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Old 12-16-2011, 07:10 PM   #1
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Top 1%

Who is the top 1%? Any ideas? We have all these people wearing badges that say 99%.

People who have defined benefit pensions might have to consider themselves part of the 1% if they compare how much their net worth would have to be to actually be able to receive the pension for 30 years.

What do you think?
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:20 PM   #2
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Who is the top 1%? Any ideas? We have all these people wearing badges that say 99%.
Really? How odd. I have never seen even one single person wearing a "badge that says 99%". Maybe things are different down here....
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by thoreau View Post
Who is the top 1%? Any ideas? We have all these people wearing badges that say 99%.

People who have defined benefit pensions might have to consider themselves part of the 1% if they compare how much their net worth would have to be to actually be able to receive the pension for 30 years.

What do you think?
Depends how you define 1%. It appears you are defining it in terms of net worth. If so, there are probably several 1%ers represented here. Now, if you are talking about income, the 1%ers are probably not so well represented here. The big difference is that a decent sized net worth can be built up with modest savings, half-way intelligent investing and a 30 or 40 year time frame. Earning a million a year (or whatever the 1% club starts at) is a little more difficult to do.

My big concern is that the gummint will mix up the two kinds of 1%ers. Not that I am in the "tax the rich" camp (I'm not). But there is a big difference between the lifestyle of the person who has managed to save a million over a life time and one who earns that much in a year, every year. Just sayin...
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:39 PM   #4
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I have a pension each month, but no matter how much COL goes up, my pension stays the same. 30 yrs from now it won't be worth much, but then too I probably won't be around then.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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I've not seen a single 99% badge either, where are you seeing them?
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:08 PM   #6
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I am guessing that the 1% are probably hiding among the people not wearing the 99% badges, who constitute 100% of the people I encounter on a daily basis.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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I am guessing that the 1% are probably hiding among the people not wearing the 99% badges, who constitute 100% of the people I encounter on a daily basis.
On a similar theme, the recent US Census revealed that three out of four people residing in the US make up 75% of the population.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
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Who are the 1%?
Who are the 1 percent? - The Washington Post

I think the 1% are the people pictured in Forbes, Fortune, etc.
The 99% are those of us who read these magazines because we never accumulate enough airline dividend miles.
Have a great last-full-weekend-of-shopping-before-christmas y'all.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:19 PM   #9
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Who is the top 1%? Any ideas? We have all these people wearing badges that say 99%.
People who have defined benefit pensions might have to consider themselves part of the 1% if they compare how much their net worth would have to be to actually be able to receive the pension for 30 years.
What do you think?
Well, the U.S. military has about 1.9 million people (for now, anyway), so compared to the U.S. population of 300 million I guess they'd qualify as 1%.

[Insert patriotic motivational poster here.]

However if history is any guide, only about 17% of those 1.9M will actually retire from the military to receive their defined benefit pension, and the majority of that 17% will be receiving a Reserve/National Guard pension at age 60.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:27 PM   #10
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On a similar theme, the recent US Census revealed that three out of four people residing in the US make up 75% of the population.
You clever bastard you!
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:55 PM   #11
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The article cited by target2019 said that "the top 1 percent of American households had a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010", based on calculations by the Tax Policy Center. This article by CNN said that the income number was $343,927 in 2009, using the latest IRS release number.

If one looks at the minimum net worth of the 1% and not their minimum income, then it is a lot tougher to determine. This article cited two different methods that yielded widely separated numbers. One was $9M and the other $1.5M!

PS. That last article said using net worth would be more meaningful than income, because a person's income may not be steady. For example, "78% of NFL players are bankrupt or in financial distress within 2 years of retirement".
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:15 PM   #12
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If I were in the 1% badge group, I still would prefer to wear the 99% badge.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:42 PM   #13
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The article cited by target2019 said that "the top 1 percent of American households had a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010", based on calculations by the Tax Policy Center.
I was worried about that pension thing, but I can report that my pension is least $16,633 less than the income quoted.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:30 PM   #14
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....

People who have defined benefit pensions might have to consider themselves part of the 1% if they compare how much their net worth would have to be to actually be able to receive the pension for 30 years.

What do you think?
I think it is quite odd to associate a defined benefit pension with the 1%.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:32 PM   #15
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I don't think people who won't have the potential for huge estates to pass to their heirs are the so-called "1%". Those who don't have huge net worth apart from a generous pension have that portion of their "imputed wealth" completely wiped out when they (and probably their spouse) buys the farm.

It's certainly true, I think, that the "imputed" value of a solid DB pension is probably more than it ever has been before in my lifetime -- the "price" of buying your own "guaranteed lifetime income stream" is obvious when you look at the lousy rates on SPIAs today, and it does feel like retirement without a pension seems harder than ever in the post-WW2 era. But someone who has (say) a $60K annual pension and nothing in the bank leaves his/her heirs exactly what on their death? A lot less than most of the so-called "1%". The value of a DB pension usually goes to zero upon the passing of the pensioner and spouse.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #16
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Who is the top 1%? Any ideas? We have all these people wearing badges that say 99%.

People who have defined benefit pensions might have to consider themselves part of the 1% if they compare how much their net worth would have to be to actually be able to receive the pension for 30 years.

What do you think?
I have seen the 99% badges on the TV news.

We probably hit the 1% by income one or two years with big stock option exercises, market moves from individual stocks to mutual funds/ETF's, and two engineering salaries before I retired. That seemed like a common occurance within the ranks for the 1% according to one of the articles. Didn't sound like there was a majority that repeatedly hit the top 1% over many years. Probably far from 1% by wealth at any time.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:14 PM   #17
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I think it is quite odd to associate a defined benefit pension with the 1%.
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I don't think people who won't have the potential for huge estates to pass to their heirs are the so-called "1%". Those who don't have huge net worth apart from a generous pension have that portion of their "imputed wealth" completely wiped out when they (and probably their spouse) buys the farm.
It's certainly true, I think, that the "imputed" value of a solid DB pension is probably more than it ever has been before in my lifetime -- the "price" of buying your own "guaranteed lifetime income stream" is obvious when you look at the lousy rates on SPIAs today, and it does feel like retirement without a pension seems harder than ever in the post-WW2 era. But someone who has (say) a $60K annual pension and nothing in the bank leaves his/her heirs exactly what on their death? A lot less than most of the so-called "1%". The value of a DB pension usually goes to zero upon the passing of the pensioner and spouse.
"Worth more alive than dead."

Here's some calculation thoughts on estimating the present value of a defined-benefit pension:
“Present value” estimate of a military pension | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:48 AM   #18
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For those who want to look at the "net worth" of the top 1% check out this article. I normally summarize but the topic turns out to be far too complex. Suffice it to say that it can vary from around $1.5M using an IRS multiplier approach that assumes a net worth based on income, gains and other factors (like valuing a business) to a Fed methodology more akin to our typical assets minus liabilities method (without regard to real accessibility of the $) that would pin it more in the $8-9M range. For what it is worth I haven't seen any proposals to tax wealth other than estate tax. All of the proposals for increased taxes on the rich focus on income including dividends and CGs.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:11 AM   #19
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The 99% signs and "badges" are all over the Occupy ______ event locations. And I take it as a their concept to show how dramatically lopsided income inequality and associated political influence is. I am sure if you're in the top 2%, you may still be a "bad guy"...

Loved the REW reply BTW - LOL!
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:33 PM   #20
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Wife is threatening to buy a new car if we ever get to the top 10%.

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