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THE NEW REALITY OF OLD AGE IN AMERICA

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Well we lived within our means but were never frugal. We lost out butts in the stock market during that time also .The DOJ was over 13K June 2007 and @ 8K Jan 2009. I believe it lost @ 20 % of its value. When we recovered our loss we pulled out of the market and stayed with the 401K.To be honest by that time we did not need to invest anymore. We invested and saved all our working lives and now was the time to enjoy. Helen  retired in 2006 and we have been on the road since then.

It was difficult for many folks at that time and many lost most of what investment they had. I can recall that the DOJ fell over 700 points in one day trading. Folks who were drawing 2K per month or more in addition to SS  and living at that income level  found it hard to cut back. Four homes on our  middle class neighborhood went into foreclosure  many had to find a job to supplement many have not yet fully recovered. BTW sometimes you did  not know the poor decisions you made were poor till you lost your Butt.Poor decisions are clear in retrospect.

 

Just checked .The low point of our 401K  was 06/09 were it had lost@ 40% of its value. It began a steady increase and regained the loss by 7/11. It earned double digit profit every year since then and is at 18.62% for the 12 month period ending 10/11/17. We still do not need to use it and will come in handy when our RV adventure ends.

Edited by richfaa

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On 10/8/2017 at 9:37 PM, Barbaraok said:

Do you know how many families end up in bankruptcy because of medical bills?  Have you ever had a life threatening illness?  My dauther was a premie, 32 weeks.  Do you have any idea what the bills are like, even with insurance.  And if the insurance isn't all that great, then people end up bankrupt.   Thousands of people lost everything in the market downturn in 2008.  We have friends who were over invested in real estate,  lost over 1/2 of the retirement.   Think of all of the people who had retirement funds tied up with Madoff - through no fault of their own, because their bosses bought into the scam.  

You lack of empathy is staggering.   Must be nice to think that nothing bad happens to good people.

RemoandIris! The last sentence that Barbara Oak fits you to a T. Had a completely paid up life Insurance policy. I got married, an insurance man from the same company contacted us, I was 30+ yrs old in 1982. He came in with all his credentials  and contracts, spoke to me about upping my policy's worth with a new policy. Talked me into applying my paid policy to the new one to make our monthly payments affordable. I made three payments, then one day received a phone call, to find out the agent was a fraudster who had left his employ with them. He had kept all his company ID's and contracts. He had researched and found people like us, about 50 I was told, got us to sign off our paid up policies and he left the US with all the cashed in policies monies,. This happened over a  4-6 month period. I had used the paid up policy as collaterol for other investments. Prudential said I had to go after the fake agent to recoup the policy. Like is said, Good Luck with that! Unless one has big assets trying to take on Corporate Lawyers don't work.

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True medical bills can  bankrupt you and it happens all the time. We have good healthcare insurance through our former employer .Two years ago Helen had surgery and the total cost  was just short of 70K because she was not yet on Medicare our out of pocket was  just over 3,300.00.That was just one medical expense had we not had good healthcare we would have been in big trouble and our RV days would have been over for sure.

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3 hours ago, Pieere said:

RemoandIris! The last sentence that Barbara Oak fits you to a T. Had a completely paid up life Insurance policy. I got married, an insurance man from the same company contacted us, I was 30+ yrs old in 1982. He came in with all his credentials  and contracts, spoke to me about upping my policy's worth with a new policy. Talked me into applying my paid policy to the new one to make our monthly payments affordable. I made three payments, then one day received a phone call, to find out the agent was a fraudster who had left his employ with them. He had kept all his company ID's and contracts. He had researched and found people like us, about 50 I was told, got us to sign off our paid up policies and he left the US with all the cashed in policies monies,. This happened over a  4-6 month period. I had used the paid up policy as collaterol for other investments. Prudential said I had to go after the fake agent to recoup the policy. Like is said, Good Luck with that! Unless one has big assets trying to take on Corporate Lawyers don't work.

Meh, IMO anyone who buys whole life, which is what it sound like you had, is throwing money away.

And, BTW, I realize bad things happen to good people and that no one can plan for every contingency.  But if anyone thinks failing to plan is a viable course of action simply because of possible issues, they will get no sympathy from me. 

Edited by remoandiris

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All these investment opinions work only if you have money to invest. Not everyone is capable of filling the jobs that make this kind of money. Back to my point about luck playing a part even if that means who you were born to be. Just because we had choices does not mean everyone had access to our choices. I prefer to be kind to those who are struggling.

Linda Sand

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On 10/8/2017 at 8:35 AM, Kirk Wood said:

 I grew up in the 50's and my parents struggled to buy clothes for us kids. 

