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Who Is And Isn't Saving For Retirement

Tyler Durden's picture


In the land of the free and the home of the entitled, the sad (but true) nature of income inequality's inexorable rise in the past few years has a somewhat more startling impact on the future. With work being punished for the marginal employee and the wealth effect concentrated in the hands of the great and good, the following two charts show clearly the sad fact that those who need to save for the future the most don't (and likely can't) and those with all the income save the most (and thus 'spend' the least). As we noted previously, the rich have the assets and the poor have the debt (and debt is not wealth).


As MarketWatch's Matthew Heimer notes, a recent study shows that 36% of Americans had saved $1,000 or less for retirement.

The following charts show just how intensely the problem of scanty retirement savings is concentrated among lower earners.


Among households that earn less than $25,000 a year, around 75% have less than $1,000 saved, and almost 95% have less than $25,000.


Once you get to the middle income range, the outlook brightens a little: About half of all households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 have at least $25,000 put away, and around 20% of that group have saved at least $100,000.


Among six-figure earners, as you’d expect, the retirement balances look healthier still: More than 40% have saved at least $250,000, and 10% have saved at least $1 million.




Of course, just because you’re earning well doesn’t mean you’re saving much; about 12% of this high income group has saved less than $25,000 for retirement. 



So there it is - those that need to save can't (or won't) and those that don't need to save do... so why again is Fed policy aimed at pumping up the assets of the wealthy (who are relative over-savers and under-consumers) in an economy reliant on the marginal consumer to bring home the bacon for everyone?


As we noted previously,


Why is it important? Simple - contrary to the Fed's flawed DSGE models, it is the poor who
are more likely to consume. And logically with their purchasing power
being funneled to the rich with every additional billion in monthly debt
monetization, they purchase less and less. As the slow but steady contraction in the economy over the past five years has proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

But hey: at least Hamptons' houses have never been more expensive and the Russell 2000 keeps on hitting daily all time highs. Thank you "wealth effect."


Source: Marketwatch


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Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:15 | 4588539 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Fuck the PM manipulators, full speed ahead.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:20 | 4588573 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Even those with low incomes should buy gold if they have children.  Saving CA$H is OK in addition.  Should save both.  It is not that hard to do even on a very limited income.

Saving ANY wealth is better than saving NONE.

Those without children (or are sure they will have none) can skip this advice if they have no heirs or loved ones (nephews, nieces, etc.).

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:22 | 4588579 The Dunce
The Dunce's picture

I'm not saving for retirement.  I'm a broke dead dick.  Bitches.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:39 | 4588636 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

The Dunce writes a good blog!  But that does not mean I can´t hop aboard that train too...  Besides, I would guess tha Korea imports Peru´s gold (first link) and their other metals (second),  But in return, we buy Korean bearings...

LOL, fishez!


Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:24 | 4588761 manofthenorth
manofthenorth's picture

Nunber of Americans saving in ounces instead of Dollars ???

LESS than 2% ?

ZHers are 1% ers !!!


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:32 | 4588895 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



Why should the FSA save anything?

After all, Obama and the progressives have promised them Social Security, ObamaCare, ObamaPhones, Food Stamps, Section-8 Housing...

Not surprising when Obama's administration leads by example:

At the time of her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2009, after a 25-year legal career, including 17 years as a federal judge earning nearly $200,000 a year, Justice Sotomayor had no retirment savings, no stocks or bonds, and a personal savings account worth only $31,000, but had credit card and dental bills nearly as high.

Why shouldn't she spend every penny she makes; after all, she's guaranteed a life-time federal pension equal to her final salary as a federal judge.

A perfect object lesson for the progressive big-government crowd...


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:01 | 4589252 justsayin2u
justsayin2u's picture

Sotomayor sounds like an average middle class person today - she spends every dime she has, uses home equity plus salary and credit, and feeds every material desire she has.  Save money - not so much.  So how prudent is this person - not so much.  How about this person's self-control - not so much.  Why would we trust her judgement if she can't control herself?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:46 | 4589319 rbg81
rbg81's picture

It's funny.  I have met many people who are super sharp/smart in their professional life.  But, when you start to talk personal finances, the majority of these seem to be absolute dunces.  Never understood that disconnect.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 08:04 | 4589353 headhunt
headhunt's picture

I have found a similar pattern including they are very self centered and selfish.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:50 | 4589712 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

Daniel Kahnemann's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" goes a long way towards explaining our often irrational behaviour, especially when it comes to investing and risk.  Basically, our brains are great at survival, not so great at statistics and probability.

