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Wed Mar 27, 2019, 08:58 PM

Half of Older Americans Have Nothing in Retirement Savings

(Bloomberg) -- The bad news is that almost half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved in a 401(k) or other individual account. The good news is that the new estimate, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is slightly better than a few years earlier.

Of those 55 and older, 48 percent had nothing put away in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan or an individual retirement account, according to a GAO estimate for 2016 that was released Tuesday. That’s an improvement from the 52 percent without retirement money in 2013.

Two in five of such households did have access to a traditional pension, also known as a defined benefit plan. However, 29 percent of older Americans had neither a pension nor any assets in a 401(k) or IRA account.

The estimate from the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, is a brief update to a more comprehensive 2015 report on retirement savings in the U.S. Both are based on the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.

The previous report found the median household of those age 65 to 74 had about $148,000 saved, the equivalent of an inflation-protected annuity of $649 a month.

“Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older,” the GAO said.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated earlier this month that 41 percent of U.S. households headed by someone age 35 to 64 are likely to run out of money in retirement. That’s down 1.7 percentage points since 2014.

EBRI found these Americans face a combined retirement deficit of $3.83 trillion.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/almost-half-older-americans-zero-210656147.html

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Reply Half of Older Americans Have Nothing in Retirement Savings (Original post)
ansible Mar 2019 OP
Demonaut Mar 2019 #1
susanna Mar 2019 #103
Demonaut Mar 2019 #105
susanna Mar 2019 #106
llmart Mar 2019 #2
DFW Mar 2019 #4
llmart Mar 2019 #5
DFW Mar 2019 #13
llmart Mar 2019 #30
Mosby Mar 2019 #68
seaglass Mar 2019 #83
Mosby Mar 2019 #84
seaglass Mar 2019 #89
UniteFightBack Mar 2019 #88
at140 Mar 2019 #3
pnwmom Mar 2019 #6
ansible Mar 2019 #7
pnwmom Mar 2019 #11
Delphinus Mar 2019 #79
at140 Mar 2019 #12
ooky Mar 2019 #67
riverine Mar 2019 #8
at140 Mar 2019 #14
riverine Mar 2019 #18
at140 Mar 2019 #20
at140 Mar 2019 #21
riverine Mar 2019 #24
at140 Mar 2019 #25
riverine Mar 2019 #26
SoCalDem Mar 2019 #32
gldstwmn Mar 2019 #63
SoCalDem Mar 2019 #66
at140 Mar 2019 #99
llmart Mar 2019 #10
at140 Mar 2019 #17
spooky3 Mar 2019 #27
at140 Mar 2019 #28
Mariana Mar 2019 #77
at140 Mar 2019 #98
Mariana Mar 2019 #100
SoCalDem Mar 2019 #33
llmart Mar 2019 #35
A HERETIC I AM Mar 2019 #40
llmart Mar 2019 #54
dumbcat Mar 2019 #61
llmart Mar 2019 #64
dumbcat Mar 2019 #70
llmart Mar 2019 #72
dumbcat Mar 2019 #78
llmart Mar 2019 #94
A HERETIC I AM Mar 2019 #62
Mariana Mar 2019 #101
brooklynite Mar 2019 #56
susanna Mar 2019 #104
procon Mar 2019 #9
Runningdawg Mar 2019 #16
at140 Mar 2019 #19
Mr Tibbs Mar 2019 #57
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Mar 2019 #15
MichMan Mar 2019 #22
shanti Mar 2019 #65
PeeJ52 Mar 2019 #23
llmart Mar 2019 #29
GP6971 Mar 2019 #31
ProfessorGAC Mar 2019 #38
PeeJ52 Mar 2019 #42
MichMan Mar 2019 #49
PeeJ52 Mar 2019 #51
llmart Mar 2019 #55
Joe941 Mar 2019 #34
Laura PourMeADrink Mar 2019 #36
Vinca Mar 2019 #37
ProfessorGAC Mar 2019 #39
machoneman Mar 2019 #41
USALiberal Mar 2019 #43
MrsCoffee Mar 2019 #45
USALiberal Mar 2019 #46
brooklynite Mar 2019 #58
USALiberal Mar 2019 #59
MrsCoffee Mar 2019 #69
USALiberal Mar 2019 #74
LanternWaste Mar 2019 #71
brooklynite Mar 2019 #73
USALiberal Mar 2019 #75
llmart Mar 2019 #95
brooklynite Mar 2019 #97
USALiberal Mar 2019 #76
BlueWI Mar 2019 #87
Johnny2X2X Mar 2019 #44
USALiberal Mar 2019 #47
Johnny2X2X Mar 2019 #48
USALiberal Mar 2019 #50
democratisphere Mar 2019 #52
Johnny2X2X Mar 2019 #53
Chin music Mar 2019 #81
Lifelong Protester Mar 2019 #85
gldstwmn Mar 2019 #60
exboyfil Mar 2019 #82
TalenaGor Mar 2019 #80
Still In Wisconsin Mar 2019 #86
KG Mar 2019 #90
Kaleva Mar 2019 #91
Demovictory9 Mar 2019 #93
Demovictory9 Mar 2019 #92
clementine613 Mar 2019 #96
Aussie105 Mar 2019 #102

Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:03 PM

1. depressing

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Response to Demonaut (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 01:23 AM

103. At least in my case, I have been saving since my 20s.

I am quite frugal; not a big spender, here.

