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Category: Retirement / Topics: Demographics Statistics Trips

Retirement Research

by Dan Seagren

Posted: February 6, 2014

A serious senior moment occurs when we seniors research retirement…

Another serious senior moment occurs when we seniors research retirement. That may sound strange but let’s take a look. First, retirement as we know it today, is a rather recent phenomenon. One hundred years ago it was pretty much unlike it is today. Our culture was far less urban, far less mobile, and the family was much more intact.

In the last century major shifts in Western civilization occurred including the relative demise of the Agricultural and Industrial eras into our present Technological culture. Today, many industries provide retirement benefits including IRAs, 401k opportunities, CDs, pension funding along with incentives to save. I remember leaving the country on an assignment for three years in the late 1970s. Wondering where to put the equity on our home plus rather modest savings, we were wisely advised to put it into CDs which then approached 20%. Today? We’re lucky if we get .01% or so.

Retirement age was set at 65, then upped a bit and may go higher along with longevity increasing from about 47 years in 1900 to about 74 a century later. Even so, retirement is almost a certainty today but will it last? Research raises some serious questions which we seniors may not witness but what about our children and their children?

It seems to be quite factual that families need slightly over two children to perpetuate a civilization as we know it. With the birthrate dropping around the world, some by choice, others by dictates. One author put it bluntly years ago: “The future belongs to those who show up for it.” So, keep an eye not only on marriage but on the birthrate. This author also said that “Retirement is an invention of the 20th century, and will not long outlive it.” Suppose he could be right?

As we know, there is a lot of concern about citizens from other countries entering our country, many without proper credentials posing various problems not the least which involves money in various ways. In addition, many include larger families than native units. Methods of remedying financial burdens range from a ’”brothers keepers” idealism to political objectives with operatives in between. Excessive debt affects not only individuals, retiring persons included, but nations as well which could ultimately impact retirement as we know it.

Americans notoriously have not been known as dedicated to savings accounts which also compounds the potential uncertainties of retirement in the future. As it has been said, a word to the wise is sufficient may not be as adequate as anticipated.

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: February 6, 2014

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