I came across a blog post on the Mother Jones Web site this morning that put in the starkest terms I’ve ever seen the reality of the retirement crisis.
It’s important to note that Mother Jones is a left-leaning publication, to say the least, and some writers — like many that lean far left or far right — can get caught up in hyperbole.
That said, I don’t think MJ senior correspondent James Ridgeway is exaggerating when he writes that "visions of golden years spent playing golf in Tucson or bridge in Boca Raton, promoted by AARP magazine and purveyors of retirement investments, are now nothing more than a chimera for most Americans. The exception, of course, is a wealthy minority … For everyone else, old age been reduced to three alternatives: Those of us lucky enough to have jobs can keep working indefinitely; the rest can live poor or die."
To make his point, Ridgeway recounts the findings of Retirement USA’s retirement income deficit, as well as findings from Fidelity and the Pension Rights Center, that show the decline in retirement savings and availability of pensions and the increase in the number of 401(k) loans and hardship withdrawals.
Ridgeway’s bluntness made me cringe, and then consider: Maybe he’s right. Maybe for all your work trying to offer and encourage participation in retirement benefits, the behavioral and economic reality is that workers’ retirement options really boil down to the three he mentioned.
What do you think? Can Americans still have the “golf in Tucson or bridge in Boca Raton” retirement, or is that a dream forever lost? Are we destined to “work indefinitely, live poor or die?” Share your thoughts in the comments.
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