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Old 07-28-2008, 10:44 AM   #21
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What do they do at the AARP, it's several publications and maybe some envelop stuffing.
Huge membership base, substantial government lobby, manage discount programs with tens of thousands of retail and restaurants, run their own or offer brokered services for insurance, investing, and their own line of mutual funds, along with thousands of publications for retirees.

So yeah, they've got mailroom and janitor jobs, but I'd hazard a guess that the average AARP employee makes as much as any other white collar employee.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:45 AM   #22
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What do they do at the AARP
Pursue policies on entitlements that bankrupt their grandkids A lot of lobbying on behalf of the interests of people over 50.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:47 AM   #23
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Maybe, maybe not. But IMO, the point is that this is just another "the economy sucks and you're doomed" article in the mainstream media.

In other words, it is the current economy being blamed and not decades of low salary and/or savings rate. It's all the economy's fault. It's taking us all down and there is no hope. Where did I put my roll of Reynolds Wrap?
I agree about the gist of the article but I took OP's question to be: why can a person save for 40 years and still not have enough?
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:50 AM   #24
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Interesting, BestWifeEver, got me thinking. What do they do at the AARP, it's several publications and maybe some envelop stuffing. I'm being simplistic but I can tell you about my business neighbors on the floor I work on. One group is the West Coast site for two national magazines and the other puts out a regional newspaper. Both organizations bring in extra help at certain times of the month--I doubt that any of them bring home a full diddi-squat paycheck.

We might guess that some people violate the first rule of investing--start with the highest possible salary you can attain. What's 10% of diddli?
No clue what the guy makes or his background but according to Google searches he is the director of the Colorado office (his position also skipped over in the article) so he probably gets paid more than an envelope stuffer. But more than that, I think the point of the OP is that quotes like these are dropped into a story to support the writer's point at face value, when really this particular quote by itself is meaningless (as noted above: so how much DOES he have saved, percentage or $? So how old is he? So when does he want to retire? etc.).
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:51 AM   #25
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By the way, AARP lists John Looney as their "Colorado Director", and he's quoted in several articles criticizing senate votes on medicare and patients rights.

So...I'm guessing he was probably making some decent money...and to not have invested enough or well enough when working a senior job for an organization that has a primary focus on advising people on how to prepare for and live well in retirement...well...go ahead and make your own joke.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:52 AM   #26
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...well...go ahead and make your own joke.

You're right, that does sound Looney!
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:54 AM   #27
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Dang...I just lost a dollar bet that nobody was gonna go there...

My bet is that he made the comment about saving for 40 years and it still wasnt enough as some part of a statement about the costs of retirement and in particular the health care issue. AARP has been pushing hard for medicare reform and a nationalized health care program.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:02 AM   #28
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What's 10% of diddli?
Dad put 20 into the air force, it was either sign up for the AF or get drafted by the army. Retired E-6. They put 50% down on their first house at 12 years in, rented it out until they could retire to the area. Sold 10 years ago and relocated. They rented to see how the new area would be and then paid cash for their current house.

He had a steady job when he retired and then didn't.. work here and there plus the pension was enough to keep us fed and out of trouble. He and mom worked at Wal-Mart and started the stock purchase plan... figured free money is better than money you need to work for. That's what let them pay cash for the house. He's 56 now and a manager at Wal-Mart. He can retire at 62 or 65 and stick with their current lifestyle, which might even make Jeff blush.

If they could have kept putting away a solid 10% with no big employment gaps then they would have been able to replicate what they're getting with that pension (someone can fill you in on how much dough a retired E-6 pulls down).
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:07 AM   #29
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I'm trying to imagine applying for a j*b at the AARP. They want someone who is thinking long-term, not looking to RE? Financial illiteracy would be a plus.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:11 AM   #30
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Dang...I just lost a dollar bet that nobody was gonna go there...

My bet is that he made the comment about saving for 40 years and it still wasnt enough as some part of a statement about the costs of retirement and in particular the health care issue. AARP has been pushing hard for medicare reform and a nationalized health care program.
Well, I'm cheap and easy... and that's made all the difference! Who won the dollar?

So, if he's a director and saving just wasn't cutting it, I wonder if AARP will have some new services or articles soon. I mean, there's no chance that a manager would be making some sort of statement just to help out his bottom line, is there?
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:45 AM   #31
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It's just the quote at the end that rubbed me wrong. 40 years savings, yeah, right. More articles like this, and then nobody will save. After all, if he can't do it after 40 years, then what chance do I have...
I love these kind of people. They pull the cart so I don't have to. It's savers like you I hate.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:04 PM   #32
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I'm guessing he was probably making some decent money...and to not have invested enough or well enough when working a senior job for an organization that has a primary focus on advising people on how to prepare for and live well in retirement...well...go ahead and make your own joke.
Sounds like the old story about the cobbler's children have no shoes. Or for a medical example, see http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...ry/cancer/home.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:09 PM   #33
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I agree about the gist of the article but I took OP's question to be: why can a person save for 40 years and still not have enough?
I have some ideas from the stories I've heard/seen:
1. Divorce.
2. More than a few kids.
3. Saving more for kids' college funds than for retirement.
4. Joe Dominguez syndrome-- putting it all into Treasuries. That must've seemed like a good idea in the late 1960s...
5. Putting too much of it into [insert hot investment idea of the week here]
6. Neglecting to mention that he's tapped his 401(k) for a loan.
7. Buying an AARP financial product?

