Author Topic: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?  (Read 24662 times)

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« on: March 22, 2016, 06:43:34 AM »
This is a serious question.  I'm curious as to what happens to retirees who do not have a retirement plan.  I started thinking about this when I noticed an elderly man bagging groceries at the grocery store I frequent. 

Do they qualify for medicaid?  What if they were low income earners who do not get large social security checks?  How do they eat?  Pay for housing?  Utilities, etc?

Drifterrider

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 07:21:57 AM »
This is a serious question.  I'm curious as to what happens to retirees who do not have a retirement plan.  I started thinking about this when I noticed an elderly man bagging groceries at the grocery store I frequent. 

Do they qualify for medicaid?  What if they were low income earners who do not get large social security checks?  How do they eat?  Pay for housing?  Utilities, etc?

That's called "working" not "retired".

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 07:51:21 AM »
This is a serious question.  I'm curious as to what happens to retirees who do not have a retirement plan.  I started thinking about this when I noticed an elderly man bagging groceries at the grocery store I frequent. 

Do they qualify for medicaid?  What if they were low income earners who do not get large social security checks?  How do they eat?  Pay for housing?  Utilities, etc?

That's called "working" not "retired".

not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 08:10:46 AM »
They struggle. We are supporting my mother. She worked crappy, intermittent, low wage jobs with no benefits or health care during her working years. She entered her 60s with no assets, no house, some credit card debt, and a car on the verge of collapse. This a really common situation...the 'working poor'.

After about 20 years of her slowly getting in deeper trouble (closer to the edge) and us having to provide periodic cash bailouts for things like car repairs, medical issues, etc., we finally set her up and started helping support her in a more controlled and consistent (though much more costly) way. (This was our choice at that time, otherwise she would have started relying on welfare programs had we not done that). She thankfully qualified for half her ex husband's benefit in SS (half of his was larger than ALL of hers). So now, we provide about half her support, and she lives on $1300/month SS. Amazingly, that income and no assets was still not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in our state. So, after Medicare part B is taken out of her SS check, she has about 950$ per month.

For people in this situation, the options aren't great. They can continue to work (if they are physically able and if they will find someone to hire them...ageism is pretty rampant), but if the job is very low paying, they might give themselves just enough income to where they are still poor as hell but  less likely to qualify for any state help. If we were not supporting my mother with housing and a car, she would be classified as poor enough to qualify for SOME assistance in terms of a discount on her Medicare part B payment, discounted utilities, low income housing that would take about 1/3 of whatever income she has. There are waiting lists for some of these programs, so the people in this position have to investigate and plan so as not to get in very deep trouble.

I suspect as more Boomers retire, it will become more widely noted, reported, discussed, how common this situation is.

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2016, 08:17:15 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Giro

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 604
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 08:25:28 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.


little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 08:30:16 AM »
Family members and/or medicare, social security, and other govt programs support them. My grandmother ran out of funds a few years before she died. Medicare paid for her nursing home care, and she got a really small SS check each month that was originally part of my deceased grandfather's benefit. Her son (my dad) had to pick up any extra bills etc. She was lucky, my family got her into a really nice facility where they did a great job. Many are not so lucky and end up in dangerous govt/subsidized housing if they are still physically able, or poor quality nursing homes. Many poor elderly just live off SS and whatever subsidies the govt provides them. If you don't have family to help fill in the gaps, life is extremely difficult.
In fairness to people like my grandparents, many of them grew up in a time when life expectancy was lower, and very few people lived in nursing facilities/assisted living/institutions for years before death. The idea that they could lose all their savings because they need to be in a nursing home that costs $10k/mo just wasn't part of their savings plan. Also, many women did not work and therefore didn't get any SS benefits. So even if a couple did save a bit, I don't think they really understood the scale of the costs associated with their own care decades later and that 100k, or even 200k was just not going to cut it.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 08:38:02 AM by little_brown_dog »

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 08:40:07 AM »
Family members and/or medicare, social security, and other govt programs support them. My grandmother ran out of funds a few years before she died. Medicare paid for her nursing home care, and she got a really small SS check each month that was originally part of my deceased grandfather's benefit. Her son (my dad) had to pick up any extra bills etc. She was lucky, my family got her into a really nice facility where they did a great job. Many are not so lucky and end up in dangerous govt/subsidized housing if they are still physically able, or poor quality nursing homes. Many poor elderly just live off SS and whatever subsidies the govt provides them. If you don't have family to help fill in the gaps, life is extremely difficult.

MediCAID actually paid for her nursing home, unless she was only in the home for a few months following some hospitalization. Medicare is the federal coverage that everyone gets, but many people don't realize that Medicare does not cover long term care/nursing home coverage (except for brief periods following hospitalization/for rehab). It also does not cover dental (which is something that people need to plan for as they age). 

Nursing home care is paid for out of pocket until you are totally impoverished, at which point Medicaid, which programs are federally subsidized, but state-run and therefore variable in coverage and quality from state to state, kicks in and pays.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 08:56:39 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.

I honestly don't think I have any friends who are poor.   I don't think I need to be vilified for it.

I know people who make $60k income with 3 or 4 kids and they do alright.  I also know people who make 6 figures but live paycheck to paycheck because of bad financial decisions.  I know of some relatives of friends of friends who are most likely poor, but I'm not going to email them and ask, "so how do you make ends meat?" 

We live on 6 acres on the outskirts of a small rural town.  There are trailer parks but I don't know anyone who lives there.  I don't go to church so I don't know if there is a food pantry, I'll find out but as of right now I don't know.  Most of our friends are either remote workers (like us) or accountants, insurance office owners, etc and have financial goals similar to ours.

My parents were blue collar.  My dad worked maintenance and construction and ended up retiring with almost a million dollars in assets (which we never knew he had until recently).  My SO's father was the same except he was a high school teacher for 30 years.  Several of my extended family are retired military so they get lifelong VA benefits including pension.  Others I haven't talked to in a couple of decades, so I don't know. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 09:01:07 AM by MrsDinero »

Elle 8

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 157
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 09:16:20 AM »
I have an elderly relative who was labeled 'slow' growing up (this was the 40's, I think today she'd have been given special ed and been fine).  She lived with her parents her whole life, taking care of them when they got older, but not having a 'real' job.  When they both died, she was helped by relatives getting a job at a local bakery (minimum wage, I'm sure) and set up in her own apartment, subsidized by money left by her parents.  She then qualified and got into subsidized housing, paying 30% of her income for rent. She put in her 40 quarters (10 years) and as soon as eligible, quit the job and began collecting SS.  She's now in her mid seventies and doing fine.  She doesn't have a car and rarely goes shopping (other than groceries).  She seems happy.

