Nicholl: Put financial noose on the kids

When I turn 65, I will be lounging under a palm tree, sipping a chilly Margarita and gazing at the warm, ocean waves lapping up on the soft, sandy shore.

When I turn 65, I will be lounging under a palm tree, sipping a chilly Margarita and gazing at the warm, ocean waves lapping up on the soft, sandy shore.

It doesn’t matter which beach. It doesn’t matter which country.

As long as there is heat and happy hour, that will be my retirement.

Oh, I may go for a round of golf or a swim if it’s too hot. I’ll have a pile of really meaty books to read. Maybe I’ll do a Sudoku if I feel so inclined.

No, maybe just a snooze. It’s been a tough day.

This retirement package will all be courtesy of my beloved children.

They have no idea at this point. They’re not even out of school yet.

But, when I need cash to keep me in the lifestyle I imagine, I’m counting on them to support me.

I figure if I supported them until adulthood, they should support me in my post-adulthood.

I won’t make them drive me places, unless the Margaritas take control. I won’t make them enrol me in activities or make my lunch every day.

They’re getting off pretty easy if you ask me. I just want their money.

Now, I know what you’re thinking—Shelley, it sounds like you’ve already been in the sun too long and have a few tequilas under your belt.

Children don’t look after their parents. It’s a one-way street. You support them until they’re out of university and then a few years later you get to babysit the grandchildren.

That’s how it works.

So, it’s a long-shot, right? Maybe, one in 10,000? One in a million?

Well, don’t blow off the child-meal-ticket thought completely. It’s not as silly as you think.

Even sillier, fully 32 per cent of us think we’re going to fund our retirement with a big lottery ticket win, according to a Canadian poll mentioned in Maclean’s.

What are the odds of that happening—one in 85 million. My plan doesn’t seem so ridiculous now, does it?

I thought maybe the people who were polled were just having some fun and said they were banking on the lottery instead of an RSP. Maybe some were, but it would still be an astonishingly large number if that figure were two per cent.

Why would anyone count on bad odds to fund their post-working life?

As noted in the article, it’s blind hope. For some, that’s all there is.

As I edge a tad closer to retirement every day, I think about how I’ll manage. It’s not easy because no matter how sound things look, anything can happen. The economy could…oh, I don’t know…collapse or something.

How many people had their retirement savings carved down by at least one-third in only a few months? Years of saving, gone.

You can’t rely on anything. Real estate could go through the roof or plunge just when you’re counting on turning it into retirement dough.

Even your company pension may be in limbo; it’s invested like everything else. Will we still have CPP when the last of the baby boomers go through?

There’s a lot of uncertainty out there.

Add on the fact that we live longer and retire sooner. We used to work until we were 65 and then have five to 10 years to frolic about. Now, we retire closer to 55 and head on out into workless bliss until we’re past 80.

We need to fund more years. We need more money. So, snapping up a few lottery tickets along the way may be as good a chance as any of living an elderly life of luxury.

I’m still counting on my children. I’ll educate them and make sure they seek high-paying jobs.

I’ll never let them forget how much I’ve sacrificed for them. They’ll be devoted to me.

You’ll see. I’ll be cracking open my cheque from them every month in Tahiti.

Oh, who am I kidding? When’s the next 6/49?

Shelley Nicholl owns Mad Squid Ink, a professional writing service.

madsquid@shaw.ca