Author Topic: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?  (Read 24664 times)

Drifterrider

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1119
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2016, 11:21:11 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.

Why would you ask this forum about the "they" that you see working?  We don't know "them", you do.

If you are asking how poor people get buy, the same way they always have:  sometimes barely.

wtp1020

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2016, 12:29:56 PM »
Retirees without a retirement plan? Perhaps they live like my parents. Work until age 75 or so and now only receive SS. Then continually re-mortgage their home which includes rolling in a new car purchase. The rest they charge to their credit cards.

They don't cut back or reduce spending in any category. Wait - I take that back, they bought a 30k new car even though they want and deserve a high end Mercedes. From outward appearances most people wouldn't know they put a grand total of $0.00 away for retirement, no pensions either.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2016, 01:02:19 PM »
When my Dad had multiple huge medical issues that reduced his quality of life to really shitty he had a DNR order & was only 59. He did live until 73 and the medical professionals would try to talk us into authorizing surgeries, etc to prolong his life when he wanted to die for 14 years.  I am the guardian for a close friend of mine whose hubby just died and she has Alzheimer's. She has battled cancer 7 times and won before the dementia. Her cancer just came back and I am not treating it. Her quality of life is shitty and she has no family left. We are using hospice instead. I think there is a time to admit defeat-we are all going to die. I had to put her in a home in Oct and had to put her an hour away to get a decent place that she could afford. In our town it was put her in a dump because that is all she could afford.  Now as she gets worse the cost may go up to what she can't afford but because she went in self-paying at first they will not throw her out but will wait for Medicaid to kick in.  But we have to drive an hour each way so don't see her as often as we would if she was in town.  I lived by my parents during my Dad's illness and helped. Then moved away for a job and when my Mom needed help thankfully my 2 older siblings were driving distance and retired so could help a lot.  I also used all my vacation and sick leave to go for weeks at a time to help too.  Expensive plane tickets and no vacations for a number of years.

DebtFreeBy25

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Appalachian and...tolerating it
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2016, 02:30:38 PM »
When my Dad had multiple huge medical issues that reduced his quality of life to really shitty he had a DNR order & was only 59. He did live until 73 and the medical professionals would try to talk us into authorizing surgeries, etc to prolong his life when he wanted to die for 14 years.  I am the guardian for a close friend of mine whose hubby just died and she has Alzheimer's. She has battled cancer 7 times and won before the dementia. Her cancer just came back and I am not treating it. Her quality of life is shitty and she has no family left. We are using hospice instead. I think there is a time to admit defeat-we are all going to die. I had to put her in a home in Oct and had to put her an hour away to get a decent place that she could afford. In our town it was put her in a dump because that is all she could afford.  Now as she gets worse the cost may go up to what she can't afford but because she went in self-paying at first they will not throw her out but will wait for Medicaid to kick in.  But we have to drive an hour each way so don't see her as often as we would if she was in town.  I lived by my parents during my Dad's illness and helped. Then moved away for a job and when my Mom needed help thankfully my 2 older siblings were driving distance and retired so could help a lot.  I also used all my vacation and sick leave to go for weeks at a time to help too.  Expensive plane tickets and no vacations for a number of years.

Very sorry to hear about your situation. End of life issues are typically very stressful.

I wanted to make a related point in regards to the high cost of end of life care. Voluntary euthanasia needs to be a choice in this country. Unfortunately under the current laws, many people spend the last several years of their lives receiving extremely expensive and ultimately fruitless care. I understand that there are euthanasia like options once someone is receiving hospice care and that an individual can choose to forgo treatment, but those shouldn't be the only options. No one should be forced to continue living because the state feels that it has a vested interest in our lives. I'm expecting the typical responses about a person can always choose to end their life, but unfortunately that's not always true. Even if it was, people who are suffering deserve better options.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2124
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2016, 02:57:58 PM »
My 82 year old mother in law has almost zero savings, lives on approx. $800 per month social security, and gets by fine. 
She lives in government subsidized senior housing where rent is based on income, pays something like $150 per month rent plus maybe another $100 per month for internet, TV and utilities.   All medical issues are covered by medicare, and thus far she's in pretty good health.   Eats, buys car insurance and gas for her car with what's left.

The kids bought her a car, take her out to lunch pretty regular and give her a few bucks at Christmas, for birthday, etc.

