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.



  • Just wondering if David may remember hearing of me at Sheffield’s Boatworks in West Sacramento. His business and name seem awful familiar. Did he build a wood drift boat with Cherry frames? Father and son project. Thanks, Bob Sheffield

  • You referred to the 50’s as when ‘money was plentiful and business could afford…’. There is more money today than in the 50’s. The problem is that business is now greety. Greed is the entire problem. Wall street has convinced business that a 20% ROI is required, or you are failing. In the 50’s, or even the 70’s, single digit returns were normal and companies funded retirement programs. Now, stock holder owned companies, and even worse, private equity owned companies are required to continually increase profits month on month on month. When you have this expectation, we have recession every so often. The only thing netting single digit returns nowadays is us.

  • Robert green says:

    Working harder than ever since I retired. Not only do I need help with the lifting,ladders are to take a look to tell somEone what to do and I need someone to hold the light and find my glasses

  • Chuck says:

    David, as bad as the picture is that you paint, we should be lucky to find it that good even ten years from now.

  • BillyJ says:

    Unfortunately, as you say – the funds will not be there for those who worked toward retirement. The idea that you work for 30+ years, contribute to your profession, and expect something to be there when it’s time to retire, was based on trust. We trusted people we put in power to do what was best for us. It didn’t work out as we hoped it would.

    My father retired when he was 67. After 40 years in the auto industry, he sat in the garage, smoked his cigar, and watched the world pass by. Hopefully, I’ll be able to retire in 3 more years. At that time, I’ll have worked 42 years, and hope to work another 20 in my new profession.

  • Thank you for your shared outlook on retirement. I too am at an age after 36 plus years as a custom woodworker to make some decisions. I will continue to master my craft but at a much different level. My shop an real estate are currently for sale and without a successor I find it quite disciouraging that some younger person hasn’t appreciated the opportunity available .

  • Doug says:

    The problem as I see it is the attitude of businesses and employees in general today. Companies look at their employees as leaches that can easily be replced with another and they do not care about these people or their families at all. Because of this the employee does not care about the company or its goals at all. It’s just a paycheck and they do the least possible to get by.When I was young companies genuinely cared about their employees and their families wellbeing. Due to that employees cared about the company and worked very hard to see it succeed.Not that way anymore. At the last job I had before starting off on my own my direct supervisor told me to my face he would “throw me under the bus to protect himself in a heartbeat”. How can anyone be expected to care the least little bit about a company whose management has an attitude like that? I turned in my resignation the following Monday. I also think Lonnie has a point.

  • Mark Slafkes says:

    I disagree with your comments on real estate. I’ve found that buying real estate for the income and NOT for the speculative possibilities has worked for me. As for the changes in home values, think of these values as the ocean. They all rise and fall together and the real issue is having a comfortable home to live in and not to treat your home like the latest hot investment.
    Social Security and Medicare really helps me and my family (I’m 67) and as medical expenses are like the wicked witch of the North, I advocate for single payer health care and ignore the red-baiting of the folks who talk about losing our freedoms to socialized medicine.
    Single-payer health care is one of the most significant things we can implement for our personal freedom from poverty. It’s all about freedom and freedom from disaster is a big one.

  • Ed Rizzardi says:

    I am 66 years old, have been doing woodworking as a passion for 48 years. You can check uot my work at As I said I have been doing wood wotking for 48 years but was smart enough to realize I could make more money with using my brain rather than my hands. I worked at a manufacturing company for 34 years and retired as a Vice President of Customer Service. Over the years I primarily built my shop from money I made building custom furniture on the weekends. I funded my IRA and 401K programs for my entire working career and never tuched a dime of my savings. I lived within my means as opposed to most people that spend more than they make and wonder why they don’t have two dimes to rub together when they retire. My house is paid for and have very little debt. I work in my shop about 40 hours a week and enjoy every minute of it, because I had a plan when I retired, not just planed to retire. Enough said. Contact me if you would like to do an article about me


    Ed Rizzardi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.