Retirement – Part II
When we think of retirement, we often have an image of an old guy sitting in a deck chair having a snooze. It might be nice to have enough financial security to spend the later years traveling the world or playing golf. But I’m thinking that this is an ideal whose time is past.
This kind of financial security was the paradigm during the 50′s when money was plentiful and businesses could afford to maintain large funds for the retirement of their long-term employees.
The problem now is that there are fewer and fewer long-term employees and less money to go around. Most companies that supported retirement funds did so by investing the money in something like real estate or the stock market or municipal bonds. Now it seems like real estate is the best way to lose money, the stock market is run like a casino and municipal bonds are paying interest of a few percent, if anything. Governments at all levels are stressed for money themselves.
When business get stressed as they are now, these retirement funds seem to be the first things to go. It’s not uncommon for people who have spent many years working for the same company to be told that their retirement fund is bankrupt just at the moment they are counting on it being there. And Social Security is turning out to be the laughing stock of retirees who are finding that the few hundred bucks a month they are entitled to is barely enough to keep their cars gassed up let alone paying for food and the roof over their heads and the inevitable medical care they need.
Keep working? Well, for me that’s a perfectly good option as long as there are jobs to be had. Even if we go a bit slower, we should be able to make up for it with our experience and a few younger guys to help with the heavy lifting.