When should I retire? When should I begin saving for retirement? What is an IRA and how is it different from a pitcher’s ERA?

These are questions that many people ask as they approach their golden years, particularly if they haven’t managed to buy any gold, which is at an all-time high, and instead spent all their savings on Locopops, which are at an affordable low.

No matter what age you are, though, retirement planning is something you should do, mainly because everybody has been shouting at you for years saying that it is something you should do.

But where to start? As a certified financial illiterate, I can offer you the answers to some of the most common questions about retirement planning:

When should I start saving? Whenever you start, remember, it’s already later than everybody else, particularly most of your neighbors. With that understood, April 25 is always a good choice, unless it’s on a weekend.

How much should I save? There’s a mathematical formula to figure this out. It involves algorithms, and because no one is actually sure how to spell algorithms, no one has actually ever been able to completely decipher the formula. However, you can begin by taking your current age and dividing that by the square root of how many different online passwords you have. Add to that the number of invitations you have received inviting you to a free dinner if you’ll sit through two hours of financial advice that mainly involves buying annuities from a guy at the door who has them in three different flavors. Subtract your current salary. This is your magic number for retirement or your license plate, I forget.

How should I invest the money I save? There are several possibilities. You could use it for really good wines, extremely thin hormone- and antibiotic-free veal, fancy cars and trips to exotic locales. Or you could waste it. You also could invest it in the stock market, which is pretty much the same thing.

Just remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance unless the past performance is really bad.

What if I’m running out of time? You can always set your clock ahead 15 minutes and then be happily surprised that it’s not as late as you thought it was.

Will Social Security be around for me when I retire? It may be around, but you will have to look carefully for it. It could be lost in that closet in the kids’ old bedroom, right behind the recorder your daughter got in sixth grade and never played again.

What’s a Roth IRA? Named after the novelist Philip Roth, this is a financial vehicle that lets you buy as many copies of “Portnoy’s Complaint” as you’d like.

Who should I trust for retirement advice? Probably not me. Here’s my retirement plan: Keep working.

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