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The Almighty Buck United States

Laboring Longer a Growing Trend For Americans 603

Posted by timothy
from the what-color-is-your-parachute? dept.
AxSpark writes "More and more Americans have the tendency to work after retirement and this number is growing day by day. Last year this number was 6 million people of 65 and over working. The reason for that is quite evident: pensions are not enough for sufficient living."
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Laboring Longer a Growing Trend For Americans

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  • Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:56AM (#24841395)

    It could be that a lot of people are still healthy enough to continue working after age 65... and some people actually want to!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)
      It's not that pensions aren't enough. If there is a need for 10 caregivers, and there are only 2 young people, 8 people are going to be neglected, regardless of how much money they all have. There are not enough young people. There hasn't been any appreciable domestic reproduction for generations.

      Understand, it was the fact that there were no dependent young that made those boomers rich all their lives.

      Society is indeed wealthier if that young man and that young women stay single and work overtime th
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:43AM (#24842027)

        The boomers had plenty of kids. My parents were boomers, and I've found there is no lack of people around my age. The population growth in the United States is still positive, in case you haven't noticed. No, there isn't a perfect distribution among age groups but where do you get this idea that baby boomers didn't have any children? Do you see a massive gap in our population? I sure don't.

        • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @11:02AM (#24843469)

          You need to look at history, not present day. It's not that the boomers didn't have kids - they *delayed* having kids, and had fewer of them. There is a significant dip in the number of births in the late 60's (i was born in '68). I noticed when I was a kid that there seemed to be a lot fewer kids in my grade than the higher and lower grades; their response was that, when I was born, it was very "unfashionable" to have children.

          So now the boomers are starting to retire, and their kids are in their 20's, maybe early 30's - not peak earning years. the bulk of the taxes comes from those later in their careers, and there are a lot FEWER of them than there needs to be. So, IF we can get through the next 20 years without bankrupting the system, the boomer's kids will be supporting me. I'm not holding my breath.

          As for population growth in the US, it is mostly due to immigration and higher birthrates among immigrant populations. Xenophobia aside, this is a GOOD thing - Japan and Europe are about freaking out right now because they are simply not reproducing enough to support their aging population, but they won't accept immigrants into their society in any meaningful way. Americans are going to have to deal with their caregivers probably speaking a foreign language and having different color skin, but they will deal. Japan is placing their hopes in robots - anything but outsiders. And Europe is placing their faith in...?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by duffbeer703 (177751)

          There is a massive gap among the middle-class populations that pay the taxes. Middle class folks have smaller families in order to afford their standards of living, and poorer families tend to have more, but live in cheaper conditions or are subsidized.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

        Fortunately for us, we're still in a position to attract skilled immigrants to make up the labor shortfall...That gives us the benefit of their labor, without having to have paid their costs as they were growing up.

        • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by penguin_dance (536599) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @11:13AM (#24843677)

          Fortunately for us, we're still in a position to attract skilled immigrants to make up the labor shortfall...That gives us the benefit of their labor, without having to have paid their costs as they were growing up.

          Some are skilled, some are not and many are here illegally. There is no labor shortfall--only a wage shortfall. When you've got companies that are allowed to take their business overseas to use what amounts to slave labor without fear of tariffs. Or using illegal labor here, which has driven down wages. These are not jobs that American's won't take. These are jobs that Americans expect a fair wage to be set.

          And illegal immigrants are hardly cost-free. We're paying for their medical, their children's education and medical. They're paying no income tax, they send the bulk of their money back over the border and have no plans to become American citizens. That's hardly a recipe for a successful country.

      • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:50AM (#24842151) Homepage

        Well said. At 44 years old, I expect to work until 70, and I expect to pay higher Social Security taxes along the way. It's not good or bad policy, just reality.

        There is only one thing that could help make a difference for most Americans - owning lot's of foreign investments that we could sell off for a while during crunch time. Unfortunately, we've become a debter nation [blogs.com], so that plain went to Hell in a hand basket.

        • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:18AM (#24842627)

          You can be financially secure by the time you're 60, though. All it takes is living below your means, something Americans just simply refuse to do. You are absolutely right that we've become a debtor nation, but as individuals as well as a whole country.

