Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 1
The link below takes you to an article that basically says half of employed Americans are unhappy with their job - and this seems to be the same across all age and income levels.

When you consider all the opportunities, laws to protect employees from employers, flexible work schedules, relaxed dress codes, benefit packages becoming almost a given, the myriad of educational possibilities, etc. - why is it that so many seek and then stay in jobs they don't like?

Any theories?

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/news/3915611.htm


ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Because being self-employed is hard work and often risky.

Because health insurance is much more difficult (and expensive) to come by if you're self-employed.

Because a lot of people lack the imagination to see how they could thrive working for themselves.

Because an employer is "safe".

You often get free internet access with an employer job!! ;)

Because they haven't gotten fed up enough yet.

Because people like to complain about the boss, which is hard to do when you work for yourself....

Kelly
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Because being self-employed is hard work and often risky.

Because health insurance is much more difficult (and expensive) to come by if you're self-employed.

Because a lot of people lack the imagination to see how they could thrive working for themselves.

Because an employer is "safe".

You often get free internet access with an employer job!! ;)

Because they haven't gotten fed up enough yet.

Because people like to complain about the boss, which is hard to do when you work for yourself....



It sounds like you just gave reasons why these people don't make the switch from being employed to self-employed.

My thoughts were more along the lines of why is it these people are unhappy on the job in the first place.

ShelbyBoy







Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
The poll results (assuming they are accurate) sure seem to reinforce the idea that the choices we make have a huge impact on where we end up.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
Because people like to complain about the boss, which is hard to do when you work for yourself....

<grinning>
I've never let self-employment get in the way of complaining about the boss.

--Peter
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
It sounds like you just gave reasons why these people don't make the switch from being employed to self-employed.

My thoughts were more along the lines of why is it these people are unhappy on the job in the first place.


I think it's because a lot of employers are in some form or fashion "upset" about what they are giving their employees (health insurance, time off, retirement plans, whatever) and it shows.

The employer is not apprecitive of the employee and instead feels that they are giving the employee much more than they deserve so the employee doesn't like their job. This is the poll I'd like to see...how many employers are happy with their employees and feel that their employees are earning their wages and benefits.

e
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 16
When you consider all the opportunities, laws to protect employees from employers, flexible work schedules, relaxed dress codes, benefit packages becoming almost a given, the myriad of educational possibilities, etc. - why is it that so many seek and then stay in jobs they don't like?

- because Americans feel they have a God given right to enjoy all the material fruits of success without actually taking the risk to acquire them.

- because the boom of the late 90s demonstrated that becoming a billionaire is often about luck and greed, not hard work and talent. That's the precedent we've established as a society.

- because we see baseball players that make millions of dollars a year playing a GAME hiding behind the protection of a union -- an institution that was legitimized to protect people from circumstances FAR different than "I should be able to make millions more than I'm making right now" -- and then, for obvious reasons, look at our jobs and wonder why we're not basically coddled and pampered for doing, you know, real work

- because the media hammers into our heads day in/day out -- "You should aspire for these material things because that is how your neighbor judges you", and we get frustrated when we don't have those things and feel that we work "just as much as everybody else"

- because we're inherently fearful of risk and change, and would rather sit and seethe in our crappy dead end jobs than take a risk and look for something better

- because lifestyle is more important than happiness and ultimate success. Why does a person making $50K/year feel obligated to purchase a $30K car? Why is there a need to show your status in where you live and what you drive and what you wear?

- because of the above, you often see employees that grow their lifestyles into their income, and then get financially handcuffed. If you're miserable at your job, but you're making $175K/year and have a $400K house and two $60K cars, what choices have you left yourself?

- because employment is perceived as a right, not a privilege. A lot of today's workers never had to witness the devastating unemployment of the 70s. Even today's economy isn't nearly as bad as back then.

A flip side of this -- why are immigrant workers often capable of attaining (comparatively) immense success? Because they don't gripe and complain about their conditions, they recognize it as a means to an ends. Our gardener is a Mexican guy that lives in a pretty run down little apartment and has a family of four. He moved to the US about a decade ago, drives a crappy car and lives in a dingy apartment.

But he now owns three trucks and has something like a half-dozen employees and steady work. He has a successful business, because working hard wasn't foreign to him and, more importantly, instead of taking each incremental gain in his salary and immediately converting it into a lifestyle gain, he saved his money so he could continue bootstrapping his business upwards.

A friend of mine's gardener saved for TWENTY YEARS to buy a small apartment complex. He built up his gardening business over that duration, saved money for a down payment, then sold his gardening business and became an apartment owner/manager.

Talk about the long view, eh?

Anyway, this isn't some anti-American bash because, well, I'm American too. But having worked in high tech for so many years, the sense of entitlement that I see from relatively mediocre workers is rather appalling.

-Hook
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
The employer is not apprecitive of the employee and instead feels that they are giving the employee much more than they deserve so the employee doesn't like their job. This is the poll I'd like to see...how many employers are happy with their employees and feel that their employees are earning their wages and benefits.

This is largely true. I was reading an article yesterday that said this is an employer's market. The companies that went all out to secure top talent a few years ago know that they can pick and choose now. Company perks are not what they used to be, and are portrayd as a priviledge that must be continuously earned. Opportunities for growth are not necessarily opportunities for advancement (and advancement does not always correlate with higher salary).

Then there is the general change the work environment. Warehouse floors where cubicles give way to work stations. Whatever happened to the 9-5 job? Now you are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week for salary. Overtime (if you are lucky to get it) is reluctantly approved, and then your annual raise is sometimes reduced to compensate. Bottom line is that today's employers know you need them more than they need you.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Bottom line is that today's employers know you need them more than they need you.