I don't know what she would have done if she didn't have family support to help her get the job and apartment, and help her apply for the housing.  She probably would have been referred to a social services agency for help, but without an advocate, who knows how that would have ended up.  Also, I don't know what she did for health insurance before qualifying for Medicare.  In any event she's been healthy without any major health issues so far (knock on wood).

Giro

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 604
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 09:19:04 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.

I honestly don't think I have any friends who are poor.   I don't think I need to be vilified for it.

I know people who make $60k income with 3 or 4 kids and they do alright.  I also know people who make 6 figures but live paycheck to paycheck because of bad financial decisions.  I know of some relatives of friends of friends who are most likely poor, but I'm not going to email them and ask, "so how do you make ends meat?" 

We live on 6 acres on the outskirts of a small rural town.  There are trailer parks but I don't know anyone who lives there.  I don't go to church so I don't know if there is a food pantry, I'll find out but as of right now I don't know.  Most of our friends are either remote workers (like us) or accountants, insurance office owners, etc and have financial goals similar to ours.

My parents were blue collar.  My dad worked maintenance and construction and ended up retiring with almost a million dollars in assets (which we never knew he had until recently).  My SO's father was the same except he was a high school teacher for 30 years.  Several of my extended family are retired military so they get lifelong VA benefits including pension.  Others I haven't talked to in a couple of decades, so I don't know.

Now I'm intrigued.  Do you study politics at all?  Federal, state or local budgets?  What do you do for a living?  Do you do your own taxes? 

I'm interested in knowing how you've never really learned about subsidies and things that are income-based like Medicaid and food stamps. 






rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1402
  • Location: Midwest
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2016, 09:26:47 AM »
If you are poor and unable to work, it's pretty bleak. But it can also be rough if you make just barely enough to get by, paycheck to paycheck, and can't save anything or very little. I have heard many people say they will be working until they die; they probably will. Sometimes this is due to factors completely out of their control, so I try to be compassionate, but it is difficult to think about.

Medicare only covers so much, so they may go without needed medications. They may resort to visiting the ER for minor ailments because they can't be turned away.

They may qualify for subsidized housing (but in my city there is a closed waiting list for this, though, the list is so long and not enough affordable housing options). Sometimes there are programs to help people with utilities, too--in my state (Minnesota), your heat can't be shut off during the winter, even if you don't pay, so there's that.

Food stamps (Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program--SNAP), and food shelves for additional food.

Debt; reverse mortgages, credit cards, etc.

Relying on family or church assistance.

Homelessness.

The risk factor for suicide goes up for the age 65-75 age group.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2016, 09:37:34 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.

I honestly don't think I have any friends who are poor.   I don't think I need to be vilified for it.

I know people who make $60k income with 3 or 4 kids and they do alright.  I also know people who make 6 figures but live paycheck to paycheck because of bad financial decisions.  I know of some relatives of friends of friends who are most likely poor, but I'm not going to email them and ask, "so how do you make ends meat?" 

We live on 6 acres on the outskirts of a small rural town.  There are trailer parks but I don't know anyone who lives there.  I don't go to church so I don't know if there is a food pantry, I'll find out but as of right now I don't know.  Most of our friends are either remote workers (like us) or accountants, insurance office owners, etc and have financial goals similar to ours.

My parents were blue collar.  My dad worked maintenance and construction and ended up retiring with almost a million dollars in assets (which we never knew he had until recently).  My SO's father was the same except he was a high school teacher for 30 years.  Several of my extended family are retired military so they get lifelong VA benefits including pension.  Others I haven't talked to in a couple of decades, so I don't know.

Now I'm intrigued.  Do you study politics at all?  Federal, state or local budgets?  What do you do for a living?  Do you do your own taxes? 

I'm interested in knowing how you've never really learned about subsidies and things that are income-based like Medicaid and food stamps.

To be fair to the OP, it would be pretty easy (if you didn't know some poor or working poor people well) to get fairly far in adult life and only know about these programs in a vague or generalized sort of way. My father came from an upper middle class background, was well educated, etc., and was convinced that there were literally no hungry or homeless people in the U.S. who didn't 'deserve it'. This was partly willful blindness, but mostly it was because he never knew anyone in that situation.

A lot of people don't understand the specifics of the safety net until they or a close friend or family member needs to navigate it. The maternal side of my family were blue collar workers and they never had much money, but I never thought about the practical implications of how they were making it until they began to age out of work and need health care assistance. Then the bleakness of the scenario became much more clear to me.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 09:45:17 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.

I honestly don't think I have any friends who are poor.   I don't think I need to be vilified for it.

I know people who make $60k income with 3 or 4 kids and they do alright.  I also know people who make 6 figures but live paycheck to paycheck because of bad financial decisions.  I know of some relatives of friends of friends who are most likely poor, but I'm not going to email them and ask, "so how do you make ends meat?" 

We live on 6 acres on the outskirts of a small rural town.  There are trailer parks but I don't know anyone who lives there.  I don't go to church so I don't know if there is a food pantry, I'll find out but as of right now I don't know.  Most of our friends are either remote workers (like us) or accountants, insurance office owners, etc and have financial goals similar to ours.

My parents were blue collar.  My dad worked maintenance and construction and ended up retiring with almost a million dollars in assets (which we never knew he had until recently).  My SO's father was the same except he was a high school teacher for 30 years.  Several of my extended family are retired military so they get lifelong VA benefits including pension.  Others I haven't talked to in a couple of decades, so I don't know.

Now I'm intrigued.  Do you study politics at all?  Federal, state or local budgets?  What do you do for a living?  Do you do your own taxes? 

I'm interested in knowing how you've never really learned about subsidies and things that are income-based like Medicaid and food stamps.

