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Old 01-30-2016, 07:36 AM
 
6,313 posts, read 5,053,602 times
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Saw this article in the LA Times and wondered what y'all would think.

http://graphics.latimes.com/retireme...t=notification

Three stories of older Americans still working menial jobs just to survive. They say they were the victims of the 2008 recession.

One lady is 79 and drives all over the country from seasonal job to seasonal job.

Well, they all do. The other stories involve two couples. Surprisingly one man receives a 2700 a month military pension, disability and another stipend. But I guess they also have a lot of unpaid debt.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:12 AM
 
13,902 posts, read 7,400,560 times
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What we see today is the tip of the iceberg. More than half of current retirees have some kind of defined benefit pension. When the last of the boomers retire, it will be more like 30%. I would imagine that more than half of people age 50 today will work until they can't work and then hope the safety net will be there for them. There will be millions of people looking for low income elderly housing units that do not exist. If someone age 50 loses their job, they face all kinds of age discrimination problems even if they have kept up with technology and have 21st century job skills. You're not going to add to your retirement nest egg when you're a Walmart greeter. When you get to age 62, you're so strapped for cash that you have no choice but to start taking Social Security locking in the lowest possible pension.

Given human nature, the only way to fix this is to adopt some kind of compelled retirement savings so 20-somethings go their entire working life creating their retirement nest egg.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Cochise County, AZ
1,318 posts, read 834,462 times
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Thanks for posting the link. It was a very interesting read, and not surprising that they were victims of the 2008 recession.
Quote:
The Great Recession would hit older Americans hard. Of the 4.7 million home foreclosures from 2007 to 2011, one-third, or 1.5 million, involved people ages 50 and older.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:26 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 988,935 times
Reputation: 6931
I couldn't read the whole article. Something about my computer.


But I think these people have choices. These are the ones they choose, just like people of all ages. Unless the other two people are in much worse shape than the first lady (as far as I got), I'm not worried.
Aches and pains come with age for some of us. She looks to be in pretty fair shape.

I don't want the debt of "storage". That's what I'm working on now. Getting pictures and docs online and letting go of stuff. One day I hope to be free of possessions. Then, when its just me and my check every month, I will explore the possibilities.


In the meantime, I am as happy as I ever was.


Okay. I got to finish reading. What I think is this: these people are living the life they have lived for much of their lives. The spin is that they are at an age where people expect to be living the good life. Retired! Until I started reading this forum, I really didn't think that retirement meant anything more than the end of your working life, for whatever reason. Choice, health, losing job and unable to find another, etc.


I liked the lady who said that work did not define her. I've always felt this way. I decide if the job is worth doing for what it will pay me. I have done all sorts of things part time while working at my regular, socially acceptable job that my education provided the skills for. Cleaning for the phone company was a favorite because I could go anytime and it paid well enough, but I also cleaned for real estate companies and individuals. I have delivered telephone books. (That was a hard one ) Can't remember everything but I have done some interesting things. Waited tables until I turned 30 and decided I didn't want to deal with the public anymore.


I had someone be rude to me once when I was working the night shift in a grocery. I remember looking up at her, surprised, and then I thought, "Oh. You don't know who I am. You feel comfortable being rude because you are on the other side of the counter. I am happy to be here because it is an extra paycheck."


I doubt I will change much, just like the people in the article seem to be living a life fairly close to the way they have always lived.
.

Last edited by newcomputer; 01-30-2016 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:27 AM
 
10,332 posts, read 9,379,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
What we see today is the tip of the iceberg. More than half of current retirees have some kind of defined benefit pension. When the last of the boomers retire, it will be more like 30%. I would imagine that more than half of people age 50 today will work until they can't work and then hope the safety net will be there for them. There will be millions of people looking for low income elderly housing units that do not exist. If someone age 50 loses their job, they face all kinds of age discrimination problems even if they have kept up with technology and have 21st century job skills. You're not going to add to your retirement nest egg when you're a Walmart greeter. When you get to age 62, you're so strapped for cash that you have no choice but to start taking Social Security locking in the lowest possible pension.

Given human nature, the only way to fix this is to adopt some kind of compelled retirement savings so 20-somethings go their entire working life creating their retirement nest egg.
Spot on (affordable sr housing). They do exist; however, the wait lists for most are very long, some you'll not hear from them for at least 5 years or more; some you'll never hear from. A happy medium would be nice. . . but from my many years of research too many of the 'lower' rentals are in very unsafe areas with little to no amenities; or you get the higher end rentals (some starting at $1,200/mo+).

