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THE NEW REALITY OF OLD AGE IN AMERICA

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To husband something is to care for it wisely whether it is a critter or your personal finances. I would say akin to personal responsibility.

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18 hours ago, Zulu said:

Sometimes even the most money wise, responsible people fall on hard times. With the demise of the ACA, I suspect more and more people will be "finding ways to live on the resources" they have. Not comfortably. Just live.

And this seems to be your theme song. ;) "It isn't my fault" can happen but it is amazing how lucky(?) people who plan and manage their money are! 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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On 10/4/2017 at 7:49 AM, Kirk W said:

I think that they went and picked people who fit the profile that they wished to write about.     

Yes, that's exactly what they did, because the article isn't intended to be a profile of a diverse group of seniors in different financial and social strata. There are statistics that show a phenomenon, that seniors are continuing to work in record numbers out of necessity, and they found a couple to profile in order to humanize those statistics. That's what a journalist should do. Otherwise, numbers are numbers. The dry reality that a large percentage of seniors have to keep working and can no longer afford the upkeep on traditional homes wouldn't make for a very compelling article without some people to drive the point home.  The article is not about seniors who live comfortably and work or volunteer because they want to. It's about the retirement age working poor. 

I'm 57, but I'll be in that group soon enough. I have no savings, absolutely NONE. Neither do most of my friends. 

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On 10/4/2017 at 10:55 PM, eddie1261 said:

This phrase pretty much stopped me.

"People are living longer, more expensive lives."

More expensive lives? Compared to what? 

More expensive, because, as illustrated by this article in Forbes, wage growth has not kept up with inflation. More expensive because of several things cited in this article on CNBC's website, including the fact that the average annual rental increase is four times the inflation rate, and the cost of a college education has increased by over 1000 percent.  And sure, maybe for some people, because they ate too much takeout. But I doubt that's the driving factor.

Add to this the fact that there is no such thing as job continuity. it was common for people of my father's age to retire, as he did,  with 30 years of service to the same company.  Today's worker lasts only slightly more than 4  years in the same job. And again, this is because some people job hop - but can you blame them, in a world where layoffs, downsizing, and outsourcing to other countries is the norm? 

Also, the article is saying they lived "more expensive" lives throughout their lives, not because they're on the road in an RV.

Edited by Firebuild

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On 10/8/2017 at 12:00 PM, eddie1261 said:

What made me shake my head and kind of gasp in horror was the joy those folks had in their voices as they told their stories of car living or small van conversion. Every third word was "cheaper". As in "I should probably have used 3/4" plywood for my bed platform but 1/2" was cheaper." Well, this is also going to be where you live and sleep for the rest of your life. Is THIS the place to go "cheaper"?

Frugality can be just as potent a drug as consumption is. I swear for some people the game is "He who dies with the least toys wins."

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On 10/9/2017 at 3:57 PM, remoandiris said:

You are quite right, I have a serious lack of empathy for people who plan poorly and can't foresee possible problems with the decisions they make.  Choices have consequences. 

This post is long, but I hope you'll bear with me. There is a point to it, and it's not "poor me," I promise. 

I would be the first to admit I haven't planned my finances well. The company I started working for when I was 17 laid me off when I was 29, and to be honest, I hadn't saved nearly enough during that time. I was in my 20's, I guess the idea that someday I'd be old wasn't in my head. I grew up lower middle class, but my parents hadn't really taught me anything about money (not blaming them - just saying). I had a pretty good credit rating, though, until my husband left me with all our debts, taking our credit cards along with him and using them liberally, sending the bill to me. I should have cancelled the cards, divorced him, and declared bankruptcy, probably, but I thought perhaps we would get back together and I left the door open for that way too long. My fault, of course; I should have been more practical. 

I spent the next decade working my way up in an industry that pays very well but is run entirely on the freelance system. Though at times I had plenty of savings, in the gaps between jobs those funds would get dipped into. Still, things were going steadily up and up, and I expected that to continue. I did not expect virtually every company I regularly freelanced for to go out of business within a three year period, which is what happened. I'm sure I should have seen that freelancing is not the most stable thing, so yes, I will own that. 

