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Old 02-29-2012, 06:48 AM   #61
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:00 AM   #62
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AARP changed, and went from an organization that lobbied for the interests of senior citizens to a brand that rents itself to others to sell to seniors. The SS campaign they ran may have been intended also to show that their primary purpose is still as an advocate, but I agree (and said so then) that it was too selfish.
I think that's true, and the key point for me was when they changed the name of the organization from an acronym (American Assoc. of Retired Persons) to a meaningless string of letters (AARP) that stands for nothing at all (hmm, like the organization itself?). Look at their website or any of their publications, and they admit that AARP is nothing but a meaningless name, in the same sense as when IBM changed their name from an acronym to merely a string of letters.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:01 AM   #63
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I too dumped them because of their overly/overtly political slant.

They keep chasing me with costly mailings.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:43 AM   #64
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I only have a problem with it because they are more than willing to have their kids and grandkids get screwed so they -- even the most affluent of them -- don't have to share in the sacrifice of fixing SS, Medicare, public pensions and other old age social programs. Even in the absence of reforms today's seniors are expected to get a better deal out of these programs than younger folks today -- and their preferred "reforms" would only increase the differences.
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Seems like you have a pretty wide brush in your hand there ziggy.
Honestly, how so?
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:47 AM   #65
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Honestly, how so?
Ziggy's response suggested to me that seniors were willing to have their kids and grandkids screwed and not share in the sacrifice of fixing SS, medicare, etc. and I just don't think that is true. It might be true for some seniors, but many seniors that I know (mom, aunts, etc) are doing well and if their benefits had to be reduced some to fix SS and Medicare then I don't think they would object, particularly if the change was not a direct reduction of their checks, but more indirect like lesser increases, perhaps more SS included in taxable income, etc. I have no doubt that there are some seniors who have the attitude ziggy suggested, but I think there are many that do not (including many on these boards - perhaps a good poll), hence the wide brush comment.

The most significant inequities in the data above are for people who turned 65 in 1960 and 1980 - they got much more benefits than they received - but most of them are dead by now and the benefit was passed on the the next generation (that's many of us) in the form of inheritances or our not having to support them directly.

Do you know if the data in the tables is adjusted for the time value of money? IOW, it would seem more relevant to me to compare the value of taxes paid in plus interest at age 65 to the pv of projected benefits at age 65 rather than only the nominal amounts.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:08 AM   #66
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Ziggy's response suggested to me that seniors were willing to have their kids and grandkids screwed and not share in the sacrifice of fixing SS, medicare, etc. and I just don't think that is true. It might be true for some seniors, but many seniors that I know (mom, aunts, etc) are doing well and if their benefits had to be reduced some to fix SS and Medicare then I don't think they would object, particularly if the change was not a direct reduction of their checks, but more indirect like lesser increases, perhaps more SS included in taxable income, etc. I have no doubt that there are some seniors who have the attitude ziggy suggested, but I think there are many that do not (including many on these boards - perhaps a good poll), hence the wide brush comment.
There are indeed many seniors willing to sacrifice along with everyone else to square away our fiscal imbalances. We're seniors, we certainly don't have a quarrel with seniors in general.

But from everything I've read from AARP, they're not open to sharing the pain at all. 'We paid in, so we're entitled to all the benefits promised us' period. The ad is just a recent example. If you look at federal spending, it's clear 'cut waste and loopholes instead' won't begin to close the deficit gap - and AARP knows that. So if we're not going to reduce or slow entitlement spending, revenue increase will fall to everyone still working. The ad also says, 'there are 50 million of us, and we vote' - how would anyone read shared sacrifice in that? Won't speak for Ziggy, but I think he was talking about AARP, the subject of this thread.

I wonder what % of seniors are AARP members? I haven't found stats so far.

And the chart supports his statement that benefits returned have been steadily declining over the generations, looks pretty clear to me.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:43 AM   #67
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There are indeed many seniors willing to sacrifice along with everyone else to square away our fiscal imbalances. We're seniors, we certainly don't have a quarrel with seniors in general.

