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Author Topic: retirement in hind-site....ugg !  (Read 6437 times)

TonyDtorch

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retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« on: October 23, 2015, 08:00:21 AM »
 after going over my retirement plans... I discovered this article .....


The over 600,000 records -- obtained through a series of public records requests to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) -- reveals an 'average' full-career pension of $81,372 for miscellaneous, which includes all non-safety retirees,
and $99,366 for safety retirees of all Orange County cities enrolled in CalPERS.



 the best job security possible, ...lifetime healthcare, ....lifetime paycheck.

it appears that "Civil Service" is the real wealthy middle class ....

 30 years ago I should have just given up, and gone down and got a job at any municipality.....ugg !



« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 08:51:00 AM by TonyDtorch »

Gregg

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2015, 09:25:06 AM »
And who is working for whom?  Even if you are fortunate enough to work for a company that offers retirement, I know of nobody who is getting that level of benefits unless their salaries were well into the 6 figures.  How many of us homeowners does it take to support this?  I am responding in general terms because this seems to be an example of what is going on in many locations.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 09:27:04 AM by Gregg »
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bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 11:21:48 AM »
Firemen get days off after working 24 hour shifts. People commonly said that they sure wished they had such a cushy job and got that much time off. I gave them the address, 747 Market Street and said that the City tests every two years. All you had to do was go take the written test, oral test, physical test, doctors exam, 8 weeks of recruit training, 1 year of probationary training, and then learn to deal with dead, dying and dismembered, crawl into burning buildings, climb 100' ladders carrying 78 pounds of chainsaws, axes and hooks to cut holes in roofs with fires burning underneath (don't think about Pete in Fresno falling thru that roof), and deal with the nightmares.

Yep, the job pays well and the retirement is good. Everyone should have done it. When I was out at 3 in the morning at my 3rd accident of the night, in freezing rain, I used to imagine myself in a nice warm office pushing paper and getting off work at 5. The grass is always greener........


Ken

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2015, 02:08:35 PM »
 Ok Ken,
then just get a job in the maintenance department and lean against a shovel for 30 years then retire on 90k a year for the rest of my life....

Don't sound too hard to me.

The retired cops and firemen I personally know get well over 6 figures a year for the rest of their life..
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 02:10:59 PM by TonyDtorch »

bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 03:47:21 PM »
I wonder why everyone doesn't do it then, beings it's so easy.

Ken

Gregg

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 04:29:05 PM »
It is not the salary they were or are getting while performing the job, it is the higher than normal retirement benefits that is unsustainable.  I was fortunate that I worked for a company that even offered retirement but it was nowhere near the salary I was making when I retired.  The medical coverage is pretty well nonexistent.  Would I want that level of pension? Sure, but where do you think all of this is heading?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 04:35:34 PM by Gregg »
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bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 04:49:32 PM »
Is the pension money put away as it is earned/paid so that it can grow and earn interest or is it being spent now with promissory notes put in for a future day of reckoning? Some states actually are putting the money into investments that grow and build a huge bankroll to support the future retirements. CA in not one of those. Is that the employees fault or the voters fault for putting politicians in charge of the funds?

Ken


TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 05:24:36 PM »
Is that the employees fault or the voters fault for putting politicians in charge of the funds?

Ken

Ken:

I'm not sure about that....but I do feel really disenfranchised here in CA...( but I still love it. )

A little story.....3 years ago I had a wonderful mechanic that loved the work, he was earning $35.00 per hour at my shop, everyone was happy.

he comes in to work one morning and says he has to give me two weeks notice....!!! ???    I said, "any wage or anything I can do to keep you here I will do including 5% ownership per year"....he turned me down right there.

He says he put in a job appl. passed all the tests at the L.A. Dept of water and Power about 5 years ago, and they called with his job..... a starting machinist.
......starting wage of a 40 hour week is $94,000.00 a year.   +  Plus CalPers benefits...and they want him to work up to 60 hours a week if possible....

 I was stunned.  I've never worked for a company that ......had no competition and could charge whatever they wanted... :-\

I guess it's ........Welcome to Civil Service.



I see him about once a year at antique motorcycle shows and he always says thanks... and sorry to me.... :-[

I'm telling my kids and everyone else I know...Easy or not, it may be the best/only chance for a pretty decent existence in America .


things have change Ken, in many public safety jobs ....they suffer a very high percentage of injury / retirements usually after about 5-8 years of hard work.

 it is rare to hear of a "full service" P/S retirement anymore.

    Thank you Ken for your service to the people of America. you did work hard and should enjoy your retirement.


« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 06:24:21 PM by TonyDtorch »

Peteyboy

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2015, 06:29:46 PM »
Anyone who is willing to die to protect me or my belongings has my thanks, and whatever they get in their retirement, in my opinion, is well earned.  Thank you all.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2015, 08:18:15 PM »
It is not the salary they were or are getting while performing the job, it is the higher than normal retirement benefits that is unsustainable.  I was fortunate that I worked for a company that even offered retirement but it was nowhere near the salary I was making when I retired.  The medical coverage is pretty well nonexistent.  Would I want that level of pension? Sure, but where do you think all of this is heading?

the Calpers retirement rate for public safety positions is equal to 83% of your highest years income.

