Friday, April 7, 2017

Cresting 65 - Part 1 money

I will turn 65 in the next few weeks.  We can step back in astonishment and wonder how that could really happen?  Do the math.  I always am, working to understand what happens to people at what age.

What do you associate with age 65?


Until very recently, I was not clear how that worked.  You stopped working and you still lived and ate and slept.  But, exactly how did that money thing work?  People did it; they went on trips and had houses.  How did that get paid?

Now, I'm beginning to see a dichotomy among those in my cohort.  In the past, there could be money problems but, you could always change things.  Yes, you might be struggling financially, but you could get a better paying job or maybe work a second job.  The potential for improvement always existed.  And you could always live paycheck  to paycheck.

Until that doesn't work any more.  "When you are too old to work but too young to die."

I probably would have used the 'bakerman' approach to retirement.  I did it for college expenses and it worked.  Refers to a game played in preschool.  The teacher makes an imaginary cake and puts it in an imaginary item.  And when the buzzer goes off, she reaches back and there's something there for the kids to eat.  What really happened was the preschool parents hustled around to find something.  I did that for my kid's college expenses, just figured the money would be there and it was.  But likely for the same reason, that we 'can retire'.

But now, I see that people, families, my peers divide into two groups.  People who are doing ok and people who are not.  If you don't have the assets to 'retire' (ie stop working), the situation is not likely to change.  Some people around me are really stuck for money.  They have nothing behind them and nothing likely to come.  They must be prepared to eke along, hope they have social security.  Lotsa people.  More than I would have been prepared to admit.

So who skates here?  Who 'can retire'?

Some people have good pensions.  I know some people like that.  You work for a long time in a job with a good defined benefit pension and then you collect that pension and bob's your uncle.  Dennis' parents had that.  Somehow the jobs I had never had that sort of thing, not Dennis' either except for his last job.  With this deal, you just keep on collecting.  But not many of them left.  It never occurred to me to specifically look for a job with that kind of benefit.  Too many other variables.  When I was younger, jobs came with benefits and they seemed like a good idea I never could put them in perspective.

Some people have amassed wealth themselves.  They have enough put away to take care of themselves.  Buying and selling.  High paying jobs.  Very few people but there are some.

Some people have trans-generational wealth.  Their forebears acquired wealth and it passed down to the younger generation.  That's what we have.  Inheritance from my parents and grandparents provide the money so we 'can retire.'  Indirectly, that paid for the college costs.  I'm grateful and lucky.

Some people figure they will just keep working.  One man I know just got a new job as he turned 80.  But often you can't keep your job.  Like my father, you get re-organized out.  Ageism is huge in the employment market.  Especially in these days of the 'free market.'   Hire the younger cheaper people.  There's no societal responsibility for business to keep on the old folks.  Clean house.

Here we all are.  We either 'can retire' or we will struggle along.  I realize that for some people, some close around me, things look bleak, they have nothing and world ahead looks cold and a little hungry.

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