But from everything I've read from AARP, they're not open to sharing the pain at all. 'We paid in, so we're entitled to all the benefits promised us' period. The ad is just a recent example. If you look at federal spending, it's clear 'cut waste and loopholes instead' won't begin to close the deficit gap - and AARP knows that. So if we're not going to reduce or slow entitlement spending, revenue increase will fall to everyone still working. The ad also says, 'there are 50 million of us, and we vote' - how would anyone read shared sacrifice in that? Won't speak for Ziggy, but I think he was talking about AARP, the subject of this thread.

I wonder what % of seniors are AARP members? I haven't found stats so far.

And the chart supports his statement that benefits returned have been steadily declining over the generations, looks pretty clear to me.
I don't think anyone would argue that SS resulted in a transfer of wealth from the young to the old and the wealthy to the poor and the data you provided makes that clear.

I went back and re-read ziggy's post and it seemed to me that he was talking more about seniors than AARP. To the best of my knowledge AARP does not have kids or grandkids.

AARP is clearly posturing. I would much rather have that posturing result in more pressure on Congress to cut waste and loopholes as much as they can, and then (and only then) reduce benefits.

And while I agree that AARP is a bit heavyhanded with the "we vote" thing, the reality is that the idiots in Washington probably need to be threatened to get anything done.

While many of us are blessed to be in a position where I could absorb a reduction in benefits without a hit to our lifestyle there are many others in who are relying on the benefits that they have been promised and are planning their retirements based on those promises and would take a hit if benefits are reduced.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #68
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I went back and re-read ziggy's post and it seemed to me that he was talking more about seniors than AARP. To the best of my knowledge AARP does not have kids or grandkids.
He's probably working at the moment, but his reply was to an earlier post referring to AARP, and as you know Ziggy closed his post with
Quote:
I'm about 3 1/2 years away from "AARP age" and I plan to tell them to pound sand.
so I definitely read his as referring to AARP, certainly not seniors in general.

I don't follow your joke about kids or grandkids.

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:04 PM   #69
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Ziggy's post said "I only have a problem with it because they are more than willing to have their kids and grandkids get screwed" (emphasis added).

If he was referring to AARP as you suggest, then the logical conclusion is that AARP (they) have kids and grandkids. Get it now?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:07 PM   #70
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Ziggy's post said "I only have a problem with it because they are more than willing to have their kids and grandkids get screwed" (emphasis added).

If he was referring to AARP as you suggest, then the logical conclusion is that AARP (they) have kids and grandkids. Get it now?
They being AARP members of course, but OK.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #71
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Midpack, if I read your chart correctly, it looks like those of us retiring about now (i.e., taking SS now or in the near future) paid in more (on a time-value-of-money basis) than we will get back. IOW, those (2 earners) retiring in 2010 paid about 690K and will get back about $880. If those numbers were not adjusted for the time-value, it would seem a really BAD deal. Do you know if the numbers were adjusted?

And those of us who made the top wage for SS probably paid in MUCH more than we will get back if the chart is correct. I realize that SS/Medicare are both a retirement annuity AND a welfare program (no derogatory intention in that description - just can't think of a better word for it). But I didn't realize it was that "bad" for us "rich" folks. Maybe AARP isn't so greedy after all. Have I misread this or do I need to get my glasses checked?

I recall a piece a few years back by Scott Burns. He was pointing out that a working spouse could easily pay over 100% taxes on a portion of his/her income due to the SS taxes (which under certain conditions will never be retrieved due to the way SS is paid out to married couples). In any case, YMMV.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #72
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Midpack, if I read your chart correctly, it looks like those of us retiring about now (i.e., taking SS now or in the near future) paid in more (on a time-value-of-money basis) than we will get back. IOW, those (2 earners) retiring in 2010 paid about 690K and will get back about $880. If those numbers were not adjusted for the time-value, it would seem a really BAD deal. Do you know if the numbers were adjusted?

