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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-09-2005, 06:16 PM   #21
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Glad to see you got the support you deserved for your posts, Martha. Bob Smith and mikey can be relied on to do the right thing.

It's strange to me how hard hearted some people are about investing and financial matters. If someone bought a new car and the doors fell off and the engine fell out on the drive home, most people would agree the consumer has a right to expect to be compensated for the poor design and construction. The dealer and manufacturer that wouldn't make good on the purchase would be viewed as criminals. We can't expect every consumer to have detailed mecahnical engineering credentials and be able to test every bolt on the vehicle before they buy.

But let the same consumer buy a retirement investment plan from an employer or a broker, only to find out they lost all their money and we hear this "consumer beware" nonsense. While I came to accept that I had to learn about investments and retirement and spent the time to do so, I can't say that I enjoy having to spend so much time to keep ahead of the financial con artists out there. And I don't see how forcing every individual to become an investment expert is good for the society. Why don't we think the investor deserves the same protections and honesty that the consumer deserves? It seem damn inefficient if you ask me.

And one more thing . . . is it just my imagination or is Bob Smith getting more assertive now that he's retired. Good for you, Bob. I have always enjoyed your posts and like them even more with a little bite in them.
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-09-2005, 06:36 PM   #22
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Pretty impressive how questioning a few assumptions becomes "promoting a society."

Also interesting how none of the posts attacking me have addressed my points--which I will summarize:

1. No one has as much at stake in your finances as you do, and therefore you need to take responsibility for them. (NOTE: generic "you"; everyone on this forum already agrees with this to some degree.)

and

2. The existence of social safety programs tends to discourage that kind of planning.

And to extend salaryguru's analogy a bit--no, the buyer of the car should not be blamed for buying a mechanically defective vehicle. He should, however, be blamed if he doesn't maintain the vehicle (regular oil changes, etc.) and *then* complaining that he got sold a lemon.

Why does applying the same reasoning to financial matters result in such venomous responses?

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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-09-2005, 09:49 PM   #23
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:
1. *No one has as much at stake in your finances as you do, and therefore you need to take responsibility for them. *(NOTE: *generic "you"; everyone on this forum already agrees with this to some degree.)
When I'm flying on an airplane, I have as much at stake as everyone else on board. Should I have to know how to fly the plane? Nobody has as much interest in maintaining my car as I do - it was my hard earned money that bought it - should I have to repair it myself? Am I being irresponsible because I don't know how to fly a plane or change the transmission fluid of my car?

Quote:
2. *The existence of social safety programs tends to discourage that kind of planning.
I think everyone on this board probably represents the exact opposite. I have been given the same "promise" of social security as everyone else. Am I relying on it? Am I failing to save for my future? No.

Quote:
And to extend salaryguru's analogy a bit--no, the buyer of the car should not be blamed for buying a mechanically defective vehicle. *He should, however, be blamed if he doesn't maintain the vehicle (regular oil changes, etc.) and *then* complaining that he got sold a lemon.
My father, who is nearing retirement, went to a "professional" to get advice about his IRA because he knows he is not financial savvy. The wonderful broker put him into techs just weeks before the crash. The "professional" did not take my father's age nor risk tolerance into account when allocating the money. As a result, my father's retirement money was more than halved. He saved for years but now he is behind the eight ball. I suppose by your reasoning it is his fault because he didn't understand risks or allocations and relied on a "professional" to guide him.

Quote:
Why does applying the same reasoning to financial matters result in such venomous responses?
I suppose I'm envious because I don't live in a "perfect" world where bad things only happen to "bad" people who are "too lazy" or "too ignorant" to save for their financial future. I have had family members who have had their savings wiped out by medical conditions. There is the example of my father above. What is the alternative you are suggesting? What do you propose for people, regardless of the reason, cannot support themselves in retirement?
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 01:26 AM   #24
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

This is an interesting thread as it is about a subject that has no real answer.

Maybe we need to step back and look at what we, as a society, expect.

Here is my input:

Medical care - this should be 100% freely available to anyone who needs it. If we cannot help the suffering of our fellow man then we do not deserve to be part of society.

State pensions/SS should not be available to retirees UNLESS they cannot work due to illness or disability. IMHO I can't see why a person expects that society should look after them when they decide to stop working. If you want to stop working then plan and provide for it - don't expect others to pay for it. This is exactly what happenned in the olden days(!) - pensions/SS was paid to people who were unable to work due to disabilty (i.e. they were physically worn out (or dead) by the time the got to 65!).
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 04:33 AM   #25
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:

Also interesting how none of the posts attacking me have addressed my points--which I will summarize:

1. No one has as much at stake in your finances as you do, and therefore you need to take responsibility for them. (NOTE: generic "you"; everyone on this forum already agrees with this to some degree.)
When I review the posts, it looks like nearly everyone who disagreed with you addressed this issue. See Mikey, Bob, Salaryguru and Cal.