I know about the existence of a lot of the programs, but I don't know how they work.  I don't know the qualifications. Is it enough for the elderly to live on?  I don't know what happens to people who no longer have families to rely on? What do they do if it is not enough to live on?  Do they just go hungry or live on the streets?  If they end up on the streets does that open them up to more programs or does it shut them out (because they no longer have addresses)?

I don't think that people who don't plan, deserve whatever they get.  I think as humans we have an obligation to help those who cannot help themselves.


MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 09:49:04 AM »
If you are poor and unable to work, it's pretty bleak. But it can also be rough if you make just barely enough to get by, paycheck to paycheck, and can't save anything or very little. I have heard many people say they will be working until they die; they probably will. Sometimes this is due to factors completely out of their control, so I try to be compassionate, but it is difficult to think about.

Medicare only covers so much, so they may go without needed medications. They may resort to visiting the ER for minor ailments because they can't be turned away.

They may qualify for subsidized housing (but in my city there is a closed waiting list for this, though, the list is so long and not enough affordable housing options). Sometimes there are programs to help people with utilities, too--in my state (Minnesota), your heat can't be shut off during the winter, even if you don't pay, so there's that.

Food stamps (Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program--SNAP), and food shelves for additional food.

Debt; reverse mortgages, credit cards, etc.

Relying on family or church assistance.

Homelessness.

The risk factor for suicide goes up for the age 65-75 age group.

Thanks. This is more of what I was looking for.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2016, 09:52:34 AM »
This is a serious question.  I'm curious as to what happens to retirees who do not have a retirement plan.  I started thinking about this when I noticed an elderly man bagging groceries at the grocery store I frequent. 

Do they qualify for medicaid?  What if they were low income earners who do not get large social security checks?  How do they eat?  Pay for housing?  Utilities, etc?
Well...

My dad worked until after 60.  He was very frugal (always).  House paid off.  Divorced.  He got a very small social security check, an even smaller pension check ($150 a month?)  He worked "under the table" occasionally for friends (driving truck).  He lived *very* simply - and got by.  He lived alone until he died, and thankfully, went fast.  His memory was starting to go, and he was getting to be a danger behind the wheel (he died at 81).

My spouse's grandparents moved out of their home into a home near their son.  They had some savings and some social security.  When grandpa had a stroke, he and his wife went into a home.  I want to say they were in their 80s.  Grandpa didn't live too terribly long after that.  Grandma was in the home until age 96, when she died.  Her memory was pretty much gone the last 5 years.  They didn't have much in the way of assets.  The home was state-run, and terribly depressing.  It's what you get, covered by the state, once you've spent down your assets.

I don't have much more in the way of personal experience with older people.  The retired people I know (friends and relatives) either:
1.  Are good with money and have a proper retirement plan (parents, 2 sisters, some coworkers)
2.  Have always been poor so are really frugal and can get by that way

yyc-phil

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1041
  • Location: Yellowknife NWT
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2016, 09:53:27 AM »
Your question is very legitimate and you should not be reprimanded for asking. In fact, most people faced with poverty do not know where to start, as it is not something you learn in school. They eventually find out the hard way by knocking on all doors. I am in Canada, and although my financial knowledge is above average, I still have a lot of questions about health/dental care, social security, government pension, old age security and guaranteed income supplement amounts, and other aid programs for folks over 65.

Altons Bobs

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2016, 09:55:12 AM »
It depends on how resources they are.  One of my dd's classmates' parent told me that her in laws lived with them, worked very little or did not work, and they did not save anything, and got all types of government assistance - free food, free medical care, free everything. She tells me that her husband sees his parents like that, and he wants to spend everything he makes today so he can get everything free from the government when he hits 65. She's frustrated, but she says she agrees with him that there's no point to save any money when they can get everything free from the government.  Thanks to us who pay for them I guess.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2016, 09:58:53 AM »
Quote
A lot of people don't understand the specifics of the safety net until they or a close friend or family member needs to navigate it. The maternal side of my family were blue collar workers and they never had much money, but I never thought about the practical implications of how they were making it until they began to age out of work and need health care assistance. Then the bleakness of the scenario became much more clear to me.

Also, my family was working class poor/ blue collar growing up.  And my parents would NEVER have gone on food stamps.  They were too proud to go on food stamps, or to take any kind of handout.  Paying the doctor bill came before cable TV - that sort of thing.  (I had to have a couple of surgeries when I was 12, one of them a serious one with a 2 week hospital stay.  Cost $6000 in the 80's, when that was half of my dad's gross pay for the year.  My parents paid that off at $100 a month.)

So many people don't really know how to navigate it because it would never occur to them - those programs are for "other people".

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2016, 09:59:14 AM »
Quote
not helpful.  I wasn't talking about this specific person, I was asking in general.  maybe no one on here knows.

No offense, but that's sounds like a real ivory-tower, out of touch with reality response.  Does your city have a government housing?  Does your city have a trailer park? Ever pass by a church advertising a food pantry?  Or watch the news about people getting heat shut off in winter? Or that program in the summer that hands out fans/air conditioners?

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Yes, I thought it seemed a bit out of touch as well.  I thought everyone knew at least someone who is poor regardless of age.  The elderly living in poverty lives the same way any person living in poverty lives. The only real difference is that instead of kids being their biggest expense, it's usually health care.

True.

And poverty -I mean real poverty- starting out in adult life, presumably a person's prime earning years, exists on a massive scale.

Among Millennials (or Snake People, whatever) ages 18-34 not enrolled in school, 40% earn less than $10,000 a year.  If they were old & drawing SS that would equate to $833/mo. or less. Except they have to work for it.

There are about 70 million American people in that age bracket, so ~28 million young adults are somehow making it at cat-food levels of prosperity.

I guess they can all man-up and push thru coding bootcamp to make the problem go away.  But then so can the old people, nicht wahr?

