We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, January 31. 2016
Our senior partner is 84, and at work every day. He is the Socrates of our firm and he lifts at the gym before work. Last year we voted him 6 wks paid vacation per year, in gratitude. But if he is on a big case, of course he can't and would not go anywhere. We have no retirement age, and offer no retirement benefits. However, we can, and do, vote partners out unless we love them.
Most guys over 65 are working at something, and want to be. Second careers, and third careers, are common today. Defined benefit pensions have disappeared outside of government employees and even there, for many, these are being replaced by IRAs. The short historical period of those 30-40 year retirements is gone outside of government union jobs. Unions still idealize not-working as if that were a wonderful thing. It seems not to be for most people.
It's not just about money, and it's not just men. Women too need to feel productive, contributive, active in the world. The alternative is to feel either dependent or useless.
Overall, it's a good thing. The wise old owls have much to offer the arrogant young bucks and buckettes. The late 1800s Bismarckian notion of a few years of leisurely rest before death is as obsolete as most of the Progressive ideas of the 1920s in the US (mostly borrowed from Bismarck if not from Marx). Mind you, neither Bismarck nor Marx ever held a real job, or could even hammer a nail.
For the "common good," I would set Social Security at 75, and means test it too based on assets and income.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:56 | Comments (42) | Trackbacks (0)
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No retirement is fine, I love what I do.
However, paying taxes for social security for 60 years and not getting squat is wrong. We are taxed to death in this country.
I'm tired of paying for able bodied adults to sit on the sofa and suck off the government teet.
You would make a good progressive Barrister, with your broad decrees for the public good.
Be a good slave.
By all means, work till you fall over dead.
Our ruling masters need the tax money.
And who doesn't want to continue to work for some incompetent SOB who makes bad decisions and blames underlings, or continue to participate in the back stabbing intrigue of office politics? And isn't it fun to make valuable contributions to your firm that others take credit for?
Who wouldn't want to do that until they die?
It makes one feel productive and useful.
yes, really. The idea that you're morally superior if you work yourself to death for no reward other than a salary that barely makes ends meet is a silly one at best.
In fact it's utterly idiotic.
I agree that the post has an air of moral superiority, but I don't think the barrister intended it to be that way. People who love their jobs tend to forget that most people do not. He also is making broad decrees for the public good. Keep working until you die, if that's what you love. But know that you aren't a better person for it.
Many people do not love their jobs even if they also do not hate them. I'm one of them. I like my job well enough and I could easily job hop until I find one I like even better. But, I look forward to retiring and will do so as soon as I can afford it. I'm 39, and love the idea of having enough rental properties at 50 to quit working and tend to that full time. When I'm too old to do most of the work, I'll sell them. But, that's not a job.
As for pensions, I don't understand them. My job has one and I resent having to fund it. I could do a lot with the money I'm forced to pay in and I'm paid less as a result of employer matching. I'd much rather be paid more and invest it myself. The same goes for medical insurance.
Why not just eliminate Social Security altogether? If person A fails to prepare for their desired retirement, how is it person B's responsibility to help them?
It is not the proper role of government to shield people from the consequences of their own poor decisions or poor planning.
Unions still idealize not-working as if that were a wonderful thing. It seems not to be for most people."
only partially true, and in a very small part. Most people who keep on slaving at their jobs well after they're legally retirees by age do so to make ends meet, because they have no choice.
Slave until you drop because your pension evaporated in a stock market crash, or was confiscated by the government to fill another budget deficit.
THAT's the reason most people work on. It's either slave on until you drop dead or live out your days in abject poverty, not even able to pay the rising medical bills for the treatment you need to barely stay alive, let alone the rent and utility bills you need to have a roof over your head.
THAT's the way society treats those who spent 40+ years of their lives slaving away without being given any appreciation apart from a salary that barely covers the cost of living.
