Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Retirement Planning Idiocy at Its Best

A poll in late 2007 showed that 80 percent of Americans believed their standard of living would go up after they stopped working, even if they decided to retire early.

So many Americans believed in this illusion despite the fact that some 40 percent of Americans had saved absolutely nothing for retirement.

Talk about a stupid retirement plan.

Contrast this to 2008, when the recession and market downturn hit. Then 63 percent of Americans said they had given up on the idea of retirement altogether.

While that finding was interesting, in April 2010 the Employee Benefits Research Institute's (EBRI) Retirement Confidence Survey last found that this percentage had jumped to 70 percent.

Interesting. It appears that more Americans are starting to face reality and realize that it takes at least a bit of money to be retired.

On another note, this was an unusual letter titled Retirees owe it to their kids to ease U.S. debt to the editor of the Washington Post regarding the Social Security System in the U.S.:

    Why shouldn't retirees expect some reduction in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and soon? Before we retired, or will retire, we lived beyond our means by voting for those congressmen who would keep taxes low and borrow from the trust funds to pay government bills. Woe to the politician who would ask us to fully pay the taxes necessary for the services we expected from government.

    This large accumulated debt to the funds is coming due. So we have an obligation to help pay it off by accepting less from them or paying higher taxes on our retirement income. As retirees, we have no right to just pass our debt off on our kids. We certainly helped create it and should help pay it off.

    Werner Gruhl, Columbia
For an interesting on article on Social Security by Ernie Zelinski see:

Here are some Sensational Quotes about retirement:

    Money is what you make it. Depending upon who you are — and your frame of mind — money can be anything you want it to be. Money can be: the root of all evil; or that which answers all things; or something that burns a hole in your pocket; or a means to freedom; or an interesting concept; or even a stupid concept. Whatever value you place on money, you must take responsibility for it. If money is evil to you, you created it being evil. If money is a problem to you, you created it being a problem. If money is joy to you, you created this concept. Take responsibility for your concepts. And be clear that these are just concepts. Nothing more and nothing less.
    — from The Lazy Person's Guide to Success

    "It [retirement] was absolutely boring. You can't go and say, 'I'm retired now.
    That's it!' It won't take long and you're really gone for good and someone
    throws the last shovel of dirt on a coffin with your name on it.
    That's the moment you're really retiring — when you die."
    — Ozzy Osbourne

    "I personally am taking my retirement savings seriously and have by living very frugally been able to increase my savings to 60 percent of my gross earnings. I’m targeting a very early retirement. Achieving this high rate has been partly achieved by watching my Lifestyle Creep as you identify in Point 5. As I achieve pay increases I have actively decided not to change my standard of living."
    — Comment on an article about retirement planning

    Webster’s Dictionary defines retirement as “withdrawal from active engagement in one’s occupation or profession.” It is in fact much more.
    — LYNN ANDERSON, Kansas Senior Press Service