Author Topic: NYTimes - Rethinking Retirement for Longer Lives With Fewer Safety Nets  (Read 3295 times)

Plugra

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Wondering how many saw this article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/business/retirement/rethinking-retirement-for-longer-lives-with-fewer-safety-nets.html?_r=0

It profiles a reasonable 56-year-old woman who never earned a lot of money, but brown-bagged her lunch her entire working life. She is now looking forward to a comfortable if frugal retirement.

A lot of the comments are incredibly angry and hateful toward the idea of frugal living. Example:

" This strategy will only exacerbate our low-growth economy, which we've been in for seven years. A vicious cycle. The middle class needs higher paying jobs so that working people can spend AND save. "

Wilson Hall

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Wow. A lot of poor-me-ism in those comments!

MgoSam

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Yeah I hate this. While I definitely do agree that wages should be higher than they currently are for most workers, that doesn't preclude individuals from taking more responsibility for their actions. I wish my position came with much higher compensation but that doesn't prevent me from cooking as much as I can, eating out less, watching my expenses, and doing a lot of other things that will leave me in a better financial position.

Capsu78

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Wow. A lot of poor-me-ism in those comments!

Yes...and here I thought that NYT readers fancied themselves the smartest folks at any cocktail party.   

I read the article earlier in the week but went back to the comments after seeing them mentioned here...a whole lot of people who don't seem to realize 30-40 years of income needs to carry you 50-60 years.   Pretty certain these same folks would have the same feelings toward "practicing" MMMers.

Mezzie

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I read that article back when there was just one comment, so I missed the drama. I do like that the NYT has had an interesting series on retirement lately.
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/preparing-for-forced-early-retirement-due-to-disability/

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jinga nation

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The real stories are in the comments.
If I genuinely enjoy my profession and workplace, is there a reason to FIRE? Keep Calm and Carry On Milking.

lizzzi

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A PB&J sandwich for lunch every day for years...how revolting! And much too spendy. I eat a home-made (Aldi ingredients) bean burrito every day for lunch. Costs around 30 cents. I agree with those who said the real story is in the comments on this article. What a bunch of whiny complainy pants.  Good Lord. Figure out how to live on less than you earn, and save and invest the difference. Get a job you more or less like, and live close enough so the commute isn't too much of a time suck. Enjoy the simple things, enjoy the people around you, get a little fresh air and exercise...hard to explain, but life can be so good, and it isn't about cruises and big houses and fancy cars. You don't need that stuff for happiness, whether in retirement or while still in your working years.

And I've never had a latte in my life. (What is a latte?)

mm1970

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Quote
To those of us who are actually facing the realities of retirement in 21st century America, articles like this are laughable. Should this really be everyone's plan: Starting at the age of 21, simply deny yourself and your family all pleasures in life—decent food, vacations, eating out, lattes, movies, etc.—and all will be fine when you're 80? Planning to work longer to compensate for lack of savings is also a trap, because it presumes that one CAN work longer and maintain a decent income. But corporate America is busily dispensing with anyone over 50, which is why the ranks of the "self-employed" are rising. Many of us who should be in our "prime earning years" are in fact working twice as hard as "contract workers" to make half off or less of what we used to make, while still shouldering the responsibilities of parenthood (e.g., student-loan debt, adult children who can get a decent job) and the additional responsibilities our own aging parents. Meanwhile, the cost of healthcare, even if you have insurance, is insane, and in this economy there are some things one simply must have (i.e. a computer, internet connection, cellphone, car), all of which must be paid for, somehow. The reason so few people have retirement savings is not because they spend irresponsibly, but because after trimming their expenses as are as possible, they still have trouble making ends meet, making it IMPOSSIBLE to save. Being able to save would be great, but many of us are too busy trying to survive.

Quite the interesting comment and he contradicts himself too!

"Deny yourself all pleasures..." and all will be fine when you are 80?  (Sounds exactly like my upbringing, and my dad.  Or to be specific - we were poor not middle class.  We didn't vacation, eat out, go to movies.  Well, we vacationed out of state once.  We vacationed camping 3-4 times (total, not per year). We ate out once per year.  I went to two movies between the age of 1 and 17.  Kids these days are so spoiled!  We had pleasures...they were just chosen to be less expensive.