Man did THAT one phrase bring up a memory. I wore the same shoes for 4th and 5th grade. They bought them a little big in grade 4 so I could grow into them and by the time they wore out completely after grade 5 the laces had to be so loose they barely tied. When I wore holes into the soles my father cut out pieces of cardboard and wrapped them in whatever was the Saran Wrap of those years so my socks wouldn't get wet when it rained.

I love when people say "But we didn't know we were poor...." I know they mean "We never knew anything different". In my case, I was acutely aware that we were poor. I always had a baseball glove handed down to me from someone my dad worked with that had an older kid who outgrew the glove. A lot of that was because my sister went to a Catholic high school that charged tuition, and when she graduated in 1964 it got a little bit better. But after one more year of grade school for me I then also went to a Catholic high school that charged tuition, so it we downhill a little bit again. By then though, with my father having had 5 more years of seniority at his factory job he got at least a little bit of a raise. And my sister then went to work so she could buy her own clothes and such.

But I do get the frugality angle. My folks were born in 1917 and 1922, and grew up in that depression era when everybody had to be frugal. Many of us are in that same generation. I learned how to cook at a young age, from my mother, who learned to cook from her mother. So I learned how to make something from nothing. And I still do that. Dried legumes that I hydrate myself, chicken legs and thighs, never beef or pork (haven't eaten them as a life choice for 4 years), a lot of lettuce for lunch salads.... Less than $150 a month for food, including my dog's food.

Some things just become habit. I never invested anything because I was in that class that Linda mentioned who had nothing to invest, not with paying child support for 2 kids on a musician's income. I didn't really get stabilized until about age 55, after wife 3.0, and that was too late to start investing. So I have lived poor for my entire life, and moving to the RV next year is actually going to create savings opportunities for me, barring a catastrophic failure every month. It has 34,000 miles on it and was babied, barn stored in fact, so I anticipate the transmission is still in pretty good shape. And if it explodes the first time out, I have credit.

This is such a great example of a topic that will never be "one size fits all". People who did not have kids are likely going to have a different perspective than people who had 5 kids, and the guy who never approached 40k a year in salary will have a different perspective from someone who earned well into 6 figures. I was in that first group. The best earnings year I ever had was $45,000. Once you take out taxes, expenses to drive to work, work quality clothing... all of that, it was rough even THAT year. Toward the end, even with an IT degree, the norm was 36-37k, with those same taxes and expenses. Then mortgage, car payment, car insurance.... it was tight. So this retirement income is better than I ever did working. (Unfortunately it includes some disability money that leads to a diminished quality of life, but everybody has a cross or two to bear.) And factoring in VA medical care also changes the view. Again, perspective.....

Edited by eddie1261

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19 hours ago, remoandiris said:

Meh, IMO anyone who buys whole life, which is what it sound like you had, is throwing money away.

And, BTW, I realize bad things happen to good people and that no one can plan for every contingency.  But if anyone thinks failing to plan is a viable course of action simply because of possible issues, they will get no sympathy from me. 

My parents started the policy when I was 8 yrs old in 1959, in 1969 I took over the policy and sure an heck wasn't going to throw away 10 years, the payments were only $3.83 a month. I don't call that wasting or throwing money away when one can borrow against it after 5 yrs. My POINT is: No one on here is asking for your Sympathy!

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There is a place for whole life ins and one that is started at a very early age like that is an example. In some cases it can be wise  to convert it later but I can't see any issue with keeping that one.

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I don't even know what I have. All I know for sure is that I pay $18 a month and when I croak the animal shelter gets $50,000. Whole life, half life, whatever it is.... The bank sends $18 a month to some insurance company who has been bought and sold so many times it might be called "Bob's Insurance" by now. I started this like 12-13 years ago. I just want that shelter where I got my last 3 dogs to get a donation on my behalf when I die. It should go without saying but I will say it anyway. I am not in any hurry to make that donation, but you never know. You don't get an email that says "Tomorrow you will have a heart attack and die."

As long as I can help some dogs, I'm good. That place gave me years of great companionship. The least I can do it pay them back.

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5 hours ago, bigjim said:

There is a place for whole life ins and one that is started at a very early age like that is an example. In some cases it can be wise  to convert it later but I can't see any issue with keeping that one.

When we got tired of paying on Dave's whole life insurance we converted it into paid up term insurance. That term has since passed but we don't need it now that our daughter is grown and we have retirement savings. I wanted to say that converting it CAN be a reasonable thing to do. Probably not in Eddie's case, though, since he wants something to leave to the animal shelter.