Typically in the last year before retirement,  everyone skips vacation and puts in a lot of overtime ,

bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2015, 09:11:56 PM »
I think you'll find CA and a few other states, like NY, are not the norm. And that is exactly why they have the money problems they do. In my system it would take 41.5 years of service to get 83% in retirement. Disability retirement is 2% of high 5 years salary, per year served. If you retired disabled after 8 years of service you'd typically get 16% of your salary. Not many disability retirements under this system, but it is solvent. We buy disability insurance out of our own pocket. Our typical retiree has 30 years or more service. Before I retired, over 40% of the working FF's were eligible for service retirement, out of a little over 400 FF's. Oh and did I mention we pay 50% of our retirement contribution, just over 7% of salary? And the Feds in their infinite wisdom in the Windfall Elimination Act take the majority of Social Security away because we also have a "state" pension. Kiss that 7.65% of whatever earnings you make on a second job away.

And I'd do it all again. It was a great career 95% of the time.

Ken

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2015, 09:25:17 PM »
it's not just a couple of states in financial trouble, 16 states are actually operating bankrupt.......and, what is our National debt now days ?

I wish I could have gotten a piece of the pie before the ship goes down.


Ever wonder why there is a waiting list for Civil Service jobs. ..?

« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 09:06:04 PM by TonyDtorch »

dave54

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2015, 07:48:17 PM »
the Calpers retirement rate for public safety positions is equal to 83% of your highest years income.

Typically in the last year before retirement,  everyone skips vacation and puts in a lot of overtime ,

That would be after ~27 years of service, with 3% per year of service.  Around 7%-9% of salary deducted from their paycheck and are not eligible for social security.

In most counties overtime does not count towards final salary.  Base pay is used.  Some counties have different contracts.

After I became an empty nester I started putting half my salary into my IRA,  457 plan, and other investments.  My investment income is now greater than my pension.

I also had annual physical fitness testing --fail and I would have lost my job.  As you get older those tests get a lot harder.  I had to maintain all my accrediations and certifications,  and complete the recurring CEs.  A lot of my time off was taking classes on line.  We had restrictions on day off activities -- 10 hour bottle rule.  I could not even crack a beer or have a glass of wine 10 hours before going on shift.  When I was duty officer I was on 24 hour call (unpaid) and had to stay within a two hour drive on my day off.

All in all it was a great career but would not want to do it again.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2015, 10:53:02 PM »
   I am not saying a public safety job is an easy job....that goodness the retirement and pay is pretty good.


Rather than go through all the day after day misery and 24 hour danger of a public safety career ....

I should have gotten a job at almost county/ city/ state maintenance yard and spent 30 years leaning against a shovel.

The average CalPers retirement for all other non P/S jobs  is..... 88,000.00 per year    and comes with full medical coverage  for life.



as a side note....I know this traffic officer at a local beach city here.
According to his co-workers, he earned his way the $200k per year club with all the traffic court overtime pay..and he is due to retire soon.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 11:16:47 PM by TonyDtorch »

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2015, 07:33:21 PM »
   I am not saying a public safety job is an easy job....that goodness the retirement and pay is pretty good.


Rather than go through all the day after day misery and 24 hour danger of a public safety career ....

what I was saying was,   I should have gotten a job at almost county/ city/ state maintenance yard and spent 30 years leaning against a shovel.

The average CalPers retirement for all other non P/S jobs  is..... 88,000.00 per year    and comes with full medical coverage  for life.



as a side note....I know this traffic officer at a local beach city here.
According to his co-workers, he earned his way into the $200k club with all the traffic court overtime pay..and he is due to retire soon. they work 3/12's so just about every court hearing earns them about $65.00 per hour, he is the leader in DUI arrests.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 07:39:11 PM by TonyDtorch »

SeilerBird

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2015, 08:08:29 PM »
The retired cops and firemen I personally know get well over 6 figures a year for the rest of their life..
Only if they live long enough to collect it.
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jyro

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2015, 08:31:21 PM »
after going over my retirement plans... I discovered this article ....

 30 years ago I should have just given up, and gone down and got a job at any municipality.....ugg !

But you didn't, quit worrying about what you didn't do 30 years ago.  live life and be happy
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rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2015, 11:14:56 AM »
Firemen get days off after working 24 hour shifts. People commonly said that they sure wished they had such a cushy job and got that much time off. I gave them the address, 747 Market Street and said that the City tests every two years. All you had to do was go take the written test, oral test, physical test, doctors exam, 8 weeks of recruit training, 1 year of probationary training, and then learn to deal with dead, dying and dismembered, crawl into burning buildings, climb 100' ladders carrying 78 pounds of chainsaws, axes and hooks to cut holes in roofs with fires burning underneath (don't think about Pete in Fresno falling thru that roof), and deal with the nightmares.

Yep, the job pays well and the retirement is good. Everyone should have done it. When I was out at 3 in the morning at my 3rd accident of the night, in freezing rain, I used to imagine myself in a nice warm office pushing paper and getting off work at 5. The grass is always greener........


Ken
I would do the same thing, when people would say, "I pay your salary" or "I wish I had your job".....I would send them to the Department of Personnel Administration (Civil Service) 1 Ashburton Pl., Boston, Ma., and tell them to take the test!

