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Old 10-01-2011, 09:00 AM
 
13,390 posts, read 25,706,316 times
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For anyone who has earned their government check/healthcare/pension through military service, I thank you very kindly for your service. Always.
I know plenty of people who have lived "normal" middle-class lives who are headed for real poverty due to layoffs. I mean people over 55. Now, one relative spent money like a drunken sailor (or a materialistic Jersey girl) and is now very underemployed part-time at age 61 and isn't likely to get into better shape. One guy worked all his life, often at two jobs, but kept getting laid off the second "real" job, wife stroked into disability, put his two good kids through state college, and kept getting laid off. Kept his weekend job (working seven days a week for years) for the pro-rated health insurance. Had to go through much home equity and all retirement savings due to the layoffs. He's 59, just got another "real" job (manufacturing sales), keeps working weekends, wife is quite fairly collecting disability (not very much) and he is soldiering on. I think there are a lot of people over, say, 50, who did all the "right" things and are decimated by layoffs, versus the supposed people who took fancy home equity vacations/bought too much house/lived in restaurants/etc.
I'm in between. I didn't do "right" things until my 40s, have a backup plan in case my life falls apart due to health or something (I am very unlikely to be laid off), went back to a job that has an old-fashioned pension (and got an RN license at age 28 for security more than anything). If nothing goes wrong, I will not be a poor old woman. If anything goes wrong, I'll be living in a mobile home park without my pack of rescue old dogs, or will move to a favored town out West with cheap housing and no humidity and live more quietly.
I do think the mythical baby boomers who supposedly dashed through cheap college and got all the good jobs (where were those jobs when I was looking in the 1970s??) and spent all the money are up there with the Reagan Welfare Queen. Sure there are some, but not the majority.
Just my opinion.
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,633,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
I'm game. First, who are you calling youngsters? And when do you think the economy will fully recover? 10 years? 20 years? Ever?
To me it's 50 and below, and I'm being kind. They have at least 15-20+ good years left to them in which to recover. I know it can be done because I started from scratch, financially, at age 50 and was still paying child support many years later yet managed to retire at 62 and land comfortably. Granted, I had a stable career and still had some retirement funds left after the ex got her half but it was still a hit. I'll also grant you that the economy in 1996 was much better than now.

As for when the economy will recover? Not even the experts can agree. I'm not one so far be it from me to presume to make a prediction.
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:32 AM
 
9,292 posts, read 9,358,755 times
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Quote:
I'm in between. I didn't do "right" things until my 40s, have a backup plan in case my life falls apart due to health or something (I am very unlikely to be laid off), went back to a job that has an old-fashioned pension (and got an RN license at age 28 for security more than anything). If nothing goes wrong, I will not be a poor old woman. If anything goes wrong, I'll be living in a mobile home park without my pack of rescue old dogs, or will move to a favored town out West with cheap housing and no humidity and live more quietly.
I do think the mythical baby boomers who supposedly dashed through cheap college and got all the good jobs (where were those jobs when I was looking in the 1970s??) and spent all the money are up there with the Reagan Welfare Queen. Sure there are some, but not the majority.
Just my opinion.
I came at the very tail end of the "baby boom years" and I think there were definite differences in opportunities that were available from what I saw.

I graduated law school in 84' and had a great deal of difficulty finding work. The jobs that were available at this time were very marginal. They were the sort of employers who expected 60 hour work weeks, found fault with everything one did, and never praised successful endeavors--just expected more out of you. As a result, after four years of bad jobs, I ended up setting up my own law practice. I'm grateful that I had the chutzpah to do it. I've made a good (not spectacular) living at it for the last 23 years. More importantly, my time is my own and its a natural place for someone like me with an independent nature who is not naturally a "people pleaser".

I compare this though with what those 9 or 10 years older than I were able to do. I knew people who walked right out of school and with virtually no competition and were offered jobs as assistant district attorneys or assistant attorney generals. There they sat for the next 30-40 years getting regular pay increases every year (even when the economy was in a recession) and earning a defined benefits retirement plan. Let's not leave out having quality health insurance through a group plan available for them and their families either.

