Author Topic: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?  (Read 5861 times)

PoutineLover

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Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« on: March 20, 2018, 12:42:28 PM »
https://www.salon.com/2018/03/18/some-millennials-arent-saving-for-retirement-because-they-do-not-think-capitalism-will-exist-by-then/#.Wq6EwBDFv8U.facebook

Saw this article on my feed today. Thought it was kinda interesting. Personally, I am still saving for retirement, because I think the likelihood of needing that money and our system still existing in a similar form to today is pretty high. Although seeing the conflict between major countries, the impact of climate change and the automation of many jobs, it doesn't seem entirely implausible that our current capitalist society will fail in some major way. Are these millennials stupid or genius?

brute

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 12:45:41 PM »
Some of the so called greatest generation hid cash in mattresses and walls. So yeah, I think millennials are doing fine in general. I mean, at least they have a reason in mind to not be investing, unlike so many people in their 50s that I work with who have no savings and no idea why, where it went, or how to ever quit working.

Just Joe

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 02:09:30 PM »
Will be interesting to see if the Millennials can dream up something besides capitalism that works better. Lots of friction in society as we know it now. Won't change easily b/c people will protect their cash cows.

BJacks

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 08:57:57 AM »
Some of the so called greatest generation hid cash in mattresses and walls. So yeah, I think millennials are doing fine in general. I mean, at least they have a reason in mind to not be investing, unlike so many people in their 50s that I work with who have no savings and no idea why, where it went, or how to ever quit working.

My parents just told my grandparents that they needed to get all their cash out of their tinderbox hoard of a house. They apparently had 40k stashed away in various places. That they could find anyway.

I don't think the people in this article have a reason in mind - more like an excuse as to why they are being so foolish. "It's hard to save and maybe it will be pointless so why bother?"

Personally I'll stick with 'hope for the best plan for the worst'. I'm living a great life and will have no regrets even if all my saving is for naught.

Building a community is great but I would never bank on that as my long term plan for my personal retirement. In addition to, sure, but good grief people don't even want to take care of their own aging family members much less other people.

FINate

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 09:39:59 AM »
Reading the article, I see a group of young adults who've been protected from the harsh realities of the real world their entire life and are now struggling to make sense of it. Unrealistic expectations colliding with a reality without safe spaces. So instead of leaning into the challenge they are withdrawing.

It's the same mindset as super conservative folks who build bunkers in the wilderness and start militias. I know a few, in person initially, later online as they distanced themselves from civil society and went off the deep end. They latched on to what they thought was secret knowledge, they were in the know and everyone else was naive. I could sense their frustration when, after Y2K and later the financial crisis, society didn't melt down and instead recovered and even thrived. "Look at all these fools living life, enjoying themselves. Any day now they will all be sorry and I'll have the last laugh!!! Someday I will be validated!!!" It's a bizzaro world of desperately wanting things to get worse in the hopes of being better off than others in relative terms.

EDIT: To be clear, I don't think this is representative of Millennials as a whole. Every generation has its share of defeatists/fatalists.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 10:00:56 AM by FINate »

samsonator54321

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 10:22:57 AM »
I wish the author gave more details on their research that led them to their conclusion. Where did they look for their responses, and what percentage of millennial have this attitude?

Iíd be more inclined to believe someone of the likes of Warren Buffett who says that the kids born today are the luckiest ever and have a bright future, then a couple random tweets from some millennials who have given up (or are just lost and donít know what to do). 

It seems like the outcomes they expect fall in one of three categories:
1. Apocalypse. Well in this case everyone is screwed. Maybe your money you save can buy a couple last minute items before it really goes to shit, so still worth while. Also look back in history weíve gotten through a lot of bad events. Iím sure other generations also thought they were doomed.
2.  Utopia where nobody works.  Cool so I get universal basic income on top of my savings? Saving was still worth while.
3.  The rich rule.  Well, I would like to save so I can be rich and rule. I wonít be mean with my money but Iíll use it to protect those close to me.

I canít see a scenario where savings is not worthwhile.  I canít decide if this is just a standard group of people who are always doom and gloom in every generation, and millennials just have access to social media so their message is getting out more.  Or that they have totally fallen victim to the rat race and find that because of their mass consumption they canít get ahead so they are tricked by our marketing culture to spending all their money.


