TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Christine C. Marcks, Prudential Retirement

Thank you all for a dynamic conversation over the past three weeks around how we -- as individuals, as financial services providers and as a society -- can help address the challenge of retirement as people live longer. TED Conversations is a new forum for us, and we found your comments and this experience very insightful.

I believe there are concrete steps people can take to better prepare for their retirement. For starters, workers can improve their savings and investing behavior. Secondly, participants in workplace plans such as 401(k)'s should try to include some sort of guaranteed income component in their retirement planning.

We will also continue this conversation in other forums, and will add to the national debate through white papers on our company's Research & Perspectives site, http://research.prudential.com/view/page/rp .


Christine C. Marcks
Prudential Retirement

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    Apr 10 2012: Wow, I am somewhat surprised about the hostile tone people are taking towards the concept of retirement! Somewhat surprised, but not completely.

    The whole concept of 'not working' for 30+ years is heresy in many cultures - especially American culture where people are told that they should work and contribute unless for some reason they can't (such as disability or very advanced age - and then there are people who argue that the disabled and old should work too).

    The fact is that retirement made sense when people did physically demanding labor and their bodies shut down at 65. You can only dig ditches for so long before your knees, shoulder, etc gave out. In today's environment where many people ride a desk for 8 hours a day, retirement simply makes less sense.

    I am for giving a lower retirement age for people who work 10+ years in physically demanding jobs (construction, etc) or who have severe health issues and making the retirement age 62 and raising the age for people who do not engage in physically demanding work. If you are sitting at a desk and have good health, realistically, you can work until 70 and beyond.

    The real wrinkle in all of this is the obesity/health care epidemic. We are going to see people - a lot younger than retirement age - in their 50's who are incapacitated due to lifestyle choices such as poor diet, lack of exercise or smoking.

    Personally, the only people who I know who look forward to retirement are people who hate their jobs and see retirement as a ticket out. They want to leave the workforce, but have no idea what they'll do with their lives once they retire. Part of the solution is finding work that is fulfilling and that you love while you are in the work force. Then you'll never want to retire.
    • Apr 16 2012: Well said.
      It is amazing how immature many can be on these matters, not sure I exactly agree with your perspective, nor need of I to,, nor you for me too, however, personal responsibility and maturity in these matters is paramount. We are leaving Baby Boomers, and the Me generation in the dustbins of their own delusions.
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      Apr 18 2012: As someone who sat at a desk and also maintained a healthy level of exercise throughout my "main career", I can tell you that desk jobs are not easy on the body. I do not believe we were designed to sit and work for long stretches of time. I am the ripe age of 61, nominally retired. That means I left my killer desk job for a life of my own design.

      When we were still in grade school, we were being told automation would replace most jobs and we should prepare ourselves for a life of leisure. The 40 hour work week would go out the window. Instead, the reality was the 60 hour work week, for the professional.

      I seriously doubt this will translate to the longevity projected for this generation. It is more likely the idea that over half of us will live to be 90 is the same sort of fable as the automation taking over work of people. Beyond that, the diseases of these times are increasingly autoimmune disorders that are episodic and debilitating. The source of which are for another discussion.
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    Apr 19 2012: I'm retired, but.... I feel secure mostly because I'm a backpacker and in good health. Also because I've lived in poor countries and have seen on how little millions of people survive. Backpacking involves carrying your home (tent), bed (sleeping bag/pad), kitchen (alcohol stove), food supply, and 'emergency kits' (medicine, sewing supplies, glue, batteries, first aid items, etc) on one's back. Except for periodic resupplies of food and water, one just keeps walking. The 'ringer' is what happens in case of illness or accident. The answer's pretty simple (and look to the developing world here): you find care or you sicken and die. I think the real challenge of aging is not 'having enough to live on' but rather a more critical need: health insurance (or enough money to obtain treatment). I know and have known folks who are still working into their 80s, who have started successful businesses in their 70s, have hiked thousands of miles in their 60s, and so on. Retirement is simply a vacation. One can start it; one can 'retire from retirement'. And in the developing world, folks don't send out resumes or try to get hired. They just start making things or providing things that other people will buy! If they don't (and if family members won't take them in) they die. We all die. They just die younger. And so with folks in our 'developed world'. The biggest difference is that in OUR world we have expectations that are very high, whereas in most poor nations (and among their peoples) they don't expect as much as we do. The match their dreams to the possible. We might do the same.... That's an individual call, not a collective one. Relying on insurance companies, 401Ks, company 'plans', and even 'savings' are great ideas -- but humans should always have backup plans. I'm reminded of Russian 'retirees' selling junk on the sidewalks in the mid-90s. They did what they had to do....
  • Apr 18 2012: I am not expecting to retire, ever. I don't believe pensions will still be available in 21 years, when it would be time for me to receive one. And even if they are, mine will be too small to be useful.

