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Surprised at how little savings Americans have

  1. #16
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    Oct 2016
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    Mill Valley, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
    The thing that scares me is that the politicians can pander to the 69% and convince them that the other 31% should pay their way in life.
    I very much agree with you Bea!

  2. #17
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    May 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    I disagree that the economy is "booming." Prices of goods are rising and wages (for those who HAVE wages) are not. Many do have jobs, but many do not. Many have just given up and quit looking for work. Educated people are working at crap jobs just to have a paycheck. Jobs and factories are moving overseas faster than ever. I personally know several people who have lost jobs because of this, and can't find other jobs with anywhere near the same wages. Healthcare is ridiculously expensive.

    Booming economy? I don't think so.

    At least in my neck of the woods, I most certainly would not describe the economy as "booming."
    Agreed. By no measure can the economy be considered "booming". That's just silly. It's been growing, but at a slow rate. Which may not even be a bad thing, but no way is it booming.

  3. #18
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    Aug 2014
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    San Francisco Bay Area
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    You see around you, but not necessarily across the entire country. I live in the SF Bay Area and yes, we are booming. CA by GDP is the sixth largest country IN THE WORLD.

    Do we have homeless? Yes, because poverty has many causes, most of which aren't being holistically addressed by any government, Repub or Dem. The original increase in homelessness in CA happened when Reagan shut down 90% of the "halfway houses" because "local governments should have the freedom to address the problem directly".

    Well, they didn't, and homelessness became a way of life for most of the mentally ill. I have relatives who have schizophrenia or are manic-depressive, and let me tell you, it isn't easy to get them to take their medication. But without it, they really cannot cope with life. My relatives are lucky; they have enough family to grit their teeth and help them out. But many mentally ill do not.

    With the majority of the world in recession or nearly so, the US is not going to see a booming domestic economy. We are doing extremely well as we are; most countries are in worse shape. Would you rather be Italian? or Greek? or Brazilian? I doubt it. The French, Germans, English, Japanese and Chinese all are facing serious issues.

    The ACA is an unwieldy mess that voters created via the politicians they elected. They let themselves be influenced by misleading soundbites, so why should anyone complain that "ACA doesn't work." Of course it doesn't - it needs to work like Medicare, automatic enrollment of as many as possible.

    Otherwise, actuarially IT WILL NEVER WORK. Financial risk has to be spread around as large a pool as possible. It's like income taxes, folks - if you don't have an even playing field for everyone to make them contribute, then the ones who are paying have to pay more to make up for those who profit but don't pay.

    As for US debt, it's never been as doomsday as people claim. This isn't like charge card debt. The US actually owes most of its debt to itself, via the Treasury. Other debt needs politicos to have some backbone to raise taxes. SocSec, for example, needs to take off the salary earnings cap so that high-earners pay more of their share.

    Deficit #s are overblown to use as soundbites to scare voters. It's similar to the scare articles about 'China suddenly recalling US debt' which are just puffery. China has no reason to cut its own throat by doing so. They are buying less debt for a couple of reasons - for one, they don't own enough gold per percentage to hold in their reserves (most countries hold at least 3-6%; China has less than 2% in gold. The US doesn't release their figures but a rough approximation is 63-75% of our reserves are in gold). For another, the Treasury hasn't had to pay much interest thanks to the mess the European Central Bank made with the euro; foreign debt holders can find higher rates elsewhere (with commensurately higher risk).

    Immigrants are a net gain to the economy. That's been shown in numerous studies, and we've certainly seen it in our state.

    And of course, when you get right down to it, we are all immigrants, even if my family did arrive here back in the 1880's.

  4. #19
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    Apr 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe200 View Post
    {snip} And of course, when you get right down to it, we are all immigrants, even if my family did arrive here back in the 1880's.
    Nope. im·mi·grant
    ˈiməɡrənt/
    noun
    noun: immigrant; plural noun: immigrants

    • a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

      I didn't move here. I was born here, so I am not an immigrant, and neither are you.

