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Old 03-24-2015, 12:48 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
12,764 posts, read 7,826,042 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardendresden View Post

Bottom line is that is why the "freeloaders" everyone is concerned about, tend, percentagewise, to be corporations who get the largest share of "tax breaks" and corporate "welfare."

Income inequality is growing in Europe as well. There is no reasonable political way to avoid it, so knuckle down and prepare for another crash and probably the most politically unstable times we've had in well over 200 years.
OK, that type of income inequality DOES need addressing.

Since this is the Retirement Forum, that is what I was addressing; income inequality in retirement. After all, most people here are already retired and no one can change the past!

I read somewhere quite a while ago that in the 1950s the top CEO of a corporation made 50 times more than the lowest paid employee. *

Today that CEO is making 500 times or more than the lowest paid. *

That can't be good. I think we are seeing the ramifications of that today and it will only get worse as time goes on.

* example only (no idea what the correct ratios are, but the gap is very wide today)
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:54 PM
 
6,814 posts, read 3,867,159 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveautumn View Post
well, you might be surprised how much "secretaries" (way outdated term) make these days and, yes, they do get 401k's and they get the same benefits as any other employee in a company. And a talented hairdresser (another outdated term) in a large metro area is usually charging around $80 or more for an hour's worth of service.
Secretaries may do well "these days" but this does not really apply to the currently retired does it? Most hairdressers don't work in "large metro areas" and again, the currently retired did not make the equivalent of $80 in the 60's or 70's.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:06 PM
 
4,539 posts, read 4,835,587 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
Secretaries may do well "these days" but this does not really apply to the currently retired does it? Most hairdressers don't work in "large metro areas" and again, the currently retired did not make the equivalent of $80 in the 60's or 70's.
In 1986 the secretary to my CEO with bonus made 100K a year.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,499 posts, read 1,190,846 times
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SandyJet - that is the exception not the rule - National Average for Admin Assistants in around $58,000 per year according to Glassdoor.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Living near our Nation's Capitol since 2010
2,177 posts, read 2,916,553 times
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Interesting stuff here.

I see many people who have retired ...many of them retired early....who are very unhappy about their financial lot in life. Some of these people were the ones who bought the huge homes, new cars every few years, took lavish vacations, ate out a lot, etc. I don't think many look at their own behavior as an influence in their current financial picture. Not all people did that, I know, but many did.

I am not retired, I probably won't retire for some years yet. Still, I know my financial outlook for the future is good. I have saved and worked diligently and consistently all my life. However, I think there is a factor here that goes beyond just good planning. That factor is GOOD LUCK.

I was lucky to have good parents, good education and good jobs. I am lucky enough to have never been laid off. I am extremely lucky to have such good health. I am lucky to have had children who have never been a financial drain on me. I have been lucky to have investments that did not tank. Sure, lots of it is more than just good luck, but good luck IS a factor. I am thankful for such blessings.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:34 PM
 
15,734 posts, read 9,253,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
A lot of people seem to be missing the forest for the trees here.

There is the "personal responsibility" crowd which preaches no $5 lattes, no vices, etc. The reference to the drug addicts and alcoholics is really quite telling, as the hardcore drug addicts and alcoholics are unlikely to reach full retirement age anyway. Those people usually die young, so retirement for them is kind of a moot point. Yes, smoking and drinking are expensive, but if you do them at normal levels, it's unlikely to be a significant expense for someone of moderate income or better, probably no more than $5-$10 per day, max. Even if you spend $200-$300 per month on vices, it is a couple of thousand per year. While not trivial, it's not gamebreaking either.

The problem for the "personal responsibility" crowd is that the size of the gulf the truly bad off are facing is not thousands and often not even into the low tens of thousands of dollars, but hundreds of thousands of dollars. This isn't a latte a day problem. This is a major shortfall that would have only been resolved by...more income and more investment.

I think there is probably more truth to the low/stagnating wage argument than most of the others. The median annual household income in my hometown in Tennessee is under $35,000. If half are doing worse than the median, those people are going to be indigent elderly. If a family is only making $30k-$40k, basic subsistence is going to be difficult. Disposable income with which to invest after basic needs are met is probably nearly nothing. The only answer for someone in this position is to earn more. If that person is reaching retirement age and is in this position, the ship has already mostly sailed.