          You know what? I don't care what anyone says; 99% of you don't need $100/month cellphone plan. If you are leasing your vehicle, you've likely made a really bad choice. I could go on and on... it's quite possible to save enough money to live purely off the interest (not touch the principle... and have a really nice "gift" to leave your children or favorite charity) if you make it a goal. Unfortunately, for most people, their lifestyle choices come first.

          As we've delayed the maturing process in this country for so long, many people don't ever "grow up" and become responsible people. A nation of instant-gratifiers who whine that the government needs to help them out because they spent all their money on expensive cars and trips, put it all on credit so that they've ended up spending twice as much for something than they would have if they paid cash, and end up retiring with a buttload of debt that takes up half their retirement income.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by porcupine8 (816071)
            Living purely on interest might not quite be within everyone's reach, but for the most part you're right on target. It's amazing how many people can't conceive of waiting to buy an expensive item until they've saved up for it, instead of putting it on credit and paying it off over the same (or longer) period of time. I've even seen people in my own family who could have easily afforded health insurance if they canceled their cable or didn't buy such expensive clothing, but didn't bother and then of course g
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by gfxguy (98788)

              Good post. People simply don't have their priorities in order. As I've said, we've delayed maturity for so long that many adults on into their 30s and higher have never reached the mental maturity they need to be responsible for themselves. They've just spent too many years being dependent with parents willing to string them along.

              By and large, people don't need cable, or cellphones, or anything of the like. We need to keep pointing out that the "poor" people in the U.S. have a higher standard of living

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Prof.Phreak (584152)

        So... lets outsource the caregiving to countries with young populations...

    • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cptdondo (59460) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:12AM (#24841579) Journal

      Think again.... Most people don't have the resources. I know people over 65 who work 2 jobs, 7 days a week, to pay medical bills, rent, and food.

      A handful of people work because they want to. Most work because they have no choice. Do you think the greeters at Wal-Mart are there because they want to? Or because they have to eat?

      Your statement is the sort of spin I'd expect from the neocons. Ultimately, people want to work because the alternative is starving, or not taking your meds, or living on the street....

      As someone who is nearing that age, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to retire without working. It's not easy, and our broken medical system is a huge part of it.

      • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Amouth (879122) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:39AM (#24841945)

        my parents work to pay for health insurance.. their house and cars are all paid for - they have no debt - they have a savings.. but having to pay over 1k a month for insurance and still having 8 years till medicade kicks in .. yea they work just to have health insruance

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Black-Man (198831)

          Uhhh... I think you meant MediCARE. Eligibility is 65... so your saying your poor, pitiful parents have to WORK at age 57?!? What a tragedy!

      • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:51AM (#24842171)

        Yeah, my grandmother was in that situation until relatively recently. She kept working until she was about 75 and ill health forced her to stop working - note, not "retire".

        The reason for this? She is a lazy bitch who never worked a real job in her life and relied on whatever man she was with to provide for her. Her first husband (my grandfather) left her. Her second was a great old guy who finally died of Parkinson's and left her a wad of cash. the third guy was a bum and a hustler and took that money when he ran to Mexico - literally.

        She never really saved any money, never invested herself in a job with future, and never planned. She doesn't have a pension because she never had a career. Social Security is keeping her afloat, and the fact that she scammed her way into a religiously affiliated care facility. And when that runs out, my Dad will take care of her, because as neglectful as she was, she is still family.

        Yes, there are plenty of people who had bad luck, and perhaps don't "deserve" what they are dealing with in their old age. But that does not negate the fact that there are also those who squandered their good luck, and are now asking others to pay the price.

      • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:58AM (#24842293)

        My Dad is 78 years old and still runs his own accounting business. I truly suspect, as does he, that if he didn't, he'd be dead by now.

        He uses the extra money he gets during tax season to take expensive vacations, usually in the late summer or fall, with my mom.

        Nearly everyone my parents knew that didn't keep active have already passed on.

        That said, if people can't afford things, I'd say it's partial evidence of the giant failure of social security. Would those pensions have lasted longer if that extra 12% went into a 401k instead of the SS black hole? Do people realize that SS has, since the first year, taken in more money each year than it's paid out? Where did all this money go? There'd be trillions of dollars if they'd have saved and invested it (even at safe moderate rates of around 5%). So where is it? The federal government takes every penny extra and leaves a worthless IOU.