Yet, like clockwork, with every Republican administration, the stock market went belly up and those gains were reversed.

Took the next Democratic presidency years to build it back up. I would even be hopeful for a second or two!

Then GW Bush. Now THIS guy.

Sigh. I am over it.

I am only 51. I have come to the conclusion that I will work until I die.

on edit: they were never "my" gains, obviously.

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Response to susanna (Reply #103)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 01:32 AM

105. they were your gains, you anticipated correctly

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Response to Demonaut (Reply #105)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 03:11 AM

106. And yet...

they are no longer there

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:05 PM

2. Those with defined benefit plans may also not be receiving that much.

I know people who have the old fashioned defined benefit plan who only get about $200 a month, so it's not like having one is anything to crow about. Many of the people I know are women, so they didn't earn that much when they were working.

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Response to llmart (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:12 PM

4. Same here in Germany

My wife took time off to raise our kids because I was gone so much, and she retired at 60 for a combination of health reasons and mobbing at work. She gets a pension/Social Security payment of €850 a month, and that's all she wrote. Without me, she'd be back in the one-horse town where her mom lives, being an unpaid caretaker for her 92 year old mom, glad just to have a roof over her head.

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Response to DFW (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:17 PM

5. I worked for a municipality for about 8 years.

I get less than $200 a month from that defined benefit. Fortunately I have another small pension too, but yeah, between the two I can sometimes have enough to eat! I spent a good portion of my young adult years being a stay at home mother too.

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Response to llmart (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:30 PM

13. I fortunately make enough to preclude her ever sinking into poverty

But there are plenty of women here in Germany who do not share her fortune. Besides, I'm now 67, and I figure I'll be retiring in 15 years or less.

She has one friend who is a single mother who has mental health issues. Her daughter married a lawyer who now is doing well, so she doesn't have to worry about eating cat food, but if she didn't have that cushion of security, she would have to be institutionalized unnecessarily in order not to starve. As it is, she has to watch every cent she spends.

Our younger daughter, who lives in Germany, has landed a super-high-paying dream job, so she could provide for my wife, now, too, but that dream job only came because I used the money I got from MY inheritance to pay for her education in the USA. Almost no one in normal circumstances has anything like that to fall back on.

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Response to DFW (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:20 PM

30. I won't ever sink into poverty either, but it bothers me that other senior women will.

I was married to a high wage earner most of my life and was smart enough to fight for everything I had coming to me when I left the jerk. He has to pay spousal support until he dies and I got half his pension and half his IRA. I got half of everything. Plus I have two adult children whom are very close to me and both have very good jobs. They always tell me that I should never worry about money because they will always make sure I'm taken care of. There are some rewards for the sacrifices I made to stay home and raise them. They both turned out to be really great kids!

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Response to llmart (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:00 PM

68. Most public safety union plans pay 50% of some average of their last wage.

Some get as much as 75%.

So you can join a police dept at 20, put ij 25 years and then "retire" at 45 making 50-100k/year plus COLAs for the rest of you and your spouses lives. Here ij Phoenix, the pension requirements are slowly bankrupting the city. There was a referendum last election to try to get it under control, it passed but it will take years to see if it helps. In the meantime the costs of that and the pd budget continues to be the major expenditure for the city.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #68)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:57 PM

83. My husband just retired as a ff at the end of January. He is 62. He also doesn't get anywhere

near that amount of money in his pension. Maybe the difference between being in a decent sized city and a smallish town. I thought Phoenix had a lot of volunteer ffs? Never seen a ff on our town's department retire at that young an age.

At the very least they should have Medicare available for retiring public service employees, that would save taxpayers A LOT. I think it was Sherrod Brown that proposed that idea - for police and fire beginning at age 55.

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Response to seaglass (Reply #83)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:06 PM

84. did he get a sick/vacation payout?

The average pension for a retired Phoenix employee is about $32,200 per year for civilians and $63,900 for public-safety workers. But a select group of retirees receives six-figure payments.


Frank Fairbanks

Last position: City manager
Annual pension: $246,812.88
Years of credited service: 37.8
Age at retirement: 63
Sick/vacation payout: $270,174
David Cavazos

Last position: City manager
Annual pension: $232,318
Years of credited service: 26.9
Age at retirement: 53
Sick/vacation payout: $235,447
Danny Murphy

Last position: Aviation director
Annual pension: $168,578
Years of credited service: 34.8
Age at retirement: Unavailable
Sick/vacation payout: $99,672
Bob Khan

Last position: Fire chief
Annual pension: $165,612
Years of credited service: 28.3
Age at retirement: 55
DROP payment: $587,090

Alton Washington

Last position: Assistant city manager
Annual pension: $155,569
Years of credited service: 31.4
Age at retirement: 55
Sick/vacation payout: $93,060.92
David Richert