Prairie Stash

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 12:47:33 PM »
Reading the article, I see a group of young adults who've been protected from the harsh realities of the real world their entire life and are now struggling to make sense of it. Unrealistic expectations colliding with a reality without safe spaces. So instead of leaning into the challenge they are withdrawing.

It's the same mindset as super conservative folks who build bunkers in the wilderness and start militias. I know a few, in person initially, later online as they distanced themselves from civil society and went off the deep end. They latched on to what they thought was secret knowledge, they were in the know and everyone else was naive. I could sense their frustration when, after Y2K and later the financial crisis, society didn't melt down and instead recovered and even thrived. "Look at all these fools living life, enjoying themselves. Any day now they will all be sorry and I'll have the last laugh!!! Someday I will be validated!!!" It's a bizzaro world of desperately wanting things to get worse in the hopes of being better off than others in relative terms.

EDIT: To be clear, I don't think this is representative of Millennials as a whole. Every generation has its share of defeatists/fatalists.
I call it Hero Complex. Some people are desperate to be hero's to fill the hole in their lives. Usually the fantasy includes saving a few others who will look upon you with awe, what good is being the hero without hero worship! I find revenge is often interwoven into the narrative, like you said. I find these people fascinating, in the same way I look whenever I see a car wreck.

Anybody who truly believed the world is screwed should already be living in Alaska in bush country. Some few who truly believe it are already living their lives to coincide with their belief and aren't seen on Facebook looking for validation. They remain anonymous and don't seek out the praise and respect due to Hero's who predict the apocalypse. While I disagree with these people, they have no impact on anyone due to their anonymity. I don't accuse those of Hero Complex, the key part about Hero Complex is looking for validation and praise.

Does that adequatley describe the people you know? Taken too far I believe it's a mental illness, they may become unreasonable and withdrawn. In the case of millenials I think a lot just say stuff to try impressing people. Intellectual Peacocking, its often amusing in small doses but unbearable to listen to for long periods.

FINate

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2018, 09:50:41 AM »
A Hero Complex may play into it, though my guess is this is more common with urban preppers. Something more going on with the folks I know... unfulfilled need for respect that manifests as anger/frustration when their expectations for impending doom don't come to pass? Wanting to be right thereby validating their extreme choices, rather than wanting to be a hero. If anything I would classify their motivations as anti-hero in nature. To me it's just a bizarrely illogical way of thinking, to make such radical change now for the off chance of something vague maybe possibly happening in the future. It's a little like those who wreck their finances in order to avoid paying a small amount in taxes.

IMO, if you're going to live in the Alaskan bush then do it for the right reasons, do it because you love subsistence living, isolation, the extreme physical challenge, etc. Otherwise I think you're just going to make yourself miserable.

Millennials are not a monolithic bloc, so not sure what can be said in general. However, those specifically quoted in the article gave me a good chuckle. They don't think the system will survive in the future, and the key to survival (for one at least) is "group survival" yet there's no indication anywhere in the article that they are actually eschewing the system they believe will fail. How many of them are still ordering $12 avocado toast and $15 drinks? If you really believe this is the case, shouldn't you be extremely frugal, save every penny, and also focus your energies on your future survival group? Join a commune, work the ground, stop buying shit and wearing new clothes. At least the crazy people are congruent with their beliefs. So yeah, this appears to be a simple case of idle bitching, and wanting an excuse for not taking responsibility now.

Nicholas Carter

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2018, 07:16:47 AM »
If you really believe this is the case, shouldn't you be extremely frugal, save every penny, and also focus your energies on your future survival group? Join a commune, work the ground, stop buying shit and wearing new clothes. At least the crazy people are congruent with their beliefs.
So, I am one of those millennials who believes that an apocalypse is coming. I believe this because of all the other apocalypses that have happened in my lifetime. The apocalypse in the CCCP, the apocalypse in Kosovo, the apocalypse in Venezuela, the ongoing conga of apocalypses in the Middle East and North Africa. And I believe it's naive not to learn the lesson of all these apocalypses that have happened in other places, that it can happen here.
And from these apocalypses, this is the lesson. There are three traits that determine survival and success in an apocalyptic environment:
1. A practical knowledge of hand tools.
2. A self-sufficient, DIY mindset.
3. A social network of people willing to share their skills and knowledge freely with each other... perhaps some kind of urban tribe...
When you look at the disasters that have actually happened, instead of Hollywood predictions, prepping for an apocalypse is basically just being a Mustachian!* I figure these are the skills I will need, the attitude I will need, if SHTF. And if I'm wrong about an apocalypse happening where I live, then I'll just have to console myself with retiring over twenty years early :D
*(Can you imagine a better neighbor to have in the post-apocalypse than MMM?)

