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Old 02-28-2008, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,687 posts, read 49,462,974 times
Reputation: 19134

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cousinsal View Post
I really don't get this attitude of "it's your own fault". I just think that's SO not true in many cases. Yes, in some cases, that is probably true - people who lived above their means, borrowed too much, wanted too many things, etc.

But, there are many, many, many of us in America whose wages have not kept up with the soaring costs of living - like housing, food, utilities, etc. Real wages have been stagnant for decades. For example, in the 70's, you might have spent 25% of your income on rent - today, that might be 60%.

How is that someone's fault that prices go up, but not wages?
There was once a paradigm in our culture where each 'working-man' defined his existence by his profession.

If you were a construction worker, than you remained a construction worker until the day that you died. You stuck with that one profession. Perhaps with one employer, year after year depending upon that employer to give you pay raises, or not.

However our culture has changed, is changing.

Today folks job hop, they change their profession. They move. They shop around for different career opportunities.

Today people are in greater control of how much they earn, where they live, and what sort of lifestyle they practice.

In my case, I did stick to one profession, but it was a profession with defined benefits and annual pay-raises. It included a good retirement package, so I decided to stick to that career for 20-years and retire. But that was my decision.

I look around at my highschool classmates and most of them have been job-hopping all this time, while I stuck to a single career.

Every few of them would put up with a single employer who did not give them pay-raises and benefit packages.

Granted very few of them invested as heavily as I did either, so most of them do not have the Net Worth that I have accumulated. But living frugally underneath your earning ability, so you can have the money to invest with; it is completely the individuals decision.

I understand that in general the cost-of-living has gone up everywhere. In some areas it has gone up more than other areas. But in general it has gone up everywhere.

Who makes the decision to live in an area where the COL goes up the most?

Who makes the decision to move to lower COL areas?

The individual adult, or the married couple makes that decision.

I have a highschool friend who moved to a high COL seeking higher paying jobs. Today she has a high pay job, but she also has a COL that is three times higher than mine.

I can support a family and prosper on less than a third of what it is cositng her.

Is that her 'fault'?

Is it my 'fault'?

We have each made our decisions, and we are each living within the paradigm that we have chosen.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,176 posts, read 8,698,297 times
Reputation: 6199
Smile Possibly living with others...

After being widowed or becoming single, one may want to consider a "Golden Girls" type of arrangement. Bigger home; less in expenses.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:21 AM
 
1,861 posts, read 3,024,986 times
Reputation: 559
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
There was once a paradigm in our culture where each 'working-man' defined his existence by his profession.

If you were a construction worker, than you remained a construction worker until the day that you died. You stuck with that one profession. Perhaps with one employer, year after year depending upon that employer to give you pay raises, or not.

However our culture has changed, is changing.

Today folks job hop, they change their profession. They move. They shop around for different career opportunities.

Today people are in greater control of how much they earn, where they live, and what sort of lifestyle they practice.

In my case, I did stick to one profession, but it was a profession with defined benefits and annual pay-raises. It included a good retirement package, so I decided to stick to that career for 20-years and retire. But that was my decision.

I look around at my highschool classmates and most of them have been job-hopping all this time, while I stuck to a single career.

Every few of them would put up with a single employer who did not give them pay-raises and benefit packages.

Granted very few of them invested as heavily as I did either, so most of them do not have the Net Worth that I have accumulated. But living frugally underneath your earning ability, so you can have the money to invest with; it is completely the individuals decision.

I understand that in general the cost-of-living has gone up everywhere. In some areas it has gone up more than other areas. But in general it has gone up everywhere.

Who makes the decision to live in an area where the COL goes up the most?

Who makes the decision to move to lower COL areas?

The individual adult, or the married couple makes that decision.

I have a highschool friend who moved to a high COL seeking higher paying jobs. Today she has a high pay job, but she also has a COL that is three times higher than mine.

I can support a family and prosper on less than a third of what it is cositng her.

Is that her 'fault'?

Is it my 'fault'?

We have each made our decisions, and we are each living within the paradigm that we have chosen.

I get what you're saying, but we have little control over many things - like illness, being laid-off, divorce that we didn't want, widowhood, being a woman who makes .76 to every man's dollar, etc.

What if, for example, someone saves a lot of money, and it gets wiped out during a major illness? (50% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills) What if one becomes a single mother and the father doesn't pay child support and has disappeared?

For example, I was laid off in 1997, and it took until 2004 to get back the money I was making in 1997. When you are laid off, sometimes, you have to start all over again. I'm lucky, because I did find a good job, in a place with a pension (only 20% of companies pay them now), and my parents helped me buy a condo. Part of it was luck, part was my decision to find a good job and work my way back again. Obviously, I was lucky to have parents who were able to help. Otherwise, I'd have trouble handling the rents these days.

I also had cancer - now, for me, it didn't effect me much, because I get good health insurance, but some people have to pay 20% out-of-pocket, which can be HUGE if the bill is $500K or something. I was lucky to have good health insurance - many jobs either don't have it, or have a poor plan.

