No. of Recommendations: 0
I'm fairly proud of my financial prowess, and my earning power.
I used to think I'd be able to retire pretty easy, but recent events have hurt my prospects.
I had a 401k going earlier, but I ran into unemployment for a while, and wound up living on those savings. The next job I found didn't offer benefits of any kind, and neither did the one after that. I can't help but wonder if this is a spreading trend, or if THIS motley fool is missing the jackpot.
Then I found this link, on another forum I frequent, and to be honest with you, it just gives me the willies!!

http://moneyandmylife.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1611#post1...
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
YOu've got to be saving on your own these days, and need to be planning on working longer - since folks live longer.

Too many today consume at too high a level. If you can't save, then you are living 'too high'.

50 years ago, folks lived in 900-1000 sq foot houses. Maybe a 1 car garage, or more likely, a carport. Small yard. One car in family.

That was the norm. Then it slowly grew....now 1700 sq feet is a 'very small home'.....and around here, starter homes start at 2500 sq feet, and everyone wants 4-5 bedrooms 4 bath two story homes with triple garage.

Now, it is cellphones for everyone, premium cable TV packages, TV sets in every room, 3 or 4 cars in the family......

Folks are trained consumers. FOlks spend less on food than before. FOlks spend less on a car than before. But folks spend a lot more on 'things' that never were necessities 50 years ago.

SO, like the article says, boomers are likely going to re-adjust.

Most pensions don't go completely bust - the Pension Guarantee Board pays out something - up to about $56K/yr.

Health care disappears. Obamacare , if he can find the money, will just make it the rationed gigantic HMO screwed up federal system.....

Boomers who aren't set will work to 70, or retire to a mobile home park in FL and live on 30,000 a year income,most of it SS.....and a bit of savings...like half of FL do today..or move to AZ.....same thing....

t.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Through most of his working life, steelworker Ray West looked toward a secure retirement. His company pension would bring in around $30,000 a year, his union contract guaranteed retiree health coverage and he had 401(k) savings of about $50,000.

Okay, the first thing I noticed was the bolded area. When Sandman retired, we had close to $1m and I was terrified. I was certain we were going to go broke, and wind up on a government bail-out.
This guy saved $50K and thinks he's doing good??? What planet has he been on?
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Indeed when they continue to remind us of the very low savings rate in the US, you would not be surprised to learn that the median 401k value at retirement in the US is $50K.

So Social Security and Medicare will be the core of most retirement plans for years to come. A pension and health insurance from a union or employer adds to the plan, but often the pension is small. The smallish 401k balance provides little more than a safety net for some unexpected expenditure.

And yes there will be lots of people like this. These are the ones who have jobs that paid pensions or had 401K plans in which they participated. Plenty have far less.

We are headed for a time when the gap between the haves and have nots widens in retirement. And that could be political dynamite.

But what is the solution to this problem? Education? Training? Preaching? Too many need the money for other things or just won't listen. So we are stuck with this problem getting worse.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
This guy saved $50K and thinks he's doing good??? What planet has he been on?
Kathleen


$30,000 in pension plus around 20K+ from Social Security plus medical coverage

It looks like he is not planning on needing additional income.

Debra
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<<I had a 401k going earlier, but I ran into unemployment for a while, and wound up living on those savings. The next job I found didn't offer benefits of any kind, and neither did the one after that. I can't help but wonder if this is a spreading trend, or if THIS motley fool is missing the jackpot.
>>


You can do IRAs if you like.

But I'm not especially convinced that the 401K is all that great a deal, since you don't get the advantage of cheap capital gains tax rates.

I therefore consider regular taxable accounts nearly as good.

The main thing is to keeping saving & investing.



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> $30,000 in pension plus around 20K+ from Social Security plus medical coverage <<

These days you can pretty well tell the difference between someone who has a good pension coming their way and someone who will have to rely on 401Ks and IRAs. The former are sleeping much better these days. Doubly so if they are retired or have a very secure job.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
$30,000 in pension plus around 20K+ from Social Security plus medical coverage

It looks like he is not planning on needing additional income.


Maybe I'm a worry wart, but to me that's not even remotely close to enough to retire on. I'd consider that enough to last a few years in between things, but certainly not enough to retire on.
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Maybe I'm a worry wart, but to me that's not even remotely close to enough to retire on. I'd consider that enough to last a few years in between things, but certainly not enough to retire on.
Kathleen


It all depends on how much you plan on spending and a great deal on where you live. I am seeing retired family members comfortably living on less than $50,000. They own their homes. They don't have debt. They don't travel much, but mostly it is because they have no desire to travel.

