Retirement… Ewww! Isn’t that what old people do?

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Vill...

Old people shuffling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are lucky, you come out of childhood with only minor PTSD resulting from visits to Boca Raton and playing shuffleboard with the elderly set.  Others suffer more traumatic nursing homes, or “Your grammy is moving in!”  Regardless, most of us will deny our imminent mortality until faced with the realization that one day we will be old.

We coast through our twenties, telling ourselves that the 401k plan is just another way the government tries to keep us from having the time of our lives.  After rent, utilities and cell phone bills, the extra cash goes to student loans and social services (aka beer, taco bell and cover charges.) We bury our PTSD, in denial that age is coming for us.  In our weakest moments, turning 26 or 29, we still tell ourselves that we have plenty of time before THAT happens, and social security will surely be enough. (Our parents are just gluttonous, spoiled after-products of being raised by Depression parents, wanting more than they need. All we will need is love.)

Our thirties bring kids, over-priced preschools, babysitting prices that feel like extortion.  Not to mention diapers, formula, soccer camp, ballet shoes, tennis rackets, trips to Disneyland, bikes, helmets, elbow pads and fingerless gloves.  We also discover that 401k is not a number, but a lifeline meant to pull us out of whatever job we are enduring, and a 529 savings plan is not just another ruse to suck us dry, but the promise that one day these expensive kids may actually move out.  Anger at the 20-something version of ourselves quickly gives way to panic.

That is the moment we stop being young.

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