Sure there are some die hard workaholics who choose to slave away out of some sense of moral superiority over their fellow man who chooses to slow down, but they're the same people who accuse their coworkers for slacking if they take some vacation time or are in dire need of a day off because they're seriously ill.
You can always tell a ideological socialist by their language.
There's also no point in arguing with them.
Social security should be "fixed" by increasing the eligibility age by 6 months for every year that passes **FOREVER** and the "tax" returned to the taxpayer for THEM to invest.
The only thing "society" owes you is let you keep what you earn.
Awright, lemme see if I got this straight: It is mandatory that people in the workforce pay a portion of their earnings into a fund initiated by a Democrat and maintained by same.
4.) That the money the participants put into the independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the general operating fund would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program and no other Government program;
However, under Johnson the money was moved to The General Fund and spent. like a Ponzi scheme, chasing future money to pay past debts.
Not being satisfied with access to the fund any monies paid out are taxed.
5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Under Clinton & Gore up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed.
Not satisfied with access to the Social Security, see here http://dpjk.blogspot.com/2015/06/social-security.html for more details, there is serious consideration to take more of the fund's money or eliminate the fund altogether.
Barrister, your recommendation to raise the eligibility age is good financial advice if you are on the payer side of the deal. The longer folks have to wait, the more of them die and their share is folded back into the fund.
Not so good for the payee. It's my money and I want it now, not when I am in end-stage health.
And what's this (... and means test it too based on assets and income.)? You mean a person could pay into the fund for all his working years and then find out "Nope, you got too much money, we're not gonna give you more".
We doing the Commie Robin Hood, taking money from those that have it and giving it to those that don't? How 'bout we do this on a one to one basis; you and I get together and divvy things up so we're even?
In full support of Barrister's statements, I am ready to take a cash lump sum payout of my Social Security investment now and call it quits on taking anything at retirement. I have been contributing steadily since I was 16, when I got my first job in high school. If only modestly invested by the government, the balance should be at several million dollars now. The government can send that to me at my home address. I am sure they acted responsibly with all that money I sent them the last 43 years, right?
I can see the B's point, but you know, we're all different and all have different circumstances, so I see the other commenters points too.
I didn't choose to retire, but couldn't kiss enough ass to satisfy the CEO, so he found someone who could. So, after 41 years in a responsible field, found myself out on the street. I was devastated at first, having worked since I was 12 years old... what do I do now? So tried at first to re-enter the field, but you know, who the hell wants to hire a 68 year old, it's nearly impossible, especially without moving to a different locale which isn't in the cards for numerous reasons.
After figuring out that monetarily I didn't have to find work again I said to hell with looking and formally (in my mind) retired. And you what, after a year I've become used to the idea of not working for assholes. As a matter of fact it's splendid not having to do so. My wife retired in December as well so we'll have a few healthy years, hopefully more, to travel and enjoy ourselves. In addition my wife and I are finding that a comment my broker made is very true... doing absolutely nothing is a vastly underrated skill set. Yes, there is still some residual guilt at not being a responsible 'worker', but that too is slowly fading.
Well... me being a union pipe-fitter for 40 years means that my knees, ankles and back are just worn down after carrying pipe and ladder work all those years. I couldn't keep up the pace no matter hard I tried.
Now on snowy days I stand at my window sometimes and just enjoy not having to go to work and shovel off my toolbox.
Yeah. I was going to suggest that El Barrister should have spent his life doing cement work instead of poofy barrister stuff. He might have learned something not taught on the ski slopes.
Nice view from someone who hasn't been farmed out yet. The whole vote partners out thing.
See that happens to others as a firing, forced "retirement" or reorganization. Happens in your 50s a lot. Not so easy to find a job in your 50s unless you skills are unique. Even then it can take time.
Now, truly, one should not depend on a company retirement unless you are real close to locking it in. My brother-in-laws company just sold off his division taking the "retirement" of anyone not 54 this January. They'll get some cash out I believe. The BIL knew that few below the C-level were over 55 in the company a year ago and negotiated a bridge to his retirement when his job was reorganized. It still took him a year to find a similar position and he was a very successful business group manager, not just a worker.
