Author Topic: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like  (Read 12997 times)

freya

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2018, 07:41:54 AM »
Thanks for doing all that research, maizeman!

I'd still take $100 billion being put to a more productive use, but maybe there's more yet...

How much less costly would tax accounting be if retirement plans were simplified into just the two flavors of personal IRAs?  That's time spent by individuals, financial planners, tax accountants & attorneys, various tax helpers like Audit Defense, and the IRS itself.

Forget equaling the $700 billion...I'm just impressed that a very small number of simplifications that in no way reduces benefits to individuals (and will even be an improvement...just think no more out of network shenanigans) could result in almost a trillion dollars annually in found money. That is mind-blowing.  To be fair, some of that wouldn't be "saved", but rather redirected (hopefully) to more productive endeavors.

Incidentally...Daisy you are spot on.  Education.  My standard college graduation gift is now "The Richest Man in Babylon".

Just Joe

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #51 on: June 11, 2018, 11:23:32 AM »
This is a disaster in the making...Would it make more sense to get employers out of the retirement-plan business, and have the Federal Government establish a 401(k) for all, with a mandatory minimum contribution from the employee/taxpayer, optional contributions/matching from the employer, and some sort of matching from the USG?

I think personal financial education in grade school and high school would be a better investment.

Some people may not be saving for their retirement for different reasons:
- Make such a low salary that saving for retirement would remove funds from being spent on mere survival
- Inherited money or have other savings that make retirement saving unnecessary
- Expecting a shorter life span based on family health history
- Variable expenses throughout one's lifetime and don't want to be forced into a set retirement savings plan (for example, some years may want to save up money to buy a house, saving up for upcoming children)

Although I do agree that most people that don't save for retirement are basically ignorant of the retirement math and just expect Social Security to carry them through. This is why I think personal financial education in school is a much more effective method to solve this problem.

Impulsive spending... Like a coworker who bought a new vehicle and now complains they don't have enough $ to have any fun. Shouldn't personal budget awareness made this plain before the purchase?

rdaneel0

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2018, 02:47:24 PM »
I think about this (the article topic) every time I see someone 50+ working a low wage service job. It must be awful to only realize something so important way too late, especially those who had decent enough pay to save.

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #53 on: June 11, 2018, 07:35:15 PM »
rdanee10:

Quote
I think about this (the article topic) every time I see someone 50+ working a low wage service job. It must be awful to only realize something so important way too late, especially those who had decent enough pay to save.

Some are retired and simply take such work part time fro a little extra money.  Some do not.

I went into a Wal-Mart last week.  Three things struck me:

1) They didn't have what I wanted so no purchase
2) The "greeter" had a mask on and a portable oxygen tank.  Draw your own conclusions.
3) There were big signs pointing out that Wal Mart supports US employment.  Beneath the signs all of the merchandise was made in China.  (US jobs can help provide retirement savings.) 

I left confused.

Dicey

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2018, 07:16:23 AM »
rdanee10:

Quote
I think about this (the article topic) every time I see someone 50+ working a low wage service job. It must be awful to only realize something so important way too late, especially those who had decent enough pay to save.

Some are retired and simply take such work part time fro a little extra money.  Some do not.

I went into a Wal-Mart last week.  Three things struck me:

1) They didn't have what I wanted so no purchase
2) The "greeter" had a mask on and a portable oxygen tank.  Draw your own conclusions.
3) There were big signs pointing out that Wal Mart supports US employment.  Beneath the signs all of the merchandise was made in China.  (US jobs can help provide retirement savings.) 

I left confused.
But the important thing is that you left. You weren't that confused, thank goodness!

talltexan

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #55 on: June 12, 2018, 08:46:22 AM »
The key quote about Norway's sovereign wealth fund is this one: "It has generated an annual net real return of just 4.06 percent since its inception in 1996."

An investment in a simple S&P index fund would have produced a real annual return of 6.6%.

That's the difference between an investment growing from $10,000 in 1996 to $40,800 today (simple index fund in my 403b), and growing to only $24,020 (in the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund).

So clearly they don't believe in the virtues of indexing enough.

A sovereign wealth fund shouldn't be 100% in stocks. probably something more like 60-40.

Also, it's in a different currency than the SP500, and--for the sake of their own citizens--the wealth fund's trustees should probably only maintain a modest stake in US dollars.

Jrr85

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #56 on: June 12, 2018, 09:28:18 AM »
The key quote about Norway's sovereign wealth fund is this one: "It has generated an annual net real return of just 4.06 percent since its inception in 1996."

