A Good Day to Die

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A Good Day to Die – Retirement Planning for the Over Pampered Middle Classes

Good news! The UK Government has just launched a new toolkit and pamphlet to help you calculate your estimated life expectancy and therefore the amount of money you need to save for your retirement. Scared?

You can imagine the moneyed classes of London, between personal training routines and wheatgrass shakes, working out whether they need to put a downpayment on their tenth house in their bulging property portfolio, so they can afford the fees on that chic nursing home that they have had their eye on. Yes, you know the one, where the nurses dress up as slutty bar staff and you can have a daily massage after your three course lunch and a glass of port. Hell, they will even take you to a weekly trip to a Michelin star restaurant that caters for customers that can only consume their food through straws. Games of bridge are conducted in the huge communal hot tub and the Rolling Stones play at the Christmas party. They can even arrange for helicopter trips over the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu with an on-board doctor to manage your symptoms of gout (only for Platinum members).

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Unfortunately, the toolkit doesn’t enable you to cheat with your death date. Say, I want to start drinking an extra couple of bottles of wine per week next year and then take up a moderate daily opium habit when I am 52. How much would I save on retirement funding against the cost of my new found habits? Indeed, how much would I be saving the national health and social services by living precariously and dying earlier? In future, there may even be a scheme for prescribing morphine to the over 50s, as opposed to the over 90s, just to save a few dollars of tax payers money, or free trips to euthanasia clinics in Switzerland, travelling first class.

  _ Socially disconnected in a connected world _

I want to pick a good day to die. The toolkit of course, neglects the role of horoscopes in choosing your departure date. The moon rising in Aries would make for a zingy transition and I would prefer to exit this world to a spring chorus of birdsong. Naturally, if you have the cash to pay for a five star nursing home, I am sure this could all be arranged for Sir or Madam, along with a choir of angels. When did dying suddenly become so complicated and expensive?

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Even though the toolkit is common sense I can’t help but feeling distain for it. This I feel in part, is my fear that I have the bodily constitution of Keith Richards and no amount of wild living and bodily abuse would stop me being as nuclear proof as a cockroach. I can see myself now, wandering around the corridors of a nursing home at the age of 115, looking glassy eyed after mainlining what I thought was Paracetamol with my live-in nurse. In future versions of the toolkit there will probably be a socio-economic category for people like me. Lives disgracefully but unlikely to die until 115 due to love of fine food, exercise and fresh air. Where was that nursing home again?

Marcus Gomm is a travel writer and Editor-in-Chief of Feet Up Magazine. Check his ‘zine out here feetupmagazine.com