If one is planning to retire in 5+ yrs and they want an affordable sr. apt, they need to get on the wait lists now, not after they retire.
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,371 posts, read 9,863,395 times
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Interesting story about the 79 year old RV driving seasonal worker.

Lots of questions come to mind.

$50,000 in debt.

Driving around in a big RV that's falling apart to find minimum wage seasonal work. And towing a Smart car. Expensive way to job hunt.

How will she pay down her debt? How will she live when RV dies or she can no longer drive it?

Wonder why she doesn't seek subsidized senior housing in the state she's from and seek employment in her community? Seems very expensive to burn up all that gas to find seasonal work across the nation. A zero sum choice.

And her decision making seems off. Before going grocery shopping, she spends $21 for a prime beef restaurant meal? $21 buys a lot of rice and beans...maybe a month's worth.

I dunno, something doesn't quite compute for me about this story.

That's despite the sympathy and sadness I feel about her plight.
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Old 01-30-2016, 09:22 AM
 
3,945 posts, read 3,262,973 times
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This is a glimpse into the underlying causes of America's social friction that relates to the huge differences in our individual finances and the claims by many that each is responsible for their own fate. In a big way that claim of one's failures or successes being a reflection of skill, knowledge, and the ability to look ahead, is certainly key to one's future being an agreeable situation, OR not.

People here on CD go round and round over these tales of personal woe, some saying that these folks deserve their fate and have little empathy toward them, others see the external economic reality as a force that offers little opportunity for personal control and for that reason understand the precariousness of these nomads situation as a thing visited upon them, and not evidence of a personal lacking. In many cases of financial meltdowns the people who find themselves lacking in funds to the extent that they are forced into poverty feel the added sting of public opinion against the poor as a new kind of personal identity previously unknown to them.

We live in a nation wherein the financial stratification is so strung out that it reveals a ton of people who are prospering, while others just a few miles away are suffering. Unlike the economies that have two classes we have layers and layers of financial realities each with their own levels of daily difficulty. These nomadic seniors are still much better off than many of the lower classes who are homeless, broke, and have little hope of that ever changing, but we know there are many who are just a bit more, or less, well off than the folks in the story.

I hear more and more younger couples expressing their fears with regard to what they envision their older years will be like. Many speak about the specter of perpetual work as a possibility, but even that is not realistic given the fact of ageism as it relates to employment. With defined pensions being a thing of the past we'll see more of these economic Gypsies and their ages will be less than the norms we have come to regard as the "retirement years." More people and less employment opportunity equals a grim reality for those who could easily find themselves looking for any alternatives to the high cost of living in modern America.
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Old 01-30-2016, 09:54 AM
 
4,481 posts, read 4,742,235 times
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Really not news. This has happened to many and not just recently.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Central NY
4,668 posts, read 3,243,341 times
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I did not read the article yet.
I notice in this particular thread there are some who seem to assume that those who are in very difficult financial situations have more or less "asked for it" or did not do a very good job of planning for their future. How easy it is for many of us to point a finger. We don't even need to know the whole story. It seems like the attitude is "well, gee, I've got a good retirement, I worked hard for it, I just don't understand why these people were so careless." It's easy to think that way when you have money in your wallet, food on the table, a decent roof over your head and a bank account.
If we would take a better look at the reasons why some of these people are in the bad situation they are in, we might discover a myriad of problems that the rest of us should be so grateful we do not have. Loss of job, illness, expensive medical costs, taking care of elders who have no resources, handicapped children who will remain the parents' responsibility until parents die, etc. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. If we had just a few of the many problems other people have, we wouldn't do very well ourselves.
Please stop blaming it all on the individual. I am not saying there aren't some who really did mess up their lives. But do not assume it is all of them.

p.s. Just started reading the article..... did anyone notice that expensive prime rib meal she had was enough to give her two more meals? So, what does that come out to, really? I figure about $7/meal. I see nothing extravagant about that.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:11 AM
 
Location: North West Arkansas (zone 6b)
2,672 posts, read 2,012,094 times
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when I read these stories it makes me realize that I'm really fortunate to:
1) have a job waiting for me out of college
2) convinced to start 401k savings within 1 yr of working (I convinced my sister 5 yrs in for her)
3) managed to find job after job even though I hated the work and am not a social person
4) worked at 3 companies that paid a pension

no i haven't saved up a million dollars but I also don't believe it's necessary in my situation (ie private pensions + retirement income + hopefully SS retirement pension)

I know many people who are not worried about their retirement but I'm sure there's a few people at work who are stuck like the admins that my wife worked with at Lehman Brothers that were close to retirement when the company disappeared over night along with the company stock price.
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