7 Reasons You May Never Retire

If you ran out of money at age 80 what would you do? Sobering but true, below are only 7 reasons you may never retire. These items should alarm you but it won’t. That’s because unless you study this stuff, and I do, you won’t see the problem or what it means to you.

I’m not a doomsday sayer. I’m just a guy watching this story unfold, and watch it get bigger. I do like the image of politicians, “kicking the can down the road.” But, really, aren’t we all kicking it down the road?

So, listen up, here’s the list of 7.

1) 10,000 Americans reach age 65 every day.
2) Companies offering Pensions has dropped from 112,000 to 23,000
3) 45% of workers cannot access employer-sponsored 401k or pensions.
4) Medicare and Social Security will run out of money by 2028 and 2034.
5) $300 Trillion dollars are owed for unfunded public pensions
6) Americans don’t save, in fact, Americans have a negative savings rate.
7) Politicians have too many competing interests, so they kick the can.

The earlier one starts to save, the easier it is to accumulate sufficient wealth at retirement. The corollary to this is that the longer a country (or an individual) waits to address these issues, the fewer options there will be for solutions, and the options that remain will become more and more difficult to successfully implement (source noted below).

The authors of the article I quote grade our current 401k system as a letter grade of “D+.” I’m not sure what the plus sign means, but I can tell you many individuals are not prepared to retire because so few have pensions (that’s what your Grandpa or Grandma had), and those with a 401k have put too little in it.

Work for a City or other governmental unit?

There is a combined $300 Trillion in unfunded liabilities for employees of these places of work. And, these employees are going to look for their retirement check and receive something like what Detroit retirees received, which was pennies on the dollar.

Your parents and grandparents retired with a pension. They received a check each month for as long as they lived, that, plus social security, made a very comfortable retirement for many people. With the list of 7, you can hopefully see you’re unlikely to retire the way you might be thinking.

You can save now, try closing your Amazon account. Or, find any other way to save. Whether you’re by yourself or at a company or government, the time to do something is now. Make saving and asking questions to protect retirement important to you. After all, I have a friend who says;

“What gets attention, gets done.”

I love these conversations, either to help you as an individual, or your employer. I am happy to help or steer you to better resources.

Building a Strong Retirement Program: One for the AGES, Benefits Quarterly, International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, Brookfield, Wisconsin; www.iscebs.org.

What’s Old Is New

Research Confirms We Are Soulless

I find it satisfying that the “conclusion” in the research paper (“Self-Transcendent Emotions and Their Social Functions: Compassion, Gratitude, and Awe Bind Us to Others Through Prosociality”) points to what religion has taught for thousands of years. When will the world wake up, when will science catch up to religion?

For the last 150 years or so, we have defined ourselves as somehow “enlightened” but how can we be enlightened and write deep research articles like this one and leave out the soul?

The article, “Self-Transcendent Emotions and Their Social Functions: Compassion, Gratitude, and Awe Bind Us to Others Through Prosociality” has about one hundred citations for research on humanity. But, it is all about emotion. Never mentioning the soul.

The soul is our connection to humanity, to God, to Godly behavior. Our souls guide us to selfless service toward others. Our soul is superior to intellect (mind) or emotion (heart). Continue reading “What’s Old Is New”

Happiness and Faith

We All Seek Happiness

Did you know the dispensing of mental health prescriptions are at an all time high in the US? What does this mean, what does it say about the citizens of the US? Medication abuse, drug use and addictions of all kinds are on the rise. If mental health prescriptions are intended to cure the rise of the diagnosis of depression, and if we assume depression is a certain amount of unhappy, then we can say, citizens in the US are increasingly unhappy. I would make the stretch that addictions to alcohol and drugs are frequently explained as an escape from an individuals present circumstance the they must not be happy in their present circumstance. Would you agree with how I’ve connected these dots? I’ve made a generalization of course and haven’t considered physical ailments of the mind and body that would be an exception; for now let’s stick with the generalization.

Did you know the percent of people who volunteer their time to local community organizations has dropped from a high of 60% 40 years ago to an all time low of 25%? What does a decrease in serving others mean? Do you volunteer your time for the good of others? Is this decrease in volunteer time somehow related to an increase in “unhappiness?”

How Much Do You Pay For This In Your Healthcare Premium?

Is there a connection between our state of unhappiness and serving others? Is the attitude of one who serves others opposite the attitude of someone with an addiction or on depressive drugs? Are these two attitudes on the opposite ends of the happiness continuum? Only as an economic indicator, as something we can measure, can we say those serving others (not preoccupied with themselves) is opposite addiction and depression? What’s the cost to families, communities and companies in healthcare premium for our unhappiness, addictions prescription solutions? $210 billion per year is one answer; “Growing Economic Burden…” I’ve not vetted this report or double checked against other sources; this number seems to me to be quite low. Is there an alternative to our current method of treatment?

Where do we look for happiness? Is happiness found in things of “this world” like entertainment, wealth and work, honor, power, personal physical pleasure; food, sex, alcohol, drugs gambling excess in all kinds of other things? Do you seek your “fifteen minutes of fame” selfies, indulging in idol chatter?

What makes you happy and at peace? If you were depressed or if your loved one were depressed how would you solve that problem? Is depression on the rise because hoping in the empty promise of seeking happiness in the things we see advertised, things our friends have, or momentary physical pleasures or other worldly things? What’s your “addiction” what’s your worldly addiction that when you get it, it makes you happy? For how long does it make you happy?