Debra
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
It all depends on how much you plan on spending and a great deal on where you live. I am seeing retired family members comfortably living on less than $50,000. They own their homes. They don't have debt. They don't travel much, but mostly it is because they have no desire to travel.

Debra


Sandman is retired, and I'm a SAHM, and we live on less then $50k a year, BUT I still do not see the amounts listed in that article as reasonably feasible for retirement.
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> Sandman is retired, and I'm a SAHM, and we live on less then $50k a year, BUT I still do not see the amounts listed in that article as reasonably feasible for retirement. <<

Doesn't that depends on what you want your retirement to be? If you own your home outright and don't care to travel much, a frugal but comfortable lifestyle in a moderate cost of living area could easily get by on $50K.

What we "want" from retirement varies so greatly from one person to the next that putting a "required income" or blanket statement about percentage of working salary needed tends to be pretty bogus.

I'm quite sure we could live on $40K in retirement with relative ease (in current dollars). We have a small, paid-for home in a low cost of living town and pretty simple tastes. Obviously, we'd like a little more than that (and health insurance could be the wild card here when it's time), but I've run budget numbers over and over again based on required expenses, "lifestyle-important" discretionary expenses and fluff that could be cut, and the first two buckets are a bit less than $40K per year, including taxes.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Doesn't that depends on what you want your retirement to be? If you own your home outright and don't care to travel much, a frugal but comfortable lifestyle in a moderate cost of living area could easily get by on $50K.

What we "want" from retirement varies so greatly from one person to the next that putting a "required income" or blanket statement about percentage of working salary needed tends to be pretty bogus.


But the point is that the man saved $50k TOTAL. Not $50k a year, $50k for the rest of his life. I certainly hope the man plans on living more than 2 years.
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
But the point is that the man saved $50k TOTAL. Not $50k a year, $50k for the rest of his life. I certainly hope the man plans on living more than 2 years.
Kathleen


He has an annual pension of $30,000. The amount he will receive from social security wasn't stated, but probably would be in the $20,000 range. The provides a $50,000 annual income without any use of savings.

Debra
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> He has an annual pension of $30,000. The amount he will receive from social security wasn't stated, but probably would be in the $20,000 range. The provides a $50,000 annual income without any use of savings. <<

That was my assumption, too. When you have a pension that generous, the amount you need to save on your own is far, far less than it is for us poor schmucks who have to rely on Wall Street for any chance to retire.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
He has an annual pension of $30,000. The amount he will receive from social security wasn't stated, but probably would be in the $20,000 range. The provides a $50,000 annual income without any use of savings.

He planned on a pension of $30k annually. Because of the bankruptcy of his company 3 years ago, his pension has been cut to about $5k annually, as well as having his retiree health plan cancelled.

Then he 'blew through' all the money in his 401(k) while training for a new career, which indicates he had no emergency fund or other resources.

Plus, while $50k might have been enough to start his retirement with, very few private pensions are indexed to inflation, and SS is now using an index less than the CPI, so the $50k would have had significantly less purchasing power in 10 or 15 years, much less 30 or 40 years.

Sorry, but I think this guy was going to be ill-prepared for retirement even if his company hadn't gone bankrupt. While his company going bankrupt was a bad blow to him, there appear to be lots of opportunities where he could have done better planning. This story seems to completely ignore those issues and tries to place the blame on the disappearance of pensions and the new reliance on 401(k)s and IRAs.

AJ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Sorry, but I think this guy was going to be ill-prepared for retirement even if his company hadn't gone bankrupt. While his company going bankrupt was a bad blow to him, there appear to be lots of opportunities where he could have done better planning. This story seems to completely ignore those issues and tries to place the blame on the disappearance of pensions and the new reliance on 401(k)s and IRAs.

It's nice to know I'm not the only person that thinks he was simply unprepared. I'm stunned to see so many people trying to find justifications for how little he saved.
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
These days you can pretty well tell the difference between someone who has a good pension coming their way and someone who will have to rely on 401Ks and IRAs. The former are sleeping much better these days. Doubly so if they are retired or have a very secure job.

Given the state of a lot of companies/governments and their un/derfunded pension liabilities, while a lot of the people who have pensions may be under the illusion that they can sleep better, they probably shouldn't be.

The whole premise of the article is incorrect, based on the information that they were using. This guy had a pension. The reason that it 'disappeared' was that his company went BK, not that he didn't have one available. Companies going belly up and subsequent pension decreases was happening long before 401(k)s made their appearance, and was part of the reason that the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) was started.

