With a bonus rant about the Retirement Industrial Complex.
If you don’t know who Antonia Christa is don’t feel too bad. She is an influencer of some sort. She roller skates and juggles fire. Antonia is young and cute. And she is a disability advocate. Because you see Antonia is disabled. Let me quote from an interview she gave.
In kindergarten, I learned that I only could see through my right eye, leaving me with monocular vision, lacking 3D vision. I remember, my teacher asked me to read aloud from the board at school, and I remember replying “What do you mean? Who can see the board?” And this was the beginning of my journey of discovering that life would always be a little different for me because of my visual disability.
My low vision never stopped me from believing in myself, but it did lead people around me to believe I wasn’t capable. They questioned my ability to live independently, to graduate from school, and sadly, even amount to much at all. This continued on through college when college professors told me “You’re too blind to have a career, have you really thought about this?”
I wasn’t going to believe any of that. Starting at a young age I used my artistic strengths to maintain my confidence and prove to the world that I could be whoever I wanted.
When I was older, I found my inner strength by proving everyone wrong and learned how to fire dance, and eventually did so on roller skates. It became my superpower.
In the words of Stevie Wonder: “I may have had a visual disability, but it did not stop my vision inside me…. Anything you imagine that’s for the good is possible to be a reality.”
Finding my confidence and inner strength has extended to many areas of my life as well. I have figured out how to get my driver’s license with the assistance of cameras in my car, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, have become an International Performer, and am a DEI Brand Ambassador for TurboTax; all by the age of 30.
I know I can do whatever I put my mind to, and I strongly feel my purpose in life is to inspire others to do anything they want, even if the journey looks different than others.
So many questions one might have. What is a DEI Ambassador for example? Well, per Google. “The Disability Equality Index (DEI) is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality.”
So why am I picking on the blind woman? I mean, she must be blind. She juggles fire while roller skating like the blind do. And she uses TurboTax because they are kind enough to accommodate her disability in their tax software. So what is my bone to pick? Well, for one thing, I actually know someone who also was born this way, so to speak. Quite well, in fact. Okay, it is me. I was also born blind in my left eye.
So what can you not do with Monocular vision?
Watch 3d Movies
Join the military
Get a licence to fly aircraft.
The cannot do well list is much longer, including many other sports. Tennis is another one in particular, but even golf is a lot tougher, as it is hard to track the ball after you hit it, so you are more likely to raise your head prematurely when you swing.
In my childhood, I was forced to wear a patch over my good eye (And not a cool pirate patch, mind you, but a white medical patch that made me look like I rode the short bus.) My late wife, who was an elementary educator, was convinced that my patch wearing during these formative years is why my handwriting is still so atrocious.
Other disadvantages include not being able to see people on your “blind side” while walking with them and being only one eye from becoming Stevie Wonder. (Who I cannot believe she quoted in that interview above.)
I am probably missing a few, but you know one thing that is not harder to do with one eye? Taxes. Unless the IRS has recently included a Magic Eye puzzle with its 1040, there are exactly zero accommodations needed. So what the hell is she on about in the video above?
Being born blind in one eye sucks. But I never really considered it a disability, per se. More like a dispreferred indifferent, like being short or having excessive body hair. But I am now glad I can join the other 98 percent of Americans who are disadvantaged in some way and get that sweet disability social cred.
In a previous life, I was a licensed stockbroker. I wore many hats during that time. I ran a trading desk on Friday afternoons because our Hasidic traders had to get to Brooklyn before dark, I was an investment banker on debt and equity offerings, and I was a retail stockbroker. At the end of my career, both the industry and I went into the wonderful world of “Wealth management”. As a result, I have some knowledge of how retirement savings work.
The video above is bizarre. The premise of the report is quite correct many people need help with thier retirement savings. Most of those people are young or middle-aged. By definition, older Americans no longer need help with their retirement savings. That horse has left the barn. That train has left the station. They are the visibly pregnant girl at the chastity ball.
There are plenty of people that struggle to make ends meet in retirement. (Pro tip: Do not be a renter). So of all the people that CBS News could highlight, they choose Daniel Fitzpatrick. His original goal was to retire at sixty, but due to market conditions, he is seeing himself already in his mid-sixties having to work till seventy and take on additional part-time work after then. So how much does Daniel have saved for retirement?
Daniel is a Senior Planning Executive, making low six figures. He currently has 851,000 in savings. He lives in Georgia. Yeah, he is going to be eating cat food by Tuesday.
When I did Wealth Management, it was not all people living in mansions. There were many people living in perfectly normal ranch houses. What they all had in common is that their monthly expenses were much lower than thier retirement income even without taking into consideration thier capital gains.
Part of the reason was their monthly nut was so low. The kids were grown and on their own, so that expense had left home. Thier house was paid for so all they had was insurance and taxes. They might have had a dog and bought a new Cadillac for cash every couple of years, and that is about it. There is a reason that advertisers focus on 18 to 49 demographic. They need to buy things. From furniture to fashionable clothes. People in thier seventies have fifty years worth of stuff in their paid for houses.
The video says we need shy of one million dollars in retirement savings so we can generate a 74k income in retirement. Now don’t get me wrong, one would rather have one million in retirement savings than not. But in reality, that is a scare tactic. If you are retired, could you spend 74k a year? Sure. But you would not need to. You can retire quite comfortably on a fraction of that. Particularly if you own your own home and have not taken in any grandchildren from those kids you raised.
What Daniel needs to do is face his fears. Clearly, there is more to his story. This is not a tale of someone unprepared for retirement financially. He is in great shape. This is someone unprepared emotionally.