Ruh-roh: Retirement planning for Crossfitters of a certain age

Posted: June 20, 2013 in Aging, Crossfit Lifestyle
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday we had one of those retirement-planning sessions at work. It’s a good thing they did it at the end of the day because there was no way I could go back to work after that much fun. Before the seminar I received a “Retirement Readiness Statement” which had a lot of numbers on it and none of them looked promising.

Let me start by saying the company I work for has fabulous benefits – medical, dental, disability, vision, matching 401K and a pension. I am blessed. However, according to my “Retirement Readiness Statement” I’m going to need $20,776 every year – in addition to my social security and pension – to maintain my current standard of living, which ain’t much.

Then they proceeded to tell me how much I need to save between now and age 65 – when I will allegedly retire – to have that $20,776.

Surely those numbers are wrong. Indeed, they are. It appears the folks who prepared my “Retirement Readiness Statement” based their estimates on me dying at about age 80 – the average life expectancy of an American woman.

That’s just 15 years of retirement. Are you kidding me! I’m planning on living until 100. I have not worked this hard for decades to get a measly 15 years of retirement. Dying at 80 would seriously piss me off.

Me and my dubs

Me and my dubsliving to be 100. Seriously. 100. I haven’t worked this hard for this long to die at 80! That would seriously piss me off.

People say, why would you want to live to be 100? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe because LIVING sounds like a lot more fun than BEING DEAD! I can understand asking that question if you assume that in those really, really golden years you’re not going to be able to get out of your La-Z-Boy or walk up stairs or lift your great-great grandkids. It’s that whole quality of life thing.

But one of the reasons I do Crossfit is so that I will be able to walk up stairs, throw my great-great grandkids into the air and get off the toilet. To someone who knows nothing about Crossfit, I’m sure the exercises we do seem bizarre and extreme. However, as I learned when I got my Level One certification, Crossfit is about functional movements.

These are movements that you need to live a happy and healthy life. Doing squats is going to pay off when you’re 95 and you want to get on or off the toilet on your own. Those crazy box jumps and box step-ups – those are going to enable you to walk up stairs or step on or off a curb.

Wall balls teach us how and strengthen the muscles needed to pick up a weighted object and raise it over our head. In addition, we learn about balance and the most efficient way to move that weight. Jumping rope is about coordination, timing and endurance.

And on and on and on. If you deconstruct any Crossfit exercise you will find a functional movement used in everyday life. I have found that exercises that requires me to raise and lower a barbell over my head has improved my balance immensely. As much as I hate thrusters, jerks, presses and snatches – they have shown me the importance of centering and balancing weight.

There will be no broken hips! Not only because I have good balance but because the weight bearing exercises of Crossfit have kept my bones strong. I could go on about the physical and mental health benefits of Crossfit but what I really need to do is figure out how I’m going to make that $20,776 a year when I’m in my 80’s and 90’s.

Can you imagine what a pair of Reeboks is going to cost?

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, and totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Holy shit! What a ride!” “

(Hunter S. Thompson)

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