Source:  U. S. Census Bureau via:

http://fusion.net/story/41833/wealth-gap-calculator-are-you-in-the-millennial-one-percent/

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2016, 10:03:51 AM »
This is an area of particular interest also because of the very large percentage of people (regularly reported on via different academic and financial-institution studies) that have very few or no retirement assets. Families are getting smaller (fewer kids to help share the burden of care), real median wages have been flat for several decades, pensions (though never particularly plentiful) are less and less common, and people are living longer (though not necessarily better or healthier) and more are ending up requiring nursing home assistance. It is a very tough problem, from a societal standpoint. Most of our national budget currently goes to 2 things: support programs for the elderly (SS/Medicare)/extremely poor people, esp those with kids (Medicaid); and defense. And yet, the looming bulge of low income Boomers hasn't even been absorbed into the system yet.

If one were to start an academic career, this is a really interesting (if depressing) area for research and experimental program tweaking, IMO.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2016, 04:16:55 PM »
I was a social worker for awhile and recently had to navigate programs for good friends of ours where the husband was dying of cancer and she had Alzheimer's. If you have some $ to pay for yourself in a facility the majority will not throw you out once you run out of $ and have to apply for medicaid. I had a rich and poor Grandma that both ended up in the same nursing home and it was nice. There are Meals on Wheels, senior housing, low income housing, SSI for poor and disabled that don't qualify for SSDI, food stamps, food pantries at many different locations, etc. In some places the wait is long for low income and senior housing and others it is not. They can be very nice.  If you take advantage of all the services most old people could live on their SS alone. No they won't be taking trips and going to expensive restaurants but they should be fine.  Local senior centers often offer a free lunch M-F with other programs, activities, etc. The problem is being able to navigate the system to get what you need. Often older people need an advocate or don't know about what services they could receive.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2016, 04:17:51 PM »
Social security makes up the largest source of retirement income for the majority of seniors, if I recall correctly. That is the retirement plan for most Americans.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2016, 04:27:28 PM »
Yes you are correct. But if that is all they have they will need other programs/services to survive.  A couple with a decent SS each may be able to make it without services.

LadyMaWhiskers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
  • Location: SF Bay, peninsula
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2016, 04:54:47 PM »
Not much new to add here: as poor people get older, they stand a good chance to get poorer. SS isn't much money, and if you've been scraping by, you may or may not continue to do so.

A while back I posted about someone who was living with me and doing some babysitting in exchange for housing. This was an eye-opening experience for me, because I saw the complications of general poverty complicated by age. She is an artist. I know tons of artists, and she was doing many of the same things (cleaning houses as a "day job" kind of thing) that artists do, but being nearly 60 made it much harder. She'd get sick and miss a week's wages and it was devastating to her finances. She had a backlog of dental care she wanted, but couldn't put together the funds for. She was seemingly operating at about 60% capacity in terms of the cleaning day job, because it's exhausting, physical work. She ended up moving out because she felt overwhelmed by the commitment she'd made to me. She's still cleaning houses, and now couch-surfing. That's a euphemism for homelessness...this basically spiraled from the death of her husband in his 50s, hardly a 1/1,000,000 event. But with blue collar jobs (and admittedly poor money management) this event led to eventual homelessness.

As for programs, she's got Medicaid, and could probably get food stamps (but wouldn't) and would qualify for subsidized housing, but it's such along shot to find.

bobechs

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1068
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2016, 05:09:12 PM »
Yes you are correct. But if that is all they have they will need other programs/services to survive.  A couple with a decent SS each may be able to make it without services.

SSA says the average retirement benefit they are paying out is just a couple of bux under $1300/mo.  For a single, or worse yet, a left-behind non-breadwinner spouse, (see how inconvenient banning use of the word 'widow' on ideological grounds is to un-wordy writing?) that's only $15,600/yr before taxes.

Presumably, about half get even less than that.

That's more than poor millennials make, but sketch out a budget based on that and see how far it gets you.

A couple, each drawing the average, certainly does better; quite a bit more than MMM himself claims is necessary to support an exploding volcano of luxury for three, but that's a controversy in itself.  One I'm not getting into.

Source:  https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

goatmom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2016, 05:25:53 PM »
lMy mom gets my dad's social security.  No savings.  She lives with a sibling and we all chip in for full time care when the sibling is at work.
Not sure if she could get medicaid as she sibling she lives with has a decent income.  Family doesn't want to go that route. Medicare is pretty good and even at 91 doesn't have any major health issues.  But, she would have a hard time paying for all the depends adult diapers and ensure drinks on her measly less than 1,000 monthly.  Plus hearing aid batteries..  The hearing aids cost 3,000 out of pocket.  Dentures? There are a lot of hidden expenses to being a little old lady.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2016, 05:43:56 PM »
Lady: when your friend is 60 she can get her husband's SS since he is dead. A friend of mine did this.  Some places don't have long waiting lists for senior housing so she should check it out. Also if a land lord agrees she can feed her own apartment and then  qualify for a voucher from the government to pay part of her rent. There are many resources that she should start looking into.  Many landlords take them because then they know they are getting their rent.

LadyMaWhiskers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
  • Location: SF Bay, peninsula
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2016, 06:01:20 PM »
Lady: when your friend is 60 she can get her husband's SS since he is dead. A friend of mine did this.  Some places don't have long waiting lists for senior housing so she should check it out. Also if a land lord agrees she can feed her own apartment and then  qualify for a voucher from the government to pay part of her rent. There are many resources that she should start looking into.  Many landlords take them because then they know they are getting their rent.

Is that right? I thought it was 62. Her plan is to move to Mexico and live off SS, when she's old enough, so maybe that's sooner than I thought.

We are in the Bay Area, and section8 lists are loooong. Senior housing is on the table for sure. Obviously the high CoL hurts, but all her friends are here, hence the couch-surfing.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2016, 06:15:01 PM »
Yes she can claim her husband's at 60 if he is dead. My friend did this.   Have her look into the voucher program to help with rent.  I think basically the landlord agrees to take what the government is willing to pay.  The incentive for the landlord is that they are guaranteed the rent.

Classical_Liberal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
  • Age: 43
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2016, 09:37:15 PM »
This is an area of particular interest also because of the very large percentage of people (regularly reported on via different academic and financial-institution studies) that have very few or no retirement assets. Families are getting smaller (fewer kids to help share the burden of care), real median wages have been flat for several decades, pensions (though never particularly plentiful) are less and less common, and people are living longer (though not necessarily better or healthier) and more are ending up requiring nursing home assistance. It is a very tough problem, from a societal standpoint. Most of our national budget currently goes to 2 things: support programs for the elderly (SS/Medicare)/extremely poor people, esp those with kids (Medicaid); and defense. And yet, the looming bulge of low income Boomers hasn't even been absorbed into the system yet.

