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Surprised at how little savings Americans have

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    7,861
    Quote Originally Posted by farmchild View Post
    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?"
    There's a lot of truth in what you say. I was born in the same year as you, and my parents and grandparents had lived through the depression too, and they took management of money and resources very seriously, as they had seen up close and personal just how quickly life can fall apart.



    They preached several things to us, which sunk in to me, and I'm grateful they did. Among other things, they were:

    1. Be grateful for what you have and take care of it.

    2. Know clearly the difference between what you need and what you want.

    3. Live within your means and know realistically what "your means" means. Don't buy stuff you can't afford to pay for. If you need a new refrigerator, fine; but you don't "need" the one with all the bells and whistles and that is beyond your budget. Same with cars and everything else. Beware of status symbol purchasing; don't buy stuff to impress others.

    4. Know that you might lose your job or become injured and prepare for the interim period until you can find a new job. NEVER get into debt so that you couldn't pay your bills if you were unemployed for a little while. Always save for the future and/or that rainy day; rainy days come to everyone.

    5. You have to start at the bottom and move up. You can't expect to land the perfect job paying you a lot of money right off the bat. Get some kind of training or education so that you can get a job to start out, and take (and work hard at) a job you're not crazy about when you need one to keep food on the table.

    6. Be realistic about the costs of what you plan to do. (I was quite amazed at the cost of insurance when I could finally buy my first car. I guess I thought you just bought a car and drove it around and that was it.)

    All these things helped me to get through with savings for retirement. I'm not rich by any means, but I do just fine. I've never denied myself things I needed to live comfortably (except in some hard times where I tightened my belt), and I'm grateful to my folks for aiming me in the right direction.

    I think it would be a wonderful idea if high schools required kids to take a course in responsible money management and taught them the basics about credit, interest, taxes, how to get a job, etc. It would do a lot more good that some of the fluff courses that are offered nowdays.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Northwestern Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,994
    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    No, it can't. The truth is that are deeply in debt; we cannot afford all those refugees; we cannot even take care of our own poor and disabled. I don't know where you live or if you are in the US or somewhere else. If you are in the US, go downtown at night and see how many people are sleeping under bridges and in parks. Look on the internet and see how many of our US veterans are living in poverty; see what our national debt is. Inner cities are self-destructing -- look at what happened to Detroit when the auto manufacturers pulled out. Look at our unemployment rate.

    Some people look at this through rose colored glasses, but the truth is that we are like a person who is living on credit cards to the point where now we cannot afford the payments.

    We can't, by any stretch, afford to take in all those immigrants and refugees when we can't even take care of our own poor and our disabled veterans, and a lot of other things.
    Wow

    A post that finally gets it.

    It's like my wife told me. How can you look after someone else when you get old and you can't take care of yourself.?

    So at least restrict immigration to those who can take care of themselves.

    Trump has it right. We don't need enemies. We need friends.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Near Mount Pilot
    Posts
    2,625
    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    There's a lot of truth in what you say. I was born in the same year as you, and my parents and grandparents had lived through the depression too, and they took management of money and resources very seriously, as they had seen up close and personal just how quickly life can fall apart.

    They preached several things to us, which sunk in to me, and I'm grateful they did. Among other things, they were:

    1. Be grateful for what you have and take care of it.

    2. Know clearly the difference between what you need and what you want.

    3. Live within your means and know realistically what "your means" means. Don't buy stuff you can't afford to pay for. If you need a new refrigerator, fine; but you don't "need" the one with all the bells and whistles and that is beyond your budget. Same with cars and everything else. Beware of status symbol purchasing; don't buy stuff to impress others.

    4. Know that you might lose your job or become injured and prepare for the interim period until you can find a new job. NEVER get into debt so that you couldn't pay your bills if you were unemployed for a little while. Always save for the future and/or that rainy day; rainy days come to everyone.

    5. You have to start at the bottom and move up. You can't expect to land the perfect job paying you a lot of money right off the bat. Get some kind of training or education so that you can get a job to start out, and take (and work hard at) a job you're not crazy about when you need one to keep food on the table.

    6. Be realistic about the costs of what you plan to do. (I was quite amazed at the cost of insurance when I could finally buy my first car. I guess I thought you just bought a car and drove it around and that was it.)

    All these things helped me to get through with savings for retirement. I'm not rich by any means, but I do just fine. I've never denied myself things I needed to live comfortably (except in some hard times where I tightened my belt), and I'm grateful to my folks for aiming me in the right direction.

    I think it would be a wonderful idea if high schools required kids to take a course in responsible money management and taught them the basics about credit, interest, taxes, how to get a job, etc. It would do a lot more good that some of the fluff courses that are offered nowdays.
    Great list.

    I agree that children should learn to understand what money can and can't do for them.

    I believe that if you start saving when you are young you should be able to accumulate sufficient funds to assure a comfortable retirement. Saving just $20.00/ week and investing it over a 45 year period will net you somewhere around $300,000.00.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Southern California's High Mojave Desert
    Posts
    884
    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe200 View Post
    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.
    California is not the 6th largest COUNTRY in the world...it is the 6th largest ECONOMY.

    HDH

  5. #35
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    143
    Good afternoon to all- My wife and I have a little bit saved, but we don't owe anything except monthly utilities- and insurance premiums. By far, our biggest expense now is insurance. We're OK.
    We were both public school teachers, so we knew we wouldn't be able to save a great deal for retirement. That's what teachers do- they work hard and pay their bills.
    My parents worked very hard and saved and saved and saved. They went without sometimes so they could put money away- that's what they did.
    My dad died suddenly, and after his final expenses, my mom had quite a little bit saved up.
    She went into a nursing home, and within two years of paying for that, she was dead broke.
    She lived on another 12 years, but the nursing home let her stay because she signed the old house and all it contained to the nursing home.
    That's why I don't worry too much about our small savings accounts. It really won't make any difference at the end. If we'd saved every penny we ever earned, we still wouldn't have enough money to retire on and live a life.
    I'm very grateful for S.S. and teacher retirement accounts.
    good day to all- Ed

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