The experience in my profession was not unique. One of the things that rankles me the most are the number of poorly skilled and poorly educated baby boomers who ended up taking jobs at a local military base. Its a large base. The civilian employment is over 10,000. Most of these jobs are as warehouse people, mechanics, truck drivers, and secretaries. The older people around here in the "boomer generation" often went straight into one of these jobs after high school. Many are now either retired or retiring after 30 year careers that gave them a full retirement. I sometimes wonder if despite my relatively high income if I would have been better off taking a job as a truck driver on that base. Many of the early "boomers" who took these jobs actually had opportunities to earn a college degree that would have been 100% paid for by the government as part of an effort to upgrade the skills of its workforce. More than half refused this offer because what they really wanted was just an easy job that required little effort and offered them early retirement.

If this isn't enough, I now see a substantial number of these "early baby boomers" screaming that they earned every penny they have. Many seem to think its ok if Medicare goes bankrupt, just so long as it happens right after they die. "Responsibility" does not seem to be a quality that this group has in any abundance. I can't say many make me feel much sympathy for them or their situation.

One should try to avoid generalizing. I suspect some "early baby boomers" had a more difficult time than we want to acknowledge. Vietnam, and the draft, were real issues for them. Although, over half managed to avoid being drafted.

My own situation turned out pretty well. However, I see millions of Generation Xers and Millenials who will probably never have what most of us took for granted.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,712 posts, read 62,703,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I came at the very tail end of the "baby boom years" ...One of the things that rankles me the most are the number of poorly skilled and poorly educated baby boomers
Not that it'll go anywhere, but part of this may be in the semantics and using too wide a brush when lumping every member of an entire generation together.

To wit: that the "baby boomer" term be limited or some new term found for the progeny of the greatest generation which actually took advantage of the opportunities made available to them by the GI bill and by that got themselves (and later their kids!) educated or trained or created that family business... by which they were able to pay their own damned way into a better life they grew up in.


Quote:
Many of the early "boomers" who took these jobs actually had opportunities to earn a college degree that would have been 100% paid for by the government as part of an effort to upgrade the skills of its workforce. More than half refused this offer because what they really wanted was just an easy job that required little effort and offered them early retirement.
::sigh::
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:06 AM
 
48,516 posts, read 84,291,937 times
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Perhaps he needs to look at the dropout rate now and the unskilled numbers looking for no skills required jobs now. Al it takes is one trip to a fast food place to see that mnay can't even make change.
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Old 10-01-2011, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
21,585 posts, read 44,310,508 times
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There are varying degrees of comfort, or lack thereof, in retirement, just as there are varying degrees of ambition, ability to conform. So many variables. Married, single, divorced, healthy, disabled, defined benefit pension or not, long-term career v. job hopping, union job vs. non-union, area of the country, fortunate job choice in the private sector or not, good money management skills v. irresponsibility, education v. none, etc., etc., etc.

From what I read on C-D, in many forums, two working spouses, both with relatively long careers in government jobs are sitting very comfortably in retirement. No disparagement here - none. Private sector should be providing the same livable retirement to its wage slaves in my opinion v. paying its CEOs tens of millions in a year. But that discussion is best left to the P&C forum. So, I say hooray for those smart enough and patient enough to stick it out in government work. I'm sure it was no picnic. Wish I had done that.

As far as law school opportunities in the 80's, as a single parent, I had just left self-employment in real estate in the depths of the depression of my time to take a job as assistant to the CEO for the premier law firm in our state, forcibly retired in 2009. I clearly remember a kid, about 26 years old, joining the firm after a stint as a law clerk. The minute I laid eyes on this boy, I knew he was a winner. He had the look. Put in 80-100 hour weeks for three decades. Now is head of this firm, earning and has earned for a very long time, seven figures. The opportunities in our city existed in law in the 80s and 90s. Things tightened up the past ten years or so, but before that, no problem. If you were at the top of your class, had an indefatigable work ethic, and could navigate the politics, you got rich. They all got rich.

