Author Topic: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?  (Read 2620 times)

pwniator

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« on: August 06, 2018, 04:19:35 AM »
Read this in the NYT this morning. I feel bad for anyone affected by legitimate hardships or force majeures but I felt like this was another 99% complainypants article. Too harsh?

I guess the title is appropriate:

‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans

https://nyti.ms/2nbIpXM
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 04:21:45 AM by pwniator »

AMandM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 07:29:58 AM »
I have a lot of sympathy for people whose medical expenses skyrocketed because their insurance rules changed, like the man whose Parkinson's meds went from $70 to $1000. That is out of their control, and usually they don't have options.

I have some sympathy for people who entered the workforce in a world of guaranteed pensions and got shifted to the world of IRAs and 401ks.  Yes, they could have made higher contributions, but I suspect the changes were not explained clearly, and I especially don't blame low-skill workers for lacking the financial sophistication to figure it out on their own.

I have a lot less sympathy for people who cosigned big student loans for their kids.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3081
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 09:19:44 AM »
My response is dictated by the individual's circumstances. And since this will probably make people mad, an upfront note: I default to a population level view of things rather than an individual level view. In practice, this looks extremely coldhearted. This is simply a difference in viewpoint. Where you might be looking at Aunt Sally, I'm looking at Aunt Sally's entire GENERATION. Big difference there.

There are many situations that lead to financial problems that are within the individual's control. Having a much larger house than necessary. New cars all the time. Buying too much crap. Financially supporting someone who should be ok on their own but isn't because they're being enabled. In those cases, while I'll feel bad for someone, they made their choices and now they are simply experiencing expected consequences.

For people who did everything right, but had things happen that were outside of their control, I really do have sympathy for them. You can't choose to be hit by the drunk driver. Can't choose your genetics that increase your risk of cancer. Etc.

Most people are somewhere in the middle. In general, I want to make sure that everyone has a minimum level of housing, food, medical care, etc that is adequate, but not luxurious. That I consider a human right. Anything above and beyond that is a bonus and is dependent on resources you may have accumulated.

I would actually be in favor of publicly subsidized senior housing that is similar to college dorms. Residents would contribute a set % of their income as rent, and food, utilities, etc would be provided. We have a model in the independent living/assisted living/nursing home facilities that are springing up, combined with college dorms. Done right, it's a positive for everyone.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1001
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 09:39:43 AM »
I generally have more sympathy than most for those who end up in financial trouble because so few people are very financially literate, and the financial industry has done its absolute best to convince everyone that it's too complicated to even try to understand.

I hold people accountable for their own ignorance, it's not an excuse, but I can still feel sympathy for an entire generation that kind of got lost in the sweeping wave from pensions and middle class lifestyles that could be sustained on a single moderate income, to the current state of rampant debt.

It would be nice if everyone was personally accountable for all of their decisions and did extensive research and managed their lifestyle and risk accordingly, but that's simply not going to happen on a populational level when the system is set up to encourage them to spend as much as possible (y'know, for the economy!) and there's an institutionalized opacity in terms of the financial industry keeping them from being able to get even the simplest questions answered in a forthright way from the "experts" who are supposed to be the ones they turn to for advice.

It's hard to swim upstream against the current and actually be informed and responsible.
Look at how much push back Mustachians get just for wanting to be voluntarily frugal and not be obligated to work into their senior years, as if that concept is somehow crazy.

So yeah, I have sympathy even while holding individuals accountable for their personal outcomes.

Methods of Escape

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 05:26:13 PM »
I find it interesting that 25 years ago the 25-34 and 35-44 cohorts had the highest rates of bankruptcy.  25 years later as that same generation has moved into the 55-64 and 65-74 those cohorts are seeing the biggest increases.  Seem to indicate a propensity for bankruptcy has followed a generation as they aged.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1001
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2018, 05:36:23 PM »
I find it interesting that 25 years ago the 25-34 and 35-44 cohorts had the highest rates of bankruptcy.  25 years later as that same generation has moved into the 55-64 and 65-74 those cohorts are seeing the biggest increases.  Seem to indicate a propensity for bankruptcy has followed a generation as they aged.

