Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 485(256) Money?

Zite is a website or app that you can download for free that allows you to create your own newspaper - like all the articles on a particular issue. I  downloaded it because of this podcast on retirement. I thought that it might furnish me with a multitude of issues concerning retirement that would be of interest to retired folks. Today I glanced at the site. The topics of the articles on the first two pages were all about money: How to save? How to invest? How much money do I need? Etc. I sometimes wonder if there is anything of interest to the retired other than money.

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

I know: money is important. But is it the only thing that is important? I recently read of a study of happiness as it relates to money. Money is very important in the pursuit of happiness to provide the basics; food, clothing and  shelter. But the conclusion was that after $60,000 per year money does not influence happiness.  Lots of money never satisfies. It only encourages making more. It is like an addictive drug. Once accepted as a goal it takes on a life of it's own.

Just a glance at our culture supports this all encompassing quest for material gain. Black Friday happens the day after Thanksgiving when merchants accounts are heavily boosted by early Christmas shoppers. Supposedly this is the day that pushes their accounts into the black or profit for the year. I'm not sure of the validity of this claim but that is what is reported. The news accounts of customers being very aggressive in their shopping is shocking. One woman pepper sprayed other customers so she could get ahead of them to buy a product. Another woman grabbed an item out of another's shopping cart insisting it was acceptable behavior. What is happening?

I walked into several book stores through out the past year and inquired about books on retirement. In each instance I was shown to the business and finance section. "That is all we have," I was told in each store. It's like money and retirement are synonymous.

Young children get on average 90 new toys a year according to a recent report. That figure depresses but does not surprise me. I have grandchildren. I have been to their houses on birthdays and Christmas mornings and witnessed the shower of gifts that rain down. So many gifts it is hard to imagine. I always wonder at an appetite that is founded on plenty and how it might play out in adulthood. If I live long enough perhaps I'll get to see.  

Christmas or birthdays when I was a child was quite different. I know that one toy was the rule in our household. I still remember the little red and yellow tractor or the Roy Rogers cap guns that came my way on different Christmases. I am told that times have changed and that I just don't understand about living in a land of plenty. Perhaps that's true.

But one toy at a time satisfied me then and perhaps that has something to do with my present state of mind concerning the collection of stuff.

As far as money and retirement are concerned I guess we just made the break. Any increase in  money in our accounts always go to savings. Savings for what? I'm not sure. The unforeseen I suppose. It seems like we have less needs than we have ever had in our life. Maybe it isn't needs as much as wants. We just don't want much. I think that  is a pretty good place to be. We could desire to fly the Concord  to Paris for a weekend. Or perhaps get a new car, a boat or an expensive piece of art. Fortunately those don't make our radar.

Someone recently said that happiness should not really be our goal in life. Satisfaction is what we should be after. Being satisfied with your income after basic needs have been met certainly frees one to roam a bit. I haven't bought any of the books on retirement. Anything that comes out of the financial section holds little to no interest for me.  It doesn't cost a lot to enjoy a walk, a book or a cup of coffee.

This is Retirement Talk with something think about.

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