Thursday, July 23, 2009

Work Long, Die Early, The Road to Successful Retirement

I read a funny piece by Gordon Powers on MSN Finance. It was entitled: How not to ruin your retirement. As I'm retired, forced out of the workforce last December by a layoff, I was interested.

I learned: "the biggest payoff comes from ensuring that you don't retire during a sharp downturn." That's right, during a downturn don't get a layoff notice; It's bad planning. Damn. I made my first mistake right there. Only accept a layoff notice during boom times. It's a good rule. No argument there.

Cutting back on your payout period will also up your chances of not running out of cash during retirement. Powers actually looked at doing this by working longer but since we are in a downturn that's difficult. Another approach to this, and easier to boot, is just don't live so long. Hey, 84 or 85 what's the diff. Try this with any financial calculator; It works! Need more security, cut your lifespan again. If I'm gone by 79, I'm in good shape financially. It's a plan!

Lastly, to kick your chances of success up another notch, Power suggests putting more of your money in stocks. The biggie here is do not put the money in bad stocks, don't be silly. Only invest in good stocks that are going up. Use your head. Invest wisely. If there was ever a time that you considered Northern Telecom, GM, or the big American banks as safe investments, maybe this ploy isn't for you. Hmmm...well, maybe stock market ETFs or a cheap index fund would be O.K. Rumour has it that even losers win with those. (I've done well.)

There may have been more insightful tips but I didn't have time to finish the piece, I was busy chopping more years off my expected time of departure. I can relax. I now have a goal that is more retirement appropriate. My retirement funds are safe, unless I am unlucky enough to live. Damn. Always a fly in the ointment.

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