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Adapting to Change
Old 05-26-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Adapting to Change

A broader view of retirement as it has evolved over the past two decades. Sobering statistics that speak to the growing singularity of successful retirement.
How America's Retirement Crisis Is Crushing the Hopes of a Generation of Young People | Alternet

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If you're nearing retirement age – or have a parent or grandparent nearing retirement age – you're no doubt aware of how 40 years of stagnant middle-class wages and the disastrous shift from traditional pensions to 401(k)-type plans has made a dignified retirement all but impossible for all but the very well-to-do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the share of private sector workers responsible for their own retirement savings increased nearly four-fold between 1980 and 2008

This trend has been an integral part of what Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker called the “great risk-shift ,” in which the burden of paying for education, healthcare and retirement has been increasingly shifted from corporations and the government onto the backs of individuals and families.
The change...


While this may not be totally true...
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shift from traditional pensions to 401(k)-type plans has made a dignified retirement all but impossible for all but the very well-to-do.
... the road to success requires much more individual discipline than it did 20 to 30 years ago.

As I look back at my middle 50's, the idea of early retirement was unusual, but safe retirement at age 62 or 65 was a "given", and working beyond that age, unthinkable. Being a little older than many of the younger retirees, and the "plan to be ER's", I wonder how most your associates and contemporaries see 'retirement".

Fear?
Faith?
Confident?
Trusting?
or maybe off the radar?
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
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Zero trust, that's for sure.

When I got my first job as an attending physician, part of my orientation was a meeting with the physicians' group, and a mandatory financial plan. Only then did it become clear to me that funding my retirement was entirely up to me. Begin saving NOW, they said. Several times I have had employers act in ways that make it clear that when my interests were not theirs, their interests won out every time.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:12 PM   #3
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Zero trust, that's for sure.

When I got my first job as an attending physician, part of my orientation was a meeting with the physicians' group, and a mandatory financial plan. Only then did it become clear to me that funding my retirement was entirely up to me. Begin saving NOW, they said. Several times I have had employers act in ways that make it clear that when my interests were not theirs, their interests won out every time.
I am trying to give my kids this message.

Now if only I could get them jobs.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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In the 35 years of so of my career working in the financial sector in New York
City, I changed jobs every four or five years on average and so I worked in a few companies. Most were small, but the last one had about 500 employees. During that time I never saw anyone retire. Not a single person. I was the only person ever to retire from the last company.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:16 PM   #5
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In my entire career - working since 1978 - I have only known one person who worked anywhere I worked who actually retired. This was a secretary about 20 years or so ago who I think was 65ish . All except for my first year of work I've worked in law firms. I have literally never known an attorney -- even elsewhere -- who actually fully retired. I've known several who slowed down and who were pushed into took of counsel status where they worked limited hours. The vast majority of attorneys that I've known over the age of 60 still work full time. In their 70s, it is more common to see them slow down, voluntarily in some cases and due to lack of clients in others.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:16 AM   #6
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the company I worked at had a great 401k. The HR director pleaded with employees to join but many wouldn't. Retirement was too far in the future to think about.

I can't blame the company for the employee's lack of participation. Very few companies and only the big ones can offer the old traditional retirement program. 401k's have been around for 20 years or so. Why do we blame companies that offer 401 k's, match contributions for employee choices? I have empathy for employees that don't have any 401k type program available but not for those unwilling to take advantage of what is offered.

In a way I'm glad we've left the old way of retirement programs. My grandfather had 4 or 5 great jobs over his career but never worked anywhere long enough to earn a decent retirement. He used to say how he wished each of those employeers would have had 401k's that he could have taken with him when he changed jobs.

Nothing is best for all. I wish more people would think ahead and save. I have to admit, however, that most of the people on this blog do a lot better job becoming FI at an earlier age that I did. the good news is I am FI......but I sacrificed and saved to get there.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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At my Megacorp there is definitely a different view between those of us who were able to keep our DB plans and those who could not.

Those of us with DBs generally have a more positive view of eventually retiring early. Rumor has it that a retirement incentive for folks with DB plans was squashed because executives realized there would likely be a huge rush for the doors and many critical skills would be lost.

Those without DB plans, unless they have been able to do massive saving/investing, are much more fearful of retirement. I don't blame them.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
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Not exactly a well balanced article. (check out other articles the author has written too)

It seems like just another article written in the campaign to get ride of 401(k) and IRA type plans and replacement them with government programs.

I certainly wouldn't be retired today if I depended on a government retirement scheme.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:34 PM   #9
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I certainly wouldn't be retired today if I depended on a government retirement scheme.
You would if you took the right government scheme. It's called federal employment.

Ha
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:11 PM   #10
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In my entire career - working since 1978 - I have only known one person who worked anywhere I worked who actually retired. This was a secretary about 20 years or so ago who I think was 65ish . All except for my first year of work I've worked in law firms. I have literally never known an attorney -- even elsewhere -- who actually fully retired. I've known several who slowed down and who were pushed into took of counsel status where they worked limited hours. The vast majority of attorneys that I've known over the age of 60 still work full time. In their 70s, it is more common to see them slow down, voluntarily in some cases and due to lack of clients in others.
While the majority of lawyers do keep working, early retirement is becoming more common especially at the very large firms where burn out is a major issue. One of my partners at my previous magic circle firm retired last year at 46. She now spends most of her time travelling and doing poverty relief work in third world countries. I'm retiring in September this year (age 47) . Another partner I work (age 48) with is taking a six months unpaid leave of absence next year and is contemplating retirement after that. I can think of a few others, but very much the minority. Given that some of these people earn 7 figure incomes, I don't understand why more of us don't retire earlier?
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:17 PM   #11
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Given that some of these people earn 7 figure incomes, I don't understand why more of us don't retire earlier?
I know many lawyers who are over 60 who I feel confident could financially retire and they don't. I think it is because of who tend to be left in private practice by the time lawyers get to, say, their 50s and older. These are largely people who either love, love, love what they do and/or people who never developed outside interests. The type of lifestyle required to do well in most firms is such that many people have to to devote a substantial amount of time to law practice and really never develop interests that aren't tied to law. Many of the people I know do have social lives but their social lives often revolve around clients or other professional contacts. Those lawyers who do have outside interests and who don't love it so much are usually weeded out by their 50s. (In my case I married late and had young children when I turned 50 so was still in the period in my early 50s when I was focused on work).

Anyway, they don't imagine retiring because they have no idea what they would do and see retiring as being put out to pasture, so to speak.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:26 PM   #12
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I know many lawyers who are over 60 who I feel confident could financially retire and they don't. I think it is because of who tend to be left in private practice by the time lawyers get to, say, their 50s and older. These are largely people who either love, love, love what they do and/or people who never developed outside interests. The type of lifestyle required to do well in most firms is such that many people have to to devote a substantial amount of time to law practice and really never develop interests that aren't tied to law. Many of the people I know do have social lives but their social lives often revolve around clients or other professional contacts. Those lawyers who do have outside interests and who don't love it so much are usually weeded out by their 50s. (In my case I married late and had young children when I turned 50 so was still in the period in my early 50s when I was focused on work).

Anyway, they don't imagine retiring because they have no idea what they would do and see retiring as being put out to pasture, so to speak.
Lawyers sound like physicians. And you know what they say about both professions: getting them to change is like herding cats!

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Old 05-27-2013, 06:34 PM   #13
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Lawyers sound like physicians. And you know what they say about both professions: getting them to change is like herding cats!
I love it!
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