VeggieTales Madame Blueberry Trailer

A great line from Veggie Tales, “Madame Blueberry” who is the purveyor of “Stuff” as she buys more and more to satisfy her need for “Stuff”. She is seeking happy at the Stuff Mart Store; she sees a boy with nothing who is happy with what he has. Madam Blueberry asks the Stuff Mart store manager, “I want what that boy has, I want to be happy, where do I buy that?”

As Madam Blue-berry finds out, happiness can’t be bought. We all know people, if not ourselves, who have everything and are still depressed, sad, or just not happy. That’s because things of this world feed the flesh and mind but do nothing for our soul. Our soul doesn’t need stuff it needs God.

Fr. Robert Barron, now Bishop says, “the great task of the church is to teach teh human race how to find themselves precisely in relation to God.” Word on Fire Video on YouTube called, “Atheism and Assisted Suicide”

Consider faith as the answer to pills, pleasure, wealth, honor and power because faith is heaven sent and is a free gift from God; he alone feeds our soul. Give him your heart, mind and soul first. Then, find happiness in everything he’s already given you.

Psalm 23:1-6

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;  for you are with me;  your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;  you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;  and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Just a thought.

Our Modern World Can Learn From Old World Truths

I hear the words “modern world” and wonder, for all our advancements, why hasn’t human behavior changed? Think about the 5th century church writer who comments upon todays reading, Luke 9:7-9.

“John aroused Herod by his moral admonitions, not by any formal accusation. He wanted to correct, not to suppress. Herod, however, preferred to suppress rather than be reconciled. To those who are held captive, the freedom of the one innocent of wrongdoing becomes hateful. Virtue is undesirable to those who are immoral; holiness is abhorrent to those who are impious; chastity is an enemy to those who are impure; integrity is a hardship for those who are corrupt; frugality runs counter to those who are self-indulgent; mercy is intolerable to those who are cruel, as is loving-kindness to those who are pitiless and justice to those who are unjust. The Evangelist indicates this when he says, “John said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have the wife of your brother Philip.'” This is where John runs into trouble. He who admonishes those who are evil gives offense. He who repudiates wrongdoers runs into trouble. John was saying what was proper of the law, what was proper of justice, what was proper of salvation and what was proper certainly not of hatred but of love. And look at the reward he received from the ungodly for his loving concern!”

Integrity is a hardship for the morally corrupt, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)

[Peter Chrysologus, 400-450 AD, was a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena in the 5th century]

excerpt taken from copyright (c) 2015 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

As a student of people and how they spend money on healthcare, I find the phrase from 1500 years ago very applicable today, “frugality runs counter to those who are self-indulgent.”  It’s interesting that as we consider ourselves more and more enlightened or modern that we shun the realities of humanity as though what’s been taught by Judaism and Christianity for many centuries is irrelevant.

Our economic system today depends upon individual borrowing, banks and many financial institutions provide easy access to a culture that loves self-indulgence. The 2008 economic depression was largely the result of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending practice (Federal Reserve Report, 2015) permitting, and even promoting, individuals to over extend by borrowing much more than they could repay. This isn’t unlike how our Cities like Detroit (Bankruptcy approved-WSJ 2014) have borrowed upon our future and obviously, how our Country has borrowed $116,000 from each working persons future.

The fact is our age, our modern age, borrows to be self-indulgent and as a result our children aren’t learning the lessons taught more than 1500 years ago. Maybe we should give our youth a better example. Embracing the truths of centuries old might help our youth, simple truths about human behavior when ignored, promote our repeating the mistakes the old days arned a long time ago.

Joy is to hear his word.

It’s morbid to compare: GM 124; Hospitals 400,000

Outraged over auto deaths?

Mary Barra in front of congress.
Mary Barra in front of congress.

All human life matters and to my way of thinking it’s good the autos and government have a way to track responsibility. I live in Detroit so that makes me a car guy. I feel attached to the auto industry. It’s good the cars we drive are safe.

Outrage over car deaths, of course, makes sense. And, the autos have taken responsibility because the government has a good method to enforce the autos to be accountable to the public.

General Motors will pay $900 million to settle criminal charges related to its flawed ignition switch that has been tied to at least 124 deaths.

CNNMoney (New York) September 17, 2015: 2:46 PM ET;  “GM CEO: ‘People died in our cars’ ” Poppy Harlow

http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/17/news/companies/gm-recall-ignition-switch/

Let’s compare; outrage over 124 auto related deaths compared to more than 400,000 preventable deaths at hospitals? Where’s the outrage? Where’s accountability?

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 5.52.25 AM
Healthcare IT news aritcle,

 

In this article, congress talks about possible solutions but isn’t demanding accountability from our medical system.

“The tragedy that we’re talking about here (is) deaths taking place that should not be taking place,” said subcommittee Chair Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in his opening remarks.

Healthcare IT News, Erin McCann “Deaths by medical mistakes hit records, the way IT is designed remains part of the problem.” WASHINGTON | July 18, 2014

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records

When I talk about our medical system is broken, it’s clear that if the auto tracking method were applied to hospitals we’d have accountability.

Here’s a quote from the same article;

In the hearing’s closing questions, when Sanders inquired as to why this crisis was not constantly splashed across front page news, he was met with this: “When people go to the hospital, they are sick. It is very easy to confuse the fact that somebody might have died because of a fatal consequence of their disease, versus they died from a complication from a medical error,” Jha said. “It has taken a lot to prove to all of us that many of these deaths are not a natural consequence of the underlying disease. They are purely failures of the system.”

In our premiums and in our government run healthcare we pay for these services.

But, our system requires more fixes than just this. The white paper is breaking apart many pieces of the medical system apparatus in order to demonstrate the areas where the system is broken. Follow the white paper for what’s wrong, then we’ll be publishing the fixes in 1qtr 2016.