E Economies No Longer Support Retirement

As hard as it is for us to wrap our brains around the fact is that in today's economy, paid retirement (and vacations) are a dying, but accelerating, trend. Let's first take a look at the factors that are killing a workplace tradition, and then logically devise a personal strategy for dealing with at the new reality.

Among the factors that are polishing off paid retirement are robotics, AI, automation, more than 90,000,000 unemployed workers, the death of the Middle Class, crippling personal, corporate, national and global debt, credit tightening, a "gig" economy that is replacing secure lifetime employment, woefully underfunded Pension Funds, and near Zero interest rates that hold interest income--for them and for private investors--far below the seven or eight percent they need to avoid depletion, the news that the Social Security Administration will, by 2022 begin paying out more in benefits than it takes in through worker contributions, and last, the fact that inflation is a pick-pocket who never sleeps and never takes a day off.

Many fingers of blame point at the Fed for it's bank-saving policy that brought Trillions of virtual dollars out of the ethers, recapitalizing the world with a flood of fiat. The saved banks learned nothing but how to salivate for more cheap $$$,$$$,$$$,$$$ to plow into hundreds of Trillions of derivatives.  Corporations, giddy, with Zero Interest Rates, were far less interested in production and job creation than with borrowing billions for stock buybacks and dividend payments.

Prior to WWII I never knew anyone who "retired." When workers became too old or disabled to work for wages, they could still shuck corn, feed the chickens, and shell butter beans on the back porch. But after the War, consumers were ready for better times than The Depression and wartime rationing. The economy boomed, and industries competed for workers by offering more and more benefits, including paid vacation and retirement programs.  Americans got into a "Boom" mentality, and still haven't adjusted to the fact that real income hasn't increased since the late 1970s and that while the dollar still looks and feels the same, it's only worth three cents when you get to the supermarket checkout. Inflation is a mass murderer of retirement plans.

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Lorimer Wilson 2 years ago Contributor's comment

Bernard, what an insightful and instructive and thought provoking article!

Gary Anderson 2 years ago Contributor's comment

People are hiding money left and right. Those wealthy people are making it more difficult for retirement to happen for many. But that is not the fault of the government per se. It is the fault of those who have gained control of government and have written their laws and fashioned their schemes. But I agree with you that an idle retirement is not healthy either.