If one were to start an academic career, this is a really interesting (if depressing) area for research and experimental program tweaking, IMO.

This is a very good point.  I think the U.S. will need to have some serious conversations about how to fund the medical care of our aging population in the next 10-20 years. 

I was a social worker for awhile and recently had to navigate programs for good friends of ours where the husband was dying of cancer and she had Alzheimer's. If you have some $ to pay for yourself in a facility the majority will not throw you out once you run out of $ and have to apply for medicaid. I had a rich and poor Grandma that both ended up in the same nursing home and it was nice.

Working in the medical field I see this type of thing often.  Basically, nursing home care is the final tax on middle class wealth.  If someone lives to the point of requiring this type of care (remember a person has to be in a dire mental or medical situation to need this high level care*), their remaining wealth with be taken to pay for the care until it's gone.  Then medicaid will kick in and they will basically be in the same situation, but with the gov't funding the care.  Unless someone is seriously concerned about leaving money/assets after death, from a FIRE perspective I really wouldn't worry about long term care payments. Medical care before a nursing home is definitely something to consider though.

* Realize that someone who can no longer cook, clean or bath herself, but can stand up with the help of electric chair and have mobility with a scooter would not require nursing home care, this is assisted living or home health. Just an example to show how low functioning someone really needs to be to require nursing home care.

http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=564139

stat's on long term care

VAR

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2016, 09:48:39 PM »
My mother had a retirement plan, it just wasn't properly diversified. She worked decent paying jobs most of her life and had money put away. Unfortunately for her, she worked in finance all her career. So she had 401ks filled with stock from finance companies. Then 2008 happened. She lost her job in her late 50s. Nobody would hire her. Her retirement fund lost over 1/2 it's value. She then started to draw out $ early to just get by.
It has been very depressing for her. When all the finance jobs dried up  - she had no shot at all as a 57-60 yr old.
She took early SS as soon as she could but that barely covers the most basic things for her. She's still paying minimum payments on the credit cards she used to live on before SS triggered. She won't declare bankruptcy on principle and at 29% interest she will never do more than pay the minimums on her cards. She's also trying to pay her back taxes from several years ago when she had no $$ at all to do anything! It's a mess.
She had to move in with an even more elderly lady who needed a helper when house repairs were beyond her means. Then that older lady died. So she moved in with another....who also got sicker and died. I think both had cancer.

SS has been a lifesaver for her. But she still has a back log of health problems and especially dental issues from the approx 5 years from the crisis until her SS began. She takes odd jobs when she can but she's had a lot of health problems and I think the stress of the whole thing has really hurt her physically and mentally.

I do what I can for her but with her refusal to go bankrupt - it makes it very hard to make any progress. She also doesn't want any assistance from a food pantry or other community services.

By the River

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 170
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2016, 07:25:06 AM »
My dad did not have a retirement plan.  He would work for a company for a few years until he couldn't put up with managers or the rules or whatever and start off on his own (truck driver/welder).  That would last until he got a good offer from a company and start the process again.  Thus, no pension.

He remarried 25 years ago after my mom died.  Now, at 80, dad and his wife live in a 1200 foot brick house that's 45 years old but mortgage free on a couple of acres in a LCOL area.  All of our gifts to them are restaurant and store gift cards, my sister pays someone to cut the grass weekly, his stepson brings him venison and fish throughout the year and he has a small garden.  Thus their social security only has to pay for the medicare/medicaid co-pays, the utilities, books from the used book stores and other small items.  It's not an extravagant lifestyle but they appear to be happy. 

Giro

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 604
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2016, 07:33:38 AM »
There are a lot of lessons in this thread.  My grandmother is still kicking and a pretty wise, old woman.  She transferred all of her assets to her family a few years ago just in case she needed to go into a retirement home.  She watched her father's entire estate get eaten up by a retirement home.  Her family uses those assets to provide when she needs it, but she never really needs it.  She lives very frugally on her very tiny pension and SS check.  I know it's less than $15k annually.  Her pension is only $4800 a year and she worked for that company for 35 years.  :/ 

She loves her life and is very happy to have sold her home when her spouse died and moved to a smaller home within walking distance of most of her family. 

We all need to plan for when we are seniors and all of the alternatives that could happen.

golden1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Location: MA
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2016, 07:42:26 AM »
My mother is one of those.  She is currently living hand to mouth on a combination of an inheritance from her mother who died a few years ago and SS disability.  She is 66 now and has medicare but no supplemental that I am aware of.  This is enough for her to live, but she really doesn't do much or go anywhere. 

Honestly, it befuddles me how she saved nothing for retirement.  She always worked, and not only that, she worked in hospitals as a med tech, then became a supervisor at Beth Israel Hospital, and had a government job for 10 years after that.  How on earth she doesn't have any pensions or 401Ks from those jobs is beyond me, but she claims she has nothing. 

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2016, 07:55:26 AM »
There are a lot of lessons in this thread.  My grandmother is still kicking and a pretty wise, old woman. She transferred all of her assets to her family a few years ago just in case she needed to go into a retirement home. She watched her father's entire estate get eaten up by a retirement home.  Her family uses those assets to provide when she needs it, but she never really needs it.  She lives very frugally on her very tiny pension and SS check.  I know it's less than $15k annually.  Her pension is only $4800 a year and she worked for that company for 35 years.  :/ 

She loves her life and is very happy to have sold her home when her spouse died and moved to a smaller home within walking distance of most of her family. 

We all need to plan for when we are seniors and all of the alternatives that could happen.

This is a technically legal strategy, though it can be challenging to implement. You have to REALLY be sure your family is trustworthy and keep the equivalent of the principal value available for use during the 5 year clawback period, because if the gifter needs Medicaid within that 5 years, the state will refuse coverage for the period of time that would have been paid/covered by the gifted assets.

