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Author: SirTas Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 63382  
Subject: Are Americans saving too much for retirement? Date: 2/17/2007 10:28 PM
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This article claims that recent research suggests that the answer to the question is yes.

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/moneyhappy/24438

Some excerpts:

Conventional wisdom suggests that people are woefully unprepared for retirement. Study after study portrays most Americans as the proverbial grasshoppers, playing the fiddle with their finances while a minority of conscientious ants store up supplies for their golden years.

In 2004, for example, the Center for Retirement Studies at Boston College estimated that 43 percent of working households were in danger of having too little income to fund their retirement, even after tapping home equity.

Now a group of economists is offering a wildly contrarian view: People may be saving too much for their retirement. A few go so far as to suggest that the financial services industry is deliberately encouraging over-saving because it profits from managing such assets.

Consider a recent study conducted by Paul Smith and Lucy McNair of the Federal Reserve Board, and David Love, an economist at Williams College. They found that 88 percent of all households with breadwinners over age 51 had accumulated sufficient resources to finance adequate consumption in retirement.


After reading the whole article (and checking out the links to the research) I concluded that what the researchers consider adequate saving is not really adequate.

In the very same article, they also claim that "one third of retired workers depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income." In my case, DW and I will receive about 30k in Social Security. This does not seem "adequate" to me.

--SirTas







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Author: GusSmed Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2239 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/17/2007 11:00 PM
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In my case, DW and I will receive about 30k in Social Security. This does not seem "adequate" to me.

The key issue is understanding what your real expenses are. $30K is actually quite a lot, provided you don't have a mortgage. Excluding mortgage expenses, Debbie and I have mandatory expenses of $22K per year, and discretionary expenses of $15K a year. And I am including things like property tax in my mandatory expenses. We could easily survive on $30K a year, though we want more than that.

The problem with most retirement calculators is that they base retirement needs on salary rather than spending. While many people do scale one with the other, you don't have to do that.

- Gus

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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2267 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 8:23 AM
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The problem with most retirement calculators is that they base retirement needs on salary rather than spending. While many people do scale one with the other, you don't have to do that.

Solid observation. In addition to hopefully not having a mortgage, you won't need to build retirement/investment accounts after you retire, because presumably you've already done that. I've never understood retirement calculators that are based on salary rather than spending. There's what I earn, and then there's what I need to maintain my lifestyle. In retirement, all I need is what it takes to maintain my lifestyle, which is much less than my annual earnings during my pre-retirement years. Anyway, I thought this was a very useful observation.


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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2272 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 10:31 AM
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SirTas: "In the very same article, they also claim that "one third of retired workers depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income." In my case, DW and I will receive about 30k in Social Security. This does not seem "adequate" to me."

If you look at the stats, over half the retired people in FL live on under $25,000 a year. While you might not have a life of easy street, there are millions and millions doing it. Depends upon where you live and what you made before you retired.

Remember, many retirees collection SS have been retired for 10 or 20 years already...so their salaries 10 and 20 years ago, minus inflation, was a lot lower in dollar terms. Some have been retired for 30 years (think retiring at 50 or 55 with gov't pension or military pension, or generous company pension - for the times).

That is not to say that SS will provide as good a living in the future. The gov't expects it will provide less percentage in the future, requiring you to save (or have company pension) to provide the rest.

Heck, if I had to, I could live on 30K right now.......it would be tight, and I might have to give up a few things, but I could stay in my current house, eat well, pay the bills, on 30K/yr. But I am single, worked only 31 years, so won't get that much from SS. (full benefits after 35 years, pro-rated up to that, so I get 31/35ths of the benefit)....plus I will take it at 62 in 18 months....

t.







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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2275 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 10:50 AM
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"Solid observation. In addition to hopefully not having a mortgage, you won't need to build retirement/investment accounts after you retire, because presumably you've already done that. I've never understood retirement calculators that are based on salary rather than spending. There's what I earn, and then there's what I need to maintain my lifestyle. In retirement, all I need is what it takes to maintain my lifestyle, which is much less than my annual earnings during my pre-retirement years. Anyway, I thought this was a very useful observation."

