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Old 10-05-2011, 11:03 PM   #41
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When 400 of the richest people in America have more money & wealth than 150 million of the poorest in America...the poor and the middle class, in our country will protest! Thank...., we have that right as America's!
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+1
Well, one of those 400 passed away today. I'm certain he spent more time working towards accomplishing things than he did complaining about 'the man' holding him back.

Heck, he didn't even have a college degree. He had plenty of excuses for not succeeding. I guess he didn't get the memo.


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Old 10-05-2011, 11:19 PM   #42
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Final warning, folks -- this is getting into pure ideology and not sticking to this particular event and how it relates to retirement issues.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:19 PM   #43
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Well, one of those 400 passed away today. I'm certain he spent more time working towards accomplishing things than he did complaining about 'the man' holding him back.

Heck, he didn't even have a college degree. He had plenty of excuses for not succeeding. I guess he didn't get the memo.


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Old 10-06-2011, 12:09 AM   #44
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Here are some factors which impact ER that, IMO, are behind the Occupy Wall Street protests.

1. Wage disparity:

"The heads of the nationís top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010..."

CEO pay soars while workers' pay stalls


2. Most private sector pension plans are a thing of the past and 401k plan matching contributions are shrinking:

"Consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide recently surveyed human-resources executives at 245 large companies and found that 12% had already cut their defined-contribution-plan matching contributions, up from just 3% in a similar survey two months ago. Another 12% expect to make the change in the next 12 months, up from 7% in December."

The Incredible Shrinking 401(k) Employer Match - The Wallet - WSJ


3. The expense ratios in many 401k plans are prohibitively high:

"Indeed, the average 401(k) participant in a big plan forks over 1.07% of the account balance each year, while small plan participants pay 1.4%, on average. With the most expensive plans running as high as 3%..."

BW Online | June 7, 2004 | Does Your 401(k) Cost Too Much?

Retirement is becoming a thing of the past for a large percent of the US population. I think these factors are some of the reasons behind the current protests.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:50 AM   #45
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I was watching bemused, not participating, in the Harvard 1961 diploma riots, protesting Harvard's decision to change the language of its diplomas from Latin to English. That was fun, and pretty much just an expression of undergrad high spirits and mischief. Later, I was teaching as a grad assistant at Ohio State in 1970 when the OSU campus was occupied by armed and scared national guardsmen after sit-ins protesting the Kent State killings. That was not nearly as much fun.
I knew a few older grad students who said the same thing about the Berkeley protest of the late 70s vs the tear gas filled ones of the late 60s.
Let's hope the occupy Wall St protest stay on the more fun side.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:23 AM   #46
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It's a difficult transition. One that's necessary, I agree, but hard. But be a little fair here -- you have your pension and health care lined up in retirement (you earned it by upholding the deal you signed up for, don't get me wrong) -- so maybe you don't see it's harder and harder for most people to save for their own retirement when their wages are going down relative to inflation, they are losing benefits rapidly (especially in the private sector, though the public may be catching up soon) and more and more are seeing unemployment or underemployment eat into their ability to fund their own retirements.
This sounds a little "let them eat cakey" to me, I have to confess.
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Final warning, folks -- this is getting into pure ideology and not sticking to this particular event and how it relates to retirement issues.
Your comments are fair and impartial, and no offense taken!

However let me offer a practical example.

A couple weeks ago I dropped by Rice University, where I observed my daughter and ~800 other sophomores busting their assets and hustling for grades & $$. The school has its share of stinkin' rich kids, true, but it's also 25% international and has lots of scholarships. The breadth of the economic gap is staggering.

Along with the fun planned for their weekend, these guys were all chasing research projects, service projects, internships, $12 campus tour-guide gigs, and other side jobs. Nobody seemed very upset about the state of the economy or the job market or their prospects in America's 4th largest city with all those Fortune 500 companies and a hospital complex across the street. In fact their tacit assumption was that in a couple years they were going to go out there in the big bad world and fix most of it, and more than one of them asked me about saving & investing.

It was easy to get swept up in their optimism and enthusiasm. Even for the voice & classical-instrument students, who I fear had better learn to live a very frugal lifestyle.

I think winners keep on winning, even if they're starting out in the 99%.

