Some months ago, Rhonda and I attended a two day retirement planning seminar. It really pissed me off. Why? Because one of the things we learned at this event was life’s true purpose, at least as it’s defined by financial planners. It’s breathtakingly simple, but quite unsettling. What is this incredible truth?
Your true purpose in life is to work as hard as you can for as long as you can, denying yourself as much as you can in order to save all that you can so that in the final year of your life, you can afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars a month to an institutional care facility to feed you gruel, wipe your drool, and regularly change your diapers.
Yep, that’s what they said. Not in so many words, of course, but for two days we were fed a continual stream of information about how hideously expensive assisted living and end-of-life care are, how much more expensive they are projected to become in the future, and that no matter how much money you think you’ll have or need, it won’t be anywhere close to enough.
For two days I sat there waiting for the punch line, but it apparently wasn’t a joke. And the kicker was that even if you buy into this notion of how your life should be spent, most of the people who live like ascetics and save every penny they can will probably die from a stroke or a heart attack or a too-close encounter with a bus long before they ever get the opportunity to enrich our assisted living industry. Great for the kids and grandkids possibly, for you not so much.
It took a lot of bourbon and Jimmy Buffett to get my head right and make the bad taste go away. In the end, I decided I have no desire to live my life that way. As I said in my previous post I Am Serious. And Don’t Call Me Shirley, our greatest joy is in being together experiencing photo-worthy moments. So I think we’ll just go cruising, and let tomorrow tend to itself. If the goal is to try to die rich, I’ll be happy being rich in memories.
So how do you want to spend your life?