Welcome to my world, folks:
Many studies have come out showing that Americans aren't adequately saving for their retirement.
Indeed, most do not. But that isn't my specific problem.
And a new Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of investors shows that they agree. Almost half, 46%, are very or somewhat worried about outliving their savings, including 50% of non-retirees and 36% of retirees.
I definitely share that concern. But not because I haven't saved like a wildman. I am German, you know.
Social Security represents a major cause for concern.
"Clearly Social Security plays a key role in thinking about retirement income, and concerns about the government's ability to address the system's financial problems exist for both retirees and non-retirees," Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo, said in a statement.
A total of 58% of the respondents don't think Washington will act in time to preserve Social Security for future retirees. Only 38% of investors aged 18 to 49 expect to receive most or all of their benefits, compared with 73% among those 65 or older and 71% of those aged 50 to 64.
I've known for twenty years that I'm never going to see one thin dime, one red cent, of Social Security. The optimistic estimate of when it will die - 2029 - just happens to be the year I reach the current statutory retirement age, which I've always considered to be a cosmic belly laugh at my expense. Which is most of why I've saved like a Wildman my entire adult life, stayed in my dinky cracker box dump of a house, never traveled, never bought a new car and only purchased "pre-owned" cars when I absolutely had to, didn't see a doctor for almost thirty years, and all around eschewed the conspicuous consumption that has long characterized the "paycheck to paycheck" crowd. I've worked hard, played by the rules, lived well within my means, and followed all the advice of my parents who grew up during the (First) Great Depression.
My reward was to be screwed out of my job and see my career destroyed before the age of fifty.
Which is what makes these CNBCCCP recommendations almost comically problematic:
"Aim to max out your 401k, IRA and other tax-advantaged accounts." Workers 50 and up can contribute extra to their 401k accounts in an IRA. So do it if you can.
That would help me how, exactly? I've got no income, so the most I would be doing would be shifting money from savings I can access to savings I cannot for another decade. And since I'm not getting my Monopoly money within a country parsec of the Bubble Market and interest rates guarantee that money market accounts won't earn jack on either end, it would be, for me, nothing more than financial masturbation.
"Hang on to your job just a little longer." The longer you put off retirement, the more wealth you can accumulate by the time you get there.
That's just cruel. If I could apply that recommendation, I wouldn't be in this mess.
"Strategize Social Security." The rule of thumb is that the longer you wait to collect on Social Security, the better, because that allows time for your benefits to build up. But if you need money soon, you may not have a choice.
I've run the numbers, gents; I hear what you're saying and agree on the substance, but that's the difference between burning through two-thirds of my retirement before I reach retirement age and burning through three-quarters of it. And that's the best case scenario, barring winning the proverbial lottery or any other unforeseen fiscal manna from heaven. And it also assumes that Social Security will be around when - if - I reach 65, which it won't be.
I guess that's why, for me, there's a certain clinical detachment with which I regard commie butchers like Ezekiel Emanuel and their "mandatory death age" arguments. He can talk about a 75-year-old age limit all he wants, but I'll have starved to death long before I could ever live that long.