Most calculators take into account contributions to 401K/IRA/fed pension plan .....but very few take into account additional savings or paying down debt (extra mortgage payments, paying off loans, etc).

For many who retired early, they were saving 25-50% of income. Living on 1/3rd of salary (LBYM).

Worse, many are off on the SS amount (assuming you will work to 65/66/67).....and don't take into account reduced benefits if you retire early with less than 35 years contributions to SS.

Doing an accurate projection of current and future expenses per year helps. You usually have to add in increased expenses for health insurance and other things (dentist visits, eye care) no longer covered by most insurance plans. You're lucky if you get all those as benefits...but most now have to pay for retiree health care, although the rates are bargains compared to private plans.

t.




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Author: rainphakir Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2276 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 11:09 AM
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Hi SirTas
In my case, DW and I will receive about 30k in Social Security. This does not seem "adequate" to me.

My budget spreadsheet shows that I've spent about $22,000 in any given year since 2003, to maintain my mortgage, insurance, taxes, food, vehicle, basic household maintenace, and medical expenses.

I consider this a reasonable estimate of my NEEDS. I suspect I could cut this by about $8,000. It would be tight, but I did it in 2001-2002.

As for what I WANT - like you, I WANT more. But do I HAVE to have it order to 'retire'? No.

In 1997, I put together a 'plan' that included a detailed description of what I considered 'basic needs' and the $$ required to support that lifestyle. I estimated, on top of that, the things I considered 'wants', and the $$ needed to meet those goals.

I estimated that $36,000 would meet my basic needs as well as my minimum 'luxury goals'. To meet ALL my luxury goals would require about $50,000/yr.

CAVEAT - The cost of medical care insurance has increased since then... so my estimate may be a bit outdated. Although, ironically, my job provided 'medical insurance' stipend is today within a few dollars of that in 1997. ($297/mo vs $320/mo)

The retirement calculators NEVER give me the same info that my self-created spreadsheet gives me. I control the 'assumptions' in my spread sheet, therefore I trust my spreadsheet more than the calculators.


fwiw
ralph



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Author: ogrecat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2279 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 11:28 AM
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Solid observation. In addition to hopefully not having a mortgage, you won't need to build retirement/investment accounts after you retire, because presumably you've already done that. I've never understood retirement calculators that are based on salary rather than spending. There's what I earn, and then there's what I need to maintain my lifestyle. In retirement, all I need is what it takes to maintain my lifestyle, which is much less than my annual earnings during my pre-retirement years. Anyway, I thought this was a very useful observation.

I took an early retirement offer because I figured out I could live on 1/3 of my earnings. I'm living comfortably on my pension & haven't touched retirement accounts or other savings.

Heck, last year I was still adding to savings.



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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2281 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 11:45 AM
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ralph: "The retirement calculators NEVER give me the same info that my self-created spreadsheet gives me. I control the 'assumptions' in my spread sheet, therefore I trust my spreadsheet more than the calculators."

Some of the retirement planning programs are good....

Some are mechanical robots that assume the stock market will rise 10.8% every year, with 7-8% real gain over inflation, without fail, year after year. That is not a good assumption.

Even if you have 'an average' of 10.8% a year, it is the sequences of yearly gain - even more so in the first 5-10 years of retirement. A 50% drop the first year is a lot more significant than a 50% drop in the stock market after 10 years - especially if you are maintaining allocation to different asset classes!

Some use Monte Carlo simulations and base the result upon that.

Others use historical data to establish a 'safe withdrawal rate' based upon the 'worst possible outcome' that has occured over a similar withdrawal period in the past at the 'worst time'.

Recently, Kotlikoff has advocated planning using 'consumption smoothing', where data shows that people tend to want to spend more in initial years of retirement, then phase back on yearly expenses as they age.

From my perspective, I did that...first 3 years of retirement, I was 'gone' half the time...off for a month to HI.....then 8 months later off for a month to AK......then yearly trips to Thailand and Caribbean and Costa Rica and other fun (relatively inexpensive) places to see things and have fun.....trip to England for the better part of a month.

