Jump to content
NKA

THE NEW REALITY OF OLD AGE IN AMERICA

Recommended Posts

It is well written but it is also slanted. But it is difficult to know for sure unless you talk to a lot more people. I think that they went and picked people who fit the profile that they wished to write about.     

We happen to be in that age group and we have done a lot of work-camping and are planning to do another tour next summer. But we have done all of ours as resident volunteers in public parks, wildlife refuges, and non-profit organizations. We did so at first in order to extend the budget because we had retired early and planned to stop once we got SS but quickly discovered that we enjoyed the activity and returned to that lifestyle. Today we live in an RV retirement community where we all have homes and most an RV and we are planning yet another volunteer tour for next summer as our part-time travels. We do it more because we love the new experiences and learning than for money reasons. We don't live in an expensive area but even so, I think that most of us here do live better than our parents did at a similar age. And very few of us are working here and of those who do so, most do it because they enjoy it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not retired yet but I can see me work camping later years. Not that I think we will need the money. I am right much a handy man by nature. I would enjoy this and it would stretch money. Now I am sure there are others doing this by need. I have always believed if one keeps busy, they will stay healthier longer. I do agree with Kirk. Believe stories hand picked to prove a point. Several on this forum work camp and I haven't seen where they are suffering. Living a great life. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

 

We happen to be in that age group and we have done a lot of work-camping and are planning to do another tour next summer. But we have done all of ours as resident volunteers in public parks, wildlife refuges, and non-profit organizations. 

The point of this article was that there a lot of people who can't afford to volunteer and have to workcamp (or work for Amazon, etc). If you are lucky enough to be able to volunteer rather than getting a paycheck, then you are very fortunate. We, also, can afford to do the same, but we have met many who can't. 

IMO this article isn't a criticism of our (or your) lifestyle but it does describe a lifestyle that some seniors have been backed into because they had few options. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, docj said:

IMO this article isn't a criticism of our (or your) lifestyle but it does describe a lifestyle that some seniors have been backed into because they had few options. 

While there are some who workcamp because they have no choice, in my opinion, the article wasn't about workcamping as much as it was about the decline in employer-funded retirement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This phrase pretty much stopped me.

"People are living longer, more expensive lives."

More expensive lives? Compared to what? And isn't that a choice to live MORE expensive lives that when they worked and lived in their house?  I don't understand what that means. I can't think of anybody who retired and thought life was going to be champagne and caviar. Typically you sell out of your house to get out from under a mortgage. That should be saving money. Obviously things will vary depending where people come from, but since all I can speak to is me, I will be moving from a house in a horrible neighborhood worth only maybe 60k to an RV, point being that I was never any kind of affluent with the $350,000 house in a gated community, and maybe people who came from that and bought a $200,000 RV are perhaps wishing they had gone more spartan. So I just don't know what that comparative "more expensive" means. My life is certainly not "more expensive" now that I am retired. At the moment it is exactly "as expensive" as it has been for the last 15 years or so, but pending a major RV calamity every month when I hit the highway, I should be in a better place when I hit the road. That may just be me coming from an extremely vanilla first 66 years of life, not really treasuring "stuff". I wear sneakers for 6-7 years at a time and eat on the tightest budget ever. I haven't paid to see a movie in about 15 years, and don't remember the last time I was at a restaurant of higher quality than a Denny's type place. I get all I need for the year on Veteran's Day when I load up on freebies..... :D But that's just how I learned to live poor and it stuck with me.

I am also not up to speed on health care costs. I have used the VA for almost 20 years, so I never had to bother looking at ACA or anything else. I already have the list of clinics and hospitals in every state saved on my computer. Not everybody has that available, and I get that. And everybody's situation is unique, and I get that too. I just didn't really get the gist of the article, and lost interest completely when they started making it political.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait until you have a significant illness.  Living longer means that there are more expenses keeping the old body going.  My grandfather went blind from cataracts, today, it is a simple 20 minute surgery and away you go.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barb, that's what I meant by saying my situation is unique from most. If I get there, and let's even say WHEN I get there, that is all covered by the VA. Even if I get to a place where I am bedridden, it will  be in a VA hospital. And I don't say that in a gloating way, just that my perspective is different. In the example of your grandfather, being alone, if I lost my sight my only option would be living in a VA facility.

How much does the lowest tier ACA cost?

So it is not one size fits all. I just didn't get what that article was trying to say.

Edited by eddie1261

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

It is well written but it is also slanted. But it is difficult to know for sure unless you talk to a lot more people. I think that they went and picked people who fit the profile that they wished to write about. 

Yes, the authors premise (or "profile") is that today's seniors have to work longer than previous generations because of changing economic conditions and because people are simply living longer. The authors use several RV work campers to exemplify this trend.

