If you’re like me, you’re young and carefree. Okay, you’re young-ish. Okay, you’re forty-one and you’ve spent the last twenty years going bald. But you’re more or less carefree, with a few investments and, with any luck, enough put away to keep you from working at the local Wal-mart until you’re ninety.
I don’t plan on working until I’m ninety. In fact, I’m plotting out ways to live like your average 21st century celebrity when I hit that magical mid-sixties point. Instead of putting my feet up and smoking a corn cob pipe (which is something I hear retirees like to do), I’m going to take all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years from watching celebrities behave, misbehave, break down and redeem themselves. Here are a few tips – and if you follow them, we can be celebrity retirees together.
1. Have a second home.
Celebs are restless folks. As soon as they’ve settled down in their cheetah-hide chair in front of their fireplace cut from a block of emerald, they start wondering about a leopard-hide chair and a sapphire mantle. That’s when they buy up a second home in the south of France or Costa Rica.
As average folks, we probably can’t afford a fancy second home. But if you’ve got a backyard, a shed, and a lion-covered chair (optional), then you’ve got all the ingredients for a fancy summer home. Refer ostentatiously to your “cottage,” “cabin” or “summer mansion.” Invite people over! Tell them to check out the “balustrades” leading to the “second floor.” Or “bathroom.” Don’t worry, they’ll stick around as long as there’s free booze.
2. Get some stalkers.
The condition of modern celebrity is controlled exposure. What does that mean? Essentially this: that you’re not famous until you have hordes of paparazzi crawling over your limo. The savvier stars know how to modulate the flow of flashes from eager photographers. You too can be a canny celebrity by hiring neighborhood boys or family members to follow you around and take your picture. Imagine walking a gauntlet of camera lenses as you swan your way into an Outback Steakhouse or a Home Hardware.
3. Go a little crazy.
Let’s face it: being famous makes some people go funny after while. Maybe it’s the isolation or the buffer of hangers-on. Maybe it’s the weight of publicity. Maybe their identities dissolve after a while and they resort to increasingly desperate acts to reclaim their sense of self. Who knows? But if you want to live like a celebrity, you’d better board the freak train to Overgrown Beard Town.
The great thing about acting crazy is that it’s fun, entertaining and affordable. It costs you nothing to shave your head and chase people around with a golf club. Trust me, if you’re paying for something like that, you’re doing it wrong.
4. Get off the grid.
Want to save money after retirement and act like the Daryl Hannahs and Ed Begley Jrs. of the world? Then unplug from the world and start up a green energy commune in northern California or Hawaii or some other place where the winters are warm. If that sounds a little daunting (and maybe you don’t have the $50,000 or more to install a geo-thermal system), then start up a garden next to your second home in the backyard. Grow sunflowers. They’re pretty.
5. Do endorsements.
What do you and Brad Pitt have in common? You both have to eat (That’s where the similarities end, incidentally). That’s why the world’s biggest A-list star is popping up on Chanel commercials to mumble some cocktail-napkin nonsense at us. Because he needs to keep his income flowing, just like the rest of us sorry normal people.
It won’t stop at Chanel, either. As Pitt gets older and his bankability dwindles, he’ll continue to endorse products, until one day he’ll be explaining the benefits of adjustable beds and walk-in showers to TV audiences.
Why should that be Brad Pitt when that could be you? On your next shopping trip to Safeway, start endorsing the items in your cart to fellow shoppers. Endorse the contents of your purse to people on the bus. I haven’t quite figured out how to monetize this one, but it’s possible that people will pay you to go away. Don’t forget to endorse their clothing as a thank-you!
A big thanks to State Farm for sponsoring this post!