Last position: Senior executive assistant to the city manager
Annual pension: $151,078
Years of credited service: 37
Age at retirement: 58
Sick/vacation payout: $89,748
Stephen Kreis

Last position: Executive assistant fire chief
Annual pension: $149,420
Years of credited service: 32
Age at retirement: 59
DROP payment: $911,567
Dennis Garrett

Last position: Police chief
Annual pension: $148,288
Years of credited service: 32
Age at retirement: 5
Rick Naimark

Last position: Deputy city manager
Annual pension: $$147,378
Years of credited service: 30.2
Age at retirement: 53
Sick/vacation payout: $92,852
James Pina

Last position: Assistant police chief
Annual pension: $143,967
Years of credited service: 32
Age at retirement: 59
DROP payment: $ 878,524
Rickie Bartee

Last position: Assistant fire chief
Annual pension: $ 143,446
Years of credited service: 29.8
Age at retirement: 54
DROP payment: $831,381
Joseph Knott

Last position: Police commander
Annual pension: $142,204
Years of credited service: 28.9
Age at retirement: 55
DROP payment: $ 858,767
Jeffrey Lazell

Last position: Police lieutenant
Annual pension: $ 141,500
Years of credited service: 25.9
Age at retirement: 55
DROP payment: $855,731
Joe Yahner

Last position: Police chief
Annual pension: $141,223
Years of credited service: 26.7
Age at retirement: 53
DROP payment: $850,120
Blake McClelland

Last position: Police commander
Annual pension: $ 141,023
Years of credited service: 29.9
Age at retirement: 58
DROP payment: $ 849,256
Thomas Callow

Last position: Deputy city manager
Annual pension: $140,961
Years of credited service: 32.3
Age at retirement: 58
Sick/vacation payout: $98,440
Patsy Jasso

Last position: Executive assistant to the City Council
Annual pension: $140,070
Years of credited service: 33
Age at retirement: 51
Sick/vacation payout: $62,807
George Flores

Last position: Deputy city manager
Annual pension: $140,059
Years of credited service: 33.5
Age at retirement: 55
Sick/vacation payout: $93,903
Eric Hailey

Last position: Police commander
Annual pension: $139,362
Years of credited service: 32
Age at retirement: 58
DROP payment: $849,257
Joseph Klima

Last position: Police commander
Annual pension: $ 137,320
Years of credited service: 30.5
Age at retirement: 56
DROP payment: $829,270

Etc, etc, etc.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/02/28/phoenix-retired-employees-largest-pensions/98360666/

Eta I think every American worker should have some sort of pension, I think 401Ks are sort of a con.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #84)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:59 PM

89. No sick payout, that was eliminated about 20 years ago I think. The only vacation pay he got was

what he earned but had not yet taken for this fiscal year.

My husband was not one to take extra shifts - which we both were in agreement about. The time being with our kids was worth more than the money. I don't regret it a bit, even if long term it would have increased his pension.

I have no clue what the average pension would be in our town.

Yeah, I'm all on board with the pension idea. I have a 401K but I'd just as soon have the money in a savings account earning no interest but at least being "safe".

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Response to llmart (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:31 PM

88. Well it does depend on the plan, how much you made and how many years you accrued

service.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:08 PM

3. Those non-savers are the lucky ones!

Because those of us who saved our pennies, have seen the value of our savings dwindle at a fast clip. The FED with its zero interest policy has robbed the savers more than all the armed bank robberies in United States. Those who did not save have enjoyed spending their money while it had decent value.

My mother-in-law saved nothing, took many vacations, bought new cars, and over-spent on her dozen or so credit cards, could not pay credit card debt and was forced to declare bankruptcy. So now she is in assisted living, paid for by her social security and welfare from gov't. She is the winner and people like me are the losers for having bought cheap used cars, lived in cheap apartments and did not splurge in general.

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Response to at140 (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:18 PM

6. Your mother in law appears to have lucked out, but with the direction government has been going

I wouldn't count on that for people in our generation. They're already looking for every way they can slash Medicare and Medicaid.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:21 PM

7. Yep, boomers don't realize how lucky they are and how fucked the younger generation is

It's depressing to think about the future, at the current rate we'll be lucky if there's even social security within the next 50 years.

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Response to ansible (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:26 PM

11. We can and should fix social security for younger people by a combination of raising the cap

for taxable salaried income (which is just over $100K) -- and extending the tax to unearned income.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:23 PM

79. Yes!

I sure wish we had reasonable folks in government to see that this would be a good thing.

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Response to ansible (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:26 PM

12. I just learned that today's CPI would be 4 times larger based

on the 1980 standard of figuring inflation. So we on social security are getting hosed with much lower increases than REAL rate of inflation. The gov't and FED manipulate interest rates and CPI formula continuously which screws the middle class.

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Response to ansible (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 01:45 PM

67. I do. I'm a boomer and every time I do anything politically

it's not me I'm doing it for. I'll likely be dead before it impacts me. Its my children and grandchildren and everybody else currently suffering or otherwise being fucked by this fascist regime and lying ball sack of a president.

