February 3, 2006
News & Opinion: Retirement, money and living
February 6th's edition of BusinessWeek has a two-and-a-half page spread adapted from Lee Eisenberg's book The Number. (Jack said it's one of his favorite parts of the book) Now I have a long way to retirement. Yet, my investment savvy father instilled the practice of saving for retirement ever since my first paycheck--maybe even before. Nonetheless, it can still be hard to save for something that's so distant in the future; something that's almost unimaginable when working 40 - 50 hours a week. Lee's words hold true. There are two different types of people in the world, according to Lee. There are those who "run and rerun the numbers, weigh the myriad risks of inflation and projected market returns, and put contingencies in place to finance longer-than-expected lives." Then there's the other group that "play financial chicken. Procrastinators to the max, we plant little grain event though we know the second half requires a great deal of bread." The piece is about Lee coming out of semi-retirement to move to the cheesehead state to join the Lands' End team in Dodgeville, WI. Before the Dodgeville move, Lee kept having these pangs which he, at first, attributed to concerns about money or "the number". Later, Lee recognizes that not having enough money isn't the only retirement fear. He realizes that "we aren't just gretting over how much, we're likewise groping at what for...Those pangs? They were about money, yes, but they were also early warning signs of advancing uselessness." I dream of retirement in African safaris, bike rides through the rain forest and paragliding in Switzerland -- okay, perhaps I'm a little too lofty in my dreams. Nonetheless, I can imagine that when you've dedicated 40+ years to a career, it's easy to emphasize with Lee. There's still this desire to continue to have something to do -- something with which to keep busy. For more of The Number, check out excerpts here.