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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 04:58 PM   #121
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by REWahoo!
I'm guessing this wasn't a recent event, since only a handful of Texas banks have been taken over by the FDIC in the past 10 years.* That compares to dozens that bit the dust in the early 90's.

Not recent... more than 13 years ago..
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 05:05 PM   #122
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline

The result -- many of them make HALF!!!!! as much as I do in salary.* *At my level they traded upwards of $80K per year, cash-in-hand, for the safety of the pension plan.
as someone else put it, I have no dog in this fight.* But a lot of good people do, and it's a shame.

Caroline... now, if you are telling me that there is a company of people who are making half as much as the market rate... I will say there is a company of dumb people...

NOBODY that I know of will give away $80,000 per year in order to get a pension that will not pay anything close to that... you could put that $80 in a conservative investment and still have a lot more than what they were promissing... I do not believe that this could be true..
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 05:30 PM   #123
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

I see all the ending of pensions in places that should never happen.

People who put the 30+ years into the job, company government only to be told at 55 60 or 65 that what they were expecting is not gonna happen.

It is FLAT OUT WRONG!

How much is the government SPENDING PER DAY IN IRAQ?

Almost 1 BILLION DOLLARS!!!!!

Sorry this country stinks!
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 05:32 PM   #124
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

I should clarify some points here. *While my DW and I do have a couple of very small pensions we are vested in, I would have preferred to be given the cash and allowed to invest it myself. *I do not trust the two companies that hold our pension funds at all. *I'm fairly confident I would be better off financially if I had been able to exercise such an option. *I would be willing to bet that most of the folks who frequent this board could have done better than most pension plans too.

1- But before I worked as an engineer and as an engineering director, I worked briefly as a coal miner, a worker in a boat factory, a gravel truck driver, a field laborer, . . . *While my co-workers in every job I've ever worked at have been as smart as the next person, the typical blue collar coal miner or factory worker came to work with absolutely no background in investing and no desire to learn about it. *Yes . . . there were exceptions, but d@mn few. * And I don't really think it makes sense to require every worker in America to develop good investing skills when we have a system that worked effectively and efficiently for over 60 years. *The only real reason for this pension crisis is that we loosened up the regulations on pension funds in the 90's and let companies rob the funds for short-term gains. * Fix the broken regulations and the problem eventually goes away.

2- Saying that I could have done better investing myself assumes that I would have been given the money that was being invested on my behalf so that I could invest it. *That's not what's happening. *Most of the workers losing their pension are merely being short changed. *They are not getting extra pay to invest in anything -- or at most they are being given less than they were getting before. *Even if 401(k)s were the answer to pension issues today, getting an effective cut in pay is not helping anyone save for retirement.

3- The argument that companies can't be competitive if they offer a pension only works if you assume that point 2 is true. *If the money is simply being transferred from a pension fund to an employee for self investment, the company isn't saving a dime -- in fact if might be losing. *The real savings is that they are paying less compensation to the employee. *If the solution to competitiveness is lower compensation, then lets talk about that. *Let's not pretend the pension system is bad. *



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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 06:16 PM   #125
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Have Funds, Will Retire
Seems un-American to excuse people from the responsibility of managing their money, whether it's balancing their checkbook, or deciding where to invest...
Why are we expected to be experts at everything? Managing our money. Health care plans. Babysitters. What brand of beans to buy. Too many choices. It tends to paralyze people.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 06:34 PM   #126
 
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

The concerns expressed by many of you here are why in most Non US Areas the State has assumed responsibilities to look after its' citizens in areas such as Health and some Financial payout in their senior years.

Citizens have a right to expect that, there is absolutly nothing wrong in those expectations, the only ones who demean them are those whose butts are already covered.

I guarantee all the Politicians have generous pensions , are provided with Health care etc

The Kings are still in the Castles, the Serfs still toil in the fields.

Iraq is/was wrong, as a Veteran I feel for your youth, we all follow orders, but that money should be spent on Americans, let the Iraquis etc look after their own country.

America is the richest , most powerful country in the world, yet its' citizens receive less benefits, like Health Care, than Norway, a country of 5 million people.

Your Debt will come home to roost, it has to, sooner or later people will want to be paid, then Americans will realise how bad a job Greenspan did, he has set the foundation for hyper inflation.

Charity begins at home.

What will set this House of Cards falling, how about Israel taking out Iran's nuclear reactors, Gold will head straight up, paper will correspondingly go straight down.

Canada is most concerned, our future is tied to yours, you get a cold, we get pneumonia.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 06:39 PM   #127
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Why are we expected to be experts at everything?* Managing our money.* Health care plans.* Babysitters.* What brand of beans to buy.* Too many choices.* It tends to paralyze people.
Agreed...*

However, if we don't have high expectations for ourselves, if we expect others to handle the decisions, if we don't make tough choices, where does that leave us?

