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Analysis of Retirement Reveals the Possibility of Great Socioeconomic Change
By Staff News & Analysis - April 25, 2014
Why even $1M may not be enough for retirement ... You've been saving like a miser to get ready for retirement. You've pinched pennies, kept that last car for what seems like an eternity. And now you've banked a cool $1 million for your retirement years. Think you're set? Well, you very well might be. Then again, you still might be short. ... "The good news is there are more millionaires," says Richard G. Dragotta, at LPL Financial in Paramus, N.J. "Over 9 million people in the U.S. have $1 million or more." But, Dragotta says, $1 million might not mean you're wealthy: The new $1 million may be $2 million. – USA Today
Dominant Social Theme: It costs a lot to retire – but you can do it! You just have to concentrate ...
Free-Market Analysis: So now we know: Even a million dollars isn't enough to retire on.
Sounds reasonable, given all the obstacles to retirement in the West and especially in the US. But there is a problem with this article that is much bigger than the retirement issues it explores.
The problem is – and we can see from the article's feedback – that the readership is a good deal more sophisticated than the article itself. As we've often pointed out, when people cease to believe in the narrative provided to them by their own elites, then inevitably society begins to change in fundamental ways.
It is obvious that today's power elite wants more centralization, more globalism and more corporatism. But ironically, the fear-based dominant social themes that allow top elites to shape society are not functioning so well in terms of providing the requisite malleable result.
And thus we get the kind of strange disconnect encapsulated by this article and the feedbacks left by its reader below. Even when readers are explaining that they have managed to overcome obstacles and retire with a healthy income, their comments often reveal an astuteness missing from the article.
"Thirty years ago, $1 million was a huge amount of money," says Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, in Walnut Creek, Calif. "Today, given today's lifestyles and costs, it isn't so much money." Why not? "It translates into $40,000 to $50,000 (annually) in sustainable revenue," says Joe Heider, regional managing principal for Rehmann Financial Group in Westlake, Ohio. "That is not that much money on an annual basis."
Heider says that 10 to 12 years ago, when people earned a lot more on their investments, $1 million could generate $70,000 to $80,000 a year in retirement income. But with interest rates as low as they are, that's not really feasible. Still, that's not to say that no one could live on savings of $1 million.
Not everyone will need that kind of cash in their retirement kitty, financial planners say. It all depends on your lifestyle—the one you're living now, and the one you want to live in retirement. It also depends on your investment returns, taxes and inflation.
"I think it depends on how much money you're going to spend," says Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City. "A million is not like $1 million 20 years ago or 30 years ago. If you're wanting to spend $50,000 a year or less from your investment portfolio, $1 million will probably get it done for you.
"Everything is relative," says Clarence Kehoe, executive partner in the accounting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin in New York City. "For some people, I would think $1 million would be more than enough. For other people, I can tell you some of these clients spend more than $1 million in a year. It depends on the person, their lifestyle and what they are used to."
As we can see, this article glosses over the REASONS for increasing retirement problems. Interest rates are indeed very low and hover around one percent in many places. In fact, this is because of global corporatism and central banking money printing. As monetary policy is "coordinated" around the world, there is no place to hide.
Without such coordination, countries and even regions would offer a wide variety of interest rates, currencies, even competing monies. But in today's age, such competition is looked on as a kind of financial sin. Currency competition itself is consistently criticized and the threat of a "currency war" looms large.
The article expresses none of this. There is no causation explored. The article simply hangs in air. And yet, as mentioned, the commentary thread for this article is a good deal more enlightening than the subject matter itself.
Here are just three comments of many:
- By the time the Federal Reserve gets done devaluing the US dollar, a million won't last you a week. Under normal inflation, every 40 years your dollar is worth a nickle.
- Retire? What is this thing called "retirement"? Who dreamed up the criteria for this phenomena? Only in the last century has this concept of kicking back after your working years become sort of badge of accomplishment. Did anyone retire prior to the 1900's? Of course not. You worked until you dropped and died. And the same will be true of most of us going forward. To survive into my elder years I will have to work into my elder years. Quit teasing people with high expectations of some 1960's era company pension. Those days are dead and gone and only ever existed for a scant minority.
- Get a government job. Most of them are all stealing without a gun. They will eventually kill the golden goose. All the moochers will one day get exactly what they deserve.
These comments illustrate the divide between what the mainstream media proposes and what the readership increasingly rejects – or at least comprehends. The Internet Reformation, like the proverbial genie, cannot be put back in its bottle.
These days, informed readers of the alternative 'Net media – and there are tens of millions of them – often understand elite promotions intimately: They even use their understanding to protect or expand their wealth.
We often mention the ongoing Wall Street Party as one meme that can possibly be leveraged. But there are other actions that these informed 'Net consumers are taking: They are investing in gold and silver, purchasing assets overseas and attempting to become, generally, as liquid as possible within practical constraints.
When consumers outgrow the memes of their social conditioning, society itself teeters on the verge of great change. How that will manifest is as yet unclear. But the reaction to this USA Today article, and others like it, certainly provides us with evidence of an impending transformation.