    Instead, I am taking my leisure time as I go along, by working part-time. I have only worked two-and-a-half years full-time in a working life of around thirty years. Currently, I work 2.5 days per week, and enjoy more time with my friends and family, doing many of the things that other people wait until they're 65 to do. Of course my children and I have to live modestly to be able to afford this part-time working pattern, but we do fine: I have bought my little house outright, I run a car, we have holidays, and we have everything we need - and more.

    Retirement is such a precarious notion. I know people who stay in jobs they hate, dreaming about a happy future while they live in a miserable present. I know some who waited 30 years to 'live their dream' and found themselves too ill to enjoy it, or too tired, or (to put it bluntly) too dead. How much better to begin your retirement when you're still young enough to enjoy it!
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      Apr 20 2012: I like that concept of part time work , to enjoy what you have in the present . With the possibility of having to work for longer as needed. A bit like having your cake and eating it.
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      Apr 25 2012: I am of a generation that just heard that my retirement age has been extended to 67. I have no doubt as the deadline looms that it will creep ever forward.

      I like your thought that the concept of work - then retirement - has to undergo a fundamental shift in perception. I also plan on staying active as long as my health allows. I fill my days with volunteer activities and hobbies that I am passionate about. I enjoy all my days including the salaried ones. I suspect I will carry this same vitality and optimism through my sixties.

      The concept that one is to work for others for a peculiar and particular life-sentence, deferring living for oneself afterwards has got to go. I suspect if I do officially retire, I will carry on hobbies and interests that may not provide a STEADY income but will fill my days.

      To answer prudential, I think it is unfair to suggest that the vital young invest ever more for an extended
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    Apr 9 2012: The concept of "retirement" only came into existence in the 1880's in Germany and the life expectancy was 45. And I suspect when introduced the assumption was there wouldn't be too many takers. My guess is that in the developed world no one could have predicted the situation of life expectancy we face now.
    What we need is a cultural shift in terms of how we deal with longevity, this involves educating the present twenties to the idea that they will face long lives. So that there is a need not just for financial planning but also health planning for the future. With rising health care costs personal healthcare budgets have already been mooted and I suspect life enhancing procedures will diminish as life saving ones increase to meet crisis points of care.

    For myself the years may by extended , to describe them as retirement I don't think so. Revising my school maths is called for and balancing income and expenditure more crucial than before.
    Somewhat to Jane Fonda 's use of the phrase "third act" I think in terms of life's phase 3 where it is possible to revise what is important at this point and work towards it. Reduced income maybe, reduced activity no. One thing to consider is that with the baby boomers, is that never in human history has there been such a bugle of wealth and experience been present. So the call is not just to become gray nomads but to aim to replicate this bugle of wisdom and experience into the future.
  • Apr 9 2012: If you're in good enough shape to last another 30 years, you don't need to be retiring anyway. You retire when you've either made your pile, or you can't work anymore.
    • Apr 10 2012: I disagree. Most organizations have a set retirement age of around 60-65 yrs. You cannot be a part of the organization after that. And chances that you'll get yourself a job at 65 are very slim.
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    Apr 21 2012: Hey, I got a brilliant idea but I am not sharing. You are an insurance company, your experts should know better!
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    Apr 16 2012: Part of the question is, what could the pension funds do to provide a better product?

