#pensions #PublicSectorPensions #PrivateSectorPensions #TeacherPensions
Teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees in most places didn’t (and still don’t) get paid much.
The attraction to those jobs, historically at least, were the benefits: good health insurance and a good pension. For teachers, the bonus was having summers off.
Now, governments everywhere are sweating over how they are going to pay for current and future pension benefits for these dedicated public employees. After all, the last thing anyone wants to do is to break a big-time promise to these folks, who are counting on those pensions.
Also, hiring teachers, cops and other public employees is getting more difficult. The private-sector pay is just too attractive – and politics slightly less volatile – to attract enough bright folks into these public professions.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article April 30, 2019, saying that Georgia lawmakers were moving forward on legislation to put the state’s $78 billion pension system for teachers on more stable footing for the future.
The legislation could temporarily mean a much bigger taxpayer subsidy to the system, which provided pensions to 127,000 Georgians last year, and promises benefits to more than 200,000 teachers and state university system employees in the future, the article says.
The article did not specify what that would cost the taxpayers.
It is not just Georgia that’s having a pension fund issues. It’s virtually a nationwide problem.
Retirement funds are caught in the bind of people living longer and drawing more and more out of the pension system.
Private-sector employers can just stop paying into their pension system, thereby depriving their employees of their hard-earned retirement benefits and breaking the promise they made to them upon hiring.
It’s a bit more difficult for the public sector to do the same.
To top things off, people are not saving for retirement as vigorously as previous generations did. Or, many people are ousted from their jobs well before they reach retirement age, or even qualify for any retirement benefits, presuming such benefits are offered.
In short, if retirement is to be, it’s almost entirely up to me (you). There is certainly Social Security and Medicare, which are having their own problems. Most experts, though, believe these benefits are not in danger of suddenly going away. They could be decreased in future years, they say, but won’t disappear entirely.
One certainly cannot live on Social Security and Medicare alone, and expect a fun-filled robust retirement.
What to do? If you are young, time is on your side. Make saving for retirement a priority. Watch your spending: that daily $5 cup of coffee can add up over time. Put whatever you can out of your paycheck into savings, and as it grows, get some guidance on how best to invest it.
Put a portion, or all, of any pay increases you receive – those are getting smaller and less frequent in recent times – into that nest egg. Remember: the less you see your money, the less likely you are to spend it.
If you are older, and at or close to retirement age, and your nest egg is tiny, you have fewer options. Still, there are some. Regardless of your age, you can check out one of the many vehicles that allow a person to spend a few part-time hours a week in activities that don’t include a “second job.” There is certainly work, but it won’t feel like a job. The additional income could potentially solve any income problems you may have. To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
In short, regardless of where you work, don’t count on the promise of a pension. Such promises are broken every day. Private-sector employees who may have lost their pension benefits may not be as sympathetic to public-sector employees with pensions, and may not care whether you get your promised pension.
To sum it up, it will be up to you, and only you, to secure your retirement.


#WhereToRetire #retirement #moving #BestPlacesToLive
When you retire, where do you want to live?
The beach?
The mountains?
The big city?
The country?
Do you think you don’t have any of those options?
Wes Moss, who writes a Money Matters column for The Atlanta Journal-Consitution and has a similar radio show on WSB-AM in Atlanta, advises clients to think before they move.
“Relocating may seem to offer an added financial bonus if you believe you can sell your home, purchase a less expensive place and pocket the difference,” Moss writes in his April 29, 2019, column.
Sometimes, housing markets differ by location. If your current house is near a big employer, like, say, Google or Facebook in the Silicon Valley of California, you might be able to sell your house there, move a few miles away and buy a less expensive house. That would give you a pretty nice nest egg for your retirement.
Sometimes, where you want to move may be more expensive than where you live now. For example, if you live a good ways inland and you want to live at the beach, you may find waterfront property more expensive than your current home. If you have the money in hand, it’s not a problem. If it’s going to be a stretch to make it work, the idea may require more thought.
Moss points out that those retirees with paid-off mortgages are the happiest. On the other hand, most mortgages today have interest rates in the low single digits. It may be better, presuming you have a good financial adviser, to leave your cash in his or her hands to make you a better return than your mortgage is costing you.
Moss also talks about the notion of “home.” Do you want to leave family, longtime friends and neighbors and move to a place at which you know no one? For some, that thought is intriguing, especially if you want to move to a place that has better weather than where you live now. But it certainly requires some thought.
You may find, as Moss writes, that “with just a little polish, what’s old might just be new, and right under your nose.”
If you are the type who is indeed looking to start anew in retirement at a new place, financial flexibility is important.
Also, different areas have different costs of living. Part of your flexibility is knowing that you can probably cut expenses by moving to a place that has a lower cost of living than where you live now.
So add up what it costs you to live where you are, and research what it will cost you to move and to live in a new location. You could actually make money by moving.
Finally, if your retirement savings isn’t what it should be, you may want to consider the many ways out there to earn extra income with a few part-time hours a week, without getting a “second job.” To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
So add up whatever income you will have in retirement and compare that to your expenses. Do some research, and visit the area(s) you might like to move to, and compare your happiness factor there, to the happiness factor you have where you live now.
Whatever you do, try not to move someplace, only to find that you have to move back to where you came from, for whatever reason.
Remember, too, that a house is a house. Your home is where you make it.