I'm only saying there are all sorts of situations that people have - we don't always have total control. If you do, that's great - more power to ya. Consider yourself ahead of many of us.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:23 AM
 
1,861 posts, read 3,024,986 times
Reputation: 559
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
Well, it is someone's fault, but not necessarily the wage earner's. There is a mean streak in this country of if I won at the money game, then everyone else who doesn't deserves to suffer. It is a way of being selfish and justifying it by blaming others who didn't do as well.

The way I look at it is there will always be winners and losers. Some people will never do very well and some will do extraordinarily well. Some of the very well off got that way by sticking a figurative boot in other people's faces and some by smart and hard work.

But if huge numbers of people cannot maintain a moderately middle class existence, then our whole economic system is in trouble. When there are significant numbers of people who work but cannot afford a roof over their heads, our economic system is in trouble.

There is one thing that is demonstrably true and has been throughout history. A large and comfortable middle class is the fuel for economic stability and growth. After all, the excesses of unfettered capitalism created the conditions for communism to flower.

And I am one who has done pretty well for myself so I am not whining about my own situation.
Yes, we are building up the middle-class in India and China, and losing it here.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:22 AM
 
11,989 posts, read 17,502,602 times
Reputation: 6086
Quote:
What if, for example, someone saves a lot of money, and it gets wiped out during a major illness? (50% of bankruptcies are because of medical bills) What if one becomes a single mother and the father doesn't pay child support and has disappeared?
A good long term care insurance policy would guard against that. The younger you are, the cheaper it is. I grabbed mine at 38 so as to avoid the scenario you describe.

Likewise good life insurance protects your family if you die.

And consistent, displined saving would help alleviate most other problems.

Insurance and savings are things you have, but never use.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:32 AM
 
Location: North Adams, MA
746 posts, read 3,180,085 times
Reputation: 796
I think it may be necessary to look at retirement as a time of less income and less choices, and to think about living less lavishly.

When I was still working, I knew that the fancy apartment, the world travel and the fine restaurants could be had now or in the future, if I saved and denied myself those things at the time.

Not being sure I would live to be 65 or 70, and in good enough health to enjoy things like roughing it in the jungle, I chose to experience life as I went along. I am glad I did.

I live a modest existence now, travel rarely, and only get to a white tablecloth restaurant a couple of times a year. But I still have the ability to write, and get to see most shows, attend concerts etc. for free as long as I write about it for a local publication afterwards.

I have many new passions, too, and they are less expensive than the old ones.

There is no question that the rising prices of heating oil and food have hit me in the pocketbook. I live solely on Social Security, none of the companies I worked for had retirement plans, nor was there ever enough extra cash laying around to bank. (I worked for non-profits almost all my life, and people don't think they should pay competitive salaries.)

Still I am happy. Frugal but happy.

You don't need a lot of money in retirement to enjoy it, just a good attitude, and some resourcefulness.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,176 posts, read 8,698,297 times
Reputation: 6199
Smile Impossible retirement??

We are handled challenges every day. Sometimes, you do not know the outcome and cannot control it.

For example, when I was 15/16, I had to start helping my parents financially. Had I know that over 30 years later and still doing it, would my actions be the same?

At one time, I kept holding off going away to college. Maybe I would have gone to my first choice at the time and had a real college experience.

But I am happy I met my husband and had my children in between school, working 2 jobs and still all these years - still working over 80 hours a week.

We have started over financially so many times; so don't get discouraged! (Always had good credit which was more important to me than anything).

And, some people just seem to get lucky breaks!
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
156 posts, read 352,137 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by litlux View Post
I think it may be necessary to look at retirement as a time of less income and less choices, and to think about living less lavishly.

When I was still working, I knew that the fancy apartment, the world travel and the fine restaurants could be had now or in the future, if I saved and denied myself those things at the time.

Not being sure I would live to be 65 or 70, and in good enough health to enjoy things like roughing it in the jungle, I chose to experience life as I went along. I am glad I did.

I live a modest existence now, travel rarely, and only get to a white tablecloth restaurant a couple of times a year. But I still have the ability to write, and get to see most shows, attend concerts etc. for free as long as I write about it for a local publication afterwards.

I have many new passions, too, and they are less expensive than the old ones.

There is no question that the rising prices of heating oil and food have hit me in the pocketbook. I live solely on Social Security, none of the companies I worked for had retirement plans, nor was there ever enough extra cash laying around to bank. (I worked for non-profits almost all my life, and people don't think they should pay competitive salaries.)

Still I am happy. Frugal but happy.

You don't need a lot of money in retirement to enjoy it, just a good attitude, and some resourcefulness.

That's good to hear Litlux. I know going back a few years, my Dad lived on Social Security and a very small pension and he did ok. He too wasn't a big spender and like you did not do any extensive traveling. If he did travel, it would be to stay with family so it wasn't very expensive. Nice to know that it can still be done. I think for many it has a little something to do with keeping your expectations within an attainable range. Good to hear a little different viewpoint.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:50 AM
 
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
156 posts, read 352,137 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bette View Post
We are handled- still working over 80 hours a week.

My goodness Bette...I don't want to sound lazy here but the only way I would work 80 hours a week would be if I was twins...
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
34,691 posts, read 33,700,331 times
Reputation: 51915
We can always drill in ANWR and build more refineries.
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