BTW, I buy store brand beans...* :P
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 07:42 PM   #128
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard
America is the richest , most powerful country in the world, yet its' citizens receive less benefits, like Health Care, than Norway, a country of 5 million people.
Actually, the Norway per capita GDP, at USD$40,000 is only $100 less than the U.S. per capita GDP at $40,100. Probably oil+natural gas has pumped their GDP in Norway, but they rival the riches of America, at least on a per capita basis. And given that they have more social policies that are socialist in nature, it is no surprise that the citizens receive more benefits than US Citizens do.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 08:02 PM   #129
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by Lazarus
How much money would you be willing to leave on the table in order to leave early? Some of us are trapped because of the DB plans. After all one of the reasons they had pensions was to retain people. Backloading of the benefit makes all the money come at the end so I am going to stick it out if they let me. Leaving before the benefits max is not something I can afford to do.

I agree that the more portable benefits such as a 401 are better. If you are starting out with one. Changing in mid life from a pension is not going to work to the employees advantage. Or if the pension is frozen it is at whatever salary you were making when it happened. Retiree medical benefits are usually given dependent on age. An age you are not going to reach if it is frozen.

Fortunately I have both a pension of at least some vested value and a 401. Those who only have a pension like teachers are not going to be able to make up for the loss of their pension in their lifetime.
How 'bout three-quarters of a million? You can make one heckuva trap out of that kind of money.

The military pension system does not vest until completion of 20 years of service. Federal law says that military achieving 18 years can't be discharged without a pension, although there may plenty of reasons to discharge someone before that 18-year limit. Military desiring to leave active duty before vesting 20 can stay in the Reserves to accumulate their 20 years (although at a much lower percentage of base pay). Or they can abandon the military altogether, use their GI benefits, and be done with it.

Spouse was made an un-refusable offer in late 2000, when she had 17 years of service and I was less than two years from my own retirement. The only options open to discussion were the start date and the homeport. That "offer" stood between spouse and her retirement vesting. As near as we can estimate it, in her situation the value of abandoning the active-duty pension in 2003 for the Reserve pension in 2021 is about $750K. But I could be low-balling it.

When we found ourselves being reassured of the high quality of the mental-health & family-counseling professionals at our new duty station, we decided that it's only money.

I'll be tracking the actual numbers on a spreadsheet to see if the choice was worth the price, but I suspect that we already know the right answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Caroline... now, if you are telling me that there is a company of people who are making half as much as the market rate... I will say there is a company of dumb people...

NOBODY that I know of will give away $80,000 per year in order to get a pension that will not pay anything close to that... you could put that $80 in a conservative investment and still have a lot more than what they were promissing... I do not believe that this could be true..
I think it's a shame that people would prefer to work for a company at a lower salary and say "Look over in that bush-- there are two birds!" They're finding out now that there's darn few ways to enforce a contract like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Why are we expected to be experts at everything?* Managing our money.* Health care plans.* Babysitters.* What brand of beans to buy.* Too many choices.* It tends to paralyze people.
I suspect that we're trained by the media to choose only the "best" among a dozen or so options that are all probably indistinguishably suitable. Hence paralysis by analysis.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 08:21 PM   #130
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I suspect that we're trained by the media to choose only the "best" among a dozen or so options that are all probably indistinguishably suitable. Hence paralysis by analysis.
If the media didnt get around to it, the marketing a-holes did. Those bastards.

How else can you explain Mercedes Benz cars, Apple computers, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Bose stereo equipment and Godiva chocolates, among others. All are good performers at a premium price, frequently bested by products that cost half or more less. And supporters that will freakin' kill you if you suggest they're anything other than the best.

I dont think its unreasonable for the average reasonably intelligent person to become an 'expert' in critical matters related to their lives.

I was going to say "You dont farm out your childcare or the relationship with your spouse, now, do you?" when I realized that a lot of people do. Then they wonder what the hell happened.

Similarly, I take care of my money, spent weeks looking at health care plans and no babysitter is going to come within a country mile of my kid if his or her name isnt "grandma" or "grandpa".

As far as what kind of beans to buy, I need to know what we're havin' first.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 09:26 PM   #131
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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What will set this House of Cards falling, how about Israel taking out Iran's nuclear reactors, Gold will head straight up, paper will correspondingly go straight down.
Yes. It is clear that Ariel Sharon is not coming back. How about Benjamin Netanyahu? Wouldn't be surprised if he is looking up the Iranian rectors on Mapquest right now.

(IMO, not necessarily a bad idea.)

Ha
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-10-2006, 09:35 PM   #132
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Wouldn't be surprised if he is looking up the Iranian rectors on Mapquest right now.
I thought Muslims called them mullahs?

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 02:14 AM   #133
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

This is really a fascinating thread; each day I find myself swayed by the good arguments on one side or the other. Never having had a pension, or having expected one, I was pretty ignorant of what a minefield this is.