  5. #20
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    Oct 2013
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    Scotland
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    I tried without much success to find savings data for the UK. Best I could find is that adults in the UK have average savings of 21% of the median UK salary. This comes to around £5500. Hard to translate into dollars at present, but lets say $7000.
    We're not here for a long time. We're here for a good time

  6. #21
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    Aug 2016
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    You are so right Butterfly! I feel bad for people in that situation...doing their best but it's still not good enough.

  7. #22
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    Nrw Jersey
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    Sounds like me with my son Don M. Now that he's nearing 50, he finally gets it. I've talked to my grandchildren the same as you. From the 27 year old down to the 13 year old. I'll give the 11 year old a year or two more. I tell them to aim for 20% of what they earn. Ig: If you make a dollar, act like you only made 80 cents and put the rest away (the younger ones get this). But it's better to sock away even more I told them. I'm hoping to leave something behind for my son and grandchildren. The longer I live, the healthier the inheritance will be (though I'm not "rich"). But my plan is to continue to save and invest throughout my life. Only an extended stay in a nursing home or some catastrophe will derail that plan.

  8. #23
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    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoot N Annie View Post
    Nope. im·mi·grant
    ˈiməɡrənt/
    noun
    noun: immigrant; plural noun: immigrants

    • a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country

    • I didn't move here. I was born here, so I am not an immigrant, and neither are you.
    Yes, but if a stranger was looking at you and then looked at me - I'd be willing to bet they would consider ME the immigrant. That's just the way it is. I've had any number of people remark, "Gee, you speak such good English! Where are you from?"

    Me: "Chicago, IL."

  9. #24
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    Apr 2016
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    Reluctanly in Tennessee
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    Graduating college in the late 1970's it has been hard to find jobs and stay employed. Even my husband, USNavy nuclear trained has had to take "temp jobs" until the next permanent position opened up. We have moved around the country to stay employed. Several of my classmates have struggled, over the years, as jobs disappeared, layoffs have been common and families still needed to survive. Its not that we didn't want to save - just has been a challenge to do so. ...and who wants to put $$ in a savings account that pays little or no interest?? The gov't doesn't make it easy.

    We have been lucky to have some inheritance. We were able to pay off some bills and quickly invested the rest with retirement in mind. Not everyone is that blessed. One great aunt left some $$ to our boys and all three managed to make it through college without significant debt. We have life insurance that will, hopefully, help them over some bumps in the road.

  10. #25
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    Jan 2017
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    172
    Hi everyone - I'm just throwing in some thoughts here, I certainly don't have an answer for the "current state of affairs"...but here goes. I was born in 1946 and raised by parents, and grandparents, who had lived through the depression. All hard working folks who were "careful" with money and unless it was an emergency did not buy anything "on time". So I benefited greatly from what they had experienced during that very difficult time in the 30's. They modeled for me attitudes about money that have served me all through my life.

    Today's kids (my grandchildren) and their parents (my children) have never had to live, for the most part, through real deprivation. They are not BAD people, they simply have not had the experience of being denied, with the exception of food and shelter, ANYTHING they thought they ought to have. Why should they when they have a fistful of credit cards? We, the older generation, can try and talk to them about this, about saving for a 'rainy day', about the quicksand of debt, about the pitfalls of spending money that you haven't even earned yet...but even though they may love us our "cautionary tales" are so far removed from THEIR reality that they cannot take them seriously.

    What to do? I wish I knew. Perhaps our school systems should include classes on money management, simple budgeting and how to get out of debt. Take examples from Susie Ormand's books and set up hypothetical financial disaster scenarios for them to solve; set up INCOME against Obligations (mortgage/rent, food, car loan, gas, medical and vehicle insurance costs, ...all the daily operating expenses that are IMPOSED on us. Beyond these costs, the only things that are OPTIONAL, are the EXTRA expense we impose on ourselves by using CREDIT CARDS.