After 8 years of retirement (and after 9-11 travel hassles) have cut back..now gone maybe 15% of the time. Put 300,000 miles on cars in 8 years, so still 'getting around' but a lot more domestic travel now.

Enjoying being home for a while, and into more local activities.

Still places to see, but not into 'doing the tourist thing' in lots of other countries..... and putting more 'notches' in the gun just to say I've been to XXXX, YYYY, ZZZZZZ


t.




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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2288 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 12:14 PM
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My budget spreadsheet shows that I've spent about $22,000 in any given year since 2003, to maintain my mortgage, insurance, taxes, food, vehicle, basic household maintenace, and medical expenses.

I consider this a reasonable estimate of my NEEDS. I suspect I could cut this by about $8,000. It would be tight, but I did it in 2001-2002.

As for what I WANT - like you, I WANT more. But do I HAVE to have it order to 'retire'? No.

In 1997, I put together a 'plan' that included a detailed description of what I considered 'basic needs' and the $$ required to support that lifestyle. I estimated, on top of that, the things I considered 'wants', and the $$ needed to meet those goals.

I estimated that $36,000 would meet my basic needs as well as my minimum 'luxury goals'. To meet ALL my luxury goals would require about $50,000/yr.

CAVEAT - The cost of medical care insurance has increased since then... so my estimate may be a bit outdated. Although, ironically, my job provided 'medical insurance' stipend is today within a few dollars of that in 1997. ($297/mo vs $320/mo)

The retirement calculators NEVER give me the same info that my self-created spreadsheet gives me. I control the 'assumptions' in my spread sheet, therefore I trust my spreadsheet more than the calculators.


fwiw
ralph




Are you sure you have figured in EVERYTHING?
How about replacement costs on your car?
Replacement costs for worn-out tires on your car?
How about replacement costs on your computer?
Vet bills if you have a pet.
On-going expenses like ink for your printer (ink is damned expensive these days).

There is no way that I could live on $30,000 without having to sell my home.

The point is that everyone is different.
What works -- or what HAS worked -- for you, will not necessarily work for your next-door neighbor.

We all have a tendency to think that if *I* did it, anybody can do it -- and that's just not the case.

AM

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Author: Anibaldo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2289 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 12:18 PM
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There is no way that I could live on $30,000 without having to sell my home.

I doubt I would know how to spend that much.

Abe

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2292 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 12:42 PM
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There is no way that I could live on $30,000 without having to sell my home.

I doubt I would know how to spend that much.

Abe



You would soon learn if you lived here. :)

AM

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Author: Anibaldo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2294 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 12:51 PM
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You would soon learn if you lived here. :)

AM


Could you imagine living without a car? Might save you 5000 or more USD/yearly. Or eating at home instead of restaurants? More healthy, and will probably save you 2000 USD/year.

Abe

P.S.: I used to buy the newspaper every day. Stopped that. About 500 USD/yearly saved.
P.P.S.: I still spend about 5 USD/dayly at my local tavern. I call it public relation expenses.

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2296 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 12:58 PM
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You would soon learn if you lived here. :)

AM

Could you imagine living without a car?



In the United States? You've got to be joking.
For most people that is just not possible.
I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back.

Of course, if I were REALLY rich, I could buy a home right uptown near a grocery store -- if there were any for sale (which there are usually not) -- and then I wouldn't need a car until I needed to go to the doctor or somewhere other than the grocery store.

Do you have any idea how BIG the United States is?
Oy. Living without a car is only possible for a few people here.
Not for the majority.

AM




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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2298 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 1:02 PM
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P.P.S.: I still spend about 5 USD/dayly at my local tavern. I call it public relation expenses.

Better yet, it contributes to your overall health, at least so says some of the data.


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Author: Anibaldo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2302 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 1:10 PM
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I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back.

While I can buy anything at the local markets (agglomerations of stalls selling everything from salad to fish) and do so every day, I make mayor buys by phone or internet. Goods are delivered free of charge the same day.

Abe

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2306 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 1:27 PM
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<<You would soon learn if you lived here. :)

AM

Could you imagine living without a car?


In the United States? You've got to be joking.
For most people that is just not possible.
I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back.