Linda Sand

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Linda that is exactly what I did on smallish policies I had on each of my kids but the way things have worked out I kind of wish I had kept one of them in force just in case. I don't recall the premium but it was small since I strarted it when they were young. The policies each had guaranteed ability to raise the policy coverage  amount at certain periods even if they had become otherwise un insurable.  I saw the value this when I tried selling insurance once. I was horrible at it even though I was very honest. That may be why I wasn't very successful at it.:o:D

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People may not realize that you can "convert" term policies into whole life without medical exams.  We both had large term policies that had been purchased when we had large mortgages, etc.  As those 10 yr policies were expiring I converted them into smaller policies which we can have for the rest of our lives at affordable prices.   One of us has a whole life policy the other has some exotic policy that I don't understand but which will provide coverage until I'm ~104 at a fixed premium!!  When I get to 105 I guess I'll be sorry I don't have insurance!

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docj, now that you kickstart a small portion of my memory we were able to  convert term policies we had on active military duty to whole life within a certain time period after we got off active duty.

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On 10/11/2017 at 9:20 AM, Pieere said:

My parents started the policy when I was 8 yrs old in 1959, in 1969 I took over the policy and sure an heck wasn't going to throw away 10 years, the payments were only $3.83 a month. I don't call that wasting or throwing money away when one can borrow against it after 5 yrs. My POINT is: No one on here is asking for your Sympathy!

Meh.  Good thing.

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Too many people buy things they don't need with money that they don't have to impress people that they don't know and could that could not care.

 

ShortyO 

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On 10/21/2017 at 7:24 PM, wtgeodog said:

Too many people buy things they don't need with money that they don't have to impress people that they don't know and could that could not care.

 

ShortyO 

Yes, i have a 1987 Mercedes Sport Wagon that cost $43,500 when bought new! It has given me good service in 30+ years!! 

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This article reminded me of another one I recently saw showing the growing trend of seniors buying/living in RV parks.  Granted, most are having to do so because of limited income, but the park communities shared were well kept, well managed and folks seem genuinely happy.  Since many tend to downsize as they get into the golden years anyway, I see this type of living arrangement (trend) a good thing.  Affordable housing in a community of folks that can help out one another.  With the bow wave of baby-boomers about ready to crest, it will be interesting to see how that affects much about our countries economics. 

 

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About 20% of the units in our winter park are occupied year round.   While I wouldn't want to stay in an RV here in the summer, a Park Model with a good A/C and a covered carport would be entirely doable and as long as you don't go out  after noon until dusk,  it is entirely doable.   The park has everything you could want in terms of activities, even in the summer so I can see that it may be at least part of our future as we transition off the road before moving into a more assisted living arrangement near our kids.

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Looking back, I can't remember a time without Camp Hosts and/or work campers, so where's the "New Reality" that the article presents. Thirty years ago I've worked side by side with people in their seventies, so where's the "New Reality" that the article presents. Since the beginning of the working career I've been aware of retired folk living check to check, hand to mouth, so where's the "New Reality" that the article presents. And fulltime RV living certainly is nothing new, with many living well during the summer only because they wintered in the desert on the cheap. The article however did fill it's required space and likely spawned countless debates (three pages here) and may fuel some forward thinking individuals on the legislative front lines to address some social issues pertaining to the gray hair.

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1 hour ago, rm.w/aview said:

...Looking back, I can't remember a time without Camp Hosts and/or work campers, so where's the "New Reality" that the article presents...

I can. When I first visited Yellowstone in the mid-sixties through when I worked there in the early 70's, there were no campground hosts. At least not in the campgrounds I worked at or visited. The only volunteers that I knew of were family members of employees. Campground fees were collected and maintenance tasks were performed by seasonal employees. The stores, hotels and concession run campgrounds did hire seasonal workers some of whom did have RVs. They also housed a large number of seasonal workers in cabins and dormitories. I visited a lot of National Forest campgrounds during those same time periods and never encountered a camp host just the "Iron Ranger".

Edited by TCW

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17 hours ago, TCW said:

I can. When I first visited Yellowstone in the mid-sixties through when I worked there in the early 70's, there were no campground hosts.

That would be about the time that I first recall discovering them. I'm fairly sure that the term was invented by the forest service as we spent a lot of time in forest service campgrounds around WY primarily, staying in our pop-up and we used to see them in many of the popular campgrounds that were back off of the main roads. Those we met were typically spending the summer in that campground for free in return for keeping litter picked up and reminding folks of the honor box fee system. 

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6 hours ago, rm.w/aview said:

So based on these two posts the "New Reality Of Old Age In America" that the Post presents is 40 years old.

I think that it mostly means that TCW & I are both older than you. 

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

I think that it mostly means that TCW & I are both older than you. 

I certainly don't discount that probability, though I did go through the 60's & 70's immersed in the stereotypical culture and I think my brain cells took the brunt of it. I didn't, or don't remember, camping in areas that employed camp hosts until the late 80's, using national forests & dispersed camping mostly. What remains though is the idea that the article in the Post presented a 40 year old lifestyle as the "New Reality Of Old Age In America".

Edited by rm.w/aview
more info

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