Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni: The more things change ...


Counting down the days to retirement: A 2100 account.

In my late 70s, I can finally countdown to the day I escape the 9-5. Photo / Thinkstock
In my late 70s, I can finally countdown to the day I escape the 9-5. Photo / Thinkstock

Monday: Blasted alarm clock. That's what I thought as I woke at my customary 5am and knocked it, and my dentures, halfway across the room.

I'll need those gnashers later when the boss comes to ask me about the ASB account. You know, ASB, the bank that's totally dominating the 55 to 75-year-old market, what we like to call the "young to midlifers". It can be a bit hard relating to youth, but give a guy a break - I am 79 and close to retirement.

I can rest on some past glories: I was the one who came up with "Vodafone - make the most of your remaining hearing"; "Kiwi seniors are Weet-Bix eaters" and "Moccona heft meer ability to systematically release catecholamines resulting in lots of pro-oxidant effects" (that Truth in Advertising Act passed in 2025 really made our jobs as advertisers a hell of a lot easier).

I'm not sure what to suggest about the ASB, though. Maybe something about how it's the bank to help you enjoy your twilight years - if working for 60 years hasn't already clapped you out.

Tuesday: Bloody hell, that Don Brash was a genius. Green Peas and Spam: Cheap eats for those subsisting on the means-tested government-provided retirement stipend, a top seller in the 2040s and 2050s, is still flying off the shelves today.

Where else could one learn how to conquer arthritic pain and how to launder socks without the bother of putting them through the washing machine? Or the art of perfectly bushy eyebrows at any age? I mean, there have to be some advantages to getting old, and I reckon being able to "live the Brashian way" has to be one of them. It's what the great man himself did, if glowing accounts of his glory are to be believed.

Wednesday: Did today actually happen? Only I'm sitting here with my slippers and a sherry watching Coronation Street, so I guess it must have.

Thursday: God bless Winston Peters, Minister of Education - the only portfolio the silver fox hadn't held before in his 120 years in Parliament. He's still talking more sense than most of the younger crew. Today he declared anyone with grey hair has a right to free tertiary education. We had to laugh at that one; no-one has had free tertiary education for at least 65 years. But he's right that the people made redundant from their jobs around the 60 mark and needing to retrain could probably use help. I was a construction worker for the first 40 years and if it wasn't for my parents forking out for my doctorate in advertising science when I was 71, I would still be up the scaffolding today.

Friday: Today marks exactly six months until I can put my feet up and escape the 9-5, which is such a welcome relief. I haven't quite been able to put aside $600,000 to help make my retirement more comfortable, but the government's $400 fortnightly payment, as well as the $40 it's kicked into my KiwiSaver account every year for the past 60 years should be just enough to help me pay my bills and afford a few of life's little luxuries, like winter heating and dessert (occasionally). I already have a little taste of paradise each Friday when the working week is over and the party begins. Bring on the Mylanta, it's office drinks all round! Believe me, it's nice to hang with the colleagues, but once I'm through working it'll be a different story.

When I turn 80 and before I need pre-packaged, means-tested care from one of NZ's friendly retirement corporations, I plan to live like a king.

- NZ Herald

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Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

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