I ran to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things I needed for dinner and had the strangest checkout line experience. The lady in front of me turns around and insists that my husband buy me a bracelet. When he says he isn’t going to be buying me a bracelet she says “Well, you must not be married then!” I informed her that we are indeed married and she puts her finger in my face and exclaims something to the effect of “I’ve been married for 35 years! Never Again!” Then she puts her finger in my husband’s face and yells “NEVER AGAIN!!”
She then proceeds to tell us what a good husband and father he is, so now I’m confused. So I ask “Are you still married?” Because why is she screaming about how she will never be married again if she is currently married to a good guy?
“Oh, yeah! We’ve been married for 35 years!” she says, looking me dead in the eye like she wants to fight me. Ok, whatever crazy lady. She tells me how he was a rocket scientist for the government and how she has four degrees. Then she starts pulling stuff out of her cart to show me all the stuff she is buying for her husband. She pulls out a big wad of cash and says “Cash! You have to pay for stuff with cash when you are retired because your income gets cut in half!”
To which I think “Well, if you had paid cash your whole life you would have saved enough to retire well.” But, again, whatever. I just smiled.
She gets to the front of the line and starts talking to the cashier. (This is the actual point of the story here but I couldn’t go on with my life without sharing the entire experience.) So she starts talking to the cashier, a cheerful elderly lady, about being retired. The cashier says “Yeah, I was retired for 30 years. I retired when I was 50. I’ll be 80 soon.”
Hold up. Hold up.
She retired at 50 and was retired for 30 years but then went to work at Wal-Mart at the age of 79. Think about that! Was going back to work a choice? Of course I have no idea about her situation, but it’s highly doubtful. Maybe she just wanted something to help her keep busy but then why not go hold babies at the hospital for a few hours a week. Why be a cashier at Wal-Mart? My guess is that she had no choice.
What can learn from this? Well, for one be sure you can retire before you retire. The last thing I want is to have to go back to work at 80. I would rather work a few years longer to be absolutely sure that I have enough money. Annuities also solve this problem since they guarantee an income for life. So some good financial planning might have helped here.
Also, we can take away the lesson on the importance of saving for retirement. The only sadder than having to go back to work at 80 is never be able to stop working. At least she had 30 years of retirement. She wouldn’t have had that if she hadn’t saved anything at all.
So don’t be a cashier at Wal-Mart when you are 80! Start saving for retirement today!
After I recovered from the shock of what I had just heard the crazy lady in line turned to me and called me a F-ing B (only she used the real words) and then patted my husband on the belly and walked out of the store.
I told you it was a strange experience.