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Our future.
The IRS recently released a first-time, and alarming, report on participation in retirement savings accounts, showing that the fewer and fewer workers are saving for retirement out of their paychecks, and the amount they are saving is shrinking too, down 6 percent in real dollars from 2008 to 2010. David Cay Johnston, investigative journalist and author, and specialist in economics and tax issues, was one of very few in the traditional media to register the appearance of this report, and it's got him worried.
[T]he number of Americans deferring part of their wages into 401(k)-type plans fell in 2009 and again in 2010.
Two-thirds of taxpayers with jobs saved nothing in retirement plans.

Among twenty-somethings, only 1 in 8 or so saved. [...]

Overall, the IRS report and other official data show how government policy that favors individual savings in 401(k), IRA and similar plans simply are not meeting the needs of workers, or of American society.

Tens of millions of Americans will reach old age without adequate financial resources if we continue with our three-decade-old experiment with defined contribution plans that shift all risks onto the workers. If we continue down this path, we will in time face a stark choice – greater burdens for taxpayers, a boon for the makers of cat food, or unconscionable deaths by starvation.

Johnston argues, as many of us have, that the government should be working on making sure that private and public pension systems are sound and adequate to stave off the otherwise inevitable retirement crisis. Until employment increases, wages increase, student loan debt shrinks, and health care costs are reduced, working people are just going to be too stretched to be able to save adequately. That's particularly true when you're talking about plans that are invested in a volatile and unpredictable stock market. Tackling all of that is a massive, daunting proposition, but one that has to be faced and soon. A really good place to start would be strengthening Social Security, and increasing its benefits.

Join Daily Kos and CREDO in telling the Senate to support the Harkin and Begich plans to strengthen Social Security.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:53:03 PM PDT

  •  Simpson-Bowles would have fixed this! (10+ / 0-)

    By completely draining any hope we ever had about retirement.

    What I'd like to hear from former Senator Simpson is"Welcome to Walmart."

    Hey Teaparty! 4 more years of MuslimKenyanSocialism!

    by filby on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:00:19 PM PDT

  •  I doubt I'll be able to retire (8+ / 0-)

    on the half a percent my four oh one kay is growing at.

    •  are you invested all in cash? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat
      •  Don't need to be... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, Aunt Pat, gjohnsit

        ...depending on which fund(s) you're invested in.  enough are such dogs that in the aggregate you can achieve barely-positive returns in stocks or bonds.

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:24:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the market is up double digits this year. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR, kck, Joe Bob, Aunt Pat, akeitz

          yous have to be in bonds or cash to have a return like that.

          •  You need to ask Dr. Colossus... (6+ / 0-)

            ...what time frame he's referring to.  The last nine months is an eye blink in terms of saving for retirement.  He could be including the 2008 crash (I have a couple of funds that STILL haven't recovered from that).  And you're assuming that all stock funds will catch the market, which isn't the case.

            The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

            by TheOrchid on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:32:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the market as a whole has more than (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WillR, White Buffalo, Joe Bob

              recovered from 2008.  unless you're stock picking and having bad luck, you're up.

              •  To repeat myself: (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aunt Pat, gjohnsit, RainyDay

                "I have a couple of funds that still haven't recovered from [the 2008 crash]."  And don't forget the timeframe aspect I mentioned; the 2008 crash was just an example.  And some funds are mixed stock and bond funds.  And some funds invest heavily in foreign stocks, or depend upon currency exchange values, and those funds have by and large taken a beating this year.  And don't forget many 401(k), 457 and 403(b) management companies skim a healthy percentage off the top for "management fees," no matter how the funds they manage ar actually doing.

                Looking at the Dow or S&P500 is only one small indicator of how a 401(k) fund or set of funds might be doing.

                The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

                by TheOrchid on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:54:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  right, but if you have a reasonably (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joe Bob, White Buffalo, kck

                  allocated portfolio - to repeat myself - you've caught up and then some.

                  •  Then nobody I know is reasonably allocated (5+ / 0-)

                    because just about every body agrees that their totals have barely budged in years.  

                    Yeah, we're lazy and ignorant:  we let some fund management company make most of our picks and then we ignore them for decades  But welcome to the world -- if everybody could be a great stock market investor, we wouldn't NEED social security.

                    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                    by lgmcp on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:11:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Have to agree with jw on this one (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      akeitz, lgmcp

                      If someone’s 401(k) has grown at 0.5% over the past five years they are doing something wrong. The annual rate of return on my very boring set of mutual funds is 7% over the past 5 years and 24% over the past 12 months. Most of that money is in a dumb old index fund.  

