Tuesday, January 29, 2008

one....million....dollars! it's all i need

I was perusing CNN.com this morning and decided to sort out my retirement needs by using their handy-dandy retirement calculator. I know that at my age I should be doing more than playing with a retirement calculator on a populist/news Website… maybe saving more money. I typed in a few figures (birth, death, dates, income, percentages, etc.) and hit calculate. I knew something was amiss in my life when the damned thing told me I’d need $18 million dollars by age 60 in order to meet my retirement fantasy. That seemed a little extravagant based on my current lifestyle. But hey, if that’s the number, so be it. Who can argue with math sums? I immediately began to think of ways to cut back on spending: cancel my $14.99 monthly Netflix account, stop giving $10 a month to Minnesota Public Radio, shop more at Wal-mart (see below) and less at Whole Foods, and maybe get another two or three high-paying careers. Why would anyone need $18 million for retirement? I began to think that all this ‘financial planning’ was nothing more than a scam perpetrated on generations of people who merely want movies delivered to our mailboxes, no late fees, and good music. Are we to live like paupers? This is why we’re in the state we’re in…too much worrying about the economy, politics, Democrats v. Republicans, red states/blue states, Iraq, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears; it’s all going to hell. I decided right then and there to make a change and set out on a new beginning, a new day if you will, and take the righteous path to my $18 million pot of gold. I began jotting down the numbers from the ‘calculator’ onto a clean sheet of a yellow legal pad so I could begin to really crunch my life’s numbers. Oops. It appears that I mistakenly input that I wanted to live at 80% of a $880,000 annual income instead of 80% of a $88,000 income – funny thing about zeroes. Shoot, if I could live (or even earn) at 80% of $880,000 I’d be sitting at home on the couch watching all ten seasons of the Sopranos. The moral of the story? Check you’re math.

There’s a report that Wal-Mart is going to lower prices 10-30% in order to ‘stim-U-late’ the economy. I think the most important tidbits from the press release are these:

Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that it will chop prices between 10 to 30 percent this week on groceries, electronics and other home-related products in an effort to keep its cash-strapped consumers excited about shopping.


Wal-Mart said for $10 or less, its shoppers can bag 4 Pepsi 12-pack cases and 2 DiGiorno 12-inch pizzas.

Let’s parse that first bit. Wal-Mart is making an effort to “keep its cash-strapped consumers excited about shopping.”? Isn’t that the germ of the problem? That’s like a corner drug dealer saying he’s going to throw in an extra 8-ball with every purchase just to keep his addicted consumers ‘excited about addiction’. Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh, maybe I should read the entire article – oh, look here, you can get (for a sawbuck or less…) 48 cans of Pepsi and two frozen pizzas! This is what they’ve come up with as the selling point – the coup d’grace – for their grand plan: two crappy 12” frozen pizzas and a keg of Pepsi? How about for a tenner or less we can get a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, two loaves of bread, a bunch of bananas, and a half-dozen tomatoes? How about that?


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