In this case, had the guy saved significantly for his retirement by using the 401(k) that he had available to him, IRAs and/or taxable accounts, he would have been able to weather the fact that the company went BK a lot more easily. However, using him to illustrate that people are going to have a hard time retiring because pensions are generally not offered to new employees any more is factually incorrect.

Besides that, how many of today's new graduates do you really think will be able to stay with a company for the 30 years that it requires to get a full pension? Even if the person is willing, many of the companies aren't around 30 years from now.

The 401(k) was an attempt to build portable pensions that people can carry with them from job to job. What fails is that they are voluntary, so people have to take some responsibility on their own. And even with the new automatic enrollment rules, employees can choose to opt out. So people can choose to not participate, and then become sob stories for articles like this one.

AJ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> Given the state of a lot of companies/governments and their un/derfunded pension liabilities, while a lot of the people who have pensions may be under the illusion that they can sleep better, they probably shouldn't be. <<

I highly doubt that anyone with a government pension will lose anything, especially at the state and federal level. Perhaps the pensions will become frozen, and perhaps they have to stop adding new employees to the defined benefit plan, but governments have something private businesses don't: the power to raise taxes to fund the pension. Private industry can't just raise prices in the face of competition to shore up the pension funds.

I can see a few cities "going Vallejo" in this market cycle, though.

>> The 401(k) was an attempt to build portable pensions that people can carry with them from job to job. What fails is that they are voluntary, so people have to take some responsibility on their own. And even with the new automatic enrollment rules, employees can choose to opt out. So people can choose to not participate, and then become sob stories for articles like this one. <<

Yes, there are three problems with the 401K as I see it: one is, as you said, it's voluntary, so if people don't realize in their 20s and 30s -- the best time to invest for retirement growth -- that they need to feed the kitty, they risk having little or nothing to retire on and have to play a furious "catchup" game.

Another problem is that workers are least likely to be able to afford to contribute a lot of cash to their plans when it would be of maximum benefit for them to do so: while they are young.

The other problem is inappropriate investment mix. If a 60-year-old had 100% of his/her 401K in stock mutual funds and they were planning on depending on it for retirement income, they took too many risks and sabotaged their retirement. The flip side of that is (say) someone who is 25 or 30 and is being scared off of the stock market long term. These people will have mostly cash and bonds at a time when they should be taking more risk and buying more stock with each pay period to take advantage of today's low stock prices.

So really, the 401K investor is more prone to self-destruction of wealth through those two wealth-killing emotions, fear and greed. Pension fund managers don't really deal with this because they tend to keep an overall asset mix appropriate for both the 20-somethings and retirees pooled together in the fund.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I highly doubt that anyone with a government pension will lose anything, especially at the state and federal level. Perhaps the pensions will become frozen, and perhaps they have to stop adding new employees to the defined benefit plan, but governments have something private businesses don't: the power to raise taxes to fund the pension.

I don't know about that. The Governor of 'Taxachussetts' recently proposed spending cuts, including revamping the state pension plan http://wbztv.com/local/state.budget.cuts.2.830758.html :

When asked about Patrick's proposal to revamp state pension plans, Widmer said, "Obviously changing the benefits of public employees is a very difficult proposition. On the other hand, in this kind of situation, the state is facing this may be the best time to take some kind of unpopular action."

AJ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> When asked about Patrick's proposal to revamp state pension plans, Widmer said, "Obviously changing the benefits of public employees is a very difficult proposition. On the other hand, in this kind of situation, the state is facing this may be the best time to take some kind of unpopular action." <<

You never say never, but I think it extremely unlikely that existing and already accrued pension benefits can or will be cut. As I mentioned I do believe they can "freeze" the pension or give less credit for *future* years of service... or they can stop putting new hires into it... but I really, really think any attempt to cut earned pension benefits, based on years of service already worked, would be DOA.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
REading the Scott Burns/Lary Kotlikoff BooK on "Spend till the End"

Fascinanting book and will blow away all your thinking on savings/spending assumptions.

"Yes, there are three problems with the 401K as I see it: one is, as you said, it's voluntary, so if people don't realize in their 20s and 30s -- the best time to invest for retirement growth -- that they need to feed the kitty, they risk having little or nothing to retire on and have to play a furious "catchup" game."

That depends upon income level, number of dependents...... the conventional wisdom on percent you need to save is highly WRONG!.....

