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Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 03:42 PM   #1
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Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

I don't know how I missed this when it came out, but please correct me if someone else has already posted the subject.

Scott Burns has a pretty scary article (originally published last Nov, back again on MSN Money) on what happens when retirement savings don't. According to Congressional research data, 75% of those over 65 live on less than $26,777 annually. Admittedly for most that reflects no mortgage or other debts, low taxes, Medicare, and perhaps a fairly sedentary lifestyle-- but over half of those over 65 are doing it on less than $15,200. For 40% of those over 65, Social Security is at least 90% of their income.

Stave Off Old-Age Poverty

Income & Poverty Among Older Americans in 2004

Keep saving.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Yeah 26k isnt that scary. My dad is working on about 28k a year, no debt, golfing all the time, eating steak and driving a new car.

We live on not a whole lot more than that, minus a little lexus discretionary spending...
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 06:42 PM   #3
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Yeah 26k isnt that scary. My dad is working on about 28k a year, no debt, golfing all the time, eating steak and driving a new car.

We live on not a whole lot more than that, minus a little lexus discretionary spending...
I agree $26k is ok if you are single and have no mortgage or other commitments. Right now I single and live on $24k a year if you exclude the mortgage.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Yeah 26k isnt that scary.* My dad is working on about 28k a year, no debt, golfing all the time, eating steak and driving a new car.

We live on not a whole lot more than that, minus a little lexus discretionary spending...
CFB: *You had me at "golfing all the time", re: the Senior CFB. *The average family income in the north state is $39,500. *Your dad considering everything is paid for, and no CFB's around to financially worry about, I'm sure he's doing fine.

I personally am still trying to figure out, (after close to 20 years), the relationship between your percentage of previous income, having much to do with your retirement requirements.

I have concluded: *Not much.

One word of advice. *Make sure that you don't
suggest he pay a visit to this board. *Some of the more anal-retentive posters might (just might) ruin an otherwise great day.

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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 07:03 PM   #5
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

My FIL/MIL lived on a major salary in 1985 when he retired. I'm talking big corporate VP with all the bells and whistles. They weren't spending their entire $48K pension and SS (inflation is hell on a defined benefit pension) in 2004. Now they are dealing with nursing homes and assisted living which will hit about $90K. Hopefully, their timeframe won't be too long so that they won't outlive their assets.

Spending, even for the rich and powerful, falls off dramatically as they age.

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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-01-2006, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

I'm with Jarhead

1993 to 2006 budget range 12k to 75k/yr.

Last year of work - 1992 100k/yr income including 6k rental income.

No relationship whatsoever. 2006 (da 75k - remodeling yr plus three trips, one cruise plus two more planned,)

Under 5% of port plus early SS plus pension.

Maybe next year - back to cheap SOB or ?

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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-02-2006, 12:57 AM   #7
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Nords, thanks for posting this.

I looked at the definitions in the report, and "asset income" appears to be dividends, capital gains, and interest but NOT principal. So a huge portion of spending is being left out here, at least on the higher end (this would affect the average much more than the median, I suspect). It would be more accurate to detail "spending", which would be somewhat higher due to this issue.

For instance, my grandma's income was so low that she rarely owed any taxes at all. But she had principal from land she had sold years earlier that she was spending down. It never showed up as income, at least taxable income, even when she sold it because the basis of the land went up to current value before she sold it because my grandpa had died and that changes the tax basis due to estate tax laws.

Anyway, I am just pointing out a potential flaw in the methodology, but not discounting the report in general, which seems useful.

Cut-Throat, I am still waiting to see a detailed Trout bum by the River budget

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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 03:48 PM   #8
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer
I looked at the definitions in the report, and "asset income" appears to be dividends, capital gains, and interest but NOT principal.* So a huge portion of spending is being left out here, at least on the higher end (this would affect the average much more than the median, I suspect).* It would be more accurate to detail "spending", which would be somewhat higher due to this issue.
Yeah, that's correct. No principal spending is listed in the study.

But I dug into the footnotes and found that "huge" is a relative term.

"In 2001, the median value of financial assets among families headed by a person between the ages of 65-74 that owned any financial assets was $51,400. The median for families headed by someone age 75 or older that owned any financial assets was $40,000. The median net worth of all families headed by a person 65-74 was $176,300. The median net worth of all families headed by a person 75 or older was $151,400. Net worth is the value of all assets (including a home) minus all liabilities."

FIRECalc would probably confirm that it's pretty hard to get a reverse mortgage or to downsize with those numbers...