That's certainly not what I hear from employers and I visit with a lot of them.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> why is it that so many seek and then stay in jobs they don't like?

Any theories? <<

If I can find a job that pays not less than $2 an hour than I'm making now and has the same benefits, I wouldn't even give a second thought about changing jobs. I've been looking for two+ years and haven't found a job in a 40 mile radius that fits this criteria. Now in four years when my child support expires, I'm definitely gone. Even a minimum wage job with non rotating shifts becomes an attractive idea... I can then devote more time/energy towards my self-employment interests.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> My thoughts were more along the lines of why is it these people are unhappy on the job in the first place. <<

Rotating shifts in my case. I work 6 days on two days off and then rotate one shift backwards for another 6 days on and 2 days off. For instance I'm on midnights this week. I'll have 2 days off. Then I'll work 6 days of 4-12, off two days and then work 6 days 8-4 shift. Then its back to midnights... Very hard to have a decent family life and also run a part time business when you have hours like that...
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
...but "self-employed" is often stigmatized as a euphemism for "unemployed except for spot work".

I think that depends on the situation. If you are seeking a loan, I can see where you would have some "extra explaining" to do.

But just in general conversations, when I say I am self-employed people seem to be a lot more interested in talking with me, asking for advice, etc. than when I was employed and told people I was a <insert job title here>.

ShelbyBoy



Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
.... I was reading an article yesterday that said this is an employer's market. The companies that went all out to secure top talent a few years ago know that they can pick and choose now. Company perks are not what they used to be, and are portrayd as a priviledge that must be continuously earned...

Would you mind linking to that article? I'm curious what they mean by "company perks are not what they used to be..."

I think employees have many more perks than, for example, what was available to my parents when they were my age.



Now you are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week for salary.

I'll have to look it up, but I believe the average work week in the U.S. is about 37 hours.



Overtime (if you are lucky to get it) is reluctantly approved..

I've heard people say that when looking at it from the employee's perspective.

From the employer's perspective, there might be more opportunities for overtime work if they weren't required to provide overtime wages (1.5).

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Very hard to have a decent family life and also run a part time business when you have hours like that...


Is that what motivated you to start the part-time business? Do you plan to become self-employed full-time?

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> Bottom line is that today's employers know you need them more than they need you.

That's certainly not what I hear from employers and I visit with a lot of them. <<


I think it must be at least partially true. I'm treated alot differently than my equal coworkers where I work because I've made it clear all along that I don't really need the job because of my business. Other coworkers who are equal performers to me in their work are really treated crappy in comparison. I am treated very well. I think my company knows that the employee needs them more than they need the employee. They think that I can walk away at any time without it really hurting me, so I am treated better. In reality, for at least a few more years I really do need the job. But I really do believe that this is why I'm treated differently. It certainly ain't because of my looks... :)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> Very hard to have a decent family life and also run a part time business when you have hours like that...


Is that what motivated you to start the part-time business? Do you plan to become self-employed full-time? <<


Actually I had the business before I took the full time job. At the time I took the job, I was getting ready to go through divorce and I really needed extra money for the lawyer to make sure I didn't get shafted. I plan to go back to being self employed full-time within 5 years (when child support obligations are completed). Until then, I really need the security of a fairly regular income.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<<. Our gardener is a Mexican guy that lives in a pretty run down little apartment and has a family of four. He moved to the US about a decade ago, drives a crappy car and lives in a dingy apartment.

But he now owns three trucks and has something like a half-dozen employees and steady work. He has a successful business, because working hard wasn't foreign to him and, more importantly, instead of taking each incremental gain in his salary and immediately converting it into a lifestyle gain, he saved his money so he could continue bootstrapping his business upwards.
>>


Just wondering if he arrived as an illegal alien, hires other illegal aliens, isn't licensed and insured as required and fails to report much of his sales for tax purposes and much of his income for taxes.

My brother has one of these gyppo gardeners, and he likes to be paid in cash. I wonder why.

Just for fun, ask him for proof that he is a licensed contractor and for proof that his employees are covered by worker's comp insurance.




Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 28
Just wondering if he arrived as an illegal alien, hires other illegal aliens, isn't licensed and insured as required and fails to report much of his sales for tax purposes and much of his income for taxes.

He is a licensed contractor. Verified.

My brother has one of these gyppo gardeners, and he likes to be paid in cash. I wonder why.

Sure, that type of stuff isn't uncommon.

Just for fun, ask him for proof that he is a licensed contractor and for proof that his employees are covered by worker's comp insurance.

I didn't ask for proof, I took his name and contractor # and called it in myself. He also doesn't accept cash, only checks to his business.

Believe it or not, this country was founded on immigrants that busted ass, saved their nickels and pursued the American dream.

I find it a little disheartening when a success story is relayed and the response is basically "Must be because he's an illegal".

Of course he must be, because we couldn't just accept the fact that hard work actually does make a difference, right? Have we become an entire society of sullen teenagers that feel they've earned everything by existing?

-Hook
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
Just wondering if he arrived as an illegal alien, hires other illegal aliens, isn't licensed and insured as required and fails to report much of his sales for tax purposes and much of his income for taxes.


I know 5th generation American landscapers who hire illegal aliens and hide a lot of income. This isn't limited to illegal aliens.

ShelbyBoy

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 7
I find it a little disheartening when a success story is relayed and the response is basically "Must be because he's an illegal".


I'm with you Hook. I'm tiring of hearing people around hearing talking about the "Mexicans taking all the jobs." For the most part based on what I have observed, they have the jobs because they are willing to hustle, show up on time, and offer up relatively few complaints.