    If there are experts in the field of long term investment, a very high proportion should be employed by the pension funds, and they should be considering a number of factors, such as:

    - pensions are long term products with a lifespan that can easily reach 80 years
    - the more money taken out of funds to finance overheads and salaries and bonuses, the less there is to pay pensions
    - there are year cohorts where life expectancy peaks but it then drops off
    - investment markets are volatile
    - economic cycles are volatile

    None of these facts should surprise anyone, less so an organisation with access to actuarial skills. So ahve pension providers been attracting people to their products by making promises which they were unlikely to keep? Or perhaps the pension product is no longer a good way for a person to invest for their retirement.
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      Apr 16 2012: Anne, you are correct in saying that defined benefit plans – or pension plans – have been a great way for workers to save for their retirement. But in America, they are steadily being replaced by defined contribution plans, specifically 401(k) plans in the private sector.

      That being said, in Europe and to some extent in the US, pension fund managers are looking at new solutions to transfer risks such as market volatility, longer lifespans and delayed retirement to insurers such as Prudential, so that companies can keep the pension promises they've made to their workers.

      These pension risk transfer solutions are important innovations for the retirement industry, for employers, and for workers alike.
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    Apr 9 2012: Stop worrying about your retirement -- it may never happen! Only SOME people will live longer!

    Most of us will exit to the happy hunting ground younger than our grandparents generation. Insurance companies are projecting forward using the longer lives of the generations born in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's. These people grew up eating real food - in moderation, doing regular exercise since cars were not so prevalent, and they also benefited greatly from advances in basic health care, especially due to antibiotics and improvements in maternity care. So, it only seems that more people are living longer while these pesky pre WW2ers are kicking around - looking all fit and sprightly into their 80’s and 90’s…

    As the couch potatoes, obese, chain smoking, drunk, drug taking (pick your poison) post WW2 generations get older, many more lives will be cut short via cancer, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, over dose - not to mention drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA and drug resistant diseases such as TB.

    The raising of the retirement age will only result in more people dying at work.

    Only bother taking out an enhanced retirement policy if you’ve lived as the Amish do - otherwise…continue as you are and quit worrying - it's bad for your health.
    • Apr 10 2012: It would be interesting to see what the WHO have done on forecasting trends in life expectancy due to all the modern excesses of the developed world. Glad you made this point - its part of the wider picture which hasn't been fully explored.
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    Apr 29 2012: I think we should focus less on the traditional concept of retirement, as a time when someone does not earn any money. More and more people will need to earn money into their 70's, and the real question for me is: what jobs will be available for those past 70, which still earn a reasonable wage? Most over 70 won't be able or willing to travel, work 40+ hours or have the strenghth or health to do what they were able to earlier in their careers. I see it as a duty of governments and big companies to design jobs targetted at the older employee, enabling them to work for as long as they want (within reason). I assume technology will bring a lot more flexibility than we have today. I think we are at the beginning of a change in jobs design in organisations and everyone's view of retirement.
  • Apr 28 2012: Continued investments...
    Worried about healthcare? Leave mainland US and invest yourself in a better society where people have realised that healthcare should be free to all.
    Worried about fuel costs? Buy your own renewable electric generation and adapt.
    Worried about fundamental problems in society? Get involved in a personal way - make a difference.
    Worried about cash flow? Learn from transititon towns about how some money systems are surplus to requirement.

    Whatever a money-seeking capitalist wants to worry about will be much greater than any one else, that's the problem with focussing on an abstract solution for concrete problems. (especially if the focus is purely abstract)
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      Apr 29 2012: i don't get why do you recommend different solutions for different products? for healthcare, you recommend state granted mandatory insurance, for fuel, you recommend self service. why don't you want state provided free energy too?
  • Apr 28 2012: Planning for retirement, in my opinion is a waste of time. Why, because all it takes is 2 or 3 visits to the emergency room and health care costs can eat away your savings within a few years. In the end most of us who are not filthy rich will lose most of our savings and assets to health care related services. Research the issue.
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    Apr 27 2012: I have to agree with Jose, but I would like to propose what I would see as the best solution. It's not real to try to find a way to increase the retirement pension to be able to last 30 years. That's not the idea of a retirement pension. The idea of it, is to have something to live of when you reach a point when you can't work anymore. My grandfather worked after the retirement till he was 76. He did it because it was good for him not for the money.