The job always looks cushy, until, like you said, we're out in the snow, the slush, or the mud, at 2am, crawling into a car flipped over, trying to stabilize a trapped patient, with a neck injury, while all the 9-5ers are home in bed, in their warm houses. 
My friends would laugh when they would tell me about their large pay raise, bonus, or other comps they got from their company, which we didn't get.  But when I retired, got my pension and health insurance benefit, guaranteed for life, they would say, they will never be able to retire, because they tapped into their 401K several times over the years, and their investment returns were down, as was their portfolio, and they wished they had a Defined Benefit Pension plan like I did.
I would tell them......We all make choices in life, some good, some bad.  But the one thing that stays the same, the grass is sometimes greener on the other side of the fence.
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rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2015, 11:19:14 AM »
Only if they live long enough to collect it.
Very true.
I can't tell you how many men and women I worked with, who retired, and were dead a year or two later.  The job really can eat you up!
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RoyM

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2015, 11:44:00 AM »
Part of that is not having any interests outside work. They retired then found they were bored to tears with no hobbies, no plans, nothing to keep them interested in life. Divorce rates spike at that point too, they start getting on each others nerves with all that time together and nothing pleasurable to talk about. I don't have time to back to the grind even if I wanted to.
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catblaster

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2015, 12:12:26 PM »
You forget or dont understand all that is involved. I worked for county government for 15 year before forced retirement.  I took a 30% cut in pay to go to the county along with having a 5 year pay freeze. They ONLY reason is for the benefits, pay sucks, supervision is either non existent or micro managed.  How many private employees are followed around by the press then reported on. While working my health benefits were as good as the outside and for that I get $600 a month.  We did get a Christmas party once but because of the taxpayers possible complaining we paid for it ourselves. 

Not all retirement systems are created equal. 
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Roland Schwarz

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2015, 03:26:02 PM »
You were told that Your benefits were for life but who will pay for them when the state and federal government go bankrupt? This is becoming a very real possibility when China decides to quit buying our debt.
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dave54

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2015, 05:02:16 PM »
You were told that Your benefits were for life but who will pay for them when the state and federal government go bankrupt? This is becoming a very real possibility when China decides to quit buying our debt.

If the federal government goes bankrupt we all will have larger problems than a pension cut.

According to the last full audit by KPMG the federal CSRS and FERS retirement funds are fiscally sound. State funds may be different.

I believe China is the number three holder of U.S. Debt, behind Canada.
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Roland Schwarz

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2015, 05:23:16 PM »
Actually I think Japan is number one and China number two in holding our debt. My point was that many states and local government bodies are in trouble and the federal government may not be able to bail them out in the future.
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rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2015, 05:56:54 PM »
If the federal government goes bankrupt we all will have larger problems than a pension cut.

According to the last full audit by KPMG the federal CSRS and FERS retirement funds are fiscally sound. State funds may be different.

I believe China is the number three holder of U.S. Debt, behind Canada.
You are quite right.
If the U.S. Government goes bankrupt, it will make the Greek financial crisis, most recent recession, and the Great Depression look like child's play!
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
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Roland Schwarz

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2015, 06:19:34 PM »
You are quite right, the future of our great country is in peril. And it could be a horror story none of us wants to see. At some point we need to wake up and understand we can't spend or promise to spend monies we do not have or will not earn in the future. A lesson that most of us practice in our personal lives but the government at all levels doesn't seem to get.
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Mavarick

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2015, 10:02:30 PM »
I for one have never seen a job that looked harder than the one I had, that was just impossible!!!!! Everyone else's job was easier, paid more, required less education and had more time off, something about the grass always being greener..... :o
I also know some folks working for the county and I wouldn't have their job. Always being scrutinized for every dime spent and every minute sitting in a truck vs. outside working no matter the situation, never mind leaning on a shovel. Had a lot of family that were cops or firemen, some never were lucky enough to know retirement, wouldn't have those jobs either and, my hats off to them for what they do every day.
Retirement in this country can be the best anywhere, we don't need to cover that, we just need to take responsibility for ourselves. Everyone else's always looks better. If we could convince our young people to save just a little bit whether it be in a 401k or Roth they could write their own ticket simply because of compounding. The same thing most defined benefit plans do, hint, hint. Sure some will get a little bit better deal and there will always be someone who figures out a scam. In the end it's a lot less work to figure out what career makes you happy and to find your way to save just a little bit and retire young.
Regret is what you do to occupy your time so you are too busy to see opportunity.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2015, 11:38:47 PM »
I was commenting about the CalPers  Non-Public safety retirement    being an 'average' .. of  $ 88,000.00 per year lifetime retirement.