    There's a whole generation and that generation's children who have been seduced by irresponsible credit practices. Talk to them about this! There will actually be a few who will listen and understand what a serious impact mishandling money can have on their future. The others won't get it until the bank forecloses, the car is repossessed and some of those ALLURING credit cards are cancelled.

    One of my favorite lines from George Carlin is...." YOU CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING - WHERE WOULD YOU PUT IT?"

  11. #26
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    May 2017
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    During my 36 years in the Aerospace business, I always had the company (Douglas, McDonnell-Douglas, and Boeing) take out the maximum from my pay for savings, which at the start was 14 %, which was partially matched. I soon wanted more put aside, so I personally increased it to 20% total.

    During my entire 36 years of employment, I never touched my savings account, which continued growing through contributions and compounding interest.

    And during this time, thanks to a good-paying skilled technical position, I lived well, buying a new car every few years, etc.

    So when it came time to retire in 1998, I needed a moving van to take home the pile of dough I had accumulated in my savings account during those 36 years!

    I paid half in cash for my retirement home, and financed the other half through a new 30-year conventional mortage.

    But I didn't feel like paying on a mortgage for 30 years, so by paying double and triple toward the Principal, I managed to retire the mortgage in 12 years, thus saving 18 years of interest.

    I'm no financial investment genius, but I have a comfortable sum in the Bank, no Mortgage, paid cash for my new 2012 car, am in great health, and enjoy an adequate Aerospace Pension plus Socialized Security! (Thanks, FDR!)

    So I continue to smile at my own fortune and feel sorry for those who didn't make plans early in their working careers.

    HiDesertHal

  12. #27
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    Feb 2015
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    South BC Canada
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    Wonderful Hal. You certainly planned well. However, not everyone, no matter how frugal they may have been is able to do as you have done.

  13. #28
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    I supose that's true, Shalimar, but there are still those who force themselves into a meager retirement by over-spending during their working years.

    HDH

  14. #29
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    May 2017
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    Central Florida
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    At one time people planned for their retirement but that thinking became old fashioned. Credit was used for a house mortgage and a car loan. Everything else was bought when we had the cash to pay for it. Then it became "If I can charge it, why wait?" We're seeing the fruits of that thinking now.

    Most of my working years were spent self-employed and working very hard but retirement was always in the back of my mind. Frugal living was a habit then as it is now. I had the nice houses and big cars but only when I could afford them. I retired debt-free and continue to be, 30 years later at age 84. Money I earned and invested years ago still supports me. I believe it will last.

    I wish our government had run the financial side of America as I ran the financial side of my own life.
    Life is an adventure to those with the courage to explore.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by helenbacque View Post
    I wish our government had run the financial side of America as I ran the financial side of my own life.
    For Sure! I would love to see our nation pass a Balanced Budget Amendment...stating that the government cannot spend one dollar, unless it also creates the means to generate that dollar. The sole exceptions might be a natural disaster, or another nation attacking us. For everything else, they can raise taxes, or whatever, to fund whatever program they pass. If our government had to behave like a responsible individual, we wouldn't have half our current problems.

    I think the last time we paid a nickel in interest was about 1985, when we made our last house payment. Since then, we pay for something as we buy it, or when the bill arrives. We keep 3 or 4 credit cards active, but just use them as a convenience, rather than carrying a wad of cash around. When the bill arrives, we mail a check within a couple of days. Our Discover Card notes our Credit Score every month, and it bounces between 815 and 835...I don't know what it would take to get a perfect 850.

    Somewhere around age 30, we began to get our financial house in order, and recognized that we, too, would someday get old...and Not to count on anyone but ourselves, if we wanted to insure a decent lifestyle. That's the lesson our parents pounded into us, and I am glad they did.
    Things get better with age....I'm approaching Magnificent.

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