    Considering these two ideas, I think the best solution is to raise the retirement age unless there is a health condition that unable the person to continue working and offer a retirement pension that works progressively. A plan where after a certain age the person starts working less hours or he retires from his job and the company that provides the retirement plan offers him a job that is designed for this plan, like a freelance work of their specialty. That would allow them to stay active, to continue contributing to society and earn money.
  • Apr 26 2012: Looking inside lifespan increases we see that mental and physical healthy years increase too. So I think people should find ways to extend his working years while decreasing the hour per week ratio. That approach is a progressive social change. This change in the society seems more sustainable and gratifying than trying to live the last 30+ years from rents of investments.

    (I'm talking from Europe where people work 40h/week till 63 or 65 years old)
    • Apr 28 2012: i couldn't agree with you any more. i'd like to say that this idea could not only help resolve the physical problem,liking short of money,but also enrich the elder everyday life, it is like a double-return solution.
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    Apr 26 2012: The most important factor is communication, and all forms of media can be used to educate. We need more objective information. Unfortunately, our government is the largest impediment. The Federal Reserve's policy of artificially repressing long-term interest rates to boost short-term economic results in an election year, and to encourage more home purchases, is disastrous for savers and for pension plans. In past economic recoveries, long-term interest rates were about 5% higher than they are now. That equates to $20,000 in additional income each year for someone with a $400,000 retirement nest egg. Pension plans are facing enormous shortfalls in funding as a result of these lower rates also, impacting government and private sector plans which need to now require higher contributions and reduce benefits. This is not being effectively communicated. The good news is that it will not last forever, long-term rates should start to rise in the next couple of years. How do we convince our government to be more honest about the downside to its policies?

    Ron Beasley
    Investment Advisor
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      Apr 26 2012: suppose the interest rate goes up. how will the US government renew the maturing t bills/notes/bonds? not even massive cuts, which are unprecedented, could help fast enough. what can prevent a default?

      and here we are, on topic. in your retirement plan, how much t-stuff you have? in case of default, how much you lose?
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        Apr 27 2012: That is a separate, but valid, issue. It will be tricky to unwind all that low interest rate debt, and the fed's balance sheet. I hold no treasuries, they are one of the worst investments one could make at this time, in my opinion.
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    Apr 25 2012: As we draw this conversation to a close, I'd like to hear your ideas - how can we leverage the power of digital tools and social media to make more people aware of and actively engaged in securing their own future? What emerging technologies could help people become more aware of the need to plan for a retirement that could last decades?
  • Apr 21 2012: A pretty far-sighted approach in my opinion.
  • Apr 21 2012: As someone who has practised as a financial adviser in the UK since 1986 it's clear that the path most people are on with regard to planning for retirement is wholly inadequate. In the UK the average pension fund for a retiree in the private sector is less than £30,000! We have been seduced by those that went before that retirement at 60 or before is a realistic option. Unfortunately the war generation like my own mum have had such a good time in terms of healthcare, pension and state assistance that younger people believe they too can have this. They can't and they won't. Retirement will be an experience for those in their 70's at the earliest. Governments needs to create 'sinking' funds for future retirees and investments need to be made for retirement from birth! Those investment need to be locked up until age 65. Access is not an option and compounding can then really work it's magic!
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    Apr 21 2012: Education is primarily important. People should try to learn the basics of financial management so that others wont be able to dominate their thought process while selecting an investment plan.

    Keep a certain portion of your money invested in government securities that will ensure that it does not bite the dust (even in times of recession.)

    Cut out on the unnecessary expenses (it varies from person to person) and invest those savings wisely.