Lack of financial education is probably also a factor.  Don't know about you, but my grade school didn't teach so much as how to balance a chequebook, let alone manage investments, credit, and so on.  Kids are expected to learn it all the hard way, I guess.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:26 | 4589879 Svener
Svener's picture

No, I don't think kids are expected to learn the hard, I think it's referred to as "Parents".  Expecting our schools to teach kids about everything is crazy.  We taught our daughter responsibilities (vote, serve jury duty, obey the law, use your common sense in all things, pay your bills, replace the furnace filter, change your flat tire, change the oil, mow the lawn, pay your taxes, show up for work and do your best (be a part of the solution), write a check, whole life insurance vs. term life insurance, boys (small apes), treat animals kindly, That was our responsibility, to teach about life.  Not the school system.  And if there is something we missed.  Oh for crying out loud, use your brain and research it.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:49 | 4590247 exi1ed0ne
exi1ed0ne's picture

We homeschool, which means our income is cut in half.  I refuse to put money into a 401K or any other paper promise that can be mugged by wall street which is what most of these charts represent.  Most of what I make goes into pure maintinence of our house, kids, educational supplies, and taxes (45-50% direct taxation of labor, property tax, sales tax, etc).  I make OK money, but my largest investment is in my kids.  I have zero illusions that there will ever be the opportunity to retire in any form, and I will not collect assets for the medical industry to plunder when something goes wrong and the Dr decides to ignore my wishes and save me no matter the cost. 

My retirement plan is doning milkbone underware witha gravy bath and wander out into the woods rather then be a burden on my family.  Fuck the financial system.  I refuse to participate any more then I have to.  I'm never going escape, but I'm damn sure gonna give my children the best of all possible shots to do so.  THAT is REAL investment.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:44 | 4589697 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

No, you're a blog-pimping sock puppet account.  Go away.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:27 | 4588603 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Must be something brewing, they are trying extra hard to beat down the price of PMs.

Thursday futures expiration? Or maybe something bigger, like an immanent attack of Iran or Syria

by the Joos.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:17 | 4588544 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Good thing we don't have shared pensions.  At least a few percent of the $100K+ earners can live on their savings after they retire.  For a year or two.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:20 | 4588569 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

hehehehe.........yeah ain't dat da truth..........fochin' joke......and wait til they dunk the dollar on um.......then they'll be dumpster divin' with the rest of the "retirees" and tryin to grovel to Wal Mart

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:24 | 4588590 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

And voting for the husband of a banker (Cruz) or the wife of a sociopath (cankles).

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:17 | 4588545 Lord Drek
Lord Drek's picture

Retirement? What a silly concept. What a silly country we live in.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:19 | 4588566 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Drek... I just looked under my bed and found someone either coming or going.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:02 | 4589154 SunRise
SunRise's picture


Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:24 | 4588591 Decolat
Decolat's picture

+1. Saving for retirement is fear of death. And more importantly, fear of life, if you think about it.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:50 | 4589325 rbg81
rbg81's picture

So, we should all just live for today and work till we drop?

When you consistently save for retirement, you actually accumulate more $$.  And that $$ translates into freedom and flexibility.  That's much better than being a perpetual debt slave working paycheck to paycheck, no?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:14 | 4589575 IPA
IPA's picture

Agreed, you have three choices. Spend more than you make with credit card and such (not sustainable) spend exactly what you make (pay check to paycheck) or spend less than you make (savings).

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:35 | 4589657 toady
toady's picture

That mindset is one of my major problems with religion. No one is supposed to plan. You're just supposed to wander the earth, trusting in God, not knowing where you will sleep tonight or eat tomorrow. Have faith!

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:30 | 4589900 Svener
Svener's picture

No it's love of life.  so much so that in those years when you have the least energy you can afford to take a nap in the afternoon instead of going to that meeting.  21 months to go and counting.  Out by 55!

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:17 | 4588553 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Freeze dried food, silver and ammo- the new retirement program.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:35 | 4588629 jez
jez's picture

And saying "Welcome to WalMart" 500 times a day.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 08:46 | 4589485 FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

Rake+hoe+shovel+non-GMO seeds+land=Health Care

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:17 | 4588554 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

You can't save for retirement when costs are too high, pay is too low, and you are being bled to death by a parasitic Wall Street and Washington.

Yes, it is that simple.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:14 | 4588719 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

It's time for North Americans to discover the East European retirement plan. It's called "suicide". Everyone's approved, no applicant refused, no need for medical, no monthly fees.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:12 | 4588949 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Don't be stupid or a sheep.

Multi-generational living (3 or 4 gen multiplex) is one shrewd solution that saves a bundle, and leads to good family ties and well-grounded people.

The next logical and organizational step is a strong and resilient community. Think global, act local.

Stop being afraid, start somewhere but start.

And stop following that loser Hippie God (who's into raising meek, shearable, shagable and fleeceable sheep), and create or follow a Warrior God.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 04:45 | 4589144 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

36And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:59 | 4589747 StandardDeviant
StandardDeviant's picture

I suggest Crom.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:53 | 4589963 zorba THE GREEK
zorba THE GREEK's picture

Or just use the old testaments God. He didn't take no crap. Eye for an eye and all that.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:21 | 4589600 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

Don't worry, you'll get your wish when the next global financial event occurs.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:07 | 4588853 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

All of the things you mentioned are a consequence of government.

Luckily for the Lords and Masters, the dupes still are clamoring for them.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:53 | 4589336 headhunt
headhunt's picture

'All of the things you mentioned are a consequence of government.' - that is 'government unions'.

The government unions are an incestuous amalgamation of power and greed.