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Response to at140 (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:21 PM

8. Why do you think you are entitled to interest in an inflation free decade?

In 2008 oil peaked at $147/bbl. It is about $60 now. Milk where I an is $3/gallon. Almost all food commodities are lower now (corn, wheat, etc). Energy prices are lower based on falling nat gas and coal prices.

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Response to riverine (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:34 PM

14. The condo I bought for $159k in 2011 is now going for

$315k. The gall bladder surgery I had in 1990 now costs 300% more. My property tax has climbed much higher than my social security increases. My health insurance went from $89/month in 1998 to $385/month. Milk and gasoline are small expenses for seniors. We do not drive much and do not drink lot of milk. Only reason oil prices are down is because of gains in supply due to fracking. That will come to an end when that supply of oil dwindles. There are finite amounts of oil in the ground.

You are pointing to small expense items and overlooking big expense items.

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Response to at140 (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:40 PM

18. You bought your condo during the real estate crash of 2008-2012 and millions of foreclosures.

Medical inflation was rampant until 2008 and later the ACA slowed medical inflation.

The point is that ZIRP spawned investment and helped us crawl out of the GOP financial crisis. Low interest rates are why job creation came back - albeit slowly.

You know who likes high interest rates?

Banks do.

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Response to riverine (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:43 PM

20. And the seniors who saved their pennies

and there are millions of them as well.

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Response to riverine (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:45 PM

21. Wrong...my healthcare insurance has escalated steadily from 1998 on

every year and all through 2018. This year 2019 was the first time the increase was small.
Keep in mind the numbers are what I paid to employer sponsored plan. I am sure the employer paid much more than I did.

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Response to at140 (Reply #21)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:52 PM

24. Congress gave the Federal Reserve just two mandates - Employment and Price Stability.

High interest rates are not a mandate.

Our currency is very stable and UE is low thanks to Bernanke/Yellen.

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Response to riverine (Reply #24)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:58 PM

25. Bernanke/Yellen have robbed seniors more than all

the armed robberies in United States since George Washington.

Thank you Chairman Powell for bringing interest rates at least a little bit closer to reality.
Drumpf is putting pressure on Powell to keep interest rates artificially low. May Drumpf rot in hell.
All Drumpf cares about is the interest he has to pay on his debt.

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Response to at140 (Reply #25)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:05 PM

26. You should thank them for your 3.5% mortgage you got in 2012.

At least.

My first mortgage was 9%.

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Response to riverine (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:07 AM

32. Our first mortgage was over 10% and the 2nd was 15.64%

Young people do NOT understand how lucky they are with lower interest rates these days

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #32)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:37 PM

63. Yes but at least you could still write it off on your taxes.

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Response to gldstwmn (Reply #63)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:49 PM

66. At that time our income was not enough to

have enough deductions to file a long form (required back then)...so no..

For many years we did not have enough deductions to make a long form possible..

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Response to riverine (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:56 PM

99. If I need a mortgage at age 72 (in 2012)

Then I have failed miserably to prepare for retirement. That condo was downsizing from single family home on which we paid mortgage for 30 years. So we could pay for the condo in cash from the equity built up.

In the meanwhile Bernanke and Yellen robbed me of as much as the condo cost with artificially low interest rates. The next collapse of housing prices & stocks similar to 2009 is coming up fast. The enormous asset balloon is ready to be pin pricked. Drumpf can not save it.

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Response to at140 (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:24 PM

10. Yep.

I have a few in my family just like that. Spent every penny they made and then some. Went into their senior years with nothing saved. One of them lives in subsidized housing and gets free cable, free phone, no utility bills and Medicaid. Now granted, I would not want to live in the kind of place she lives, but she was just always a pretty lazy person. Another one spent money like it was water and filed for bankruptcy three times in his life then he conveniently died and the bills were never paid. Couldn't even afford a funeral.

I often wonder if by doing what I was told was right to plan for retirement I was the stupid one. Now when I take money out of my IRA I have to pay about $4,000 a year in taxes to the feds and state.

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Response to llmart (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:39 PM

17. No kidding, the money goes from my IRA to cash account,

because of the RMD (Required Minimum Distribution), zero income coming in, but all of the RMD is fully taxable! I bet some seniors are paying more taxes than their income due to RMD.

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Response to at140 (Reply #17)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:08 PM

27. Congress should remove RMD or at least increase the age

From 70 to 75 or 80.

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Response to spooky3 (Reply #27)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:09 PM

28. Agreed! It is an onerous tax on seniors...nt

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Response to at140 (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:18 PM

77. How does that work, exactly?

How does one pay higher than a 100% income tax rate?

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Response to Mariana (Reply #77)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:53 PM

98. Here is how it can happen...

If the senior's income is basically from social security, but during his/her work years they contributed every year to IRA's, then when they reach age 70.5, the RMD begins, and it is fully taxable. If their IRA investments did reasonably well, their RMD will be proportionately higher. That makes their total taxable income = RMD + 85% of Social security. Their social security becomes 85% taxable because of RMD.

So now they are paying tax on a taxable income far greater than their social security checks, and can easily end up with tax higher than their social security checks.

