"Retirement." Historians tell us that the word refers to an obsolete ancient practice of living out your elderly years engaged in leisure activities, rather than in scavenging soda cans from neighborhood recycling bins to supplement your meager Wal-Mart greeter's paycheck.

Stop laughing. Stop that. Retirement was once a promise, not a dream. If you're already old today, you might even be able to jump onto the bumper of the retirement bandwagon before it screeches away, never to return. But if you're still young? Well. Better start planning now.

  • By the time you retire—30, 40, or 50 years from now, depending on how far back they push the retirement age—the idea of living off of Social Security will be an anachronism. Nothing can be done about that. Just letting you know.
  • Starting with your first "real" job, put away 10% of your income from each check. Cut back on nonessentials if you have to! This nest egg will come in handy when you get laid off at age 28 and spend 18 months looking for work. It'll all be gone after that. Your next gig will pay you far too little to save anything. So I guess this isn't strictly a "retirement" strategy, as such.
  • It can cost upwards of a quarter million dollars just to raise one child to the age of 18. Think about that before you open your legs for that deadbeat. (Your husband.)
  • For the average employee, it can be difficult to figure out your employer's various financial offers. Do you need an IRA? Which mutual fund is right for you? How about a 401K? The good news is that employers of the future will answer those questions by eliminating all of the preceding things.
  • Nobody "likes" to work two jobs their whole life. But they do it anyhow. So will you. Then when you get too old and infirm to keep that up and you have to cut back to one job, it will seem like retirement.
  • Vote Republican. End Medicare. Get your own personal "health savings account." Cash that sucker out. Go to Vegas. Bet it all on a single roll of the roulette wheel. That'll at least give you a one in 36 chance of winning, versus a one in a million chance of "winning" at life in general, otherwise.
  • You don't need to buy the premium gasoline, or the "fancy" ketchup.
  • Real life is not some inspirational slogan, okay?
  • Die young.

[Image via Shutterstock]