ShelbyBoy

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> I'm with you Hook. I'm tiring of hearing people around hearing talking about the "Mexicans taking all the jobs." For the most part based on what I have observed, they have the jobs because they are willing to hustle, show up on time, and offer up relatively few complaints. <<


And they frequently take hard labor type jobs that few others would take.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<<I'm with you Hook. I'm tiring of hearing people around hearing talking about the "Mexicans taking all the jobs." For the most part based on what I have observed, they have the jobs because they are willing to hustle, show up on time, and offer up relatively few complaints.

ShelbyBoy
>>


Even fewer complaints would be heard if we got rid of absurd restrictions on flogging the peasents.




Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<<>> I'm with you Hook. I'm tiring of hearing people around hearing talking about the "Mexicans taking all the jobs." For the most part based on what I have observed, they have the jobs because they are willing to hustle, show up on time, and offer up relatively few complaints. <<


And they frequently take hard labor type jobs that few others would take. >>


The gas fitters and helpers I used to work with did plenty of hard labor. Of course, they are getting $15-$25 per hour to do it.


But the posters here have pretty well put their finger on the attrations of large supplies of illegal immigrant labor: people who will work cheap and are afraid to complain or organize for better working conditions or rates of pay.




Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 6
Just my humble opinion, but I feel the answer to the original question goes to attitude.

Not that many generations ago, no one expected to get anything without working hard for it -- be it money, food to eat, grades in school, or even winning a marbles game. There wasn't easy credit, so if you wanted something you worked and saved until you could buy it with cash. It was drummed into kids by word and deed that if you don't do the job you're hired for to the best of your ability, you're stealing from your employer.

Somewhere along the way "self-esteem" and "instant gratification" came into play. Children can't make mistakes and must be praised for even the slightest effort or you'll damage their self-esteem. Teachers can't discipline so now all the rowdy youngsters are labeled attention deficient.

Even if a strong work ethic was instilled in them, it's easily eroded by seeing others dodge work and still get paid the same as them. The explosion of media overwhelms them with things they can buy, and daily they see stories of how someone got rich doing either nothing or something shady. "This world owes me" starts taking hold.

I'm not saying these things didn't exist before or that we need another Great Depression. But I do think that a good number of those employees who don't like their jobs do so because they think they're owed something more. Some may not even be aware they have this attitude, because it's just so pervasive in our time.

I don't have any answers. I'm trying to rear two kids with the "gotta work to eat" mentality, but it's an uphill battle. My parents didn't have as much competition when they were teaching me that.

Just another opinion...
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
And they frequently take hard labor type jobs that few others would take.


They would take them if they were hungry.

In my county, we have had unemployment rates around 12-13% in the last year.

I've talked with a number of people who have started collecting unemployment compensation and will now tell you they had rather just keep getting that check until it runs out rather than really look for a job.

And these were people I previously considered to be motivated, hard-working, principled individuals.


ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
But the posters here have pretty well put their finger on the attrations of large supplies of illegal immigrant labor: people who will work cheap and are afraid to complain or organize for better working conditions or rates of pay.



I haven't seen that verified in the posts in this thread.

In reading posts 6663, 6680 and 6681 and looking at the number of rec's each received, I don't think the above reflects the thoughts of more than but a minority.

ShelbyBoy




Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
"This world owes me" starts taking hold.

To me, the sad example of this is with some senior citizens. Relatives and family friends I've looked up to and respected all my life seem to be developing the attitude that, "I worked hard all my life" or "I am a vet so I deserve this new program" - without considering these entitlements they are seeking will be paid for by their children and grandchildren.

I still show respect to them as I should, but it's very sad to experience.




I'm not saying these things didn't exist before or that we need another Great Depression. But I do think that a good number of those employees who don't like their jobs do so because they think they're owed something more. Some may not even be aware they have this attitude, because it's just so pervasive in our time.

I've noticed that if you point out that people for the most part are where they are because of prior choices they have made, you get called names.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
>> To me, the sad example of this is with some senior citizens. Relatives and family friends I've looked up to and respected all my life seem to be developing the attitude that, "I worked hard all my life" or "I am a vet so I deserve this new program" - without considering these entitlements they are seeking will be paid for by their children and grandchildren.

I still show respect to them as I should, but it's very sad to experience. <<


Good observation Shelby. You summed this up very well, and it is indeed to sad to see it happen.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Shelbyboy wrote,

<<...Relatives and family friends I've looked up to and respected all my life seem to be developing the attitude that, "I worked hard all my life" or "I am a vet so I deserve this new program"...>>

I think they feel this way because their government has always told them social security would take care of them when they got old, now the bill is due. Also when they watch the news, and hear talk of so and so many billions being spent on space programs and the like, they feel like the government is suppossed to be good for their promises and provide social security services and programs to help them. Besides, it was their generation that brought todays standard of living and economic prosperity to todays generation and beyond.


Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
I think they feel this way because their government has always told them social security would take care of them when they got old, now the bill is due.


I agree on the Social Security issue.

But when in history did the government tell them the taxpayers would pay for their prescription drugs regardless of their economic status, pay for medical equipment, etc.

I respect the contributions they have made as much as anyone, and I find myself spending more and more time helping out my elderly relatives, but I don't think they should assume that just because a system called Social Security exists, that every entitlement the AARP dreams up should be tacked on.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<< ...but I don't think they should assume that just because a system called Social Security exists, that every entitlement the AARP dreams up should be tacked on. >>



I agree.

Its really just another special interest lobby at the feeding trough in Washington with its own agenda, but you should have a better idea than most about what your relatives income is relative to the cost of their drugs and on going health maintainence. Its expensive to live in old age. If they don't appear to need all the benefits they are recieving, or want, then I would say you have a right to bitch about them. It could be because they live with no other income and they are worried about out living their money so they are getting all they can while they can.