netskyblue

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 08:09:43 AM »
I'm very much the same as you, Nicholas.  I don't necessarily know that such a thing *will* happen in my lifetime, but it very much *could.*  No, it's not going to stop me from saving or planning from retirement.  But it's led me to learn useful life skills, and is a factor in why I want to buy a house on a decent plot of land, with a well, a garden, a cellar, etc. 

I'm not talking zombies in the streets apocalypse, but there's certainly the possibility of war (civil or foreign), stock market crashes, etc.  I do want to be able to eke out an independent living for myself if that happens.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2018, 01:17:18 PM »
My husband kind of believes this and he's in his 50s so definitely not a millennial.  If it weren't for me, he'd be living in a cardboard box in retirement eating cat food.

Just Joe

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 01:27:37 PM »
I'm older than both of you I guess and have made choices about where my family lives, how we live and our priorities in case of a economic collapse worse than '08. That is to say choices that should deliver stability until retirement. DW and I make a good living as professionals.

I'm not certain we will see a collapse any time soon (recession maybe, collapse no) but I want my family (our kids mostly) to be capable of taking care of themselves. The same skills can help them adapt to a more technology based automated economy. The current political situation also helps fuel my worries - the current bunch seem to be in DC more for partisan politics (big business) than governance.

The most important tool IMHO is cash. Not just money tied up in investments but cash. The opposite of debt. Nobody can take your house or things b/c they are 100% your's.

Any little job will be enough to keep the taxes paid, some food on the table and the power/water on - that is unless we were facing a Venezuela style economic collapse.

Next add in DIY skills, gardening, a good bicycle and fitness enough to use it, a small radius to jobs and markets, and some tools.

If we are talking about a complete collapse (i.e. postwar WWII Europe, unlikely) maybe a hunting rifle and lots of ammo for hunting though if everyone hunts the critter population will be wiped out in short order. For a mental exercise, how would my family function if suddenly dropped into 1900 middle America.

Be the guy that the neighbors call to help them with everything. I have neighbors that need help with simply DIY tasks but don't know where to start learning. Baby steps neighbor...
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 01:29:53 PM by Just Joe »

Ryo

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2018, 10:07:26 AM »
The people quoted in this article don't seem to understand that "socialism" is just another form of capitalism, where social welfare programs exist in order to play the important function of preventing revolution. It is still very much capitalism, and no one has (as of yet) come up with a viable alternative way to structure our economy and society.

These overly cynical millennials seem to think it's a dichotomy between free-for-all unbridled capitalism vs. commune living with no money. But no, there is a huge space in between those two extremes, and society is going to remain in that space.

When I hear this kind of talk IRL, I just say "you might be right, but having a backup plan is probably a smart play too, that can't hurt."

The_Dude

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2018, 10:25:37 AM »
Didn't read the article but some of the responses in this thread remind me of two things:

1 - "this time it's different" thinking

2 - What really happened in the 20th century and investors who hung on.  During the 20th century you saw massive technological change, two world wars where nearly every major country was fighting.  Western Europe was economically reduced to almost nothing.  There is nothing on the current horizon of armed conflict that compares.  The development of weapons capable of almost immediately destroying human civilization and two "super powers" constantly doing overt games of escalation.  We had major energy crises and the prediction of peak oil.  Also, the Great Depression where peak unemployment was 2.5x higher than the recent Great Recession.

Living up life now and consuming voraciously with zero savings because you think some sort of civilization ending Apocalypse is coming sounds like justification/rationalization rather than careful consideration to me.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 10:50:24 AM »
In the article some millennials are planning to end their existance at 50, instead of living to retirement. This is also a way to plan it.