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:39 | 4589930 Svener
Svener's picture

BS.  Yes you can.  Don't buy a smart phone, don't buy beer, don't go out to eat 12 times a week, don't hire lawn service., don't get your nails done, don't buy dish/cable TV (you have a library, use it), have your wife cut your hair, don't buy new cars (buy used), don't get the latest tablet. I could go on and on.  We've done it and there are disabled (yeah right) and welfare folks that have more and better gadgets and can afford to eat out more often than we do.  Absolutely everyone I know that grumbles about how broke they are just spend foolishly.  "I'm so broke this week I had to get a pay day loan" as he puffs on a cig!

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:19 | 4588563 reader2010
reader2010's picture

Saving for one's own retirement is a very recent concept,  and it's an essential part of the ruling ideology. 

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:22 | 4588580 q99x2
q99x2's picture

This is not good in the long term for anyone.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:32 | 4588619 nasa
nasa's picture

Serfs can retire?  

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:37 | 4588625 AdvancingTime
AdvancingTime's picture

Your post hammers away at the real truth. Too many articles try to sugarcoat how ill prepared most Americans will be when they retire. Unfortunately many people will quickly become dependent on the government. An American born in 1945 can expect nearly $2.2m in lifetime net transfers from the "state" far more than they pay in, and far more than any previous group.

A study by the International Monetary Fund in 2011 compared the tax bills of what different age citizens pay over their lifetime with the value of the benefits that they are forecast to receive. The boomers are leaving a huge bill and will be a burden to the young. More on the size of this mess in the article below.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:39 | 4588786 JR
JR's picture

Most baby boomers have yet to retire; the oldest this year is 68 years of age, the youngest 50. Fox News reported in August of 2012 that the majority of these new retirees, except low-income workers retiring, will be receiving less in Social Security than they paid in.   Reports Fox:

“People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It's a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press… 

“A married couple retiring last year, after both spouses earned average lifetime wages, paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. 

“Social Security benefits are progressive, so most low-income workers retiring today still will get slightly more in benefits than they paid in taxes. Most high-income workers started getting less in benefits than they paid in taxes in the 1990s, according to data from the Social Security Administration.

P.S. And this, I assume, doesn't take into account inflation. As Jim Quinn writes today on ZH:

"The insidious central banker created monetary inflation is the cause of all the ills in our warped, deformed, rigged, financialized economic system."

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:01 | 4588946 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"“A married couple retiring last year, after both spouses earned average lifetime wages, paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank. "

How much with Medicare and other Gov't run medical subsidies? My guess is that if the medical subsidies are included thet will very much get more out than they paid in.


In the end it doesn't matter, the US is insolvent and can't avoid a collapse or WW3. Its just a matter of time before this house of card collapses.


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:58 | 4589741 toady
toady's picture

"How much with Medicare and other Gov't run medical subsidies? My guess is that if the medical subsidies are included thet will very much get more out than they paid in."

Probably as much as they paid to Medicare and other gov taxes.

More importantly, the people aren't being paid Medicare or medical subsidies, the medical-big pharma complex is. The people who realize they will die do everything they can to not let the insurance companies drain their bank account or fleece the government.

But in the end, most people give up all their life savings and allow insurance companies to grift every nickle possible for just a few more minutes.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:28 | 4590128 JR
JR's picture

“Obamacare will therefore put Medicaid increasingly at the heart of our health-care system." -- John Hood

In short America has a welfare problem. And welfare for Medicaid is growing exponentially, massively costing taxpayers, both on the state and federal levels, and much of that welfare cost is hidden under Medicare when many Medicaid recipients were transferred into Medicare -- a deliberate ruse to make it seem most of Medicare was going to hard-working Americans.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote on May 8, 2013 that “in 2012, Medicaid provided health coverage for 67 million low-income Americans over the course of the year, including 32 million children, 19 million adults (mostly low-income working parents), 6 million seniors, and 11 million persons with disabilities, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

The Heritage Foundation reports that “Obamacare will add $1.8 trillion to federal health care spending by 2023. By 2015, health care spending will overtake Social Security as the largest budget item, including Obamacare’s coverage expansion provisions: a massive expansion of Medicaid and subsidies for the new health insurance exchanges.”

John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, a state-policy think tank based in North Carolina, and the author of, among other books, Investor Politics, wrote in 2010 on National Affairs:

“Medicaid already covers 60 million Americans and accounts for 16 cents of every dollar spent on medical services in the United States (I understand it now accounts for one quarter of every dollar spent). …

“Under Obamacare…as a result of loosened eligibility requirements, the bill's proponents expect some 16 million more Americans to sign up for Medicaid between 2014 (when the new rules go into effect) and 2019. This enormous increase in the Medicaid rolls represents about half of Obamacare's projected reduction in the number of uninsured Americans." 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:13 | 4590036 JR
JR's picture

Retirees on Medicare continue making insurance payments after they retire and the payments continue to get higher as they get older, even if they never use their Medicare.

The truth is that Medicare itself has become a wealth redistribution program, taking from higher income retiree beneficiaries to give to lower income beneficiaries – many of the latter former Medicaid beneficiaries who paid nothing into Medicare during their working years but who were added later to the Medicare program by government politicians.