I'm not saying any of the first responder jobs are easy, ... but they do pay well now days...no wonder there is an applicant waiting list of 5+ years for these jobs.. .


 read this article about a sleepy little town called Costa Mesa California.



http://articles.dailypilot.com/2012-03-24/news/tn-dpt-0325-commentary2-20120324_1_firefighter-contract-costa-mesa-taxpayers-assn-salaries

.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 12:05:01 AM by TonyDtorch »

Gregg

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2015, 08:54:37 AM »
Actually I think Japan is number one and China number two in holding our debt. My point was that many states and local government bodies are in trouble and the federal government may not be able to bail them out in the future.
This country is far better off than some most, but we should be ashamed of how the debt has been handled over the last few years.  If we as a country can not pay the bills now, what do you think is going to happen when the Feds decide to raise interest rates?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 10:32:35 AM by Gregg »
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garyb1st

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2015, 08:56:46 PM »
Is the pension money put away as it is earned/paid so that it can grow and earn interest or is it being spent now with promissory notes put in for a future day of reckoning? Some states actually are putting the money into investments that grow and build a huge bankroll to support the future retirements. CA in not one of those. Is that the employees fault or the voters fault for putting politicians in charge of the funds?

Ken

California is not alone in this mess.   The vast majority of states are in the same predicament.  According to Forbes, the total amount of unfunded liability for all States is $4.7 Trillion.  California is maybe $750 Billion.  But California also has about 10% of the US population.  So while we're doing worse than the average, we have a lot of company and I'm pretty sure we're not leading the pack. 

What has exacerbated the situation is the number of public sector employees who are retiring with final average  salaries that exceed their base pay by a factor of 2X or more.   When actuaries project required funding levels for future pension payments, they assume that when an employee retires his ending salary for pension purposes will be approximately what he was making when he retired, not 2 or 3 times the amount. 
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TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2015, 11:40:03 PM »
 
Anyone who is willing to die to protect me or my belongings has my thanks, and whatever they get in their retirement, in my opinion, is well earned.  Thank you all.

 

 hmm... six figure salaries for cops and firemen families is well earned, ...............and, the active duty pay for many military families is below the poverty level......

 I'm not sure I go along with it....but lots of thanks  !   :o

 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 12:09:19 AM by TonyDtorch »

rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2015, 08:25:00 AM »
Is the pension money put away as it is earned/paid so that it can grow and earn interest or is it being spent now with promissory notes put in for a future day of reckoning? Some states actually are putting the money into investments that grow and build a huge bankroll to support the future retirements. CA in not one of those. Is that the employees fault or the voters fault for putting politicians in charge of the funds?

Ken
Sometimes the pension funds are treated like an ATM by the politicians, just as Social Security has been dipped into by our leaders, thus leading to it being inadequate and underfunded, as well as being referred to as unstable and unsustainable.
The truth is, if the funds were left alone by the pols, and only used for their intended purpose, and funding schedules were adhered to, along with having money managers performing their fiduciary duties, and investing the money properly, the accounts would be fine, but they refuse to follow these very simple rules, and they have put these retirement accounts in jeopardy of collapse in the future.
It's not their money, to do with as they please, so they shouldn't be touching it, and replacing the money they take out with IOUs!
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
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From: Boston, Ma.
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bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2015, 09:47:03 AM »
Sometimes the pension funds are treated like an ATM by the politicians, just as Social Security has been dipped into by our leaders, thus leading to it being inadequate and underfunded, as well as being referred to as unstable and unsustainable.
The truth is, if the funds were left alone by the pols, and only used for their intended purpose, and funding schedules were adhered to, along with having money managers performing their fiduciary duties, and investing the money properly, the accounts would be fine, but they refuse to follow these very simple rules, and they have put these retirement accounts in jeopardy of collapse in the future.
It's not their money, to do with as they please, so they shouldn't be touching it, and replacing the money they take out with IOUs!

A lot of truth there Rebelsun. But who is blamed? Why the retiree of course.


Ken

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2015, 08:24:41 AM »
A lot of truth there Rebelsun. But who is blamed? Why the retiree of course.


Ken

Blame.....?

I'm guessing there is a Fire Chief in Costs Mesa that does not feel there are any problems with his $300k+ salary and his 6 figure retirement plan.

  it's well earned....right ?


« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 08:38:45 AM by TonyDtorch »

bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2015, 09:08:50 AM »
Did that fire chief write the retirement rules? Does he hold the proverbial purse strings? Or did he find a hole in the rules that someone else wrote? If indeed he set his own salary, without a City Manager, City Council, Board of Governors, Board of Commissioners, or someone else setting the rules, then shame on him. If he does work under one of those types of systems, then we're back squarely at politicians. (Is that the City where the part time council members were making $150,000 a year too?)

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm) CA employs 30,440 firefighters in the state. Their average pay is $34.44 per hour   $71,630 annually. So while there are no doubt some outliers, there are also a bunch of hard working folks.

I'm not aware of any firefighter whose job requires a vow of poverty. While every taxpayer would like every public employee to have a reasonable salary, the pay should be commensurate with the risk and/or skills involved.

Ken

rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2015, 10:17:55 AM »
Did that fire chief write the retirement rules? Does he hold the proverbial purse strings? Or did he find a hole in the rules that someone else wrote? If indeed he set his own salary, without a City Manager, City Council, Board of Governors, Board of Commissioners, or someone else setting the rules, then shame on him. If he does work under one of those types of systems, then we're back squarely at politicians. (Is that the City where the part time council members were making $150,000 a year too?)

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm) CA employs 30,440 firefighters in the state. Their average pay is $34.44 per hour   $71,630 annually. So while there are no doubt some outliers, there are also a bunch of hard working folks.