I am also pretty comvinced that the future won't be pretty, considering climate change, increasing need for food, multiresistant bacteria, possible nuclear wars and a lot more. And we might see some societies collapse. I just hope that it won't happen for another couple of decades and I hope I'k be able to enjoy some years of retirement before SHTF.
That said, I am not planning for an acopolypse. Apart from that I want my future house to be near a source of fresh drinking water, in the vicinity of trees and near a place to catch fish. I support the idea of being good at DIY, which is a good life skill to have anyway.
My money is currently in my house and some is in a fund. I don't know any better places to put it. At apocalypse we'll have to improvise. If society is not falling apart and we'll get universal basic income, I hope to add that to my retirement income. I live in a socialist country, although not lead by typical socialists now, so it might actally be introduced here someday. But probably not anytime soon.

MgoSam

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2018, 11:07:04 AM »
The only thing the apocalypse will change is that after it I may regret not buying a Tesla and not flying first class everyone, and now having ate at the finest restaurants. And then I'll realize that I survived the apocalypse and that I have more pressing concerns, like finding potable water and a place to sleep.

BookLoverL

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2018, 05:35:04 AM »
I myself an a Millenial and I believe that the world is unlikely to look the same when I am old as it does now, though I don't think there will be a full-blown apocalypse and I don't think that money will suddenly not exist or anything. I'm a big fan of John Michael Greer's theory of catabolic collapse, i.e., a slower collapse that proceeds in stages.

HOWEVER.

I am still saving for (early) retirement, because: a) if everything does proceed as normal it will be helpful and frankly my own savings seem more likely to exist than government pensions; b) if I can ER in a low enough number of years then society probably won't have changed as much by that point, so I can still use my ER (or even part time semi-ER starting earlier) to enjoy the fruits of our civilisation before they go away; c) in the case that civilisation DOES start collapsing in such a way that money becomes useless, a frugal lifestyle, especially ERE-style, will have given me a much more useful skillset than consumerism and office life, so I'll still be in a better position than I would have been otherwise.

For point c), for instance, after I read Seneca (and MMM) on voluntary discomfort I started sleeping on a mat on the floor rather than a bed, which means I care much less about having access to a bed. My income isn't particularly high because I'm within the first year of self employment, which means that to get FIRE savings percentages I have to be creatively frugal rather than just spending less, which means I can use some of the same creative ideas in the collapse situation. Generally, in fact, being frugal at a level of less than £10,000 spending per adult earner per year, or even less still, is excellent for applying JMG's old tagline, "Collapse now and avoid the rush." So really, FIRE makes sense whether society collapses or not.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2018, 08:26:23 AM »
Doesn't every generation or so do this? The 60s/70s had a wave of communes and back to the earth type stuff.  Then we had lots of ruby ridge type stuff.  Plenty of stuff to fret about re: environment or the financial system mysteries, but now that we have invented the Zombie Apocalypse, its such a wonderful word to toss around!

thesis

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2018, 12:25:33 PM »
I think most people who expect the apocalypse don't work in lucrative fields or made major mistakes with money. I think it really does come down to choosing to believe everything will collapse to make themselves feel better about these decisions and mistakes. My gun-loving friends also want to justify their gun consumerism, but that's a slightly different topic....

Sure, the world will be different in the future, but every generations believes the apocalypse is going to happen and yet it never has (not that millions haven't died in the process...). Honestly, the thought is kind of exciting, right? Today we hardly struggle for anything so that thought of wandering the hills being badass enough to make it lights that fire in the human spirit that's been there since that way of life was normal. Could major inflation happen? Yeah, of course. But that's why having the cash that most FI people have will still help them be better off. Even more important: since most people who have achieved or are pursuing FIRE learn how to reduce their consumption levels and choose to be smart about resources, their outlook on life prepares them for the worst of situations. It's not just money we are after, it's intelligence and strategy and a deeper understand of how the world around us functions. That helps you no matter what.

And for the record, I don't understand why people are so obsessed with gun hoarding for the "apocalypse"...go take a course in negotiation or psychology, or learn how to get along with your neighbors =P

DS

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2018, 12:35:01 PM »
Yes it will.

Just Joe

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2018, 12:54:22 PM »
Doesn't every generation or so do this? The 60s/70s had a wave of communes and back to the earth type stuff.  Then we had lots of ruby ridge type stuff.  Plenty of stuff to fret about re: environment or the financial system mysteries, but now that we have invented the Zombie Apocalypse, its such a wonderful word to toss around!