An investment in a simple S&P index fund would have produced a real annual return of 6.6%.

That's the difference between an investment growing from $10,000 in 1996 to $40,800 today (simple index fund in my 403b), and growing to only $24,020 (in the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund).

So clearly they don't believe in the virtues of indexing enough.

A sovereign wealth fund shouldn't be 100% in stocks. probably something more like 60-40.

Also, it's in a different currency than the SP500, and--for the sake of their own citizens--the wealth fund's trustees should probably only maintain a modest stake in US dollars.

Why not?  I would think putting it 100% in stocks and spending off dividends would be a decent plan.  Would keep current politicians from spending it down out of political expediency, and they should have the extended time horizon to weather any downturns.  That would prevent the sovereign wealth fund from supplementing revenues during recessions, but not sure that's a bad thing. 

FIRE@50

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2018, 09:32:51 AM »
The key quote about Norway's sovereign wealth fund is this one: "It has generated an annual net real return of just 4.06 percent since its inception in 1996."

An investment in a simple S&P index fund would have produced a real annual return of 6.6%.

That's the difference between an investment growing from $10,000 in 1996 to $40,800 today (simple index fund in my 403b), and growing to only $24,020 (in the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund).

So clearly they don't believe in the virtues of indexing enough.

A sovereign wealth fund shouldn't be 100% in stocks. probably something more like 60-40.

Also, it's in a different currency than the SP500, and--for the sake of their own citizens--the wealth fund's trustees should probably only maintain a modest stake in US dollars.

Why not?  I would think putting it 100% in stocks and spending off dividends would be a decent plan.  Would keep current politicians from spending it down out of political expediency, and they should have the extended time horizon to weather any downturns.  That would prevent the sovereign wealth fund from supplementing revenues during recessions, but not sure that's a bad thing.

I would agree with this. In theory their investment timeline is infinity which would make stocks the logical investment.

maizeman

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #58 on: June 12, 2018, 10:35:58 AM »
I don't know about all in stocks, but I don't see a compelling investment argument for bonds in a sovereign wealth fund with an infinite investment horizon (although obviously just because I don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there).

I guess my point is that, with that much capital and that long a time horizon there may be weird alternate investments which actually do provide a return above an beyond regular stock market indices because they are extremely illiquid and/or require infeasible large initial investment sizes.

The point about the norwegian sovereign wealth fund being denominated in another currency is a good one. It still seems like there should be a way to correct for that to find out if they are over or under performing a basic index fund strategy but I'm not sure how to do it without digging into lots and lots of exchange rate and purchasing power parity datasets, so I'll withdraw the comparison.

ginjaninja

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #59 on: June 12, 2018, 11:11:00 AM »
So why does the author have this quote "If todays middle-class households curtail their spending when they retire, the whole economy could suffer."

I am unsure of how the entire economy would suffer if everyone curtailed spending to be able to afford retirement.  I feel like this statement alone is the exact opposite of what my brain understands.  But I am also talking to a group of financial savvy people/minimalists.

Just Joe

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2018, 12:45:33 PM »
What if everyone just quit shopping (retail dies), paid off their debts (credit collapses), and stayed home to live (food franchises would stumble).

Perhaps somebody would be compelled to stand before the world and encourage us to "Spend baby, spend" to prevent the retail sector from collapsing?

Just look at how the malls wither as online shopping has grown.


FIRE@50

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2018, 12:50:12 PM »
What if everyone just quit shopping (retail dies), paid off their debts (credit collapses), and stayed home to live (food franchises would stumble).

Perhaps somebody would be compelled to stand before the world and encourage us to "Spend baby, spend" to prevent the retail sector from collapsing?

Just look at how the malls wither as online shopping has grown.

The economy evolves overtime. There used to be a lot more people making horseshoes in this country too. And farming. And dare I say it, mining coal.

Megma

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2018, 01:11:42 PM »
It might be an unpopular view on MMM forum, but I thought this article did a good job of focusing on some people who are actually legitimately poor. As frugally minded savers, I think we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that some people do get trapped in a cycle of poverty or are legitimately low earning for various reasons and have extreme difficulty saving because they are trying to meet their basic needs. These people also age and reach retirement age with very little.

For example, the woman who was a waitress for 30 years, she was probably just making ends meet even without raucous unnecessary spending. The first woman who worked odd jobs and now works at the grocery store (from what I could tell one day a week seems manageable even in your 70s) I would say was probably working mostly under the table (ie not paying taxes or into SS) and it came back to bite her in the ass by her now having a low pay out from not paying in.