Quote:

2. The existence of social safety programs tends to discourage that kind of planning.
How do you know this is the case? Bob who has experience with the "down and out" says his experience is to the contrary. My experience with both people who are very successful financially and those who are not is that most people do the best they can with the resouces they have. By way of example, will lack of health insurance for us all make us healthier because we will then be more careful about how we take care of ourselves? Are we healthier than the Canadians? I don't think so. And after all, I know plenty of people who take good care of themselves who had heart attacks or got cancer.

Quote:
Why does applying the same reasoning to financial matters result in such venomous responses?
Because it is more than about just money.




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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:00 AM   #26
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:
Medical care - this should be 100% freely available to anyone who needs it. *If we cannot help the suffering of our fellow man then we do not deserve to be part of society.
I agree with this...a healthy population is good for everyone. The earlier you get health care to people, the cheaper it is...wait until big problems develop and it gets very expensive....

Of course, "freely available" isn't "free"..we would all pay for it thru taxes or some other way...in fact we all are *already* paying for it...when a homeless person walks into the ER for treatment, the treatment isn't free. Taxes pay for it.

If you don't beleive that health care should be available to all, why do you beleive that people too poor to pay taxes should be able to use the library? why should the poor/non-taxpayers be able to drive on the roads *my* tax dollars paid for? for that matter, why should I be foced to pay for roads that I never drive on? Why should I pay to educate children after mine are grown? If we get invaded by another country, should the military check you tax returns to see if you are "worth" defending? Should the fire department show up if you are below the poverty level(and pay no taxes)and your house is on fire?

I love the non-sensical arguements idiots like Rush Limbaugh put forth...."we can't provide free health care to everyone because it would be too expensive" and in the next breath argue that "we don't need national health care because everybody already is guaranteed free health care"...ok, ditto heads, which is it? we can't afford it, or we don't need to do it because its already free? Can't have it both ways.



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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:18 AM   #27
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Cal--

If you're flying on an airplane, I hope you at least check into the overall safety records of the type of plane. We can't know everything, but we have to know enough about the services we're paying for so that we can have at least a sense of when we're not getting good service.

We can trade stories about investment "professionals" all day--my parents lost a good chunk of their life's savings in California real estate, which never goes down : because my dad wanted to get rich quick. After that, they took more interest in learning about financial planning, and managed to get enough together that my mom has enough, even without her disability income.

Even if she didn't have enough, it is my responsibility as her only child to help take care of her--not "society's" or the government's. DH & I helped his mother when she needed it, and we are prepared to help the rest of his family if it comes to that. And they'd help us, too.

I don't think the people on this board are a representative sample of the population. We're all people who are taking responsibility for ourselves and our future and planning for as many contingencies as we can foresee (or in some cases, actively choosing to take a risk). Does the fact that we few choose to plan and take responsibility negate the basic premise for the rest of the population?

As for my solution--well, you probably won't like it. I have no problems with providing disability income in most cases. I do think that our health care system needs to be revamped but I don't think government-paid health care is the solution. There are problems with both privatized and socialized medicine, and probably some hybrid would be the best approach.

If you got rid of the problems with our health care system, it seems to me the need for Medicare would go away.

But I cannot agree that government or society or whomever bears any responsibility for supporting someone else who chooses not to work--and let's be honest, these days, 65 is not the same as it was when FDR started Social Security.

That said, a generation of people chose to rely on SS for their retirement, and I'm not enough of a cold-hearted b*tch to cut them off completely. A graduated phase-out system seems to me to provide for those who need it now and give others the chance to get their own finances in order the way my parents did, the way everyone on this board has.

Martha--

Your and Bob's experiences do not necessarily negate the premise that social safety programs *tend* to discourage planning. They add another dimension to the discussion.

And I also said quite clearly that I have no problem helping people who through no fault of their own run into trouble.

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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:35 AM   #28
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

>>Your and Bob's experiences do not necessarily negate the premise that social safety programs *tend* to discourage planning.

Do you have some proof of that statement? I'd sure like to see it...just because you keep saying it, doesn't make it true....
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:37 AM   #29
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:
I don't think the people on this board are a representative sample of the population. We're all people who are taking responsibility for ourselves and our future and planning for as many contingencies as we can foresee (or in some cases, actively choosing to take a risk). Does the fact that we few choose to plan and take responsibility negate the basic premise for the rest of the population?
And most of us also had a good dose of luck or particular talents that gave us a leg up. I will tell the 50 year old woman who runs our file room that she is now responsible for her own retirement. Or she can work until she dies, so long as she can lift those files and run those errands.

Quote:


And I also said quite clearly that I have no problem helping people who through no fault of their own run into trouble.
Who is going to determine fault? And what if it was their fault? Let them be homeless? Let them die?


In any event, I believe in basic health care for all and social security because I just believe it is the right thing to do.
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:39 AM   #30
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

There seem to be many (posters or not) who feel that the government/society should do more to help the elderly, disadvantaged, or other groups. I hear this a lot and I can't quite figure out if I agree because I know that the "more" is accomplished through "less" in my pocket. If you strongly believe that the government/society should do more to help the disadvantaged, did you reach into your pocket to do make it happen or do you insist that everyone reaches into their pocket to do it whether they want to or not through taxes? That's retorical, I don't care to know if you did or didn't.