#suicide #SuicidePrevention #SuicideAmongMen #AspenColorado
He was a reliable family guy with a big laugh.
He was white, hard-working and middle-aged.
It may have been the American Dream that caused him to commit suicide.
So writes Randy Essex, senior news director at the Detroit Free Press. His column on the matter also appeared April 16, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I’ve known a handful of men over the years who took their own lives. I’m in the prime demographic myself,” Essex writes. “And, I spent three years as an editor near Aspen, Colo., — as strange as it may seem, an area plagued by suicide,” he continues.
“The (ski) season goes by and people think, ‘I didn’t meet the girl of my dreams. I got laid off. I don’t have any more money,” writes Essex, talking about the glamour of living in a vacation paradise.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to be whatever he or she wants, Essex says. White men already born with advantages, feel the unspoken words: “If you can’t make it, it’s your fault and you are a failure,” he writes.
Suicide rates have been rising not only in the general population, but also among troops after deployment.
Some of the men Essex talks about did have it good at one time. The Great Recession changed that for good.
Now, all men and women are faced with going to a job and not knowing what surprise announcement might await them.
After all, no one tells you it’s coming until the day it arrives.
In today’s world, companies have to be nimble. They have to adjust to change quickly. What was a hot seller for years is no longer. What used to be done by five people is now done by one, thanks to technological advances.
In previous generations, such progress was much slower. In some cases, unions had the power to slow progress and prevent efficiencies.
Those days are gone forever. What faces many people, particularly middle-aged people or older, is the horror of losing a job that had been good to them for a long time, and getting a job that probably pays a good deal less.
There’s talk of getting retrained, but those in the middle-to-end of their careers have a decision: do I spend the time getting retrained, only to buy a couple more years of work? Or, do I spend the time getting retrained to do job X, only to find that by the time I get started with it, a different skill from the one I learned is needed.
There is good news here. Yes, one does not have to kill himself. Instead, he or she can spend a few part-time, off-work hours a week doing something completely different — something that can not only augment income, but perhaps surpass any income a job could provide.
The key is being open to looking at one of the many vehicles that would allow a person to do that. If you have thoughts about doing something different, and want to check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
If you find yourself wanting to commit suicide, stop. Call the Suicide Lifeline included in Essex column. The number is 800-273-TALK (8255).
Your family and friends still love you, no matter how desperate you feel your circumstances make you. Instead, look ahead to a bright future by looking at something different.


#UnicornEconomy #EconomicTrends #TemporaryJobs #unemployment #inflation
It’s been dubbed “The Unicorn Economy.”
That is an economy so unusual, that both unemployment and inflation are low.
Neil Irwin discussed this in an article for The New York Times, also published May 4, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
That same day, the Atlanta newspaper published an article that says temporary jobs are playing a bigger role in Atlanta’s economy.
“The last few years have made it clear the Phillips curve – the relationship between unemployment and inflation – has either changed shape or become irrelevant,” Irwin’s article says.
Generally, when the employment picture is good, wages go up and, by correlation, so do prices for goods and services. That defines inflation.
But that does not appear to be happening, making it tough to set economic policy, the Irwin article says.
Meanwhile, technology has spawned the increase in temporary workers, the other article says.
“In an increasingly uncertain economy, a company that has demand for its services right now can get the people it needs – without committing to keep paying them if demand drops,” the article says.
“If business suddenly slows, workers go away. If business is strong, a company can take temps who have proven themselves and hire them – no muss, no fuss, no ads or interviews,” the article continues.
Low unemployment coupled with low inflation may look good on paper, but several things could be at play.
First, wages are not increasing as much as they should in a good economy. Some are seeing raises for the first time in years, but many wages are not good enough for some people to make a decent living.
As the article on the temporary workers implies, fewer workers are getting benefits from their employers, like health insurance, vacations etc. That helps companies keep labor costs down, so they won’t have to raise prices.
In short, what looks good on paper may not translate into the best of lives for average workers. The job security and benefits of the past are gone, in many cases.
On-demand or volume-variable staffing is not good for the workers who have to navigate it. Some full-time workers may be asked to go home, either without pay or by using vacation time. What a job-security nightmare for those folks.
The good news is that there are ways for workers to deal with, or even eliminate the problem. There are a number of vehicles out there in which a worker can invest a few, part-time, off-the-job hours a week and earn a potentially lucrative income. It doesn’t matter the worker’s background, education or job skills. He just has to be willing to take a look, and see whether any of these vehicles is to his liking. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Today’s job market is unrecognizable to your parents, grandparents or other older relatives. In the old days, “steady” work was the ultimate goal. As the two articles indicate, the economy has changed and so have work rules.
Workers may now have to look for income alternatives that may lie outside one’s comfort zone.