Some senior citizens (not all) are struggling to make ends meet off social security, these are the people who need help. I believe all seniors would benefit from any relief they can get on the federal level that helps with drug costs. Drug companys are making a wad in the name of "R&D", IMO, our health care system, including health insurance, needs complete overhauling. If you've caught jiml8's comments on the real estate board lately about the insurance industry, you can understand.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<<Some senior citizens (not all) are struggling to make ends meet off social security, these are the people who need help.>>

Problem is.....social security was never intended to do anything provide a slight hedge against abject poverty.....intending to remove the spectacle of old folk having to move in with relatives when income dried up, or workhouses (did these exist in the States?) It was never intended to replace a workers income in full.

I can imagine that when SS first came in, it was a miracle and a godsend to those facing a retirement with no means......and this was before Medicare, remember. Now it's a disappointment to many.....and they have nothing but complaints about what Medicare does for them.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
>> Problem is.....social security was never intended to do anything provide a slight hedge against abject poverty.....intending to remove the spectacle of old folk having to move in with relatives when income dried up, or workhouses (did these exist in the States?) It was never intended to replace a workers income in full.

I can imagine that when SS first came in, it was a miracle and a godsend to those facing a retirement with no means......and this was before Medicare, remember. Now it's a disappointment to many.....and they have nothing but complaints about what Medicare does for them <<


Agreed SS was never meant to intend to replace a workers income if full. However,when people see over 15% of what could be potential income going into these programs, it is a natural tendency to expect more. What many people my age (40) and under see is that we are paying in alot more into the system than we could hope to receive back in payments and benefits. I look at my SS statement closely every year and frankly it sickens me to find out what little I can expect to receive for the money paid into the program. Even with the market sucking eggs as it has done over the past 2 years, my 15+% tax invested into my favorite investments would be giving me a current income close to my current regular earnings. I still have well over 25 years until I can get full retirement benefits. People see what they pay and what they receive, and like it or not they have legitimate reason for demanding/expecting more for their hard earned tax dollar.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Some senior citizens (not all) are struggling to make ends meet off social security, these are the people who need help.

Each according to his needs and each according to his means. Is that the idea?


Drug companys are making a wad in the name of "R&D",

I hear that repeated often and I haven't really looked into it to see if it's true.

But let's assume it's true. Pick any drug company that is supposedly making a lot of money in the name of "R & D." They have to be doing something will all this money they are getting.

So a little investigation should reveal the employees are highly paid, management is highly paid, and/or the shareholders are reaping the benfits.

If it's the latter of the three, then let's talk about that company and look at the stock price trend - it should be a good investment.

If it's one of the first two - that the employees or managers are compensated much more so than in other industries of comparable size, there should be business articles on this topic. If you are aware of any, please let me know as I would like to read the articles.



IMO, our health care system, including health insurance, needs complete overhauling.

I agree that changes are needed. Less government involvement would be a great start.


If you've caught jiml8's comments on the real estate board lately about the insurance industry, you can understand.

I'll go read them.



ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I can imagine that when SS first came in, it was a miracle and a godsend to those facing a retirement with no means......and this was before Medicare, remember. Now it's a disappointment to many.....and they have nothing but complaints about what Medicare does for them ...


I assume everyone is aware of the Galveston, Texas, Social Security opt-out results. If not, let me know and I'll post a link.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<< Problem is.....social security was never intended to do anything provide a slight hedge against abject poverty.....intending to remove the spectacle of old folk having to move in with relatives when income dried up, or workhouses (did these exist in the States?) It was never intended to replace a workers income in full. >>


The people I had in mind are not living anywhere near the level of a workers full income. They cut coupons, save electricity, buy their clothes in thrift stores, let their homes run down, drive an old cars and basically just try to survive with what little money they have managed to save. I can't blame them for wanting more help from their government especially when the grandkids come to visit in $40,000 SUV's, talking about spending more money in a week than grandma made in any two months of her lifetime. I do admit social security is better than nothing, but I can understand some seniors attitudes. When the drug, electricity, or property tax bill comes due and there is no money, I would cry for help also in that position.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
If you've caught jiml8's comments on the real estate board lately about the insurance industry, you can understand.

Would you provide a link to the first post in the thread?


Thanks,
ShelbyBoy


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
The people I had in mind are not living anywhere near the level of a workers full income. They cut coupons, save electricity, buy their clothes in thrift stores, let their homes run down, drive an old cars and basically just try to survive with what little money they have managed to save.

I know seniors at this level, seniors on the other end of the scale, and lots of seniors in between. For those on the low level, I know it's tough and I know they are worried about outliving their money - if they have any.

I know it sounds insensitive, but for the most part, these people are where they are because of choices they have made along the way.

I realize there are medical conditions and other things that have come along unexpectedly for some, but we all know we are going to get old someday. And our fears are not sufficient justification to have money taken away from someone else to be given to us.



I can't blame them for wanting more help from their government especially when the grandkids come to visit in $40,000 SUV's, talking about spending more money in a week than grandma made in any two months of her lifetime.

I can.

The thought process would have to be something like this:

"My children just brought the grandchildren by in a $40,000 SUV and talked about spending more money in a week than I ever made in any two months of my lifetime. I think I'll vote for the politician who promises to take money away from other people (by force if necessary) and give it to me"

I guess it's easier to ask the government to take it away from others than to ask your child in a $40,000 SUV to help out dear old Dad and Mom.



I do admit social security is better than nothing, but I can understand some seniors attitudes. When the drug, electricity, or property tax bill comes due and there is no money, I would cry for help also in that position.