    Try to go for multiple sources of income by utilising your free time in developing your creative instincts and being updated with the developments in the economy. This is will yield results in the long run

    Invest in the stock market in long term securities. They are generally low priced in the beginning. Go for short term stocks as well but make sure you quit after a desirable return on investment. With proper planning your investment will definitely multiple in the long run.
    • Apr 28 2012: Exactly, it seems like you got a pretty good ideas for the current dilemmia, but you know, "easy said than done", a smarter investor would definitely have a reasonable investment portfolio, there are several problems here, first you need a big fortune which is the basis before you do a package inves,right? and you know stock market is always a competitive environment involving all kinds of people ,of course, has winners and losers ,it could not make sense everyone wins all the time, or the whole economy would blow up .
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    Apr 20 2012: The secret of surviving in hostile environments is not primarily about planning. (There's a famous quote, paraphrased from Helmuth von Moltke's "On Stategy": "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy!"). Surviving is much more in line with Charles Darwin's statement that "“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” The toolkit is one's mind! Imagination, flexibility, self-discipline, keeping one's head when others panic, and so on.... A successful retirement (as any other project) has little to do with what one HAS, and is all about what one IS.
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    Apr 20 2012: It has been very interesting to see how this conversation has progressed over the last 10 days. Your perspectives on lifestyle in retirement, or for that matter, lifestyle decisions made in the present that will affect one's retirement have been great for me to hear. But, I wonder, when is the last time we assessed if we are on the right track towards having "enough" (which I realize is very subjective) to afford the retirement we envision? Who are we asking for help or having discussions with about this topic?

    Planning for the retirement demands that we not wait until that day is imminent. More than ever before, as Kevin Goodwin notes, individuals will have to own the creation of their retirement security, with advice, guidance and solutions from their financial advisors and financial services providers.
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      Apr 20 2012: In an increasingly unstable (Western) world, it is increasingly difficult to see and plan beyond the next year never mind for some time in the future that maybe a never, never land. Can you tell me what percentage of people actually plan for these years?

      I suspect in the developing countries planning for retirement is a luxury of thinking that few engage in. For some planning for old age is limited to having enough children so that one of them will survive and look after me when the time comes.
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        Apr 20 2012: I'd go a bit further, given the fact of increasing instability of the world. I wonder if we aren't living in something like the years of the Weimar Republic. What German in 1928 would have predicted the partition of Germany, the capital (Berlin) in ruins, armies from Russia, France, Britain and the U.S.. occupying the (partitioned) nation, millions dead (counting both troops and civilians). For reasons unknown, humans tend to project the recent past and the present into the future. Incredible! And now we have nuclear proliferation and biological and chemical agents unknown in 1939-1945.... Still, folks try to 'plan for the future' as if it weren't a mostly futile project. I heartily recommend to all Nassim Taleb's work, "The Black Swan", if only for his depiction of starting his life in a peaceful and prosperous Beirut -- and the fantasies the adults surrounding his life entertained about the nation of Lebanon "returning to normal" (as if there were a 'normal'). Great book. L
  • Apr 20 2012: I think by raising products/services their prices, to save the extra corporate fiancial income to save money via the governement for employees and independents their retirement.

    But something else I think of now is to buy a house, pay it back to the bank, to sell it at a certain stage of retirement and to go and rent an appartment.

    And last but not least I now think of living healthy, as healthy and preventing as possible. To practice health tips and local product stores and services(like swimming and mental excercise clubs) as well as possible.

    (copy paste this one)
    • Apr 28 2012: cool ideas, i have to say you got a pretty stimulating answer for the problem,and in some extent it does make sense, the rate of rising housing price can not be beat in the society,so investing the real state is definitely a good idea for keeping your money updated. but only a problem here now real state market has alreadly been full of speculating things ,and if these people join them and do some so-called suppport there ,i wonder the world economy could survive or not under such environment .
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    Apr 20 2012: Having thought this over a bit now, my main thoughts are that retirement plans address an uncertain future, and the exigencies of the present tend to trump those in a tight pinch. The beauty of the Social Security system is the money is saved untouchable.

