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Old 09-24-2013, 11:56 AM   #41
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It is not what you make that is important, it is what you keep.

I worked in an environment of six figure income earners for many years. Some spent a great deal of money on status symbols-cars, etc. and saved little. Others saved, lived below their means, invested. Some lost their jobs in their mid/late fifties and had nothing to fall back on. Others happily left the business with substantial retirement savings.

It is not so much about income as it is about personal behavior. We are all different...that is what makes the world such an interesting place.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:17 PM   #42
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It is not what you make that is important, it is what you keep.
On another forum I read, a couple who had per person retirement income about the same as Tom posted their budget asking for help because they were having trouble making ends meet.

The difference was all in their fixed expenses. Tom has extra money for travel and savings. They can't pay their bills. The couple even had a significantly higher net worth but it was all tied up in non-income producing real estate.

Also Tom is working two jobs while they didn't think to even make an extra $10 a day on Fiverr or Mturk between the two of them, which would have brought in an $3.65K extra per year, a significant amount of extra income when you are living on SS and not a lot more.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:15 PM   #43
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After re-reading the article and some of the comments here, I'm coming around to give Tom, the featured worker, a break.

My sense is the writer was trying to make a point and probably picked the wrong example of an older worker who has to work to even scrape by. I don't think Tom fits that category.

The article is interspersed with quotes from "experts", and I got confused by who was saying what.

Tom sounds like an affable guy who likes and needs people. He's working to keep that connection, more than anything. Sounds like he enjoys it more than really needs it. And the writer didn't say what Tom did during the 2009 panic. Did he sell low? Or is the writer just trying to make a point? Arghh!

"Financial Porn" indeed...
I agree with this.

The subject of the article doesn't seem to be blaming others for his choices and is dealing with his current state as best as he can. While I might not agree with the choices he did make, he seems accepting of the results.

There are a lot of other situations the "experts" could have picked to highlight folks in real trouble.

However, we all know that "sex, violence, fear, and death sells papers and gets website hits". The problem with the "experts" in this article is that they leave the impression "abandon hope, you'll never make it" to younger folks and discouraging them from even trying to save/invest towards retirement.

There are no guarantees in life, but there are odds... and I'd rather encourage folks to try to increase the odds in their favor rather than leave the impression that the deck is completely stacked against all of their efforts.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:23 PM   #44
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77 isn't outside his IRS longevity table. He's getting close to the mean age for death but he's probably got a few more years past this since he's still heathy enough for what he's doing.
If I remember correctly, since he has made it to 77, actuarially, he probably has at least 9 more years. In reference to your earlier post that maybe he likes the part time job, that could resemble my dad. He has a million bucks, paid off home, doesn't even spend his monthly pension/SS check. He had to quit working PT a few years ago because his body pretty much has given out on him. Working was his identity. If he had great health, he wouldn't use it to enjoy his money, he would use it to work more.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:31 PM   #45
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Life is like a wheel. Sometimes you're up, at times, you can be down!
I think Tom made some mistakes along the way, some not so apprarent to him. There's nothing he can do about the past, but at least trying his best and I hope that his health holds up to it. As any story, there are some
unknown mysterious twist to it.
a. He made a mistake by not moving with the company. If you were a VP, why not move?
b. He was a business major!, I can't believe he did not think of mutual funds. Maybe, he actually spent much in lifestyle earlier.
c. Why the low SS? Can;t explain that.
d. I admire a 77 who can work that way!. i can't do that at 63.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:49 PM   #46
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d. I admire a 77 who can work that way!. i can't do that at 63.
Agree. He's probably posting on www.late-vigorous-retirement.org how all those ER people are going to die quick from sitting around the computer all day.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:11 PM   #47
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Life is like a wheel. Sometimes you're up, at times, you can be down!
I think Tom made some mistakes along the way, some not so apprarent to him. There's nothing he can do about the past, but at least trying his best and I hope that his health holds up to it. As any story, there are some
unknown mysterious twist to it.
a. He made a mistake by not moving with the company. If you were a VP, why not move?
b. He was a business major!, I can't believe he did not think of mutual funds. Maybe, he actually spent much in lifestyle earlier.
c. Why the low SS? Can;t explain that.
d. I admire a 77 who can work that way!. i can't do that at 63.
And:

"He then sold his New Jersey home for $180,000, kept what he needed to quickly pay off his credit card debt and divided the rest among his children so they'd have down payments for their own homes."

Might be nice to hang on to that until you know you won't need it. Probably lost more there than in his portfolio, even if he sold all his equities at the bottom.

I didn't read the article, but from the quotes here he sounds happy as he is.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:45 PM   #48
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And:

"He then sold his New Jersey home for $180,000, kept what he needed to quickly pay off his credit card debt and divided the rest among his children so they'd have down payments for their own homes."

Might be nice to hang on to that until you know you won't need it. Probably lost more there than in his portfolio, even if he sold all his equities at the bottom.

I didn't read the article, but from the quotes here he sounds happy as he is.
I certainly plan to do that. I hope to leave my child money when I am gone. But the longer she has to wait, the more she will appreciate it, and maybe not blow it.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:29 PM   #49
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I don't think this guy is all that unhappy. The biased author tries to make it seem so, but when he can no longer work, he won't regret/miss the financial aspect of it, but the social/physical/stimulation components of his life.