So the question is, just where will the 50+ surplussed out find livelihood for 20 instead of the more normal 10 years as happans now? This going to be a growing problem with so many having kids late in life. A kid had at 35 will just be hitting college as mom and/or dad get shown the door and have to find near-minimum wage jobs.
But it is true, employees should stop taking pension promises as part of compensation and demand the cash to support such pension up front. Of course that raise costs, reduce employment and possibly drive some businesses off-shore or out of business.
This deep in "comments", I find the point I would also make. Now in my 80th year, I became redundant when my high-tech consulting practice evaporated in a BRAC cycle. I waited out my time until SS could kick in, writing resumes and applications all the while. Zero replies, probably because I also disclosed a polio-related handicap. America has a worker surplus, partly thanks (?) to imported and sometimes undocumented labor. What are unemployed Americans between 55 and 75 supposed to do while waiting for whatever benefits the new regime will allocate? Crowd into eBay, I guess, trying to sell all the junk we collected along the way in our "prime earning years".
Stay lovable, barrister. The statement, "We can, and do, vote partners out unless we love them," caught my eye, too.
I retired at 56 and never regretted it. I like my job right up to the day I decided I didn't like it anymore. I like my retirement. Mostly travel, mostly within the U.S. and Canada. I enjoy visiting relatives, kids and grand kids and having them visit us. I totally understand how some people enjoy their job so much they prefer to work over retiring. Just not for me.
My family background is construction (yes union at that, both Grandfathers founders of their respective locals) and it was well known that when a guy quit, if he didn't have anything to do, he generally just died. I understand from the story the Barrister's characters kept working by choice which is an odd definition of slavery.
I'm going on 67. I really have no interest in retiring. I don't want to take the income hit, but even more more so, I know it would be emotionally destructive to me. It's kind of surrendering to the calendar.
I'm much better in the midst of projects, deadlines, negotiations etc.
I think it's the hippies that sold society on the'be free', 'avoid work' attitude.
Being a productive member of society is the key to one's sense of self-worth. At 65, I have no intention of retiring although I do draw a couple of modest fixed distribution pensions. I'll probably draw SS next year when I can do so without taking a hit on it against my continued earned income.
I think I've got another 10 good years, and maybe more in me but my employer will have a say in that.
Some of us feel that enough years of hard labor is adequate physical depreciation to earn some appreciation via paid leisure and I have to agree. But I'm a pencil pusher and as long as I get up in the morning, drag myself to the office, and keep mentally sharp for 8 hours, I'll do so.
I don't have a problem with people deciding for themselves when to retire from a job. Everyone's situation and personality are unique.
I agree that the current setup is unsustainable long term. Perhaps there needs to be a sliding scale of some sort going forward, but how do you convince people who were forced to pay into the system for 40+ years to accept less than they were promised?
My husband worked for 42 years for a large Fortune 500 corporation. He had a variety of assignments over the years and especially enjoyed his later positions. However, the PC environment got so toxic that for the sake of his mental and physical health, he chose to retire early at age 62. Most of the retirement benefits had been greatly reduced, and there was no way to find out by how much until after his termination was a done deal.
The good news is that he saw it coming and prepared to get very little, so we lived frugally and saved and invested in order to meet our living expenses, including 25% of our income for health insurance (we have no chronic medical conditions and take no prescriptions - this is just for catastrophic care).
Retirement does not necessarily mean doing nothing. He is busier than ever doing things he enjoys like running, gardening, canning, and spending time with the grandchildren. (Also, my father retired at age 62 and lived productively to age 85, so retirement is not a guarantee of dying soon thereafter.)
There is not one answer that fits all, and if you plan to retire in your 60's, assume the worst and prepare!
My leisure activities seem to be more enjoyable when they come as a break from work, and work has always been more enjoyable as a break from leisure. Sick, huh? By the time I get too tired to do one, I'll probably be too tired for the other as well.
