Whatever happened to pensions and gold watches?

While Michael Moore and many presidential candidates criticize America’s lack of universal healthcare, it is the same healthcare system that is causing Americans to live 20-30 years into retirement. A good thing, yes, unless you outlive your savings and have no pension to fall back on.

Consider these facts from an e-mail by a group called Americans for Secure Retirement:
- 70 million American workers have no option for any kind of retirement benefit through their work
- 77 million baby-boomers will begin retiring next year.
- Pensions are disappearing. A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that over the last two years, more than 25 percent of companies closed their pension plans to new employees and 12.9 percent said they planned on freezing pension benefits.
- That same group calculated this whopping statistic: America’s elderly are facing an “income shortfall” between 2020 and 2030 of at least $400 billion. They won’t have the money to cover basic living expenses or long term care.


It’s a silent crisis that it not getting enough exposure. Certainly, the presidential candidates are not addressing it. Perhaps they ought to. You can ask this question at the next CNN-You Tube debate of Republican presidential candidates now rescheduled for Nov. 28. Or maybe I will.

One last statistic, now that you’ve read this far. Those most unprepared for retirement are minorities, women and farmers. According to EBRI’s report, more than half of all African American and Hispanic workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement years. The Americans for Secure Retirement say Social Security, the government retirement plan, is now replacing only 42 percent of a person’s pre-retirement income. The point is – you will need more than Social Security to live decently.

The answer? Americans for Secure Retirement backs a bill in Congress called the Retirement Security for Life Act, which would make investment in annuities more attractive and thereby supporters say guarantee a “paycheck for life.” It has 54 sponsors in Congress.
I’m not sure about this bill. All I know is if it spurs debate on this important topic, it is a good thing.

This entry was posted in environment, land use, Pasadena by Steve Scauzillo. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

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