Howard is right about rich countries having some responsibiity for their citizens. In Italy they call social benefits "ammortizzatori" (social shock absorbers). Right there you see the difference in terminology is telling; in the US they talk about a "safety net", that breaks your fall from a great height. In Europe, the "shock absorbers" are supposed to smooth the ride along life's bumpy path.

It seems like a larger philosophical debate between "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome." Some people on this board would have presciently chosen the cash-in-hand over a company's future promises, then let the investing chips fall where they may. Others, also correctly, feel after N years of work at job A, level B, they should have C to show for it.

If a given worker in 2000 lost 1/2 of his nest egg in his 401k, he'd (to some extent correctly) blame himself. When another worker loses 1/2 his pension, he can (to some extent correctly) blame the company. I don't know which scenario is "better"; the guy's still down 50%.


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looking up the Iranian rectors
Thought he was talking about a part of their anatomy!
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 08:25 AM   #134
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

The trade-off for totally "wild" capitalism v. totally "safe" socialism is economic growth potential. How much growth are we willing to give up for safety/equity, or vice versa?
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 09:35 AM   #135
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

"The trade-off for totally "wild" capitalism v. totally "safe" socialism is economic growth potential. How much growth are we willing to give up for safety/equity, or vice versa?"

You've almost nailed it..... The social welfare states in old Europe have plenty of problems.....France has a 10% unemployment rate, Germany has negative GDP growth and a pension problem that even dwarfs ours. And they don't spend much of anything on defense, having relied on the U.S. shield since WWII.

I would argue that there's nothing "safe" about socialism....as countries go down that path, they make the incorrect assumption that they're policies won't kill the golden goose. The total pie inevitably becomes smaller.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 10:03 AM   #136
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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nothing "safe" about socialism
Exactly.. but Americans HATE the word socialism, yet when it comes to Medicaid or agri-business subsidies, they want to back up the truck, too, and pile in whatever they can. They want the upside of riskier capitalism with the security of a pension. How long can that be maintained?
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 10:13 AM   #137
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
Exactly.. but Americans HATE the word socialism, yet when it comes to Medicaid or agri-business subsidies, they want to back up the truck, too, and pile in whatever they can. They want the upside of riskier capitalism with the security of a pension. How long can that be maintained?
Those Americans are called Democrats

(I know, I know, look at all the poor conservatives sucking at the Medicaid teat, getting food stamps, etc. etc.)

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 10:21 AM   #138
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Liberals were on the right side of many issues: voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, environmental issues, etc. However, they've become the party of "victimhood"...

Conservatives were on the wrong side of these issues. I support the minimum govt, low tax, individual freedom/responsibility version of conservatism. However, many of today's "conservatives" are busy raiding the treasury to pander to special-interests, lobbyists, and religious fundamentalists...
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 10:24 AM   #139
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by Have Funds, Will Retire
Liberals were on the right side of many issues: voting rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, environmental issues, etc. However, they've become the party of "victimhood"...

Conservatives were on the wrong side of these issues. I support the minimum govt, low tax, individual freedom/responsibility version of conservatism. However, many of today's "conservatives" are busy raiding the treasury to pander to special-interests, lobbyists, and religious fundamentalists...
My feelings exactly!
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 10:35 AM   #140
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by markplus4
"The trade-off for totally "wild" capitalism v. totally "safe" socialism is economic growth potential. How much growth are we willing to give up for safety/equity, or vice versa?"

You've almost nailed it.....* *The social welfare states in old Europe have plenty of problems.....France has a 10% unemployment rate, Germany has negative GDP growth and a pension problem that even dwarfs ours.* And they don't spend much of anything on defense, having relied on the U.S. shield since WWII.* *

I would argue that there's nothing "safe" about socialism....as countries go down that path, they make the incorrect assumption that they're policies won't kill the golden goose.* *The total pie inevitably becomes smaller.*
We have different histories, Europe was devastated by 2 large wars and lost millions of people. I think they've learned from their follies and are following a more socialistic and peaceful path.

We have never exerienced such devastation since we were geographically isolated from them, so we evolved differently, with a different experience.

Despite higher unemployement and higher taxes, western europe has a nice standard of living covering most of it's citizens with health care and social benefits. They do invent and produce new products in Europe, their companies do grow, their stock markets are vibrant and up and running. and their life expectancies for the most part equal or are higher than our's.

Germany as you mentioned is an economically powerful state with over 80 million middle class people and any problems they have is probably caused by their elites wanting to emulate the American system where there is more money left in the corporate/government coffers to steal.

When will people realize that the problem is not caused by those at the bottom who need pensions and health bennies, but those are the top who simply want to loot as much as they can?

We need to think out of the box and realize that we are dealing with theives on a big time level that are depleting our pensions and health care. Look up, not down.
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