• Deah Curry PhD

Thoughts of Retirement Are Dancing in My Head, Part 1

First, you turn 50 and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) sends you a membership card. In your soul, you still feel about 35, despite taking extra B12 for an energy boost, so this a pretty rude gesture. Perhaps your inclination is to give them middle of the road digitally enhanced rude gesture in return.

Then, you turn 60 and the waitress at the breakfast-all-day café asks if you'd like the seniors' menu. With the split second timing of a still-agile brain -- thank you very much -- you decide to roll with the insult because, afterall, there are cheaper prices on that menu, and smaller portions, and, yes, in this cruel, appearance-obsessed world, you are still dieting.

When she brings the bill, your clever scam-detector frontal lobe realizes that with the seniors' meals, there isn't enough left on the plate to take home for a next day supper, making that lower price not such a great bargain.

Next you turn 65, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) starts showing up in your mailbox with a ton of information about Medicare and Medicare Jr (those obnoxious supplemental insurance plans). Clearly, they and AARP have a perception of folks in this age bracket that tells them they must keep sending the same info every few weeks because seniors do suffer memory loss, and who knows where you've put those marketing messages they've spent your tax dollars on?

(My answer? In the trash bag in the car, unopened, so I don't have to bring it into the house)

Soon you notice over-sized postcards from real estate agents presuming that you are about ready to sell your home, because no doubt they get the same list of neighborhood seniors as AARP and the SSA. Those barely 30-somethings will be more than happy to help you move into the new assisted living facility on the other side of town.

Along with those sell-your-home-now cards, you get brochures from the Neptune Society, spelling out costs and plans for your cremation. Seriously.

As if all that's not enough, the last of your elderly parents walks on to her eternal rest, and thus starts the never-ending year of lawyers, and faxing notarized paperwork -- because they haven't heard of digital signatures and email.

The worst is the investment firm refusing to release your inheritance -- including the accounts set up by your other parent who died 20 years earlier! and left everything to the other parent -- then distributing a bit of it, while still scaping off ridiculously high interest for themselves on the rest of it. Crooks.

About six months later they tell you they need you to put a notice in the newspaper of your parent's home town because in the state where your parent died an obituary isn't enough regardless of what the funeral director told you. They want to make sure that the planet, which doesn't read newspapers anymore, knows that your parent has died and that every creditor the parent ever dealt with is invited to file a claim for outstanding debt. Which doesn't exist, but gains the investment firm more interest earnings to suck from your inheritance.

So this starts me thinking: One needs to be retired to have time to handle all this mishegas.

Death may come swiftly to some, but the settling of estates? Not so much.

Meanwhile, I'm still working. Still taking new clients.

I've aged a bit since the first AARP nudge showed up, most, I suspect, during this last year. I must be about 40 now. Forty-five tops. My birthdate obviously lies.