Retirement Is Not an Option

Feb 24, 2014 by

Retirement Ahead road sign

Chock full of scary statistics and scared, regretful people age 59 and up, this gripping (thanks in part to the soundtrack) 3-minute video from Yahoo Finance would be an attention grabbing kick-off to the “Why Save for Retirement?” piece of what should be mandatory high school personal finance coursework.

My Questions for You

Does this sort of message motivate you to save more?

Do you know anyone in the sort of predicament the people in this video are facing?

What do you think will become of these folks and the millions like them? Move in with kids? Communal living for seniors, as Marian suggested? (I actually think that’s an excellent idea.) Poverty and homelessness in old age? A taxpayer bailout of some sort?

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  • This story is becoming all too common in today’s society. It reinforcing everything that I am doing and teaching in order to help myself and others become financially free so that they can enjoy retirement (in whatever form that is).

    Continuing doing a job I don’t love beyond the age of 40 makes me feel ill. Thinking of doing it beyond the age of 65 is just too much!!

    • Yes, way too much! And for many, health challenges will prevent working into ‘senior years’ even if the desire is there.

  • Dee

    This video is really scary, and it is so sad to think that this is the predicament that many many people out there find themselves in. For me this reinforces what I am doing and once again makes me wish that our children received better financial education in school! In the absence of that piece, it becomes incumbent upon parents to teach this important information- and sadly parents are not always well-informed and do not always have the best money habits themselves.

    • I agree–for many parents, the lesson they could offer kids would be something like “don’t do what I’ve done unless you want to end up in the predicament I face now”.

  • I think this is a scary reality for a lot of people. I am doing my best to ensure that I save enough to retire. I don’t want to be like this!

    • Me neither! These folks will get by some way, but their quality of life will not be what they’d hoped for in their older years.

  • Travis Pizel

    Yikes. Interestingly enough…I always say I never want to retire, that I would get bored. But the possibility exists that my perspective on that will change as I get older. I’d certainly like the option to retire for sure. Getting back into the game of contributing to our retirement accounts is on our list to do now that we’re done with our debt management program. The good news is that even while we were racking up credit card debt we were contributing to our 401k, AND my employer contributes 2% of my income even if I do nothing – so we do actually have a pretty healthy retirement account that continues to grow.

    • Great that you’ve got the opportunity to really stoke your savings now that the DMP is done. And I’m like you–I don’t really think about a day when I’m doing nothing for money. But one never knows what might happen–ill health or other factors could make paid employment impossible for any of us.

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance

    That’s rough. I know I’m going to be okay for retirement, but I still worry about older family friends, and my parents. It’s a shame, too, because it seems as though a lot of people are, and are going to be, relying on social security as their main income source at some point in their retirement (if they’re lucky enough to have one). It wasn’t designed for that, and those individuals might have no other option but to try to find work.

    • I think you’re right Ryan about people on Social Security still in the workforce. Seems to me, just from casual observation, that I’m seeing more and more people in that age bracket doing low wage work that used to be the exclusive domain of teenagers, students, and others just starting their working life.

  • Prudence Debtfree

    What a sad reality! I have compassion for these people who kept their financial heads in the sand for far too long – because mine was in the sand for a very long time too. It’s incredible how widespread this is. The video and its testimonies make me very grateful to Dave Ramsey, whose book The Total Money Makeover got us moving in the right direction before it was too late.

    • I haven’t read Mr. Ramsey’s book, but I know he has a lot of followers and created many converts.

  • My older brother, who is 59, is in this same boat. He got laid off in 2008 and only recently got another comparable job. They spent what savings they had while he was looking for work, and doing part time work. His wife, who is 15 years younger than him works in a pharmacy (she is not a pharmacist, though). My brother is a schemer who sees riches where most people see expensive failure. All of his schemes, to date have failed, and he has lost money every time. The thing that keeps them mostly afloat is his wife’s earnings. I hope she will be able to take care of him when he eventually retires.

    • Wow, that’s a tolerant wife. Has she supported the various schemes?

      • Not directly, but they belong to a Pentecostal church where they are always saying stuff like, “The man is king of his castle.” My SIL often voices her discomfort or disappointment with my brother’s schemes, but then she says something like, “He is my husband, so he must be right. God will see us through.” 🙄

  • Stories like this make me think about my long-term financial plan… It’s really scary thinking that some people still work for a job they don’t actually like instead of enjoying their retirement at that age.

    • Let’s hope these sorts of people who need a job when they’re 60+ years old will still be able to find one.

  • Cashville Skyline

    That video is really frightening! They really should be sharing information like that alongside all the other lessons kids are learning in school. Learning to save starts at an early age.

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