I think there is also something to be said for some of these retirees being "caught in the shift." When they grew up and started working the expectation was that someone else "the company" took care of your retirement that changed early in their careers and they did not keep up with that change. I, on the other hand, grew up with the expectation that you have to do it yourself, so if you were caught in that first generation I could see it being a bit of a shock - though yes, you should have realized it at some point in the past 30 years.

Anyway, if you are middle class or above, it should be easy to save enough but I have sympathy for people who are poor and struggle to get out of poverty because of a lack of education or even just expectations for themselves.

MgoSam

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #63 on: June 12, 2018, 02:17:08 PM »
What if everyone just quit shopping (retail dies), paid off their debts (credit collapses), and stayed home to live (food franchises would stumble).

Perhaps somebody would be compelled to stand before the world and encourage us to "Spend baby, spend" to prevent the retail sector from collapsing?

Just look at how the malls wither as online shopping has grown.

The economy evolves overtime. There used to be a lot more people making horseshoes in this country too. And farming. And dare I say it, mining coal.

Savings rates for the average American is pitiful so I can't see that happening.

Just Joe

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #64 on: June 12, 2018, 02:47:28 PM »
What if everyone just quit shopping (retail dies), paid off their debts (credit collapses), and stayed home to live (food franchises would stumble).

Perhaps somebody would be compelled to stand before the world and encourage us to "Spend baby, spend" to prevent the retail sector from collapsing?

Just look at how the malls wither as online shopping has grown.

The economy evolves overtime. There used to be a lot more people making horseshoes in this country too. And farming. And dare I say it, mining coal.

I was so confused. Overtime=150% hourly wage. You meant "over time"... Yes.

If people can't spend then the economy will evolve very quickly (recession, possibly lasting recession or malaise). Whether or not retirees are a big enough group to affect the health of the economy I don't know.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 02:49:22 PM by Just Joe »

freya

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #65 on: June 14, 2018, 07:06:32 AM »
It might be an unpopular view on MMM forum, but I thought this article did a good job of focusing on some people who are actually legitimately poor. As frugally minded savers, I think we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that some people do get trapped in a cycle of poverty or are legitimately low earning for various reasons and have extreme difficulty saving because they are trying to meet their basic needs. These people also age and reach retirement age with very little.

For example, the woman who was a waitress for 30 years, she was probably just making ends meet even without raucous unnecessary spending. The first woman who worked odd jobs and now works at the grocery store (from what I could tell one day a week seems manageable even in your 70s) I would say was probably working mostly under the table (ie not paying taxes or into SS) and it came back to bite her in the ass by her now having a low pay out from not paying in.

I think there is also something to be said for some of these retirees being "caught in the shift." When they grew up and started working the expectation was that someone else "the company" took care of your retirement that changed early in their careers and they did not keep up with that change. I, on the other hand, grew up with the expectation that you have to do it yourself, so if you were caught in that first generation I could see it being a bit of a shock - though yes, you should have realized it at some point in the past 30 years.

Anyway, if you are middle class or above, it should be easy to save enough but I have sympathy for people who are poor and struggle to get out of poverty because of a lack of education or even just expectations for themselves.

For some people yes, because they're trapped not by poverty per se but hopelessness.  The book "Nickel and Dimed" highlights that well.  However, there's a case study in "Your Money or Your Life" about someone who started out in this type of situation but managed to break out of the cycle of hopelessness at least in part because of the tools provided in that book.  She started as a waitress and ended up in a management position, simply by taking advantage of small opportunities.

Some are genuinely stuck due to intellectual or medical disability, but with a lot of people it's all about attitude.  Ever go into a store and see people in low-level jobs who look like they could care less about their work and just want to yack on the phone with their buddies at every opportunity?  Think they'll ever advance beyond minimum wage?  Not bloody likely.

Megma

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #66 on: June 14, 2018, 10:43:51 AM »
It might be an unpopular view on MMM forum, but I thought this article did a good job of focusing on some people who are actually legitimately poor. As frugally minded savers, I think we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that some people do get trapped in a cycle of poverty or are legitimately low earning for various reasons and have extreme difficulty saving because they are trying to meet their basic needs. These people also age and reach retirement age with very little.