Ooh...interesting.

AccountingForLife

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2018, 06:20:49 PM »
I have a lot of sympathy for people whose medical expenses skyrocketed because their insurance rules changed, like the man whose Parkinson's meds went from $70 to $1000. That is out of their control, and usually they don't have options.

I have some sympathy for people who entered the workforce in a world of guaranteed pensions and got shifted to the world of IRAs and 401ks.  Yes, they could have made higher contributions, but I suspect the changes were not explained clearly, and I especially don't blame low-skill workers for lacking the financial sophistication to figure it out on their own.

I have a lot less sympathy for people who cosigned big student loans for their kids.

They skyrocketed because his union decided not to insure him anymore, due to "eligibility requirements." Why he didn't just go on the open market and buy his own insurance I am not sure (maybe because it cost more?) It still could've saved him money over paying out of pocket.

Hargrove

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 690
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2018, 06:45:56 PM »
Why find a reason to ignore suffering, unless we think we should maybe care a little about suffering?

MKinVA

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 229
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2018, 07:44:58 PM »
I agree with Sibley. There should be more and better senior housing available throughout the country. Older people could get together like the Golden Girls and live in a modest house together. The difficulty comes when someone needs care (but that is a another matter.)

It also has bothered me for years that people are convinced that owning their own home is the only way to go. People are spending way too much of their nest egg on a home with at least 1% to 2% each year spent on taxes, not to mention upkeep over the years. For so many people who never really increase their income over their lifetimes, a house is too damn expensive. Then you have those who use it as an ATM and run up the credit line as if that doesn't have to be paid off. They are told (on tv, by their friends, realtors, etc.) that the increase in value will pay for that. I think anyone under 60 has learned that lesson the hard way. Maybe twice.

I just purchased Your Money or Your Life for my stepson who started his working life one year ago. I hope some of it soaks in early.


MarciaB

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 57
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 09:54:55 AM »
I find it interesting that 25 years ago the 25-34 and 35-44 cohorts had the highest rates of bankruptcy.  25 years later as that same generation has moved into the 55-64 and 65-74 those cohorts are seeing the biggest increases.  Seem to indicate a propensity for bankruptcy has followed a generation as they aged.

Well, if we're talking about sheer numbers, that cohort are baby boomers, who are a huge generation bubble. Everything associated with them was the highest/lowest, biggest/smallest, etc.

OtherJen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
  • Location: Metro Detroit
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 10:04:28 AM »
I find it interesting that 25 years ago the 25-34 and 35-44 cohorts had the highest rates of bankruptcy.  25 years later as that same generation has moved into the 55-64 and 65-74 those cohorts are seeing the biggest increases.  Seem to indicate a propensity for bankruptcy has followed a generation as they aged.

Well, if we're talking about sheer numbers, that cohort are baby boomers, who are a huge generation bubble. Everything associated with them was the highest/lowest, biggest/smallest, etc.

In terms of absolute numbers, they would be the largest. However, the analysis in the linked article standardized the rates of bankruptcy among age groups by presenting the data as number of bankruptcies per 1000 individuals in each age group to control for differences in overall group size. Boomers still had a higher frequency of bankruptcy even after controlling for age group size; in other words, the higher rate of bankruptcy appears to be independent of population size.

Just Joe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1973
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2018, 10:14:12 AM »
I agree with Sibley. There should be more and better senior housing available throughout the country. Older people could get together like the Golden Girls and live in a modest house together. The difficulty comes when someone needs care (but that is a another matter.)

