12 financial nightmares for baby boomers

Retirement, the kids, the house -- they're all keeping you up at night. The financial nightmares are very real. But there are actions you can take to confront them.

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125Comments
Mar 7, 2012 5:19PM
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I don't understand the world I live in anymore. The harder I work, the less I have. Our politics are run by media, performers and politicians who want the country to be controlled completely by the government and ideology with everything we have being doled out by whatever govern ring section has been created that week. We spit on people who work themselves into the ground, make weeping noises for those who made poor choices and expect something for nothing. Big business has gone crazy and runs our country through providing Washington votes and greasing the palms of every politician who is in power (I don't care if they are Democrat or Republican they are all scavengers). The best part of it all is that we STILL have enough money to make sports figures, musicians and actors wealthy beyond anything morally acceptable and NO ONE IS BOTHERED BY IT.

 

I look at these posts and most of them are complaining about everyone else. Here are the facts. Not everyone is going to live the same. Not everyone is going to have success. A lot of what will determine the quality of your life should be  what you put into it, not what the government gives you. Baseball, Football, Concerts, Movies and the like are not a God Given Right. THEY ARE ENTERTAINMENT, Not a necessity. $8.00 Martinis, Corona and Moose Drool are not a necessity, they are expensive extras. When I see someone buy Lobster with food stamps it makes me REALLY ANGRY. When I see people patting themselves on the back because they bought a home without any real credit and now live there for free it REALLY MAKES ME ANGRY. The mess we baby boomers are experiencing is our own fault because we have raised spoiled little **** that think they are owed something for being born. Why don't you all start by fixing that.

Mar 8, 2012 10:39AM
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We need to have the congress on the same medical plan and retirement plan We are on, why should We pay for them a separate plan?

Mar 8, 2012 10:41AM
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Don't believe a word of it. I went to a financial planner to inquire about investing for retirement. As I looked on the wall, it became obvious that we weren't really talking about my retirement, we were talking about his retirement.

Pictures of his boat, airplane, 300 acre spread of forest in Kentucky, his kid going to a private school out east gave me the impression that this guy was already retired on the money he thought I was going to give him.

Where did this guy get the money to buy all those goodies?  He got it from his clients, and as it turned out, his track record wasn't very good. Later on in 2008 his outfit went under taking all the investors with them but leaving Mr. Financial Planner with all his goodies.

I invested on my own and did a hell of a lot better.

So if some investment shyster tells that you can't retire, do it anyway. Sometimes there's no choice, you're out of a job and the chances of you getting another are nil.

You can't get any day you spend working back, no matter what.

Mar 6, 2012 9:10PM
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I'm a boomer and am retiring at 55.  I did not live on cat food or deny myself entertainment.  I have purchased new vehicles every 3-5 years and still can retire on a modest teacher's salary.  How?  I sold my larger house and purchased a smaller one for less than half the price of my original home.  The smaller home has lower taxes, utilities, etc.  With the money I made from my original home I paid cash for the smaller home and socked the rest away.  I started putting small amounts from my paycheck automatically into a savings plan and started purchasing CDs (before the rates fell to record lows) for emergencies, vacations, etc.  Interestingly enough I really enjoy my small home, which happens to have a much larger yard which I love to work in to stay fit.  Bottom line:  get rid of the mortgages and all loans and you'd be amazed what you can live on.  No, I don't live like a king nor do I live like a pauper.  I know many people that have made much higher salaries in their careers and are bankrupt from debt.  If you're willing to live a modest lifestyle, it's doable.
Mar 8, 2012 11:43AM
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All these stories are truely heart breaking.  The citizens in this country, especially senior citizens, are hurting and seeing their worlds fall apart around them.  The stories of unemployment running out or gone, people using their IRA's to make ends meet, seeing their homes forclosed on, etc. is truely sad in this the land of plenty.

In the meantime we see Wall Street being bailed out with Billions of our tax dollars and these thieves taking home bonus checks in the millions.  These are the same people who dont want to pay taxes and claim that if not for them we would be in worse shape.  Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, doesn't it.