"if you work yourself to death for no reward "
I'm 78 in three weeks and work three days a week. I started collecting Social Security at 65 and use Medicare even though I have doubts about its stability.
Back when we were young surgeons, my partner said "I hope they never find out that I would do this for free."
I don't do surgery anymore but I enjoy what I do. I'm sorry for those who don't, which includes many young doctors I know. I taught medical students for 14 years but have quit this year because of frustration with things like electronic medial records that interfere with taking care of patients and with teaching.
"The late 1800s Bismarckian notion of a few years of leisurely rest before death is as obsolete as most of the Progressive ideas of the 1920s in the US..."
Bismarck's "notion" made good sense.
It was never designed for well-heeled lawyers. It was designed for industrial and rural workers worn into the ground by a life of hard labour and with only few years left to them in their old age.
Not everybody gets to be a "professional" in life; most "ordinary folks" work for 40+ years at rote, repetitive jobs and are glad enough to call it quits when the time comes.
Reminds me of the country song, "Work your fingers to the bone and what do you get? Bony fingers."
and that includes not just people doing hard manual labour. It also applies to many office workers.
It gets harder and harder to keep up with developments in say IT as you get older. Not just because your brain does indeed slow down with age, but also because there's very limited opportunity for older people to get on the job training. If companies offer it at all, it goes to the youngsters, with long careers ahead of them.
The old guys are just a pain, they're expensive, have outmoded ideas (or that's the idea), more health problems.
Sure they have 20-30-40 years experience, but that's irrelevant to managers who look at their employees as numbers in a budget sheet rather than actual people.
It's bad enough in IT that you're considered "old" by 30, and by 45 it's next to impossible to find a job if you lose the one you have (and you WILL lose it, as most companies won't hire anyone on more than a short term contract, especially if they're over 30).
As JJM said. There are jobs and there are jobs. I won't argue about who "should" pay for what. But I will point out that not all jobs are equal and some people need to stop working earlier- even their 50s, when their body wears out. Hard work can wear out a body. Not everyone can progress to management or some other office job.
Well, some jobs are designed to use up worker and thin them out as they age. Jobs such as the military, where you get promoted or you get show the front gate. And by their 50s, one has won the horse race, but there are a lot fewer generals and admirals than those who start out at 2nd LTs and ensigns. Of course, the military has a unique retirement plan.
But some companies or civilian governmental jobs work the same way unofficially.
Circumstances differ. The Bible speaks nowhere about a time of retirement, but neither does it regard work as the center of life.
Pope John Paul II's teaching that work is made for man, and not man for work, has some continuing importance.
Of course, the Puritan/Protestant idea is that people honor and serve God through honest, hard work. "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." (Colossians 3:23)
What I find odd is that the idea is that an 18-21 yr old should basically spend 4 years at their best conditioning to take economically useless courses in getting a Liberal Arts degree.
However, an old person should not quit working because they'll just die because they aren't doing anything economically useful. When logically, old age after retirement is the time to pursue economically useless course work or intellectual development. Of course, some economically useless learning can be done during the working career as recreation.
Are we not seeing a lot of the old work conditioning here to stop those working from stopping work while also supporting the young to delay starting work taking useless coursework when you are probably least able to appreciate it.
Wow. An excellent discussion. BD, if you had "Like" buttons against each comment I would have liked them all. So many authentic comments, all reflecting values, each person having different ones.
Speaking for myself...thanks to all of you who love your work, and wishing fun for all who are done with it. I know the life I live could not be possible without the efforts of so many.
I am pretty sure my major creative and spiritual contributions to society are not coming through my day job - although supporting my family is definitely something I value.
But you can't make a living doing the things I feel I was put here to do, and am talented at.
I am looking forward to the time when I can shift to part-time work, and start doing what I really feel I was meant to do.
I see that we've been talking about two different topics: job fulfillment and money.