A health insurance payment after retirement of $700-$800 a month or more, i.e., $8400-$9600 a year, is not unusal for a mid-to-upper middle class couple on Medicare. This includes Medicare Part B premiums plus premiums for Supplemental Health Insurance to private companies such as Blue Cross. And as retirement incomes increase to designated levels, Medicare payments after retirement increase accordingly.

As reports regarding Part B Medicare costs:

“You pay a premium each month for Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). Most people will pay the standard premium amount. However, if your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you may pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.” reports somewhat lower figures "on average." It reports that individual Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-74 spend $2,920 (c. $6000 for a couple) a year in out-of-pocket expenses. Those aged 75-84 spend $3,815 (c. $8000 for a couple), a year. And, those 85 and above spend $4,615 a year (c. $9200 a couple)– an average of 30 percent of their income.

Almost half of these out of pocket health care expenses were for premiums for Medicare part B or private medical plans. Approximately another 24 percent of that spending - $830 a year - is for prescription drugs.

Perhaps worst of all – none of these health insurance options offer long term care health insurance. Most also don't cover vision, dental care, hearing aids or prescription drugs. 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:38 | 4590175 cmb
cmb's picture

I read ZH for good news, but I really hate the about of dumb comments that insinuate that SS is an entitlement.  My parents have PAID into SS and many of you here have paid INTO it, yet you cheer for SS to be cut? check you fucking inteligence levels please.

Considering that the Treasury uses the SS fund brought in at "their discretion", if their isnt enough money...they need to find the money from somewhere like they find money for the wars in the middle east that make the corporations get rich, maybe the corporations should cover SS for a year.  hell I dont know the answer, but I know that SS is not insolvent...its only insolvent because the fed has stolen money out of it.


how anybody here can consider SS a entitlement program must have never come out of the backwoods for the last 40 years. 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:33 | 4589293 headhunt
headhunt's picture

The Social Security shortfall is solely due to the the huge bill being heaped upon the average citizen by the government unions. Their legacy costs are already in the trillions and growing. All the while they scream for more; larger pensions, earlier retirements, better healthcare - all paid for by you. Money out of your paycheck to support their lazy asses in their early retirement.

The SS costs are a pittance compared to this theft out of your every paycheck.

Get to work bitchez.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 14:20 | 4591007 messymerry
messymerry's picture

Couldn't agree more!!!  Public employee unions are an abomination of the highest order.  UTTERLY UNJUSTIFIED!  They are a slap in the face.  They and their supporters should be summarily dismissed.  The primary reason I ditched my local Tea Party is the disproportionate percentage of sanctimonious federal and state retirees sucking their asses off the system.  They are revolting in their parochial rationalizations.  If God is kind, they will shortly be relieved of their ill gotten gains...  They say an offense against a servant of the king is an offense against the king himself.  I say, a fate that's good enough for the king is a fate that's good enough for his minions.  Toss them all in disgrace.

OBTW:  I'm opening a distributorship in tar and feathers if you'd like to invest...  ;-D

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:36 | 4588632 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

There's no way to actually "save" capital under negative real interest rate conditions. You can gamble it, or you can eat the unavoidable losses from putting it in a bank or keeping it in the mattress, but you don't actually have the option of saving it.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:39 | 4588640 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

By design, while they tell us we're not saving enough and it's our fault that we must work until we drop.  What amazes me is how many people believe this tripe, while they imagine themselves captaining a yacht they will never own.  The oligarchs are good at the propaganda thing.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:37 | 4589306 The Shape
The Shape's picture

Much more comforting to sit on the dock with earphones in.

Much cheaper than a boat.


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:39 | 4590187 detached.amusement
detached.amusement's picture

nachos, lemonheads, my dad's boat...

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:41 | 4588650 Spungo
Spungo's picture

Why Would I save for retirement when Social Security has my back?

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:43 | 4588653 thtmnbhndthecrtn
thtmnbhndthecrtn's picture

Yeah I've saved. Now I can successfully bail-in the fuckers who didnt bother.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:08 | 4589160 SunRise
SunRise's picture

Those who didn't save - scared to death.

Those who did save - scared to death.

Sounds unstable.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:18 | 4589161 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

and both will fight eachother instead of fighting for the restoration of our national constitutions and rule of law, hence the reinvigoration of an artificial class warfare debate.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:25 | 4589282 headhunt
headhunt's picture

They will fight each other as the leftist elites have planned it that way.

Divide and conquer - it is their plan to stay in power and live off the sweat of your brow.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:42 | 4588670 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

the home of the entitled

The most entitled are the wealthy who have the Fed on their side to keep printing and increasing their wealth regardless of their actual contribution to economic value.

P.S. The wealthy are already saving and investing for their kids and grandkids retirement. Wealth effect my ass, the situation for the middle class and poor is beyond hope.


Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:51 | 4588678 nightshiftsucks
nightshiftsucks's picture

So I work in a high cost area,make a lot save a lot.If the whole pile doesn't collapse then I will sell it all and move to a cheap area.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:01 | 4588705 Spungo
Spungo's picture

"Yeah I've saved."