She was pretty lucky to get such nice housing. 
It's not as easy in other communities, and in many cases these facilities are pretty run down and occupied by some real scum.

So the short answer is ........ the taxpayers take care of you.







Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2016, 03:01:18 PM »
Hospice care is a great choice for people not pursuing treatment at the end of life.  Some people are so disabled that they can't end their lives. Often times cancer patients take too much morphine and it suppresses their breathing so they die sooner too.  Or sometimes their family members give them a little too much. Hospice workers see this kind of stuff all the time. I think with time you will see more states adopt assisted suicide.  Also a lot of senior housing is very nice. It is different then low income housing for everyone. Also the wait lists are usually shorter too.

FiguringItOut

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 744
  • Location: NYC
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2016, 03:25:13 PM »
I know someone like that.  It's not pretty.

He's is turning 71 in couple month.  Had variety of jobs through out life.  Went through two divorces.  The second one was finalized earlier this year.  Was homeless for few years in early 2000's and lived in his car. 

Now at 70, he lives on SS.  I think that is about $1800/mo.  Does a bunch of odd jobs to pick up extra cash; looks after an older couple (couple is in mid to late 70s, but in much worse health than he is), does handyman type jobs, cleans snow in the winter (he has a showell for his truck, so he does long driveways, some small private roads, and some business fronts). 

He's covered by VA medical, but I have no idea what that entails.  I know he was in VA hospital about 2 years ago, and I know he has no cash/savings to pay for medical care, so I assume that was covered by his VA medical benefits.

Now that his second divorce is finally resolved, he got about $14K out of his ex's 401K and a time share in Vegas.  The time share is for a New Year week, supposed to be very fancy/expensive and supposed to give him ability to rent or trade it for other locations.  But, Las Vegas is on the side of the country and he's not likely to be there, or anywhere for that matter in foreseeable future.  No other savings that I know of.

All in all, he manages.  It helps that he's in a relatively good health and has a very positive attitude and outlook on life.  He rents a small apartment from the couple he takes care of.  It's a tiny 1 bedroom not in the best of shape, but it has all amenities, basic as they are.  The money he earns from the couple for driving them around and such is what he uses to pay them back in rent. 

Before that he lived in a really crappy 1-room basement apartment for over a year.  I was happy when he finally moved from there as it was truly depressing - no windows, bed was taking basically all of the living space, the owner was constantly in his business, etc..

He has no plans on what to do with timeshare, so for now he's planning to just pay annual maintenance fee on it.  I mentioned selling it, but he won't hear of it. 

At this point, it looks like as long as he can manage on SS he should be fine on day to day basis.  He does enjoy life as much as he can.  Always in a good mood.  Always smiling.  Dating a lot.  And generally living.

I have no idea what would happen if something serious medically comes up or if he needs long term care.  I don't know if he would be covered through VA or not. 

He has a two grown children, daughter and son.  As far as I know he hasn't see his son in years and he sees his daughter about once per year.  There is absolutely no help that he gets from them. Not sure if he has any other relatives, but I know he doesn't get any help from anybody.














Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2016, 03:29:07 PM »
I had a friend that got all his medical care for free including nursing home through the VA. No expert on this but I think the amount of free care etc you get might be based on if you served during combat, etc. Military members on here would know.

powskier

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 366
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #58 on: March 24, 2016, 03:46:26 PM »
I have a few who are tenants. They pay their rent with the majority of soc sec check. Get by on very little, borrow from friends or family for any kind of emergency. It looks tough. Many of "those people" are great people just no financial education to start with.
I can't imagine how horrendous it was before social security was a thing. Or how horrendous it will be if social security keeps getting underfunded.
Images of a post apocalypse zombie movies come to mind

meghan88

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 702
  • Location: Montreal
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2016, 03:53:42 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.   

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.

+1
This makes a great case for assisted suicide, which is happily making inroads in Canada.  It still faces a few legal challenges though.  I personally think it's a wonderful thing to have available.  Having made the ecological choice to not procreate, and as a female who will likely outlive my SO who's the same age, I truly hope for a massive life-ending coronary while out on a run at age eighty-or-ninety-something.  If that doesn't happen, I still wouldn't want to be a burden on anyone, or on the state.

Death for me is certainly not the. worst. thing. ever.  Having someone else change my nappies would be way worse.