For example, the woman who was a waitress for 30 years, she was probably just making ends meet even without raucous unnecessary spending. The first woman who worked odd jobs and now works at the grocery store (from what I could tell one day a week seems manageable even in your 70s) I would say was probably working mostly under the table (ie not paying taxes or into SS) and it came back to bite her in the ass by her now having a low pay out from not paying in.

I think there is also something to be said for some of these retirees being "caught in the shift." When they grew up and started working the expectation was that someone else "the company" took care of your retirement that changed early in their careers and they did not keep up with that change. I, on the other hand, grew up with the expectation that you have to do it yourself, so if you were caught in that first generation I could see it being a bit of a shock - though yes, you should have realized it at some point in the past 30 years.

Anyway, if you are middle class or above, it should be easy to save enough but I have sympathy for people who are poor and struggle to get out of poverty because of a lack of education or even just expectations for themselves.

For some people yes, because they're trapped not by poverty per se but hopelessness.  The book "Nickel and Dimed" highlights that well.  However, there's a case study in "Your Money or Your Life" about someone who started out in this type of situation but managed to break out of the cycle of hopelessness at least in part because of the tools provided in that book.  She started as a waitress and ended up in a management position, simply by taking advantage of small opportunities.

Some are genuinely stuck due to intellectual or medical disability, but with a lot of people it's all about attitude.  Ever go into a store and see people in low-level jobs who look like they could care less about their work and just want to yack on the phone with their buddies at every opportunity?  Think they'll ever advance beyond minimum wage?  Not bloody likely.

Freya, you are right that some people it is of their own making and that it's not impossible but it's hard. I can definitely see becoming discouraged after growing up in poverty, getting a bad education (either because of the school district or distractions of poverty such as hunger, needing to work, etc). I think it is easy for many people who have never lived in and did not grow up under those circumstances to understand how hard it can be (even though some definitely do break out!).

I like to say, I have been broke a lot but I have never been poor.

BDWW

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #67 on: June 14, 2018, 11:33:11 AM »
It might be an unpopular view on MMM forum, but I thought this article did a good job of focusing on some people who are actually legitimately poor. As frugally minded savers, I think we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that some people do get trapped in a cycle of poverty or are legitimately low earning for various reasons and have extreme difficulty saving because they are trying to meet their basic needs. These people also age and reach retirement age with very little.

For example, the woman who was a waitress for 30 years, she was probably just making ends meet even without raucous unnecessary spending. The first woman who worked odd jobs and now works at the grocery store (from what I could tell one day a week seems manageable even in your 70s) I would say was probably working mostly under the table (ie not paying taxes or into SS) and it came back to bite her in the ass by her now having a low pay out from not paying in.

I think there is also something to be said for some of these retirees being "caught in the shift." When they grew up and started working the expectation was that someone else "the company" took care of your retirement that changed early in their careers and they did not keep up with that change. I, on the other hand, grew up with the expectation that you have to do it yourself, so if you were caught in that first generation I could see it being a bit of a shock - though yes, you should have realized it at some point in the past 30 years.

Anyway, if you are middle class or above, it should be easy to save enough but I have sympathy for people who are poor and struggle to get out of poverty because of a lack of education or even just expectations for themselves.

For some people yes, because they're trapped not by poverty per se but hopelessness.  The book "Nickel and Dimed" highlights that well.  However, there's a case study in "Your Money or Your Life" about someone who started out in this type of situation but managed to break out of the cycle of hopelessness at least in part because of the tools provided in that book.  She started as a waitress and ended up in a management position, simply by taking advantage of small opportunities.

Some are genuinely stuck due to intellectual or medical disability, but with a lot of people it's all about attitude.  Ever go into a store and see people in low-level jobs who look like they could care less about their work and just want to yack on the phone with their buddies at every opportunity?  Think they'll ever advance beyond minimum wage?  Not bloody likely.

One thing that struck me, when I was working retail/service industry jobs before/during college, was how easy it was to get ahead. My experience(just that) was that really all you had to do was show up for work on time consistently and do your job, and you'd outshine 75% percent of the employees. So many seem to struggle with showing up on time or at all, and taking every opportunity to slack off.


Cassie

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #68 on: June 14, 2018, 05:14:53 PM »
Went to Burger King today and the lady in the drive through had to be at least 70 and she didnt look happy

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #69 on: June 14, 2018, 06:31:36 PM »
VDWW:
Quote
One thing that struck me, when I was working retail/service industry jobs before/during college, was how easy it was to get ahead. My experience(just that) was that really all you had to do was show up for work on time consistently and do your job, and you'd outshine 75% percent of the employees. So many seem to struggle with showing up on time or at all, and taking every opportunity to slack off.