You terrorist cock sucker. Why do you hate America? Get out there and spend it! JC Penny is counting on you!

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:04 | 4588711 CoastalCowboy
CoastalCowboy's picture

I used to save for retirement, but I quit. I've accepted that I shall work until I become too feeble to work as we have for the vast bulk of our recorded history.

I once watched some video of the Rev. Michael Pfleger whipping up a crowd of parasites against those evil people who bother to invest in 401Ks in the Summer of 2008. Next up to bat was the Guaranteed Retirement Account (GRA) hearings back in the Fall of 2008 which made me recall back in the early mid nineties when they were discussing a one time wealth tax on retirement accounts.

I then started thinking about how I really cannot predict what the tax rates will be if I would ever be able to retire so I decided tax deferred investing is just too risky given the short term mindset that seems to govern societies throughout recorded history.

I now work on just saving my ass from the sorry looters when they come.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:25 | 4588764 Variance Doc
Variance Doc's picture

I junked you for going tits up without a fight; you limp dick MF.

There is a lot you can to do to fight the system.  Avoid macro, corporate products as much as you can.  I believe there once was a chart here at ZH which boiled down to 5 or 6 Hold Co's which have most corporate brands.  F'them.

Start local, grow your own food as much as possible.  Avoid "the system" as much as possible.  Like most things, if you ignore it, it will go away:

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:22 | 4589275 CoastalCowboy
CoastalCowboy's picture

Actually, I fight the system in similar ways as you do. The money I was dumping into those retirement accounts went into eliminating my debts as rapidly as possible which has eliminated a point of control over me.

I buy secondhand as much as possible also to avoid feeding the megacorps directly.

I'm working on developing more skills to transition into older age with multiple sources of income. Instead of turning years of hard labor over to bankster controlled frauds, I'm devoting my resources into things that I control.

Sadly, we will have serious challenges ahead of us, and I believe a majority expects something for nothing which is not going to happen for them. The problem with being in the middle is that the top and bottom are looking to squeeze everything they can from you. So, we must protect ourselves.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:07 | 4588720 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

How much of your 'retirement' savings go towards your own personal medical expenses? (irrespective of government programs)

If you don't intend on spending a fortune to stay alive for as long as possible (irrespective of your quality of life), if you make a conscious choice NOT to live longer than you want to, I suspect that 'retirement' becomes a lot more 'affordable'.

We have failed to come to terms with death and are too often afraid of it.  Too much is spent on pointless medical care prolonging lives just to prolong them.   Watched my parents take far too long to die and have no intentions of going through the same.   

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:23 | 4589167 SunRise
SunRise's picture

What if the first boxes of "Young Again", that really works )show up at your local pharmacy the day after you shut'er down?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:52 | 4589237 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

there seems to be an obsession with old age and medicine..... its not always the case though I know UK, AUS, USA are inclined to over medicate but many old folk can do well for yonks without being a rattling pharmacy

there is a diffeerence between retirement and old age.... a good decade or two should be about right

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:29 | 4589174 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

cynicalskeptic ..watching the prolonged death of a loved one is terrible and very upsetting

the converse of your argument is also terrible

it is not a justification for hollowing out retirement plans and quality care due to big pharma

there are alternatives unacceptable by the cabal for health and wealth

we learn from our losses and stubbornly refuse to submit into the future

I will find a way.... this is what TPTB fear

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:28 | 4589216 Zoomorph
Zoomorph's picture

Most people have no sense of purpose to their lives. To be comfortable or safe or hide from the world are not purposes. To be "happy" is an idiotic ideal which is bound to fail because happiness is only acheivable as a secondary phenomenon (if it wasn't - for example, via drugs - what value would it have anyways?), and only in proportion to the amount of unhappiness that was also experienced.

It seems to me that "retirement" is some idiot's idea of acheiving happiness or contentment in life - most likely after enduring a load of pain to get there, and solely because the rest of the sheep herd does the same thing. Such people had might as well be dead already, except that their miserable lives might be valuable for the rest of us to exploit.

These people will never understand many things about the rest of us, including our willingness and desire to die when the time is right, and our judgement of the value of life in vastly different terms than theirs (ie. not by the number of years you managed to keep breathing - nor by the number of T.V. episodes you watched). They do, however, hate us, and try with all their decrepit strength (which is moreso in numbers than in individuals) to suck the rest of the world down into their mire.

These people are not worth worrying about - they get what they deserve and their suffering in life is to be justified by the fruits of their labor that were reaped by someone more intelligent than them. To pity them is the worst dishonor we can do to ourselves.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:47 | 4589233 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

you are perhaps  judging too many by a very small yard stick

retirement that is self-funded is a goal to be free of daily shit from tin pot bosses etc if you saved and worked for it you should not have to give it upto the 'man' on new terms.

many people do understand how to retire - Obama may play golf as the president - retirees I know run properties and hard working free range lifstyles in the bush for pleasure and a sense of connectededness to nature without stressing about the cost (from their savings) nor expecting a return from their free labour (its a productive way of not wasting time on golf or tv).

watching my intelligent hard-saving and working parents getting messed by never ending regulations that re-possess by enchroament and cost, their paid off property without compensation. is watching theft in action.... may someone more intelligent not reap from you this way, its theft of saved income and property rights through the abuse of the constitution and common law. As they age the govt is ensuring its impossible for them to continue to live on their land even with their kids help and that is before toxic big pharma shit is pumped into them (which they don't want).