Over and above that, our Government is spending over a Billion dollars a day, giving it to countries like Iraq and Afganistan to educate and feed those people.  These are the same people who teach their children to kill us and our children.  Lets take care of our own for a while and stop trying to be the worlds policeman.

Lastly, how is it that our elected officials all become millionaires once they are elected to office.  Seems that there is not enough money for them to extend unemployment benifits but they can spend millions on reelection campaigns. I am in the same boat as many on this page and have recently had a stroke after being unemployed for an extended time (since Aug 2010). I now qualify for what they call disability insurance, a wopping $57.00 a week.  Try living on that Mr Congressman and Ms. Senator...

Remember in November.  No more incumbants.  Lets take back OUR AMERICAN DREAM. 

Mar 7, 2012 4:12PM
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We have to stop listening to the politicians And do our own thinking.

 

For instance. Mull this over:

 

Gingrich says he can lower the price of gasoline to $2.50 per gallon.

He knows how .

But he is holding the nation hostage until we elect him president.

That will be the day.

Tell you what Newt. Lower the price today. And I'll vote for you for president.

Deal?

Mar 7, 2012 4:12PM
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Retirement is something when you're young you see as a distant thought, sometimes with the hope that you can do it early enough to be physically well enough to enjoy that part of life, after having worked so hard for so long. . .  being a single mother with 3 children, I started saving later because I needed my income to house, feed, educate my family, invested 65% in medium to high risk, thinking I had until my late 50s before I needed to worry about changing my investments, based on the information of Investment Brokers. . .  well 2008 came and like many of us private sector folks, the bottom fell out, I lost over 50% of my retirement, add insult to injury, in early 2009 I lost that job that I was going to have until I retired at age 66 and 3 months, after 13 years there, being 50something with a skill set that is not in such great demand any longer (administrative), I set out on a course to find new employment and did so, less money and now my home that I bought later in life, which was going to be a part of my nest egg, was worth less, in spite of my making it more inhabitable, my taxes go up, cost of living goes up, commuting costs me $300 give or take, depending on the cost of tolls and gas, per month, but I have a job, I sure do hope I can stay employed and healthy enough that when I reach 66.3 months I can work part time and enjoy some of the things I hoped to when I thought I'd be better off.  In the past 3 years, my retirement fund has increased by $13,000, which is a drop in the bucket, I am in my new employers plan, but projected amounts might add about $250 to $350 a month, not a great deal when I think of the fact I will still have a mortgage payment, real estate taxes, medical expenses, utilities and whatnot. . .  if you are a teacher or government employee, great for you, I had that opportunity and passed it up for private sector because I had a family to support and back in the day, benefits did not pay bills. . . I am not bitter, but it's sad that our group will suffer because of the greed of some and our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for it long after we're departed. . .  In the meantime, I owe, I owe and to work I will go. . .
Mar 7, 2012 12:11PM
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I disagree with "Crying Tree". My husband was drafted in 1966 served his country until he was shot

in Vietnam in 1967. He finished his term and left the service 40% disabled, but WORKS for his money! We were NOT hippies beacause we WORKED at our own business started in1968, which is still going today!!!  Because it's manufacturing, and goes up and down with the economy, our opportunities to save has been pretty skimpy. When we needed a couple thousand to keep the company running, guess where it came from? Us! 2 kids colleges, a home we have lived in for over 40 years, we own it finally. NEVER lived in a commue nor did we know anyone that did.NEVER knew a draft dodger.  Figuring to work till we're  70, no 401Ks here, We are proud that our products are MADE IN THE USA and state that continually. So "Crying Tree" realize that there are lots, and I means lots of people that were PROUDLY serving thier country in Vietnam!!!  

Mar 7, 2012 12:37AM
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The money (6 figures) I invested at retirement 6 years ago had ZERO growth.  Taking the inflation rate, I lost money.  So what is the point of saving ?