Referencing my earlier post, this is one of the first strategies that I suspect will be targeted by the government as the country's financial burdens related to seniors rise. I suspect they will start to further tighten loopholes that allow people to protect wealth. This particular strategy has already been targeted at least once (the clawback period used to be shorter or possibly nonexistent).
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 03:08:04 PM by wenchsenior »

Giro

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 604
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2016, 09:24:42 AM »
There are a lot of lessons in this thread.  My grandmother is still kicking and a pretty wise, old woman. She transferred all of her assets to her family a few years ago just in case she needed to go into a retirement home. She watched her father's entire estate get eaten up by a retirement home.  Her family uses those assets to provide when she needs it, but she never really needs it.  She lives very frugally on her very tiny pension and SS check.  I know it's less than $15k annually.  Her pension is only $4800 a year and she worked for that company for 35 years.  :/ 

She loves her life and is very happy to have sold her home when her spouse died and moved to a smaller home within walking distance of most of her family. 

We all need to plan for when we are seniors and all of the alternatives that could happen.

This is a technically legal strategy, though it can be challenging to implement. You have to REALLY be sure your family is trustworthy and keep the equivalent of the principle value available for use during the 5 year clawback period, because if the gifter needs Medicaid within that 5 years, the state will refuse coverage for the period of time that would have been paid/covered by the gifted assets.

Referencing my earlier post, this is one of the first strategies that I suspect will be targeted by the government as the country's financial burdens related to seniors rise. I suspect they will start to further tighten loopholes that allow people to protect wealth. This particular strategy has already been targeted at least once (the clawback period used to be shorter or possibly nonexistent).

agree.  My grandmother only has two sons so it was a rather easy thing for her to do.  Our family is small and quite close.  A large family that is spread out with children that are not as trustworthy would make this much more difficult.  But, it takes planning and knowing the law.


MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2016, 09:56:24 AM »
Thanks everyone for the replies and information.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2016, 02:18:15 PM »
There are a lot of lessons in this thread.  My grandmother is still kicking and a pretty wise, old woman. She transferred all of her assets to her family a few years ago just in case she needed to go into a retirement home. She watched her father's entire estate get eaten up by a retirement home.  Her family uses those assets to provide when she needs it, but she never really needs it.  She lives very frugally on her very tiny pension and SS check.  I know it's less than $15k annually.  Her pension is only $4800 a year and she worked for that company for 35 years.  :/ 

She loves her life and is very happy to have sold her home when her spouse died and moved to a smaller home within walking distance of most of her family. 

We all need to plan for when we are seniors and all of the alternatives that could happen.

This is a technically legal strategy, though it can be challenging to implement. You have to REALLY be sure your family is trustworthy and keep the equivalent of the principle value available for use during the 5 year clawback period, because if the gifter needs Medicaid within that 5 years, the state will refuse coverage for the period of time that would have been paid/covered by the gifted assets.

Referencing my earlier post, this is one of the first strategies that I suspect will be targeted by the government as the country's financial burdens related to seniors rise. I suspect they will start to further tighten loopholes that allow people to protect wealth. This particular strategy has already been targeted at least once (the clawback period used to be shorter or possibly nonexistent).

agree.  My grandmother only has two sons so it was a rather easy thing for her to do.  Our family is small and quite close.  A large family that is spread out with children that are not as trustworthy would make this much more difficult.  But, it takes planning and knowing the law.
When ever I read about this it makes me ponder whether it's really ethical, though.

I mean, I realize that it is legal.  But ethical?  My spouse's grandparents did something similar, though their assets were pretty small (one relatively cheap house and a little bit of cash).
I understand that the desire is to pass down your savings and estate to children and grandchildren, that you worked very hard to accumulate.

But, is it ethical to take money from the state for your care when you can technically pay for your own care?  All this redistribution of wealth discussions that happen in politics... I don't necessarily think that it is fair to expect taxpayers to put you up in a home for 15 years when you are sitting on $300,000.

Now, of course there is the conundrum that you can have two people with the same income their entire lives, and one blows it all and the other saves, is it fair that one gets the retirement home paid for and not the other? 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2016, 02:19:48 PM »
Not much new to add here: as poor people get older, they stand a good chance to get poorer. SS isn't much money, and if you've been scraping by, you may or may not continue to do so.

A while back I posted about someone who was living with me and doing some babysitting in exchange for housing. This was an eye-opening experience for me, because I saw the complications of general poverty complicated by age. She is an artist. I know tons of artists, and she was doing many of the same things (cleaning houses as a "day job" kind of thing) that artists do, but being nearly 60 made it much harder. She'd get sick and miss a week's wages and it was devastating to her finances. She had a backlog of dental care she wanted, but couldn't put together the funds for. She was seemingly operating at about 60% capacity in terms of the cleaning day job, because it's exhausting, physical work. She ended up moving out because she felt overwhelmed by the commitment she'd made to me. She's still cleaning houses, and now couch-surfing. That's a euphemism for homelessness...this basically spiraled from the death of her husband in his 50s, hardly a 1/1,000,000 event. But with blue collar jobs (and admittedly poor money management) this event led to eventual homelessness.

As for programs, she's got Medicaid, and could probably get food stamps (but wouldn't) and would qualify for subsidized housing, but it's such along shot to find.
This makes me sad.  But as someone with a large # of family members who were blue collar - I see it.  My BIL's body started breaking down from the repetitive lifting in his 40s.  After age 50, he really couldn't work anymore.  With his hands anyway.  He's tried to take on slightly easier physical labor jobs, but they still hurt his body.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2016, 02:33:54 PM »
Some of these stories are so very sad. I hope the family member that stole got prosecuted.  I think they should look back forever so people can't shelter their estates. My one Grandma had to pay her own way because she had the $ and their was nothing left for kids to inherit which I think was fine.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2016, 03:10:21 PM »
There are a lot of lessons in this thread.  My grandmother is still kicking and a pretty wise, old woman. She transferred all of her assets to her family a few years ago just in case she needed to go into a retirement home. She watched her father's entire estate get eaten up by a retirement home.  Her family uses those assets to provide when she needs it, but she never really needs it.  She lives very frugally on her very tiny pension and SS check.  I know it's less than $15k annually.  Her pension is only $4800 a year and she worked for that company for 35 years.  :/ 

She loves her life and is very happy to have sold her home when her spouse died and moved to a smaller home within walking distance of most of her family. 