At the age of 40, the only employment I could find was demonstrating ATMs at 7-11s. I took it, until that job ended, too. Then I managed an office for a while, until the office got moved to the Philippines. At that point, since work was scarce anyway, I decided to follow my dream, move to Hollywood, and become a screenwriter. Foolish, I know, but I did it, and actually achieved some measure of success, at least getting to the point where I was paying all my bills and my rent through my writing. I wasn't getting rich, I wasn't saving much, but I was at the start of what was promising to be a lucrative career. Until the writer's strike happened, and all the jobs were gone. Again, I probably shouldn't have been dumb enough to think I would actually be able to live the life I envisioned. What can I say? I was a dreamer. I guarantee you what I was NOT was a slacker of any kind. I worked my ass off, as I always have since I got my first job at age 14.

Just at the point of recovery from the strike, a three month hospitalization put an end to all that dreaming. I lost the part time job I had, and when I got out, I could not find work. So I made my own work, opening a retail store that grew steadily more successful, allowing me to get tax debt off my shoulders, but not quite to save much, not yet. That was coming, though, or so I thought. 

Overnight, in May of 2016, my business died. I've spent literally years analyzing why that happened, but I won't go into my conclusions here. I spent the next 3 years giving it mouth-to-mouth, because I loved my store. A better planner would have shuttered the place sooner, but I kept trying different things, hoping to revive what had been. Finally, I had no choice but to throw in the towel. By then, I was flat broke. 

Why am I telling this story? Not to get sympathy. Not to say any of this was not my fault. It was. I didn't make the best decisions. I'm telling it, though, because the air of superiority on this thread, the sense that those who have plenty to sustain them are so much better than those of us who don't is palpable, and I need to point out that, while my decisions were not the ones you made, I was not gaming the system or sitting on the sofa eating bonbons or whatever else you think people who enter retirement poor are doing. I fully  understand that actions have consequences. I'm not asking you to give me anything. I'm not looking for you to validate the choices I made. I am hoping that there might be some level of understanding that there used to be safety nets in place for people like me. Now, though the net is still there, it is much smaller and a little too close to the ground, which is the point of the article that was posted. That's all. Not asking you to fix it, just asking you to stop being so smug and self-righteous about the fact that it's not you. 

The point the article makes is that these statistics shed light on what is reality for many people. It doesn't take the gold star off your forehead. 

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On 10/10/2017 at 1:11 PM, remoandiris said:

if anyone thinks failing to plan is a viable course of action simply because of possible issues, they will get no sympathy from me. 

Do you actually think that's how most people get there?

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3 hours ago, Firebuild said:

Not asking you to fix it, just asking you to stop being so smug and self-righteous about the fact that it's not you. 

Smug?  Self-righteous?  Gimme a friggin break.  One thing I am NOT doing is saying oh poor me and asking for handouts.  I worked hard for what I have.  I can't think of where luck played into anything I have, except perhaps not having to move from one place to another at a time when such a move would have been financially bad.  Choices have consequences.  I made mostly good choices.

Oh, and you may or may not care that this thread is well over a year old.

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4 hours ago, remoandiris said:

I worked hard for what I have.  I can't think of where luck played into anything I have, except perhaps not having to move from one place to another at a time when such a move would have been financially bad.  Choices have consequences.  I made mostly good choices.

Like the choice to be born at a time when the economy was expanding so we had the freedom to make good choices.

Linda

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7 hours ago, sandsys said:

Like the choice to be born at a time when the economy was expanding so we had the freedom to make good choices.

Linda

Or bad choices.  And then deal with the consequences.

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7 hours ago, sandsys said:

Like the choice to be born at a time when the economy was expanding so we had the freedom to make good choices.

I think that most of the people who are active on these forums were probably born after the depression ended so I don't really get what you are saying? 

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On 12/5/2017 at 8:42 AM, Kirk W said:

And this seems to be your theme song. ;) "It isn't my fault" can happen but it is amazing how lucky(?) people who plan and manage their money are! 

Without medicare you could be one medical emergency from being broke.

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I thought this was hashed out in 2017 with many folks giving their opinions.  I guess there is a new need to start it all over again. 

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Yea, this is a perfect example of why old threads should be locked, put a timer on the last post (is that possible?).  1 month, 2, and thread is locked?

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40 minutes ago, NDBirdman said:

Yea, this is a perfect example of why old threads should be locked, put a timer on the last post (is that possible?).  1 month, 2, and thread is locked?