                      I’m not a great investor either – I’m a saver and I’m not really interested in following the stock market. That’s why I put money into a boring index fund and don’t mess with it. Sure, I would rather have a pension to rely on but a 401(k) is the hand most of us have been dealt. If people are willing to put as much effort into it as they do researching a new car or the specs on a new laptop they can make the best of it.

                      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

                      by Joe Bob on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:07:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  That's very weird. (0+ / 0-)

                      It seems like a statistical anomaly if "every body" (which I assume is at least several people) had virtually flat balances over the past few years unless they all were in, effectively, cash (MM, CDs, short term bond funds, et al).

                      If they all picked virtually the same investments by coincidence and they happened to pick ones that didn't do well in the recovery it would not be as surprising, but I'm assuming that they made independent decisions which would make this explanation a statistical anomaly.

                      But, it would be difficult to pick investments that were "flat" for the past few years if one included even a modicum of domestic stock with diversification.

                      Sounds like a "black swan" event that all these people managed to outguess the market and figured out how to maintain an investment mix that didn't go up or down appreciably in the past few years.

                  •  You definitely belong in banking. -eom- (0+ / 0-)

                    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

                    by TheOrchid on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:13:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  You definitely belong in investment banking. -eom- (0+ / 0-)

                    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

                    by TheOrchid on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:14:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Generally when the stock market is at record highs (0+ / 0-)

            and has been going parabolic for months, that is a very bad time/b> to invest in stocks.

            None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

            by gjohnsit on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:39:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm young (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, gjohnsit

        so all aggressive funds, little in the way of cash.  Just like im supposed to do right.  If it were not for deferment of taxes it would almost make sense to just take the cash and put it into savings.

    •  The Fed's efforts to save Wall Street (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b

      by pushing interest rates down to negative, is killing the Boomers.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:37:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Clearly, this data supports the idea of (9+ / 0-)

    cutting Social Security and Medicare even more because how else are we going to get people to save their money for retirement?

    /snark

    •  The question is how are we going to get the Rs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akeitz, GypsyT, OHdog

      to stop undercutting pension funding arrangements as fast as they can. They are the ones who pushed the notion that 401ks were better than defined benefit pensions and IIRC, it was during their time that the bankruptcy courts got the right to terminate pension plans after decades of workers paying into them, and keeping jobs because they had such plans, and not funding governmental plans properly for years on end, although this is not exclusively an R sin.

      A lot of the trick in pension planning is to be able to predict a form of  after retirement investment what will actuallyl be there for you when you plan to retire. And to figure out one, which over time you can figure out how to pay into on top of the house and sickness and kids thinking of college.

      •  My question is how are we going to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denise b

        get this President to stop cutting Social Security.  It is already too little and not keeping up.  If all retired Americans were only working with 401k accounts in 2008, we would have had a crisis of epic proportion not just for the seniors, but for their families who would try to pay to protect them as well.  We had some ripple from that as it is, but if 401ks were the only source of senior income, this country would have been super screwed in ways that you could not imagine because no one calculates how younger family respond or how many caregiver jobs are suddenly lost or marginalized.

        Anyone who has parents needs to worry about Social Security cuts for both their parents and their own ability to contribute to a retirement fund, at this point.  Anyone.  Even if you are 18 with parents.  It should be a concern.

        •  We have an example in front of us. No matter what (0+ / 0-)

          side you are on as to the chemical weapons in Syria issue, what we have seen is masses of citizens getting out and confronting their Congresscritters, in terms even the warhawks could not ignore. Right now, that tactic works, and we probably should learn from it.

  •  My retirement plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, ladybug53

    as it stands now is either to achieve immortality so I can eventually reitre or the other thing and I do divert to a 403B and have done so for the last 15 or so years.

  •  The point I never see (14+ / 0-)

    when journalists discuss the future of retirees is a recognition of where the largest impact will be: Medicaid.  The Medicaid system is already under extreme stress.  Retiring seniors may be able to eke out basic survival by selling their homes and moving in with their kids, part-time work or running up credit cards and declaring bankruptcy.  But a need for long-term care of any kind will quickly wipe out what they've got left, and the sheer numbers of baby boomers who will need care will decimate the Medicaid budget.  

    Après le thé, le déluge. -- Glenn Beck, aka Napoleon XIV

    by mspicata on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:06:28 PM PDT

  •  401k Weren't Designed to Actually Work for (8+ / 0-)

    retirees anyway, not as much as for businesses that offer them.

