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Surprised and Concerned
Old 02-10-2018, 06:32 AM   #1
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Surprised and Concerned

I don't have a particularly sensitive job so I've told some close coworkers about our plans for early retirement. The topic came up at lunch yesterday and I was shocked at the responses of some of my extremely intelligent and level-headed colleagues.

Three colleagues told me that they were envious of our plans because they are in their 60s and don't have retirement anywhere on the horizon due to lack of funds.

I've read the research and know that the savings rate in the US now hovers around zero but I was shocked that these people who have their lives so together had fallen victim. It made me pretty sad for them. They want to stop working but can't and feared that they would probably be unable to pursue any of their passions after putting in 40+ years of work.

What's your experience? Do you feel like most people you encounter have a handle on retirement or is that the exception to the rule?
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:46 AM   #2
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At my last j*b I had gotten somewhat close to one co-worker, who was my age. I told him, in confidence, my ER plans. He told me he needed to work until at least age 66 or so. In fairness he did have some savings - we never discussed numbers - but told me he simply could not afford to retire before then. I know he also had credit card debt.
This seems to be a common story, unfortunately.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:48 AM   #3
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In my office, there are a group of us all around 58-61. Based on informal conversations, about half are financially ready to retire, the other half not. A common theme among those who are ready is that they have worked there for many, many years and will get a relatively decent pension. I am the rookie who will get almost nothing in pension (not even enough to pay my property taxes), but I saved well in my private practice days so I am fine.

The one to whom I am closest is 61, with twin 17 year-old children. I think she has finally awakened to the idea that she may not be able to work until the kids are safely through college. She lamented the other day that she had not been as frugal as me when we were both younger. I honestly don't know what she will do. I reminded her that the kids can borrow money for education, but she can't borrow money to retire. However, she is bound and determined to fully pay for their college. It is a fundamental expectation for parents in our socioeconomic strata.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:07 AM   #4
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It is hard for me to understand how a person with a pension couldn't ER. I can't believe there would be anyone that couldn't.

I'm sure there are many that can't even with a good pension. Do you think that is possible??

I just talked to a guy I know last night. He told me he was changing jobs because he isn't making enough where he is at. He told me he still owes 40K on his house and he is 58 year old. He has always had a job but never was a high earner. I really feel for people like him. He will have to work till he dies and he told me that. No planning no goals is a bad thing.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:48 AM   #5
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E-Trade hit the nail on the head with their Super Bowl commercial. (Close to the truth then a lot of people realize.)


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Old 02-10-2018, 09:05 AM   #6
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Sadly more common than not. A few folks left around the same age as me. Others are still working away, some in their upper 60's, one guy in his 70's doing 60+ hours every week.

Some of them really shocked me too. One couple of dinks, both IT, and they have very little set back.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:05 AM   #7
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It is hard for me to understand how a person with a pension couldn't ER. I can't believe there would be anyone that couldn't.
Depends on the pension. My pension will be about 13K/yr. I certainly couldn't make it on pension alone.

Quote:
I'm sure there are many that can't even with a good pension. Do you think that is possible??
Sure.

Quote:
I just talked to a guy I know last night. He told me he was changing jobs because he isn't making enough where he is at. He told me he still owes 40K on his house and he is 58 year old. He has always had a job but never was a high earner. I really feel for people like him. He will have to work till he dies and he told me that. No planning no goals is a bad thing.
Yeah, I know a guy who's 75 and still plugging away. He's still paying off his new house (which was supposed to result in decreased expenses, but it didn't turn out that way) and his wife's new car.

On the other hand, some people are okay with working beyond normal retirement age. This fellow, for instance ... I think he likes coming to work, and he'd have difficulty if he stopped completely. So it's not necessarily a bad thing, for some people.

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Three colleagues told me that they were envious of our plans because they are in their 60s and don't have retirement anywhere on the horizon due to lack of funds.
I think that's very common. I work with a bunch of professionals who are otherwise doing just fine, but when I discuss my downshift, that's usually the response I get -- "I wish I could do that, but I'm not in the position to."
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:20 AM   #8
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It is hard for me to understand how a person with a pension couldn't ER. I can't believe there would be anyone that couldn't.