Gee , you would have the question of what we're having for diner tonight 'locked' ? LOL

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3 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

Gee , you would have the question of what we're having for diner tonight 'locked' ? LOL

What are you having?  We're having venison sausage (shot/stuffed by me) and cabbage, also made by by me.  Might even boil up some taters to go with.  Also grown by me.... Yeesh, come to think of it, I could never do this full timing, snowbird it is.  🐵

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I think that most of the people who are active on these forums were probably born after the depression ended so I don't really get what you are saying? 

I think most of us on this forum were born into the white middle class which gave us opportunities to take advantage of the expanding economy that not all people our age had. Not all single women were able to get well paying jobs where they could save for retirement. Not all the poor were able to invest in housing that increased in value. Not everyone was born with good health which meant huge medical bills. The fact that most of us were born into good economic conditions was not a matter of choice.

Linda

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I wasn't born into the white middle class but even so, being born American is the greatest lottery win that anyone could ever receive. For all of our shortcomings, we literally are the land of opportunity. I'm grateful for the gifts I've received but also grateful for my work ethic and willingness to do things that my peers deem as beneath them or not worth their time.

It's not a zero sum game in that just as I can recognize that my own decisions have played a part in my relative success, so too has the stroke of luck in being born in the U.S, being married to a faithful and loving woman, and having parents that cared enough to raise me with Christian morals and shape me into a responsible adult.

All that said, It's a much more interesting story to tell folks I was born into a log cabin that I built myself:)

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35 minutes ago, sandsys said:

The fact that most of us were born into good economic conditions was not a matter of choice.

I was born into a poor farming family with 5 kids and grandma to feed. My dad gave up the farm and took a job as a school janitor the same year that I graduated from HS. The biggest city that I had ever been to was Topeka, KS and I had never been in any other state. When I graduated, it was very apparent to me that there was no good economic future for me in that community and so I joined the Navy to find new opportunities and to learn a better way to earn a living. It is true that I was blessed with good health and still am.

I am pretty sure that I am not the only person active on these forums who comes from a very humble & low-income background. 

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16 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I am pretty sure that I am not the only person active on these forums who comes from a very humble & low-income background. 

I wasn't going to say anything, but well said.  You and I come from about the same beginnings.

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1 hour ago, NDBirdman said:

What are you having?  We're having venison sausage (shot/stuffed by me) and cabbage, also made by by me.  Might even boil up some taters to go with.  Also grown by me.... Yeesh, come to think of it, I could never do this full timing, snowbird it is.  🐵

Pot roast ( been in the slow cooker since this morning ) , potatoes and veggies . 

I'm blessed with a very good cook for a wife . :D

 

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

I am pretty sure that I am not the only person active on these forums who comes from a very humble & low-income background. 

After serving in the Navy, my father was a sheet metal worker who generally came home from work covered in roofing tar. But he was a super frugal man who worked his way up into being a white-collar salesperson in his older years and who owned a house he rented out from the time I was 10 years old.Yes, he was lucky being born white in the USA. He also worked hard for what he got. I remember him sitting in his easy chair after work study for a college degree. So he made good choices. But he started out lucky since none of us gets to choose where and when we were born or how healthy we will be. Hmmm. I guess he was lucky in some of his choices in that after about 40 years of smoking then 40 years of not smoking he didn't get lung cancer until he was 94.

Linda

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4 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

Pot roast ( been in the slow cooker since this morning ) , potatoes and veggies . 

I'm blessed with a very good cook for a wife . :D

Cool, I love a good pot roast!!  My wife's happy, she married a pretty good cook that can bag'em/clean'em and cook'em.  I like to put a clove of garlic and some chopped up celery in my pot roasts.  Then bake up some sour-dough bread to go with it and a side of mashed taters.  Darn it... LOL, now I'm craving pot roast... thanks..  :-)

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1 minute ago, NDBirdman said:

Cool, I love a good pot roast!!  My wife's happy, she married a pretty good cook that can bag'em/clean'em and cook'em.  I like to put a clove of garlic and some chopped up celery in my pot roasts.  Then bake up some sour-dough bread to go with it and a side of mashed taters.  Darn it... LOL, now I'm craving pot roast... thanks..  :-)

Ha . I knew I'd be good for something , today . ;)

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