Do you remember that scene from The Matrix? The human is meeting an “agent” inside of the matrix and he is eating a very rare steak and drinking a glass of red wine as he sells out his friends on the Nebuchadnezzar. I like that scene because it shows how steak is perceived as a real luxury.
I have spent the last two decades working in finance and wealth management. Retirement is a big issue in this world. People open brokerage accounts and buy stocks to grow their savings in preparation for retirement. They kill themselves doing stressful jobs in order to earn bonuses and put more money into those brokerage accounts to fund retirement. People actually borrow money to put into those brokerage accounts, to buy more stocks, and fund for a better retirement. Big financial institutions lure talented people with attractive retirement packages. Clients meet with specialized advisors to review their retirement plans. They develop savings strategies based on a target retirement date. Retirement is a pretty big deal.
I always thought of retirement in terms of steak dinners. How many steak dinners can I afford at retirement? Can I afford AAA steaks? Or do I have to buy the nearly-expired-butcher’s-special? Can I buy my steak dinners at a nice restaurant? Do I have to get the early bird special at 4 pm? Or can I afford a 7 pm reservation for a serious steak dinner with all the trimmings?
Steak, of course, can be a metaphor for any luxury. And what do you think is my favourite luxury? How many watches can I afford at retirement? The way things are going, it seems unlikely that I will ever retire at all! And if I do eventually manage to retire, I certainly don’t see myself buying many expensive watches. Perhaps, with some careful planning, I can celebrate a (late) retirement party with one grail to enjoy during my golden (or gold plated) years.
Look at my dad, for example. Like all the men in our family, he was always a gearhead. But the demands of raising a family in the real world meant that he could never indulge in a really hot car…until he retired recently and bought himself one helluva sweet Cadillac. Forget the Caddy you saw in Donnie Brasco- Dad’s Cadillac is an awesome performance sedan. So he waited and finally got his hot car to enjoy during retirement.
Unlike Dad, I DID indulge in many sensational timepieces over the past decade. But I cannot imagine such extravagance when I’m trying to live off some modest savings. So I feel like I am managing my collection until retirement. I’m trying to enjoy collecting, trading and building a diverse collection until I finally pack it in. And hopefully, on my very first day off, I’ll go out and score one grail to enjoy as I get old and difficult.
What could that grail be? Perhaps, by the time I retire (at age 80!), that grail will be some high tech thing that is implanted in my wrist. Or perhaps, it will be a classic Rolex, I don’t know. I’m sure the grail will be a moving target for the rest of my life. And I hope to enjoy the search and indulge a bit more before I settle down with my retirement piece. I look forward to using it to time some steak dinners on my BBQ.