retirement in america

I worked on retirement issues for a few years and this paragraph, from the New York Times, by Teresa Ghilarducci explains the reality that we currently live in with respect to retirement:

"Not yet convinced that failure is baked into the voluntary, self-directed, commercially run retirement plans system? Consider what would have to happen for it to work for you. First, figure out when you and your spouse will be laid off or be too sick to work. Second, figure out when you will die. Third, understand that you need to save 7 percent of every dollar you earn. (Didn’t start doing that when you were 25 and you are 55 now? Just save 30 percent of every dollar.) Fourth, earn at least 3 percent above inflation on your investments, every year. (Easy. Just find the best funds for the lowest price and have them optimally allocated.) Fifth, do not withdraw any funds when you lose your job, have a health problem, get divorced, buy a house or send a kid to college. Sixth, time your retirement account withdrawals so the last cent is spent the day you die."

My friends in Europe will not understand why we have this problem...



I lost a friend. Not lost in the sense that I misplaced her. We just aren’t friends anymore. There was an event, but that doesn’t really matter anymore. What matters is that person is gone from my life.

But she isn’t.

I collect people. Once we are friends, I stay in contact. I may move or you may move, but I am good at making sure I am still in contact. And I was good at this even before facebook.

But with facebook, instead of my no longer having contact with this lost friend, I see what is going on her life. I can monitor her. Does she monitor my life?

Cleaning out my desk space today I ran across a container of black sand from New Zealand. Years ago, I gave some of this special sand to my lost friend. Does she still have that bit of sand? Why do I still have the sand? I think it is cool, and it reminds me of my trip to New Zealand. And of my lost friend. Without facebook I would only think of her when I saw the sand, not whenever she posted on facebook.

Unfriending this friend would seem too harsh. I like seeing what is going on in her life.

But what do I want to spend my time thinking about? Real friends now, or old friends from the past?

And that is the problem I have with facebook. It is sucking up time that I could spend doing other things. It has become my TV. We don’t watch TV because of this. I can’t seem to decide to only sometimes check facebook, so I am now going to delete my account.

I will miss the pictures of my nieces and nephews. I will miss seeing my friends from time to time. But really, I want to have intentional interactions. Not what I have now, which is unfulling and a waste of time.

Please email me if you want to stay in touch.

**UPDATE** A good friend called and said I did not need to get off of facebook, I just needed to manage my use better...DONE. We will see how that goes.