The threat of lawsuits is another reason for outrageous healthcare costs.  It's expensive to implement best practices and controls, and then monitor them.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #60 on: March 24, 2016, 04:52:25 PM »
He had terminal, rare cancer caused by agent orange so I guess that is why he got it for free. He also had some other service related disabilities but still was able to work until the cancer got too bad.  My Dad was also WW II vet with small service related disability and he also qualified for free VA nursing home but this was back in the early 90's but died a few days in.

Peter Parker

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #61 on: March 24, 2016, 07:59:12 PM »
Quote
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.

You said it well. Perhaps the cat is out of the bag, but it would be great to get back to point where a family could do well on a one-income, well-paid blue collar job like my mother and father had...

It would allow us to raise our own children (and not day care) and have the time for our aging parents.  Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in now....
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 08:04:17 PM by Peter Parker »

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #62 on: March 24, 2016, 08:48:29 PM »
The word family and other words related to family (sibling, brother, sister, son, etc.) are mentioned throughout this thread.

My own selfish concerns surround someone like me...with very very very little family...1 sibling on the other side of the world, my mom and my cousin...that's about it.  No aunts or uncles (that I have relationships with) or spouse or children.  I don't like to envision what life would look like for me should I reach 60, 70 or 80 and need almost 'any' type of assistance.

EconDiva

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #63 on: March 24, 2016, 08:51:45 PM »
When my Dad had multiple huge medical issues that reduced his quality of life to really shitty he had a DNR order & was only 59. He did live until 73 and the medical professionals would try to talk us into authorizing surgeries, etc to prolong his life when he wanted to die for 14 years.  I am the guardian for a close friend of mine whose hubby just died and she has Alzheimer's. She has battled cancer 7 times and won before the dementia. Her cancer just came back and I am not treating it. Her quality of life is shitty and she has no family left. We are using hospice instead. I think there is a time to admit defeat-we are all going to die. I had to put her in a home in Oct and had to put her an hour away to get a decent place that she could afford. In our town it was put her in a dump because that is all she could afford.  Now as she gets worse the cost may go up to what she can't afford but because she went in self-paying at first they will not throw her out but will wait for Medicaid to kick in.  But we have to drive an hour each way so don't see her as often as we would if she was in town.  I lived by my parents during my Dad's illness and helped. Then moved away for a job and when my Mom needed help thankfully my 2 older siblings were driving distance and retired so could help a lot.  I also used all my vacation and sick leave to go for weeks at a time to help too.  Expensive plane tickets and no vacations for a number of years.

Not to pity you but man, I am so sorry to hear of these very unfortunate circumstances. 

Are there any points of wisdom....do's/dont's...tips of advise you (or others in this thread) care to offer/share when dealing with such circumstances?

expatartist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2016, 11:11:44 PM »
The word family and other words related to family (sibling, brother, sister, son, etc.) are mentioned throughout this thread.

My own selfish concerns surround someone like me...with very very very little family...1 sibling on the other side of the world, my mom and my cousin...that's about it.  No aunts or uncles (that I have relationships with) or spouse or children.  I don't like to envision what life would look like for me should I reach 60, 70 or 80 and need almost 'any' type of assistance.

This is what I'm wrestling with now. DH and I are child-free, and may divorce in a year or two. Even if we stay together, statistically I'm likely to be alone eventually. Though I have a growing handful of nieces and nephews, we live continents apart and there's no way I'd expect anything from them.

Squirrel away

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1042
  • Location: United Kingdom
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #65 on: March 25, 2016, 05:06:38 AM »
My mother in law is retired and receives a state pension (UK) which is about £150 a week. She lives in a council house and her son lives with her so she gets more money through him to pay their household bills etc...

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #66 on: March 25, 2016, 08:13:16 AM »
The word family and other words related to family (sibling, brother, sister, son, etc.) are mentioned throughout this thread.

My own selfish concerns surround someone like me...with very very very little family...1 sibling on the other side of the world, my mom and my cousin...that's about it.  No aunts or uncles (that I have relationships with) or spouse or children.  I don't like to envision what life would look like for me should I reach 60, 70 or 80 and need almost 'any' type of assistance.

This is what I'm wrestling with now. DH and I are child-free, and may divorce in a year or two. Even if we stay together, statistically I'm likely to be alone eventually. Though I have a growing handful of nieces and nephews, we live continents apart and there's no way I'd expect anything from them.

