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Old 03-25-2015, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,751,136 times
Reputation: 32309

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Life is a series of dwindling choices. Your goal in life and what they should teach in school is to maximize your choices starting when you are in school. Instead, every wrong choice you early on gives you less choices later in life and puts you on a road to poverty or barely scraping by.

Don't screw around in school.
Graduate high school.
Don't hang out with losers.
Don't marry a loser.
Don't do drugs.
Don't have a baby out of wedlock.
Don't be a stay at home mother.
Don't spend money you don't have.

And if boomers decided to "Sha, la, la, la, la live for today and don't worry 'bout tomorrow, hey" those now over-aged hippies shouldn't be whining today about their inability to retire... although I'd love to know whether The Grass Roots, who are still touring now in their old age, are doing so because they took their own bad advice and need the money or because they like it.

This isn't everyone, of course. Bad unforeseeable things do happen to people who do everything right but I'll bet that a large percent of people who have to work or struggle when they are retirement age were on the path of dwindling choices and on the road to poverty before they hit 25 years old because of one, some or most of the above.

Will probably take the most heat for the "stay at home mother" one but husbands die and the divorce rate is high. There's nothing more pitiful than a 40 or 50 something year old widow or divorcee with no current marketable job skills or experience but who has to find work at that age...even if they are highly educated.
One of the best posts I've read on City-Data in a long time, in any forum. It is astute, perceptive, thoughtful, and takes in the big picture. (The bolding is mine, not LauraC's.)

However I can't resist getting into the "stay at home mother" issue. I don't think there's a thing in the world wrong with being a stay at home mom per se, although I recognize the potential described by LauraC for women to get into financial trouble later on in life because of it. For many women, however, the downside did not manifest itself:
1. Not every woman divorces or suffers the early death of a husband.
2. If the husband was responsible, life insurance was in place to take care of his family in the event of his untimely death. That's what life insurance is all about.
3. If the husband was a good earner, the wife and children will be taken care of financially in the divorce settlement. (Yes, that's a big "if").

There are upsides to mothers staying at home, as well, for both the child(ren) and the mother. Too many children raise themselves in our society. Being a latch key kid is not a good thing, in general.

Also, the burden on mothers who both work full-time and raise children is simply incredible, in my opinion. How so many cope with the stress of their plates being constantly over-full, the lack of sleep, the worry about what their children may be up to, etc., without going bonkers is beyond me. My hat is off to them, but in many (not all) marriages there is a better path.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,613 posts, read 17,598,460 times
Reputation: 27693
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
It is well and good to try and earn more both in terms of working as well as investing. But once a person has done all they can, then run the numbers, then seen that the bottom line is still not looking good, well ...



Not everyone can earn what is needed to set everything into motion, at an early enough point in life, to come out where they need to be when old. And as several have noted, things might come out of left field that rapidly consume assets.

It is not zero sum however notions of "abundance thinking" etc are, in the end, complete BS. There are definite winners and losers in this game. And trying really hard does not always mean winning.
There are winners and losers in every game. There will be some subset of people who, through little fault of their own, end up wiped out. Medical issues are the biggest culprit, but unless you want to change this through health insurance policy, it's virtually inevitable.

I'm not talking about Creflo Dollar style prosperity theology or something silly like that, but simply that many people need to look at retirement planning from the perspective of increasing available funds, not just assuming a consistent (or nearly consistent with COLA style increases) wage.

I was making $24k with no benefits of any kind on 1/1/2014. Less than 16 months later, I'm making about $58k with bonus. Count in the value of my paid vacation, sick time, and holidays, and I'm up to effectively 250% of my prior wage.

At $24k, there was barely enough for essentials, much less any discretionary income for investing. At my current wage, there is money to save and invest, as well as far more for today's pleasure. If my income goes up to $75k (where the next job up from me starts out), I'll probably invest 60% of that and take the other 40% to spend.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,291 posts, read 4,949,974 times
Reputation: 5236
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Life is a series of dwindling choices. Your goal in life and what they should teach in school is to maximize your choices starting when you are in school. Instead, every wrong choice you early on gives you less choices later in life and puts you on a road to poverty or barely scraping by.