"Another problem is that workers are least likely to be able to afford to contribute a lot of cash to their plans when it would be of maximum benefit for them to do so: while they are young."

That depends upon income level!.....the rich need to save a higher percentage....than the low wage earner.

"The other problem is inappropriate investment mix. If a 60-year-old had 100% of his/her 401K in stock mutual funds and they were planning on depending on it for retirement income, they took too many risks and sabotaged their retirement."

A lot of that also has to do with the fees to manage funds. Too many 401Ks have ridiculous fees/loads on funds......people have been sold bad investments by wall street.



"So really, the 401K investor is more prone to self-destruction of wealth through those two wealth-killing emotions, fear and greed. "


And high cost, chasing the latest fad, emotional investing style in all areas of financial planning.


"Pension fund managers don't really deal with this because they tend to keep an overall asset mix appropriate for both the 20-somethings and retirees pooled together in the fund."

Well, not really. Lately pension funds have been used as piggy banks, reaping 'excess contributions' by the company NOT making contributions, often resulting in underfunding.

The majority of pension plans are under funded - some severely. Many will go bust or have to cut benefits or both.

Most pension plans will be frozen. (my opinion).....

The high income earner is much more at risk than the low income earner - to company bankruptcy, pension plan failure, etc.

I wouldn't count on many states to be able to afford all the promised high pensions......there is going to be a revolt one of these days....and cities will go bust....and states may go bust....or raise taxes that people and business will flee......

Companies can go bust....and dissappear....

Gov't can only raise taxes to a certain point...then the taxpayers revolt...or leave.....

CA is going to get a rude wake up call with gov't entities going to have to fork up 3-4% additional pension contributions next year to keep the CALPERS system solvent.....or the stock market will have to rebound....


If you find a copy of the book, read it......half way through now....


t.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
"You never say never, but I think it extremely unlikely that existing and already accrued pension benefits can or will be cut. As I mentioned I do believe they can "freeze" the pension or give less credit for *future* years of service... or they can stop putting new hires into it... but I really, really think any attempt to cut earned pension benefits, based on years of service already worked, would be DOA."

Some cities decide what the 'percentage' which is earned by years of service is,...the figure out the last 3 'average earnings'....which in many union based jobs, suddenly winds up being 100% greater than the base salary of the employee...all of a sudden,there is 40 hours a week of overtime.....and premium pay, of course..... for a year .......(put in by others)....to help the guy retiring get a pension based upon a bogus number.....next year they help out someone else with 'extra hours'....maybe the employee works 20 extra hours, some others kick in a hour or two of their overtime....(for cash under the table)...

and the guy retires with 35years or 35% of twice or three times his base pay....... or about 100% of pay.......

The NYC unions were famous for that.....

Suddenly, the last 3 years had fantastic earnings...the guy about to retire 'got all the overtime'..... heck...the next year, he might even appear to help out the next guy retiring...for a few bucks off the books...to 'work' over time for 2-3 hours in place of the nest guy to retire.....

I wouldn't be surprised if the transit folks and others weren't pulling the same scam.

You limit it to base pay and save a bundle....but you got a big fight with the unions....


t.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<<You never say never, but I think it extremely unlikely that existing and already accrued pension benefits can or will be cut. As I mentioned I do believe they can "freeze" the pension or give less credit for *future* years of service... or they can stop putting new hires into it... but I really, really think any attempt to cut earned pension benefits, based on years of service already worked, would be DOA.

#29

>>


I'm always amused that it's OK to RAISE pensions that people have already earned, but somehow the idea that such benefits could be cut is always proposed as being unthinkable. Why is that?



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 5
I'm always amused that it's OK to RAISE pensions that people have already earned, but somehow the idea that such benefits could be cut is always proposed as being unthinkable. Why is that?



Seattle Pioneer


I think it is because pensions are seen as a form of compensation. Deferred to be sure, but compensation none the less. More compensation is always allowed, but giving less than agreed is most likely a breach of contract.

Cheers,
Nuclear Redneck
Who is saving as though his pension will never happen.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Yes, there are three problems with the 401K as I see it: one is, as you said, it's voluntary, so if people don't realize in their 20s and 30s -- the best time to invest for retirement growth -- that they need to feed the kitty, they risk having little or nothing to retire on and have to play a furious "catchup" game.

That's scares me every time I read it. The problem is it's voluntary... the other option is compulsory. Scary no matter what the subject! Next, early retirement is bad for the country so everyone must work.. the problem with work is that it's voluntary. We once had compulsory work in this country -I hope we don't ever slide back down that dark path.