I'm not aware of any firefighter whose job requires a vow of poverty. While every taxpayer would like every public employee to have a reasonable salary, the pay should be commensurate with the risk and/or skills involved.

Ken
Absolutely.  I don't know anyone, including Tony D'Torch, who if entitled to a pension of $150K, or whatever amount, would decline it after 30 years of service, saying all I need is $80K to live on, so the City can keep the rest, and squander it as they please.  Yes it does come back around to the Politicians!
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From: Boston, Ma.
Retired and living in Palm Bay, Fl.

garyb1st

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2015, 12:17:48 PM »
Did that fire chief write the retirement rules?
   It's unlikely he was personally or directly involved.  But aren't you guys unionized?  Do the unions play a role in wage and benefits negotiations?  Do the union members elect their representatives?  Are those representatives somehow involved in the process? 

Gary B1st

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bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2015, 03:38:56 PM »
Many firefighters, maybe most are indeed union members. And the unions do bargain for wages and benefits like every union. However management always has the last say, unless it goes to binding arbitration, in which case the arbitrator chosen by elimination from a list supplied by a neutral party makes the decision. Remember that firefighters generally are not allowed to strike.

Fire Chiefs in my area are rarely unionized. Typically they serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. In my city the City Manager. In the area I used to live in, the Board of Fire Commissioners. Our Battalion Chiefs are represented, everything above that fends for themselves. (Asst. Chief, Deputy Chief, etc) But every Department can be different and there may parts of the country that do thing differently.

Our retirement system was taken over by the State in the early 1970's. Mandatory participation subject to the rules the legislature set down. While the union can lobby for changes, any changes can only be made by the state legislature. Did I mention that politicians are in charge of pensions?

Ken

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2015, 11:08:12 PM »
okay !.... they earned it.....

think of how safe we'd be if we had a $300k minimum wage for all cops/firefiters ..........

wait,.......it kinda depends on who's going to pay for it  ?

us,   or  the government ?

 ;)


(side note)
In L.A. city, they passed a law making the minimum wage $15.00.....they discovered that many fast food workers were having problems raising families on the existing minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.

Another problem fixed !    ....thank goodness we have those well paid city lawmakers ! !


« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 12:06:21 AM by TonyDtorch »

ChappyCrew

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2015, 01:03:47 PM »
For LE overtime is not calculated into the safety retirement formula, only base pay. Lifetime medical is not part of PERS it is up to each agency that is handled during contract negotiations. Some LE agencies have received raises but a vast majority have received no COLA since 2009. Last I checked, a few years ago, the highest paid PERS retirees were not on the safety side but special districts and other agencies. I believe as of January 2016 3% at 50 is no longer the formula.

driftless shifter

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2015, 05:49:34 PM »
   I am not saying a public safety job is an easy job....that goodness the retirement and pay is pretty good.


Rather than go through all the day after day misery and 24 hour danger of a public safety career ....

I should have gotten a job at almost county/ city/ state maintenance yard and spent 30 years leaning against a shovel.



Truck drivers and construction laborers have deadlier jobs than police officers and the statistics have shown this for years, quit yer bellyaching.  :P They have rope handled shovels now so there no more leaning either. :o

Bill
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Tin man

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2015, 06:24:00 PM »
Life is full of choices, some people make good choices, and some make bad choices. It all comes down to the choice you make.  In 1977 I left a well paying job in the newspaper delivery union making over $20000.00 a year to a Goverment job that paid $11500.00 a year. In aviation.  My love always.  My father thought I was crazy to leave a good paying UNION job. I did not do it because of the pay, I did it because of the love of aviation. 

Now as a "Goverment Parisite". As I have been called, and proud to be considered a parasite because in the 34 years as a parasite, I did my job very well, loved to go to work, train other parasites to do there job better than me. Knowing that if they make a mistake, they could kill a lot of taxpayers that pay our salaries, and now my pension. 

I also made the choice to put some of my salary away into FERS and believe it or not; US SAVINGS BONDS.
They are paying a little over 5%. Another choice.

I started cooking when I was 17 worked in a pizza parlor, a cook in the army, pumped gas when I was 20, drove a truck for 7 years, than worked for the FAA for 34 years.

We now have a well deserved pension no COLA this year, all the mony I put into SS is worth 10% because I would be considered a double dipper (2 pensions) we pay for our health plan, and all of this because of the choices I made.

So before fingers are pointed, blame directed, think of the choices we have made in our lifetime.
Jim W
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dave54

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2015, 07:24:27 PM »
Truck drivers and construction laborers have deadlier jobs than police officers and the statistics have shown this for years, quit yer bellyaching...

Those statistics only consider on duty deaths.  They do not factor in chronic injuries, stress, or job induced cancers that show up years later.
I never get lost.  I just have unplanned adventures.

TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #43 on: November 07, 2015, 08:32:09 AM »
Those statistics only consider on duty deaths.  They do not factor in chronic injuries, stress, or job induced cancers that show up years later.

that's because chronic pain ends....right where death begins.




I was talking to a friends yesterday about this subject,  One guy tells me he has a brother that works for the city of Tustin CA.....

His brother brags about it typically takes all day for a team of 5 guys to install a Stop sign. He's been there now for 12 years.


yes...The smart choice.
I'm telling everyone.....go put a job application in every Federal, State, County and City there is...... when they call your name, you are set for life.