    Gen Y and millennials are going to have Gen X moving in with them just after they get their kids out of the house.

    The American Experiment has shown that aristocratic wealth and authoritarian rule were the right way all along.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:07:09 PM PDT

  •  interest rates (10+ / 0-)

    Low interest rates hurt seniors by lowering their return on investment--dramatically.  Someone having saved a half million dollars can only safely expect interest of around $15k/year--maybe that fact is also making long term saving look like a bad move right now.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:08:29 PM PDT

    •  Keep this in mind... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melvynny, RichM, maryabein, Bronx59, WillR, gjohnsit

      ...when you consider 'heroic' efforts to save the housing market by the Fed and the government.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:13:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Monetary policy is a zero sum game (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, denise b

        "Saving" the housing market (and doing a poor job of it) has not only killed the soon-to-be retirees and every other saver out there, it is forcing investors to take on more risk than necessary and rewarding those on Wall Street who don't deserve it.

          What's more, it is keeping houses from being affordable to young people.

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:47:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit, OHdog

          What Reaganism destroyed is impossible to rebuild without pain and suffering.  When our "leaders" ignored economic science, and substituted intuition bullshit, we were bound to have many victims.  Sadly, intuition is still holding its own--and the number of losers is bound to increase.

          Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

          by melvynny on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:53:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Money is for spending, not saving. Giving dollars (6+ / 0-)

    to Wall Street to hoard (speculate with) is a bad idea. There was a time when Wall Street acted as an assessor of good enterprise prospects. They haven't done that for a long time. Now they just gamble amongst each other with other people's money. How else was it possible for $40 trillion to be "lost" in the collapse of 2008? The only way it was possible, since the country, unlike Iraq, wasn't being bombed to smithereens, was if the "wealth" wasn't real.  Which it isn't. Dollars are figments of the imagination, just like the script on this page. The number of letters or words doesn't define the value of what I write; neither does the number of dollars in my bank account. If the dollars are to be worth something, they have to be spent. They are an aide memoire to be passed around. In intimate relationships we don't need such aids. We can rely on each other's word. That's what people who get married do.

  •  My retirement plan (5+ / 0-)

    Is to die at my desk. No smiley...

  •  we do realize that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, nchristine

    there will always be risk in retirement savings. We could shift the risk from the people to the companies by returning to defined benefit.

    But if the company fails because it cannot meet the promises made, then the retiree still does not get the money. Ultimately the person looking for the benefit is the one at risk.

  •  won't be a crisis... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tcdup, ladybug53, antirove

    if our political class decides to tax the people who have all the money. I am so sick and tired of politicians encouraging people to borrow instead of taking the money companies the rich folks who run them are hoarding and put it back into circulation.

    In the words of Jesse Pinkman "Keynesian Economics, Bitches"

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:28:46 PM PDT

    •  As the head of the Fed Reserve said back in (0+ / 0-)

      1932 when FDR took us off the gold standard for national settlement:  "Taxes are obsolete to fund federal gov spending".

      When you create money out of thin air, you become self funding.  Just like you would be if you had a money making machine in your kitchen.

      Thus, the Fed Gov, having a fiat currency, which is nothing more than accounting entries, does not need to tax in order to spend.

      And dollars that are taxed aren't recirculated, but removed from circulation.

      So, being forced to borrow money instead of having higher social spending, or lower taxes, or higher wages, etc...  is one issue.

      Taxing dollars out of existence is another.

  •  One quibble: Taxes don't fund fed gov (0+ / 0-)

    spending for a monetary sovereign of a fiat currency like the US.

    We can mark up the accounts for seniors without raising taxes.

    Cuz when you create money out of thin air, the ability to push a computer key is decoupled from the need to earn dollars.

    Taxes remove dollars from circulation.

    They don't pay for anything, not even our elderly.

    As long as we have the labor and natural resources with which to make the stuff our elderly need to survive, then we can afford to give them free money tokens with which they can purchase stuff from the younger generation, thus creating jobs for their children.

    Our elderly are job creators.

    So, just as we give banks reserves by marking up their account, we can give the elderly dollars by marking up their account.

    •  isn't the difference (0+ / 0-)
      So, just as we give banks reserves by marking up their account, we can give the elderly dollars by marking up their account.
      when we give the banks reserves, it is still government money deposited with the bank for them to lend?

      a loan vs. a gift?

      •  The Fed Reserve can either give banks reserves, or (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Auburn Parks

        can lend them reserves.  That's a policy decision.