I'm sure there are many that can't even with a good pension. Do you think that is possible??

.


Many of the folks I know with pensions can't start payments till 65. Granted some of these are being switched over to some form of DC plan, but they were designed to start paying at 65 based on the last few years of salary so they don't facilitate ER.

Some people I know with what I consider a great pension (US Govt CSRS) get around 80% of final salary but no SS. Some of them never learned to live within their means, didn't save and can't fathom a 20% income cut.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for clarifying some of my thinking. I totally agree with what the size of the pension which was an unfair judgement.

I sometimes don't understand how some people can't have what others have and should have.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:46 AM   #10
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Uncomfortable feeling during commercial

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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
E-Trade hit the nail on the head with their Super Bowl commercial. (Close to the truth then a lot of people realize.)


We had our in-laws over during the super bowl. I posted at length about their lack of financial discipline in this post.

http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...-up-86863.html

When we were watching the commercials they were both laughing and enjoying it until the end, when the room fell silent and you could hear the gulping in their throats.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
E-Trade hit the nail on the head with their Super Bowl commercial. (Close to the truth then a lot of people realize.)
I saw that commercial and I couldn't help thinking that their nebulous solution will likely make retirement even more difficult than it is.

Or is there something about E-trade designed to help people accumulate wealth using low cost funds, no fees, minimal tax liablity, a steady as she goes AA, etc. etc. etc.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:06 AM   #12
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It is hard for me to understand how a person with a pension couldn't ER. I can't believe there would be anyone that couldn't.
.
Perhaps a discussion with some pensioners who worked for the city of Detroit may help.

Besides, a pension is no guarantee that people don't accumulate debts and live a high-maintenance, high cost lifestyle. I think all of us can come up with examples of people who should have it made in the shade but instead are living on the bleeding edge of financial ruin.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:09 AM   #13
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Sadly, I've encountered this with both friends and family.

Trouble is, you don't always have a choice to continue working.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:11 AM   #14
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I saw that commercial and I couldn't help thinking that their nebulous solution will likely make retirement even more difficult than it is.
Just to be clear; I wasn't advocating for E-Trade's services. My point was that they (well.. most likely their ad agency) was "spot on" in describing the situation a lot of people find themselves in. (Well... if one suspends belief that 85-year olds would even be employable.)
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I saw that commercial and I couldn't help thinking that their nebulous solution will likely make retirement even more difficult than it is.

Or is there something about E-trade designed to help people accumulate wealth using low cost funds, no fees, minimal tax liablity, a steady as she goes AA, etc. etc. etc.
your comment hits the nail on the head for me.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:14 AM   #16
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In talking to colleagues about ER, a common theme among my male peers (engineers, project managers) is that the guys who have been divorced cannot ER because their finances were set back so much. Then there are the guys with multiple divorces who are still working past 65. I'm sure it is a similar story for women.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:19 AM   #17
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Retirees are a dying breed, retirement for most people is a pipe dream, it’s the credit based society we live in that prevents retirement.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:20 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
Just to be clear; I wasn't advocating for E-Trade's services. My point was that they (well.. most likely their ad agency) was "spot on" in describing the situation a lot of people find themselves in. (Well... if one suspends belief that 85-year olds would even be employable.)
Yes, I did realize that. And, the commercial made the point very well.

It's their 'solution' that I find questionable.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:29 AM   #19
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It's their 'solution' that I find questionable.
As do I.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:06 PM   #20
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I told my wife recently: "I have seen the future of baby boomer retirement -- and it is a relative's couch".

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Sadly, I've encountered this with both friends and family.
Trouble is, you don't always have a choice to continue working.
We have watched this play out 4 times in the last few years. One moved in with kids, one with parent, one with sibling, one couple will end up on the street soon if willing relatives aren't found (Aged out of jobs, zero savings*, borrowed to max on CC and HELOC, new SUV w payments, very little SS).

As I age into my sixties and contemplate my increasing limits, I am saddened for those who think they can "work until the end". No you can't. In the above list of acquaintances are a truck driver and an oilfield worker. It's a rare person who can do that into their seventies.

I told my kids about this, and explained: "Whether you, your body, or the economy makes the decision -- you will retire. So prepare for it."

*Literally. Zero.
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