....I worked my butt off for 40 years in private industry trades.....now,  my whole body is worn out without any government compensation.

yes, ......It was a bad choice.......UGG !
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 09:07:06 AM by TonyDtorch »

Tin man

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2015, 09:43:40 AM »
UGG

Did you enjoy your work for those 40 years?

If you did than it was not a bad choice.  I tell people who say "you have it made"  the story of the turtle and the hare.  Plod along live within your means, put money away and when you cross the finish line you will be a winner, not like the hare and rush to the finish line with nothing to show for it.

Reading all the responses to this subject many good points are brought up.  My brother and sister in law who are very successful CPA's and real estate investors would tell my bride and I that we would never be rich and enjoy there lifestyle, but in the end enjoy a comfortable retirement. They did not have that option.  They had to plan for there retirement.

They were right, we lived within our means saved and if the Government decides to change the system, we will still be able to live.

Now there are some horror stories out there about retirement but remember we did not make the rules. We just live by them.  There were company's that hosed the workers (being in aviation) PAN AM, EASTERN, TWA. Names like Lorenzo will ring a bell. Corporate raiders raped the retirement system. 

I guess you can say the corporate raiders used the rules to there advantage as well.  I never thought of myself as a Government employee, I was a Air Traffic Controller doing what I loved to do.  I am sure the feeling was the same if you were a fireman, policeman, or bridge builder.  We're all my choices good? No, but a long time ago I learned to move on and do the best job you can do.

I thank my brother and sister in law in giving us some great advise, but I was doing what I loved. 

Just a little extra, my real love was to be a airline pilot, (I hold a commercial ticket) when I was a JR in HS my guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to do. When I told him he said I needed to go to college and did not have the grades to get into college. I believed him BAD CHOICE!!!. 

Jim W
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garyb1st

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #45 on: November 07, 2015, 10:07:52 AM »
Life is full of choices, some people make good choices, and some make bad choices. It all comes down to the choice you make.

True with one caveat.  The choices we make are usually dependent upon our needs at the time, not our expectations of a future we have no control over.  You got lucky or you're a damned good psychic.  Most of us can't predict the future.   I think if you talk to anyone who was employed in the automobile industry, or maybe a resident of a city that is fighting it's way out of bankruptcy, you'll probably find that most of those individuals couldn't possibly foresee what was going to transpire 20 to 30 years into the future.   So to suggest that those who didn't do quite as well made bad choices, is a bit like adding insult to injury. 

Gary B1st

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dave54

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #46 on: November 07, 2015, 10:25:29 AM »
... I tell people who say "you have it made"  the story of the turtle and the hare.  Plod along live within your means, put money away and when you cross the finish line you will be a winner, not like the hare and rush to the finish line with nothing to show for it...


Everyone here knows at least one person who always has a new car, the latest designer fashions, the newest high tech gizmo, and not a penny in the bank.
I think of it more as the grasshopper and ant story.  We have become a nation of grasshoppers angry at the ants.
I never get lost.  I just have unplanned adventures.

bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #47 on: November 07, 2015, 03:10:28 PM »
Choices have a lot to do with outcome, I think. There are always statistical outliers, pension systems that went broke, catastrophic accidents, or just plain bad luck. But consider the "artist" who was sure that if she just followed her inner voice, she'd be successful and everything would work out in the end. That's a choice, and it often leads to disappointment later in life. I worked with many folks who didn't want the responsibility of being an officer responsible for an individual unit, a station or half the city. They didn't study for promotions, didn't take on the headaches and responsibility and their pension is now significantly smaller than mine. That was a choice. The outcomes of those choices on promotions are pretty predictable. How many young people do you know that "can't afford" to put money in a 401k? A predictable outcome choice. And there are many many other choices that have predictable outcomes.

I spent much of my off duty time at my second job. Many made the choice to enjoy their time off, play golf, and do whatever. A predictable outcome choice. Both my wife and I worked. A predictable outcome choice, now with 2 pensions. She absolutely hated her job and going to work each day. She could have quit working and been a stay at home mom. Our choice was to both work and retire at our earliest opportunity. A predictable outcome choice. We chose to live a relatively modest lifestyle. We put a lot of money away that could have been spent on lavish vacations, new cars, or whatever. Instead it went into the proverbial bank (a variety of investments) so we could pay cash for our toys and do pretty much what we want in retirement. We started making those predictable outcome choices 30 years ago.

Ken

rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #48 on: November 07, 2015, 03:46:40 PM »

Everyone here knows at least one person who always has a new car, the latest designer fashions, the newest high tech gizmo, and not a penny in the bank.
I think of it more as the grasshopper and ant story.  We have become a nation of grasshoppers angry at the ants.
Or the newest diesel pusher, which they have financed for 30 years, because it has a 6 figure price tag, and they're towing a new SUV behind them, which they have financed for 60 or 72 months, because they can't afford either, and neither will be worth nearly as much as they owe on them in a few years.
They have no retirement savings, live paycheck to paycheck in their checking account, they have a small savings account valued at less than a weeks pay, and credit cards up the wazoo.
Then they look with envy, when all their contemporaries retire, and they have to keep working until they're carried out feet first, because they can't afford to retire.
But they gotta have the best RV and toad at the campground!
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
Honda Shadow AERO motorcycle and trailer in tow.
From: Boston, Ma.
Retired and living in Palm Bay, Fl.