>>


Yes, you clearly disprove the theory of evolution, since human beings could not have existed before the invention of the automobile.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2311 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 2:07 PM
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"For most people that is just not possible.
I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back. "

MOst of the people in NYC do not own a car.

The grocery stores deliver to your apartment door!.....you buy them, go home, and they show up 20 minutes later.

That is millions and millions without a car. Same for Boston and many in Miami. My friend in Chi does not own a car. she can borrow one from her sister to go visit her mom in a rest home, or go with her sister. She lives within walking distance to the 'el'.

Lots of folks in Dallas don't have a car - there is good mass transit there. Same for Wash DC.

In the suburbs, it is tough, but there are areas here where folks ride public transport to work. Now a light rail line to downtown and other business areas.

ever hear of car pooling? My mom lived in FL during the winter..she had a car, but usually carpooled to the grocery store with someone, or they drove her car. Two miles each way.

Lots of older folks give up cars. There are 'elder shuttles' that go around and pick up folks, take them to Walmart, then load the groceries and deliver them and groceries to their front door. Also take them to doc appointments. Another shuttle on a different day picks up folks wanting to go to 'the mall' and returns them a few hours later (movie theatre, eating out, etc).

Depending upon where you chose to live, you many not 'need' a car.

t.







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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2312 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 2:17 PM
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I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back.

While I can buy anything at the local markets (agglomerations of stalls selling everything from salad to fish) and do so every day, I make mayor buys by phone or internet. Goods are delivered free of charge the same day.

Abe





That's pretty nice for you.

AM

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Author: emtwo Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2318 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 2:47 PM
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MOst of the people in NYC do not own a car.

Well, you are correct, but barely; 54% don't own a vehicle, and New York is the only city with that distinction, of more than half the population not owning a vehicle.

And although I can't speak for New York City, I can speak for Washington DC, having worked there for the last 8 years, and while many do without a car, it's usually the wealthy that do it willingly; most do it because they have no choice.

v/r

Michael

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Author: Anibaldo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2323 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 4:27 PM
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That's pretty nice for you.

AM


Well, there are people around like this poster 'Jediknight' who believe Europe is a 'hell-hole'.

Abe

P.S.: It is not. IMHO.



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Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 4:36 PM
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Where I live (downtown Seville), a garage is 150€/month. Add depreciation of your car, repairs, taxes, insurance, gas, etc., and you're easily in the 300-400€ level. I mean, we eat a month from 400€. Fresh food.

If I need a car (to go to the beach,e.g.), I rent one. Or I take the bus. Or I take a cab. If I need a van to transport something, I've got friends who will help me out.

Abe

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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2325 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 4:46 PM
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Micheal: "And although I can't speak for New York City, I can speak for Washington DC, having worked there for the last 8 years, and while many do without a car, it's usually the wealthy that do it willingly; most do it because they have no choice."

Oh? so now owning a car is an 'entitlement' that everyone is entitled to, and if they can't afford one, one will be provided at no charge?

What country are you living in?

Folks don't own a car in NYC because parking spaces in apartment building garages can cost $300 and $400 a month! And because there is almost no parking on the streets because of the population density. And because most folks take public transportation to work, the stores deliver everything from 'take out' to your groceries to furniture. You don't have to haul anything.

You can hop a bus or plane to anywhere.....Atlantic City...beaches....to the mountains.....

There are a gazillion taxis if you really want to use a car instead of the subway or bus system, and a few taxi rides a month will be a lot cheaper than owning a car in NYC.

The same is true for Wash DC, other than grocery shopping - they don't deliver groceries in DC....but you can get around very well with public transporation for the most part, and if you must, use a taxi once a week and still come out WAY ahead of owning a car.

Haven't lived in other cities.

Dang...I didn't know the gov't is going to provide folks a car if they can't afford them. HEck, if half those folks (the half that smoked) gave up their nicotine addiction, they likely could afford a car.....

t.




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Author: Anibaldo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2326 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 4:49 PM
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And you know it.

AM


I will take any bet he does not.

Abe

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2332 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 5:30 PM
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That's pretty nice for you.