Over the many years I've been working, I wouldn't have believed this until recently.  I passed an inquiry to a good craftsman as to why younger people weren't entering the crafts.  His response greatly surprised me, "They fail the drug tests."

The response lends credibility in my brain as toe the potential work ethic of the young new hire.

However, the other reality I encounter is younger people working two or three jobs.

It doesn't have to be "one thing."  Both realities may be correct.  As the reality of the poor person accepting their lot and giving up is correct as well as the Horatio Alger type who overcomes their bad situation.

maizeman

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #70 on: June 14, 2018, 06:46:25 PM »
I passed an inquiry to a good craftsman as to why younger people weren't entering the crafts.  His response greatly surprised me, "They fail the drug tests."

The response lends credibility in my brain as toe the potential work ethic of the young new hire.

It's not just the trades. The FBI and state department have both talked about their difficulty hiring a skilled enough workforce because a lot of the people they'd otherwise like to hire cannot pass a drug test. Apparently especially problematic in getting good computer programmers/cybersecurity experts.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/state-marijuana-laws-complicate-federal-job-recruitment.html

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #71 on: June 14, 2018, 09:57:33 PM »
It might be an unpopular view on MMM forum, but I thought this article did a good job of focusing on some people who are actually legitimately poor. As frugally minded savers, I think we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that some people do get trapped in a cycle of poverty or are legitimately low earning for various reasons and have extreme difficulty saving because they are trying to meet their basic needs. These people also age and reach retirement age with very little.

For example, the woman who was a waitress for 30 years, she was probably just making ends meet even without raucous unnecessary spending. The first woman who worked odd jobs and now works at the grocery store (from what I could tell one day a week seems manageable even in your 70s) I would say was probably working mostly under the table (ie not paying taxes or into SS) and it came back to bite her in the ass by her now having a low pay out from not paying in.

I think there is also something to be said for some of these retirees being "caught in the shift." When they grew up and started working the expectation was that someone else "the company" took care of your retirement that changed early in their careers and they did not keep up with that change. I, on the other hand, grew up with the expectation that you have to do it yourself, so if you were caught in that first generation I could see it being a bit of a shock - though yes, you should have realized it at some point in the past 30 years.

Anyway, if you are middle class or above, it should be easy to save enough but I have sympathy for people who are poor and struggle to get out of poverty because of a lack of education or even just expectations for themselves.

For some people yes, because they're trapped not by poverty per se but hopelessness.  The book "Nickel and Dimed" highlights that well.  However, there's a case study in "Your Money or Your Life" about someone who started out in this type of situation but managed to break out of the cycle of hopelessness at least in part because of the tools provided in that book.  She started as a waitress and ended up in a management position, simply by taking advantage of small opportunities.

Some are genuinely stuck due to intellectual or medical disability, but with a lot of people it's all about attitude.  Ever go into a store and see people in low-level jobs who look like they could care less about their work and just want to yack on the phone with their buddies at every opportunity?  Think they'll ever advance beyond minimum wage?  Not bloody likely.

Barbara Ehrenrich wrote the printed-word equivalent of clickbait. When I read her first book I was stunned by her level of consumption and entitlement, her contempt for her co-workers and employers for not recognizing her superior educational and cultural entertainment, and her utter inability to balance a budget. Her experiment was designed to fail: most people struggle for the first month in a new place with no contacts, no significant work experience, and no assets. That's why one of the first things brainy people do, when they find themselves in such a situation, is to team up with other humans. A person who survives to middle age without building *some* kind of family or similar network generally has something seriously wrong with her. Her second book actually had an intelligent argument, but it was about the rampant BS in the job search industry.

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #72 on: June 15, 2018, 10:52:04 AM »
Quote
That's why one of the first things brainy people do, when they find themselves in such a situation, is to team up with other humans.

Just a point.  The ability to "team up" depends on how you are raised and to some degree natural inclination.  Every one is smart and dumb at the same time.  Individuals may be able to perform technical tasks adroitly, but may be zeros in social situations.  And yes,.....life is not fair.

maizeman

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #73 on: June 15, 2018, 01:39:12 PM »
Quote
That's why one of the first things brainy people do, when they find themselves in such a situation, is to team up with other humans.

Just a point.  The ability to "team up" depends on how you are raised and to some degree natural inclination.  Every one is smart and dumb at the same time.  Individuals may be able to perform technical tasks adroitly, but may be zeros in social situations.  And yes,.....life is not fair.

