This story first appeared in Kingston Life Magazine.
Spring is in the air and I just met with my financial advisor.
Some people count sheep; I add up what I will have to live on each month when I turn sixty-five.
Like a lot of people, I didn’t save as much as I should have. See, I didn’t plan to live this long. To paraphrase the Black Sabbath song, “Dying young was my financial plan.”
So was buying lottery tickets and waiting for my ship to come in.
The latest plan has been waiting for relatives to die. (Rich relatives, I mean. Who wants poor ones to croak? Their families would likely want me to donate to Gofundme to bury them.)
Money has confused people since back in the day when we were using beads as a form of payment. So, just in case one of my wealthy relatives kicked the bucket, I decided to gain some knowledge. I went to the bank for financial advice. This is a lot like asking a pharmaceutical rep if they think antidepressants are a good idea.
If banks know one thing, it’s how to make money. I got some lovely help from a financial advisor who has asked that her name not be mentioned in this essay. Mum’s the word, Bynthia.
Like all financial planners, Bynthia has that chart.
Do you know that chart that they like to pull out and tell you that if you started saving a hundred dollars a month when you were twenty-one, you’d now have $850,000?
That chart makes me cranky. I always want to scream, “Bynthia that ship has sailed.” And who saves like that at twenty?
My cousin Jack did, but nobody wants to be him. He’s so cheap that when he opens his wallet, the Queen squints. Moths fly out crying, “Go to the light!”
Jack was the one that always owned Park Place in Monopoly.
The kind of guy who taught himself to play bridge at twenty-one. I, on the other hand, played strip poker, and I always lost my shirt.
Jack got some strange messages about money. He was taught to sock it away for a rainy day. He’s always talking about the bottom line. To me, money has never been the bottom line. Children are the bottom line. Quiet children who won’t beg me to buy them stuff at the mall.
Cynthia asked me what my plans for retirement were, “To be a burden to society.”
Anyhow, according to Cynthia and her chart, I can retire at 70. As long as I die by 72.
After I left the bank, I went down to the beach to watch my ship pass me by.
As I was sitting there, I thought about how I may not have as much as I want, but really, I have a lot. In fact, I have spent my life on a lot of great experiences. And these experiences will make me a rich and sought-after speaker when I hold court in the Common Room at the Seniors Centre, which is where I’ll be camping out because I won’t have any cash for an actual room.
After I pass on, I will be cremated and tossed out to sea.
As tourists see parts of me floating by in the harbour, I hope they’ll say the same thing about me as they did when I was alive.
“That chick has a great ash.”
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