Sitting down to write out my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 (which would be more accurately titled “Dumb Ideas I Have No Intentions of Following Through On in This Lifetime”), and it occurred to me that I could just dig out all my lists from the last ten years and copy & paste them, with a small revision at the top to commemorate the new year. It’s the same list. It never changes. Ever. I’d like to think it’s because they’re so lofty that they deserve a fresh, new commitment every year. Ha. The truth is that I have the attention span of a cracked-out squirrel and I have zero tolerance for deprivation (the foundation of most resolutions). Seriously, who has to “resolve” to eat more chocolate? Besides, if I actually wanted to do the things on my list, I wouldn’t have to write them down. I’d just do them.
I finally found my list from 2014, and yep, there it was, in all its redundant and failed glory. I filed it under “Things I Didn’t Accomplish Last Year,” then copied & pasted it under “What the Hell. Hope Never Dies” for 2015. No, I didn’t lose those last 10 pounds. I didn’t give up junk food. I didn’t work out every day. I didn’t drink less wine. I didn’t put $$ in savings every month. And the only person who knows for sure if I even tried to be a better person is Hubs, and he has to live with me, so he’s not talking.
But in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d honor the tradition of making some sort of self-improvement list. I started with the universal “Lose 10 pounds.” Yeah, I know. I’ve been working on those same pounds since 1978. Give it up already. Next up: “Give up junk food.” Junk food is subjective. Are we talking drive-through or supermarket? Too ambiguous. “Work Out Every Day.” Every day? I don’t have sex every day. And I like sex. I don’t like working out. Probably not going to happen. “Drink less wine.” Bahahahaha! I don’t even know how that one slipped in there. That’s just silly. “Put money into savings every month.” What money?? I’m a writer.
But that one got me thinking.
Hovering dangerously close to 60, it’s probably time to start thinking about retirement. Yes, I’m aware that the $37 I have in my checking account won’t buy me a box house on a homeless street corner. Since Uncle Sam says I can retire in six short years, it appears that I’m going to have to get a little creative to ensure that my final home has a front door.
I did some online research, and lo and behold, I found an out-of-the-box (literally, I hope) plan to retire in the manner to which I’ve always wanted to become accustomed.
News programs report a growing trend across the country, in these tough economic times, where broke or unemployed parents, with tapped out credit lines, maxed out Visa cards, and depleted IRAs, are taking out credit in their children’s names and racking up massive debts the kids will be on the hook for. It seems that the next generation, carrying minimal debt, duly employed, and often living with their parents (read: no overhead), are considered a better financial risk than their fiscally exhausted parents.
It’s brilliant. Simply grab a handful of those pre-approved, formerly-known-as-junk-mail credit card solicitations addressed to your offspring (the only one in the house with an income and a decent credit score), fill ’em out, forge a name or two, and poof, instant cash for that overdue second honeymoon to Bora Bora. Financial planning worksheets will now contain a “Child Exploitation” section, as in “How many do you have, and are they old enough to get a loan?” Answer boxes will be listed as “1-2” (Go on a cruise), “3-4” (Buy that new sports car), and “5+”(Cha-Ching!)
Those of us with only one child are somewhat limited, but for people with multiples (octomoms, you lucky dogs), you can start living the dream. If you’re under forty and worried about your retirement, get back in that bedroom and give your only child some siblings. You’ve got time for the baby credit lines to be of loan age before you move to that golden beachfront villa by the sea. And lose the guilt. Children have been helping families for hundred of years. Our grandparents had them working in the fields. Their parents hooked them up to plows, for God’s sake. These days, we just need their social security numbers, and they can go back to playing Arkham Knight on their Xboxes. Go Mom and Dad.
But since I only have one child, I thought it would behoove me to find a back-up plan. That’s when I discovered an article about a Brazilian court that awarded a McDonald’s franchise owner $17,000 because he gained 65 pounds while working in his own restaurant. Big Guy claimed he was unable to resist a daily diet of french fries, Big Macs, and half a dozen milkshakes, and had no time to exercise because he had to work all the time, causing him to balloon up to 300 pounds. The Court determined that it was McDonald’s fault. Perfect.
So to secure my retirement at the Golden Villas by the Sea and eliminate the threat of future homelessness when my $37 ran out, I just need to find someone to blame for my less-than-buffed physical condition, get a lawyer with absolutely no dignity or self-respect, then sue the blamees’ butts off.
Smiling happily, I immediately tossed out my failed resolutions lists and began drafting a letter to the “Ridiculous or Frivolous Lawsuits? We Don’t Care. Call 1-800-It’s-Not-Your-Fault” Law Firm. Nabisco, Hostess, and Jose’s World Famous Burrito Palace are in big trouble. And the Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie people are going down.
So for boomers coming late to your retirement planning party, relax. Your kids owe you, and your attorney is working on contingency. This old age thing might not be so bad after all.
Happy New Year.