I can understand the attitude of wanting help. I can't understand the attitude of wanting the government to provide me that help by taking from others - such as grandchildren.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
>> IMO, our health care system, including health insurance, needs complete overhauling.

I agree that changes are needed. Less government involvement would be a great start. <<


AMEN to that!
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<<The people I had in mind are not living anywhere near the level of a workers full income. They cut coupons, save electricity, buy their clothes in thrift stores, let their homes run down, drive an old cars and basically just try to survive with what little money they have managed to save.

I know seniors at this level, seniors on the other end of the scale, and lots of seniors in between. For those on the low level, I know it's tough and I know they are worried about outliving their money - if they have any.
>>


The major problem with Social Security has not been that it paid benefits to the low income that needed them, but that it paid benefits to the well off middle class that didn't need them.


My father collected Social Security benefits for twenty years until his death, and was collecting about $1,000/month when he died. He never needed ANY of it! Furthermore, he was 27 years old when Social Security taxes began collecting 1% on payroll taxes, and I don't think he ever paid more than about 7% on both Medicare and Social Security taxes, and that was paying both halves of the tax since he was self employed.

So he probably collected the total amount he paid in taxes every couple of years, for twenty years.


That's why Social Security benefits should be means tested. I have no big problem with paying a benefit to the indigent, but I have a lot of problems with paying benefits to the well off middle class that don't need them.



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
<<>> IMO, our health care system, including health insurance, needs complete overhauling.

I agree that changes are needed. Less government involvement would be a great start. <<


AMEN to that! >>



Unfortunately, we have a health care system that is dominated by government decision making, and in which one of the major actors (the Democrats) have used their power to torpedo the system for a couple of decades, hoping to make it so expensive and inefficient that people will vote for a single payer health care system.

That is a huge handicap.



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
>> That's why Social Security benefits should be means tested. I have no big problem with paying a benefit to the indigent, but I have a lot of problems with paying benefits to the well off middle class that don't need them. <<

Likewise I also have no problem with there NOT being a cap as to the income which is subjected to SS tax...
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
>> Unfortunately, we have a health care system that is dominated by government decision making, and in which one of the major actors (the Democrats) have used their power to torpedo the system for a couple of decades, hoping to make it so expensive and inefficient that people will vote for a single payer health care system.

That is a huge handicap. <<

Very true... I'm probably going to go a little off-topic here, but this a VERY personal pet peeve of mine and I'm not a big fan of government period. ALMOST EVERYTHING the government (either Federal or state) gets involved in gets screwed up, costs WAY too much than it should, or is in some way screwed up. Let's take a few welfare programs here... WAY too much is spent. Specific examples here comes to mind...
Real scenario here- Take my next door neighbors for instance. We are talking about a man and a woman here both in their early 20's with at least two kids together (maybe three). Not married. They are living in government subsidized housing, receive food stamps, assistance with utilities, medical care for at least their children, and probably other assistance that I'm not aware of. He is a lazy bum, and has worked only trivial jobs, most of which has been "cash under the table" (He admitted this to me the first day I met them as they moved into their house). She at least tries and has taken on some PART time jobs. What makes me angry is that they drive a brand new car which they bought last month, can afford to have friends over at all hours, the guy can and does sit out front all day drinking beer with friends, etc, etc... (I could write a book here). I've seen this before time and time again...

Meanwhile me and my wife work a full-time job each, and I run a business on my off hours just to barely make our (unsubsidized) house payment on a house smaller than the above mentioned neighbor's house, pay our electric & other utility bills (all unassisted), and all other bills, while we each drive a 15 year old car and a 25 year old truck.
Anyone who thinks more government intervention really needs to have their head examined and be committed to a mental institution!
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Drug companys are making a wad in the name of "R&D",

<< I hear that repeated often and I haven't really looked into it to see if it's true. >>

Research and development is the largest portion of any drug companys budget and its always the reason the drug companies give in support of their high prices. I don't have a link for this but I'm sure a little research will bear this out if anyone cares. I for one, would like to see the SEC look at some of the drug companys accounting practices a little more closely.

Medication can compromise a large portion of a seniors monthly income, and its not a one time bill, its every month, sometimes to stay alive even, any help here would make a real difference.



This is the link to jiml8's post I was referring to, check it out if you want. I was referring to his comments on the insurance industries rapid rise in rates for less coverage. I have already seen it in vehicle and property insurance personally. My point being that health insurance and health programs are feeling the heat also and we will see less and less for more and more. How can marginal seniors cope with higher and higher costs on a fixed income with little or no hope for earning any additional income? The answer is that they lobby through the AARP, swallow some of their pride and beg off relatives,... what other choice have they got?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17730781


Solent

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<< I know it sounds insensitive, but for the most part, these people are where they are because of choices they have made along the way. >>

<< I guess it's easier to ask the government to take it away from others than to ask your child in a $40,000 SUV to help out dear old Dad and Mom. >>

<< I can understand the attitude of wanting help. I can't understand the attitude of wanting the government to provide me that help by taking from others - such as grandchildren. >>

-------------------------

The people I know who really need the help of better social security and government programs are mostly single grandparents, or ones who are widowed or never got married. They have few relatives, some none, to turn to for help. And what if the kids or grandkids don't drive SUV's, are having a hard time raising their own family or just doesn't care about grandma... who helps then?

After rereading your posts and thinking about it, I think you may prescribe to the Darwinian theory of the weak vs the strong in society. If they didn't make the right choices then they deserve their own fate, Is that it? How cold, not everyone has the same opportunities in life. I for one, realize this and try to live in such a way that helps his fellow man when he can, whether I think they made the right choices or not for one day we will all be old, if we're lucky(??).