I think most of the Occupy Wall Street protesters have yet to wrap their minds around the correlation and causation between the (1) rich who (2) manage to keep on getting richer. Maybe there's a lesson in there for the other 99%, and it doesn't involve silver spoons or elite prep schools or "secret stock-market trading codes"...
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:39 AM   #47
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it's harder and harder for most people to save for their own retirement when their wages are going down relative to inflation, they are losing benefits rapidly (especially in the private sector, though the public may be catching up soon) and more and more are seeing unemployment or underemployment eat into their ability to fund their own retirements.
I agreed it's getting tougher to save for retirement with current environment. And those like me who's in latter stage in their career just getting started. However, it takes lots of sacrifices forgoing wants in order to have the needs in the retirement.

Even during the great depression with 25% unemployment, there were 75% employed. And what I've been told by my dear mother was that a neighbor sharing basic necessities with neighbors. I don't think it should be us against them. It should be to get rid of corruptions and fraudulent business practices where they cook up the books by both government and market trade companies.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:27 AM   #48
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Name two.
Decrease Federal spending.
Decrease the size of the Federal gov't.

What more do you need?
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:31 AM   #49
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Decrease Federal spending.
Decrease the size of the Federal gov't.

What more do you need?
+1
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:39 AM   #50
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Here are some factors which impact ER that, IMO, are behind the Occupy Wall Street protests.

1. Wage disparity:

"The heads of the nationís top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010..."
I agree that this is a source of some angst. As I've said before, and there have been threads on it before, it seems to be a justified complaint. The oft-noted BOD-CEO links are just too buddy-buddy. I'm not sure what the answer is. I'm pretty sure protests are not it.

The FIRE-side: To what degree do excess CEO, and other executive salaries actually affect the bottom line? I think the math says very little. There aren't enough of them. Ever see this discussed on a per-share basis, rather than a 'big number'? That doesn't justify it, but to 'keep it real' we need to put it in perspective.


Quote:
2. Most private sector pension plans are a thing of the past and 401k plan matching contributions are shrinking:
I do feel this is global competition at work. Again, protesting isn't the answer, we need to keep America relatively competitive.

The FIRE-side: I think the reality is that people better plan for retirement on their own. I get this message to young people any chance I get.


Quote:
3. The expense ratios in many 401k plans are prohibitively high:
This angers me, too.

The FIRE-side: We need some sort of transparency, and some way for employees to take action on who the employer contracts with, to get better choices.

Wait - strike that last part. This ties into the idea we should just plan our own retirement. If I do that, I take my money to the best value provider. Why should I have someone else decide where my money is invested. I think we all just need to get involved, rather than hand the responsibility off and then cry when they don't do it the way we want. Take control of your life!


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Retirement is becoming a thing of the past for a large percent of the US population. I think these factors are some of the reasons behind the current protests.
I doubt these young people are thinking much about retirement. They are angry, and they likely don't know why or what to do about it.

A young lady at a recent town hall ranted about FIFO accounting practices on Wall Street. I couldn't hear everything she said, but I caught up with her after and she was talking with a guy who owns an accounting firm. We explained that FIFO is just an accounting method, along with average, LIFO and selected shares. There wasn't anything intrinsically 'evil' about it, and it would not even make the list of things that should be scrutinized. But she was all worked up about, because she read somewhere it was costing us billion (or something). I think we actually shifted her to think more critically about these articles she reads.

The FIRE-side: If people get attention with protests, it can drive politicians to want to appease them. And they will likely do it with non-productive 'we did something' actions (like the recent restrictions on debit card transactions, which simply shifted the costs elsewhere - a totally foreseeable outcome - and a waste of everyone's time.) So emotional outbursts could do more harm than good to our portfolios, I fear.

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Just a reminder that any political discussion needs to be related to FIRE.
Hopefully, my "FIRE-side" intros made my intent clear.

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Old 10-06-2011, 08:40 AM   #51
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I already have my Malibu house picked out, for after the revolution.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:41 AM   #52
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Decrease Federal spending.
Decrease the size of the Federal gov't.

What more do you need?
Please start another thread on that if you wish. I'd like to see this one stay open. It is relevant, and worthy of discussion, and I fear those types of sidetracks are going to bring home the bacon.


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Old 10-06-2011, 08:51 AM   #53
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These are just the boomers' damn spoiled kids whining just like their parents. They will be ignored if they remain peaceful and get their heads cracked by the NYPD if they get rough.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:18 AM   #54
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In a lot of ways I can sympathize with the protesters. They graduated with extreme student loan debt and can't find jobs and a government that bickers back and forth and won't do anything to help.

Blaming them for not having jobs is kind of silly IMO when there is a lack of aggregate demand in the economy. It's like blaming the 2 people for not finding chairs in a game of musical chairs where there are only 8 seats and 10 people.

