Sunday, January 14, 2007

Financial Planning

I'll never forget the year I was asked to help edit a book on caring for your aging parents. One chapter hit me hard--it was about the importance of planning for your retirement--yes, now. The earlier your start, the better prepared you'll be.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that people are living longer these days. Remember several months ago when I featured a link to a life expectancy quiz? Lord willing, I might reach 92, and I don't want to be cranking out several books a year when I'm ninety. (I'd like to be able to, just not required to. I'd also like to be thirty pounds thinner, but you know what they say about wishes and beggars).

Anyway, I just read this story in the New York Times: On May 1 of this past year, Timothy J. Bowers went to the bank, handed the teller a stick up note, and got four $20 bills. On his way out, he handed the bills to a security guard and said it was his day to be a hero.

He was arrested, of course.

At his trial in October, he told the judge that he was about to turn 63 and had lost his job making deliveries for a drug wholesaler. With only minimum wage jobs available, he preferred to draw a three-year-sentence, which would get him to age 66, when he could then live off Social Security.
So that's what he got. Three years at the Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville, Ohio. Three meals a day, room, and medical care.

The prosecutor, Dan Cable, told the AP: "It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan."

Eeek. So . . . as tax time rolls around and you pull out those facts and figures and read up on IRAs and such, make plans to start investing in yourself. With every paycheck, tithe ten percent and pray about what the Lord would have you send ahead to heaven by investing in things that will matter for eternity--the souls of men and women. Then save ten percent for your retirement.

I wouldn't want to have to visit you in Rikers.


(January 7, 2007, NYT, p. 19, Sunday Business section).

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