        Banks make loans first, then if they don't have enough reserves, they find them.

        Either through overnight interbank lending or through the Fed acting as lender of last resort.

        Sort of the opposite of what most people think and say.

        But...  my point is that the Fed creates reserves out of thin air through simply marking up the accounts of it's member banks.

        We could do away with retirement savings and simply mark up the accounts of the elderly.

        Cuz dollars, coins, bonds and reserves are all created out of thin air.

        Cuz fiat currency is simply an accounting mark, keeping account of how many dollars are  in the private sector.

        It's a score.

        And like the bowling alley, the points don't come from anywhere other than the score keeper's desire to take note.

    •  But, the resulting... (0+ / 0-)

      ...inflation would have a ripple effect on the economy that includes a lot of negatives.

      After all, if it was this easy, why not just print and send every resident of the US a $5M bill every year? By your logic, all would then live in luxury (and, presumably, most would choose not to work as $5M is more money than most people ever thought they would have at any time in their lifetime, let alone as an annual stipend).

      Just "printing money" as you seem to propose is a form of taxation, it's just a wealth tax on all who hold assets in cash equivalents (regardless of their wealth).

      •  Well, I didn't say you could print into infinity. (0+ / 0-)

        You can, however, buy all idle capacity.  Idle capacity absorbs new dollars.

        If you don't, you get deflation, like what most are experiencing now.

        If you "print" past the point of the economy working at full capacity, then you begin having too many dollars chasing too few goods = inflation.

        So, you can't replace water coolers with expensive wine, or buy everyone a pony - unless doing so would create new, real output.

        If inflation becomes an issue, you tax away the excess dollars.

        But....   inflation is the constraint on spending.  Not affordability.

        As far as "just printing money" being somehow the issue.

        It's just what money is, it's just how we do it every day.

        How much should we print?  However much is needed to buy available capacity/real wealth.

      •  If you're addressing the idea of paying the (0+ / 0-)

        elderly once they retire rather than having them save:

        Let's say that over 10 years someone is paid 10 dollars, but saves 5.

        Or, over 10 years they make 5 dollars, and once they retire the receive 5 dollars.

        Either way, over a 10 year period 10 dollars have been printed.

        •  That's only true... (0+ / 0-)

          ...if the $10 paid in wages were "printed" rather than, the normal case where it is exchanged for something of $10 value (labor, presumably) and then exchanged again, by the worker, for something of $10 value (perhaps a good such as petrol or labor such as a physician's services).

          I'm afraid that I don't understand when you are proposing "printing" money -- I thought you were only proposing creating (i.e. printing) money to pay retirees.

  •  I'm Tired of this Old Lie (7+ / 0-)

    Americans should save for retirement is a lie.  The majority of Americans don't make enough to have any money LEFT to save for retirement.  Many are just getting by with their insurance premiums or medical expenses NOW.

    If you want to solve the problem work on bringing down prices and raising pay!  That's the only way it will happen.  
    If you don't want to do that then shut up government and economists!

    And for those who DID save for retirement prior to 2008, they lost huge amounts in the bank bailouts and recession.  Yeah, they are not convinced that giving the money to wall street or to a bank is such a good idea any more.

    •  i sometimes wonder if (0+ / 0-)

      this idea of retirement wasn't just a temporary situation caused by us being the only intact country after WWII. Blue collar jobs could provide a higher standard of living than ever before and we decided it was the new normal.

      then Europe rebuilt, China/India became economic competitors and those wages are no longer supportable.

      Until just recently it was work till you drop for virtually all of us. Still is in most of the world.

    •  Temporary decline doesn't always mean loss (0+ / 0-)
      And for those who DID save for retirement prior to 2008, they lost huge amounts in the bank bailouts and recession.  Yeah, they are not convinced that giving the money to wall street or to a bank is such a good idea any more.
      The DJIA, NASDAQ Composite, and S&P 500 index are all above their 2007/2008 highs and inflation has been low in the intervening years.

      Obviously in both good and bad times particular equities will go up and down, but a diversified portfolio invested in US equities should be above where it was in 2008 (esp. if one reinvests dividends).

      Unfortunately, some who didn't have cash around for a rainy day were forced to liquidate to pay their bills. But those that panicked and elected to bail out of the market when they had other options just got an expensive education in the cost of panicking.

      I think we can blame the education system in part for the stupid ways many people act in market declines. We need to teach more economics, finance, and probability and statistics and not grant HS diplomas to those that can't pass simple tests on such matters.