AM

Well, there are people around like this poster 'Jediknight' who believe Europe is a 'hell-hole'.

Abe

P.S.: It is not. IMHO.






Jediknight is an idiot.
:o)

AM

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Author: LtUhura Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2347 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 7:10 PM
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Could you imagine living without a car?


In the United States? You've got to be joking.
For most people that is just not possible.
I'm not physically able to walk all the way into town and then drag groceries home on my back.


I live in an urban area. Except for commuting to work 4 miles each way and buying groceries, I don't use my car. Everything else I need can be reached on foot. My 6-year-old vehicle has fewer than 30K miles on it. When I lived in Boston I didn't have a car at all. I got groceries home in one of those old lady two-wheel shopping carts or in a backpack. Granted, I shopped every other day, but I was able to do without a car. Every Friday I went to the Haymarket, where they have an insane farmer's market for fresh produce from Friday to Sunday. Getting all that produce home on the T was a pain, but it was doable.

Uhura

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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2353 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 8:19 PM
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In the United States? You've got to be joking.
For most people that is just not possible.


One of the great points about our move to the evil condo with the shared walls is walking distance to a major light rail line. At this point, I put very few miles a year on the car I drive - mostly to the airport and back. Once we move, I may well not have a car because the maintenance will be more of a pain than it's work. Retail, restaurants and entertainment are part of the property.

rad


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Author: emtwo Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2362 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/18/2007 11:12 PM
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Oh? so now owning a car is an 'entitlement' that everyone is entitled to, and if they can't afford one, one will be provided at no charge?

Holy Crap...misinterpret much?

Go back and read my post, and then try again...because you've missed it COMPLETELY.

regards,

Michael

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Author: sissylue Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2379 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 10:38 AM
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I estimated that $36,000 would meet my basic needs as well as my minimum 'luxury goals'. To meet ALL my luxury goals would require about $50,000/yr.

I too realized that I could live if I had to on a LOT LESS. $36,000 would meet my basic needs (no luxuries though) and that is with 2 kids to cloth and feed.I did an interesting thing starting at the first of the year - I have one of those large calendars with a nice big squarefor each day for writing in appointments - this year I started writing down every penny I spent each day and what it was for. I wanted to show the 9 year old where all our money goes. She has a very shaky grasp of what things cost and what is "expensive" and what is "cheap"; what is a "need" and what is a "want". At the end of January I think we were both a little shocked at the excessive amount of money we spent. But we added up all the restaurant meals and then added up all the grocery bills and compared the two. And she understood then that eating out was a "want"; groceries were a "need". And the eating out tab far exceeded the grocery tab. I remember as well how startled she was to realize how much gas for the car cost. It was nice too for her to realize that some things that we think of as "expensive" (such as our museum membership) is actully cheap when prorated out over the year given the number of times we utilize the Children's Museum and the Fine Arts Museum - plus as she excitedly pointed out to me "Mom! Remember all the receptions we go to for the artists - they always feed us really good party food and we don't have to eat our groceries that night!"

We have modified our habits a bit. The one big thing we do now is that we never hit the fast food drivethroughs - period. We eat out twice a month at a nice restaurant (the kids love it because the place is full of plants and fountains). I order off the senior citizen menu, the 9 year old orders off the kid's menu and we throw scraps to the baby. All are happy and the tab for twice a month is about half of what we were spending before at lousy restaurants. Plus the kids have a chance to put linen napkins in their laps and practice manners.

The other thing - I had to bite the bullet on was no more ordering every book I want automatically from Amazon.com - I haunt the Friends of the Library used book store and have never had a problem keeping myself well supplied. Plus since I volunteer at the store I get a further discount and am in a position to spot the good books as they come in.

I have de facto "retired" myself in the sense that I do not take as much work as is offered to me so that I can do the parenting thing and I will probably take in a little less than $50,000 this year.

Part of the probblem is emotional-mental - really getting through to yourself that it is a WANT not a NEED. I feel like I NEED books. But I wouldn't die if I didn't have books. And in any case with a little creative effort I don't have to forego books. If I ever decide that I can't afford Friends of the Library I will go to the public library.

