Yes, you have my condolences and my apologies. You see, the youngest of my generation (pre-boomer) and the eldest baby boomers … well, we lived the American dream and while we were doing that, we unintentionally put the screws to you. We did this by buying into the meme that bigger is better: bigger city governments, bigger state governments, bigger federal government, bigger government programs, bigger pension plans for government works, banks so big we can’t allow them to fail, and worst of all we bought into using bigger and bigger debt to pay for all the goodies we wanted our bigger governments to provide for us. We allowed ourselves to be conned by our politicians into believing it was okay because you younger Americans wouldn’t mind paying off the debts we ran up. Now it’s clear that you won’t be able to pay our debts. We have left you an economy where you have little chance to get ahead. In fact many of you are losing ground. I feel particularly bad for those of you have reached the age where you are beginning to think about retirement. I sorry that most of you will have to forget about that. You can afford to retire. If there is any Social Security left for you, it won’t be enough by a long shot. Most of you have no savings and you’re in debt up to your eyeballs. For those who are fortunate enough to have put away a small nest egg, your money is earning no interest and inflation, which is much worse than what the government wants you to believe, is eating away at that nest egg. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you; but your days of “shop til you drop” are long gone. No, your new meme must be : Work Til I Drop. Those younger than you who are hoping you will soon retire so they can have a shot at your better paying job will just have to suck it up until you croak ( another 20 to 30 years).
Monty Pelerin has an excellent article up titled, Retirement Impossible for Many. It’s a good read. Pelerin is not as magnanimous I. In fact he had some harsh words for the “Me” and the “Now” generations and he puts much of the blame on government, which I’ll let you read for yourselves. This quote from his article sums up fairly well his views:
This is the environment that government has created for the country. The young don’t understand the implications. The government is no better than the pimp used by a loan shark. Get em’ hooked while they are young and you will have them for life.
We are at least a generation into this foolishness. There are consequences beyond the occasional defaults and bankruptcies declared along the way. Much of society has been corrupted by the belief that debt is normal and necessary to live the good life. Few understand that a good life cannot be borrowed; it must be earned.
Now the consequences for those who followed the siren’s song are becoming evident. As these people approach retirement, they have wasted the most productive years for saving. They have put themselves into a box from which there is no escape. Many are oblivious to the mathematics and to the retirement poverty they have consigned themselves. Many are unaware that Social Security, as presently constituted, will be broke when they count on it.
Pelerin also provides this table of retirement account balances for people ages 50 to 64 sent to him by one of his readers:
If you are under sixty, try to look on the bright side. It is said that people who stay active live longer.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?