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In our opinion: Boomers' lack of planning complicates entitlement reform

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  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    Why are we "unprepared", financially? When I was 22, I attended a seminar that showed if I saved 10% of my income, that over the next thirty-three years, I would have accumulated so much money that I would never worry about anything financially again. Well, the "government" took 15% of my money for Social Security and Medicare. They left me with nothing "extra" to invest. So, not only should I have that huge nest-egg, but it should be 50% larger than the amount talked about in that seminar.

    What did the "government" do with the money that they forced me to "invest" in their Social Security plan, the plan that would take care of me "comfortably" in my golden years? They spent it on themselves. The robbed that fund. They used it to buy votes. They used it to pay off donners. They forced you and me and everyone else to pay into their Ponzi scheme and now they (and the Deseret News) tell us that we didn't do our part, that we really didn't set aside 15% of our wages for our golden years. Not only that, but they want another 18% for ObamaCare.

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Oct. 19, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    The problem with savings is access. Few of us (me included) have the ability to not use savings when circumstances turn. Good for an emergency fund, but not retirement.

    Standard pensions are nearly impossible to access and but they are almost a relic of the past.

    401Ks help as they are tougher to access than savings and there are penalties to help us leave the money untouched. I am fortunate to have a good 401K plan to which my employer contributes as well. But employer contributions are becoming less and less common.

    We need to have a national conversation. Workers, employers, govt., etc. need to look at what the appropriate mix of contribution is and how much Soc. Sec. can realistically provide.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    I get the feeling that the author is a young person, I get the feeling that the author wants to inherit their parents money.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    The baby boomers are victims of the great 401K scam. The parent's of the boomers had pensions. The boomers were told that 401Ks would give them an even better retirement. All that they accomplished, however, were to fatten the profits of Corporate America at the expense of their workers.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    The question I have is why should anyone in their 20's or 30's have to pay anything into social security?
    They will never get a cent of social security when they retire.
    Social security needs to be phased out.
    only pay out what it takes in.
    no more cashing in the T-bills to shore the program up, use them to pay down the national debt.
    as more people retire, along with fewer workers putting money in.
    The amount to each person becomes less.
    Eventually it will be so low, that stopping payments all together will be an option.
    I have never planned for social security to be around when I retire.
    I have to save for my own retirement, while paying for other peoples retirement.
    I resent having to do this. Why should I pay into a program that will be bankrupt before it will benefit me?
    If I did not have to pay in the 7 1/2 to 15% depending on how you look at it.
    I would take the money and put it in my 401K. I have been doing it for 20+ years, no reason to think I would not continue to do so.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    I work with a couple of boomers past retirement age who have plenty saved up, far beyond what most people save, but they have economic anxiety, a fear that it could all be erased overnight, and they'd be left with nothing, no safety net.

    Younger workers are eyeing the boomers' salaries as they have young families that could really use the money for all the demands that raising children entails.

    This is the double-edged sword of our rugged individualism, the ethos of self-reliance and antipathy of any kind of government program, knowledge that companies can and will raid retirement programs with impunity.

    I know a lot of boomers who will cling to their jobs - thereby denying opportunity to younger workers - because they fear everything they've worked for could all disappear, tomorrow.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Oct. 19, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    If anyone has any doubts about the role of SS and raising the economic standards of the elderly just research the old age poverty rates before its implementation.
    The National Bureau of Economic Research sums it nicely:

    " In fact, there is a striking association between the rise in Social Security expenditures per capita and the decline in elderly poverty."

    I'm pretty much retired at 58 and wont really need SS but will keep my business going until I drop, or am to weak to work!

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Why is the Deserette news speaking out against Social Security? Obviously they want to save the government money. Yet just recently they came out with an editorial that we should stay in Afghanistan even longer. My response to that is that the writer of the editorial should should get out his checkbook and donate to help fund the war or better yet pick up the gun and go fight and encourages kids to do the same.

    United States spends entirely too much money lives and effort involving himself in the affairs of other countries. We really got to learn to mind her own business and become more self-sufficient. We don't tolerate drug dealers going to her schools and getting our kids hooked on drugs yet because we are so war prone we allow recruiters to go to our schools and get kids to join up so that they can come back dead and maimed.

    I say let's get out of Afghanistan now and use the savings to help shore up Social Security. Leaders of Afghanistan do us a favor kick us out just like Iraq did, ... we don't have the sense to leave on our own.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 2:13 p.m.

