Tag: Retirement

Member Post


One of the things I planned on was spending my first Monday morning of retirement in bed, not rising until eight or nine, well past my former six o’clock alarm. Well, that was my plan, until one of our cats woke us up at six thirty by barfing in our bedroom.  Ka-hack! Ka-hack!  K-HACK!  Ga-LUP! […]

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QOTD: Lawrence of Clouds Hill


“You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That’s the feeling.”T.E. Lawrence, Letter, May 1935

A legendary spy and warrior, and perhaps one of the early twentieth-century’s “most interesting men” wrote these words a few short weeks after retiring from military service, just after he had refused a knighthood from the King, and only days before he died in a motorcycle accident.

This AEI Events Podcast discusses Social Security – the largest federal program, the largest tax most workers pay, and the largest source of income for most retirees. AEI’s Andrew G. Biggs hosts Social Security’s chief actuary, Stephen C. Goss, to discuss the recently released 2017 Social Security’s Trustees Report. He addresses the program’s sustainability and implications of the proposed reforms.

Andrew G. Biggs and Paul N. Van de Water (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) provide comments on the report, moderated by Alex J. Pollock (R Street Institute). Dr. Van de Water examines the relationship between Disability Insurance and Old-Age and Survivors Trust Funds. He argues that they have complementary distributional effects and should be addressed together. Dr. Biggs addresses what is driving the drop in disability insurance and the variety of reasons why different people need disability insurance.

Are Worries About Retirement Key to Trump’s GOP Popularity?


Piggy BankThat’s the theory offered by economist Tyler Cowen, especially applicable to older Americans who are riding the Trump train:

Older white Americans are Donald Trump’s core support group, and that’s relevant to the success of Trump’s rhetoric. Commentators frequently cite globalization and wage stagnation as the economic forces behind recent political shifts, but there is a less heralded force influencing American politics: insufficient savings, most of all for older Americans. For those individuals, the prospect of falling standards of consumption – for the remainder of their lives – means the economy is worse than the GDP growth and unemployment numbers are indicating.

Here is an unsettling statistic about the U.S. economy, although like many scary things, it reveals its full problematic nature only with scrutiny:“The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reports that for those on the cusp of retirement – workers between the ages of 55 and 64 – the median balance in household 401(k) or IRA accounts is $111,000.” That is from the new Oxford University Press book “Empire of the Fund: The Way We Save Now,” by William A. Birdthistle, a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Life, Death, and Retirement


shutterstock_77614246Many people don’t think they need to talk about retirement. These are the things that people say to me, young and old, when the topic comes up:

I’m too young to talk about it. I never want to retire. I like working. I need to work for the income. I like to keep busy, so it makes sense to do what I know and earn money for it. I don’t know what else I’d do. I think retirement is a lazy man’s game. One of us wants to retire and the other doesn’t. It’s complicated.

All of these statements, and even others, may be true. But I don’t think they are the true reasons why people don’t like to discuss retirement: It’s because, at some level, doing so acknowledges that they will reach a new stage of life and that, one day, they will die.

That Wal-Mart Greeter May Drive You Home


shutterstock_342694016When the New York Yankees fired 70-year-old manager Casey Stengel in 1961, the team openly stated he was “too old for the job.” A resentful Stengel quipped: “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”

While many corporations are addressing ageism, most folks look to retirement as their time to slow down and reap the rewards of their lifes’ labor.

But for many, that choice may not be possible. When I lived in Las Vegas in the 1990s, a recurring and depressing reality was hopping into cabs driven by septuagenarians who volunteered they were once the proud owner of a healthy retirement fund, but … oh, that darned stock market, sports-books, tables, slots, etc. Instead of cruising Alaska or comfortably watching Wheel and Jeopardy!, they were now hauling gaggles of the inebriated for $5 tips.

Working to Death


labor force participaion

It’s easy to be dismissive of the mindless cheerleading in the mainstream media as they crow about the ever-decreasing unemployment rate when it is obvious to anyone who has contact with the world outside of the Wall-Street-to-Washington Axis that the U.S. employment situation is not healthy. I’ve pointed out previously that, though U3 unemployment continues its bizarre march down, the labor force participation rate has never improved during this “economic recovery” and remains at multi-decade lows. Upon further reflection, and after witnessing yet another septuagenarian bag my groceries this week, I think I may have been overly simplistic and harsh when discussing the job market before. There are Americans who are finding themselves working more and more these days: the elderly.

I’m lucky in that — in exchange for an ice cream sundae after dinner last week — my four year old daughter agreed to let me stay in her basement when I age. Sucker. Unfortunately, not all Americans have such choices. From 2002 to 2012, as the labor force participation rate for 25 to 54 year olds dropped from 83.3 to 81.4 percent, the labor participation rate for those 65 and older increased from 13.2 to 18.5 percent (2012 was the most recent government labor participation rate data I could find broken out by age; perhaps they are too embarrassed to continue publishing this information as the situation has likely worsened since then). Now, you might be thinking, “Sure, there are more 65 year olds working, but 65 isn’t what it was back when Trog had to club wooly mammoths for a living so these folks are probably just socking away a bit more in that 401K before enjoying a dream retirement.” The problem is the labor participation rate for those over 75 also rose, from 5.1 percent in 2002 to 7.6 percent in 2012 and is forecasted to be 10.5 percent in 2022. Unless that cryogenic freezing works out, I’m not sure when these unfortunate folks are going to enjoy those golden years.

Generation X’s Defeatists Grew Up…And Are Still Despondent


Gen-X-logo Some movies improve with age. Both Fight Club and The Big Lebowski are adored now, but neither were critical favorites when they debuted. On the other hand, there are movies to which time and age have not been kind: Bill Murray’s’ Meatballs and — I argue — 1994’s Reality Bites.

That latter, oft-celebrated but mediocre film got more love than it deserved. Lelaina (Winona Ryder), the valedictorian of her college class, camcords (remember those?) her friends in a mock documentary of post-education life at the apex of grunge. The movie begins with Lelaina giving an ad-libbed valedictorian’s speech at graduation because, like, she either forgot to write one, or lost her notes, or something. Meaning: valedictorian speeches are totally empty because they represent adherence to the way things are always done…or, you know, like…tradition.

And they wonder why those of us in our 20s refuse to work an 80-hour week, just so we can afford to buy their BMWs. Why we aren’t interested in the counterculture that they invented, as if we did not see them disembowel their revolution for a pair of running shoes. But the question remains, what are we going to do now? How can we repair all the damage we inherited? Fellow graduates, the answer is simple. The answer is… The answer is… I don’t know.

Member Post


Setting aside the commonality of broken and chaotic family structures, especially among the welfare class, the average family structure in modern America seems to involve the following:  A household consisting of two parents and their children.  The children (hopefully) grow up and move out, establishing their own residences — often in a different city — […]

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Retirement and Responsibility


It is generally believed that every able man should work in his youth. The responsibility to work is most obvious when a person fails to support himself financially, but it is commonly asserted that financial debts are not the limit of this responsibility. Even the son of a billionaire would be looked down upon if he was not somehow productive. To “mooch” is shameful behavior even one’s patrons are unaffected.

It is similarly common to believe that an old, less able man needn’t work any longer. We say that he has “earned” his rest and leisure. The point is easy to grant if the man in question has sufficiently saved to ensure his own financial security for decades forth. Many retirees find ways to be active, socially or in isolation; but we do not demand such activity. For the retiree’s relatives and neighbors, retirement is a time of thanksgiving and recompense.