Same choice to have no kids. My sisters likewise. There's a few cousins in the next generation, but I don't know them well and they live far away. If I outlive my husband (he's older) and one or more sisters are alive, I will move to be where they are. But the youngest is only ten years younger than I, and we will likely all need help within a few years of each other. We will have to think very pragmatically about setting that up. Perhaps moving together to some kind of community for the aging, before we get in real physical or mental trouble? Appointing powers of person/powers of attorney (professionals, presumably), and so on. In my case, if I cannot effectively manage the money I hope to have, perhaps I will annuitize it in some way reduce the decisions there.

I suspect there is going to be a lot of discussion in the media about this in the coming decades, too, because single is the norm, and fewer/zero kids is an increasing phenomenon. Huge numbers of people are going to be trying to manage this situation.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #67 on: March 25, 2016, 08:40:24 AM »
The word family and other words related to family (sibling, brother, sister, son, etc.) are mentioned throughout this thread.

My own selfish concerns surround someone like me...with very very very little family...1 sibling on the other side of the world, my mom and my cousin...that's about it.  No aunts or uncles (that I have relationships with) or spouse or children.  I don't like to envision what life would look like for me should I reach 60, 70 or 80 and need almost 'any' type of assistance.

This is what I'm wrestling with now. DH and I are child-free, and may divorce in a year or two. Even if we stay together, statistically I'm likely to be alone eventually. Though I have a growing handful of nieces and nephews, we live continents apart and there's no way I'd expect anything from them.

Same choice to have no kids. My sisters likewise. There's a few cousins in the next generation, but I don't know them well and they live far away. If I outlive my husband (he's older) and one or more sisters are alive, I will move to be where they are. But the youngest is only ten years younger than I, and we will likely all need help within a few years of each other. We will have to think very pragmatically about setting that up. Perhaps moving together to some kind of community for the aging, before we get in real physical or mental trouble? Appointing powers of person/powers of attorney (professionals, presumably), and so on. In my case, if I cannot effectively manage the money I hope to have, perhaps I will annuitize it in some way reduce the decisions there.

I suspect there is going to be a lot of discussion in the media about this in the coming decades, too, because single is the norm, and fewer/zero kids is an increasing phenomenon. Huge numbers of people are going to be trying to manage this situation.

This is true. I have a family member who is debating whether or not to have kids. She is on the fence for many reasons, but on top of a genuine desire to experience parenthood, she is struggling with the reality that forgoing children means setting herself up for more isolation as she ages. She has her husband, but her friends all have their own kids to take care of, and many are moving around chasing job opportunities. It's not like she lives in a small town with a bunch of friends she can age with. My family member lives very far away...she's not going to be in her nieces and nephews' lives frequently, so it will be hard for her to create a bond with them that could be a stand in for children of her own as she ages. And her friends' kids, even if they are somehow still nearby 15-20 years from now, will be looking after their own parents.
It is hard...you don't want to have kids just so you won't be alone...but the fact is that a lot of elderly rely on their children as their primary social support system, even if they are financially secure. Who will be there to call her every day, or visit her each week? Who  will rush to her side if she gets sick? Of course friends and siblings can do that, but it is hard if they are aging also, or if they are handling their own families' issues.
I saw how my grandmother struggled even having just 1 child available to her. He couldn't be with her all the time, and her other child lived too far away to see her more than once or twice a year. It was a huge burden on him to manage her increasing care needs, and she still only got to see him at most once a week. Contrast that with my other grandmother who has 4 kids...there is always someone around to visit, to call, to bring her to Drs appointments, etc.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 08:46:56 AM by little_brown_dog »

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #68 on: March 25, 2016, 09:16:53 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.
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?
I wonder that myself sometimes...elder care costs vary, of course.

But then I think of it this way:
1.  Housing
2.  Food
3.  Cooks
4.  Medical care
5.  Staff
6.  Insurance
7.  Heat, water, electrical

Is all of that supposed to be cheap?  What would you expect to pay nurses on staff in a retirement home?  How about the people who cook the food, clean up, change the diapers?

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #69 on: March 25, 2016, 09:24:28 AM »
Quote
You said it well. Perhaps the cat is out of the bag, but it would be great to get back to point where a family could do well on a one-income, well-paid blue collar job like my mother and father had...