It also has bothered me for years that people are convinced that owning their own home is the only way to go. People are spending way too much of their nest egg on a home with at least 1% to 2% each year spent on taxes, not to mention upkeep over the years. For so many people who never really increase their income over their lifetimes, a house is too damn expensive. Then you have those who use it as an ATM and run up the credit line as if that doesn't have to be paid off. They are told (on tv, by their friends, realtors, etc.) that the increase in value will pay for that. I think anyone under 60 has learned that lesson the hard way. Maybe twice.

I just purchased Your Money or Your Life for my stepson who started his working life one year ago. I hope some of it soaks in early.

The buying vs renting a home decision is very regional. Web articles seem to mostly be aimed at coastal city dwellers. Here in flyover country the numbers are different.

In some LCOL areas buying a home is a no brainer. Even with the cost of maintenance and insurance it can cheaper in the long run than renting - plus there is the value of the property. When an elderly relative of mine was unable to live alone they moved into an assisted living facility and used the money from the sale of the home to help with expenses. The money lasted about as long the relative did - five or six more years.

Also, in the big city nearest us gentrification is forcing renters out as rent costs go up. Residential owners will feel a pinch eventually when taxes go up someday but that is happening at a much, much slower pace. Their property values will increase and if they can't afford the taxes they can sell their property which is worth more than a decade earlier and move elsewhere.

carolina822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2018, 09:58:35 PM »
I have a lot of sympathy for people whose medical expenses skyrocketed because their insurance rules changed, like the man whose Parkinson's meds went from $70 to $1000. That is out of their control, and usually they don't have options.

I have some sympathy for people who entered the workforce in a world of guaranteed pensions and got shifted to the world of IRAs and 401ks.  Yes, they could have made higher contributions, but I suspect the changes were not explained clearly, and I especially don't blame low-skill workers for lacking the financial sophistication to figure it out on their own.

I have a lot less sympathy for people who cosigned big student loans for their kids.

They skyrocketed because his union decided not to insure him anymore, due to "eligibility requirements." Why he didn't just go on the open market and buy his own insurance I am not sure (maybe because it cost more?) It still could've saved him money over paying out of pocket.

Yeah, because the pre-ACA insurance market was just itching to sign up a customer with a serious pre-existing condition for less money than it cost to cover his treatment. Good grief.

While we're saying what he should have done, how about just not getting Parkinson's in the first place? Problem solved. Duh.

magnet18

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 07:55:38 AM »

I have some sympathy for people who entered the workforce in a world of guaranteed pensions and got shifted to the world of IRAs and 401ks.  Yes, they could have made higher contributions, but I suspect the changes were not explained clearly...

This is my parents, to a T
Their parents never saved a single dime, never gave money any thought whatsoever, spent every dime that came their way, and retired with double pensions and double social security

My parents did the same thing, and then one day realized.. shit... Wait a minute... Where's my pension???  And now they're playing catch-up, simply because their entire lives their role models were just spending freely and rolling in money.  Not just the financially illiterate, I'm talking about engineers and teachers, an entire cohort that started careers in the pension sunset era, none of them thought about it, and about 50% landed in pension companies like their parents and are fine, 50% landed in non-pension companies and got a slap in the face

I doubt we ever see another generation get retirement handed to them on a platter like the boomers

Upside for mustachians, you don't have to work 30 years to get a 401K

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 727
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2018, 12:23:02 PM »
I have a lot of sympathy for people whose medical expenses skyrocketed because their insurance rules changed, like the man whose Parkinson's meds went from $70 to $1000. That is out of their control, and usually they don't have options.

I have some sympathy for people who entered the workforce in a world of guaranteed pensions and got shifted to the world of IRAs and 401ks.  Yes, they could have made higher contributions, but I suspect the changes were not explained clearly, and I especially don't blame low-skill workers for lacking the financial sophistication to figure it out on their own.

I have a lot less sympathy for people who cosigned big student loans for their kids.

I have sympathy for those who are adversely impacted through no fault of their own, such as those with significant medical debt have traditionally been in this country.