Gregg

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #49 on: November 07, 2015, 06:27:09 PM »
.....live paycheck to paycheck in their checking account, they have a small savings account valued at less than a weeks pay, and credit cards up the wazoo.
I have some friends of mine who own a specialty used car dealership.  They tell me frequently it is not the price, it is how much it is per month.  It is surprising the number of people who are making really good money but can not qualify for a car loan because of cash flow.  We have become a society and country that budgets that way. 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 06:49:14 PM by Gregg »
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Tin man

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2015, 07:30:56 PM »
Ken;

My brothers name.

  Our lives seem to run parallel. I also held a second job, (several) my bride does not believe woman should not work. Should not be dependent on spouse.  After children were in school she went back to work. A second pension, it was her money that went into savings bonds until they changed the interest format. Also when daughters college was payed for the money went into FERS. People are not aware that when the US Government went insolvent no budget, they borrowed from the FERS Bond Fund to stay solvent till the budget passed.  They did this twice. Reason why when we retired, we moved our money out of FERS.

I think our choices were inspired by our parents and how they lived.  As they say the "Apple does not fall far from the tree."

As what happened to Detroit and California, the auto industry, and the housing market it was only a surprise to the uninformed.  All the indications were pointing to disaster. The rest is history.  (to the uninformed, history repeats itself)

Now I do not have a crystal ball, I'm not psychic, ( have been called psycho a few times) but the path that the airlines are taking is a path to disaster. The Government will be taking control if they do not get out of the Greed is Good Attitude.
Jim W
AKA TIN MAN
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TonyDtorch

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2015, 07:45:41 PM »
My retirement is coming from SS, the VA and an annuity.

I'm actually ok,
Could be worse..... I have a brother, 2years older cum laudi MBA real estate broker, used to make killer money and lived high, but he's hurting now and he has no SSI coming.

He's got to just keep going to work till the lottery gods smile on him.

bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2015, 08:05:12 PM »
Jim, I think we are from the same mold. Don't you wish you could just let the 33 year old bonds keep earning that interest rate? Now they automatically move them to zero interest fund when they reach maximum maturity and you have to go in monthly and transfer the money out. Not that I have any bonds converted from paper to electronic, that are that old or anything.......

My wife was CSRS so we have the defined benefit pension. And the Thrift Savings system as an extra investment.

Unfortunately I didn't learn much money stuff from my folks. I had an employer that led me in the right direction. He hired me as a high school dropout. He made sure I did my mechanics apprenticeship. He insisted I buy my first house at age 19. He showed me how to automatically save money from my check each payday, even when I wanted to spend every dime. He insisted I buy my own service station at age 21. And he showed me how to do it all with my own money. He and his wife definitely put me on the right path.

There wasn't enough money in their bank account to pay the $700 cremation for either of my parents. I paid for both. My older brother passed last week and his son is paying for his cremation. He didn't have any money saved either, simply lived month to month on SS. I'm afraid there are too many folks living like that. They never planned for the day that they couldn't work anymore.

Ken

garyb1st

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2015, 10:38:38 PM »

As what happened to Detroit and California, the auto industry, and the housing market it was only a surprise to the uninformed.  All the indications were pointing to disaster. The rest is history.  (to the uninformed, history repeats itself)

Actually I was referring to our ability to predict what the future will hold, 20 to 30 years out.  I may be wrong but I don't think many were able to make choices 30 years ago based on where they thought they would be today.  ;) 

I bought my home in Los Angeles in 1991.  By 1995 the value had dropped and my mortgage was under water.   If I lost my job at that time, most likely I would have lost my home to foreclosure.  Was it a bad choice to buy a home in a high priced city when the prices were up?  Maybe, maybe not.  I was sitting on the capital gains from the sale of my previous home and needed to buy or pay the capital gains tax.  I don't like paying tax.  So in retrospect, maybe I should have paid the tax instead of buying my present home.  Bad choice?  Perhaps.  In 2006, we were trying to sell our house and our asking price, 3 times the original purchase price, was a bit too high for the market.  Bottom line, it didn't sell.  When the market went south the following year   the value of our home dropped to about 1/2 of its 2006 high.  Today, the price is not as high as it was in 2006 but it's still more than 2 1/2 times what I paid for it.  And it's all mine.  I'd like to say that this was all based on my ability to make good choices.  It wasn't.  I attribute it all to dumb luck.  My father came from a very poor family.  Sadly he spent more than he made.  He needed to keep up with the jones.  A trait I don't share.  This apple fell a long ways from the tree. 

Years ago I was talking to a shoe maker that had more children than I could imagine.  When I asked him how he could afford so many children he answer was simple.  It's not the income.  It's the outgo.  I have lived with that in mind ever since.  I have always saved money.  Even today, I save money.  More than my MRD.  It all goes right back to the bank.     

Quote
Now I do not have a crystal ball, I'm not psychic, ( have been called psycho a few times)

Then psycho it shall be.   ;D 
Gary B1st

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bucks2

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2015, 10:22:42 AM »
Gary what was the alternative to buying a house in your example? Not buying and just renting? Where would you be had you rented either or both times? Better off or worse off?

