No Country for Old people

March 26, 2013

Smart Money DVD James CagneyHigh overcast and fairly warm relatively speaking this early Tuesday on California’s north coast, and we did get some rain in the evening yesterday, more is expected today, and the rest of the week.
The wet we can use as this area so far this year been 25 to 35 percent of normal for rain, an opposite to the norm — Weather service hydrologist Reginald Kennedy: “We started out in December ranging anywhere from 125 to 150 percent above normal, but then we just did a complete turnaround for January and February.”
Water under the redwood tree.

As an old person — I’ll be 65 in November — the world has really, really changed in the last few years and the concept of growing even older in the current environment doesn’t appear to be the wonderful ‘golden years’ as represented by all the bullshit in the 1960s and earlier.
Despite an aging population, the participation in work hasn’t gone down, as it should have if people were in that sleep-induced Great American Dream projection of the post-WWII image — people are just working and retiring later, if at all.

(Illustration found here).

Getting old is just getting old — we’re still alive, and still after “it”:

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases nearly doubled among adults over fifty during the decade between 2000 and 2010, according to CDC data.
In an age of Viagra and internet dating, when there are dating sites geared specifically to senior citizens (e.g. Silver Singles), such statistics don’t really come as a surprise.
Among adults over 50, 85 percent of men and 61 percent of women said that sex was important to their quality of life, according to a 2010 AARP survey.

Despite the desire, the money is just not going to be there. The cupboard is bare — and some bad, old shit is going to hit the fan.
From Forbes last week:

We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world.
In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty.
Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans.

With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts – $100,000 if you believe the retirement planning industry – the decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement” will be grim.

Americans today are aware that corporate pensions have been virtually eliminated and that the few remaining private, as well as the nation’s public pensions, are in jeopardy.
Even if you are among the lucky few that have a pension, you cannot rest assured that it will be there for all the years you’ll need it.
Whether you know it or not, someone is busy trying to figure how to screw you out of your pension.
Americans also know the great 401k experiment of the past 30 years has been a disaster.
It is now apparent that 401ks will not provide the retirement security promised to workers.
As a former mutual fund legal counsel, when I recall some of the outrageous sales materials the industry came up with to peddle funds to workers, particularly in the 1980s, it’s almost laughable—if the results weren’t so tragic.

At some point, lack of savings, lack of employment possibilities and failing health will catch up with the overwhelming majority of the nation’s elders.
Let me emphasize that we’re talking about the overwhelming majority, not a small percentage who arguably made bad decisions throughout their working lives.

Maybe the young will eat us.
In his latest book, “No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Letters to My Grandchildren,” Boston-based investment adviser John D. Spooner offers some advice (via US News and World Report):

I told my kids I used to have to walk to school 5 miles each way uphill, and they would laugh because it was so exaggerated and not true.
But I do think that this generation will be the first in American history to not exceed their parents.
We’re surrounded by noise 24/7 from social networks and the media that never stops.
It influences people emotionally.

We’ve had maybe 13 years where things have been hard, so there’s almost a generation of people who think nothing can be good ever again, which it will be.
After a while, you can’t just compare ‘I had a tougher time than you do’ or ‘I’m having it tougher than you do.’
Sooner or later, people are going to be forced to be more industrious.

The problem, though, is how. Hard work alone won’t do it.
I manage a liquor store, and the work isn’t hard — the public is hard. They’re in horrible shape.
Fortunately, I’m a kind of  natural loner. The next few years is going to be hard, way hard.
From the BBC:

A study of 6,500 UK men and women aged over 52 found that being isolated from family and friends was linked with a 26% higher death risk over seven years.
Whether or not participants felt lonely did not alter the impact of social isolation on health.

Feelings don’t matter, flesh and blood does.
Hello tomorrow.

NOTE: My laptop might go down again today, so if you visit tomorrow and there’s nothing new, don’t expect the worse, just the normal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.