Comments about ‘In our opinion: Most Americans struggling to save something — anything — for their retirement’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 21 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"People may have decided their present expenses are such they can’t afford a savings plan. The question they should ask is whether they can afford the consequences of not having one."

Well, there's the rub - too many of us don't have anything to save after ongoing expenses are handled. I am retired and I can get by because I have two pensions (!) and social security. In the past pensions were the key to successful retirement. But business has decided it doesn't want them and government is hamstrung in protecting what's left. There is a short term fix - in law bring back pensions!

American capitalism could save itself if it would be fair to retirees in supporting pensions, that is, defined benefit pensions.

People cannot be left to die in poverty, so a revolt is coming.

ny, NY

One of the problems is a lack of education about retirement and retirement planning. Planning for retirement should be a priority for everyone. For those who can afford to save/invest the key is to start saving/investing early in life, be consistent, take advantage of any employer matching plan, max out contributions when possible, eliminate debt, avoid risks with your nest egg and plan for multiple streams of income once retired and make catch up contributions once you reach 50. I use several sites for retirement information including Dividendchannel, Valueforum and the site Retirement And Good Living which offers information on planning and investing as well as other financial topics, health, retirement locations, part time work and also has a great blog of guest posts from around the globe about a variety of retirement issues.


People may have decided their present expenses are such they can’t afford a savings plan. The question they should ask is whether they can afford the consequences of not having one.


On the face of it this seems Hobson's choice then, although I think the article is berating the elderly for not having been provideNT. Let's see If I can offer a few optimistic thoughts:

1. Children have by now "left the nest". This should help a lot - although many retirees still kindly, even lovingly, support an unemployed child or two.

2. Retirees have potentially endless and overwhelming medical expenses, but this is mitigated at present with medicare / medicaid so they only have to make co-payments. While the so-called "affordable care act" seeks to enforce sometimes hefty medical insurance, there is no requiremement for insurance for retired outside of SS. Best advice though is to stay fit OR to use common sense solutions in response to sickness. You cannot afford to be ill.

3. Start your own business in retirement. GOOD LUCK.

4. Save now, even if you are already retired.

5. PRAY!!

Sandy, UT

Wait a minute. Isn't it bad for the economy if we stop spending and start saving? Isn't that why interest rates for savings are somewhere around zero??

Bountiful, UT

My first boss out of college is a great guy, works hard, is quite conservative. In the IT sector, he's had far more than his fair share of economic turbulence, as companies fold under competition, get bought out, force people to move as they contract, etc.

Yet, he's been able to stay on top of things, adjusting to new situations with ease, an impressive work ethic and an easy going demeanor.

He told me a few weeks ago that even thought he's always put away money in the various 401K accounts he's had at each job, he's nowhere close to having enough money to retire, so he's planning on working as long as he possibly can, well into his 70s, if possible.

His job really should be an opportunity for a young person out of college... but lack of economic security means he'll be battling back the young up-and-comers, fighting them for limited salary money.

seattle, WA

We all make choices, unless of course you are really poor and don't have choices. That was the point of Social Security and Medicare (Medicaid too). Allow some limited choices to the elderly who were too poor to find a way to save for retirement.

Of course, those on the right would have us believe that being poor is a character flaw. And that this flaw causes folks to waste away their resources. And fail to save for retirement. And to have the audacity to live beyond their working years. These poor folks are the takers who suck the lifeblood out of the rest of us goes this line of thinking. What complete utter drivel.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Most people don't save enough for retirement because most American workers make barely enough to live on.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

What's WRONG with struggling? Did anybody in history say life should have no struggles??

Saving for retirement IS a struggle. It SHOULD be a personal priority when you are YOUNG (not a government priority to save you when you are old).

Part of the problem is... many people have been taught that they can live on Social Security when they retire... that's a myth... you can't. People need to be taught that in no uncertain terms.

I think our politicians like people to think they can live on Social Security, but unless you plan to live in a slum apartment and eat cat food... SS is not enough. And it won't get BETTER for our children, or for future generations... it's going to get worse.

Social Security will be almost nothing when I qualify to retire. It's even less promising for my kids, and their kids. I'm warning them that they need to plan and save to take care of their own needs before AND after retirement (I know... a 'flaming-right-wing' kinda thing to teach your kids). Many Leftists probably think that's child abuse.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

Is it because they can't or because they won't?

With the article on paying for an education and wanting to force the university to be liable for the loans the student takes out. Commenters there made statements that they have to pay for their kids education. That isn't the case at all. You can have your child work and save up money. It wasn't that long ago, that young teenagers worked long hours on the farm or in the community while going to school. Most teenagers just need to get off the couch, away from the tv, video games and shut off their phone or stop purchasing things they really don't need.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

At what point are we going to admit that the average person is just not going to save for retirement? All the calls to increase our savings are falling on deaf ears!

About two thirds of retirees rely on Social Security for 50% or more of their retirement income.

Most people have enough trouble avoiding predatory payday loans, bogus home appliance warranty programs, and high fee whole life insurance policies, to map out a coherent retirement savings plan.