Everything is a reboot - entertainment, philosophy, styles, etc. Something old enough could be re-monetized by someone and sold as a "new" idea. Sell it to the youth who don't have the memories old enough to recall the previous version. Works even better if you change the name up, change some details around and rebrand it a little.

Of course the internet and the libraries could be the tool that breaks this cycle if people wanted to study enough to be smarter than the latest "guru".
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 12:56:25 PM by Just Joe »

PizzaSteve

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2018, 12:58:32 PM »
Everything old is new again...most Americans dont save.  The excuses for why vary over time.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2018, 05:33:01 PM »
If you really believe this is the case, shouldn't you be extremely frugal, save every penny, and also focus your energies on your future survival group? Join a commune, work the ground, stop buying shit and wearing new clothes. At least the crazy people are congruent with their beliefs.
So, I am one of those millennials who believes that an apocalypse is coming. I believe this because of all the other apocalypses that have happened in my lifetime. The apocalypse in the CCCP, the apocalypse in Kosovo, the apocalypse in Venezuela, the ongoing conga of apocalypses in the Middle East and North Africa. And I believe it's naive not to learn the lesson of all these apocalypses that have happened in other places, that it can happen here.
And from these apocalypses, this is the lesson. There are three traits that determine survival and success in an apocalyptic environment:
1. A practical knowledge of hand tools.
2. A self-sufficient, DIY mindset.
3. A social network of people willing to share their skills and knowledge freely with each other... perhaps some kind of urban tribe...
When you look at the disasters that have actually happened, instead of Hollywood predictions, prepping for an apocalypse is basically just being a Mustachian!* I figure these are the skills I will need, the attitude I will need, if SHTF. And if I'm wrong about an apocalypse happening where I live, then I'll just have to console myself with retiring over twenty years early :D
*(Can you imagine a better neighbor to have in the post-apocalypse than MMM?)

I work with a guy who left Albania when the shit hit the fan. He was able to do that because he had education and savings. People with no money were stuck.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 06:18:17 PM by iowajes »

blinx7

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2018, 06:03:22 PM »
If you really believe this is the case, shouldn't you be extremely frugal, save every penny, and also focus your energies on your future survival group? Join a commune, work the ground, stop buying shit and wearing new clothes. At least the crazy people are congruent with their beliefs.
So, I am one of those millennials who believes that an apocalypse is coming. I believe this because of all the other apocalypses that have happened in my lifetime. The apocalypse in the CCCP, the apocalypse in Kosovo, the apocalypse in Venezuela, the ongoing conga of apocalypses in the Middle East and North Africa. And I believe it's naive not to learn the lesson of all these apocalypses that have happened in other places, that it can happen here.
And from these apocalypses, this is the lesson. There are three traits that determine survival and success in an apocalyptic environment:
1. A practical knowledge of hand tools.
2. A self-sufficient, DIY mindset.
3. A social network of people willing to share their skills and knowledge freely with each other... perhaps some kind of urban tribe...
When you look at the disasters that have actually happened, instead of Hollywood predictions, prepping for an apocalypse is basically just being a Mustachian!* I figure these are the skills I will need, the attitude I will need, if SHTF. And if I'm wrong about an apocalypse happening where I live, then I'll just have to console myself with retiring over twenty years early :D
*(Can you imagine a better neighbor to have in the post-apocalypse than MMM?)

I work with a guy who left Albania when the shit hit the fan. He was sent to do that because he had education and savings. People with no money were stuck.

Yep.  If I thought civilization were going to collapse, I'd save more, not less.

I suppose in that circumstance there is a case to be made for more hard assets (paid off house, vegetable garden, cans of foods) but I think the residual value of a big stock portfolio is still gonna be better than credit card debt.