      As Warren Bufett is reported to have said:

      Unless you can watch your stock holding decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.
      and
      Much success can be attributed to inactivity. Most investors cannot resist the temptation to constantly buy and sell.
      and
      Lethargy, bordering on sloth should remain the cornerstone of an investment style.
      and, most usefully IMHO
      Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful
      •  All excellent advice, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OHdog

        it does not really matter how your retirement savings are invested if you do not have any, or have a grossly insufficient amount. And that is unfortunately the case for a lot of people in the Boomer generation who are now approaching or are in retirement.

    •  It's not a lie (0+ / 0-)

      It's about as true as anything one could say.

      Everyone, if they want to retire someday, should save for retirement. To suggest otherwise is silly and very bad advice.

      As for this:

      And for those who DID save for retirement prior to 2008, they lost huge amounts in the bank bailouts and recession.  Yeah, they are not convinced that giving the money to wall street or to a bank is such a good idea any more.

      Also false.

      I'm nearing (early) retirement and have been saving for decades. The 2008 recession was a blip in the rear view mirror and has been more than regained in the past five years. In my view, the key is (if you're in any way able) to keep saving, don't worry about short-term ups and downs, and don't do early withdrawals to pay for pre-retirement expenses.  

      I'm currently 55, plan to retire in about 4 years, and am researching the feasibility of moving to the EU in retirement to facilitate travel and experiences I've gone without due to being such a diligent saver.  I would not have been able to even contemplate this if I had followed your advice.  Thankfully, I didn't.

      •  Not giving advice (0+ / 0-)

        I'm pointing out reality.  For boomers in their 60's who lost a third of their savings in the crash and are already living on those saviings, it's much, much harder to recover.

        For 30 year olds working at McDonalds or Walmart, not able to find other jobs and who have children, please enlighten them about whether to save for retirement or feed the kids.  Many are relying on food pantries now.

        Get your heads out of the sand and look at what's really happening.  If you're the age you say you are, you were able to plan for retirement because the economy was good for most of your working life.   Me too.

        But reality has changed, my friend.

  •  Computers plus fiat currency = savings are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Auburn Parks

    silly in the 21st century.

    Why defer wages?

    Just pay a wage now, people retire, then mark up their accounts.

    Savings are called blood clots when found in the human body.

    Money works best when it's allowed to circulate freely throughout the social body.

    The idea of creating a long-term store of value out of that which is potentially infinite is silly, and difficult.

    Modern fiat is a velocity machine.

  •  After the crash and watching the aftermath (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    I will never send another dollar to wall street, 401k or not.
    The exchanges are essentially unregulated, the criminals are all still there.

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:40:02 PM PDT

    •  a shame as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nailbanger, White Buffalo

      the market has gone up something like 130% since it cratered. The last 5 years have been an excellent time ti be saving.

      •  Until it isn't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, gjohnsit

        The next crash, I am sure, has already been engineered.  With experience, any task becomes easier, and now it is known that there is no  risk of prosecution.
        401k's are a constant stream of poorly managed money arriving every two weeks, while the bankers laugh and laugh and laugh....

        "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

        by Nailbanger on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:55:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If your 401(k) doesn't offer... (0+ / 0-)

          ...low cost funds and good investment opportunities, you should push your company to improve the plan.

          Or, if it's feasible, quit so you can put your money in a rollover IRA where you have better options and more control.

          I do agree that some, particularly small employer, 401(k) plans suck.

    •  Amen! (0+ / 0-)
      the criminals are all still there
      And its crazy to expect people to keep sending their money to Wall Street when we already know it is full of crooks.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 04:50:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The aftermath? (0+ / 0-)

      You mean the great investment opportunities after the crash?

  •  Here is what I suggest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WillR

    and this would be done in a country that cares about its citizens.  A public education program on living modestly, living on one's SS check and perhaps smaller pensions and maybe VA Disability.  I am doing that now.  I am comfortable, but not a mad consumer.  I am able to meet my needs but I do not waste one dollar.  

    The public would listen and learn and Americans need, under all circumstances, to live a more modest life.  Shop at discount stores.  Compare prices.  Being retired, one has the time to plan and compare.  I repurpose things.  I recently moved into a smaller apartment & downsized.  We have too many things.  Life is better when it is simpler.  Believe me.

    I know this is a stream of consciousness post, but I feel many are ready to respond to these messages.  Americans are maturing and learning what many Europeans have known for a very long time.  Conservation and modest consumption and living a sweet and lovely simple life - is wonderful.