I wonder, if the person who makes all the right decisions for their own retirement would refuse their own social security check when they became eligible since they wouldn't really need it?

Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<< I have no big problem with paying a benefit to the indigent, but I have a lot of problems with paying benefits to the well off middle class that don't need them. >>

I agree, thats one reason the system needs reworked, but unfortunately the political clout of the AARP will be supported by mostly middle class types.

Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
That's why Social Security benefits should be means tested. I have no big problem with paying a benefit to the indigent, but I have a lot of problems with paying benefits to the well off middle class that don't need them.


The concept of means testing to prevent "those who don't need it" from getting benefits sounds good and probably has good intentions.

But I think there is a flaw when it comes to means testing.

Suppose you have two men who are 20 years old. Throughout their lives, they each earn approximately the same amount of money, get married about the same time, and have the same number of children.

First man lives a comfortable life but is frugal compared to second man.

First man saves a little from each paycheck his entire life. Second man spends it as fast as it comes in.

First man usually purchases good used vehicles with cash. Second man purchases a new vehicle every 3 years via a loan.

First man chooses to live in a home that he can comfortably afford. Second man wants to impress the relatives, so he purchases the maximum house he can afford.

First man takes short local vacations except for a couple of special family vacations throughout his life. Second man takes an expensive vacation each year and puts it on his credit card.

Time passes. They become 65. First man has a nice nest egg, a home and two cars that are paid for, and no debt.

Second man has almost nothing in the bank, has 15 years of payments left on his latest house purchase, and is now leasing two vehicles.

Mr. Means Tester comes along and says to First Man, "You've done well my son, it was wise of you to handle your finances the way you did. To reward you, I'm going to take some money from the current income of your children and some money from the current income of Second Man's children and give it to Second Man. You won't be getting any because you did the right thing. Second Man, who lived recklessly, will be getting benefits because he needs it."


ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
This is the link to jiml8's post I was referring to, check it out if you want. I was referring to his comments on the insurance industries rapid rise in rates for less coverage. I have already seen it in vehicle and property insurance personally.


Don't forget the prices charged by insurance companies (rates) are regulated much more closely by government than many other products and services.

Here's a little pop quiz for the board.

Concerning the property & casualty insurance industry - providing property and casualty coverages to consumers and businesses, how much of every dollar they collect in premiums goes to:

1. Pay claims (How many cents?)
2. Pay their overhead (How many cents?)

Note this is not the health insurance industry or life insurance, etc.

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Research and development is the largest portion of any drug companys budget and its always the reason the drug companies give in support of their high prices. I don't have a link for this but I'm sure a little research will bear this out if anyone cares. I for one, would like to see the SEC look at some of the drug companys accounting practices a little more closely.


Are you saying they are spending more money on R&D than they have to or they are showing on paper that they are spending more money on R&D than they actually are?

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
After rereading your posts and thinking about it, I think you may prescribe to the Darwinian theory of the weak vs the strong in society. If they didn't make the right choices then they deserve their own fate, Is that it? How cold, not everyone has the same opportunities in life.


Why don't you give me the chance to answer before you decide my answer for me and determine I'm cold?

ShelbyBoy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<< Are you saying they are spending more money on R&D than they have to or they are showing on paper that they are spending more money on R&D than they actually are? >>

I am saying that R&D is the most quoted reason why the drug companies say the cost of medicine is so high. In light of Enron and a few other companys creative accounting practices, I think profits could be funneled through their R&D departments to appear as if it really wasn't profit but none the less benefits the company or its members. I'm not an accountant so don't ask me about the details of how its done. I only know that drugs can be bought over the internet from outside of the country for much less than here in the US, why is that? If its government regulation or taxes on drugs then we need to address our problems to the government, but I believe its the drug companies themselves who keep the prices high.

Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<< Here's a little pop quiz for the board.

Concerning the property & casualty insurance industry - providing property and casualty coverages to consumers and businesses, how much of every dollar they collect in premiums goes to:

1. Pay claims (How many cents?)
2. Pay their overhead (How many cents?) >>

----------------

I don't have a clue but I'm curious to see your sourceses.

Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<< Why don't you give me the chance to answer before you decide my answer for me and determine I'm cold? >>


Fair enough.

I was wondering anyway what you had in mind to replace the safety net of social security (you did advocate less government is better) if there is a replacement.

Solent
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<You won't be getting any because you did the right thing. Second Man, who lived recklessly, will be getting benefits because he needs it.">

I'm really focusing here on the financial results of living in certain ways rather than on means testing. I think the scenario you've described is what many people of my generation and social background were taught as the way of virtue as children. Many of us followed it, despite the fact that it never seemed to have done much to make our parents and grandparents anything other than the poor they started out as. Now I'm not poor but that has been mainly by virtue of just happening to have a high IQ which (plus the necessary application of course) netted me a well paid professional job which I stayed in for a couple of decades before deciding I would actually like the riskier lifestyle of being self-employed. In retrospect I actually regret both that financial/social training and my aversion to risk when younger. Lots of my more carefree friends took out big loans for big houses and cars and boats and second homes and lived on their credit cards and did all the things which we regard as improvident. A few got caught out - a downturn in house prices just at the point where they had to sell or whatever, but I do have to say that quite a few of them are now rather well off because of their improvident ways making big profits on the disposal of assets which they originally bought on the sort of credit arrangement which involves using your Mastercard to pay your Visa and vice versa!

I'm not recommending it as a lifestyle and I'm not capable of being that reckless (though I would have been a lot more reckless than I was if I'd had the benefit of my present experience when younger), but the scenario that the careful and provident end up with a nice little nest egg makes a nice improving little story - positively biblical in tone - but a 'story' it very often is.