We all need to plan for when we are seniors and all of the alternatives that could happen.

This is a technically legal strategy, though it can be challenging to implement. You have to REALLY be sure your family is trustworthy and keep the equivalent of the principle value available for use during the 5 year clawback period, because if the gifter needs Medicaid within that 5 years, the state will refuse coverage for the period of time that would have been paid/covered by the gifted assets.

Referencing my earlier post, this is one of the first strategies that I suspect will be targeted by the government as the country's financial burdens related to seniors rise. I suspect they will start to further tighten loopholes that allow people to protect wealth. This particular strategy has already been targeted at least once (the clawback period used to be shorter or possibly nonexistent).

agree.  My grandmother only has two sons so it was a rather easy thing for her to do.  Our family is small and quite close.  A large family that is spread out with children that are not as trustworthy would make this much more difficult.  But, it takes planning and knowing the law.
When ever I read about this it makes me ponder whether it's really ethical, though.

I mean, I realize that it is legal.  But ethical?  My spouse's grandparents did something similar, though their assets were pretty small (one relatively cheap house and a little bit of cash).
I understand that the desire is to pass down your savings and estate to children and grandchildren, that you worked very hard to accumulate.

But, is it ethical to take money from the state for your care when you can technically pay for your own care?  All this redistribution of wealth discussions that happen in politics... I don't necessarily think that it is fair to expect taxpayers to put you up in a home for 15 years when you are sitting on $300,000.

Now, of course there is the conundrum that you can have two people with the same income their entire lives, and one blows it all and the other saves, is it fair that one gets the retirement home paid for and not the other?


Is the extravagant cost of elder care ethical?



Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2016, 05:46:46 PM »
I am not sure if they are cheating people or if it really costs that much to run those facilities.

Classical_Liberal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
  • Age: 43
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2016, 06:57:02 PM »
I am not sure if they are cheating people or if it really costs that much to run those facilities.

I'm not a nursing home expert, but I do work in the medical field. My anecdotal experience is that they tend to run very lean.  However, as with all medical care in the US, private payers generally pay a premium for services.  This is because Medicaid/Medicare will only pay X amount.  Total costs tend to be X+1, so all govt funded patients are cared for (in totality, some cost more than others) at a small loss.  As a result, private pay patients have to pay X+1+profit margin to make up the difference.  Also, nursing homes can receive more gov't funding when residents have more comorbidities.  So its industry standard to make sure that the patients are diagnosed with every possible condition they may have.

This statement may seem cold to some, but i think it is appropriate given the topic.  I believe part of the reason for the increasing cost of medical care in the country is a direct result of large portions of our society not personally helping care for their aging parents/grandparents.  This is, of course, a rather new development in society.  This is true, not so much because of the cost of outsourcing the care, but more because people no longer have daily interaction with their elders to see the quality of life they lead.  Often times when an elder gets sick with say pneumonia, it can become life threatening very quickly.  Family "A" who sees grandma daily will know that she hasn't left her chair in 6 months and no longer remembers her name on most days, often screaming in fear every time someone enters the room to bath her.  Family "B" last visited grandma on Christmas when she "looked so happy".  Family "B" is generally much more likely to make the decision to aggressively treat a life threatening disease to gain a few more months.  I don't mean this to be judgmental, it simply is, and its probably one of the things we as a society need to address.   

stlbrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 430
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2016, 07:43:29 PM »
Ex's parents took out a reverse mortgage on their million dollar house in cape cod.

They drive to starbucks every morning

goatmom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2016, 07:46:33 PM »
I don't know how extravagant the care is that our elderly get.  We pay the ladies that care for my mother $20 an hour.  That works out to close to a thousand a week.  It means mom is cared for and fed and bathed.  It would be more but family members are there at night and on weekends to care for her.

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #46 on: March 23, 2016, 09:31:48 PM »
I think this is a legitimate question. I used to work at the social services office and saw first hand the saddest cases of poverty. I also have a roommate who is in her upper 50s and has no retirement savings. I think about those people I used to work with and worry about what will happen to her. She makes a decent living most of the time around 50K (when she's not on unemployment from getting laid off, which seems to happen every couple of years since the 2008 bubble), but is rather a spendypants, always getting new clothes each year, keeping up with certain trendy things, etc. We've spoken here and there about it, but as with many people in my life, trying to "share the gospel" about taking care of your retirement seems to be something she doesn't really want to take the time to understand, so I don't push it. She's mentioned she and her other older friends talk about this sometimes and how none of them have any retirement savings. She doesn't think she'll get much social security because a large portion of her working years were spent working under the table for photographers and designers. I really worry sometimes about what life will be like for her in a few years...she has some family, but no kids or spouse, just a sister, a niece and a nephew.

I hate to think of my friend being in that welfare line. I wish retirement issues were made more plain to the public and got more press somehow. How can we all go through school and life and not know about these things? Only those of us lucky enough to happen onto a blog like MMM seem to know what is going on...seems like a massive tragedy!

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2016, 09:30:08 AM »
I am not sure if they are cheating people or if it really costs that much to run those facilities.


This statement may seem cold to some, but i think it is appropriate given the topic.  I believe part of the reason for the increasing cost of medical care in the country is a direct result of large portions of our society not personally helping care for their aging parents/grandparents.  This is, of course, a rather new development in society.  This is true, not so much because of the cost of outsourcing the care, but more because people no longer have daily interaction with their elders to see the quality of life they lead. 

That DOES seem a likely contributor to rising costs. And it is a logical outcome of modernity, if you think about it. Though the cost of most consumer goods has dropped a lot since the beginning of the industrial era, costs of the Big 3 (housing, education, health care) have risen fast enough to outrun the savings in consumables. At the same time, median real wages flattened beginning in the 70s/80s. For a few decades, people didn't feel the pinch that much because marriage was still the norm (that's changed; now I think the U.S. has more single than married people and age of first marriage keeps rising), and most households therefore had one home-maker spouse who could join the workforce. HOWEVER, entry of home-makers into the job market meant that they were then not available to do elder care, childcare, volunteerism, etc.