The stock market is a joke unless you have inside info and  money that you can GAMBLE with. Set up your own retirement is the call.  The reason for getting people into the markets is  to suck fresh money in and screw them over while spouting all kinds of reasons why they lost their shirt. The markets cannot exist without fresh money. The market is down because the moon is out or the polar bears are drowning or the penguins  are unhappy!  or-- or-- or-- BS! The reasons given are so pathetically absurd.

 So where can I put my money to show at least some return-not the banks at .05% while the CEO's make millions ?  Canada?

 Few people have any Idea how much money- several hundred thousands- is needed to maintain  the same standard of living. I know people with 30 to 40 thousand thinking they are set. They still owe a mortgage and the car has to be replaced. Good luck with that.

I would assume a reasonable rate of return over many years and calculate with the time value of money just how much to save  to have adequate income. But what rate do I use? Minus 5%?

Mar 7, 2012 4:04PM
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Retirement? Are you joking? What once might have been a reality is now but a pipe dream unless I can pull off a miracle. There are a lot of people like me who worked , spent , saved, and got downsized after 50 for nothing more than our age. I've worked survival jobs while continuing to network for other jobs. My investments have shrunk as well as any savings I had, and my house might get 60 cents on the dollar. And I live in a nice suburb. All while my healthcare, taxes, and everyday expenses have gone up. I'll run out of money before I'll be able to retire, that's for sure.
Mar 7, 2012 4:44PM
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I am 58. My wife is 56. You know, Baby Boomers. We have had ups and downs. We save what we can. We have been blessed with good health. We are both college educated. But most importantly, while remaining empathetic to the fears of many of our fellow "Boomers", we will do the best we can and try ever so hard to refrain from whining. One visit to the local children's hospital can help. We choose to trust God while fully realizing our retirement will not be as we expected. Of course our life has never been either.
Jun 8, 2012 11:11PM
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Mr. Steverman,  You posted that the rate of inflation as "Reported by the Feds" was only 2%.  I use a different index called the food index-Last year you could buy a can of Staggs Chilie for 98 cents, today it is$1.98 or a 100% increase. Last year you could buy a small jar of Clausens Dill Pickles for $1.98 and today it was $4.36 at Safeway.  Last year you could get a bottle of Prego Spaghetti Sauce for $1.98-today you can still get a jar of Prego for $1.98 but it is half the size of last years/  My shopping cart that I could fill for $100 last year is now around $200.  Real inflation is hovering around 100% and if you believe anything the gummint says you sir are nuts.
Mar 6, 2012 10:01PM
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@John- I'm sure you also get a pension so you can retire at 55.  You made smart moves, but without your pension, you'd probably not make it. Most in America who aren't in gov't or unions won't see any pension whatsoever.
Mar 8, 2012 11:58AM
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Ok, So if I start collecting SS at 66 and continue to 86, then at 24 K (me) a year, that would be almost 1/2 mil, so I have my savings right?--or why is that not talked about ever?

To sit here and talk about having 1/2 mil in savings if you do not get more than 7-8 K a year in SS (average) why is it that you think those types would have saved 500,000, then they hopefully would have had to pay the SS taxes over the years for all that income, so as usual there is something stupid here, no one who  makes 30K  a year has 500,000 in savings, unless they won the lotto!

Let us get reporting on what the 50-70 % has to cope with!!!!--And what to invest in when they have only a dream of money! (SS)

After now paying over 16 % in SS gross tax as self employed now off 110,000 a year and forever on the medicare part, why is it that no one talks tough to the government, and asks them where your money really went!!!

Mar 7, 2012 12:02AM
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John,

 

I think you need to do some research.  There are 75 million boomers who will retire in the next 20 years.  If they owned every share of stock in the U.S., their savings would amount to less than $15 trillion dollars.  In round numbers, that's only $200,000 per boomer - hardly the kind of money that funds a decent retirement.

 

You say you're a retired teacher.  Good for you.  But understand, it is IMPOSSIBLE for everyone to retire like that.  There's just not enough wealth!

