Work Through Game, Feel Less Pain

I had a busy day at work today, with a series of meetings and conference calls. I was so focused on work matters that I didn’t watch a second of the Ohio State-Dayton NCAA Tournament game, or even follow it on my cell phone or computer. That’s a good thing, because the Buckeyes lost a heartbreaker, 60-59, on a last-second shot.

I’m sorry that the Buckeyes lost, of course, but the fact that I didn’t watch the game and agonize over every turnover, missed layup, and defensive breakdown meant that I avoided most of the awful fan-pain that I would have endured otherwise. Instead of feeling like someone had kicked my guts in when Dayton made the winning shot and the Ohio State careers of Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. came to an end, the game was sort of like something that happened in an alternative universe — a bit more abstract, and a little less real.

When March Madness rolls around, employers question how much work their bracket-obsessed employees are really doing on Thursday and Friday. I would suggest that employers take the bull by the horns, recognize the predominance of NCAA pooling, and encourage their employees to schedule lots of meetings and events that will occupy their time and their minds when weekday games are on. Distract yourself, and don’t risk the terrible, real-time suffering! The employees can always record the games of their favorite team, as I did. If you learn that your team won its game, you can go home, crack upon a frosty beverage, and enjoy their game at your leisure. If you learn that your team has fallen, you can shake your head sadly and quietly erase the debacle without watching a second of the recording.

It’s not a bad approach for the ardent sports fan.

March Madness

Nope I am not talking about your typical March Madness, the NCAA basketball tourney. March for me represents the month that I receive my annual social security statement. Anymore I often wonder if it is worth the paper it is printed on.

The first page of the document always talks about Social Security’s future and every year it says action is needed soon to make sure the system will be sound when today’s younger workers are ready for retirement, but in reality another year has come and gone with our politicians in Washington having done nothing about it.

Last year the document said that in 2016 the government will begin paying out more in benefits than they collect in taxes, this year that date has now been revised to show 2015. The statement also says that without changes the trust fund will be exhausted by 2036 as to 2037 mentioned last year.

I’m frankly not surprised by these revisions at all. I was at a party recently where all of my friends are 60+ and every single one of them is planning on drawing on social security at age 62 for one reason or another.

Either it is because of the stock market being flat for the past ten years leaving a lot less in their 401k accounts then they expected.

Or they were the victim of a downsizing and they had to take work at a much lower salary.

Or because they now have medical issues and they need the money to pay the higher deductibles, co-pays and out of pockets that their employers are asking them to pay, not to mention the expense of prescription drugs.

Some just plain say I want to get something out of the program and they don’t know if it is worth waiting til full retirement age to do so because they may get a lot less.

It’s a tough decision because if you start drawing at age 62 as opposed to your normal retirement age your payments are 30% less than they would be if you wait. If I wait to age seventy I can collect a tidy sum of $33,324 annually, but I may get nothing at all – – – – oh the madness !