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Subject:  Re: Retirement in danger Date:  3/14/2009  3:10 PM
Author:  VintageCat Number:  1331 of 1845

I've been reading similar stories over the past 10-15 years, the stakes being ever so much more critical when many of our nation's market based 401K plans lost half or more of their value practically overnight. My husband and I are lucky.

For many years we have been deeply suspicious that Social Security would not provide for the needs of the later boomers and could possibly fail so we both went to work for the federal government with a 100% defined benefit plan for me and a partial plan for my husband. Not wanting to be reliant on these plans wholly we lived well below our means for years buying used/second hand rather than new and most of the other living below one's means strategies to save for retirement through our 401K which fortunately we rolled out of the market in 2005 for me, 2007 for my husband into treasury bond funds with 100% principal preservation. We also saved through other (non-sheltered) savings mechanisms, paid off two mortgages and a blue water sailboat in order to go into retirement wholly debt free and with substantial savings. I retired at 48 through an early retirement program at 50% of my high three years earnings, my husband at age 50. Though we can afford a nicer more upscale lifestyle than we live at present, our habits are ingrained and except for the boat and an airplane we live cheaply still.

We are presently searching for a lower cost area to live with a decent climate and we realize that we are extremely lucky. I do worry about my friends and some members of my family, several which now acknowledge that they will likely have to work their entire lives, never having the option to retire. I am concerned for people around my age (early 50s) because how many Walmart greeters can there be? It's sad to see Grandma working in fast food establishments but we will likely see more of it in the future.

The one thing that struck me in that article was the comment that we don't need a nation of financial analysts worrying over their retirement, we need people to play with their children, volunteer, coach Little League etc. With that sentiment I fully agree no matter how naive. Shaking my head at the whole situation....
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