        When Bush pushes a spending deficit of $400 billion, he's not including $200 billion (yes, nearly $200 billion) that the federal government is "borrowing" from SS.

        Even people earning minimum wage would generally have sufficient retirement funds if they were saving 12% in a personal retirement plan.

        People also don't understand their pensions. They should be able to tell way ahead of time if they will receive an adequate amount of money.

        The band-aid solution that was SS is making less and less sense. A real goal would be to create an environment that allows people to save enough of their money for retirement. Get the government out of the SS boondongle, refine the tax structure so that people are encouraged to save. Hey, even make it mandatory if you have to, but at least allow people to decide for themselves how to do it.

    • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:21AM (#24841719)

      I know whan my dad retired he was bored out of his mind since he loved the job he did. If he could have stayed on working I know he would have done. Plus just because you hit 65 doesn't mean you suddenly arn't interested in earning money. I don't see working beyond 65 as a problem personally unless the person is unwell or unfit to continue in the job.

      And of course , if you're a COBOL coder you'll probably still be in demand until the day you go face down in your keyboard (or should that be punched card stack?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      My mother is 84 and still works. She owns her home and does not need the money. She started her present job when she was 63. She is in much better mental and physical health then any of her non-working peers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CRCulver (715279)

        This seems like the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy if you think that she is in great mental and physical condition because she was working. It's also possible that she continued working precisely because she was in good mental and physical condition for her age compared to her peers.

        In any event, I hate this idea that there is only a choice between a) working and staying mentally active, or b) retiring and becoming a vegetable in front of the television. What about traveling once you hit 65? You can liv

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ngarrang (1023425)

      It could be that a lot of people are still healthy enough to continue working after age 65... and some people actually want to!

      This reason gets my vote. Boredom is a sure way to the grave, as well. I know people who are retired from TWO different jobs, and they still enjoy working. Granted, it isn't full-time, but once you get used to living a certain way, hold habits die hard.

    • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:25AM (#24841763) Journal
      Either they choose to keep working, or they didn't put enough of THEIR OWN money away for retirement.

      Why should we trust someone else to plan retirement for us? Yes, yes, I know, 40 years ago was a different time, but for those who didn't work a cushy job that came with a pension (my paternal grandparents were farmers, my maternal grandparents knew the pension would be insufficient), you realize you need to sock money away for retirement.

      Myself, I plan on being financially independent by 55 (and have the plan to do it), although I have no intentions to stop working. At that point in time, work is no longer a necessity, you aren't doing it because you NEED it, but because you WANT it, and I can stop to take a trip with my wife whenever we feel the urge, or go visit the kids, etc. It's a good place to be in.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cptdondo (59460)

        Or perhaps the company that they put their OWN MONEY into raided the retirement fund and there's nothing left.... Or it went belly up. Or it managed to pawn the retirement fund off on the taxpayers. Or the stock market crashed.

        Retirement should not be a crapshoot. It should be managed by an entity with the resources and accountability to actually pay what it promises.

        I'm looking at SS, Military retirement, city retirement, and personal 401(K), IRA, etc. for retirement - and all of that still doesn't add

        • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Informative)

          by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:22AM (#24842709) Journal
          Or perhaps the company that they put their OWN MONEY into raided the retirement fund and there's nothing left.... Or it went belly up. Or it managed to pawn the retirement fund off on the taxpayers. Or the stock market crashed.

          You don't put all your eggs in one basket and you never count your chickens before they hatch. One in the hand is worth two in the bush. Etc. You diversify your investments. This in investment 101.

          Retirement should not be a crapshoot. It should be managed by an entity with the resources and accountability to actually pay what it promises.

          Find an investor you trust. For me, I work with my dad (an insurance agent who has a finance background) and we make a financial plan. I don't want the government managing my future. I believe I can do better, I know I can do better - my Roth has had positive returns this year.

          Heck, the contribution cap for an IRA hasn't changed in 20 years...

          That's why you don't put all of your money in an IRA ...

          It's pretty hard these days to 'save up' for retirement. Not because people are living frivolously, but because wages have essentially been flat for the last 20 years in the broad mid-career band, while everything else has been going up, including the number of hours worked.