Lemme call BS on another statement:
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In Honolulu, where Meals on Wheels delivers to 700 elderly people a day, the number of volunteer drivers is down about 20 percent, because drivers can’t afford the gas for their trips. The agency’s 50-cent-a-mile reimbursement doesn’t begin to cover expenses; as a result, the agency estimates, drivers now spend more than $300 a year out of their own pocket.
50 cents a mile with gas at $4.50/gallon would imply that the volunteers are driving cars that get less than nine miles per gallon, right?

I'd guess that they're down 20% because people don't want to drive for them (for whatever reason) or because their volunteers haven't been growing as fast as their customer list.

No, I don't volunteer for MOW and I don't know what their volunteers are expected to do. I suppose I could check into delivering around my neighborhood and a bit north, but no way am I driving into Honolulu or out to Ewa for courier duty. If the meal pickup is indeed in town then that might explain why they're having trouble finding drivers.

Clif, have you ever looked into Meals on Wheels?

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Dad put 20 into the air force, it was either sign up for the AF or get drafted by the army. Retired E-6.
If they could have kept putting away a solid 10% with no big employment gaps then they would have been able to replicate what they're getting with that pension (someone can fill you in on how much dough a retired E-6 pulls down).
He retired around 1989-91, right? A friend of mine retired at my rank/YOS in 1989 and his COLAs have generally kept up with my 2002 retirement pay. So as a very rough estimate, without doing the correct calculation and applying nearly two decades of COLAs to his original E-6>20 Final Pay retirement amount, it'd be about $1600/month or a tad over $19K/year. With $460/year family TRICARE.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:16 PM   #34
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because their volunteers haven't been growing as fast as their customer list.
That's the problem we're having in our area. More and more people are going on the list (yes, they do pay for meals on a sliding scale, based upon their income) but since we have a lot of "mature folks" in our state, the service is constantly being extended.

BTW, I don't get any reimbursement (even though I am a driver; a "visitor" goes with me to actually go into the home to deliver/set-up the meals). My time/expense is just "payback" for the good life I have ...

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Old 07-28-2008, 08:55 PM   #35
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I don't get any reimbursement (even though I am a driver; a "visitor" goes with me to actually go into the home to deliver/set-up the meals). My time/expense is just "payback" for the good life I have
Ron, great that you are donating your time ... but if they don't pay mileage, perhaps they can give you a tax receipt for donating the gas? Seems only fair.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:57 PM   #36
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It seems the media squander the opportunity to educate people to AVOID the "save for 40 years and be broke" tragedy. Cheap headlines with sob stories (no doubt true - but incomplete) sell. I suppose we get the media we deserve. Sigh.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:33 PM   #37
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Ron, great that you are donating your time ... but if they don't pay mileage, perhaps they can give you a tax receipt for donating the gas? Seems only fair.
IRS mileage for volunteers is much less than allowed for a "business expense". While I could ask for it (and some folks do) it's just more work (mileage/schedule tracking) for the organization, which is mostly staffed by volunteers, anyway.

They don't do any tax receipt for fuel used. That would be quite difficult to measure (how many fractional gallons did I use this month?)

A few $$$ saved on taxes? That's OK.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:36 PM   #38
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After all, if he can't do it after 40 years, then what chance do I have...
I don't think that most people would necessarily consider this person to be a role model for their own future.

But it does bring up an interesting issue, which is that many people seem to consider retirement to be an entitlement. Is it a constitutional right?
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:54 PM   #39
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IRS mileage for volunteers is much less than allowed for a "business expense". While I could ask for it (and some folks do) it's just more work (mileage/schedule tracking) for the organization, which is mostly staffed by volunteers, anyway.
They don't do any tax receipt for fuel used. That would be quite difficult to measure (how many fractional gallons did I use this month?)
A few $$$ saved on taxes? That's OK.
If you itemize your deductions then it's probably easiest to track your own volunteer mileage (perhaps with a paper log or a spreadsheet) and report the deduction on your tax return. No tax receipts or organization's paperwork necessary. We've been reporting our own deductible Reserve, volunteer, and landlording mileage on our taxes for well over a decade.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:42 AM   #40
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I am not a Suzi Orman fan, and I don't watch her - but... last night she made some vague comments at end of show about the huge spike in calls/letters she's getting from elderly folks broke and borrowing from their kids.

No facts, just a gut impression. Look on her face looked sincere, and scared.

FWIW.
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