Anyway I like the tradeoff - less money but a richer life.


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Author: sissylue Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2381 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 10:55 AM
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Well, there are people around like this poster 'Jediknight' who believe Europe is a 'hell-hole'.

My favourite part of the hell-hole is the Latin Quarter with it's concentration of more museums per square foot then any other place I can think of (though New York City runs a close second but I don't think it's in Europe)


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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2384 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 11:09 AM
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At the end of January I think we were both a little shocked at the excessive amount of money we spent. But we added up all the restaurant meals and then added up all the grocery bills and compared the two. And she understood then that eating out was a "want"; groceries were a "need".

DW and I eat out a lot. We can walk to many nice bars and restaurants, and we do so often. It's part of our social life, when you get right down to it. We run into folks we know all the time. We live in a resort area, so there are lots of folks in the village during weekends, holidays, and summers, plus whenever the snow is good for skiing. During the week, the village is mostly occupied by the permanent residents, and most of us know each other. Anyway, eating out is a want, not a need, but it's a want that we really like to enjoy. If money ever gets short, then eating out is the place to cut. Of course, drinking wine when we eat out makes up almost half the bill, so reducing wine consumption also would help. Anyway, I liked the concept of wants and needs, because making choices is what life is all about. I made a choice to save and invest throughout my years in the rat race. We lived well, but I focused on achieving a life-long goal of retiring before I died at my desk. I always wanted to retire before 55, but I made it (except for some part-time consulting) at 49. This was a want, not a need, but it was a want that we needed. DW and I are (were) both professionals, and we worked all the time, as in all the time. We now work very little, and we don't actually need to, but I guess we still need the "fix" for a few more years. I don't think that's a need or a want, but we do it anyway.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2385 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 11:15 AM
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<<
I have de facto "retired" myself in the sense that I do not take as much work as is offered to me so that I can do the parenting thing and I will probably take in a little less than $50,000 this year.

>>


That was a really excellent post on how you have comne to reevaluate and redirect your spending to achieve an improvement in your life.

I've had periods where I was working myself to death. Saving lots of money, but doing harm to myself.

Trading unnecessary spending for more time away from work is a choice that more people should probably consider. We tend to get 'way too good at working after a while, and work can become the easy thing to do, but can become harmful.


I was great to be able to see how you improved your life by reducing spending and working. I'd like to see more people consider those as possibly fruitful ways to live tyheir lives.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2396 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 12:03 PM
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We have modified our habits a bit. The one big thing we do now is that we never hit the fast food drivethroughs - period. We eat out twice a month at a nice restaurant (the kids love it because the place is full of plants and fountains). I order off the senior citizen menu, the 9 year old orders off the kid's menu and we throw scraps to the baby. All are happy and the tab for twice a month is about half of what we were spending before at lousy restaurants. Plus the kids have a chance to put linen napkins in their laps and practice manners.



This is just TOO cool, Sissy!



Part of the probblem is emotional-mental - really getting through to yourself that it is a WANT not a NEED. I feel like I NEED books. But I wouldn't die if I didn't have books. And in any case with a little creative effort I don't have to forego books. If I ever decide that I can't afford Friends of the Library I will go to the public library.

Anyway I like the tradeoff - less money but a richer life.




For you, books ARE a need! Never give them up, Sissy!
We all deserve some of our special needs.

AM



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Author: rainphakir Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2406 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 12:33 PM
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Hi AM
yes. the budget has an 'assumption' about maintenance items... that I wont need ALL of them at the same exact time :-) and if push comes to shove - I will 'get a job' for that 'need'.

I don't use the spread sheet to beat up on myself or anyone else :-)
I use it as a BASE for my own NEEDS, and a way to separate out my WANTS :-) It keeps me grounded

As for factoring in 'everything' ... that is NOT possible
When the 'model' gets too complex, it begins to not fit any one person well. This is the reason I trust MY spreadsheet for MY needs, more than I trust the 'calculators'. The calculators try to meet ALL needs.

I strongly suggest to everyone that each one build his/her own spreadsheet to meet his/her own specific circumstances.