    The editor is mighty kind to our government and harsh with the boomers.
    Social Security isn't a mess because boomers cheated the tax man. No sir. They paid in as agreed. Social Security is a mess because of the holes in the bottom of the "lockbox"; holes big enough for politicians to stick their hands into.
    And why are savings accounts worthless today? Why can't we put money into a CD for 5 years and get 8%? Because government/fed have made our money worthless.
    And they are doing the same thing with bonds.
    So please Mr. Editor, scold the politicians. I've saved. I've worked hard. I've contributed generously to my 401k and watched it collapse with the subprime lending crisis. I'm making 1/3 what I was making ten years ago because of those scoundrels in Washington.
    I'm not complaining; I just don't need a lecture right now.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Oct. 19, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    I'm retired with several sources of income. SS alone doesn't provide a living. One pension was based on stocks of the company -- which went bankrupt when Daddy died and the kids took over. Another pension (union) will buy a tank of gasoline -- if I don't let the gauge get too low. Another promised paid medical; that promise is long gone. The others depend on the backers *not* going out of business, the investment markets, and how inflation/ taxes offset the earnings.

    You can bet I am nervous.

    Not worried because you have a retirement plan? You had better look at exactly what that plan is!

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    We've cut down dramatically our expectations of retirement--IF we get to retire. Right now we're planning to work until we die, God willing.

    We have relatives that have retired and expected to live much larger than they planned for. Now they're struggling with massive debt, looming mortgages, and unrealistic expectations as they hit 80 years old.

    We need to rethink our entire vision of retirement (and really, it seems that when many people quit working, much of their physical and mental health quickly slide downhill) and consider that perhaps work and supporting yourself until you die is a noble pursuit.

    The notion of "retirement" is a very recent development, and perhaps one that is now outdated.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    "...but there is also ample evidence that many baby-boomers failed to save and plan at a level necessary to retire at the age they anticipated." Well, like what evidence? True to form the Deseret News blames the little people. Fact: the average real wage in the United States has stagnated for the last 30 years. Do you suppose this has something to do with boomers' retirement issues?

    The problem is even more fundamental. In this, the mature form of capitalism, the exploitation of labor is deepening. There will be no relief for the great mass of people until a new socialism is born. Wag you finger at us boomers all you want if it makes you feel virtuous, but more and more of us understand what is necessary. Personal responsibility will only take us so far.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Oct. 19, 2013 4:54 p.m.

    Oh,

    You mean like "planning" on losing $400K in Real Estate -- the ONE of only 2 "safe" investments we were told time and again were non-risky investments, that and Education?

    GW Bush and the Gadiantons on Wallstreet would gladly have cut-off my head and sold my education too if it would mean more $Money for them!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    Conservative Handbook:

    Rule no. 1 in the Blame Game clearly states that the victim be the first choice assigning blame. Only after that fails would the player assign blame to one of the other players.

    Rule no. 2 clearly states that the players never allow the victim to regain his loss through evil programs of income redistribution.

    Counterpoint:

    Nearly all the problems associated with life are economic. That is true because we are alive on a temporary basis and would like to make the best of it. And even the worst of it costs money.

    The easiest way to get money is to take it from those who create it. That means trading something you have at a grossly inflated value for something valuable with a grossly deflated value. It is commonly known as business.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Oct. 19, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    "
    @ open minded mormon "GW Bush and the Gadiantons on Wallstreet would gladly have cut-off my head and sold my education too if it would mean more $Money for them!"

    Large corporations and our fascist congress have been importing brains with H1-B visas even though our own graduates don't have jobs because it lowers wages further.

    My own employer is guilty of bring over lots of Russian programmers and paying them much less. In the end, we all earn less because of it. Probably $1,000,000 a career less in the case of most programmers. Google was caught red handed in an illegal scheme as well that kept it's employees wages low.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 6:50 p.m.

    "entitlement" is not the right word. If one pays taxes into a system for decades, then it is a community responsibility."

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 7:45 p.m.

    Something is not an 'entitlement'...

    when you pay into social security, for 65 years.

  • VickieB SLC, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 9:55 p.m.

    How many have lost their pensions because business never funded them? Even the state of Utah is underfunded. Don't put the blame on the people, put it on those responsible.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 20, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    Mike Richards...Where did you get the idea that social security and Medicare took 15% of your income? Last I looked social security was 6.2% of Gross income, income limited, and Medicare was 1.45% of Gross income. You seem to be fixated on finding your own facts.

  • dell San Antonio, TX
    Oct. 20, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Re: Mike in Cedar

    If you're self-employed you have to pay your portion you mentioned (6.2 & 1.5) as well as the employer "contribution" which is about the same (6.2 & 1.5) which equals about 15%. When you think about it it's been a pretty horrible forced saving deal, considering the essentially zero-return for many people when 15% of their income could have guaranteed a pretty comfortable retirement for much of the middle class.