          I don't get a pension. I don't factor social security or any other government program into my retirement plan - I assume they will not be there for me. No tricks about it, I put over 20% of what I earn into interest-bearing accounts. Spread the wealth. 401(k), Roth IRA, a little in a money market. If you are filling all those buckets then move to "hard" investments like land, buildings and businesses. There are always mutual funds, index funds and stocks too. Yeah, you live a little below your means, you live in a little smaller house than your coworkers. So what?

          You have to start investing when you are young so that the money can grow with time. Don't wait. I'm 26 and have been saving for retirement since I was 23 and graduated from college. Now sum up 20% of my income power by 30 years or so, in interest-bearing accounts, minus inflation and it's enough to retire off of around 55-60 if you are determined and have your debts paid down.
          • Re:Um, or... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by jonatha (204526) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:48AM (#24843207)

            Now sum up 20% of my income power by 30 years or so, in interest-bearing accounts, minus inflation and it's enough to retire off of around 55-60 if you are determined and have your debts paid down.

            Interest-bearing accounts minus inflation is negative now (and it's only going to get worse), so raised to the power of 30 that 20% of your income is pretty damn little.

      • Re:Um, or... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:07AM (#24842447)

        Either they choose to keep working, or they didn't put enough of THEIR OWN money away for retirement.

        It is not possible for a significant fraction of the population to "put enough of THEIR OWN money away" so that they can sit on their asses for 25 years while enjoying a middle class lifestyle.

        At the end of the day, somebody has to produce the goods that will be consumed each year. If too many people try to make "investments" for an extended retirement, they'll find that when they try to redeem them that the investments will be devalued until it matches the available goods produced by active workers.

        The total goods consumed each year must be produced by people who work each year. The only way to manage this is to delay the average retirement age to maintain the overall ratio of workers vs. ass sitters. This really has nothing to do with whether the mechanism of supporting idle retirees flows through government paper notes or private paper notes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ThosLives (686517)

          At the end of the day, somebody has to produce the goods that will be consumed each year. If too many people try to make "investments" for an extended retirement, they'll find that when they try to redeem them that the investments will be devalued until it matches the available goods produced by active workers.

          Why oh why is it that the folks who try and set up retirement plans seem to ignore this fact? I think what happens is that they look at an individual who is able to save up a lot and retire free - th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by daem0n1x (748565)

        Without state-run, mandatory retirement fund, people living on the edge will never save a penny. In my own country (and yours), millions of people make just enough to eat and pay rent. How are they supposed to make retirement plans and pay health insurance?

        Fortunately we have a mandatory retirement and health care systems, if those people are ill they are entitled to medical care and when they are old they'll have a pension.

  • by certain death (947081) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:56AM (#24841403)
    I plan on working past retirement, but not doing what the pointy haired boss wants, but what I want. Just because I retire does not mean I have to sit at home, or be on a permanent vacation.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:22AM (#24841721) Journal
      For a lot of us, the distinction isn't really there. I'm a freelancer, so the boundary between working and not-working is quite fluid. Sometimes I'm working on things I definitely know I will be able to sell. Sometimes I'm working on things I'm fairly sure I won't be able to sell, but which are fun. Sometimes I'm working on things that are fun, but I might be able to sell later. From some perspectives I work most of the time, but since a lot of it is stuff I never expect to be paid for it's not always such a clear-cut boundary. I'm not sure what retirement would really mean for me. Possibly that I'd stop expecting to be paid for anything I did, but since being paid isn't really the motivation for any of it I don't see that it would make a huge difference.
  • If only... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:57AM (#24841405) Homepage

    If only there were some sort of government solution that would guarantee retirement income for everyone. That would fix everything.

    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:59AM (#24841433)

      If only people didn't look to government solutions and planned for own retirements.

      • Re:If only... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gentimjs (930934) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:20AM (#24841679) Journal
        If only people could afford too.
        • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:30AM (#24842861) Homepage Journal

          If only people could figure out the difference between 'too' and 'to'.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by xiard (866646)
          There are certainly some people who absolutely cannot afford to plan for their own retirement. That number is certainly much smaller than the number of people who reach age 65 and have not planned for their own retirement.

          Planning for your own retirement requires discipline and sacrifice (unless you make ludicrous amounts of money). Discipline and sacrifice are (generally speaking) in short supply here in America. The less money you make and the more necessary expenses you have (i.e., children) the mo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ccguy (1116865) *

        If only people didn't look to government solutions and planned for own retirements.