Ziggy, I know that's not the point of your post and understand what you meant... just scared me.

Retirement is a luxury that not all will be able to afford... trying to give it to everyone will never work. Some won't want to, some will spend above their means no matter how much their pension/savings/SS will allow and will still have to work till they drop.

FoolNBlue (Likes doing things voluntarily)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
. . . We once had compulsory work in this country -I hope we don't ever slide back down that dark path. . .



+++
+++


Would you care to explain when this period of "compulsory work" occurred in US history?


sunray
a [Retired] man bewildered [by the very Idea]

;-)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
>> Would you care to explain when this period of "compulsory work" occurred in US history? <<

Slavery? Indentured servitude?

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Slavery? Indentured servitude?

#29



+++
+++


So #29, are you announcing that you are a Blue-clone?

Your suggestions are about as relevant as the Gold Standard & the Poll Tax; they happened in US history but WILL NOT reoccur by "back sliding"

I still await a [defensible] response for the Original Poster


sunray
a man with unanswered questions
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
OCD:

I still await a [defensible] response from the Original Poster
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
Not the original poster, but I think ziggy's answers were completely defensible in relation to the question you asked. Your question was:

Would you care to explain when this period of "compulsory work" occurred in US history?

You didn't say that the type of "compulsory work" had to be able to occur again - you just asked when the period was.

Trying to say Your suggestions are about as relevant as the Gold Standard & the Poll Tax; they happened in US history but WILL NOT reoccur by "back sliding" is not refuting ziggy's answers to the question that was asked. ziggy's answers were completely relevant to the question that was asked.

AJ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<<Your suggestions are about as relevant as the Gold Standard & the Poll Tax; they happened in US history but WILL NOT reoccur by "back sliding"

I still await a [defensible] response for the Original Poster


sunray
a man with unanswered questions

>>


Contemplating just how far employers will go to secure a workforce in a labor shortage is an interesting question.

We have seen workers reduced to crude peonage in the sharecropper south --- living out a rude form of exploitation for several generations.

I think it's pretty clear from the illegal alien situation that employers will lie cheat and steal pretty much as a matter of routine to get a labor supply --- what else will they do?

We have drafted people into the military by the million in peacetime from the 1950s to early 1970.

While employers claim the moral and legal right to dump workers without notice when they aren't needed, employers usually seem to imagine that they have a natural right to a plentiful labor supply at relatively cheap wage rates whenever they can get away with it. Whenever they start feeling a pinch, they are off to convince the Federal government to turn on the flood gates of immigration to bail them out.

Broad labor shortages have been rare in the United States thanks to chronic floods of immigration. But I think that many employers are capable of almost anything to get the labor supply they needed were real shortages to be permitted to occur --- not that that is likely.



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Would you care to explain when this period of "compulsory work" occurred in US history?

I was referring specifically to slavery as I believe slavery truly fits the definition. The military draft would probably be another valid example. I'd throw in sharecropping as well since it was often just a sham for extending the era of slavery a bit longer in the US. I do not count indentured servitude in all of it's historical and current mutations. To the extent that it is a private contract willingly entered into by both parties acting in good faith, I have no objections. However, I think it frequently accompanies blackmail, kidnapping, and other thuggery and certainly in those instances becomes a form of slavery and no longer a valid contract.

FoolNBlue (Back from a weekend trip)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> Your suggestions are about as relevant as the Gold Standard & the Poll Tax; they happened in US history but WILL NOT reoccur by "back sliding" <<

You never said anything about backsliding -- only whether any "compulsory work" was ever an issue in the United States. Sounds like you don't like getting historically and factually correct examples to your original question, and now you've decided to move the goalposts after the fact.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Geez, you guys are getting me depressed. Right now, I'm socking away 15% of my salary (plus a 5% company match) into my 401k and $5K/year IRA contributions, plus doing some limited DRIPping. I also am saving all my off military retirement check. I'm thinking that perhaps I need to tighten the belt some more once Sallie Mae is gone from my life?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<<I had a 401k going earlier, but I ran into unemployment for a while, and wound up living on those savings. The next job I found didn't offer benefits of any kind, and neither did the one after that. I can't help but wonder if this is a spreading trend, or if THIS motley fool is missing the jackpot.
>>


I quit my job as a repairman with a utility company in 1999 in favor of operating my own repair service, which I'd begun in 1994.

I began my independent existence by being crippled and unable to work with a herniated disk in my back which had actually begun before I'd quit my job. So that led to my first three months of independence with no earned income. No worries though --- I had ample savings for such an event.

