Financial Planning: Worked To Death

Back around the turn of the 20th Century, people worked themselves right up to their death. There was no Social Security and these were boom times in America’s industrial age so the working population was heavily blue collar. People lived from hand to mouth. Back then, however, life expectancy was only about 47.

Today there is Social Security. If you are a government employee you also get a generous pension that could amount to half your current salary. If you worked for a major corporation there is a 30% chance you also receive pension benefits. For the rest, other than Social Security, you are pretty much on your own.

Some people are just workaholics. Some people just love their work. Others fit neither of these two categories; they work because it gives them purpose in life and a social connection. There are a lot of video gamers in this group.

And then there is the rest of us in the real world that go to work everyday because there is a need for money to pay the monthly bills.

Historically the vicious daily work cycle began sometime after graduation from school and continued until age 65. Big corporations called this later date the mandatory retirement age. For the next 7.2 years after retirement you played golf then you died; simple as that.

Those 7.2 years were known as the “golden years” because, over time, people saved their gold and could afford to play golf everyday and still have enough left over to pay for a burial plot. Today, things are much different.

First of all, there is the exploding cost of green fees. And we can’t overlook the outrageous out of pocket cost of dying. As we have noted in past articles, some 40% of people over 65 have savings of under $20,000. With so little to go around, you better plan on dying close to your friends, otherwise, nobody will be able to afford to come to your funeral. Your only other choice is to be the last of your friends to go.

All of this is leading up to a point. All along I assumed that after age 50 that age discrimination was forcing people onto the unemployment lines. Not true I have discovered thanks to the brilliant research minds at the Pew Research Center.

Their conclusion is that today, more older Americans (65+) are working than at anytime in the 21st century. The total in 2016 was 18.8% compared with just 12.8% in 2000. The biggest increase is in the group 75 and over. Life expectancy in the United States (I asked Seri) is 78.5 years. These days it leaves only half as much time to play golf before the final 18th hole is played.

Where have the golden years gone? Not only are there fewer but, thanks to the input from CNN, just look as the job types where senior Americans can most be found.

1,) Handyman                                 5.) Gift and Souvenir Shops

2.) Sewing and needlework       6.) Libraries

3.) Religious Organizations         7.) Flower Stores

4.) Labor Unions                            8.) Farm supplies

One look at these challenging fascinating and fun filled jobs helps you understand why old people always look so sad. It’s not that the see their lives coming to and end, they see tomorrow as another day selling batman tee shirts at the gift shop.

Young people everywhere, unite, and don’t let this happen to you. If you are mathematically challenged, start dating a financial planner. If you are driven by materialism, find a 12-step program. Remember a daily Grande Latté over the course of 50 years amounts to almost $100,000 in today’s prices. Save today, green fees and Latté prices will only keep rising.

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