 

Right now, there are 3 people working for every one retiree.  In 20 years (barring an increase in the retirement age demographics), there will only be 2 workers for every retiree.  In round numbers, a country can only consume what it produces.  Either the young will have to become 50% more productive and give all the extra production to the retirees or else the retirees are going to suffer a serious decline in their living standards.

 

Notice that I've been overly optimistic and conservative in my numbers - I've assumed that retirees own the ENTIRE stock market.  Guess what's not going to happen - ever.  Half the boomers have essentially ZERO savings.  Do you think we're going to let them starve in the streets?  Hardly.  The young are going to subsidize the old if you like it or not.

 

As for your retirement fund, well, maybe they've invested well, but I've shown that it is impossible that everyone can do that.  Even if 40 years ago all the boomers decided to be frugal and save for investment, it could not possibly happen that they all could retire well.

 

Want some more numbers?  How about this.  The ENTIRE country is worth only about $60 trillion.  If we deeded everything to the boomers, that's still only about $800,000 per boomer - still not a great retirement.

 

Once again, the only way the boomers can possibly retire early and well is if they oppressively tax the young.

Mar 7, 2012 12:31AM
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John,

 

I don't mean to "pile on" about your retirement, but it does raise the issue of public versus private sector pay.  It's hard to find a public retirement plan that doesn't promise retirement by 65 (or much less) with most of the pre-retirement income fairly guaranteed.

 

Take a look at my numbers again.  It is impossible that everyone can retire like that.  Period.

 

What that says is that the private sector cannot possibly provide the retirement for all its workers that our public sector employees have come to expect.

 

Here are some more numbers:  The unfunded liabilties of Medicare and Social Security are north of $70 trillion.  That's more than the value of everything in the country!  Furthermore, there is nothing but IOUs in the so-called trust funds.  It's all been spent - plus $15 trillion more.  That means when the government is pretending to pay retirees from those accounts, they'll have to raise taxes to repay the IOUs.

 

The young WILL be taxed oppressively to pay for the retirements of the boomers.

 

P.S., I'm one of those boomers.

Mar 7, 2012 4:54PM
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There is a fix that would take care of Social Security forever, but it will never happen due to politics. It is if EVERYONE paid SS taxes on all income, as it is now income over $109,000. is exempt from this tax. If you make below this amount you pay SS tax on 100% of your income and, If you make more than this amount you pay 0%. Tax it all and the problemis solved.
Mar 6, 2012 10:58PM
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I to have retired at 55 after 20 years working for a major airline.

Sold the big house don't have a new car... don't need one I have lived within my

pay scale and I'm doing great. My house and land and 30x40 shop all for under 150k.

Moved to the country when I retired life is great and cheap.

Mar 6, 2012 11:17PM
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Dear GTS1004.  You are exactly correct; I do get a retirement.  I also now have to pay for my own health insurance.  What I did was add to my retirement when the opportunities arose, and that helped.  I am in no way saying it was free.  For most of my career we put 8% into our retirement; that's going up to 10.5% next year, but I'll already be retired.  I forgot to mention one other thing:  When I purchased my new home, built in 1951, I moved within 4 miles from work.  That in itself saves a lot of gas money.  Here in Colorado we've seen a trend of people buying houses in the mountains, then commuting to Denver and other larger cities. When gas goes up, obviously their expenses go up.  Many are now having second thoughts.  I know the allure of our mountains, but within such a close distant you don't need to spend your life savings and get a new mortgage just to live there.  Now those people wonder why they can't retire.  My point is there are things out of our control, and things that you must control when possible.  I do feel sorry for those that lost everything out of no fault of their own.  For the others, live and learn, but don't wait too long.
Mar 7, 2012 4:02PM
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girlsjustwantohavefun

Let me get this right. You have one mil. in savings, two houses, SS income and your husbands pension income and you are bitching??? Just goes to show how dammed spoiled and greedy Americans have become. I would consider you on easy street. I would trade your situation for mine in a heartbeat!!!

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