It sounds like you think the authors didn't write it correctly.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Living longer means that there are more expenses keeping the old body going.

I think that it also means that most people are physically able to work later into life than our grandparents were due to staying healthy longer and most occupations have become less physically damaging. Job sites have become safer and working conditions better. I may not like agencies like OSHA, but my children have less work-related hazards because of them and so they will probably live longer than us and stay healthy longer also. But it also means that if we retire at the same age as in the past, most retired people live on a fixed income and since prices are increasing with time, if income is not that does mean a more expensive life, even if Medicare, the VA, or someone else is paying 100% of the cost of healthcare. We spend more on groceries for two of us today than you did for 5 of us when our boys were home. 

8 hours ago, Zulu said:

It sounds like you think the authors didn't write it correctly.

I think that they used the subject of work-camping to support a point which in my opinion, is valid. There are people who work because they must and that may be growing, but I would point out that they only wrote about people who feel that they have to work, yet I believe that they are far from a majority. In doing so it implies that this is typical of those who work-camp, while my own experience shows something quite different. Of those who are retired and living fulltime in an RV, how many do you believe the description in the article actually fits? My guess is that it would be no greater than 20% of the work-campers who must do so in order to survive and perhaps 50% if you include those who do it in order to live better. I also think that the article could lead one to think that a majority of those who live fulltime in an RV are doing so from economic necessity, which I believe to be far from accurate. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And then there is a closed mind.  I already know what I know, and no "facts" will change my mind, or even give pause for refection that there might be competing circumstances to be considered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/4/2017 at 10:20 PM, eddie1261 said:

Barb, that's what I meant by saying my situation is unique from most. If I get there, and let's even say WHEN I get there, that is all covered by the VA. Even if I get to a place where I am bedridden, it will  be in a VA hospital. And I don't say that in a gloating way, just that my perspective is different. In the example of your grandfather, being alone, if I lost my sight my only option would be living in a VA facility.

How much does the lowest tier ACA cost?

So it is not one size fits all. I just didn't get what that article was trying to say.

I didn't realize how valuable my military hitch meant until the age of 60 when my severe heart attack occurred. The VA paid for it all and are still keeping my health in check! i now live in an old 1996 5er, drive a 30 yr.old Benz and a 17+ yr. Ford Ranger and like you live frugal. i believe I'm happier than most millionaires, LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Pieere said:

live frugal.

Today too few people today believe in frugal living, IMO.  They want the instant gratification and the newest/latest/bestest contraption out there, only to replace it when the newer/better/ contraption comes along.  If they can afford it, fine.  But, this article shows how long term planning has fallen away and there have been news articles about reduced saving rates.  Sure, it is easy to blame the economy or politicians, or whatever.  Reality is personal responsibility has waned and now someone else is always to blame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, remoandiris said:

 They want the instant gratification and the newest/latest/bestest contraption out there, only to replace it when the newer/better/ contraption comes along.  If they can afford it, fine.  But, this article shows how long term planning has fallen away and there have been news articles about reduced saving rates.  

That is a HUGE problem, particularly for the entitled generation coming up now that always had mommy and daddy there to pay their bills and bail them out. Well, I never had a mommy and daddy to bail me out. I had the kind of father who taught me how to swim by throwing me into a lake. (Figuratively. I STILL can't swim!) The 20 something snowflakes of today are raising a generation of sissies. Our group played football, hockey... never wore bike helmets and armor on every inch of our bodies... we did just fine. Here's a great story to share that makes the point.

In Jan 2014, my credit was so bad I could not get financing to put windows in my house. I was a 63 year old retired man with a credit score of (this still embarrasses me) 540. I did some research, cleaned so things up, learned how to play the credit score game, and by 3 years later was at 714. It takes some discipline, a little sacrifice, and an of understanding about how it works and why credit is important. I rarely eat anywhere but home. I haven't been to a movie theater in a good 10 years, and that was once after maybe 5 years  before that. 11 bucks to see a movie? 22 bucks with a date.... Add popcorn, drinks, candy.... That's an easy $50 night. For 110 minutes of enjoyment. I wear sneakers for 6-7 years, until they fall apart. I rarely go out, so I don't need a lot of dressy clothes. I have sport coats, sure, but only 2. And 2 suits. Dress shirts. Ties. None of which I have worn much since my work days ended in 2013.

I had the 29 year old son of a friend come to ask me for help about 2 years ago. He was WILDLY in debt. His score was in the low 500s. He brought his credit card bills over. Dinners out, pizza many times a month, bar tabs, movie tickets.... I explained the concept of restraint and sacrifice, told him to take a cooking class and COOK those meals at home for $5 instead of paying $50 for them in a restaurant. His resistance at first was along the lines of "But I want to live my lie while I am young." My response was "And you will rent an apartment forever because you will never have enough credit to buy a house. You can pay $1100 a month for rent on a place with one bedroom,  or $800 a month for a house you own with 3. What's your pleasure?" THEN he got it.