I do, however, wish the myth of "everyone used to get a pension and so everyone assumed they'd get one" would die already. There were only a few years in this country's history where more than 50% of workers were covered by a pension. In almost all of our history, most workers have not been covered by a pension. That "golden age" where everyone worked for 1 employer and retired with a pension simply never existed.  Failing to save adequately has been a problem in this country since long before any of the people retiring today have been alive, and failing to address that properly in their lives isn't something I have much sympathy for.

magnet18

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 01:55:50 PM »

I do, however, wish the myth of "everyone used to get a pension and so everyone assumed they'd get one" would die already. There were only a few years in this country's history where more than 50% of workers were covered by a pension. In almost all of our history, most workers have not been covered by a pension. That "golden age" where everyone worked for 1 employer and retired with a pension simply never existed.  Failing to save adequately has been a problem in this country since long before any of the people retiring today have been alive, and failing to address that properly in their lives isn't something I have much sympathy for.
I agree that the people before them, my great grandparents and older, got no retirement assistance whatsoever aside from a bit of social security. 

But here is my anecdotal view on the golden generation of pensions
My side of the family
  Dads dad - factory machinist, pension
  Dads mom - telephone company, partial pension
                       - deliver mail, partial pension
  Moms dad - power plant, pension (and farm income)
  Moms mom - teacher, pension

My wifes side of the family
  Dads dad - factory, pension
  Dads mom - pension
  Moms dad - navy + police, pension
  Moms stepmom - police dispatch, pension
  Moms mom - teacher, pension
  Moms stepdad - engineering company, pension, retired in 50s

I don't know about you, but I see 10/10 that got pensions, including those that switched around, because partial pensions added up

So I can see how my parents lacked a proper financial role model

It's still a complainypants excuse, and they could sell their house move into an RV and retire today (that's my dream, for some reason they don't think it sounds like fun), and they bought an RV without the intent of moving into it (70s rv), so there's a lot of inefficiency still going on, but from their point of view, I see how it could be infuriatingly unfair feeling

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 727
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 02:01:50 PM »
See, you see evidence of 10/10 that had pensions, I see evidence of 10/millions... That's the problem with anecdotal evidence, it necessarily doesn't scale.

The objective evidence says most workers, most of the time, have not been covered by a pension of any sort.  With about 45% of employees having pension options in the early 1970's. Of course, that pensions didn't even exist until ~140 years ago is another part of that story too.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 02:07:59 PM by jlcnuke »

magnet18

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2018, 06:25:36 PM »
45% of private sector employees, that doesn't necessarily include government pensions, of which there are many (teachers, mailmen, police, etc.), or account for the fact that womens work was less likely to be offered a pension (secretaries, etc.)

If unpensioned were women just earning part time or secondary incomes (it was the 70s) that number could theoretically max at 90% of private sector households, or overlap with mixed private/public households to reach a much higher coverage rate

I'm just spitballing as devils advocate obviously, I didn't take the time to dig into their sources

Prairie Stash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1489
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2018, 08:23:13 AM »
45% of private sector employees, that doesn't necessarily include government pensions, of which there are many (teachers, mailmen, police, etc.), or account for the fact that womens work was less likely to be offered a pension (secretaries, etc.)

If unpensioned were women just earning part time or secondary incomes (it was the 70s) that number could theoretically max at 90% of private sector households, or overlap with mixed private/public households to reach a much higher coverage rate

I'm just spitballing as devils advocate obviously, I didn't take the time to dig into their sources
Now you're backing yourself into a corner. You had a terrible financial role model growing up; your parents. Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the desription you presented. However, even with the terrible model you're turning out fine. A complainypants will blame the situatution on everyone else; parents, the government, society etc.

You are the anecdote that disproves your parents, you can have a terrible role model and still turn out great.

magnet18

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2018, 08:34:56 AM »
45% of private sector employees, that doesn't necessarily include government pensions, of which there are many (teachers, mailmen, police, etc.), or account for the fact that womens work was less likely to be offered a pension (secretaries, etc.)