    If a person has both the discipline and the means to set aside money on a regular basis and simply leave it alone in a safe interest bearing account, that is a good retirement plan, in addition to whatever they may have through an employer. I personally nicked into every retirement plan I had, as life presented both opportunities and emergencies. So I was able to buy a condo after a divorce, buy a house when the condo lost its value in an earthquake and we needed to move, save the life of my daughter when medical insurance was not enough.

    Those on this board who are 20 something and outraged or older and blessed with personal wealth may not realize that voluntary savings plans work out great when there is excess, but when you need more, you do tap the savings, and pay the penalties. You are grateful you can do it. And you do not think of it as robbing your future self. All the plans you make never can take into account what you cannot guess at that lies around the corners of time.
  • Apr 20 2012: As a family physician I have learned that few of my patients other than government workers with pensions expect to retire. Most of my patients believe that they will work until they are sick, confused, or 80 (whichever comes first).
    They expect that they will need those years to compensate from lost income from DIVORCES first, and poor investments
    second. Government workers expect to retire after 30 years of work. If they are lucky enough to start work at age 22
    they expect to collect 30 or 40 years of pensions.
    With the poor investment options available (see the Economist cover article..."No where to hide")...most people can no longer count on investments to permit retirement. So the solution to the Social Security question "how can we afford this"...well...people will not retire until they are very old...or very frail.
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      Apr 20 2012: i would point out that government workers are having false hopes. government promised them money, but where will they get it? what if the government finds out that these promises can not be kept. what if they cut it heavily? either through direct cut, or lying and deceiving (like inflation). because promising is easy. i can promise myself.
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    Apr 20 2012: One type of barrier to effective retirement planning is psychological -- we humans procrastinate, undervalue the importance of events happening in the future, and cling to familiar habits. Our Center has an interactive tool -- "Curious Behaviors that Can Run Your Retirement" -- designed to educate people about these behavioral barriers. It's available at: http://fsp.bc.edu/curious-behaviors-that-can-ruin-your-retirement/
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      Apr 20 2012: conscious decisions are procrastinated. but exactly as you have said, habits are a big factor. if there is a widespread behavior in society to save, young people will save too.

      this is why it is important to make the issue of saving central, debated and personally taken care of. it should be a part of everyone's life. as opposed to delegated to governments.
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        Apr 22 2012: Krisztian,

        Good point about saving. It needs to be instilled in people at a young age and conducted as a routine activity that everyone naturally engages in. And saving has two key advantages -- the familiar one of helping you accrue assets to tap later and the less familiar one of reducing your consumption today so that your expectations for how much you need to consume are kept in check.

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          Apr 22 2012: that observation about keeping consumption in check is spot on. savings can serve as a shock-absorber in the unlucky case of a sudden downturn. it can even out a smaller bump. and it can give time to adopt to a greater change.
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    Apr 19 2012: Krisztian...you hit on the key point. Ultimately we need to be responsible for our own financial well-being. Using the services and investment vehicles of a company like Prudential are great, but they can not and should not be our only method of managing our finances. Any investment can go belly up. Any service can fail. We must manage our finances and make adjustments where and when necessary. As you said, it is not enough to give our money to someone else to take care of it.
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    Apr 19 2012: Christine, I can appreciate the benefits of variable annuities and continued "guaranteed" income. The key question is whether that income meets or exceeds the rising cost of life in retirement. It may keep pace with status quo retirement life but all it takes is one event (medical emergency, new medical condition, car accident, home repairs) to push one's expenses beyond what a fixed income annuity can provide. I don't de-value annuities. They are smart investment vehicles for the cost-conscious. That being said, other vehicles of income are still needed. Unless a person has amassed so much wealth that they can live on the interest and use the principal in case of emergency (most people will not reach that level), continued income (at or near the level of their working income) is really the only "safe retirement".
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      Apr 19 2012: there is a much deeper problem with it, and you very well put the word guaranteed in quotation marks. who guarantees it? how it is calculated? in dollars? in gold? indexed by CPI? what if the company can not deliver? what if they go bankrupt? what if the state goes bankrupt? what if serious budget cuts are needed, and part of it is reducing government guarantee? what if the state goes bankrupt, and all bonds become worthless? what if housing prices fall to oblivion?