The job market shifted to be globalized and service-oriented. Blue collar jobs no longer paid as well. The best paying white-collar jobs often require (1) expensive education; (2) mobility and sometimes multiple job changes. This in turn caused a reduction in (1) marriage, (2) number of offspring, (3) and the tendency to settle in a job, buy a house, and stay in one community for much of one's adult life (benefits of which had been establishing a predictable set of housing expenses, encouraging accumulation of home equity, and encouraging saving).  Instead, the median family has now became (1) smaller, (2) less stably employed, (3) relatively less financially stable, and (4) more scattered geographically. 

It's like a self perpetuating spiral, that results in basic destabilization and, pertinent to this discussion, smaller or nonexistent local supports for aging family members. It's no wonder the industries of nursing homes, child care services, home cleaners, landscapers, etc.,  developed to fill the gaps.

Another related point:

Several people in this thread have recommended giving aging parents time instead of money. In theory, this is probably a good idea in most cases. But many people now live great distances from parents and, therefore, rarely see them in person. These distances require vacation time from work and expensive plane tickets in order to visit.  In my own family (on both sides), you can see the trend: beginning with my great grandparents, each generation has had fewer kids and proportionally more of each generation has moved far away, usually because of schooling or job opportunities. Consider my 2 sisters and me: 1 of us is still in the town where we grew up and is within 4 hours' drive of quite a few relatives. However, the other 2  ended up 1,000 miles away in opposite directions across the country.

In order to effectively manage our mother's situation,  I had to uproot her and move her far away from her life-long home and the bulk of the older family members. Thankfully, she cooperated. But that's a good thing possibly only from my perspective, since her move created more of a burden on HER sisters (who remained in the area) to care for THEIR aging mother! Family tensions resulted, and quite honestly, relationships have never been as good since.

Now, our father is currently in deep trouble (physically and mentally) for a variety of reasons that don't matter for purposes of my point. He is not safe to live alone, and he has gone from a net worth of nearly 2 million to less than 700K in 3 years. We are extremely worried about the longevity of his money, his physical safety, and the safety of those around him. But my point is this: How effectively, really, can I handle that situation from 1,000 miles away while working multiple jobs with erratic schedules?

Answer: I can't. One of my sisters has very little money and lives 1,000 miles in the other direction; she can do almost nothing. Therefore it falls on the sister who still lives in the same state to handle this as well as she can. In addition to 1 full time job and 1 part time job, she now has to handle constant calls and requests for help from our unstable father. She is spending many weekends driving 4 hours upstate in an old beater car; burning up vacation, sick, and leave time; reducing her own income; etc., just to meet with lawyers, doctors, etc.,  in an attempt to even STABILIZE the situation. And she actually works in social services and understands the system! She's totally exhausted and her life is currently entirely consumed by this situation.

This is a perfect example of why we need care facilities: because modern society no longer supports/allows most people to keep their own life, marriage, job, finances, etc., stable and functioning, while also spending a lot of time actively caring for aging parents. It's just a terrible dilemma, and I don't see that society figuring a way out of it any time soon.
 

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2016, 10:26:09 AM »
I am not sure if they are cheating people or if it really costs that much to run those facilities.

I'm not a nursing home expert, but I do work in the medical field. My anecdotal experience is that they tend to run very lean.  However, as with all medical care in the US, private payers generally pay a premium for services.  This is because Medicaid/Medicare will only pay X amount.  Total costs tend to be X+1, so all govt funded patients are cared for (in totality, some cost more than others) at a small loss.  As a result, private pay patients have to pay X+1+profit margin to make up the difference.  Also, nursing homes can receive more gov't funding when residents have more comorbidities.  So its industry standard to make sure that the patients are diagnosed with every possible condition they may have.

This statement may seem cold to some, but i think it is appropriate given the topic.  I believe part of the reason for the increasing cost of medical care in the country is a direct result of large portions of our society not personally helping care for their aging parents/grandparents.  This is, of course, a rather new development in society.  This is true, not so much because of the cost of outsourcing the care, but more because people no longer have daily interaction with their elders to see the quality of life they lead.  Often times when an elder gets sick with say pneumonia, it can become life threatening very quickly.  Family "A" who sees grandma daily will know that she hasn't left her chair in 6 months and no longer remembers her name on most days, often screaming in fear every time someone enters the room to bath her.  Family "B" last visited grandma on Christmas when she "looked so happy".  Family "B" is generally much more likely to make the decision to aggressively treat a life threatening disease to gain a few more months.  I don't mean this to be judgmental, it simply is, and its probably one of the things we as a society need to address.   

This is probably accurate. Actually it is not uncommon in the Western/Industrialized world to view death as the worst. thing. ever. because we literally have never seen anything worse. Unless they are in a medical field or exposed to violence in their neighborhood or family, many American adults have never actually witnessed a death (we get the sad phone call instead). So even if someone is 85, has lived a good life, and will probably only have at most a few (disabled) months left, many of us cannot fathom just letting nature take its course. So we pump them full of pills, treatments, put them under the knife, send them to numerous PT sessions, etc. To do anything else seems cruel- like we are giving up on the person. But I think a huge part of that is just that so few of us have ever had to deal with death on a regular basis, as was common even just 75 years ago. People like me, who have lived cushy middle class lives, cannot fathom that death when someone is 80,85, 90 years old is not a bad or terrible thing. Bad and terrible is constantly submitting an elderly person to repeated interventions that will cause pain, increased disability, and deteriorating quality of life in their last few months rather than just making them comfortable and letting them enjoy it as much as possible.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 10:31:16 AM by little_brown_dog »

mbl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2016, 10:47:50 AM »

In general, that's what happens to those people.

Well some of "those people" have families that they can live with.
Some live in special housing.
Some are veterans and if they're income is low enough they can get health care, eyeglasses, shoes  and some other things at the VA.
As was mentioned,  soup kitchens, food pantries,  Meals on Wheels and other community charities.

My FIL had to sell his home to pay off debt.
He ended up living with the son whose debt that actually was.
They took care of him until he died.
He left this world with exactly what he entered it with....nothing, yet he had a good family and great life.