Today was a beautiful day, so beautiful and warm for the first time that it was hard to stay inside at work for so many hours.
Spring fever got the best of me this evening and I skipped the gym (again!) and wandered around the garden instead to encourage the bluebells and bleeding hearts in their progress towards blooming. I checked in with the fish in their temporary home until the pond is cleaned (soon!) and tried to find a frog or two hidden amongst the muck at the bottom. Once it started to get dark, I walked the farm fields in back hoping for woodcock. No luck; it's too late and I missed my chance for the year. I knew it was all wrong when I heard only robins caroling and no white-throated sparrows. Usually, I know to expect the peenting to begin once the white-throats have quieted down for the night. The robins are singing at dusk and the woodcock have moved on.
In short, it was another of those days that left with me nothing much to blog about. Around 9 pm I finally got to open the mail and found my topic for the day: my impending poverty.
My birthday's coming up in a couple months and as you working people know, Social Security sends out an estimated benefits statement each year. Mostly I don't pay much mind to it because the idea of retirement is so far off for me now that it feels like a waste of time to even contemplate it. But I spent some time looking at those numbers tonight and am sort of sorry I did.
The bad news is that if I continue to work two jobs until I'm 62 (another 25 years or so) I'll have earned enough to qualify myself for a whopping $576 in monthly benefits. $576 a month is way below the federal poverty level, you know.
Worse is that if I continue to work two jobs for another 30 years, I'll still qualify for benefits that keep me below the federal poverty level, but which are too high to entitle me to food stamps or any other sort of government assistance.
Worse still is that if I continue to work two jobs for another 33 years (until I'm 70 for christsakes!) I'll barely qualify for enough to keep me out of the poorhouse.
Does anyone else find this terribly depressing?
Can anyone wonder why I try to be so kind to my poor downtrodden clients? I'll be one of them someday!
Granted, I've not made lucrative career choices and don't believe it's up to the government to support me in my old age, but jeez! Where's the motivation to go to work on a sunny spring day?
The truth of the matter is that I can also expect a pension as a public employee, assuming the other taxpayers in my fine state don't whittle that away to nothing by the time I'm old and gray. 'Taxpayers' seem to think that we public employees, your teachers and public health nurses and garbage men, and even us dopey social workers, have too many perks and earn too much and shouldn't also earn a nice pension for our old age. The truth is in those numbers though... I earn so little as a public employee that, were it not for that anticipated pension, I'd be going to work everyday for the rest of eternity only to set myself up to be poor in the future.
I'm thinking of leaving it all behind... running off to join the circus or finding a band that needs a groupie or setting up a lemonade stand on some deserted beach in the Bahamas; anything to avoid the seeming drudgery of working everyday for nothing.
Maybe I should just find a really good financial advisor instead.
a return Visit
2 years ago