essays

Risky Business

gold watchIn a new report published by Institute for the Future, MetLife, and AARP, weíre told that our retirement wonít be anything like our parents.

Well, duh! You mean we wonít work for the same company for almost 40 years, get the dinner and the watch and ride off on a golf cart into the sunset? We already knew that much has changed.

More ominously, the report indicates that there are lots of risks ahead for us, and itís not just about running out of money, although that fear certainly tops the list you would get from most boomers. The environment is a big factor and climate change may mean some big disruptions in the food chain. You may not get your oatmeal when you want it, if at all. Add to that the stress from allocating resources to make them last, and it means we are going to be constantly jockeying for medical care and other welfare programs. Those who are less tech savvy face a retirement in which they are isolated from their peers and fail to form the interpersonal relationships they will need to thrive, if not survive.

What can we do to lower the risks? Get on the web. Itís not just for commune manGen Xer, Yers, or Millenials. The internet is your best bet for building relationships, forming alliances and getting information from others who are doing something. Start now to look into the communal living arrangements that I wrote about in Forget Mars -- Let's Start Colony Here, where people band together to remain in their own homes as long as they can. For those without children, these mutually supportive living arrangements are going to be an attractive alternative to throwing yourself on the mercy of some welfare system.

Strategies where retired boomers band together to share the risk are going to become big business. You can envision boomers creating their own banks and credit unions just by the sheer clout of their numbers. This is where the internet plays a big role, because the web is how we are going to find, recruit and nurture each other.

And lastly, be nice to your kids. You may need to hit them up for a few bucks.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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