      we need to hear about these. it is not enough to give our money to someone else to take care of it. we need some convincing arguments why they can succeed? what do they know that we don't? why give them our money and not someone else? or why not just buy gold or stocks on our own?
  • Apr 19 2012: You can adjust the values you enter to see how investment amounts and ... Invest and grow your retirement savings to make your money work for you. ... People are living for longer than ever, this means you need to plan for a longer retirement. ... in order to draw an income that will last you 30 years of living without working as web application developer.
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    Apr 19 2012: Dear Christine,

    Regarding your question, I'm originally from Palestine / west bank, and due to the difficult situation there on ground, my retirement plan is safe money now, to buy my own small house, and to buy my own clinic (as I'm a dentist) and to start working in that clinic, till the last day in my life. And if i were lucky and managed to save more money i may start a small project to support me more in the future.

    Simply that was my plan :)
  • Apr 19 2012: Scaling at community level, there are sadder realities (or just unconscious of side-effects), when looking into the multi-dimensional practices people deploy, mostly based into a culture of slided or transferred meaning:
    - using retirement to design towards a guaranteed income
    - thinking that if they use retirement and mean about them (retire from something), might be absolved of guilt (did not McLeod" or take anyone else out). Issue is what are people around them thinking, community impact of terms, etc.

    Re-engaging seniors into the workforce (subsidiaries, internships, think-tanks) would:
    -help as a counter-strategy for generational conflict
    -synchronize, overlap multi-generational knowledge, speed all kinds of learning
    -provide enough care, rejuvenation, ergonomics, rehabilitation etc projects for the health-care to slow resources into disease-creation and secure their survival from serving human life quality
    -isn't it about time for some all-generational success stories to kick-ass of the top 40 under 40 charts, that define success under 'boom or bust' life pressure?
    -Would rebuild some lost trust into the system, as people might in time be more willing to 'let go' for a while.

    That's just one strategy of many. Location specifics may matter as well. Looking at the world historical changes, and recent US turmoils, looking at their current political 4 years cycles and their mormonic roots, that would link into another conversation.
  • Apr 19 2012: I can envision wonderful possibilities, yet cautionary at the same time with the retirement situation.

    At macro-economic and social level, my positive mind would link it with re-engagement, re-juvenation and life optimization projects. Simply looking at the numbers presented, 10,000 retirees per day=300.000 per month ~= 3,600,000 per year. Cross-referenced with USA total population of about 308,000 (x1000) from Wikipedia, it ironically represents about 1% of total US population. Some may see retirement from retirement is a gloomy way, I, as a witness of senior 're-sparkling alive', would advocate for re-engaging willing seniors back into work-force. (California pioneering senior re-engagement programs come to mind). Enthusiasm towards long-living is most likely to ripple effects into enthusiasm for living, planning life wisely even into younger generations. A design-backfiring caution would be of what people thought when they retired in the first place (if they thought a young on e got a job because they retired, can they be brought back into action while maintaining existent workforce?) An even crueler question, is it worth it, when there are still young ones, capable of work, unemployed?

    Still at larger spectrum level, from the Asian retirement dilemma presented in the "Elephant & Dragon" book, with longer-living asian families of 1:2:4 (one child - 2 parents - 4 grandparents) ratio, makes me realize that individual goal-setting for retirement needs to be at an incredibly higher level to be able to provide for 4 long-living parents (in the ideal conditions of having all siblings or children self-supportive). This may change the individual-planning mentality.

    Scaling at community level, there are sadder realities (or just unconscious of side-effects), when looking into the multi-dimensional practices people deploy, mostly based into a culture of slided or transferred meaning:
    - using retirement to design towards a guaranteed income
    thinking that if they use