Live fast and die young to leave a good-looking corpse and a little coin

We all want to have a leisurely, healthy and financially secure retirement.I know I do. Of course, I also want a 32-inch waist and a head of hair full enough to sprout from a paperback romance novel’s cover.My point is that we don’t always get what we wish for.For instance, the Social Security system evidently is a train wreck. Technically, it’s not yet a train wreck. However, the runaway train of Social Security distress is flying downhill into the valley of bankruptcy.Well, this is terrible news for all of us who want to retire and take walks in the woods bordering long par 4s and use long black stretch limos to tour flea markets. Call me a sucker for nostalgia, but I’d love to enjoy retirement like my father does and my grandfather did.Now, I’m wondering — fiscally speaking — if it would be better to go directly from puberty to six feet under. After all, the inevitability of death is a quick cure for any and all rock bottom retirement blues.Granted, George W. Bush is trying to save Social Security from drowning in a sea of red ink. But since there are some of us who feel that George W. couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, this is hardly comforting.He’s preaching to Congress that enabling younger workers to create voluntary personal accounts will help throw a lifeline to the floundering Social Security system. Of course, if investing truly worked when the stock market is more upside down than a derailed train, our 401(k)s wouldn’t all be on life support.Bush also is prodding our esteemed lawmakers to consider reducing the benefits guaranteed to future middle and upper income retirees to assure Social Security’s solvency. This sliding-scale benefit formula, however, has the Democrats howling as if they all just stubbed their big toes on a railroad tie. Their concern is such a formula would gut benefits for the middle class. And since I’m definitely middle class, I emphatically feel Bush’s proposal has no class. You see, Social Security’s woes hit all of us who don’t happen to be CEOs, rock guitarists, quarterbacks, shortstops and spouses (or ex-spouses with pre-nups) of film superstars. Therefore, wearing a mask of detached amusement is not an option.Well, I’m not all that trusting that our politicians will find a solution to providing retirees with a comfortable cushion that can cover the cost of walkers, hearing aids and adult diapers. So I’m considering other revenue streams.Right now, I’m pondering whether to go into real estate or go the squalid, gangster route by collecting the vig on crummy loans, running a sleazy topless joint, looking for cheap scores, peddling drugs, selling protection and laundering money.

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