I don't know how to accomplish this, but it has to be something like SS, we can't trust low information investors to slick financial operators.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Social Security was probably America's Best Idea.

It just did not go anywhere near far enough. EVERY American should be contributing a hefty portion of their working years' income. There should be no cap on salaries so that the 1% are paying their fair share. It MUST NOT be tied to the stock market as many GOPers desire. (That would only further enrich the Wall Street crowd.)

Almost everyone below the 1% level struggles and struggles mightily throughout their lives. Shouldn't there be a time when they may stop struggling and begin living?

2bits, will you return your SS checks to the government so you may struggle as you wish others will?

Didn't think so . . . .

Springville, UT

It's really a shame that in the 1980s, the Reagan era, the attitudes of business and the government changed and defined benefit plans were phased out, replaced by defined contribution plans which, unexplainably, have absurd limits that make it very difficult to save for retirement within those constraints. Corporate profits came first rather than a sense of joint interests of the business and the employees who help make the business function. On top of limits on defined contribution plans, IRAs have caps that make it hard, both in terms of the amount that can be contributed, but also income caps. The system is bizarre and has created a serious problem. This is not a Social Security problem, it is a financial system manipulation. This is where the mess is and where Congress must focus. It is a dire problem that no one really wants to deal with.

Draper, UT

If we are lucky enough to have a few dollars to put away after today's prices eat up our wages, what we have for savings options are hardly options at all. Either we put our money in the bank at near zero rates for savings accounts and CDs and lose around 2% annually due to inflation, or even more if the "shadow" statistics are correct. Or we can invest in the Wall Street casino and literally gamble it away. This is especially if you're an ordinary saver who doesn't know how to play the stock market, and even those who do know how are playing with fire as yet another inflated bubble threatens to burst.

Some people advise buying precious metals as an investment that will hold value. If I had the money, I think I'd put my savings there. Otherwise, I watch with trepidation as my 401k gains some and loses more over the last two decades, to the point where it would have almost been better to have socked those dollars away in my mattress, regardless the taxes levied against them!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@one old man,
Re: "2bits, will you return your SS checks to the government so you may struggle"...

Classic liberal mind-set... and the reason I've been conservative since I was a little boy.

Me and my friends used to collect pop bottles for money to spend at the local drug store. We would divy up the money and before we left the store they spent theirs on candy and ate it. I would buy some candy and put some money in my pocket for a trip to the drug store tomorrow.

The next day they wanted me to give them my money (because they spent all theirs yesterday).

Moral to the story... just because I'm frugal and struggle and save today... does NOT mean you can take what I saved (just because you didn't).

Same with SS. Just because I saved and struggled when I was young to insure I had retirement savings... does NOT Mean I must give it up to you because you didn't.

So no... I will NOT be giving up my SS checks to you when the time comes. And I won't feel bad about it.

Provo, UT

2 bits -- Why do you assume liberals don't save money for retirement? I have and I encourage my kids to as well. Way to stereotype.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT


I know there are some liberals who save for retirement. But there are also those who spend every penny as soon as they get it... and they expect to be able to use what YOU saved when they need it.

You have to admit that a frugal conservative is more likely to save... than a spend-and-tax, rely on the government Liberal (I know... another stereotype). I know a lot of liberals aren't that way... but some are.

I have a sister-in-law who spends every cent the day she gets it (even if she has to waste it, and she frequently does waste it on extravagant things). And then when the money runs out... she wants me to give her what I saved.

When I'm not happy to give her my savings... she says, "I would give YOU money IF I had it".... and she probably would. Maybe that's why she's so quick to spend it (so she doesn't have to worry about that).

It's easy to say you would give somebody money IF you had it... when you don't have it.

Springville, UT

@ 2 bits, your assertion that conservatives save and liberals don't is absurd. The more you pontificate on this fiction, the worse it looks.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

@one old man

"Social Security was probably America's Best Idea."

Yup. I just love giving around 6% of my income and having my employer do the same, so I can get 1/3 of that back (if even that) when I retire. Great investment! (Not!)

Social security is a boon for many of today's retirees - meaning they get much more out of it than they put into it. However, that is changing, and today's younger workers will get far less out of it than they put in, if they even get anything at all.

Social security is a transfer of wealth from one generation to another.

Provo, UT

@Utes Fan -- You are right about the older generation getting more out of it than they put in -- particularly Medicare. It's amusing to read all the Tea Party types pontificate on how the poor mooch off the government and then defend themselves taking Medicare. (I don't begrudge them their Medicare, I just think it's funny.) They say they paid into it so they are just getting back what they put in. Let me tell you, after about your first knee replacement, you're close to having back what you put in. You got lots of health problems, you're definitely a "moocher." We need Medicare (or at least we did before Obamacare when it would have been impossible for the elderly to get health insurance), but this will have to be an issue that is dealt with. It absolutely is the young supporting the (voting) elderly.

Cedar Hills, UT

hope n change

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