Retire? Sure, As Soon As I Hit The Lottery

Jim Shea
Contact ReporterThe Hartford Courant

Baby boomers have never been shy, and as we are now finding out, they aren't retiring, either.

This year, leading-edge boomers are turning 66, the age at which one can claim full Social Security benefits, but many of those eligible are continuing to work.

In fact, recent Labor Department figures show that the percentage of workers over age of 65 is now at a record high.

One reason boomers are hanging around is they don't have enough money put away to pack it in.

They have only themselves to blame for this.

You can't wait until you are 60 to starting buying lottery tickets in bulk and expect to secure your future.

As any financial adviser will attest, you need to have a long-term investment strategy, one in which you buy the same number of lottery tickets each week using the same numbers.

As for quick picks, building a nest egg is too important to rely on such a risky strategy. Essentially, quick-pick investing is for people who can't get a ride to the casino.

Another reason boomers aren't rushing to retire is because they don't know how to fill the time previously occupied by work.

I find this mystifying.

Can there be that many people in this country who don't have cable?

Apparently — claims by Bachman, Turner Overdrive to the contrary — working at nothing all day can get boring. And this boredom can lead to strange behavior.

For example, some retirees get to a point where they will block out an entire day to do something they used to handle at lunch, you know, like having the car washed.

Or if you call them up and say, "Hey, you want to go for a bike ride?" They'll say something like, "I'd love to but I'm booked solid today. I have to stop at the ATM and then get gas."

Oh, and you know the flashing signal light. The reason many older drivers leave it on is not because they forgot to turn it off, but because they are saving it for something to do later on.

Eventually, too much discretionary time leads to a kind of time warp in which time becomes an amorphous blob. You can tell when a retiree has entered this realm when they are unable to answer the following question:

What day of the week is it?

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