Lynn
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
<<Mr. Means Tester comes along and says to First Man, "You've done well my son, it was wise of you to handle your finances the way you did. To reward you, I'm going to take some money from the current income of your children and some money from the current income of Second Man's children and give it to Second Man. You won't be getting any because you did the right thing. Second Man, who lived recklessly, will be getting benefits because he needs it."


ShelbyBoy >>


I'm an example of the person who has been prudent and saved, and I'd be one of the people means testing would cut off from benefits. Frankly, I don't care.


Payroll taxes are TOO HIGH! And the primary reason they are too high is that they pay benefits to people who don't need them. If you pay benefits only to the indigent, you could cut taxes for everyone.


If the improvident want to spend down their assets to qualify for a pauper's pension, let 'em.




Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Just a couple of personal reasons:

1) I'm very good at what I do (software engineer/web developer) and I think that it would be fair to pay me directly based on some measurement. I bascially get paid for not getting fired and right now I'm bored because there's nothing to do. Every initiative I try to get started gets shot down so I just sit in my corner all day. I'm tired of that. I want to feel like I'm earning what I get.

2) My work environment - I like listening to music while I'm working. It helps pass the time. You can guess how well that would go over in a cube environment.

3) Meetings...endless, pointless meetings...

4) The fact that, when I actually ask for some work to do, I get handed something completely outside of my job abilities. I might as well mop the floors.

All that probably sounds like reasons to move into self-employment and I'm working on that. My hardest job is not to one I would be hired for, it's convincing some manager that I can do it. Once I get past that hurdle, I'll be set but until I get started I just sit her and complain :-)

Leviathan
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
>> IMO, our health care system, including health insurance, needs complete overhauling.

I agree that changes are needed. Less government involvement would be a great start. <<

AMEN to that!


Careful what you wish for. Healthcare in Canada, while envious to a lot of the USA is not sustainable. Our drugs are cheaper but with:

1 - more expensive treatment;
2 - earlier diagnosis (and longer treatment);
3 - longer lifespans; and
4 - an aging population...

we can't afford to keep paying for it. It is becoming a higher and higher percentage of our provincial budgets which means cuts to other sectors. The problem is that "universal healthcare" means (to the people that run it) everyone should have access to everything. With only 30 million people (and lets say 15 million taxpayers) its becomes damn expensive.

New cancer treatment are very expensive. Should everyone with cancer get them or only the worse case situations? Who decides? I personally think that the USA has the wrong system, but I also think Canada has the wrong system. A user fee might discourage some uneccessary doctor visits but those aren't the main problem. Maybe we should just provide basic care and anything else could be supplemented with insurance.

Who knows?

Simon
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Not that many generations ago, no one expected to get anything without working hard for it -- be it money, food to eat, grades in school, or even winning a marbles game.... It was drummed into kids by word and deed that if you don't do the job you're hired for to the best of your ability, you're stealing from your employer.sckubenka

Here's an interesting post from this job sucks board:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17690916

Another unhappy employee.


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<longer lifespans; and
4 - an aging population...>

I've been following this thread with great interest - and I actually have some sympathy with all the viewpoints expressed, contradictory though that may seem. These are complex and difficult topics and I don't think anyone really knows the answer. It is always interesting to note that Americans perceive themselves to be so highly taxed. The fantasy amongst many people in the UK is 'if only it was like America where people have to pay for their own health insurance and taxes are much lower'!

I would like to put in however that I think the aging population and longer lifespans stuff is not necessarily a problem, it just depends how you look at it. We seem to be in the odd situation at present where people are living longer but retiring earlier. Also where mysteriously the age at which people are seen as becoming 'seniors' is also getting earlier. I'm 52. I started my own business 7 years ago. I have made a major expansion to it this year. I have big plans for the future - I might not achieve them but it doesn't hurt to have them. Recently when eating in a restaurant I was offered the option of an 'Emerald Card' which entitles you to discounts because you are 'senior' (from age 50!). I've also been told I qualify to get insurance policies from the Age Concern charity because of my age! Now the mirror tells me clearly I ain't no spring chicken, but surely with a quite likely lifespan to 90+ (I come from a long lived family on both sides and they were living to be very old indeed even before the recent general increases in life expectancy)I have to regard myself as in my middle and hopefully most productive years and by no means yet a senior. I know lots of people are happy to take the discount cards and so forth but is it really good for people to think this way? A longer lifespan should surely mean a much longer period of life in which you are economically productive?

In case you think I'm unsympathetic to the health problems which can come even with middle age I personally have quite serious arthritis and would be defined by many people as 'disabled'. Many people tell me how sad it is that I 'have to' work when I have this problem. But would I be better off if I could just retire? I think not. I'm in some degree of pain all the time. I suspect if I was retired I'd quickly be popping pills and running up big health care bills (in my case for the National Health Service), the need to work and the interest of running my own business means that only a portion of my mind can attend to my physical problems and I have to keep moving - and keeping moving is one of the keys to living with arthritis. A day with your feet up is good, two days and you are starting to stiffen up, three days and you are in trouble. I think we have to stop assuming that an ageing population means an economically inactive population. Living longer is the opportunity to do more, not for pulling out of the mainstream at an every earlier stage. I offered a job yesterday to a fit and quite dynamic lady who has just given up a professional career partly because she felt so unwanted and unwelcome because of her age - just 58. Lucky me - I think she's going to do a lot for my business. I noticed during our conversation that she started by talking about working for two years until the occupational pension from her previous job allows her to retire at 60. By the end of our conversation and planning the role she would have in my business and outlining my hopes for developing the business, she was saying well if she enjoyed the job as she expected to she could work past 60, perhaps work past it a long way. When we parted she was talking in terms of her new career not a fill in job for a couple of years.