  • TeaPublican Houston, TX
    Oct. 20, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    Let's just talk the truth here folks! These senior citizens make up the “greatest generation”…they know how to sacrifice….and they need to do so again! It’s time this “greatest generation” to again stand up and be counted as American Patriots and not complain about not having enough of our tax money! Help us save America again! Leave my tax money alone! Go talk to the churches….that’s their job is to take care of people like you. Maybe all of you should think about bake sales to help pay for your expenses…after all, all of you know how to bake….so just make use of your talent! We TeaPublicans will take back America in 2014 and 2016. And we will take back our tax money too from these socialists social security program! Palin/Bachmann 2016….it’s going to happen!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    "It’s time this 'greatest generation' to again stand up and be counted as American Patriots and not complain about not having enough of our tax money! " I only want government to give me the benefits promised me when I spent a lifetime of paying FICA taxes. If you and government welch on this deal, have I ever got deal for you - socialist revolution. So, my advice to you is "be careful what you wish for!"

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Oct. 20, 2013 4:12 p.m.

    For a near 0 risk investment SS and Medicare have been phenomenal investments. What are you even talking about?

    The average baby boomer has done much better with the SS and Medicare they are getting than any private investment they have made. Medicare will cover their medical expenses for life no matter how long they live! You would need 10's of millions to guarantee that for yourself.

    If it weren't for medicare covering the majority of our seniors medical bills most of them would be broke. Many cancer therapies cost $100,000 a year.

    The real problem is the outlandish cost of healthcare caused purely by greed in the healthcare system.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Oct. 20, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    Teapublican, the "greatest generation" fought WW2 and most of them are dead. Their children, the baby boomers now make up the majority of retired Americans. Births from 1946 - 1964.

    Anyone who fought in WW2 would be at least 90 years old now.

    Palin/Bachman, and bake sales. That's hilarious.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 12:38 a.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "...Social Security plan, the plan that would take care of me "comfortably" in my golden years? They spent it on themselves. The robbed that fund." There is something to what you say. The fund should be invested in a variety of assets not just Federal bills and bonds.

    I am a socialist, and therefore I would manage providing for the elderly in ways very different from SS, but given the way social security was originally constructed, the fund has been in large part looted, and this is a disgrace to contemporary liberalism, no question.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 6:47 a.m.

    What did things cost 30 years ago, the cost of living back then. Compare it to today. It's unimaginable the amount of money your going to need.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    The workplace is not as employee friendly as it used to be. It is difficult to get and maintain a decent job let alone to have good retirement benefits and a 401 K that meet any of our expectations. By the way the Social Security and Medicare outlays do not lead to our current or future debt problems. Nice try Editorial Board.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    So...

    republican voters, a large cohort who are retired or approaching retirement age COMPLICATE the obvious republican answer to the problem of underfunded entitlements...

    How do you keep getting them to vote republican/conservative/t-party when republicans/conservatives/t-party are going to gut...er...reduce entitlements for the retired... or wages and benefits for those approaching retirement?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    I think we would be well served if Texas seceded from the United States of America. To help them in this effort we should start a petition to expel Texas so that Americans can get back to the American way of life.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 21, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    dell. I almost immediately recognized my error and sent an apology comment to mike and all but for some reason it was never published. You and Richards are quite right about the 15%. But I don't agree that putting these retirement funds in the private sector would have been better. You might get a better return or you might not depending on the market, but with social security, the benefit is lifelong. So to compare apples to apples you would have to purchase a private annuity with lifelong provision, and that would come from a company like AIG, a company as you may recall that had to be bailed out by the Federal Government or a whole lot of people would have lost their retirement benefits.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Oct. 21, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    To "Roland Kayser" you are wrong. They are victims of the government. They believed that the government would cover their retirement. Little did they know that the amout that would be covered wouldn't live up to their expectations.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" your liberal masters have done a better job of selling you out than Bush or Wallstreet could ever imagine. Just look at what the liberals did. They convinced the US that they didn't need to save money for retirement. They then took that money and have granted special favors to their supporters.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    Couple of things, dell. First of all, what makes you think that if those social programs were not there that employers would pass that 15% on into their employees wages? Not likely. Also, people living paycheck to paycheck might have a very hard time getting that money into savings accounts. And another thing, even if they did have you seem what has happened to these retirement accounts over the last number of years? They have lost huge sums.

    Anyway, second, these social programs are not savings plans (forced or otherwise) they are social programs to help give retired people and poor people some kind of standard of living, in this, the wealthiest country in the history of the world.