:-)
ralph


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Author: rainphakir Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2408 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 12:44 PM
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Good for you!!! sissylue :-)

Have you thought of 'giving' your 9 yr old a 'sum' of $$ and she is then 'responsible' for providing the resources for a 'dinner'.. and let her KEEP anything that she is able to 'save' from that amount?

I'm certain that you can imagine how to do this for a 'homecooked' meal, or a 'restaurant meal'... in a way that would not exceed your budget ... but would let her 'learn by experience'.

hmm.. perhaps the amount 'saved' could go into a 'kitty' for another expense, that is shared by all the family?

I BELIEVE in letting kids 'learn by experience' :-)
and I think you are doing a wonderful job already :-)
ralph




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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2409 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 12:51 PM
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We all deserve some of our special needs.

Perhaps but everyone can't always afford them.

rad


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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2412 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 12:56 PM
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We all deserve some of our special needs.

Perhaps but everyone can't always afford them.

rad





Well, not if you are talking about sailboats or cruises around the world.

But books are pretty inexpensive if you shop the used shops and libraries. One of my "needs" (which is really closer to a "want") is eating out -- but I don't have to do it all the time. Another "need" (which really IS a need) is quiet time of my own -- that costs nothing at all.

AM

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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2415 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 1:26 PM
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Well, not if you are talking about sailboats or cruises around the world.

But books are pretty inexpensive if you shop the used shops and libraries.


This could be why you have a hard time imagining living on $30K a year.

rad

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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2418 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 1:51 PM
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This could be why you have a hard time imagining living on $30K a year.

rad



Nope. I have a hard time imagining living on $30K a year because I've done the numbers on our expenses. Basic expenses. So I know what it costs.

Of course, I could always move to a hovel somewhere and that would take care of the cost from your perspective, I'm sure. But it would not be a satisfying retirement for me.

Everyone's mileage varies on this.
Or so I'm told.

AM

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Author: sissylue Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2437 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 3:05 PM
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Have you thought of 'giving' your 9 yr old a 'sum' of $$ and she is then 'responsible' for providing the resources for a 'dinner'.. and let her KEEP anything that she is able to 'save' from that amount?

Good god no!! The kid is a born cheap-skate. She would have us nibbling on stale saltine crackers and drinking tap water so that she could sock away most of the money.

I do give her $5 a week allowance. She is "required" to put half of it in her savings account and the other half goes in a 3-ring plastic pouch that is in her "ledger" (a 3 ring binder) and she may spend this money as she pleases. She keeps track of all her money in the ledger - what comes in and what goes out. When she spends her money (which is very rare) she records what it is she is spending the money on. I printed her up some very simple ledger sheets to keep in her binder.

The allowance idea was a stroke of genius. Before when she asked me to buy something that I considered a frivolity or I didn't exactly disapprove of but thought tacky (an example would be a Bratz lunchbox - for those of you who don't know what a Bratz is consider yourself fortunate) I had to refuse her and always felt a bit guilty. But now that she has an allowance if she wants it she can buy it herself and she doesn't ask me to buy her things that she knows I consider tacky and/or frivolous because she understands that she can buy them for herself. But guess what? The minute it was her own money all of a sudden she decided she didn't really need it - whatever it was. I didn't have to teach her to be a saver though - it just comes naturally to her.



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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2461 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 6:33 PM
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"But books are pretty inexpensive if you shop the used shops and libraries.'

My friend in NY and wife are 'book scouts'....got to dozens of book sales and public library sales and flea markets. Look for first editions, special cookbooks and other things that dealers pay them to look for - for special requests...pays the gas money for their trips usually.

I give him a subject or 2 or 3 of interest at the moment, and he fills up a box with $1 bargain books on the subject in no time. I either pick them up (once a year when I get 100 or 200 lbs of books) or he'll mail them down to me.

The local library here is excellent, and they can get just about anything on inter library loan. Some really really obscure stuff (like 150 year old techical books), and other newer things that aren't of enough general interest.

I occasionally buy some books at 'Half Price Books' a local chain here, but not so much anymore..... but check the bargain $1 and $2 shelf. Can get the books at the library for free.

t.


