of Your Life. On the first page is a quote: To conceive of one’s life without the word retirement being relevant, is to reframe it. (Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason) OK, I’m with ya so far.

Some interesting Factoids from the book:

1889: Germany sets retirement age of 70 – life expectancy is 46. I knew it! You ARE expected to work after you’re dead.

1933: Retirement promoted as “socially desirable” to open up jobs for young people.

1935: Social Security Act passed. Retirement age 65. Life expectancy is 63. 40 workers support each SS recipient.

1950s: Insurance Companies and retirement community developers sell the Golden Years as a life of leisure. At this time 16 workers support each Social Security Recipient.

1983: Social Security retirement age raised to 67, effective 2027.

2004: only 3 worker support each SS recipient.

2011: The first of 76 million baby boomers reach 65.

Anyone who thinks that they can live on Social Security needs their head examined. Unless they relish the thought of living under a bridge in a box and eating cat food. Well scratch cat food, that stuff is expensive now. The canned people drinks for oldsters are cheaper. That’s a scary thought.

The book goes on to give their version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the usual where were you 5 years ago and where to you wanna be in 5 years, and so on. Then it gets to a 2 page spread where you are supposed to plan out every hour of the day, including sleep time, in 1 hour increments. What? I’ve lived by the calendar and planning out every second of the day to squeeze in more productivity for long enough, thank you very much!

Well now that I’ve scanned the book, panicked, trashed it, cursed about it, and retrieved it from the trash several times, I’m actually going to read it. I’ll let you know if I find anything that I think bears repeating. I probably will. Usually when I get a knee jerk reaction and throw a book across the room it’s something that I need to know, but don’t want to…just yet.

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