This.

Part of why I originally started saving up a large cash cushion before I ever got involved in FIRE was the consciousness that I didn't have the inherent safety net a lot of other people get from a tight-knit web of friends and relations. So lots of minor emergencies that other people could solve through social capital alone, I had to be prepared to solve with cash (which can sometimes be much more expensive).

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #74 on: June 15, 2018, 07:20:30 PM »
Quote
That's why one of the first things brainy people do, when they find themselves in such a situation, is to team up with other humans.

Just a point.  The ability to "team up" depends on how you are raised and to some degree natural inclination.  Every one is smart and dumb at the same time.  Individuals may be able to perform technical tasks adroitly, but may be zeros in social situations.  And yes,.....life is not fair.

Barring significant neurological malfunction (which I acknowledge does exist but it's nowhere near as widespread as people are pretending it is), it takes a pretty privileged upbringing to survive until adulthood without recognizing the need to cooperate with other humans well enough to share an apartment or to rent out a room in someone else's home.

Cooperating is a learned behavior, but it's also the default form of human interaction. Babies don't do anything but eat and poop, so we all start out highly dependent on others. It therefore doesn't take that high of a level of functioning to share a dwelling with another human. Sharing living space is the norm for most of humanity, and sharing living space with relative strangers is extremely common. Most young people do have sleepovers with friends, roommates in college, roommates in their early stages of employment, and so on. Even the author shared living space with other humans and thought it was normal, when she wasn't running her experiment. In B.E.'s real life, she had a husband and a family. Why, therefore, would she choose to pretend to be completely adrift and act as though that was somehow reflective of the normal working-class condition?

Social capital, incidentally, is a form of privilege. It is actually more likely to be present in poor communities than it is in rich ones.

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #75 on: June 15, 2018, 09:55:14 PM »
Quote
Barring significant neurological malfunction (which I acknowledge does exist but it's nowhere near as widespread as people are pretending it is), it takes a pretty privileged upbringing to survive until adulthood without recognizing the need to cooperate with other humans well enough to share an apartment or to rent out a room in someone else's home.

You can think that way, but Romulus and Remus didn't really found Rome.  There are still people that grow up in the "sticks," that do not have the benefits of the "townies."  It is not privileged.   

Paul der Krake

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #76 on: June 15, 2018, 10:09:31 PM »
Quote
That's why one of the first things brainy people do, when they find themselves in such a situation, is to team up with other humans.

Just a point.  The ability to "team up" depends on how you are raised and to some degree natural inclination.  Every one is smart and dumb at the same time.  Individuals may be able to perform technical tasks adroitly, but may be zeros in social situations.  And yes,.....life is not fair.
Don't we send children to school precisely to learn how to interact with, and take orders from, other humans?

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #77 on: June 16, 2018, 08:07:56 AM »
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Don't we send children to school precisely to learn how to interact with, and take orders from, other humans?

Right - That's why we have home schooling.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #78 on: June 16, 2018, 03:00:32 PM »
Quote
Barring significant neurological malfunction (which I acknowledge does exist but it's nowhere near as widespread as people are pretending it is), it takes a pretty privileged upbringing to survive until adulthood without recognizing the need to cooperate with other humans well enough to share an apartment or to rent out a room in someone else's home.

You can think that way, but Romulus and Remus didn't really found Rome.  There are still people that grow up in the "sticks," that do not have the benefits of the "townies."  It is not privileged.

It's not a matter of "thinking" that babies are born not knowing how to do much except nurse and poop, and that they are dependent on others around them for survival. It's pretty well established medical fact. The default human condition is to rely on one another. We aren't fish that spawn and move on.

Out in "the sticks", people must depend on one another far more than they do in "the townies", because there's no such thing as emergency services and most of the problems you face can't be solved by throwing money at them. The TV stereotype of humans who live in rural areas-- and by that I mean the ball-scratchin', boot-strappin' do-it-yourself-appendectomy image-- isn't real.

Nobody really knows how to do "everything" so there's invariably some division of labor on the farm and elsewhere. But everyone's expected to help with the work in some way. Very few rural families allow a kid to sit on his or her tush playing video games while the rest of the family is hard at work, or to take things that aren't theirs, or to beef constantly with the other kids. Even Amish families that let their kids drop out of school to work on the farm expect them to participate in group activities including church and mealtimes. In a poor family, kids typically share a bedroom, toys, and even clothing. They don't seem to grow up thinking: "I have to have an apartment all to myself."