        When someone (probably with enough cash) says this they get +5 insightful inmediately.

        Now, if someone with no car said "if only people didn't expect the goverment to build roads" he would get -1 crazy.

        You know, maybe if I didn't have to pay for the damn infrastructures so lazy people can drive to work I could save more money for my retirement?

  • Investments! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gentimjs (930934) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:58AM (#24841417) Journal
    No problem, just privatize social security! We can trust GOP lobbyists to put our money in the next Enron and secure our financial future, right?! In all seriousness, "people" are too dumb to plan for retirement on their own. That, and a combination of being stretched too thin financially. That extra $5/week from lower taxes goes into the gas tank, not the 401k. Before everyone gets all uppity about "omg people just need to be responsible, not MY PROBLEM that they cant plan for retirement!" you are entirely correct - its not your fault that most people (whom have never been properly educated on the subject nor had such education/information easily accessible to them) are unable to plan for retirement. Its not their fault either.
    • Re:Investments! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:30AM (#24841835)

      Make it optional. I am smart enough to save for my retirement, so let me do it myself. I've already realized that there won't be any social security for anyone my age so I'm already saving with that in mind. Lets go ahead and take the next step and let me opt out of paying the social security tax completely. Obviously this won't happen since SS was never a 'savings' program anyways. SS was always designed as a wealth transfer program. A way to take care of the old by taking money from the young. The problem is that this plan only works when you have enough young people to take care of the old people.

      • Re:Investments! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:48AM (#24843217)

        Make it optional.

        Bad, bad, bad idea.

        Social security is supposed to be the bare minimum income to subsist post retirement. By definition, anything less than that means you're can't survive. (If you really think social security today provides for luxuries, then we could debate reducing the percentages and payments.)

        If you make social security optional, many people will chose to opt out (like you). Of those, some will invest on their own and earn more than social security would get them. Some though will earn less. By definition, the people who earn less can't survive.

        What happens to all those people who lost their self-invested social security money and can't afford to survive? Simple. Government handouts . Just look at what's been happening recently with mortgages or the financial industry. You'd be foolish to think that the government wouldn't rescue any large group of destitute Americans whether those Americans did it to themselves or not.

        Let me summarize then: Optional social security costs taxpayers no less than mandatory social security, because the government will have to pay for it all one way or another.

        Oh, and producing large groups of destitute Americans is bad for social stability - and unstable societies protect its wealthy citizens far less than stable ones. It's sound planning to keep the masses subsisting regardless of your wealth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by R2.0 (532027)

          "Social security is supposed to be the bare minimum income to subsist post retirement. By definition, anything less than that means you're can't survive."

          No - that's what Social Security was SUPPOSED to be. It was originally and anti-poverty program, not a government pension program. But 2 things happened:

          1) The government used a flawed measure of inflation, overestimating it substantially and therefore increasing the amount of benefits in excess of that required to keep up with the REAL rate of inflation

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LordLucless (582312)
      Don't know how it is in the US, but in Australia, we have compulsory superannuation payments. 9% of your income is automatically deposited into a super account by your boss. You nominate the account, but the payment is mandatory. Most jobs are advertised at the annual rate after super e.g. "70k/year + super". It never really feels like you're losing out on much.
  • by Rob Kaper (5960) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:58AM (#24841425) Homepage

    The reason for that is quite evident: pensions are not enough for sufficient living.

    Or: expenses are not enough under control for sufficient living. We all spend too much money on frivolous nonsense during spring and summer of life, but we don't have to.

    (Not blaming anyone personally, I'm the first to realise I might have a big problem if all the drinking and smoking just doesn't kill me in time.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      Don't forget credit card interest, aka The Stupid Tax. As a shareholder of a credit card company, I would like to thank all of those who finance their unnecessary consumption with a 30% interest rate.

      It's amazing how many people voluntarily accept a permanent decrease in their income because they absolutely had to buy lots of crap years back, but never made more than the minimum payments.

  • If only... (Score:5, Funny)

    by hemp (36945) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:59AM (#24841435) Homepage Journal

    If only you got a pension for reading Slashdot. I could retire now.