Don't screw around in school.
Graduate high school.
Don't hang out with losers.
Don't marry a loser.
Don't do drugs.
Don't have a baby out of wedlock.
Don't be a stay at home mother.
Don't spend money you don't have.

And if boomers decided to "Sha, la, la, la, la live for today and don't worry 'bout tomorrow, hey" those now over-aged hippies shouldn't be whining today about their inability to retire... although I'd love to know whether The Grass Roots, who are still touring now in their old age, are doing so because they took their own bad advice and need the money or because they like it.

This isn't everyone, of course. Bad unforeseeable things do happen to people who do everything right but I'll bet that a large percent of people who have to work or struggle when they are retirement age were on the path of dwindling choices and on the road to poverty before they hit 25 years old because of one, some or most of the above.

Will probably take the most heat for the "stay at home mother" one but husbands die and the divorce rate is high. There's nothing more pitiful than a 40 or 50 something year old widow or divorcee with no current marketable job skills or experience but who has to find work at that age...even if they are highly educated.

Spot On! I would add...Don't have children you cannot afford. I think that being a stay at home mother until little Willie starts school is ok, however, since many pop one out after the other, these women make themselves permanent SAHM. 20 years later, they have no marketable skills and no ability to care for themselves, so, to me these two go hand in hand. It all goes back to the source, God gave you a brain...use it.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,455 posts, read 1,156,701 times
Reputation: 5503
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Life is a series of dwindling choices.....every wrong choice you early on gives you less choices later in life and puts you on a road to poverty or barely scraping by.
Agree 100%. It seems that the only remaining choice for the senior set is the last one

Quote:
Don't spend money you don't have.
and the opportunity to exercise that choice is quite limited. There is not much of a chance for retirees to borrow, jacking up credit card debts etc.

Quote:
And if boomers decided to "Sha, la, la, la, la live for today and don't worry 'bout tomorrow, hey" those now over-aged hippies shouldn't be whining today about their inability to retire..
This isn't everyone, of course. Bad unforeseeable things do happen to people who do everything right but I'll bet that a large percent of people who have to work or struggle when they are retirement age were on the path of dwindling choices and on the road to poverty before they hit 25 years old because of one, some or most of the above.
Agree 100% again. However, IMO, the question or discussion I'd like to see at a retirement forum is how do we (as individuals and society) address the reality of huge income inequality in senior citizen population? If anything, I'd expect the income gap to continue to widen based on the current income trend, the disappearing of private pension plans (and possibly public PP in the near future) and the future uncertainty regarding SS and Medicare solvency.

There are several helpful threads at this forum (retirement on a shoestrings, 'literal shoestrings', tips for living abundantly on a budget etc.) along with excellent suggestions on how to maximize SS benefit, find the best insurance, information on annuities, tax favorable relocation places, ideas of a 'retirement commune' etc. It's unfortunate that sometimes the threads or discussions got diverted or drawn into some sort of a class warfare (albeit much milder here than a typical online forums). IMO, we can make this 'cyber water cooler' a more enjoyable, interesting and useful gathering place if there are more acceptance, understanding and less harsh/stern lecturing, resentment or 'thin-skin' attitude ;-)

On the whole, I found the CD retirement a very nice place where there are many knowledgeable, friendly and helpful regulars to whom I am grateful for their advice, tips, insights and 'companies'.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,613 posts, read 17,598,460 times
Reputation: 27693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
Spot On! I would add...Don't have children you cannot afford. I think that being a stay at home mother until little Willie starts school is ok, however, since many pop one out after the other, these women make themselves permanent SAHM. 20 years later, they have no marketable skills and no ability to care for themselves, so, to me these two go hand in hand. It all goes back to the source, God gave you a brain...use it.
This certainly impacts retirement. Unless the husband earns a substantial income, the couple is likely better off if both work, both have some form of retirement plan they contribute to, etc. Even if the wife's income is not substantial, it's at least an additional cushion.