"Most people" is too large a net for you to cast judgement over, perhaps not all fit into your particular view it is a little narrow and in-correctly applied to those I know but perhaps I know more people.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:18 | 4589272 headhunt
headhunt's picture

George! George Soros! i did not know you were on ZH!

Now go fuck yourself and die.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:09 | 4588727 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Should be titled, "Why So Few Can Save for Retirement."

With the banksters stealing 10 or more percent a year, government stealing 15 to 30 percent on income and another 10 to 15 percent on consumption and property, how in the hell can anyone save for retirement unless they are one of the thieves doing the stealing?!


"I use a head-tax to fund my guillotines operations."

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:20 | 4588753 Dre4dwolf
Dre4dwolf's picture

Fuck retirement who needs money when your old, shrivled and slow?


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:16 | 4588878 darteaus
darteaus's picture


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:50 | 4589006 Bear
Bear's picture

The shrivled and slow eat

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 03:15 | 4589080 Dre4dwolf
Dre4dwolf's picture

move somewhere cheap and plant a fucking garden u dont need hundres of thjousands of dollars when ur old and useless

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:26 | 4589170 SunRise
SunRise's picture

If I plant a garden, being this old and useless, I'll probably keel over in it, which might be O.K. since I do have some fertilizer value, but I worry that my walker isn't biodegradable.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:51 | 4589186 BeansMcGreens
BeansMcGreens's picture

Do not worry about the walker, it will make a great trellis. Just keep some cucumber seeds in your pocket.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:51 | 4589235 mvsjcl
mvsjcl's picture


Nothing like gallows humor early in the morning.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 12:20 | 4590397 messymerry
messymerry's picture

Old age and treachery always wins over youth and enthusiasm...


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:14 | 4589263 headhunt
headhunt's picture

Well apparently todays youth believes they do not need to work as per their savior and new master.

Who needs money when you are young and stupid.

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 23:43 | 4588799 ChargingHandle
ChargingHandle's picture

Because abuse I am considered a highly compensated employee,  I can only put 1.46% of my check into the 401k. I think this rubbish. Why is there this rule? 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:11 | 4588954 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"Because abuse I am considered a highly compensated employee, I can only put 1.46% of my check into the 401k. "

It makes no sense to put a single dime in. Long before your able to cash out and spend your 401K dollars, the system will collapse and the dollar will be worthless. If you try to withdraw before 59.5, then you get a 10% tax penalty. 401K are not a retirement savings plan, its a plan for an extra 10% stealth tax since few americas are able to avoid draw downs before they reach 59.5. The smart choice would have been to stop contributing to 401Ks during the Bush years when taxes were near historic lows.


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:27 | 4589172 SunRise
SunRise's picture

For the slaveowners.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:10 | 4589260 headhunt
headhunt's picture

Communists hate anyone who is improving their financial position, it makes you hard to control when you are financially independent.

Also, they hate for anyone to do better than their neighbor (except for themselves) it foments jealousy which they cultivate to divide groups against each other so they can maintain their power as the 'ruling elites'.

Bottom line is they are communist wankers.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 09:09 | 4598045 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

No commies exist today, you're mistaking the word "communist" for the definition of "fascist"

Von Mises, John T Flynn, What is Fascism

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 09:08 | 4598041 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

401k is a rip-off, the wealthy are supposed to know better than to get roped into such things.

Whatever goes in will likely never come back out. Roach motel.

It's a blessing: gold, silver, food, productive property, that's where retirement savings go.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:26 | 4588901 WhyWait
WhyWait's picture

For whatever reason I hit age 60 in mid-second career and good health, with little savings or pension money but intending to work til 72 at least. I got laid off, replaced by a kid just out of college for half the pay, and no one would hire me.   I spent a good year on job hunting, and a year of mourning for my lost career and the terrible waste that represented. My retirement savings plus whatever part time work I could cobble together carried me through to 62, when I took early Social Security.   

So here I am, like a lot of folks I know, still able and willing to work, but retired and spending many more years on the dole than I ever intended. I still get some part time work to supplement my check - I'll be in trouble when I can't do that.  I'd take a real job if it fell into my lap but won't waste any more of my time looking for one. So I have time on my hands, a lot of basic skills, and energy.  And basically I'm still pissed off.  Seriously pissed off. 

So, I invented a new government-funded career for myself, as an organizer.

Every month I get a "paycheck" from Social Security to go out and talk to my neighbors and organize them to fight back around foreclosures, unemployment, absentee landlords and abandoned buildings.  I go to council meetings, rallies and crime watch meetings, legislative hearings, court hearings and eviction blockades, and I draw people out and bring them together. It's not easy but sure beats working for a boss!  I'm committed to staying alive and healthy until they shoot me or cart me away to the camps.