In addition to that, it felt a little strange to begin laying out money for health insurance and dental insurance beginning the next month (COBRA benefits). For two or three months it seemed STRANGE to be paying for my own health insurance, even though I had planned all along to do exactly that, of course.

After that three months--- it seemed STRANGE that an employer would pay for my health insurance. That still seems rather weird to me ten years later.

I guess you can get used to anything --- and take it for granted.

But really --- isn't it weird to have employers pay for your health insurance?


Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
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....
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> 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. <<

This, in a nutshell, is all that needed to be said about your ability to retire -- public pension. The rest of us seem to be on a path of working until we're dead. No matter how many of the right choice some other folks have made, many who made the one choice which now appears to be the *wrong* one in terms of hopes to retire -- working in the private sector -- will be lucky to retire at full SS eligibility age, if at all.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
"This, in a nutshell, is all that needed to be said about your ability to retire -- public pension."

No doubt that this is a very large part. We still don't entirely trust that either and look for ways to be able to go on if that were to fail on us, admittedly a very unlikely and grim circumstance if it did.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Many people would continue working if they could but for many reasons aren't able to as they age. A lot of being able to retire comfortably is Luck!--- along with the good fortune of staying healthy....and having family members who are healthy.

What I've learned: Nothing is for sure. Making plans, saving and investing helps. But, sometimes all those good efforts evaporate through no fault of your own. Even state and federal government pensions aren't a guarantee.

Because....s*?t happens and that's just life.

Oklahoman living one day at a time
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
and some will work at minimum wages all their life and never have the luxury of money to invest in any way
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
>> and some will work at minimum wages all their life and never have the luxury of money to invest in any way <<

Nice to see a long-dead thread resurrected like Lazarus. This is going to sound a little heartless and I don't mean it to, but to some degree, working for minimum wage all your life is probably a *choice*.

Why do I say that? There are, over the course of a lifetime, plenty of low cost training and educational opportunities available for many people. Many people who are sufficiently motivated to get out of that cycle can attend a community college, often at very low cost (and possibly even for nothing depending on what programs are available to assist in paying for it), taking a class here and there until they have a degree or certificate making them much more employable in other fields that pay better.

I know that working 40+ hours and having family responsibilities often leaves little time for retraining on your own time, but if someone is sufficiently motivated to avoid a lifetime of minimum wage jobs, don't let it be said that they are completely "trapped" and that their future is completely out of their control.

I sympathize with people in this situation, but I don't sympathize with those in this situation who would demand that the world adapt to them rather than the other way around. The world doesn't owe any of us a living.

#29
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
and some will work at minimum wages all their life and never have the luxury of money to invest in any way

If someone works for minimum wage all their life and there is no actual physical reason, I have absolutely no sympathy for them. If my 10yo daughter can make more than minimum wage, they can too with a little effort.
Kathleen
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I've given this some thought.

There are well over a million careworkers in this country like myself. Almost all are women, and half are single providers.

Those who work in nursing homes and the like make an average of just over $10 per hour. For this, they often are assigned 20 or more patients, which leaves no time for quality care. Still, 36% of those CNA's working in nursing homes have household incomes of under $20,000 per year.
http://eldercarenotebook.blogspot.com/2009/07/cdc-on-nursing...

Those employed by home care agencies generally make less, and have few or no benefits, but at least have the chance to properly do the work they love.

Most home care workers, like myself, don't have health insurance, although we know how important that is. Most don't have a prospect of retirement. I know that the way it looks now, I will never be able to stop working during my lifetime.

To some, it seems from the posts, it's our own fault for not 'advancing'. Often, that's not possible, especially if we have been working to allow our own children to get college educations. But we shouldn't forget that some of us do love our work. Also, someone has to do the work, and people in our care obviously are better off having caregivers who really want to be doing their work.... and not because they can't do better.

One reason the pay is so low, by the way, is if you break down the costs of care, to the payer, and calculate the small fraction of that the actual hands-on caregivers are receiving, there's a wide gap. There are a lot of people to be paid along the way. Actual care receivers are paying far too much, and of that, actual caregivers are receiving far too little.

There are things that health care consumers can do to help, and at the same time save some money (and also at the same time, help people like me make a living). Those with Long Term Care policies can save themselves considerable money.

See: "Stretching your LTC claim dollars" which I also posted at
http://www.aarp.org/community/GertrudeCNA/journals/

Gertrude
http://eldercarenotebook.blogspot.com/
Print the post Back To Top