One my old friends from school was cheating on his wife, who is 25 and a SAHM of three kids, doesn't even have a GED to my knowledge. She's rarely, if ever, worked, and is now a single mom with three kids. She's set up for a life of hardship.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:31 AM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
Reputation: 11710
Wow, we are up to nine pages of civil discussion that has covered a wide variety of opinions on what is usually a contentious topic. Congrats to all. By focusing on it as a single topic with participants knowing what they were getting into we are now perhaps ready for the next level as suggested by BellaDL is how to address it and what if anything to do about it. Thread coming.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,751,136 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaDL View Post
....................



and the opportunity to exercise that choice is quite limited. There is not much of a chance for retirees to borrow, jacking up credit card debts etc.
...................................
I'm not so sure about that. Most retirees have at least one credit card. I have just the one, with a credit limit of $10,000 (rather low compared to a lot of people). So if I wanted to, I could run up that much debt easily and quickly just by using the card to buy stuff or to travel on.

Also, a lot of retirees have a paid off house - not sure if that would be "most" or just "many". We could re-mortgage our paid off houses and run up lots of debt in one fell swoop.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:38 AM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
Reputation: 11710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I'm not so sure about that. Most retirees have at least one credit card. I have just the one, with a credit limit of $10,000 (rather low compared to a lot of people). So if I wanted to, I could run up that much debt easily and quickly just by using the card to buy stuff or to travel on.

Also, a lot of retirees have a paid off house - not sure if that would be "most" or just "many". We could re-mortgage our paid off houses and run up lots of debt in one fell swoop.
I concur. They would would love many seniors to get in debt and pay the interest rates knowing that a high percentage of them have a moral conviction that you pay back what you owe.
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,455 posts, read 1,156,701 times
Reputation: 5503
Escort Rider,
I have not retired yet and just based my impression on the fact that we would not likely to get a mortgage in our retirement without showing adequate monthly income sources.

If retirees still have lots of opportunities to be in debt, re-mortgage, get HELOC or reverse mortgage etc., this can make them dig their financial holes deeper! This is scary especially in consideration of the fact that mental acuity and good judgment can decline with aging.

Why are elderly more vulnerable to scams? Brain changes

Older but Not Wiser? The Psychology Behind Seniors' Susceptibility to Scams - Scientific American

Even in the cases of seniors getting financial help/advice from a professional, they still can be led astray by unethical people. I think fiduciary mandate is a good idea even though one can still be ripped off by a "fiduciary" financial advisor.

Even a "Fiduciary" Financial Adviser Can Rip You Off If You Don't Know These 3 Things - TIME
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Old 03-25-2015, 09:44 AM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
Reputation: 11710
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaDL View Post
Escort Rider,
I have not retired yet and just based my impression on the fact that we would not likely to get a mortgage in our retirement without showing adequate monthly income sources.

If retirees still have lots of opportunities to be in debt, re-mortgage, get HELOC or reverse mortgage etc., this can make them dig their financial holes deeper! This is scary especially in consideration of the fact that mental acuity and good judgment can decline with aging.

Why are elderly more vulnerable to scams? Brain changes

Older but Not Wiser? The Psychology Behind Seniors' Susceptibility to Scams - Scientific American

Even in the cases of seniors getting financial help/advice from a professional, they still can be led astray by unethical people. I think fiduciary mandate is a good idea even though one can still be ripped off by a "fiduciary" financial advisor.

Even a "Fiduciary" Financial Adviser Can Rip You Off If You Don't Know These 3 Things - TIME
Emmigration makes some key points that a goal of retirement can be a margin of error of comfort. It is that margin that can make you extremely credit worthy.
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