If society wants to help "more", the society can do "more" without using tax dollars.

Kind Regards,

Chris
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 05:48 AM   #31
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

I think the preamble to the US Constitution says what our government is about:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

People tend to forget the "promote the general welfare" part.
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 07:06 AM   #32
 
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

My fav. part is The Bill of Rights. I am especially fond
of the First and Second Amendments.

JG
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 07:14 AM   #33
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Well, if we really want to get down to fair, let's talk about how SS gets it's revenue. Why is it capped at an 80k annual salary? Bill Gates pays the same SS+Medicare tax that a low level Microsoft engineer pays...huh? 80% pay as much or more in SS+M tax as they do in Federal Income Tax. Forget putting us two trillion in debt to fund private accounts that will be most advantageous to those who need it least, let's raise the income roof on SS tax and continue to raise the benefit age as our life expectancy rises. And if SS is a safety net, wouldn't it stand to reason that those who are still working shouldn't be able to collect it? I hate taxes, but I really hate regressive taxes (which punish the poor disproportionately compared to the rich). Don't get me started on the Lotto!
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 07:41 AM   #34
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Martha, Bob, Cal, and others here have it right. It seems like some of the right wing arguments here are no more that politcal catch phrases. Welfare rats driving caddies and such. Where I live there are plenty of hard working people stuggling to survive. One child sick, or one adult sick in the family can sink them. I don't feel like since I worked for a better co. with bennies I'm more intitled than them or somehow superior to them. Invest wiser, what a joke, on $10-$12 bucks an hour and no benefits thats a cruel joke. These people have no lobby supporting them, thats where they screwed up, if they could just come up with some politcal contributions maybe the pols would listen to them. Thats right and left pols.
BTW Zipper how do politcal contribtions work in Canada? Shredder
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 08:24 AM   #35
 
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Hey Peggy! I for one am happy you are on
"our side of the border" and on the RIGHT end of the
political spectrum. You write very well BTW. Keep
posting. You have more support here than you know.

JG
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 08:27 AM   #36
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Martha_M said:

Quote:
In any event, I believe in basic health care for all and social security because I just believe it is the right thing to do.
And you are free to give to organizations that support your vision, just as I am free to give to organizations that support mine.

But what gives government the right to steal from some people's pockets (i.e., taxes) to support other people, whatever the reason?

More particularly, why is it the government's responsibility before or in place of the family's responsibility or the function of private charity?

As regards promoting the general welfare--I submit that if Social Security and similar programs were what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, they would have implemented those programs in 1789.

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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 08:53 AM   #37
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

laurencewill, what is fair about a person drawing
SS paying FICA tax on earned income? This is
tax money that will not increase his benefits. For
many it is necessary to supplement SS income to
just get by ..... would you cut them off?

What is fair about a person paying income tax
on up to 85% of his SS income? That is a tax on
money already taxed and is a strong disincentive
for some people to work part time.

BTW, I believe the cap on SS tax is $90k not $80k.
I would hazard a guess that a lot of silent readers
of this forum would balk at taking the cap off totally.
That is just a back door way of increasing the income
tax bracket. Where would you draw the line?

Soak the rich ..... they can afford it.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 09:03 AM   #38
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:
[b]
But what gives government the right to steal from some people's pockets (i.e., taxes) to support other people, whatever the reason?

I am beginning to see why people say there is no point to these sorts of arguments on message boards.

Peggy, it is the same right the government has to go into a war I don't believe in. It is the same right the government has to subsidize farmers. It is the same right the government has to make factories not pollute rivers. Etc.
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 09:15 AM   #39
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Quote:

But what gives government the right to steal from some people's pockets (i.e., taxes) to support other people, whatever the reason? *

They have the right...get over it, or vote to change it. Don't believe me? Stop paying your taxes...and see how well the "they don't have the right" arguement goes over with the judge....
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop
Old 02-10-2005, 10:20 AM   #40
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Re: Retirement Turns Into a Rest Stop

Charlie,

Some good points. I knew it was 90k now. And I totally realize raising the roof on the FICA tax is effectively a tax increase, I won't try to spin it another way. But if the system is indeed broken, there has to be pain somewhere. I would think making FICA a true flat tax vs. a regressive one would sound more fair than reducing benefits on those just getting by. As far as those who combine employment income with SS to get by, obviously, I would be in favor of a minimum income before SS distbursements get phased out, say 100k to 150k. But in any case, I find it interesting that at the beginning you advocate for the poor and how unfair the idea is for them, and by the end you advocate for the relatively affluent, and how it's unfair for them. If the system is broken, someone is going to have to get less. And how is asking the rich to pay the same percentage as the poor "soaking" them? Most right wingers talk about a flat tax, let's put our money where our mouth is (in the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself a moderate republican/fiscal conservative). Spend less, tax more, borrow more, those are the choices. Putting off pain will only make it worse.
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