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Response to at140 (Reply #98)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:47 PM

100. OK, but that isn't what you claimed.

You said:

"I bet some seniors are paying more taxes than their income due to RMD."

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Response to llmart (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:09 AM

33. You GOT the deduction for it when you earned/saved it..paid no tax

Life is NOT a libertarian free ride

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #33)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:16 AM

35. I got no deduction when I earned it.

For example: I worked and received paychecks. Taxes were taken out of those paychecks for all the usual things - Social Security, state taxes and federal taxes. I chose to take $2,000 (or whatever I could depending on the year) of the net earnings to place into a self-directed, traditional IRA.

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Response to llmart (Reply #35)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:35 AM

40. That $2000 was and still is deductible

Unless you put it in a Roth IRA, it was deductible and came right off your AGI

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #40)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:45 AM

54. Nope. Most of it did not come right off my AGI.

I've had my IRA for 40 years. The tax laws/rules have changed over time and even today, there are limits as to whether you can take a tax deduction. At one time, if your income was over $50K per year you did not get any deduction. The tax laws have changed several times over my lifetime with regards to IRA's.

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Response to llmart (Reply #54)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:35 PM

61. And if those contributions were non-deductible they

form a basis level to your traditional IRA, and a portion of that basis is assigned to each distribution and you are not taxed on that basis value.

I did the same thing myself, made contributions every year even though I could not deduct them at the time. My basis in my small traditional IRA is now about $32K and is not taxable when withdrawn in my RMD.

You did file your Form 8606 every year that you made non-deductible contributions, right? That's how you calculate your basis.

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Response to dumbcat (Reply #61)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:43 PM

64. Yes, I know all about Form 8606.

I've been doing taxes since I was 17 and I'm 70.

I was replying to the person who said my contributions all came directly off my AGI which is false.

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Response to llmart (Reply #64)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:26 PM

70. And you are correct in your reply

to the other poster. The rules changed over the years and what was deductible changed several times. Which is why we filed the Form 8606.

We're a pair. I also filed my first tax return at age 17, and I'm now 70. First RMD is going to be this year. I've always done my own taxes, with some help from TurboTax for math checking and the forms. I'm currently looking into options for estate planning for when the wife and I pass. Lord, what a mess of rules!

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Response to dumbcat (Reply #70)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:41 PM

72. What a coincidence!

My first job out of high school was at a law firm where the head attorney also offered a service to his clients where we would do their tax forms. He told one of the older women to train me on doing taxes and that's where it started. I kept up on it all these years and did our taxes and some years there were quite a few oddities that I had to deal with. I have a quick story about that. There was only one year when I decided to use H&R Block for personal reasons. It wasn't a particularly difficult tax situation that year but when I picked up the forms I immediately went home and checked them and she had made two glaring errors on my federal and state. There had been a new state regulation and she hadn't even taken that into consideration. When I told her about it she didn't even apologize nor did they offer me a lesser amount for the crappy job she did.

And this is why I do my own! I've never used Turbo Tax.

My first RMD is next year in 2020. Of course I know I have until April 1, 2021 to take it.

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Response to llmart (Reply #72)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:20 PM

78. Another coincidence, and

Another story about tax services. My original degree was in engineering and I went directly into the Army for a career. My tax situation was pretty simple and I always did my own taxes. In the 80's I went renegade and went back to night school and picked up an MBA (Mgmt) in '83, and then (I was crazy) went back again and got another MBA in Finance in '89. While working on the first MBA I was in California, had just left active duty and switched to Army Civil Service, had a bit of consulting and investment income, and my return got a little more complicated. So I had a CPA, who happened to be our Accounting professor, do my return. I checked it over when he was done. He had totally missed the fact that I was eligible for income averaging (available back then), didn't handle the tax status of my re-adjustment pay (severance pay when I left active duty), and totally screwed up a short term capital loss situation on an investment. If I hadn't caught the errors I would have paid $1700 too much. He laughed it off, fixed it, and said he was sorry, but still charged me his full fee.

That was the only year I didn't do my own taxes.

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Response to dumbcat (Reply #78)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 06:18 PM

94. Oh brother.

I have often wondered how many people who have used tax preparers have lost money through incompetence. If they don't know what they're looking at and checking for they never know if it's correct. They somehow have bought into the advertising that says only "professionals" can do tax returns. I know a lot of people who have very simple returns and even they won't do their own. It's pretty amazing.

A friend of mine swore she had the best most ethical tax attorney do her taxes two years ago and then she got a notice from the IRS that he had done something wrong. We're good friends so I asked her how much she paid him and she said it was over $400! This year she's decided to do her own. She has three degrees, one being an MBA. She's called me a few times to run some stuff by me just so she can get it straight in her head to understand but she said never again would she pay that kind of money.

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Response to llmart (Reply #54)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:36 PM

62. Fair enough

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #62)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 12:00 AM

101. While it's true that all IRA contributions weren't deductible

it's also true that once the money was in an IRA, the earnings on it weren't taxed. That was always the primary benefit of an IRA, the tax deferred growth. The downside is you may have to take RMD's when it's not convenient to do so.