But this firm did not provide respectable retirement benefits for its long-term support staff, not only me, but those before me. Fortunately, I was diligent about saving as much as I could, watched investments, used leverage intelligently, so when I was shown the door I could survive - but by no means luxuriously. World travel is not in my budget on a regular basis, contrary to many retirees I read about on this board. It's been a real eye-opener. Being single, with only one SS and one pension, doesn't help, of course. Conversely, anyone working in government at my level today has a monthly defined benefit four times what mine is - which they have earned and deserve.

And, then as someone upthread said, there is the issue of successful, or not, offspring. I deal with that, as well.

So, it's really very hard to quantify the well-being or lack thereof of the retiree.

For those who resent those collecting SS and COLAs, SS COLAs will not come near to covering my increased medical co-pays, increased homeowners insurance premiums, food costs, etc. No COLA in my minuscule retirement benefit, so my investments have to do it. I spend a LOT of time reading and thinking about the best deployment of the assets I have. Too much time. Managing money and investments in retirement is much harder than just saving while one is working. It is now my part-time job. I really don't consider myself retired. I had more peace of mind when I worked.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:26 AM
 
Location: The South
767 posts, read 2,009,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariadne22 View Post
Managing money and investments in retirement is much harder than just saving while one is working. It is now my part-time job. I really don't consider myself retired. I had more peace of mind when I worked.
Lots of truth in that sentence.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:42 AM
 
29,979 posts, read 35,057,857 times
Reputation: 11866
Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Perhaps he needs to look at the dropout rate now and the unskilled numbers looking for no skills required jobs now. Al it takes is one trip to a fast food place to see that mnay can't even make change.
That is the real source of our structural economic problem are the millions who dropped out and have no marketable skills in the new normal. I don't know why elected officials don't harp on this. Add to this not being able to pee in a cup and pass and you have the source of much unemployment. That then spills over and reduces job opportunities as growth stagnates.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
2,982 posts, read 3,990,063 times
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35 is the new 50. What that means is unfortunately one has to be a shark when it comes to personal finance and retirement. Life is great and you need to enjoy it daily, but you must have some sort of game plan now when your younger. A lot of those close to retirement bit in to the home spree through equity lines and larger homes thinking they would cash out at retirement and downsize, guess what, quite a few got burnt. The amount of friends I have that are within 8 years of retirement with 30 year notes, underwater and in debt is staggering. In the goverment (for their workers) they used to have retirement training 5 years before you could retire. Well if you have made some pretty bad choices financially, 5 years is not enough time to recover. They have since changed it to 10 years out, which is still to close in my book for retirement training.

Bottom line, a lot of boomers are hurting right now.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,793,086 times
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There is no doubt that the old we will hire you and take care of you when you retire (like cradle to grave) thinking/system is no longer a working/reality model. There are presently, and will be for a period of time, people hurting that depended on this model.

That said, many of them that got caught never looked past today. They lived life as it would never end. They lived close to their income. No education. Big families. Drank to much. Gambled to much. Sat there and watched their industry dying and did nothing.

Not that I was smart enough not to have fallen into this trap (I almost did.....LOL) but I was just a bit greedier and wanted more in life then what I had at the time. So I "forced" myself to go earn it and I did have to "force" myself rather then sit back and let life lead me. How I did it is not the purpose of this post.

Back on subject.

I would hope that the generation behind us (say those under 50) realize the above cradle to grave model is dead and they decide to take their own fate in their hands and not let life lead them. I also hope they bring about needed changes like company paid retirement funds that go with you from job to job, health insurance changes, education aid, stop spending money on fruitless wars, tighter oversight (not control) of financial institutions that can/do control American day to day economy, etc.

All in all I am an optimist. I realize some have and will fall by the roadside during this transition but a transition must be made from dependency on an entity (government, employer, etc.) to dependency on ones self.

That said, let us not be heartless. As the wealthiest nation in the world we must step forward and aid those that have fallen, or will fall, along the road during this transition.
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