BlueHouse

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2018, 04:19:47 PM »
Some of the so called greatest generation hid cash in mattresses and walls. So yeah, I think millennials are doing fine in general. I mean, at least they have a reason in mind to not be investing, unlike so many people in their 50s that I work with who have no savings and no idea why, where it went, or how to ever quit working.
I am 50 and I truly thought the world wouldn't exist in the future due to nuclear accidents, war, environmental factors, and other reasons.  Thankfully, I told my mom about my concerns when I was in 7th grade and she talked me down out of my anxiety.  Also convinced me that while there was a possibility that something beyond our control could happen, it's best to plan for the event that we're still here. 
I didn't exactly get smart about it until a few years ago, but at least much of the anxiety of the world ending was assuaged

DreamFIRE

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2018, 06:15:54 PM »
Are these millennials stupid or genius?

Stupid.  They are rationalizing because it gives them an excuse not to save so that they can enjoy immediate satisfaction.

Imma

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2018, 08:02:21 AM »
We're milennials (both late 80s)  and we've had this discussion so often with friends that we're really tired of it by now.

No one knows what the future will hold. I do sincerely believe that we are very lucky to be in this generation and not at a different time in history. No matter what people say about rising house prices, stagnant wages, etc, I still believe humanity is progressing and every generation has it better than the last one.

The friends that keep saying that "things cannot go on like this" are - at least in my environment - often from a higher class background than we are. While our families' situation has rapidly improved over the course of the last century - my ancestors 100 years ago were unskilled labourers and subsistance farmers that could not read or write, their lives were nasty, brutish and short - their families have seen a rapid decline. Their ancestors 100 years ago lived in much bigger houses than they do now, they had domestic staff, they had social standing etc.

These days, my friends have similar jobs as their ancestors had - lawyers, doctors, researchers at university - but there's a lot less status attached to it. They see pictures of the grand old family home back then and think "I could never afford that". They can't even afford their dad's McMansion. The job market is much more competative. You don't automatically get into universities and jobs because of who you are and who your daddy is. Educated professionals have become middle class. It's hard for them to come to terms with the fact that they might never be as well of as their parents are, not even when their parents contribute financially.

Personally, I believe this is a good development. While there's always a very small group of ultra-rich people, it seems more and more people are becoming middle class now. The gap between lower and higher classes is getting smaller and it is getting easier to bridge the gap. I'm sure disruptive things are going to happen in the future. Some of the disruption will have to do with climate change, some of it with technological innovation that we can't even predict right now. But mankind has survived the last, extremely disruptive century and capitalism seems stronger than ever. There's no doubt to me that capitalism will still exist in the future.

maizeman

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2018, 09:21:04 AM »
I think the idea you point out is an interesting one: that people whose parents were extremely well off are less likely to be able to match the lifestyle of their parents*, and hence more likely to think the world is headed in the wrong direction, while people whose parents started off much farther down the economic ladder are more likely to feel like a better lifestyle than their parents is achievable and hence that the world is continuing to become a better place to live in.

*Through reversion to the mean if nothing else.

The gap between lower and higher classes is getting smaller and it is getting easier to bridge the gap.

I was going to disagree with you about this point, then I saw your location was set to Europe, so it is quite possible we're simply seeing different trends.

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2018, 09:53:46 AM »
Doesn't every generation or so do this? The 60s/70s had a wave of communes and back to the earth type stuff.  Then we had lots of ruby ridge type stuff.  Plenty of stuff to fret about re: environment or the financial system mysteries, but now that we have invented the Zombie Apocalypse, its such a wonderful word to toss around!

Yes, they do.  At 49 years old I was a child of the 70's and heard how the environment was killing us (the ice age was dawning after all).  In the 80's Sting lamented that he sure hoped the Russians loved their children, too.  Remember all the TV movies about the impending nuclear destruction?  Approaching Y2K everyone got into their bunkers and backed up their 3.5" floppies.  And 2012's money was on the Mayan calendar calling the end of days.  Russia blows hot and cold, Iran will get the nuke, ISIS gets beat back for a while then resurfaces, NorK is going to blow us up.  Er, wait, mebbe not.   

Jobs change, that has been covered countless time.  Forget about buggy whips.  Telephone operators, travel agents...librarians?....fast food counter people?  But don't worry, there will be new stuff to do for a changing society.  I was piss-tested on a random pull last week for my safety-sensitive job.  It occurred to me how many, many people are employed because of the regulatory mandate to assure that critical work is not performed by those who are high.  That was not such an industry as in recent a time as the 80's.  And also, how many, many people are now employed in the legal production of marijuana?  How about the huge growth in the count of TSA agents?  App developers?  23-And-Me DNA handlers? 