"The reason so few people have retirement savings is not because they spend irresponsibly, but because after trimming their expenses as are as possible, they still have trouble making ends meet, making it IMPOSSIBLE to save. Being able to save would be great, but many of us are too busy trying to survive."

Which, sure that does have a bit of truth to it, but completely contradicts the first statement.  If you haven't trimmed out the lattes, movies, and eating out and vacations, then you are spending irresponsibly.

mindy

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"Most people do not have the good fortune of Michael Stark. How many workers love what they do and have a short commute to work? I worked for 32 years as a civilian federal employee and my commute was 45 minutes each way."

One of my favorite comments from the article. He also says that his wife refused to work, so it should have been no problem to move closer to work. I don't believe anyone was forcing him to live far away from his job, so really this was his own fault. Sigh. People never want to take responsibility for their own choices.

MgoSam

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Which, sure that does have a bit of truth to it, but completely contradicts the first statement.  If you haven't trimmed out the lattes, movies, and eating out and vacations, then you are spending irresponsibly.

That's the thing! I completely recognize that giving up lattes and your Iphone won't automatically lead to having enough cash to pay rent and for insurance and to save for retirement, but it is a start in the right direction. One of the biggest changes between now and 50 years ago is what our expectation of 'middle class,' is.

rawr237

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Re: NYTimes - Rethinking Retirement for Longer Lives With Fewer Safety Nets
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 10:55:02 AM »
I love that the woman featured in the article responded to comments! With such good humor, clarifying that she wasn't suffering by eating those PB&J sandwiches, and that she did travel and has a very full life.

The other comments though...
Quote
When you live in the Midwest, you learn very quickly that it's a cultural phenomenon to believe that you don't deserve the most basic of things, like a vacation or decent tasting food. I know 2-earner families who have to file for bankruptcy, those who can only afford enough gas to get to work, who consider dinner an unappetizing experience to get over with, like defecation. They have been taught to believe they should pay for the wealthy's taxes and that it's their fault they can't afford healthcare. It's why they vote for Trump. It's why I know too many Midwesterners who die needlessly in their 40's.

what. Food can be so cheap, and so yummy! I'm not the best example of this, because we eat a fair amount of pricey meat, but if we needed to we could certainly cut back and still have wonderful frugal homemade meals! This makes me sad because eating shouldn't be a chore, but it also sounds like the poster is exaggerating for dramatic effect.

Also, I live in the Midwest and at work the parking lot is full of big shiny trucks - one of the 'most basic of things'?. It's a LCOL area. I'll admit to making way over minimum wage, but a 2-income household at minimum wage is enough to live - a bare bones lifestyle maybe, but doable...if you don't have too many kids.

I wonder of part of it is being a YP, but I don't understand the attitude of feeling like the company owes me anything but my salary. Sure, I love getting free meals and gear and whatnot, but it's their right to lay me off at any time. But I see a very different expectation from the union mechanics, who expect to be treated a certain way by the company (maybe from a previous era). It's a corporate behemoth, not a friendly family-owned business. It will fulfill it's contractual agreements but save/make money anywhere possible.

Gondolin

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Re: NYTimes - Rethinking Retirement for Longer Lives With Fewer Safety Nets
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 07:52:47 AM »
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big shiny trucks - one of the 'most basic of things'?.

I feel that this version of the 'most basic of things' is being driven by TV marketing.
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Metric Mouse

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Re: NYTimes - Rethinking Retirement for Longer Lives With Fewer Safety Nets
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 04:55:39 AM »
The real stories are in the comments.
This is true of many articles. I'm glad people share them! Love the comment section drama some days.
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MarciaB

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Re: NYTimes - Rethinking Retirement for Longer Lives With Fewer Safety Nets
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 05:14:57 PM »
I love the comments on articles like these. But this one cracked me up due to the hilarious spelling error:

I never thought that I would live to see America turn into a third-world country where the elderly and sick have begging bowels on the streets and die by the millions.

I'm not sure what "begging bowels" are, nor where someone might put a little money in response to the panhandling...