This article makes me think two things:

"Journalism," while never pure, has slid so, so far.

What were companies thinking back then flying someone at his level to Europe in first class? Coach then was almost as good as first today and either this was an infrequent occurrence or his company went through some rational re-structuring of their cost structure after he left. Wouldn't happen today.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:59 PM   #50
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It could be he was bogged down with heavy duty alimony and child support in his earlier years. Given his high earnings, and perhaps the lack of financial resources of his ex(s), it's possible the college funding for the kids was court ordered. I've seen it happen before.

It seems the article is suggesting this is going to be the norm in the future, for 70+ year old's, who don't have substantial portfolios. This gentleman is anecdotal. He works to provide for certain amenities, and seems to enjoy it to some degree.

There's no reason he can't live on the $1800 a month adequately. He has a paid off home. The only thing coming out of the SS and pension is FITW and Medicare part B. A w*rking stiff paying the full range of taxes, and mortgage or rent, would have to earn around $3500 a month to equal this man's discretionary income. The only caveat being is if the guy has exorbitant property taxes or home maintenance.

That turning the water heater on and off is LYBM in the extreme.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:23 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
After re-reading the article and some of the comments here, I'm coming around to give Tom, the featured worker, a break.

My sense is the writer was trying to make a point and probably picked the wrong example of an older worker who has to work to even scrape by. I don't think Tom fits that category.

The article is interspersed with quotes from "experts", and I got confused by who was saying what.

Tom sounds like an affable guy who likes and needs people. He's working to keep that connection, more than anything. Sounds like he enjoys it more than really needs it. And the writer didn't say what Tom did during the 2009 panic. Did he sell low? Or is the writer just trying to make a point? Arghh!

"Financial Porn" indeed...
That is basically my conclusion also. Tom made choices obviously not always the smartest financial choices. However, he doesn't sound particularly miserable or even poor. Several of the Costco food demonstrators are over 65 and they for the most part seem happy to do the job because like Tom they like being around people. For the INTJ on the forum, yes those weird extrovert types exist. The man has a good attitude and great health and two low stress part time jobs. So what that he can't enjoy 1st class business travel, I know for many people any type of business travel is miserable if you do it a lot.

88% of household make under 100k, if you didn't save while making that kinda of money, guess what you can't spend that much in retirement. In other news the sky is blue.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:53 PM   #52
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What were companies thinking back then flying someone at his level to Europe in first class? Coach then was almost as good as first today and either this was an infrequent occurrence or his company went through some rational re-structuring of their cost structure after he left. Wouldn't happen today.
Or it never happened. Many articles are made up out of whole cloth.

Ha
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:27 PM   #53
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Or it never happened. Many articles are made up out of whole cloth.

Ha
This thought had crossed my mind as well.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:51 PM   #54
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Or it never happened. Many articles are made up out of whole cloth.

Ha
I worked at a place years ago that was pretty liberal with letting even non-executive employees reserve and use the company plane, staffed with a pilot and co-pilot. I thought that was weird but way cool because I got to fly on it a couple of times when I was just a low level worker bee.

So I can believe the first class plane tickets. Maybe it was the era or just a lack of good internal financial controls.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:59 AM   #55
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Age 77... Am there, in age.

And think of what could be, and might have been...
A $200+K house not in a flood plain, but now gone...
A divorce that went bad, financially.
Long term uninsured care for a child or spouse.
A lawsuit.
Fraud or other theft.
Pension failure.

IMO... judge not...
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:06 PM   #56
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The author and Palome were on NPR today. Palome basically said he was not smart enough to do financial planning for retirement and that he should have hired a financial planner early on. The author said that there should be a savings program established for everyone with a guaranteed rate of return to prevent others from meeting Palome's fate.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:46 PM   #57
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I prefer to teake the simplistic view. Don't care why he is working two j*bs at 77. Regardless if he was a high powered exec, or something less. He is ready willing and able to do it.

I am sure he does spend time reviewing the events that got him to where he is, in the some dark recess of his mind.

I prefer to operate at a "low level of abstraction" TM by haha.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:32 PM   #58
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The author said that there should be a savings program established for everyone with a guaranteed rate of return to prevent others from meeting Palome's fate.
There may be something to this argument. Certainly most people are not making good use of the savings opportunities that are available to them. If we want to hold everyone's hand and provide a deeper retirement safety net than Social Security, then we should have that debate and decide what to do. But it is NOT because 401k and IRA and other defined contribution plans are not able to provide reasonable opportunity to save for retirement. Most people on this board are proof that those programs can work. Trying to demonize 401k and stock market fluctuations as part of the argument why we need another kind of retirement program is a strong indication that someone is arguing based on political ideology and not facts.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:20 PM   #59
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The author said that there should be a savings program established for everyone with a guaranteed rate of return to prevent others from meeting Palome's fate.
Social Security... returning -5% to 2% annually!
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:17 PM   #60
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Isn't there a children's story about the grasshopper and the ants? This stuff is not new.
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