We have to take a new attitude to longer lifespans - a radically different one to the one we've got at the moment.

Lynn


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
First off:

Here's an interesting post from this job sucks board:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17690916

Another unhappy employee.


OMG, how is this possible?! Also, no wonder we have productivity problems. Anyway...

Lynn said:

We have to take a new attitude to longer lifespans - a radically different one to the one we've got at the moment.

I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately the self-employed form such a small part of the population. It is the union folk who will continue to hold 60 or 65 as the age of retirement. And then there is Freedom 55 and such.

Once you factor everything in there really should be no "mandatory" retirement age.

Simon
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<OMG, how is this possible?! Also, no wonder we have productivity problems. Anyway...>

I think the odd thing about it (even supposing that it is partly tongue in cheek)is the amount of WORK being put into not working - it would be quicker and easier and perhaps more interesting too to do the job! I have 'worked' in the past with a number of people who made a career out of not doing their job and what always amazed was the sheer effort they were having to put in to not doing it.

Lynn


Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Believe it or not, this country was founded on immigrants that busted ass, saved their nickels and pursued the American dream.

I find it a little disheartening when a success story is relayed and the response is basically "Must be because he's an illegal".

Of course he must be, because we couldn't just accept the fact that hard work actually does make a difference, right? Have we become an entire society of sullen teenagers that feel they've earned everything by existing?

-Hook


You will not be able to recommend any more posts today. (explain this)

Hey Hook,

Well said. If my Grandparents parents hadn't been allowed into the United States I wouldn't be here today.

ßillƒ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
<<Hey Hook,

Well said. If my Grandparents parents hadn't been allowed into the United States I wouldn't be here today.

ßillƒ >>


Perhaps immigration into the United States was desireable last year, fifty years ago or three hundred years ago. But circumstances change and when it does, policies should change as well.


By the middle of this century, we are looking at having 400 million Americans if immigration rates continue ---nearly a billion by the end of this century.

In my view, high rates of immigration are no longer in the interest of the people of the United States, and should be greatly reduced.


So the mere fact that your grandparents and mine were immigrants doesn't mean that we have any obligation to continue that policy.


People confuse that big statue out their in the harbor of New York City. It's the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration.



Seattle Pioneer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
<In my view, high rates of immigration are no longer in the interest of the people of the United States, and should be greatly reduced>

The interesting thing is Seattle that you are reflecting a view which has held throughout the ages but which is probably not true and probably has never been true. I suspect each generation feels itself in turn to be being 'overwhelmed' by immigrants. It is rather like the belief that the young of 'today' (any 'today')are shocking, degenerate, drive too fast, spend too much money, don't respect their elders and can't spell. The point is not that this doesn't have an element of truth but that it applies (along with many much more positive comments) to the youth of all ages. As a developmental psychologist (my 'other' job!)I've frequently amused myself by reading back about what people have said about youth through the ages. And at all times they are always saying the same. I'm rather partial to the writings of Pliny the Younger because he comments sharply on the general tendency to decry the young, notes that every generation does this, and points out how lucky folk are to have young at all!

I think the same is true of immigrants. It is a hot issue in the UK at the moment where some newspapers (which have their own political agenda) are portraying us as being submerged under a tide of 'immigrants'. Though I'm as English as they come (being largely of Scottish and Irish ancestry!)I can't say I personally feel overwhelmed. There are doubtless many problems associated with the collison of various cultures and races - the much maligned young in my part of the country are solving the issue in the traditional way by interbreeding with gusto - but I'm always rather suspicious of the idea that immigration was OK in the past but not now. I think every generation has believed that and then been proved wrong.

In our crowded little isle of the UK we face headlines every day about this oncoming tide of immigrants sweeping away our culture and taking up our housing and etc etc etc. And the big scream always is about how this is increasing the population. But inbetween these articles are groans about our ageing population and not enough younger people and it seems to be forgotten that shortly before that we had all the stuff about the dire problem of so many of our skilled and professional and younger people emigrating elsewhere...

Lynn
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
<<In our crowded little isle of the UK we face headlines every day about this oncoming tide of immigrants sweeping away our culture and taking up our housing and etc etc etc. And the big scream always is about how this is increasing the population. But inbetween these articles are groans about our ageing population and not enough younger people and it seems to be forgotten that shortly before that we had all the stuff about the dire problem of so many of our skilled and professional and younger people emigrating elsewhere...

Lynn >>


I certainly agree that there are advantages as well as disadvantages to immigration. And each country should be entitled to make such decisions for itself.


I hope you make wise choices.



Seattle Pioneer




Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Hey Lynn,

I'm still 24 posts and several days behind on this thread.

I want to say thank you. You said a lot of what I've been thinking about people getting older.

At first I thought the 80 and 90 year old downhill skiers I met in N.H. were nuts. Then I realized they were alive and living.

ßillƒ

posted and e-mailed
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 5
Hey, send some of those immigrants up here to Canada! At 30 million we could use some of them to fill in some of the extra space we have!

Actually, truth be told, Canada has a pretty lax immigration policy. In fact we export a lot of our trained nurses and doctors to the States and replace them with professionals from the rest of the world. Unfortunately the doctors and nurses from a lot of countries can't practice here yet, but that in time will change.

What I love though is the attitudes of some. I was out with a friend of mine of Chinese descent once and somebody had the audacity to complain about these foreigners taking Canadian jobs. I then proceeded to tell her my friend was born in Canada while I immigrated from Ireland. That shut her up. The look on her face was priceless.

Anyway, about those immigrants you want to shut out...give 'em a map and a one way bus ticket. We'll take them.

Simon
Print the post Back To Top