The best advice I gave him was this. "You are in a deep financial hole for someone not yet 30, but you can fix this. Only you. Step one is to understand that when you are in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging." Now at 31, he is at 675 and climbing. He learned the concept of "This 55 inch TV is fine. I don't need the 60 inch TV." and he is doing quite well with it. He should buy his house next spring. It's all about becoming responsible.

Frugal living is great! I keep making changes. Little, minor things. I buy dry foods when I can. The can of black beans that is $1.29 for a 15 ounce can you can make yourself by buying a 16 ounce bag of dry beans that when hydrated makes about 20 cans worth. AND you get to control the sodium. Also peas, lentils.... Be aware of turning off lights you aren't using. Turn the thermostat up 3 degrees so the AC doesn't run as much. Little tweaks like that help a lot.

Frugal living rocks!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, remoandiris said:

Today too few people today believe in frugal living, IMO.  They want the instant gratification and the newest/latest/bestest contraption out there

This is changing. Millennials are a huge part of the minimalism movement. Instead of buying stuff they are buying experiences that improve their lives and the lives of others. I am starting to have hope again.

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, remoandiris said:

Today too few people today believe in frugal living . . .

Your argument is a variation of the "welfare queen" story -- that is, some of them poor folks are sure living high off the hog. (I'm sure some of them are, but as a rule? I think not.)

Sure, people could better plan their retirements, but I'm remiss to put it all on bad planning or to ascribe some sort character flaw to those with little retirement savings.

 

Sure, it is easy to blame the economy or politicians, or whatever.  Reality is personal responsibility has waned and now someone else is always to blame.

If you're going to lay blame (as you do), then at least be even handed.

Besides individual planning, the WP article also mentions several factors that have significantly affected retirement savings:

  • The relatively recent shift in retirement savings plans from employer (e.g., pensions) to individual (401ks). If financial planning were that easy or self evident, shouldn't we all be millionaires?
  • People are living longer
  • Two recent recessions which gutted many retirement plans.
  • Decrease in social security purchasing power

Good planning and/or living frugally can't always maneuver someone around all of the above. 

 

3 hours ago, sandsys said:

Millennials are a huge part of the minimalism movement. Instead of buying stuff they are buying experiences that improve their lives and the lives of others. I am starting to have hope again.

Don't hold your breath.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

Frugal living is great! I keep making changes. Little, minor things. I buy dry foods when I can. The can of black beans that is $1.29 for a 15 ounce can you can make yourself by buying a 16 ounce bag of dry beans that when hydrated makes about 20 cans worth. AND you get to control the sodium. Also peas, lentils.... Be aware of turning off lights you aren't using. Turn the thermostat up 3 degrees so the AC doesn't run as much. Little tweaks like that help a lot

The secret to good financial management is not in having enough money to live well but in learning how to live well on the money that you have. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Zulu said:

Your argument is a variation of the "welfare queen" story -- that is, some of them poor folks are sure living high off the hog. (I'm sure some of them are, but as a rule? I think not.)

Sure, people could better plan their retirements, but I'm remiss to put it all on bad planning or to ascribe some sort character flaw to those with little retirement savings.

 

If you're going to lay blame (as you do), then at least be even handed.

Besides individual planning, the WP article also mentions several factors that have significantly affected retirement savings:

  • The relatively recent shift in retirement savings plans from employer (e.g., pensions) to individual (401ks). If financial planning were that easy or self evident, shouldn't we all be millionaires?
  • People are living longer
  • Two recent recessions which gutted many retirement plans.
  • Decrease in social security purchasing power

Good planning and/or living frugally can't always maneuver someone around all of the above. 

You can "think not" all you want.  We will simply agree to disagree.  If people have "little retirement savings", who is at fault?  The company they work for?  The state?  The bank? Society as a whole?  Or the individual who decides to sped their money?

Recent shift in retirement savings plans???  Let's see...30 yrs ago I was smart enough to start saving/investing for retirement, and I was just a dopey 20-something who had been working for 10 yrs already, beginning with delivering morning newspapers in 5th grade.  Why?  Because my parents didn't have enough money at the end of the week to give me and my siblings an allowance, so if I wanted to buy something, I had to work for it.  It wasn't rocket science then and it isn't now.  

Life spans are not a new invention, either.

Recessions may have had a major impact on SOME retirement plans, but that is the point of diversification.  

As for social security, I go back 30 yrs again...I never expected to have it back then and I am surprised it is still here today.  Especially since it seems easier to scam the system.  And the "decrease in social security purchasing power" is not a new phenomenon.  The buying power of a dollar in 1900 is not the same as the buying power of a dollar in 1950 is not the same as the buying power of a dollar in 2000 is not the same as the buying power of a dollar in 2017.

