Help A Bloke Out -- Almost 60 Years Old, No Retirement Funds
Mar 6, 2007
When an American blogger wrote that he is almost 60 and has no pension funds or retirement funds coming to him because he led a carefree life and never worked more than three years at one job and never created a retirement fund, he asked readers worldwide:
"I wonder if any news magazines or newspapers have reported on anothertrend: older people who have no retirement funds, no big income comingin after they retire, because they worked all their lives at odd jobsand occasional jobs, and lived okay, but now at age 60 or so, like me,they have no retirement fund, no pension, no company benefits,nothing, nada. I am debt free, never been in debt, but I am basicallyin big doodoo for the future. If I live that long, from 60 to 80, I will have no income to speak of. What to do? Are others in thissituation in the USA? I have led a charmed life by the way, noregrets. But need help planning for the financial future I do not have now."
The answers from fellow bloggers and readers on the Internet was immediate.
1. "The good ol' USA supports charmed lifestyles like this almost intoinfinity for all us citizens," wrote one reader. "But I'd have to be perfectly honest - my thought is it's not that charmed when you'restuck with only Social Security and Medicaid. You still have 5 years to contribute to retirement accounts; IRS.gov will detail yourqualifications. May the sun continue to shine on you as you save for rainy days."
2. Another reader noted: "My father is in the same situation. He ishoping that we'll completely support him with a little cottage outback. It's either that or run to China to teach English there. . . Ihope you develop a better plan than he did!"
3. Another reader wrote" "What an awful situation and one I wonder aboutevery time I see someone's grandparents treating them lavishly to"this and that." Poor guy. Now that companies don't offer theretirement they did years ago, I am afraid many will find themselvesin situations like this. It is a harsh reality that your retirement isall up to you. Harsher is the fact that children will be forced toprovide for their parents that did not plan for their own retirements,thus crippling their own abilites to plan properly or live a charmedlife."
4,. Another reader cautioned: "Well, first there's a heart issue thatneeds to be resolved. The time for living for the moment is past.Next, you need to develop an income. You should be able get a jobdoing something. Greeters at Walmart and delivering pizzas don't takespecial skills and can be started now. You can also take an inventoryof your possessions and sell of what you don't need. This can be usedto establish some savings. Those are beginning steps. You will need todevelop a budget and a long term plan. There's nothing here you don'talready know. There are no freebies to claim. Perhaps you have closefamily or friends to help you keep accounts?"
5. Said another reader: "One more suggestion, sir: - see if you can geta job with benefits - soon! Perhaps there is a local universitynearby. They hire people with diverse backgrounds for all kinds ofjobs (you said odd jobs and handywork - perhaps maintenance, lawncare, janitorial, etc.) and they often offer excellent benefitpackages, if not great pay!"
5.5 "All is not lost," write another reader. "You can continue working ata job that has benefits until you die basically. You'll need itbecause it's unlikely that SS will be enough to support you to live.And you need to work until 65 when Medicare kicks in."
6. One person noted: "Sorry for the reality check. It's a tough life.Soon I think you'll be joined by many other people who haven't savedanything either. Maybe the New York Times will write about this issuein a future edition."
7. Said another reader: "I know a wonderful woman in a similar position -she owned her own travel agency for many years and worked very hard tobe a successful business owner and favorite aunt of all her littleones. Her plan was to work until she was about 65, sell the businessto get some more cash in the bank to pay for medical insurance duringretirement, and travel around to see all her neices and nephews.Unfortunately she was 60 at the time of 9/11, and the travel industrybasically tanked, combined with the increasing popularity of consumersbooking travel online themselves... in other words, her businesswasn't worth much of anything, and so her plan for having some medicalsavings money was out. She found out that you can work at Jewel, agrocery store chain in Chicago, for just 12 hours a week and get fullbenefits. So, that's what she has been doing - she works a few hours aweek as a cashier, gets to spend time with her "young friends" as shecalls them, and gets great benefits - on top of it, she makes a littleextra money which she banks for medical savings and travel. Jewelworkers are unionized so I think that's the key to getting goodbenefits and a nice hourly wage. I also understand that Starbucksgives full benefits for part time workers as well, so you might wantto check that out too."
8. "You could check out places to live in other countries," added a reader. " There are lots of Americans living in really cheap places.So you'd have a network of English speaking people to step into. Work3-4 jobs until then or while you can to get ahead.
9. Said another: "I wonder what a "charmed life" means? And I wonder ifyou paid FICA while working those odd jobs. If not, then you doesn'teven have social security coming in. Oops!"
10. "You are going to have to work for the rest of your life," advised another reader."The bottom line is this: you won't be able to retire. You'll have tokeep working, possibly for the rest of your life."
11. One reporter added: "I wonder now, after reading the comments , if there might be an important media story for some enterprising reporterfor New York Times, say, to write about people like you, and I am surethere are LOTS, and how the future might unfold. if at all. What dopeople like you do? The New York Times recently did a story aboutpeople trying to get out of debt, and keeping blogs about it to helpothers, and now I think there might be a good story for the New YorkTimes or some other newspaper or magazine, about people without anyparachute or retirement funds coming in."