It would allow us to raise our own children (and not day care) and have the time for our aging parents.  Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in now....

Unfortunately?

First of all, day cares do not raise children.  Even children in day care full time (the average # of hours per week for a child in daycare is 30), it comes out to being approximately 30% of time with day care and the rest of the time with parents.  That is NOT having day care raise your children.  Gee I love it when people who have never used day care make those statements.

I have no desire to work a blue collar job. I have no desire for my spouse to work a blue collar job, dependent on one company and one income, wondering what to do when that job ends.  I lived that life in the 80s when my dad got laid off during the trucking deregulations. Twice in 2 years.  Imagine raising 3-4 kids on $12,000 a year.  Imagine your 12 year old in the hospital for 2 weeks, undergoing surgery, with no health insurance because the only job you could get didn't come with it.  Yeah, that was really a lot of fun.  Let's go back there.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #70 on: March 25, 2016, 09:39:28 AM »
Quote
You said it well. Perhaps the cat is out of the bag, but it would be great to get back to point where a family could do well on a one-income, well-paid blue collar job like my mother and father had...

It would allow us to raise our own children (and not day care) and have the time for our aging parents.  Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in now....

Unfortunately?

First of all, day cares do not raise children.  Even children in day care full time (the average # of hours per week for a child in daycare is 30), it comes out to being approximately 30% of time with day care and the rest of the time with parents.  That is NOT having day care raise your children.  Gee I love it when people who have never used day care make those statements.

I have no desire to work a blue collar job. I have no desire for my spouse to work a blue collar job, dependent on one company and one income, wondering what to do when that job ends.  I lived that life in the 80s when my dad got laid off during the trucking deregulations. Twice in 2 years.  Imagine raising 3-4 kids on $12,000 a year.  Imagine your 12 year old in the hospital for 2 weeks, undergoing surgery, with no health insurance because the only job you could get didn't come with it.  Yeah, that was really a lot of fun.  Let's go back there.

No need to be defensive. I don't think anyone here (certainly not me) was arguing for restricting peoples' options to the scenario you describe. I was just making observations about the changes in society; not making any moral judgements about whether it would be awesome to 'go back to the good old days' (they weren't that good, as you point out).

The maternal side of my family grew up in the exact situation you describe (poor, at the mercy of one company, truckers) and I would never say that that the older generations were 'better off' with their options restricted to that. I personally also have no desire to work a blue collar job, or live in my little hometown (shudder), or whatever. I  was just making a point that, for all great things that modern society allows, and for the unarguably huge number of options it offers, there are some extremely difficult trade-offs involved that I don't think society has good answers for.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10882
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #71 on: March 25, 2016, 12:25:54 PM »
Dear Mrs. Dinero,
Good for you for seeing a problem and seeking enlightenment! Those offering snark may be a bit low on the compassion for others scale. Please don't be discouraged by the unkind responses.  Seek knowledge with an open heart (just as you did here) and the opportunity to share what you've learned will present itself.

ETA: It seems I typed this two days ago , but didn't hit post. I see the conversation has shifted since then, but I still think positive feedback is in order, even if I'm late to the party.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2016, 12:41:27 PM »
Peter: as far as tips to offer my DAd was very lucky that my Mom was willing to care for him so he didn't have to go to a home until about a week before he died. As for my friend her hubby had terminal cancer so I bugged him for about 6 months to get the guardianship set up, etc otherwise with no relatives she would be a ward of the state which is not pretty. I was a social worker once so I described that scenario to him in detail. He basically was in denial that he was dying and she would need to go into a home. Also have more than one person willing to be the POA for financial needs. He choose me and then I told him to also have his 2 kids on there in case I died because I am not young either.  So now there are 3 people that can pay her bills.  You also need a medical POA to make those decisions.  In regard to not being able to live on one income like in the old days people can if they want.  What has happened is that people's expectations have greatly increased as to what they feel entitled too when young and most aren't willing to make the sacrifices it takes to stay home and raise kids. I stayed home until my youngest went to school but we lived in a old house, had 2 old cars and sometimes neither ran, did not eat out or take expensive vacations, etc.  yes I tried the working and daycare thing for awhile but there is not much quality time when you don't get home until 5:30 and your kids are little and need to be in bed by 7:30 so they can get up the next am early to get to daycare, etc.  It took my parents many years to have nice things but young people want it right away.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2016, 12:48:24 PM »
It took my parents many years to have nice things but young people want it right away.