Good planning and frugal living may not maneuver everyone around those problems, but that does not mean they are faulty beliefs/actions that can protect many from financial problems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, remoandiris said:

Good planning and frugal living may not maneuver everyone around those problems, but that does not mean they are faulty beliefs/actions that can protect many from financial problems. 

I come from a similar background to yours, but quite a few years older. I grew up in the 50's and my parents struggled to buy clothes for us kids and only kept us well fed because of the garden and farm produce. But they encouraged us to find jobs and the money we earned bought us our extras or luxuries. Yet they still managed to live what for them was a comfortable life once dad retired at the age of 72. 

Much later in life, I became the Scoutmaster for a troop of boys from low-income families that was sponsored and mostly funded by a local VFW post. That was in the early 80's and to my surprise, I discovered that several of those boys had parents who were in jobs that paid significantly more than what Pam & I took in!  Between the two experiences, I came to understand that financial health is more a matter of managing what you have than it is of how much your income is. While it is true that money management will never totally eliminate poverty, it is also true that much poverty exists because of poor money management. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I agree there are some people, and I believe a minority of people, who just don't earn enough money to fund savings for retirement, the majority of people who just don't have any, or very little retirement savings didn't plan ahead. 

I also think a lot of people don't "read", or pay attention to various news sources.  They tend to listen to the latest big news item. 

Just like RV'ing knowledge doesn't just pop into our brains.  We need to pay ATTENTION to financial matters and use come common sense.  Read the newspaper every day.  Or almost daily go to a website like Google News, Yahoo News, AP news online, or go to USA Today online, or NY Times, Washington Post websites. 

Also when we do read about financial matters we also need to use some common sense and read differing sides of financial advice.

Two sources of what I consider excellent sources of advice:

The first is an strong advocate for frugal living and getting out of debt.  Dave Ramsey.  His basic message is get out of debt, stay out of debt, don't buy stuff unless you can pay for in up front.  I do have a big problem with him though.  I think he took his basic message and managed to parlay it into a huge lucrative business benefiting him. He gives to much hype and "my way is the only way" to suit me.   We have lived our almost 50 years of married life with the basic principals fostered by Dave Ramsey.  We Just started doing this while he was still in elementary school. 

The second is the investment advice from Scott Burns, given in his twice weekly newspaper column over some 20-30 years.  While Scott Burns is retired now, all his columns are available here.  His columns make excellent reading.  He even has written a number of articles advocating the fairly economical benefit of the RV'ing life style and/or living in the retirement communities where the retirees live in their RV's or Park Models. 

No one should take the advice given by the above two sources as "the truth".  Read the advice and see just how you can apply the information to your situation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The topic of "recessions" has come up in this topic a time or two.  While the recessions are devastating to retirement investments there is something that some people did which was even more devastation to their investments. 

When the stock market tanked in the 2007-2009 time frame, they moved what was left of their investments out of the stock market into fixed return funds, like bonds, etc.  Then over the next 10 years when the stock market tripled or almost tripled their investments either didn't keep up with inflation or barely kept up with inflation. 

Additionally there were some number of people in the years prior to 2008, bought houses with the expectation they could sell them in 2-3 years for a lot more than they paid for them.  OOPS, the value of many of those houses dropped way, way down.  Now with the recession they may have lost their jobs, or had to take a pay cut so they can't make the payments, taxes and upkeep on those expensive houses. 

Also some or many people respond to the latest hot item.  In this forum, there are strong advocates for just how great the Tesla stock is.  Yeah, it is, or better yet "was".  For every Tesla, we could invest in when it is a startup, there are 5 or 50 which tank. 

I read this morning that Tesla is up 1200% from its IPO.  That is wonderful.  However if you buy Tesla now thinking it will triple or increase by 5 or 10 times in the next number of years, you are taking a huge risk.  Investing 1% or 4% of your investment funds in Tesla might be OK, but just keep in mind the risks. 

A better way to go is: When everyone is saying how great this investment is, that is the time to sell, not buy.  By the time everyone is on the band wagon the money has already been made. 

AND there is NO replacement for frugal living.  Although frugal living with a $100K income is different from frugal living on a $25K income.  But both can be a satisfying life. 

Edited by Al F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

Just that one can be 4 times as satisfying . :D

NOPE!  It what you do with what you have, is what makes you happy.  Not that you will be happier with 4 times as much money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Al F said:

NOPE!  It what you do with what you have, is what makes you happy.  Not that you will be happier with 4 times as much money.

True that^ . BUT , if you have nothing , then you can do nothing . Not that that's all that bad , but ... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Rvonthego.com

Rv Share

Dish For My RV Military Offer.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.



×