The demographic breakdowns were pretty scary too. Kids, stay in school!
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 04:34 PM   #9
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

...The demographic breakdowns were pretty scary too.* Kids, stay in school!
Amen to that! Having a degree allowed 3X the income as not having one. My extended family seems to bear that out as well. I have a number of cousins that did not go to college. They are significantly less well off than my brother and I who did finish college. However, there are some exceptions. One cousin has a Phd. but is as poor as a chuch mouse. He chooses to not work so he has no $$$. Another cousin owns a small business and seems to be doing very well...he never finished High School. Averages are averages and the trends are hard to argue against despite a few outliers.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 04:48 PM   #10
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

I think intelligent people tend to go farther in school, and intelligent people tend to make more money. I also think that going to school tends to improve one's income, but when you look at the correlation between education and income you're already bringing in a lot of the influence of intelligence through its effect on the education levels you're measuring.

I think that being lucky by being born smart will probably do much, much more for your bottom line than choosing to stay in school, but of course you can affect the latter by your decisions a lot more than you can change your intelligence...

Anyway, I won't recommend that anyone stay in school, I'm sure someone would call me a hypocrite.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 04:56 PM   #11
 
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

I agree - The college degree = more money thing has more to do with smart people finish college and make more money. Not, that one causes the other.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 05:18 PM   #12
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Correctamundo...backed up by "the millionaire next door"s assertions that most millionaires didnt go to college but rather started their own small business, eschewed the big loan/payout to the college, and ended up friends with Ralph and Sally rather than with high spending Chads and Buffys.

I still wonder how well a degree in computer science would have worked out for me - at the time in the 70's primarily learning cobol programming on punch cards - rather than the 5 years I spent working instead.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 05:22 PM   #13
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
I agree - The college degree = more money thing has more to do with smart people finish college and make more money. Not, that one causes the other.
I also think it has a lot to do with what your parents "expected" you to do. *I know many families where neither parent went to college and there was no expectation their kids would either. *This was passed down to the next generation who also were not "expected" to go and so they didn't. *Some kids understand the value of a degree despite not being expected to get one. *They did it on their own and they are much better off because of it. *

expectations=desire

My parents were the first and only family members to go to college. *My brother and I never even thought about NOT going to college. *My kids and his all went to college. There was never any option for them to NOT go. It was expected and discussed their whole lives. *

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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 06:17 PM   #14
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Only one of my sibs went to college.

An advanced degree in the social sciences doesn't mean you are going to make much money. However, running a substance abuse treatment center in downtown LA is rewarding to my sister. Even though she has two bullet holes in her van. I'll pass.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 06:22 PM   #15
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

VP Cheney has a substance abuse problem?
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 06:22 PM   #16
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

I guess, I was luckier the most. I am a college dropout and never started a business. I was fortunate enough to learn a growing trade, developing business software working in a company's computer department.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 06:44 PM   #17
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Is it... What's that I hear on the horizon? Could it be.... a "level of education" poll?

(Or should it be a "level of ejication pole"? )
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-03-2006, 06:52 PM   #18
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I still wonder how well a degree in computer science would have worked out for me - at the time in the 70's primarily learning cobol programming on punch cards - rather than the 5 years I spent working instead.
I was originally a self-taught programmer, and I was sure that the CS department couldn't teach me anything I didn't already know.* *I was wrong.* *I came away with some surprisingly useful stuff and ended up getting a masters in CS (which was pretty useless).

My first two jobs out of school were doing scientific programming and then making development tools (compilers, etc).* *I don't think there's anyway I would have known about a bunch of useful algorithms, theories,* and tools if I hadn't been exposed to them in school.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-04-2006, 12:54 AM   #19
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

WAB--Your college education was specific to your career. *Not everyone who gets a degree, leaves with your level of expertise in an employable field. *My BIL has a masters in History of Science. *Making your own telescope from scratch is not in demand.
MHO is your pre-retirement spending level is important for planning, since in this group, almost all were LBYM prior to ER. *We are living on the same spending as when working, I just got rid of the big weekday aggravation. *That is the best thing about a high savings rate, you need less retirement income since you are already living at a cheaper level prior to R.
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty
Old 05-04-2006, 10:56 AM   #20
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Re: Scott Burns: Stave off old-age poverty

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
I was originally a self-taught programmer, and I was sure that the CS department couldn't teach me anything I didn't already know. I was wrong. I came away with some surprisingly useful stuff and ended up getting a masters in CS (which was pretty useless).

My first two jobs out of school were doing scientific programming and then making development tools (compilers, etc). I don't think there's anyway I would have known about a bunch of useful algorithms, theories, and tools if I hadn't been exposed to them in school.
I guess I cheated. My first computer job was working in one of the very early computer retail stores, and the owner held a doctorate in computer science. When I needed to know how to do something involving complex theory or algorithms, I'd say "How the heck do I do this efficiently?" or "Do you know the best routine for this?" and he'd either tell me in 20 words or less or hand me a book open to a specific page. After a year and a half of that I had absorbed pretty much what I needed to go write operating systems, compilers and languages.

Not only was it a lot cheaper, I got paid.

Apprenticeship?
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