Every young generation is stricken with the idea they are special, their time is unique in all of history and so are they.  After a while they figure out they are just a different slice of the onion and adaptations are made.  People cope.  I hope some of them put a few nickels aside.

Universal income?  They will means test you and you get nothing, so don't count on that, you evil rich person.  You will be required to report your wealth on your taxes annually, not just your income.  You will be monitored.  There will be redistribution of your wealth.

Given all the change, the inevitable change, I will remain content to row my own boat and save my money and live frugally.         

Imma

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2018, 10:47:59 AM »


The gap between lower and higher classes is getting smaller and it is getting easier to bridge the gap.

I was going to disagree with you about this point, then I saw your location was set to Europe, so it is quite possible we're simply seeing different trends.

Well, there is of course a group of ultra-rich people (and I don't really know how big that group is, because they're not really visible) that is getting richer all the time, but I feel that in my country, "middle class" has become the norm. Of course, it's a huge advantage if your family has money, but I feel that in my generation, the odds of lower class kids are a lot more fair than they used to be in my parents' generation. Not everyone will end up rich and succesful, but your chances are now more and more based on your own intelligence, skills and character than on your social background.

For my parents and their peers (working class kids, dads worked in factories) it was uncommon to continue their education after highschool, if you were lucky enough that your parents let you graduate and not pull you out of school at 15, which was the legal age where you could leave school. In my generation dropping out of highschool is extremely rare and the vast majority of people went to university or did a vocational course after high school. Minimum wage is not high, but you can keep a roof over your head, food on the table and your health insurance paid even if you work in fastfood or retail. Some things that used to be luxuries (clothes and shoes) are now so accessible that even the poorest people can afford more than they need. As the general quality of life has improved, the quality of life for the lowest incomes has also increased massively: my parents grew up in homes that barely had any heating and without bathrooms. These kind of living situations simply don't exist anymore in my country. 

Compared to the USA, the major difference is probably that our public education is good and accessible (private is legal, but there's not really a market for it) and advanced education is affordable for everyone, although it's more expensive now than 10 years ago. On top of that the housing stock and public traffic are of a decent quality, so even poor people can live in reasonable conditions and get around without a car.

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2018, 11:55:08 AM »
I work with a guy who left Albania when the shit hit the fan. He was sent to do that because he had education and savings. People with no money were stuck.
Yep.  If I thought civilization were going to collapse, I'd save more, not less.

Absolutely this.

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2018, 12:02:00 PM »
Yes, they do.  At 49 years old I was a child of the 70's and heard how the environment was killing us (the ice age was dawning after all).  In the 80's Sting lamented that he sure hoped the Russians loved their children, too.  Remember all the TV movies about the impending nuclear destruction?  Approaching Y2K everyone got into their bunkers and backed up their 3.5" floppies.  And 2012's money was on the Mayan calendar calling the end of days.  Russia blows hot and cold, Iran will get the nuke, ISIS gets beat back for a while then resurfaces, NorK is going to blow us up.  Er, wait, mebbe not.   

Jobs change, that has been covered countless time.  Forget about buggy whips.  Telephone operators, travel agents...librarians?....fast food counter people?  But don't worry, there will be new stuff to do for a changing society.  I was piss-tested on a random pull last week for my safety-sensitive job.  It occurred to me how many, many people are employed because of the regulatory mandate to assure that critical work is not performed by those who are high.  That was not such an industry as in recent a time as the 80's.  And also, how many, many people are now employed in the legal production of marijuana?  How about the huge growth in the count of TSA agents?  App developers?  23-And-Me DNA handlers? 

Every young generation is stricken with the idea they are special, their time is unique in all of history and so are they.  After a while they figure out they are just a different slice of the onion and adaptations are made.  People cope.  I hope some of them put a few nickels aside.

Universal income?  They will means test you and you get nothing, so don't count on that, you evil rich person.  You will be required to report your wealth on your taxes annually, not just your income.  You will be monitored.  There will be redistribution of your wealth.

Given all the change, the inevitable change, I will remain content to row my own boat and save my money and live frugally.         

Love this post @MissNancyPryor

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Will an apocalypse make retirement savings unnecessary?
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2018, 12:36:55 PM »
Hey, thanks!