I agree there is some truth here. I was 30 and my husband 39 before we owned a real bed (rather than a crappy futon mattress), or lived in a place with more than 1 bathroom or more than 1 bedroom LOL. We spent almost a decade in a studio cinderblock apartment while in college. We were sick of it by then, but we got along ok living like that.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2124
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #74 on: March 25, 2016, 01:08:38 PM »
I agree there is some truth here. I was 30 and my husband 39 before we owned a real bed (rather than a crappy futon mattress), or lived in a place with more than 1 bathroom or more than 1 bedroom LOL.

Funny !
I'm 56, FI, everything paid for, with a hefty stache, etc. and still live in a 100+ year old house with one bathroom.  Never had anything with two bathrooms till we bought our lake house.   Meanwhile we have friends and family mortgaged to the hilt, paying double car payments, big credit card bills etc. living in nearly new fancy, muti bathroom, multi bedroom, full basement, elaborate, huge homes.

Matumba

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #75 on: March 28, 2016, 03:29:59 PM »
Following

expatartist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #76 on: March 28, 2016, 06:49:40 PM »
It is hard...you don't want to have kids just so you won't be alone...but the fact is that a lot of elderly rely on their children as their primary social support system, even if they are financially secure. Who will be there to call her every day, or visit her each week? Who  will rush to her side if she gets sick? Of course friends and siblings can do that, but it is hard if they are aging also, or if they are handling their own families' issues.
I saw how my grandmother struggled even having just 1 child available to her. He couldn't be with her all the time, and her other child lived too far away to see her more than once or twice a year. It was a huge burden on him to manage her increasing care needs, and she still only got to see him at most once a week. Contrast that with my other grandmother who has 4 kids...there is always someone around to visit, to call, to bring her to Drs appointments, etc.

It is never a good idea in western countries for a parent to expect children to take care of them as they age. This is why other care options must be explored. In my situation, I'm looking at options in a global city I'm moving back to this year, where I may make a permanent home when much older. One with a network of friends from a previous stint in the city. This time I'm considering becoming a permanent resident which takes 7 years. Their healthcare is very affordable and generally high quality, and helpers (who are legally supposed to live with you) are ~$500/month with salaries increasing at rates below inflation. One straightforward way to do this would be to buy a 2-bedroom flat as a kind of DIY retirement home. Rental returns there are terrible, prices are high, and I probably wouldn't buy a flat there otherwise, but am considering it for this reason.

It's always good to have several options for any scenario.

ETA: Another appeal of this city is it's walkable, with great public transport and easy access to all services. IMO this is important for the elderly.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 07:17:15 PM by expatartist »

Matumba

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #77 on: March 29, 2016, 06:24:09 AM »
It is hard...you don't want to have kids just so you won't be alone...but the fact is that a lot of elderly rely on their children as their primary social support system, even if they are financially secure. Who will be there to call her every day, or visit her each week? Who  will rush to her side if she gets sick? Of course friends and siblings can do that, but it is hard if they are aging also, or if they are handling their own families' issues.
I saw how my grandmother struggled even having just 1 child available to her. He couldn't be with her all the time, and her other child lived too far away to see her more than once or twice a year. It was a huge burden on him to manage her increasing care needs, and she still only got to see him at most once a week. Contrast that with my other grandmother who has 4 kids...there is always someone around to visit, to call, to bring her to Drs appointments, etc.

It is never a good idea in western countries for a parent to expect children to take care of them as they age. This is why other care options must be explored. In my situation, I'm looking at options in a global city I'm moving back to this year, where I may make a permanent home when much older. One with a network of friends from a previous stint in the city. This time I'm considering becoming a permanent resident which takes 7 years. Their healthcare is very affordable and generally high quality, and helpers (who are legally supposed to live with you) are ~$500/month with salaries increasing at rates below inflation. One straightforward way to do this would be to buy a 2-bedroom flat as a kind of DIY retirement home. Rental returns there are terrible, prices are high, and I probably wouldn't buy a flat there otherwise, but am considering it for this reason.

It's always good to have several options for any scenario.

