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Old 09-18-2013, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,747,361 times
Reputation: 32309

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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Great that the rest of us are here to amuse you. The "information" is useless to us because most of us are already retired (or close to it) and there isn't much we can do without getting into a time machine and starting over again.

In our next lives we'll make sure not to marry anyone who will cheat on us and cause a divorce (the main reason for not being super wealthy in retirement) and we'll make 100% certain to not acquire any disabling illness (make sure the spouse is never sick either), and no accidents to cause a financial setback. We'll somehow gain total control of the economy so real estate prices never drop leaving a person upside down. Got to make sure the kids never come back home or need financial help for any reason. And never, ever take a job in one of the helping professions: social work, nursing, anything where we help other people for low pay.

If you want to teach the young people, I don't know what it's doing on a retirement board. Many of us on here were already working before there was any such thing as a 401K. And the bashings about people living beyond their means apply to younger people, not people our age. Bash those who go to Starbucks when they can't even pay their rent or those get college degrees in useless majors, those who are "entitled" to huge homes when they are only in their twenties and can't afford it, those who rack up huge credit card debts and think it's play money. Those who never heard of a savings account or never bothered to invest (assuming they made enough money to have anything left over to invest).

I'd be among the first to agree that somewhere along the way those kids have been spoiled and not taught about finances. Although bashing and bragging seem to be the name of the game, I don't think that's really the best way to instruct the younger people. Positive ideas and encouragement would do better. A negative thread of bashing and bragging isn't any help to anyone and many find it offensive.


in the mean time there are a whole load of others it does apply too that learn from others by sharing thoughts and ideas..

Not on this forum. Not for this demographic. Most on this forum played by the rules, did everything right. Not all of us ended up as millionaires because things do happen. If someone else was fortunate enough to live a charmed life with no major setbacks then they are lucky. Not necessarily smarter than the rest, just luckier. When will some people realize that no one wants to listen to their put downs and childish bragging? Maybe in the pursuit of money they lost sight of the importance of human kindness and good manners. Manners? Old fashioned idea that must have gone out of style with some folks.
I see your point, but I think it's overly harsh. First, there are many people who frequent this retirement forum who are 55 or 60 years old and still working. They are interested in what still may be possible for them even though they cannot go back and redo their entire lives. So where else would they go on City-Data for retirement planning information than the retirement forum? Yes, the personal finance sub-forum would also be a logical place, but there are plenty of over-lapping forums topic-wise. One examples is books and history; if you want to post about a good book on history you've just read, you have two choices.

Thread titles are supposed to be descriptive (i.e., specific) and most of the time they are, pretty much. Rather than complaining bitterly about certain subject matter and engaging in broad-brush bashing, we wouldn't need to click on any thread which we don't think will interest us. I never did (nor am I likely to ever) click on the threads about retiring to Tennessee, or to St. George, Utah, or to a number of other specific places. And it would never occur to me to post on those threads to complain about how they are of interest to only a minority of posters; they are legitimate threads, just like financial planning for retirement is a legitimate topic in a retirement forum.

Lots of things are irritating, including thinly disguised bragging about how much money one has, and I have already responded to that point in another thread; one thing I pointed out is that the bragging is even worse in Economics and Personal Finance. But being irritated is a price we will all pay, usually sooner rather than later, for the pleasure of exchanging points of view on a public internet forum.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,823 posts, read 19,921,769 times
Reputation: 23232
Sigh......winners and losers was meant to refer to finances as any but those too eager to take umbrage would have known.
Something I have taught my children about 'taking umbrage' and the commonly used phrase "if the shoe fits".

If, as in this instance, people are talking about people who are on the lower end of the financial scale because they did not plan well or made poor choices, etc. and you feel you did all you could possibly do and those are not the reasons why 'you' are there....well then, they are not referring to you so there's no reason to put that shoe on and get all outraged.
What my kids got taught was that the angrier a person is about something, it is generally that it's themselves they are actually angry with and harbor some guilt about.
If one starts examining the reason the put the shoe on they might just find that deep down (and maybe not so deep) they know there was more they could have done and chose not to.
Perhaps for good reasons and nothing they might even go back and change if they could.
But they have to realize that they did not actually do all they could have done.

I moan about having lost 1/3 of our home's value just at the time we wanted to sell it.
Well, you know, it was a choice to go ahead and sell at that time because we wanted to.
The loss was only a paper loss until we sold it.
We lost 1/3 of a good share of our investments at that same time.
Bad luck? Not really.....we were mostly ignoring that money because we didn't do 'investments' well and chose not to pay someone else to do it.
I can go back over the years and relate many times that we chose to do or not to do things that would have made us better off financially....and still do!
Rather than rail at perceived slights, it maybe better to not pick up those the shoes that don't fit or be brutally honest with yourself and see how it does.

Phew! lecture for the day over( and now to wait to see how much immediate ire it will bring about rather than cause anybody to sit back and think about it)
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,193,442 times
Reputation: 22375
The OP asked - "why are most Americans in such bad shape financially?" I think there have been good answers that have covered most of the calamities that can happen and impact one's retirement funds (or even the possibility of retirement funds).

Yes, there are those who have led lives that were not impacted by disasters, health issues, job loss, divorce, depression, etc. And they have planned well. Bravo! Good for them! However, not everyone is fortunate in that way. Even with a set aside "rainy day fund," it doesn't mean there will be enough for a long term rainy day.

Some folks are part of a generational cycle of poverty and live cradle to the grave on subsidies. Some are druggies. Some have issues, such as gambling, that impact their lives. Others simply make bad business decisions. There is plenty of "failure" to go around when it comes to life events, choices, decisions, etc.