FEITCTAJ  (Fuck'em if they can't take a joke!)

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:44 | 4589181 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Good for you.

You also know if you were a lobbyist for the further destruction of your nation profiting the cabal you would be paid handsomely.

Like your style!

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:03 | 4589255 headhunt
headhunt's picture


You do realize you are now qualified to be POTUS

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:20 | 4588967 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"For whatever reason I didn't have much savings at age 60n in mid-second-career and good health, intending to work til 72 at least, when I got laid off, replaced by a kid just out of college for half the pay, and no one would hire me."

Why didn't you become the boss by starting your own business? Its virtually impossible to get laid off if you own the business.  There is no law that says you have to work for someone else to earn a paycheck! Not to worry about the kid that took your job, I think sooner or later his job will be outsourced or replaced by a machine. Also not sure why you could take back your job by working for less than the kid using your SS to subsidize your lower wage.The Kids probably got student loans, car payments, maybe a mortgage or rent to pay.

"I go to council meetings, rallies and crime watch meetings, legislative hearings, court hearings and eviction blockades, and I bring people together."

Sounds like a waste of time. Time that could be better spend earning and saving for when something un-expected happens.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 02:07 | 4589027 WhyWait
WhyWait's picture

"Why didn't you become the boss by starting your own business? "

That's another story.  Maybe someday I'll tell that one too.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:46 | 4589184 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Well starting ones own business that actually pays without a spouse working a stable job can be tricky for many reasons.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:36 | 4589925 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"Well starting ones own business that actually pays without a spouse working a stable job can be tricky for many reasons."

Non-sense. I did and I know many others that also did. Working for someone else isn't job security, its a liability since you are completely dependant on them to give you a paycheck. If the boss screws up, your out of a job. not the boss.


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 17:51 | 4591889 UselessEater
UselessEater's picture

Yeh I had my own business then the GFC hit and my region shut down over night... literally. Then the AUD soared and small business owners either started closing or getting loans or sending their spouse out for a job that many others were competing for. Just saying its not always straight forward.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 01:41 | 4588992 Rogue Economist
Tue, 03/25/2014 - 03:32 | 4589093 chaartist
chaartist's picture

all paper saving is useless and we have no idea in what paper to be when this collapses outside physPMs and basic survival stuff. Either way I am choosing meditation and less dependence on this "reality" for better smile during those times. You can't really prepare for what will come. Maybe hugging trees will be the way to go then, if not eating them.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 04:33 | 4589135 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

Do this same survey in a few years after the flock has had 1.7% of their incomes stashed away in a MyRA yielding 0.01235%. 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:57 | 4589245 headhunt
headhunt's picture

That yield is kind of high

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 12:15 | 4590372 messymerry
messymerry's picture

Yeah, put a minus sign in front of it...


Tue, 03/25/2014 - 04:46 | 4589147 dogismycopilot
dogismycopilot's picture

have kids. love them. raise them to be good people. stash cash, gold, guns, bullets. have a mortgage free house. invest in your self. learn to weld, fix pipes, something useful.


alert others. long winter is coming. 

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 05:23 | 4589168 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

wow..these guys must have a MBO (not a PhD)

MBO = Masters in the Bleeding Obvious. 


just saying

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 06:43 | 4589230 Comte d'herblay
Comte d'herblay's picture

"Debt is not Wealth"?? One big exception:

Maybe in a perfect world, but I know of two associates who ran up millions in debt, spent it, invested it, gave a lot of it to wives and children, and then declared bankruptcy.

I have to disagree that they are not wealthy, because they are both retired in their 50s living a life that only a wealthy person can.

The key to getting wealthy with debt is to find enough suckers willing to lend you money, borrowing so much that it becomes their problem if you can't or won't pay it back.

Look at the bankrupted Mortgage banking firms whose owners, employees and executives have legally taken out hundreds of millions, each, in compensation from their companies, and now have luxury homes all over the world, yachts, and several generations of wealth stashed in numbered accounts offshore.  




Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:17 | 4589832 dogismycopilot
dogismycopilot's picture

Comte, you raise an interesting point! The Price: for me to live in the same manner i am accustomed to here, i would need to earn in the US at least $600K USD pre-tax.

that's a big number and not a lot of time to get there and who knows how Obamacare and the IRS would ass rape me on the way to that magical number. 

theoretically (and this is only discussion for entertainment) the only other way one can easily and with some certainty amass large chunks of capital is to then do exactly what your colleauges did - borrow, borrow, con, convert to hard assets, stash, hide, and then BK. illegal and morally wrong but as you point out, that "moral hazzard" horse bolted a very long time ago as recently evidenced by Obama and Kerry's recent lectures on how not to invade countries.

Holy Shit. This is the home stretch to the end isn't it? So that's the answer for the long term unemployed - become criminals?


Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:39 | 4597841 Comte d'herblay
Comte d'herblay's picture

My dad only got to buy a house thru his alliance with a moonshine maker in a county south of ours.  Having no more than a high school education, high marks with little effort--smart guy, then having to spend 4 yrs in an orphanage, he came out with a somewhat larcenous turn of mind.