What in the world does any of that have to do with the Roman urban creation myth? :)

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2018, 05:58:43 AM »
GrimSqueaker:

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What in the world does any of that have to do with the Roman urban creation myth? :)

It's kind of obvious.  They were raised by wolves like Tarzan was raised by the great apes.  This is definitely a severe cultural difference.  the communications skills, nuances, body language, normal language, relationships with others are completely different.  They have not been trained to satisfy the needs of a complex society.  Their brains have been wired a different way.

Although, it may not be as prevalent as in the past due to electronic communications, people raised in the sticks may not have the required social interaction as those in an urban environment and can only learn to cope by keeping their eyes and ears open to learn the skills that may be second nature to those born in another setting.

A subset of this idea is those born in the ghettos of big cities.  It has often been proclaimed that they do not know how to properly interact with the larger city about them.  To myself, this has represented somewhat of a puzzle.  There are only a few miles to travel from these poor areas of the city to one of greater economic opportunity.  Programs and services have been created to "help" those raised in such situations.  The phrase has been used, "escape from the ghetto."

I agree those in the rural setting may be more dependent on others. In my opinion, those raised in a limited rural setting have greater obstacles to overcome than those of the inner city.  Yet, due to the small sample size of this population, you never hear about these people.  Perhaps they are the true rags to riches stories.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #80 on: June 17, 2018, 10:41:30 AM »
GrimSqueaker:

Quote
What in the world does any of that have to do with the Roman urban creation myth? :)

It's kind of obvious.  They were raised by wolves like Tarzan was raised by the great apes.  This is definitely a severe cultural difference.  the communications skills, nuances, body language, normal language, relationships with others are completely different.  They have not been trained to satisfy the needs of a complex society.  Their brains have been wired a different way.

Although, it may not be as prevalent as in the past due to electronic communications, people raised in the sticks may not have the required social interaction as those in an urban environment and can only learn to cope by keeping their eyes and ears open to learn the skills that may be second nature to those born in another setting.

A subset of this idea is those born in the ghettos of big cities.  It has often been proclaimed that they do not know how to properly interact with the larger city about them.  To myself, this has represented somewhat of a puzzle.  There are only a few miles to travel from these poor areas of the city to one of greater economic opportunity.  Programs and services have been created to "help" those raised in such situations.  The phrase has been used, "escape from the ghetto."

I agree those in the rural setting may be more dependent on others. In my opinion, those raised in a limited rural setting have greater obstacles to overcome than those of the inner city.  Yet, due to the small sample size of this population, you never hear about these people.  Perhaps they are the true rags to riches stories.

Well, according to Mary Beard in SPQR, "wolf" was a euphemism for a prostitute. She sheds a bit of light on the different aspects of the foundation myths in ancient Rome and it's worth a read.

Every subculture or society has rules and expectations about how people ought to interact or treat one another. Many of them grow out of the work and resources available in the community. When you take someone out of one environment and plunk them into another, what you get isn't a rags-to-riches story but a fish-out-of-water story. The fish doesn't always adapt, but the experience changes them, so when they go back to the water they don't always fit in like they used to. In general, human beings tend to prefer people similar to the ones they had growing up, unless they make a conscious decision to do otherwise.

One of the reasons B.E. had so much difficulty in "Nickled and Dimed" is that she didn't play by the rules of the group of people she decided to try to join, nor did she absorb them or do much more than grudgingly acknowledge their existence and legitimacy. She resented the fact that nobody seemed to recognize, appreciate, or reward what she'd always been taught to think of as evidence of her superiority: her education and advanced degree, which did not make her one iota more desirable to employers looking for someone to scrub floors or stock shelves.