The bottom line is . . . retirement may not be golden for a big chunk of people. It may be a continual struggle, especially if health issues are involvement, or if a person has faced adversity in some form that drained their savings or that ruined their health. Divorce can be financially devastating, as well.

For those who have amassed wealth, there may be many reasons as to why, and some of the reasons could include great planning. That is something that folks can learn from if they have enough time to avail themselves of the information. For those who are struggling and into retirement, it becomes a totally different approach to dealing with life. Frugality is one approach; finding a stream of revenue is another (home cottage industry, for example).

It doesn't help to condemn those who are struggling.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,823 posts, read 19,921,769 times
Reputation: 23232
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post

It doesn't help to condemn those who are struggling.
Maybe I read things differently but I've only seen condemnation from people who I wouldn't pay attention to on most subjects. There are jerks everywhere and it usually affects all their opinions on most things.
Otherwise, I only see ......shall we say, a lack of respect or sympathy....for those that continue doing the things that put them in bad circumstances.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:07 AM
 
1,227 posts, read 1,261,178 times
Reputation: 4310
Just as an example in the past couple of days, the people in Colorado who were devastated by the flooding and the spouses of the 12 people murdered in the D.C navy yard are all going to have their retirements impacted severely. The news doesn't cover that part of the tragedy. But we now have a huge amount of people who may not be able to ever retire or who will retire in reduced circumstances.

People cannot control life. Someone who is at the top today can find themselves in trouble 3 minutes from now. It is not only about how much you earn and how much you save.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,193,442 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
Maybe I read things differently but I've only seen condemnation from people who I wouldn't pay attention to on most subjects. There are jerks everywhere and it usually affects all their opinions on most things.
Otherwise, I only see ......shall we say, a lack of respect or sympathy....for those that continue doing the things that put them in bad circumstances.
You may be right as far as what has been written on this particular thread.

I was simply stating that it doesn't help to condemn folks who are struggling, with the implication that at this stage of life, if someone is struggling, it really doesn't matter whether it is b/c of lifelong habits, poor decision-making or a poverty level earning power/lifestyle . . . it is what it is. No way to really correct it at this stage.

I do know one person who had nothing in retirement but a lot of debt (luxury cars, 2 homes, a very expensive boat, etc) but he was relying on a large inheritance, which he did recently receive. But most folks can't rely on an inheritance as a retirement plan.

I don't think folks who have never learned from their mistakes and continue to make bad ones deserve much respect or sympathy, but on the other hand, as a society, we can't just let them starve, homeless, under a bridge somewhere. That is why there are safety nets such as social security, medicaid/medicare, HUD subsidies, food stamps, etc. It won't buy a great lifestyle but it will keep folks from starving.

Last edited by brokensky; 09-18-2013 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:16 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,193,442 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingatFL View Post
Just as an example in the past couple of days, the people in Colorado who were devastated by the flooding and the spouses of the 12 people murdered in the D.C navy yard are all going to have their retirements impacted severely. The news doesn't cover that part of the tragedy. But we now have a huge amount of people who may not be able to ever retire or who will retire in reduced circumstances.

People cannot control life. Someone who is at the top today can find themselves in trouble 3 minutes from now. It is not only about how much you earn and how much you save.
I have several friends in that flood area -- one in Boulder, in particular. None of my friends have flood insurance. My Boulder friend is still trying to drain and clean out her basement. Upstairs, she has lost everything on the first floor. I don't know how she will recoup, frankly. Her business is shut down and so there is the matter of cash flow and future earnings, as well. She is not at retirement age (she is in her 50s) but she isn't that far off, either.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:21 AM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
Reputation: 11710
The irony of this discussion is that the OP started it in Feb of 2008. That is before the Great Recession, prior to so many lives being devastated and at about the peak of the stock market. A very different world than the one we are in today. We had just retired and a lot has happened since then to change the retirement plans of boomers.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:26 AM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
Reputation: 11710
Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
As other posters have said cashing out home equity has been a killer for people. Also the soaring cost of college leaves many in their 40's with the choice of college for kids or retirement for us. The blood bath in front of us are the millions who did have home equity they planned to cash in on for a retirement in a lower cost market. However that bubble has burst and with it the retirement plans of many.
Funny thing to me is that I posted it in this thread 5 1/2 years ago. Hmmmmmm! Feb 5 2008. I find it interesting that a few of us are still here but most aren't. Some of us are posting in the context of what we posted years ago in this and similar threads.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,823 posts, read 19,921,769 times
Reputation: 23232
And this is going to come across as mean and unsympathetic but it's not.....we lost a business(including the building)to fire and weren't properly insured so I'm familiar with disaster and going from income to minus-0 considering that inventory had been bought on credit.
I'm just referring back to what I said earlier about making choices.
That said....

Most Coloradans lack flood insurance
In three Colorado counties hard hit by the floods, the percentage of single-family homes with flood insurance coverage is in the low single digits, FEMA and Census Bureau data show.
Boulder County has 4,779 flood insurance policies, FEMA says, but more than 77,000 detached single-family homes, Census data shows.

El Paso County, with almost 170,000 single family homes, has 3,915 policies. Larimer County has almost 90,000 single-family homes and 1,343 policies.
FEMA urged more Colorado residents to buy flood insurance — for homes and businesses — last year after wildfires destroyed or damaged more than 344,000 acres of land.
Fires destroy natural forest barriers and increase erosion risk, flash floods, mud flows and debris flows.
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