He was able to keep his illegal activity going for a dozen years, in addition to his regular job. He made more cash money as a Moonshiner, with a fast car, excellent driving skills, speedy deliveries, and a 'clientele' of black poor people who were sure happy to see him. I would ride with him from time to time. 

Until the IRS caught up to him thru an anonymous tip by a jealous ex-lover who turned him in. (Seems that all men of that generation had several women besides their wives, to fool around with, or so I am told). 

I remember him taking me to a 'meeting' with the IRS agent in a restaraunt to hopefully elicit some sympathy having a young child to raise and being essentially poor without the added income from the stiils.

He received a slap on the writst, got to keep most of his cash, and paid a monthly penalty for years to account for the meager net worth (grossly understated since he lived very modestly, saving practically every penny, with no other bad habits like drinking, gambling, and drugs) he showed the agent and that was all that they could determine he owned.

That he used a lot of it to buy his way into heaven by donating lavish cash gifts to the church left little to be passed on to his wife and children. 

From his example I learned early on that Criminality is the ONLY way to get a bit well off, though I have never come up with a scheme that would enrich me to the point that I could just tell the world to get away from me, with a serious large Go-to-Hell fund.

I don't think any serious fortune was obtained without breaking the law in some respect.  Moral, ethical, and legal boundaries, or all of them need to be transgressed, for masses, since they do not possess the brains, contacts, and rolodex that the elite pass on to their heirs. They are not entitled to more than survival.

But I do know that between my dad, some of his friends, and the examples that we see every day of the amount of wealth some accumulate by going bankrupt, stealing, cheating, lying, hiding assets, and all the other machinations one can use to avoid taxes, it would behoove parents to get their kids some street smarts if they ever hope to have a small or large fortune in their lives. The only other way is to get elected, or appointed to some government office.

As a first step, I would recommend a saturation course in going to work for the state or federal government, a large county government.  That way, if they are astute, clever, and opportunistic, careful and smart they can find a way to amass a great fortune, AND avoid being prosecuted.

If I had known back at the beginning of my career that 'government service' ---although lower paying at the time than private industry---would have been a very wise move, I'd likely be on top of tens of millions, with no possibility of imprisonment.  My ex-fiancee from university did just that and her only position was as Aide to a New Mexican Senator.  What she learned just in passing allowed her and her spouse to amass a small fortune in municipal bonds. How cool was that?




Thu, 03/27/2014 - 09:05 | 4598034 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Criminals made it this way, it's only fitting.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 07:35 | 4589299 franciscopendergrass
franciscopendergrass's picture

"Let me be clear, if you like your retirement.  You can keep your retirement." -Future Obama speech

Maybe the poor are doing it right.  The TPTB will confiscate our retirement to fund their stupid ass agendas.  Why save when Uncle Sam will only take it away.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 08:05 | 4589352 sudzee
sudzee's picture

Savings is where "money" goes to die. Why save a dollar today when it only buys 95 cents worth tomorrow.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 08:15 | 4589371 Agstacker
Agstacker's picture

I save in ounces not dollars.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:20 | 4589849 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

I used to harbor the 'business owner' dream.  But the fact is that there are so many regulations, and so many regulatory agencies that you spend more time and effort on compliance than you do on business.  The only way to beat that system is to have so large of financial resources that you can start out as a mid-sized or larger company.

But, if you have that kind of cash, why bother?

I've spent the last decade watching all my adventurous entrepreneurial friends crushed under wave after wave of bureaucracy.  

One friend shut his business down in 2010 and still has to keep a CPA, Lawyer, and insurance just to handle the continuing compliance demands from State and Federal agencies wanting to review his last 3 years of business!  Regulators, tax authorities, OSHA, you name it.  Every one of them wants to review the business as far back in the past as they can.  (They want the last 3 operating years because 4 years closed + 3 years = statute of limitations).

And why?  No one has ever brought any suit, never articulated any suspicion of wrong-doing, nothing.  This is just what regulatory agencies do to justify their budgets.

It is not only unproductive, it is perverse.

In this environment a business cannot be a retirement plan - unless you have access to such resources that you don't really need a retirement in the first place.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:26 | 4589875 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

If you want to use a business plan as a retirement under an inflationary monetary regime there is only one thing to do:

-Crowd-source as much seed money as you can

-Leverage the seed money as much as you can.

If you fail, then bankrupt and repeat.

If you succeed, they will inflate away your debts while your income (relative to the debt service) multiplies - allowing you to rinse and repeat.


That is how you get rich under the Federal Reserve.

But you have to be willing and able to deal with the aggravation and interference of dozens of regulators whose only purpose for existence is to shut you down.

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:22 | 4590053 Pee Wee
Pee Wee's picture

"...why again is Fed policy aimed at pumping up the assets of the wealthy..."

Obviously, the only thing that matters is wealth confiscation through Uncle Fascism.  Inequality and monetized justice is EXACTLY what the Fed is pursuing and championing.  The common man is to be exterminated.

Does the author really think no one can see it coming? Lawless incorporated fraud factories won't steal? 

Don't forget the free market fairies, you've got to believe!


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