  • "Quite evident"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @08:59AM (#24841439) Homepage Journal

    Sure, some people are going to keep working because they need the money, but that's hardly proof of the fundamental reason for the trend. I think it's much more likely that it's related to the fact that people are living longer and healthier, and a lot of people (most?) don't want to just lie around the house.

    In the "old days", 65 was one foot in the grave. These days, there are a lot more healthy 65 year olds that aren't content to believe that life is over and you might as well start waiting to die.

    • Also (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      If people are living longer, well then they are probably going to need to work longer. Basically the simple economic way to look at retirement is that for the first part of your life, you spend less than 100% of what you make. That is saved for later. Then, when you retire, you stop making anything and start spending out that money you've built up.

      All well and good, however the amount you save need to be balanced against how long you are going to retire for. If you live to 66, and work to 65, well then you

  • by networkconsultant (1224452) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:04AM (#24841489)
    You living for 10 to 15 years after your retirement. Now the average age is rising thanks to medical science and the quality of your life has improved so you live longer, and will require more money.
  • Average age? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:05AM (#24841495)

    Does average age have to do anything with it?

    I can imagine that many pension plans are about letting people live for 10 years. From 65 to 75. Now people get older and suddenly need to have money for 20 years.

    That together with the fact that health wise, those are the most expensive years. People paying a LOT of money for 1 or 2 more years. My great-aunt [wikipedia.org] always though it was stupid to spend so much money on the elderly and that money should be given to healthy people.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:08AM (#24841531) Homepage

    If you didn't earn enough money to support yourself in the lifestyle you want, you have no right to that lifestyle. I'm sick of the entitlement attitude that permeates this society. The day that the American Dream went from a dream of liberty, to a house, 2 cars, middle class family, dog, cat, etc. was the day that this country sold itself out to the highest bidder. If Ben Franklin were alive, he'd probably add a corollary to his infamous quip about security: they that lust after wealth more than liberty deserve neither; it was from that lust for economic equality, unearned money and sense of entitlement that most of the horrors of the 20th century were born.

    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:16AM (#24841621) Journal

      Yes, I too blame this problem on the "entitlement attitude."

      It's not like people running out of retirement money has anything to do with people living much longer than in the past, or the skyrocketing cost of health care.

  • When I was a child (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CrackedButter (646746) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:10AM (#24841557) Homepage Journal
    it seemed logical to me that if we as a race are living longer, we would want/need to work longer and the retirement age would increase in accordance. But this has already been discussed as a national issue here in the UK and now I'm older I've always been left scratching my head because it seemed so obvious/natural back then. I can't see how as a society if we live to 100, we could still retire at 60/65 and expect the state to give us cash for another 35 years as opposed to say 30 years ago people were living fewer years past the retirement age and so required less money.
  • by Stele (9443) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:13AM (#24841593) Homepage

    As this is a timothy post, I only bothered reading the title. We're expecting our second child in January, and my wife is NOT going to like this news!

  • by defile39 (592628) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:16AM (#24841619)
    As people stay healthier longer, people SHOULD continue to work. We shouldn't conceptualize the stages of human life in terms of years; Instead, we should conceptualize it in terms of percentages of expected life. Granted, the first 18 or so years are pretty much set in stone, but after that, we have a certain percentage of life available for each occupied stage. Looking only at labor, first there is education. Then, there is the career ramp-up. Then we have career maintenance -- perhaps a career switch (using skills from career #1 in career #2 . . . or not). Finally, we wind our careers down. A percentage of our healthy adult lives should be dedicated to each of these, with a percentage left for active retirement. There's nothing wrong with the actual number of years within each stage to increase in proportion to the amount of time we have to live well. This is the biggest benefit of progress in health and life expectancy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xelios (822510)
      The key phrase there is 'healthy adult life'. Just because people are living to be 80 or 90 these days does not mean they're able to do the things they'd like to at that age. There are plenty of medical conditions that come with aging that, while not life threatening with modern medicine, will keep you from enjoying retirement at that age. Unless you're idea of a rich retirement is playing cards twice a week and going to bingo.

      At 70 or 80 you just don't have the energy anymore, and you'll wish you had mo
  • by einer (459199) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:17AM (#24841631) Journal

    pensions are not enough for sufficient living."

