spacer
spacer
spacer
What's New Saving & Investing Advocacy Lifestyle Other
September 2, 2008

“Scary times” for Future Retirees

The current generation of retirees is relatively prosperous. But this may be a historical anomaly, and old age may once again become, for many, a time for poverty, according to an Associated Press report.

AP interviewed several retired delegates to the Democratic convention as well as experts at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

All confirmed the same general trend: the cost of living, especially for seniors, is rising even as the safety nets that traditionally protected seniors are fraying. The result is that ever more retirees are struggling to make ends meet.
[Read more]

August 26, 2008

Social Security, Medicare, Veterans’ Benefits: Please Don’t Call Them “Entitlements”

Im entitled!
“I’m entitled!”

Social Security. Medicare. Veterans’ disability and other benefits. For tens of millions of Americans, they’ve come hard earned: through decades of work, hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll tax payments, and through the sacrifice of health, mobility, sight, or other basic bodily functions most of us take for granted. These government programs are all that stands between many Americans and abject poverty.

For some politicians and opinion makers, however, they’re “entitlements,” or even “entitlement spending.”

Words mean things. They also imply and suggest things, often covertly. These words provide a particularly disturbing example of just how damaging a hidden emotional message that flies under the radar of critical thinking can be.

“Entitlement” sounds innocuous enough, but it’s objectionable because it conjures up the image of a privilege that neither was earned nor is really needed, but that the recipient refuses to forego because he or she is—well, entitled.

“Entitlement spending” takes this line of thought a step further. It suggests—and is intentionally portrayed as—a troublesome class of government programs that mindlessly crank out, as if on autopilot, ever increasing sums to the “entitled.” The high cost of these programs, so the reasoning goes, depletes the government’s coffers, and makes it necessary to cut funding in other areas where it is more urgently needed.

In reality, the exact opposite is true.
[Read more]

August 13, 2008

Future retirees beware: Wall Street is lobbying to get its hands on your pension money

The big Wall Street banking and investment firms—the same fine people who brought us the subprime credit meltdown and the mortgage crisis—are now lobbying lawmakers to allow them to buy up and manage your pension fund money.

According to a recent Business Week report, roughly $500 billion—that’s half a trillion dollars—is currently sitting in so-called “frozen” pension plans. These are corporate pension plans that are closed to new members. Because corporations are cutting pension plans, new pension funds become frozen every day, and the trend is expected to continue. Among well-known companies with frozen plans are Alcoa, HP, Verizon, and IBM.

Currently, many of these plans are underfunded due to many reasons, such as fluctuations in the stock market. When this happens, the corporations can be forced to make up the shortfall. Thus, it’s no surprise that many companies would love to get rid of the pension plans even though they’re full of valuable assets.

And it’s no surprise that big Wall Street firms would love to take them over. They could charge their typical fees of 1% to 2% annually to manage them. That equates to billions of dollars of your hard-earned cash that would be gobbled up.

But the danger isn’t limited to a few percent points per year. As Business Week further reports, if the moneymen get the way, some 44 million future retirees’ money could be put at risk
[Read more]

August 6, 2008

Pooh-poohing the impending Social Security and Medicare crisis

Head in the sand

Tens of millions of baby boomers are approaching retirement age. Over the course of the few decades, this enormous segment of the population will stop contributing to Social Security, Medicare, and private investment programs. It will instead be drawing upon these institutions to the tune of trillions of dollars. This will result in enormous dislocations for the economy as a whole, shaking its very foundations. Still, some people—like deputy assistant secretary of the Navy Russell Beland—insist on sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that the problem will go away by itself.
[read more]
August 1, 2008

“RHAs” and “IHAs”: Phony health care coverage for future retirees

Rep. John "Randy" Kuhl (R-NY) is keenly aware of the health care crisis facing future retirees. As corporations eliminate health care coverage for retirees, many people on fixed incomes are forced to choose between food and medicine. But his proposed means for dealing with the problem—tax-favored accounts similar to IRAs that allow people to save for future expenses—offers only a tiny band-aid, not a real solution. What is needed is real insurance with no ifs, ands, or buts.
[read more]

eNews & Updates

Sign up to receive breaking news
as well as receive other site updates!

We will not spam you, or sell, rent, exchange, or otherwise share your email address with a third party.

 
spacer
spacer