And those of us who made the top wage for SS probably paid in MUCH more than we will get back if the chart is correct. I realize that SS/Medicare are both a retirement annuity AND a welfare program (no derogatory intention in that description - just can't think of a better word for it). But I didn't realize it was that "bad" for us "rich" folks. Maybe AARP isn't so greedy after all. Have I misread this or do I need to get my glasses checked?

I recall a piece a few years back by Scott Burns. He was pointing out that a working spouse could easily pay over 100% taxes on a portion of his/her income due to the SS taxes (which under certain conditions will never be retrieved due to the way SS is paid out to married couples). In any case, YMMV.
I'll let you do your own research, the study was referenced several places, here's just one What's the "Return" on Your Social Security Taxes? - CBS News.

Demographics (mostly increased longevity) have made it an increasingly 'less attractive deal' but it never was an investment. Talking about returns on Soc Sec is a euphemism at best. Early recipients made out like bandits receiving far more in benefits than any investment could ever provide, less and less so with each generation due to demographics. That's not news to anyone here I hope.

I'd caution you to look at Soc Sec and Medicare both. Looking at Soc Sec alone just forestalls the same path Medicare is on, doesn't help to look away.

You're helping make the point, if we don't do something to address the coming imbalances at some point, it's going to be an even 'worse deal' for our kids and grandkids - outright unfair at some point IMO. I'll let you square that with your "maybe AARP isn't so greedy after all" comment for yourself...
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:55 PM   #73
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You're helping make the point, if we don't do something to address the coming imbalances at some point, it's going to be an even 'worse deal' for our kids and grandkids - outright unfair at some point IMO. I'll let you square that with your "maybe AARP isn't so greedy after all" comment for yourself...
Trust me, it wasn't a heart-felt sentiment. Just suggesting (as I am wont to do) that there is actually an argument to the AARP side. My take is that AARP is like (take your pick) union or mgmt. They take "positions" which they know will not be adopted in the contract and (hopefully) negotiate to some middle from there. I fear that in AARPs case, they tend not to negotiate as those (they say) they represent, DO vote on single issues such as SS/Medicare. Pass the Koolaid.

Oh, and YMMV.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:15 AM   #74
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Am bumping this old thread because, like many others here, I didn't/don't like a lot of the policies and politics of AARP.

... However...
After finding copies of the magazine in doctor's offices over the past ten years of non-membership, DW decided to sign up again, just because she likes to read the health articles. So now, I'm back into it again.

So... for FWIW... here are links to two articles from this month's magazine I thought to be interesting. Especially the one on inheriting IRA's and the importance of retitling. Whether it's an IRA that your spouse or children will inherit, or and IRA that was willed to you, how it's handled, may make the entire inheritance taxable... OR NOT... depending on the wording of the transfer.

I'm not very smart about the legal stuff, but then I'm not sure my kids or my executor are either. IMO, this article alone, may save the price of subscriptions for many years.
Understanding Inherited IRAs Can Save You Money on Taxes - Retirement - AARP

The other article has nothing to do with finances directly, but might be worthwhile for those who are interested in health. It was particularly interesting to me, since it dealt with drug resistant superbugs. This was specially poignant as one of our neighbors passed away this past February after a two year battle with MRSA... wherein he lost both legs, and spent 7 months in the hospital. The MRSA came on after a one day stay in the hospital for a simple operation. MRSA responsible for 82,000 infections and 12,000 deaths last year.

Battling Bacteria Superbugs - How to Help Stop Drug Resistant Bacteria - AARP

Am not pimping for AARP, but the $16.00 membership seems worthwhile, just for some of the articles. Something about the baby and the bathwater.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #75
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The inherited IRA article was very informative. As a result, I'm planning to update my instruction letter to heirs.

I find at least one worthy tidbit in each issue.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:14 PM   #76
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I seem to be able to download the AARP magazine for free using their iPad app, without joining.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:33 PM   #77
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As someone who inherited an IRA (along with my sister) I can attest to the tax benefits.

I get a smallish RMD every year that gets funneled straight into the kids 529's. Grandpa is helping fund the kids college from the grave.
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