If unpensioned were women just earning part time or secondary incomes (it was the 70s) that number could theoretically max at 90% of private sector households, or overlap with mixed private/public households to reach a much higher coverage rate

I'm just spitballing as devils advocate obviously, I didn't take the time to dig into their sources
Now you're backing yourself into a corner. You had a terrible financial role model growing up; your parents. Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the desription you presented. However, even with the terrible model you're turning out fine. A complainypants will blame the situatution on everyone else; parents, the government, society etc.

You are the anecdote that disproves your parents, you can have a terrible role model and still turn out great.

I never said the pension thing isn't a complainypants excuse, my parents are full of complainypants excuses.  When they realized they weren't getting a pension, they shouldn'tve bought a new mustang, they should've started shoveling into retirement accounts ASAP

At this point I'm curious about the debate/data that says the the golden pension generation never existed, because as I said, from my anectotal standpoint, I don't know a single person in my grandparents generation not covered by some sort of pension.  Applying the 4% rule in reverse, even a few grand a year in pension income is the equivalent to saving hundreds of thousands, making pensions a fairly big deal.

Prairie Stash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1489
Re: Worthy of sympathy or complainypants?
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2018, 09:37:03 AM »
45% of private sector employees, that doesn't necessarily include government pensions, of which there are many (teachers, mailmen, police, etc.), or account for the fact that womens work was less likely to be offered a pension (secretaries, etc.)

If unpensioned were women just earning part time or secondary incomes (it was the 70s) that number could theoretically max at 90% of private sector households, or overlap with mixed private/public households to reach a much higher coverage rate

I'm just spitballing as devils advocate obviously, I didn't take the time to dig into their sources
Now you're backing yourself into a corner. You had a terrible financial role model growing up; your parents. Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the desription you presented. However, even with the terrible model you're turning out fine. A complainypants will blame the situatution on everyone else; parents, the government, society etc.

You are the anecdote that disproves your parents, you can have a terrible role model and still turn out great.

I never said the pension thing isn't a complainypants excuse, my parents are full of complainypants excuses.  When they realized they weren't getting a pension, they shouldn'tve bought a new mustang, they should've started shoveling into retirement accounts ASAP

At this point I'm curious about the debate/data that says the the golden pension generation never existed, because as I said, from my anectotal standpoint, I don't know a single person in my grandparents generation not covered by some sort of pension.  Applying the 4% rule in reverse, even a few grand a year in pension income is the equivalent to saving hundreds of thousands, making pensions a fairly big deal.
My grandfather (mother side) had a pension, his wife did not. My fathers parents did not. My step grandfather did not. Thats all anecdotes are worth, one person stating the opposite. JLCnuke already supplied the data...The main reason my grandparents did not have pensions is they were farmers, self employed. I'm thinking you're exagerating that you've never met a lifelong farmer, I'm from a slightly rural area and farmers are very common, I've never met anyone who had never met a farmer (that statement isn't worth much).

My father also is without a pension, he started a small business that failed. I'm pretty sure a lot of people started small businesses in the 70's and don't have pensions. Another classic, the small Mom and Pop restaurant, how many of them have pensions? In my city we also have independent taxi cab drivers, authors and other artists, lots of small businesses, lifelong home makers etc. lots of people without pensions that would not have had pensions in the 70's either. Surely you've met someone self employed at some point?

The rate of people without pensions, far exceeds the poverty rate among seniors in my area. While we do have CPP (Canadian SS) and other support programs it doesn't paint the picture that people were ignorant of finances in the 70's. Quite the contrary, people back then with the ability to save were doing so, now we have people with and without pensions enjoying their retirements.We also have people that never saved who express regret now, but a lot of people in the 70's were privately saving and provided good examples that could have been emulated.