Hot Wheels Michael Schumacher Monza Retirement 2006 Ferrari F248 F1 (08) (Photo credit: Sevi_Lwa)
Daffy definition, retirement: putting four new tires on the family car.
Talk in Washington these days is of raising the retirement age. WRONG. Instead of raising the retirement age, they should be considering lowering it so that there is more room for advancement for younger workers. I would like to see the retirement age lowered in steps to age 50. After age 50, workers could elect to retire or to work part-time. If a worker elected to work 3 days per week, he/she would receive 60% of his/her wages from the employer and 40% of his/her Social Security and Medicare benefits.
This would be a way to keep working at a reduced pace and slide into retirement gradually. It is not easy, in my opinion, to work for 40-50 years and then retire “cold turkey.” I retired gradually and found the adjustment easier than if I had tried to retire in one full swoop.
I’ve noticed recently that the media are casting economic events in how they affect the average 401K. Who has an average 401K? Most people will have one larger or smaller than the average. What really bothers me though is that it is just a number that reflects the ups and downs of the Dow Jones average. The media are taking the easy way out. Can they not explain economic events in more detail so that the viewer and voter have a better grasp of events? It seems not.
Economically - Challenged & illiterate .. CIA website forced offline (11th February 2012) ...item 2.. Anonymous turns its attention to the U.S. Senate over controversial bill -- upgrade your lifestyle (December 8, 2011) ... (Photo credit: marsmet526)
Today’s mail brought a fund-raiser letter from the President. In 2.5 pages, he made a good case for contributing to his re-election. When I was still employed in 2008, I could contribute generously and I did repeatedly. Today, I am living on Social Security and two small pensions. I cannot afford to contribute. If I had the same wealth as the Koch brothers, I would be willing to finance his campaign by myself. Alas, I cannot.
If Mitt and friends have their way, eligibility for Social Security and Medicare will both be delayed til later in life. Some of us work at jobs that are too physically demanding to continue working until age 68 or 69 or 70. Standing 8 hours per day or straining lower back muscles or developing carpal tunnel syndrome are all debilitating. Not all jobs involve sitting in soft, supportive chairs while counting one’s money. That is work that most of us would welcome.
Many people delay their retirement until they are eligible for Medicare, because private healthcare insurance is so expensive. If you lose your job after age 50, jobs are very hard to find due to age discrimination. It’s illegal but surprisingly prevalent. Most people think that it won’t happen to them, until it does. I know from personal experience that management is tempted to replace the experienced older worker with a young worker who will work for less, sometimes much less. And how is the laid-off older worker to survive between age 50 and his/her eligibility for Social Security and Medicare? If the home mortgage is paid off, those years after age 50 are the years where one is planning to save for retirement.
If Mitt and others of like mind have their say, the first definition will fade from our vocabulary as the retirement age is raised until no one, except the 1%, will be able to retire. Not everyone will be able to continue working until the retirement age because the human body wears out with use. Some jobs are more physically demanding than others. I retired at nearly age 70, and I would still be working at almost age 71 if I were able. In a hospital working with patients, one is expected to assist patients if they cannot help themselves. Frequently the hospital worker’s back is stressed, and my lower back is still tender after a year of retirement. We were trained with an inflatable air mattress device that made patient transfer from gurney to x-ray table easy, but the device was never put into widespread use. A budget problem I suspect.
When I was age 50 and working as a hospital aide, I decided to switch from 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts to increase my income. Working 8 hours per day at that time was not a strain, but I found that I had to pace myself to survive 12 hour shifts. Sitting down between tasks became a necessity. I understand that at WalMart, a letter from your doctor is required if an elderly employee needs to sit during working hours. I also understand that the job of greeter at the entrance to WalMart is being phased out. One less employment opportunity for the elderly.