A traditional Chinese curse has become popular in America. I discovered, however, as a result of my in-depth research on my iPhone (a full two seconds) that this “traditional Chinese curse” is about as Chinese as Irish Potato Stew. Nevertheless, it goes: “May you live in interesting times.” And we certainly do. Our nation’s economy has all the stability of a twelve foot skiff in a Category 5 hurricane. This has made retirement planning, to put it euphemistically, “challenging” (code for “impossible”).
Gone are the days of simply plugging a percentage of your monthly income into a mutual fund and resting assured that your golden years will be, well, “golden.” At this point, most Americans are hoping for bronze. We will hear more of this in the future: “I’m looking forward to spending my Bronze Years traveling the country in my 1983 Dodge Caravan.” Our predicament is due in large part to the “synergy” between the self-sacrificing, “Country-First” investment bankers on Wall Street and our hardworking “public servants” in Washington. (Notice how skillfully I referred to both investment bankers and elected officials without relying on words like “crooks” or “buffoons”). As a result, everyone needs a Plan B for retirement.
The first three retirement alternatives that come to mind, of course, are:
1. Winning America’s Got Talent. (Especially, if you own a small dog with a big personality).
2. Winning the lottery. (Remember, like everything else, winning the lottery takes hard work and dedication. You can’t just throw a dollar at Megabucks and expect to win right off the bat. You need a winning strategy, like plowing a significant percentage of your monthly paycheck in pursuit of the big win. It’s only a “game” to amateurs; treat it like a business.)
3. “Winning” a long federal prison sentence. Like every financial plan, this has its pros and cons (no pun intended). On one hand, you get medical and dental – well, extractions. On the other, you only get to visit your grandchildren every third weekend.
I’ve decided to go in a slightly different direction. It involves strategically implanting myself into the epicenter of the multibillion dollar retail industry, placing myself in a key position at the very hub of the American economic engine. Specially, I intend to work at a mall kiosk.
This position meets all of my prerequisites:
1. It’s a warm place, sheltered from the weather. Remember, I’ll be old and cranky, even crankier than I am now. Yes, that is possible!
2. My workstation will be close to a bathroom, handy for any “Code Red” events.
3. I can slip over to the food court during my breaks to grab free samples of teriyaki chicken.
Of course, I don’t have to man a kiosk. There are a number of attractive positions at the mall. I could be a spritzer at a department store, man the dis-information center, or pick up used trays in the food court.
I have no intention of jumping at the first opportunity. Several specific positions have caught my eye, specifically, the Hawaiian Moon lotion kiosk.
Working for Hawaiian Moon would allow me to enjoy two distinct pleasures. First, I get to witness the look of pleasure as each shopper rubs the free sample in their hands. And second, I get to see the bolt of shock flash in their eyes when I tell them it’s a thousand dollars an ounce. Okay, before Hawaiian Moon files a slander suit against me, let me say this officially and unequivocally: Hawaiian Moon lotion costs less than a thousand dollars and ounce.
Humm. Hopefully, this gentle ribbing won’t cost me my retirement plan. I really don’t want to pick up those trays.