Hi there, we have followed you both for a number of years. My husband and I have been retired since 2005, ages 58 and 60 now.
We have always enjoyed your writing until we came upon a recent article that stated “getting used to eating cat food” was a possibility. This is unacceptable, no holds barred. There are plenty of food banks and programs that ensure people do not have to eat cat food in their latter years. As it so happens, our Maine Coon’s (a Cat Breed) food is $1.19 for a 3 oz can so a regular can of human generic tuna would be a much cheaper alternative.
I am not understanding where you are going with this type of scare tactics. We have always relied on you for interesting and sound travel advice.
Kim and Glenna
Hi Kim and Glenna,
Thank you for taking the time to write and for giving me the opportunity to clear up this misunderstanding.
The piece you are referring to is one we wrote called Retirement Plan in Tatters.
It is our rebuttal to Joe Nocera’s “cheerless” piece in which he paints “a rain-drenched, out-in-the-street future” with no positive alternatives.
Joe was so down-in-the-mouth, and held such a depressing point of view, that we just had to refute his position.
In the 3rd paragraph, we say:
“Taking this information as the only premise from which you work out your retirement, you may as well give up. Just chuck the idea of having any appealing options, start on the cat food now and simply get used to it.”
Which of course is ridiculous and absurd, and we thought clearly evident to be tongue-in-cheek. “Eating cat food in retirement” has become a fear-based expression that the media has used to rile up the masses.
We — like you — dislike this expression as being “the only alternative” one might have.
The fact that you brought up food banks and other social programs to support the elderly if they are in dire straits only shows how offensive and simply nonsensical this phrase is.
In the rest of our article we emphasize self-reliance as a virtue, how the astronauts in Apollo 13 made mismatched pieces of scrap to work for them in saving their future, and how you can too. We also say how it’s impossible to reach for the stars when your nose is pointed to the shadows and we continue to show how one can fashion a fulfilling retirement by offering you alternatives — places to live on the amount of one’s social security, where excellent affordable medical care is obtainable, and encourage you to consider the possibilities that are right in front of you.
And we end our piece by saying that “there are many workable solutions if you are willing to look.”
I think this was simply a misunderstanding. Perhaps you stopped right at the “eating cat food” and didn’t get further on into the article to see what our points were.
We have always given — and will persist in offering alternatives, possibilities and practical ways to better one’s life. We don’t believe in being boxed in for any reason, and we will continue to emphasize self-reliance and personal creativity for the solutions to any problems one might face.
I hope that my explanation helps you to see what our points were in this piece. I am sorry if we offended you in any way, as it was not our intention. And we most certainly want to congratulate you both on your retirement and hope that it is filled with health and happiness.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write to express your sentiments about our article and we hope you feel free to write anytime.