    Not everyone can have a house. Not everyone can have a car. Not everyone can live close to all the cool stuff in a city. That definition of "sufficient" is clearly debatable.

    Certainly sufficient for survival is not what was meant. Sufficient for a comfortable existence relative to history? I don't think that is what is meant either. I think sufficient in this case means "as good or better than everyone else."

    This insufferable materialism is killing us by inches. There's not a lot of inertia behind avoiding it either. I've never seen so many people fall so willingly into slavery.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:19AM (#24841665)
    Baby Boomers are retiring in large numbers, many of them in good health with longer life expectancies. Many Baby Boomers spent their lives physically active and with a real work ethic, starting their own businesses in many cases. Some invested well; others didn't. The recent changes in the economy mean some retirees' pensions and investments aren't going as far as they did, though presumably others' investments are doing well. So the fact that more people are working past retirement doesn't mean just one cause. Some are bored and want something to do, some need more income to last longer retirements, some need more money to make up for poor investments, etc.
  • by what about (730877) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:19AM (#24841673) Homepage

    At retirement time, in Italy, 90% of people live on state pension. Let me tell you what happens.

    State pension works by having current workers pay pension of retired people. In the golden years (70,80,90) we had people working and an apparent "extra" money into the pension "funds". Politicians thought to use the extra money to send the retiring workers early to pension.
    Not only, but it was "normal" to go to pension with 90% of the last monthly income

    The problem is that workforce is now declining, taxes are increasing and we currently pay pension to people that are just lucky to have retired early with a hefty pension (apparently nobody is willing to know how much a worker has PAID into the pension scheme and refund just that, plus interest).

    I know I will have to work as long as I can, I am just upset that jurnalists and politicians brush this issue under the carpet leaving for when it will be too late

    We do have private pension scheme but they are a money drain (basically another way to give luxury cars to some fund manager) they give no guarantee on the capital (as far as I know) and after the Parmalat scandal [wikipedia.org] there is even less trust on any private fund manager institution (Parmalat is not a fund manager, but if you "invested" on their bonds you have lost the money)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's why it is irresponsible to have an unfunded system. If workers were paying for their own retirement instead of other people's, then the system would be able to handle population changes a lot better.

      We started out with an unfunded system because we had a generation that already needed care. Fine. But instead of using the last 60 years to crawl our way back to a funded system -- say, by making one year of progress for each year we ran the program -- we just decided to run it that way forever. So savin

  • saving? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by solarlux (610904) <noplasma AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:28AM (#24841797)
    Perhaps a major driver is a lack of savings (indeed, "negative" household savings in many cases)...
  • by darjen (879890) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:29AM (#24841833)

    "The reason for that is quite evident: pensions are not enough for sufficient living."

    People are also working 40% or more of their lives to support the political class.

  • by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @09:33AM (#24841869) Homepage

    It was born in the depression, as the government's way to push older workers out of the job market, to make room for younger (and more taxable) ones. Prior to Social Security, you worked until you died, pretty much.

    For many, it's still that way - when you stop working, you start dying. I have no plans of letting that happen to me!

  • What's a "Pension"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:06AM (#24842423)

    You insensitive clod!

    I don't know about your field, but nobody *I* know gets offered a pension. I think that perk is mostly long gone, except for government workers.

    401k/457/etc... start early, be serious, be consistent...

  • by meburke (736645) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:26AM (#24842781)

    The USA has 10 Trillion dollars in off-balance-sheet liabilities. Because of the way Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are funded, when people in my age group (I'm 60) really start retiring, it's going to be expensive. There is no money there. If a private company ran it's finances the way the government does, somebody would go to prison.

    Ok, ask anyone if they expect to collect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; everyone says yes, they paid, they're entitled. However, 80% of the people drawing these benefits will be capable of paying their own expenses. They are not poor. I am all for helping the economically disadvantaged, but why should the government steal money from productive workers and re-distribute it to people who are not needy?

    I suspect that sometime in the next eight years, the money will be purposely inflated (making the benefits debt less expensive to pay out), taxes will rise dramatically, the retirement age will be pushed close to age 70, and finally, after all fails, the government will establish a means test, so that only the most desparate will be able to go to the front of the line for benefits.

    Privatization of benefits actually worked for Chile. It could work for us, but it is almost too late.

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