The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 January 2008

Portfoliage

I regard myself as largely a defensive person, so you might think that my 401(k) investments tend toward the conservative, and indeed they do; I don't realize huge returns except in the most bullish of markets, but I seldom lose much for very long.

To keep a bustle in my hedge funds requires a little bit of work and an enormous amount of patience. Over the years I have stashed retirement cash in six different accounts, all of which are currently active and three of which are currently receiving new deposits — and none of which lost money last year, even my bond/mortgage fund. (The worst performer in the portfolio was a large-cap blend under Goldman Sachs management, which squeaked out a gain of 0.62 percent for the year despite fourth-quarter stock-market woes.)

The fund manager, hoping to whip up some anxiety, advises that I will require X dollars per month in retirement, despite the fact that I'm earning only about 0.75X while actually working. Either they're expecting some serious inflation, or they're making some dubious assumptions, and I lean toward the latter, since the figure is based on retirement at 65 and people born in 1953 can't draw full Social Security until age 66. Further, they expect my salary to go up three percent a year between now and the Distant Future, which isn't likely: my pay is limited by, among other factors, my unfortunate choice of ancestors.

In point of fact, I can't imagine retiring at all; more likely, I'll drop dead some night at the office and the proceeds will be rolled into my estate, and then rolled right back out again to pay the bills.

Posted at 7:17 PM to Common Cents


That's what I'm aiming for -- drop dead suddenly, unexpectedly, on the job or sitting here blogging from my sassy seat. Getting old, debilitated, dependent on others, wasting away in a nursing home -- no thanks. And I want to live till I die, so there will be nothing left for heirs. They're already got more than I have ever had. Let 'em eat cake... and toast the old man -- er, whatisname?

Posted by: Winston at 6:37 AM on 16 January 2008

I am planning to draw Social Security at 62. The amount received in the four years will far outweigh the additional amount I would receive by waiting until I am 66. Plus, as you say, we may not live that long!

Posted by: ms7168 at 6:51 AM on 16 January 2008

I worked a lot of overtime for 10 years before retiring in 2006 at 52. No regrets yet, though that may change if the stock market stays this way for too long.

Posted by: MikeH at 11:19 AM on 16 January 2008