ETA: Another appeal of this city is it's walkable, with great public transport and easy access to all services. IMO this is important for the elderly.
Hong Kong?

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #78 on: March 29, 2016, 10:36:48 AM »
What happens to people without a retirement plan?  Well, first they need to figure out how to bridge the gap until they turn 62 (minimum SS age) and 65 (become Medicare-eligible).  Presuming they have some marketable skills, they will probably need to work to make ends meet.  Most would likely be Medicaid eligible (not age-based; based on Federal poverty guidelines.)

There are other subsidies that can be strung together -- everything from subsidized senior housing, to senior meal sites, to food stamps, to transportation subsidies... but it still takes some cash flow to live.

I'm as "pro" private investing as they come, but this is why I've not supported total privatization of Social Security.  Despite our best efforts, there will always be some unable to understand or undertake private investing of their retirement savings.  So, a safety net helps a bit... but obviously doesn't provide enough for many.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #79 on: March 29, 2016, 10:49:05 AM »
And the question of who will take care of you if you don't have kids is a real one.  My husband and I don't.  But as my friends with kids point out, just because you have them doesn't mean they'll be in a position to help.  They may be living far away.  They may have situations within their own immediate families.  Kids may also bicker and disagree amongst themselves.

So, in general, I think it's good for everyone to take steps.  For me, this will involve moving to some sort of community housing setting where there are always people around and possibly assisted living as I age.  Also, it will determine the type of place I live.  We will be moving from our smaller (cute, and cool) college town to a mid-sized university town that has more services, local health care, public transport...

expatartist

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #80 on: March 29, 2016, 06:46:22 PM »
Quote from: Matumba link=topic=52931.msg1029668#msg1029668
[/quote
Hong Kong?

Yep. Several years in the northern capital have given me more of an idea of how things work in the Mainland, and have given me more confidence (and basic linguistic skills) in the city's future.

I'm looking at how aging people in my field have coped - for ex. Louise Bourgeois. She lived to be nearly 100 [ETA: and produced artwork until the end]. This was in no small part to a devoted assistant, who took care of things so she could make her work for 30 years (key to this is she owned her own home and had an income stream after her husband died). She held weekly salons where she got young artists tipsy and stayed connected to the world through them. Artists can become either more interesting or irrelevant as they age. Key is to stay connected to the younger generation, not become isolated which tends to happen especially in western societies. Either way, it requires building a support system outside a nuclear family.

Whew - got off track. It's good to hear all of your perspectives and how you plan to cope with this issue.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 06:58:43 PM by expatartist »

Classical_Liberal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
  • Age: 43
Re: What happens to retirees without a retirement plan?
« Reply #81 on: March 30, 2016, 01:59:52 AM »
This has grown into a very interesting discussion and I applaud it.  Often in western culture we try to avoid talking about our last years or weeks of life.  I too am like several of the other posters and do not have children.  Iím geographically separated from most of my extended family, so we have not been overly close. My first year or two as a nurse this weighed on me, I witnessed first hand that blood does indeed tend to be thicker than water in those last years.  Most people who are ill or dying are most often cared for by family.  In general, this is probably an unintended result of the mobile suburban lifestyles we lead, which tend to be less community forming.  There are definite exceptions to the rule though, situations in which the sick elder has a lot of help and contact with friends and community members.  I would like to think that people who are open minded enough to be in these forums have a real edge of in creating lasting connections outside of family.  After all, we will have 40, 50 or 60 years to foster nonfamily relationships in our lives, time that most will spend working.  Also, we like to think outside of the box and not necessary conform to societies expectations.

Their healthcare is very affordable and generally high quality, and helpers (who are legally supposed to live with you) are ~$500/month with salaries increasing at rates below inflation. One straightforward way to do this would be to buy a 2-bedroom flat as a kind of DIY retirement home.

This is a great idea.  Another, nonconformist idea for those who do prefer to stay closer to homeÖ  When the time comes and assisted living is a necessity, why not reach out to the large social circle that years of retirement has undoubtedly formed for you.   What about a family struggling, one lacking local grandparents, or one that wants to have a stay at home parent that cannot financially make it happen.  Offer to make the mortgage payment so dad can stay home, you just need a room in the house, a seat at the dinner table, maybe some help running errands and someone there for a medical emergency.  Capitalism and community are not mutually exclusive; arrangements like this could very beneficial for many reasons.