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Author: rainphakir Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2464 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 6:39 PM
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She would have us nibbling on stale saltine crackers and drinking tap water so that she could sock away most of the money.


LOL!!! you are too funny :-) I can relate to the 'born cheapskate' and 'born saver'... that's me, too.

Perhaps it could be an exercise in 'compromise'? Find a way to show her that who ever is 'in charge' has to consider the needs of everyone? or that 'cheapest' is not always 'best'?

How about the suggestion that the 'extra' would go toward some other 'family' expense?

have a great day :-)
ralph






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Author: reallyalldone Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2467 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 7:14 PM
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Of course, I could always move to a hovel somewhere and that would take care of the cost from your perspective, I'm sure.

So far you have no clue about my perspective.

rad

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Author: Jim2B Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2470 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/19/2007 8:07 PM
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Part of the probblem is emotional-mental - really getting through to yourself that it is a WANT not a NEED. I feel like I NEED books. But I wouldn't die if I didn't have books. And in any case with a little creative effort I don't have to forego books. If I ever decide that I can't afford Friends of the Library I will go to the public library.

Don't forget interlibrary loans, it's a wonderful thing!

We used to purchase way to many books. Lately we've been using the library and if we really like a book and want to read it over & over, then we'll buy it.

Otherwise we just borrow them, read them, & return them. Plus this method won't require us to purchase more bookshelves!

Jim

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2570 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/20/2007 4:33 PM
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Do you have any idea how BIG the United States is?
Oy. Living without a car is only possible for a few people here.
Not for the majority.


The answer - as with many things is - "it depends." I agree that majority in the US need a car. But I have known many, many people without cars.

When I lived in New York, most people I knew didn't own a car. It was actively a liability there. I now live in the SF Bay Area, and for my first year here didn't own a car. I know five people who have never owned a car here, and three more who don't own one now but may again. For them it's cheaper to do this. They rent from time to time. There's a retirement apartment up the street from me and most people there don't have cars.

In urban areas it's often possible to do without a car and not have much trouble at all.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2571 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/20/2007 4:37 PM
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I've had periods where I was working myself to death. Saving lots of money, but doing harm to myself.

Trading unnecessary spending for more time away from work is a choice that more people should probably consider. We tend to get 'way too good at working after a while, and work can become the easy thing to do, but can become harmful.


This is a really profound statement. I'm working like a maniac at the moment (I'd say a dog, but I don't think dogs work this hard) - saving tons of money, and still enjoying the work.

But...

I recognize this is not healthy in the long run, and plan on scaling back - probably about five years from now. I don't want to be working this hard in my 50's. Being a barista sounds good for those years.

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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2656 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 5:38 PM
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The same is true for Wash DC, other than grocery shopping - they don't deliver groceries in DC

I thought Peapod delivered in D.C.

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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2658 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 5:51 PM
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"
I thought Peapod delivered in D.C. "

do they actually have stores? ARen't they only in cyberspace?

The Kroger and Albertson type stores don't...

In NYC, the markets deliver groceries to your door....thousands of them...for the past 100 years...


t.


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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2664 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 6:25 PM
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I thought Peapod delivered in D.C. "

do they actually have stores? ARen't they only in cyberspace?


No, you're right, they're in cyberspace, although here in Chicago they have an amazing variety (and have partnered with Wild Oats so there's a good selection of natural/organic stuff).

Our local Dominicks and Jewel grocery stores deliver, but when I'm in a rush I just use Peapod.



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Author: joseph714 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2669 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 6:43 PM
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Amy4:

Leads me to ask, do you know if Peapod delivers as far north as Lake Forest / Waukegan?

Link please?

My 87 year old mother likes to shop at Sunset Foods in Lake Forest who do deliver but I sure would like to hook her up with some organics.

Dominicks & Jewel by the way, are improving all the time what with competition coming in from Whole Foods.

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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2672 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 6:54 PM
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Link please?

It would appear that they do deliver to Lake Forest:

http://www.peapod.com



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Author: joseph714 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2673 of 63382
Subject: Re: Are Americans saving too much for retirement Date: 2/21/2007 7:03 PM
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Thank you Amy.

This is going to be good to go.

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