To earn more, people often have to do something uncomfortable, expensive, and often both. If you need to retrain, that costs time, money, and effort, even if the result is worth it on the other end. Relocating - same deal.

People are often frozen by inertia and simply do nothing. Even if the writing is on the wall is clear about the direction something is moving, people often try riding out, hoping for the best, or just bury their heads in the sands, pretending nothing is wrong. This inertia, fear of change, hesitation, whatever you want to call it, keeps people from getting on a better track.

Ending up in a bad situation is often the result of a combination of actions we took that turned out to be poor choices, better choices we could have made in hindsight, but did not make, and circumstances beyond our control.
Well said. But that still doesn't entitle any of them to decide that they can make those choices, then not have the consequence of them. My mom scrimped and saved her whole career, NEVER drinking a latte and always stretching every dollar. She now has the money, in her retirement, to travel and spend as she wishes. Her roommate on the other hand always spent what she had (not on lattes, but on eating out, new clothes, etc.). Now she moans and complains that she can't afford to do anything in her retirement.

It's not the $5 latte, it's the mentality. You can enjoy it then, or enjoy it now. You can't always have both when you don't make lots of money.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:13 PM
 
Location: P.C.F
1,973 posts, read 1,643,627 times
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I retired at 56 from what I have seen, there is some of everything out there.. Some never made much money and did save a little etc etc in the end they have enough.. Some made a lot, spent even more and now have very little ( in comparison to what they made) Some had issues beyond their control orthers didnt.. Its a Blend..
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,784 posts, read 4,838,667 times
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So many good posts in this thread. I can see that there are many ways to look at the inequality, some simplistic, some more nuanced and, as always, we all see the world through our own filters. The fact of income inequality in retirement is complicated by so many factors. I tend to see the world through my own "bootstrap" goggles and sometimes need to be reminded that it's not that simple. People come with their own personal set of advantages and disadvantages, some from the same family, as noted by Bella above. Others meet fates which they have no control over along the path of their lives (illness, market fluctuations, pension failures, cheating spouses, etc). For me. the important thing is how you ultimately deal with the hand you are dealt, and I believe that is the bottom line. Do we limply accept fate's cruelty, or do we fight back and double down our bet on our own resources?? Are we even physically or mentally capable of doing that? It is important for all, and especially for me, to remember that not everyone is built the same, not all of us have the strength or abilities to accomplish that.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:45 PM
 
29,782 posts, read 34,871,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
So many good posts in this thread. I can see that there are many ways to look at the inequality, some simplistic, some more nuanced and, as always, we all see the world through our own filters. The fact of income inequality in retirement is complicated by so many factors. I tend to see the world through my own "bootstrap" goggles and sometimes need to be reminded that it's not that simple. People come with their own personal set of advantages and disadvantages, some from the same family, as noted by Bella above. Others meet fates which they have no control over along the path of their lives (illness, market fluctuations, pension failures, cheating spouses, etc). For me. the important thing is how you ultimately deal with the hand you are dealt, and I believe that is the bottom line. Do we limply accept fate's cruelty, or do we fight back and double down our bet on our own resources?? Are we even physically or mentally capable of doing that? It is important for all, and especially for me, to remember that not everyone is built the same, not all of us have the strength or abilities to accomplish that.
I like your summation and am very happy with the discussion. It was what I was hoping for when I started the thread. A discussion on income inequality and seniors/retirement that was on topic.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,581 posts, read 17,574,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ringwise View Post
Well said. But that still doesn't entitle any of them to decide that they can make those choices, then not have the consequence of them. My mom scrimped and saved her whole career, NEVER drinking a latte and always stretching every dollar. She now has the money, in her retirement, to travel and spend as she wishes. Her roommate on the other hand always spent what she had (not on lattes, but on eating out, new clothes, etc.). Now she moans and complains that she can't afford to do anything in her retirement.

It's not the $5 latte, it's the mentality. You can enjoy it then, or enjoy it now. You can't always have both when you don't make lots of money.
"Saving and scrimping" implies deprivation and doing without. Why is the issue never looked at from the earning more and investing side? I don't understand why people never look at retirement planning from the standpoint of "if I earn more, I can both invest more and enjoy today more," and instead assume a zero-sum game where the only way to grow retirement savings is simply to cut spending or save more.
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