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Response to at140 (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:53 AM

56. "those of us who saved our pennies, have seen the value of our savings dwindle at a fast clip"

Perhaps the basis for that is HOW you saved your pennies? We've invested every available surplus asset in a balanced allocation of funds and are doing very well. Relying on bank interest in a savings account hasn't been a strategy since the high interest 70s.

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Response to at140 (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 01:25 AM

104. I feel this post very keenly.

I tried to do the right thing.

Never thought it would work out this way.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:23 PM

9. If half of older households depend on SS, why is Trump trying to cut it?

“Social Security provides most of the income for about age 65 and older,” the GAO said.


What does he expect all those seniors are supposed to do as they try to survive on less money? It's not like younger workers will have it any better as they labor under inadequate minimum wage laws that will make their SS income lower still. Minimum wage earners will never make enough money to save for anything much beyond a few Christmas presents, let alone plan on a retirement income.

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Response to procon (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:35 PM

16. He expects them to

Sell everything but the coats on their back.
Haggle with their landlords for free rent in exchange for work.
Get a loan from the cashier at the supermarket.
Move in with their children and make it their problem.
Vote Red until they die an early death.

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Response to procon (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:41 PM

19. Trump got his tax cut, so he has to cut else where

Luckily, Trump can't cut any social security of Medicare without congress going along.
With Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker now, Trump is powerless to cut anything.

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Response to procon (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:55 AM

57. He wants to give the money to himself and his friends

 

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:34 PM

15. Which is compounded by the fact

that most companies no longer offer a defined pension.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:49 PM

22. Very few people today stay with the same employer for decades

like they used to. Defined benefit pensions aren't very useful for people that change jobs every few years. Having a decent 401k is likely better for them

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Response to MichMan (Reply #22)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:49 PM

65. Except for governmental work

You can move around without penalty and most people, once vested, stay until they can retire (with a defined benefit plan). It's still available in some places.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 09:52 PM

23. I got a little to supplement social security and the house paid for, but it was tough...

 

The first 30 years of working was pretty good. One job lasted 20 years and I had a pension and 401(k) started before it went out of business. The next job lasted 10 years and I put as much as I could into the 401(k) but by the 90s the companies had already started cutting back their match to 2% where I worked. When the 2000s hit, the jobs were short and the benefits started getting worse if there were any. I was in the IT field and most of the work during the high unemployment Bush era were being gobbled up by the temp "employment agencies" where they took a cut of your wages and offered no benefits.

I don't know what kind of shape the kids of today are going to be in when they reach retirement. I'd bet it will be down to 5% approaching retirement have nothing put away. I can't see how they can in this gig economy. Good luck, kids.

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Response to PeeJ52 (Reply #23)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:14 PM

29. Many people don't know this but just because a company matches your contribution...

doesn't mean they have to continue to do that. During the last recession which bordered more along a depression if you ask me, many big corporations stopped matching altogether. There is nothing saying they have to match.

So when that happens, it basically means that you can put money into your 401K and yes, it's tax free at that time but if there's no match, then there's really not much advantage to having the 401K. When you are required to take that out you'll be taxed at a time in your life when you really need the money.

Face it, the little people like us are always screwed.

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Response to llmart (Reply #29)

Wed Mar 27, 2019, 10:32 PM

31. So true

my company matched at 5% for the first 10 years I was there. Then 5 years ago they cut the match to 4% and 3 years ago they cut it to 3%. Then the company was bought out and I understand the new company is only matching at 2%. Glad I retired late last year.

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Response to llmart (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:20 AM

38. Matching Is A Competitive Thing

If only a couple companies drop matching, they lose talent.
If whole bunches of companies drop it, the impact on talent is reduced.
Since it was many big companies, it begs what "guru" convinced enough corporations to do it in a short time to do this?
A Wall Street analyst meme that caught on?

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Response to llmart (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:05 AM

42. That's what I argued against when our union was voting on switching from pension to 401(k)...

 

Back in the 80s, the company I worked for offered to replace our pension system with the fabulous 401(k) retirement system that was sweeping the nation. The company was offering a dollar per dollar match up to 6% and we had the freedom to manage our money as individuals in the stock markets. So many members were for this thinking they were going to get rich. I raised the point on the floor, but what if the company quits matching what we put in an was laughed at because how would people said how would they keep workers if they didn't offer any kind of retirement. Well, over the years, the company match went lower and lower until it was "we'll contribute a year end amount we can afford if we have a good year". Seems a lot of other companies started lowering their matching rates too. Hmmm.... collusion???? Needless to say, we didn't get many year end matches and it seemed without unions negotiating for pensions for their workers, there were less and less unions.

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Response to PeeJ52 (Reply #42)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:07 AM

49. Why wasn't the match included as part of the union contract?

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Response to MichMan (Reply #49)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:19 AM

51. Non negotiable as far as I am aware...

 

Are you kidding?... there was gold in that offer. This was the International Chemical Workers Union in Florida, a right to work state. Every negotiated raise for the past 12 years had been in the 1% to 2% range. We were voting on a contract where members could give themselves an automatic 6% pay raise. This was unheard of. They gobbled it up like candy.