The money is more significant, being a measurable and tangible entity.
I worked in the electrical trade for over forty years and have the common ailments of many tradesmen, knees, shoulders, back problems &c.
I waited until I was eligible for maximum S/S benefits and signed up for them. I realize I will never get out what I paid in and I do have other savings to help me. Still, I and all of us are getting shortchanged.
Many folks have done alright in their careers - set up savings and having health plans, so forth, but many of us depend on S/S as a source of income. I will not surrender the money I get and whether I liked my job or not I will not work for free.
It would be nice to say "Nah, I don't need the money, I just wanna play around some" but if I didn't get that check every month it would be Kraft Dinner and Spam.
The setting of SS at 75 I'm fine with. Means testing? Not so much. I paid in, why can't I collect? So what if I saved more for my retirement. That's my money, why does someone else get to take it if I have done well by myself and prepared?
This sounds to me like a classic story of the ant and the grasshopper run amok.
More like the "Little Red Hen," which has now been re-written as the "Little Red Hen Gets a Visit from the Commissars for Her Micro-Aggressions Against the Pig, the Cat and the Duck, Is Sent to the Re-Education Camp and Her Possessions Re-Distributed to Those With Needs."
means test????? so we work all our life and the gubment takes our money and gives it to morons.........screw you!
I recently retired. Your suggestion to raise the retirement age to 75 overlooks several key issues. The first is that many companies don't want older employees. Generally older employees are better paid and cost more for medical care. Companies want cheaper workers. I watched downsizing efforts for a quarter of a century and saw a lot of very talented people lose their jobs. Second, those performing manual labor can't work until 75. My neighbor, who is in his 50s, owns a garage and has had two knee replacements. There is no way he can work until 75. I watched the roofers scrambling across my roof a few years ago. I would last fifteen minutes doing that job. IMO everyone who paid into social security should receive benefit checks. If wealthy people choose not to cash the checks so be it. I would like the government to stop taxing social security benefits; it seems like double taxation to me.
"Most guys over 65 are working at something, and want to be"
Clearly, Barrister, you and I are in different class circles - those I know who are retirement age and still working are not doing so because "they want to be."
They are doing so because Obama and the Democrats have so screwed up the US economy that most HAVE to work to make ends meet.
Must be nice to have the luxury of choosing to work at an old age.
As for me, I am no where near retirement age; but, already I see age discrimination against me - everything is fine until I walk in the door for the job interview and hear such rude comments as the receptionist who said to someone on the phone: "nope, your interview isn't here yet; just some old guy" or the idiot hiring manager who asked shockingly "OMG! How old are you?!" as soon as she saw my face.
I can only imagine how it must be for those older than me who are facing much worse crap - you know, those who are NOT partners and therefore don't have the little folks kowtowing to them because they own the firm. Instead they are the backbone of the workforce and treated like they are a dime-a-dozen and expendable.
And, believe me, I am trying to be polite to you considering you idiotic statements of setting the retirement age at 75 and a means testing! I paid into the system being told I could retire at 65 and get MY money.
Don't you, or anyone else, try to now punish me for putting in all my years of work, paying into the system, and SAVING for myself; only to have some idiot come along and tell me I didn't work enough or I have saved (instead of spent) my own money and therefore, don't "need" social security.
Quite frankly, barrister, those last statements of yours come across as holier than thou and you deserve one big smack down!
Whenever someone says "for the common" good I know they are about to screw me over - again! So, just stop it!
If you don't want to retire at 65 and don't want your Social Security checks no one is forcing you; but, don't you tell the rest of us what we need to do or not get "for the common good."
So those of us who paid into the system and saved and invested will get punished through means testing? Sounds about right.
As Willie Horton allegedly said of banks, that's where the money is.
Geology as a profession that keeps one young. I tried retirement but found that you can't hunt and fish every day...although I gave it a good try. Now I'm back working and I recognize that working is my normal state.