  •  At this point... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GypsyT

    ...it's looking like my retirement plan is going to be some bolt cutters and a handgun.  I suspect a lot of retirement plans are going to work out that way.  Some of them already have....

    When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:42:13 PM PDT

  •  Over 60 and Out of Work? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, tb mare, denise b, OHdog

    You are retired, ready or not

  •  I'm part of that 6% not putting anything into (0+ / 0-)

    a 401k since January 2010.  The reason..... I've not had a job that offers 401k's until about 6 months ago.  I've not set up contributions to a 401k at this current job yet for a number of reasons - time, how much to put in, what type (they offer standard 401k and Roth 401k), vesting times.... and most importantly, will they be keeping me?)

    I should set it up.... I've been putting money into my Roth IRA annually though and it's doing reasonably well - at least not loosing principle.

    •  A few answers (0+ / 0-)

      Put in at least enough to get the employer match, if there is one. Either a standard or a Roth is fine; use a standard if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket when you retire and a Roth if you expect to be in a lower one. My employer actually lets you have both and so I do; I'll take part of the tax benefit now and part later.

      If you're not sure you'll be staying at the job, just make the 401k the same type as your IRA to make the rollover easy if you leave.

  •  We do have "death committees" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, tb mare, gjohnsit

    we just call them bankers.

  •  my parent plus student loans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b

    eat almost half my social security, and were not discharged in bankruptcy

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:54:51 PM PDT

  •  Once Companies Quit Doing Pensions And Instead (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, PsychoSavannah

    told employees to put their money in the stock market that was the end of the middle class.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:00:27 PM PDT

  •  GWB's financial crash wiped out 401Ks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, gjohnsit

    and folks are understandably reluctant to squirrel away much-needed cash in a stock market that only going to disappear it.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:07:29 PM PDT

    •  If people left the money in the market (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR, lgmcp

      they would have recovered everything they lost and then some.

      The problem is that many many people either cashed out their 401ks because they needed to keep paying the mortgage, or panicked and pulled everything out of the market and cashed it out. Then they had to pay all the taxes and a 10% penalty for cashing out early. (I did a lot of those tax returns. People who cashed out $20,000 only got maybe $12,000 net of taxes.)

      Anyone who just rode it out and was in a broad-based index fund should be back roughly to where they were in mid-2008.

  •  Feature not bug (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog

    For the Republicans, the shift from defined-benefit "entitlement" pensions to defined (and voluntary) contribution 401ks and 403bs (and IRAs) was a deliberate move. They talked about "personal responsibility," but what they meant was relieving businesses of the burden of keeping track of and then paying out pension money.

    It's entirely predictable that most workers cannot afford to put money aside for later, because they need it to eat and pay for housing, heat, gasoline, etc. today. The 401k laws are designed to benefit the wealthy, and that's who is able to take advantage of them.

    People commented on this when this scheme went into effect, but the GOP pushed it through the tax code and then more and more businesses have taken advantage of it.

  •  Funny thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GypsyT

    I was a HORRIBLE retirement saver when I was younger.  Talk about young and invincible.  THe only investments I made was in beer.  Thank god the Army essentially forced me to invest in the form of retirement.  Turns out they were making me save roughly 30% of my pay for the future.  

    I would not get to freaked out about 20 somethings not saving.  I think the magic light bulb goes on between 30 and 35 about the same time your ability/desire to drink all night fades away.  Even starting at 35 I am on track to have close to 500K in my retirement funds by 57 so it can be done.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:18:23 PM PDT

  •  investments??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog

    who has money left to invest or save??? Not many people I know do....it is paycheck to paycheck!!! No matter what age you are.  We need to raise the min. wage....raise the caps on social security and have universal healthcare!!!  Pay wages people can actually live on and maybe have a dollar or two to save back....It should be a crime how much wage inequality there is in this country!!! and NOT having COL increases in Social Security is really hurting our Seniors...everything goes up but income!!!

  •  I've been contributing to 401k for over 25 years (0+ / 0-)

    starting at age 21. Increasing the % taken out along the way. I'm afraid I'm in the minority.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 05:22:54 AM PDT

  •  what about this alternative (0+ / 0-)

    "the government should be working on making sure that private and public pension systems are sound and adequate to stave off the otherwise inevitable retirement crisis"

    What about the simple idea of having people take some individual responsibility, as some have, and save on their own?  Why does this need to be a hand out?

    Or, what about the system we had prior to 1940?
    how we used to retire

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