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Response to PeeJ52 (Reply #42)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:50 AM

55. I can absolutely relate to your experience.

I clearly remember how most of my coworkers thought that 401k's were the best thing since sliced bread. I've been in HR for over 30 years and all I could think of was that most of the employees didn't have a clue how to even understand their basic benefits let alone anything like picking investment choices. I didn't think 401k's were going to be better for most people than the old-fashioned defined benefit, but I was in the minority.

I've heard so many stories of people who took lots of money out of their 401k's when they fell on hard times and had to pay penalties.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:21 AM

34. The little man can't get ahead in tRumpeconomics

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:44 AM

36. Employers largely to blame. Dropped pension

plans, profit sharing, and matching IRA contributions. These all helped discipline workers and encouraged retirement savings.

People can not survive on just social security (without pension ). And Medicare will eat that up.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:55 AM

37. We've been self-employed much of our working lives, so our retirement plan is keep working.

Over the years the ups and downs have been navigated by incurring debt and it's hard to get ahead unless you have a stretch of good times. Guess I'm grateful I have no desire to travel anymore (hate to leave the cats in a kennel) and have no interest in golf. My worst nightmare is living in a retirement community. LOL. Work until we drop is the motto in our household. So far so good and it's no use worrying about not having a million bucks in the bank. We're all going to die sooner or later, rich or poor.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:22 AM

39. Kind Of Makes Me Feel Like A Freak

48% with none? Yikes!
My wife and I are a light year from that plight.
Did not realize we were that far outside the norm.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #39)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 08:38 AM

41. This has all been known for years. I've said for a long time schools need to teach basic finance....

..the value of saving/investing and more to kids today. Heck, this should have been done 50 years ago.

One thing too: if the parents don't value saving for retirement, their kids won't either, save the fact that if schools did teach said courses, they might be inclined to start saving. It's a really bad circular thinking issue.

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Response to machoneman (Reply #41)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:14 AM

43. Some people don't have extra money to save. Get it? Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #43)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:41 AM

45. Thank you.

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Response to MrsCoffee (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:46 AM

46. Amazes me sometimes how people do not know how some people scrape by. Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #46)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:56 AM

58. The issue is "some" vs "most"

Not discounting the impact on lower income workers, but the reality is that most people have an income stream that should allow for savings if they start early enough.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:13 PM

59. Easy for you to say. Nt


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Response to USALiberal (Reply #59)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:04 PM

69. I'm sure that's the reality in the circle of the rich and famous.

The rest of the country, not so much.

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Response to MrsCoffee (Reply #69)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:10 PM

74. So true! Nt

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 02:38 PM

71. Comforting (and self-serving) allegation...

lacking objective evidence to support it.

In other words, simply another of your fortune cookies instructing people of whom you do not posses relevant knowledge what they "should" do...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #71)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:02 PM

73. My wife and I started out with Government salaries...

...we decided not to have children. That in itself has a big impact on investable assets.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #73)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:10 PM

75. Somehow predicted this response. Nt

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #73)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 06:35 PM

95. You make it sound like that was a brilliant strategy.

I'll take my two wonderful grown children and my one grandchild any day over your "investable assets".

When I'm on my death bed my children will be with me, I can stake my life on that. They turned into wonderful, caring, intelligent, hardworking people. Hope your "investable assets" are comforting when that happens to you.

My husband was a high wage earner and when my children were older I worked in a professional job at a decent salary and I have quite a substantial retirement portfolio. However, I would never be so bold as to say in essence, "most people have some money for savings, they just aren't as smart as I was with their money." You know why I wouldn't say that? Because I have a 30-year career in HR and benefits and I always knew what everyone in the organization made, what some of their personal situations were, how much they put in their retirement accounts and where they put it. I can say categorically that there were times I wondered how some of them could live on what they made.

Here's another thought for you. You and I both could lose it all tomorrow. I wouldn't tempt fate if I were you. When I was much, much younger I was pretty cocky sometimes too about how much more savvy I was than others about my "life plans". Turns out there were some things I wasn't so savvy about.

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Response to llmart (Reply #95)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:45 PM

97. I'm delighted you love your kids...

...but you didn't HAVE to have them, and just as I could "lose everything", you could find that your children don't or can't care for you in your later years. We're assuming that we have to rely on ourselves, and as a result we've maxed out every 401(k) contribution, deposited IRA funds every year, and have saved every penny we can, balancing the deposits to reduce the likelihood of loss in all categories.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #71)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:11 PM

76. Thank you! Nt

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:26 PM

87. Based on what numbers?

The median family income is around $54K, meaning half of the country earns less than that. How can you grandly generalize that retirement savings are available to most in this population? You say you're not discounting low income workers, but they are a big percentage of the lower half of the median income. Even with artificially low income thresholds, the poverty rate is still around 15%.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:20 AM

44. It's about dignity

Social Security needs to be strengthened, it's about living in dignity. You cannot live in dignity on social security alone right now.