The plural of anecdote is not data, however an anecdote can and should provide an example. One of the reasons my daughter was very uncomfortable in my home is because I didn't behave like the people she was used to. We don't communicate by shrieking, hitting people, or kicking holes in walls, for example, and we expect people who live in a household to contribute to it in some way. She identified more strongly with her family of origin and with other people connected to her family in her youth. It's an socioeconomic underclass subculture which I describe as rather more pro-tantrum, pro-filth, and pro-addiction than me. (Yes, I *do* feel superior to them because I regard their wasteful and destructive ways with horror. At the same time, they *do* feel superior to me because they consider the things I described to be evidence of their superior culture, their deeper emotional expression, and their higher spiritual worth. My less impressive attributes in those respects make me a curiosity at best and more consistently a less-than-human resource only useful for the material goods that can be extracted from it. These two perspectives can't be reconciled except to the extent we acknowledge that both exist and are internally consistent). My daughter chose to leave my home for good four days after her 18th birthday. I wasn't very keen about the timing but did help her in that goal and have continued to partially support her although the financial help I provide is tapering off. Since then it's been almost total disaster for her. She won't work, has difficulty holding down a job, and is supposedly taking GED classes although I've been lied to so many times about similar initiatives by her and her relatives or friends that I will believe it this time if I see a trasnscript. Her tantrums have created legal trouble for her. Her beloved family and friends treated her the exact same way she treated me, only more so. They gouged every cent of her college money out of her in less than a month, leaving her destitute, and trashed the transmission in her car while systematically stealing every item of value from her including her passport.

Incidentally, our conversation is teetering on the edge of something that's allowed other threads to explode. Discussing whether a specific group or subculture has values, habits, or default behaviors that make it easy for them to accumulate wealth can be a bit of a quagmire. One aspect of privilege is that the behaviors best rewarded by the system happen to be the ones that are the easiest and most natural for a person, instead of behaviors that are radically out of step with that individual's values and emotional needs.

sherr

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #81 on: June 17, 2018, 12:10:35 PM »
I passed an inquiry to a good craftsman as to why younger people weren't entering the crafts.  His response greatly surprised me, "They fail the drug tests."

The response lends credibility in my brain as toe the potential work ethic of the young new hire.

It's not just the trades. The FBI and state department have both talked about their difficulty hiring a skilled enough workforce because a lot of the people they'd otherwise like to hire cannot pass a drug test. Apparently especially problematic in getting good computer programmers/cybersecurity experts.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/state-marijuana-laws-complicate-federal-job-recruitment.html

Eh, let me provide a counter point to this. The reason the FBI can't find good programmers / cybersecurity experts is:
1) They pay far below industry rates.
2) They make you jump through more hoops (clearances and whatnot).
3) Their explicit public stance is that they want to undermine all forms of internet privacy and computer security, and programmers / cybersecurity experts know what they're talking about enough to see right through that crap, so they can't even play the "for the good of the country" card.

Drugs may make a small difference but we're talking second-order effects at best.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 12:13:28 PM by sherr »

maizeman

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #82 on: June 17, 2018, 12:14:09 PM »
All very good points. I had heard they were making some progress on #1, but agree with you #3 in particular represents a much bigger barrier to hiring the best programmers than their views on drug use.

DreamFIRE

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #83 on: June 17, 2018, 02:34:46 PM »

Quote from: The Atlantic
the median savings in a 401(k) plan for people between the ages of 55 and 64 is currently just $15,000, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit.

Pretty low.  But I don't even have a 401K at all.  I've got a 457(b) and a 401(a).  Also, some retirees may have annuities, whole life insurance, personal investments & savings, other assets they can sell, and even generous pensions that may make a low (or no) 401K balance irrelevant.

As for SS and taxes, I wouldn't mind paying a higher payroll tax to help shore up SS to pay promised benefits to seniors and those nearing retirement, the same thing with Medicare to help fund it.  The out of pocket costs for medical care for seniors is too high.

MaaS

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #84 on: June 17, 2018, 07:19:17 PM »
Scary and frustrating. Those of us who were responsible will end up footing the bill for this. 

pecunia

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #85 on: June 17, 2018, 07:53:08 PM »
Grim Squeaker:
Quote
Incidentally, our conversation is teetering on the edge of something that's allowed other threads to explode.

Right - Stay closer to topic.  I did find your response very interesting. 

Dreamfire:
Quote
As for SS and taxes, I wouldn't mind paying a higher payroll tax to help shore up SS to pay promised benefits to seniors and those nearing retirement, the same thing with Medicare to help fund it.  The out of pocket costs for medical care for seniors is too high.

Thanks man.  Still working, but hope to use it someday.

Cassie

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #86 on: June 17, 2018, 07:59:41 PM »
Maa, dont worry you wont foot the bill if the republicans stay in charge. They prefer all poor people die so as not to be a burden. With them cutting many social programs, HI premiums skyrocketing,etc these people wont be a bother for long.

BTDretire

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Re: This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
« Reply #87 on: June 17, 2018, 09:05:13 PM »
Maa, dont worry you wont foot the bill if the republicans stay in charge. They prefer all poor people die so as not to be a burden.

  Oh, we need to question any statements that follow.