If there is one thing they should focus on IMO it should be getting money out of politics. That would be great but I'm afraid they may demand too much.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:41 AM   #55
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Decrease Federal spending.
Decrease the size of the Federal gov't.

What more do you need?
Quote:
Originally Posted by justplainbll View Post
+1
You guys forgot the loudest refrain, "Don't touch my Medicare, and don't touch my Social Security." Gotta fit those in too.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:51 AM   #56
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The NYPD appears to be cracking heads regardless of whether or not they get rough.

A couple things--

I think a large portion of the people on this board came of age in an economic golden age, and have no idea how difficult it is going to be for this next generation to secure any kind of economic security.

These kids aren't interested in retirement, they are interested in having something to retire from. If you are under 30, its increasingly rare to have a path to a job that pays more than $10/hr and includes healthcare.

The cost of college has skyrocketed to an insane level compared to 20-30 years ago. Twenty years ago you could pay for college with student/summer jobs if you were cheap and hardworking.
That's pretty much impossible now. They've been encouraged to take on 10s of thousands in debt for college degrees that don't really open up the job market like they used to. That debt is now about the only thing that can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

So a large portion of this generation have no real job prospects, massive debt, no healthcare, and no real expectations that any of that is going to change. I'd whine a little too.

Globalization is great for people who make a good income. It's also great for the rising mass of Indians and Chinese that are leaving abject poverty behind. It sucks for this generation of Americans though.

We're quickly reaching a point where a large portion of the population feels they have nothing to lose if the system burns. So far things have remained relatively peaceful. If our path doesn't change, I don't think that will remain true.

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These are just the boomers' damn spoiled kids whining just like their parents. They will be ignored if they remain peaceful and get their heads cracked by the NYPD if they get rough.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:58 AM   #57
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Gosh, I spend a week in the North Dakota Bakken area and my greatest problem is being smothered by unwanted job offers, I visit with my friends who have 20 or 30 something kids who are all doing just fine despite having to overcome an occasional challenge---So I guess it is a little interesting to see that 99% cannot seem to find any hope.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:01 AM   #58
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What is the "other side"of the Tea Party? Folks who want bigger government? And what, government has been shrinking lately? I don't think these guys are the opposite of the Tea Party--something else entirely.
Ok, so it's a 3rd voice?

harley beat me to the response to GregLee's question. I guess I'd have said the same.

I'll shutup and try to to derail this any farther. Sorry. My point was how long it's taken people to wake up and realized they've been screwed.

After reading All the Devils are Here, it made me want to grab a pitchforks and torches, or worse, and go after the greediest businessmen, regulators (ex-businessmen), etc.

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Old 10-06-2011, 10:03 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Helen View Post
Here are some factors which impact ER that, IMO, are behind the Occupy Wall Street protests.

1. Wage disparity:

"The heads of the nationís top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010..."

CEO pay soars while workers' pay stalls


2. Most private sector pension plans are a thing of the past and 401k plan matching contributions are shrinking:

"Consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide recently surveyed human-resources executives at 245 large companies and found that 12% had already cut their defined-contribution-plan matching contributions, up from just 3% in a similar survey two months ago. Another 12% expect to make the change in the next 12 months, up from 7% in December."

The Incredible Shrinking 401(k) Employer Match - The Wallet - WSJ


3. The expense ratios in many 401k plans are prohibitively high:

"Indeed, the average 401(k) participant in a big plan forks over 1.07% of the account balance each year, while small plan participants pay 1.4%, on average. With the most expensive plans running as high as 3%..."

BW Online | June 7, 2004 | Does Your 401(k) Cost Too Much?

Retirement is becoming a thing of the past for a large percent of the US population. I think these factors are some of the reasons behind the current protests.
Sure. I remember just last night seeing those protest placards saying 'Damn those high 401K expense ratios' and 'hey, hey, LBJ, whatever happened to my 401K'. Intelligent group these wall street protestors.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:03 AM   #60
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So a large portion of this generation have no real job prospects, massive debt, no healthcare, and no real expectations that any of that is going to change. I'd whine a little too...

We're quickly reaching a point where a large portion of the population feels they have nothing to lose if the system burns. So far things have remained relatively peaceful. If our path doesn't change, I don't think that will remain true.
That later point worries me. While Congress is fiddling and fighting the economy deteriorates. If we let it get bad enough, the response could get really bad. I would prefer not to live in a gated community.
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