And I have saved and am close to my target for my investments at my age, but I am not smug about it like some here. You know why? Because I am keenly aware that it can all be gone in a flash. Your 401K gives you more security, but not total security. Life can happen, you can get sick and have to dip into your retirement. If Republicans have their way they'll take your retirement for your health care when you get up in age.

So we need to increase Social Security and Medicare. These provide the floor for our elderly, and that floor should be a dignified existence, nothing less.

We're all in this together, don't let your fat 401K convince in the illusion of security, you don't know what the future holds for you.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #44)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 09:47 AM

47. I am close to retirement but worry about a crash. Nt

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #47)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:00 AM

48. Do you have a financial adviser?

As you near retirement your risk should be low to be impacted by a crash. If you don't have one, get a financial adviser, they'll have you out of the market as you near retirement.

But even that is not a fail safe, my parents had a financial adviser that kept them in the market too long and they lost a ton during the 2008 crash. It really has effected their quality of life in retirement too. Dad has a GM pension and another small pension, and they both get social security, so it's not like they're hurting too much. But for them, the difference was that they now rent an apartment where as most of their friends own nice condos in retirement.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #48)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:15 AM

50. My advisor.....

Has moved me to more bond funds as I get closer, but still nervous.
His theory is to spend the bond money after the crash so your stocks can recover over 3-5 years. But who know.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 10:22 AM

52. Got to stay as healthy as possible and plan on working till death do you

part this Earth. Sure isn't a pretty picture for those "Golden Years".

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 11:09 AM

53. This entire discussion shows how far our country has fallen

To retire in dignity is not too much to ask in a country this rich. The ruling class has gotten working people to accept less and less and blame themselves when they get stuck living in squalor when they retire.

Listen, this country's wealth being skewed is the reason for this. It wasn't always like this! It shouldn't be like this right now!

They've got working people fighting over table scraps while they live like sultans. ALL OF THE WEALTH IN THIS COUNTRY IS CREATED BY LABOR! The wealth you are creating is being held from you and consolidated by the few.

It's disgusting what they'e gotten us to accept. You worked your whole life, you've created wealth your whole life, you have the absolute right to a dignified retirement. One where you are housed, fed, and cared for when you fall ill. One where you aren't choosing between medication and eating. It's what you earned with your labor, the rich stole that from you, not your fellow working poor / middle class.

This is DU and I am reading stuff like, "Oh well, you are screwed because you didn't save correctly." People are screwed not because of that, they are screwed because the rich rigged it so it all goes to them.

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #53)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:43 PM

81. +1

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Response to Johnny2X2X (Reply #53)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:15 PM

85. I agree!

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 12:31 PM

60. Most employers match 401k contributions up to a certain percent.

People don't realize they're missing out on free money. It adds up quick.

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Response to gldstwmn (Reply #60)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:57 PM

82. You are right there is an order to tax deferred withholding

1. Take the 401k match to the maximum
2. Fully fund the Health Savings Account (this is also excluded from SS withholding)
3. Roth IRA any remaining money (I don't get to this point) or a standard IRA (which is a less attractive option because of below)


I am not a big fan of the 401k beyond the match because you have more flexibility in investment in your own IRA.

If you think you will need health care before Medicare kicks in (lose your job), you need money in the Roth. Your withdrawals to pay premiums if you the tax deferred 401k or IRA. This counts as income when qualifying for ACA subsidies. I have just become aware of it.

ACA subsidies apparently do not have an asset test.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 03:36 PM

80. hi- I'm 50, and I have $15,000 in a 401k..... and I just bought a house

This is my recovery so far after losing everything in the recession....

So yeah I'm screwed also

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 04:26 PM

86. Yep Smith and Wesson retirement plan for me

100% of what would have been savings for retirement is either going to tuition for my three girls or was already used to pay off house and wife’s student loans. So I will work until I can’t any more then it’s game over for me. Thanks Republicans!

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 05:05 PM

90. gonna have to work till i die.

doesn't help the recession cost me 100K in lost wages.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 05:10 PM

91. I'm used to living on $1192 a month SSDI so I'm good to go.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #91)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 05:13 PM

93. ..

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 05:12 PM

92. what about traditional savings accounts, equity in homes, savings other than 401K?

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Thu Mar 28, 2019, 07:40 PM

96. Of course they have no savings....

... every time they put something away, the Rethugs in power just siphon it out of their accounts.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 01:16 AM

102. $3.93

Pensions are updated twice a year here in Australia by the CPI number.
The $3.95 is my share of the rise, wife gets the same.

Just as well I also have superannuation . . .
Our superannuation scheme here is similar in some ways to the 401(K) in the US. Part of your pay goes into the fund (compulsory) and is matched by your employer.

BUT it just doesn't work for some. Why?
1. Fees are charged by the fund. They can really eat into the balance if the balance is low.
2 It relies on a person having a steady, decently paid job throughout his/her working life.
3 It relies on investments made by the super funds having a decent return. The GFC ate holes in it.

We are fine, 40 years of me working the same Government job ensures that. But I bet a lot of retired people here are without retirement funds of any kind and rely on the Government pension. Which puts you below the poverty line.



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