I'd guess that buying a house was a good choice. If you hadn't bought the house, you would have paid the tax and the money would be gone. A known bad outcome. And then you'd have a pile of rent receipts, another known bad outcome. Looking at the big picture buying a house to be your home is a known good outcome, most of the time. Buying a house to flip and make a pile of money with no effort is a risky choice. It worked well for some and sank many financially. It sounds like you made a sound choice to buy a home. I don't see the luck in that.

Ken

garyb1st

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2015, 01:52:01 PM »
Gary what was the alternative to buying a house in your example? Not buying and just renting? Where would you be had you rented either or both times? Better off or worse off? 
 
Ken, I'm probably more like you and the "Psycho"  ;) sorry Tin Man I couldn't resist, than the folks that spent their future retirement money before they retired.  My brother did that.  Retired at 55 without a pension.  Lived on 10 year worth of annual payments from the business he sold at 55.  Today almost 10 years later, he supplements his income by working part-time at a Golf Course in Phoenix.  He always had new cars, new homes, new furniture, new carpet, new everything and nice vacations.  Today he's scratching. His only saving grace, he made some money in real estate when younger.  Fortunately most of that went into a savings account.  That kept him out of the bread lines, but he doesn't have a lot of extra cash.    [/quote]

Quote
  If you hadn't bought the house, you would have paid the tax and the money would be gone. A known bad outcome. And then you'd have a pile of rent receipts, another known bad outcome.
  I only have had a pile of rent receipts because that's what I do.  I tend to hang onto financial records.  But there's lot's of data that support renting over buying.  In the 25 years I've been in this house, I've probably spent $50,000 fixing it.  New plumbing, new roof, new sliding glass doors, new paint and the ongoing maintenance and expense of lawn care and tree trimming.  In the last 6 months, I've put in a new furnace and AC and yesterday, a new front door and 6 windows.  That's another $13,000 in receipts for my collection.  I have another $5,000 worth of window work which I'll have done next year and then who knows.  I need to replace my driveway, my house needs to be painted again etc., etc., etc..   My house is paid but the tax, utilities, and insurance (including earthquake) is more than $10,000 annually.  Add in ongoing plumbing and electrical work, lawn care and tree trimming and the number get's pretty big.  I want to sell but the wife likes having a home.  In addition to the down payment, 20 years of monthly payments, the overall cost to live in the house likely exceeds, by a significant margin, todays selling price.   

Quote
Looking at the big picture buying a house to be your home is a known good outcome, most of the time.
  I guess "most of the time" sums it up.  It's a bit of a crap shoot.  Usually the outcome is favorable.  But it's not guaranteed.  Not because somebody spent too much on STUFF.  Just because of bad luck and timing.  One of my daughters and son-in-law, a very conservative couple, moved up to a new home at the peak of the market and saw the value drop by more than 20% over the next year.  Next the son-in-law, an employee of one of CITI Copr's subs lost his job when CITI was in trouble.  A casualty of the fall out following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  Something beyond their control.  They've recovered and are doing well but there are no guarantees.   

As a retired employee of a Fortune 100 company, closely associated with the benefits organization, I was very much aware of the uncertainty surrounding pension plans.  The PBGC was at risk of going broke because of the number of private pension plans going south.  Employees of public pension plans where the government has the power to tax the people, have an element of protection retirees of private plans do not get.  If the PBGC fails, my guess is the Government will attempt to resolve the problem by increasing the tax on the remaining plans.  That will negatively impact those plans that were adequately funded.  That would place my own retirement at risk.  Something I would have no control over.   
Gary B1st

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rebelsun

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Re: retirement in hind-site....ugg !
« Reply #56 on: November 08, 2015, 02:05:01 PM »
Ken;

My brothers name.

  Our lives seem to run parallel. I also held a second job, (several) my bride does not believe woman should not work. Should not be dependent on spouse.  After children were in school she went back to work. A second pension, it was her money.
I think our choices were inspired by our parents and how they lived.  As they say the "Apple does not fall far from the tree."
This parallels a lot of my life.  Only instead of a second job, I worked all the overtime that came up, and lived on my base pay, banking the OT money.  I always based my ability to pay back loans on my base pay income, not including the overtime money I earned, which easily doubled or more than doubled my base pay earnings.  The reason I did this, is because I watched people I worked with fret, whenever overtime was cut due to budget cuts, but the big house, or luxury cars they bought, still had the same payments, but they didn't have the same income to pay these loans with.
My other half is retiring in 18 shifts from the Fire Department, she will begin collecting her pension at the end of the year, followed by Social Security a few years after that.  She plans on working part-time for the next few years in the medical field, until her Social Security kicks in, then retiring completely.  So from the perspective of having enough income to live on, we should be all set, as long as we don't go crazy in our spending.

I learned to save from my parents.  They lived through the depression, and told me many times, how bad things got.  They both came from large families, 7 and 8 kids in each family, and my grandparents all came over from the old country, and all supported their families the best they could, especially through the depression.
My parents were each big advocates of education.  My cousins and I were the first generation in our family to go to college. 
My parents both had government jobs, as did all my aunts and uncles, because of the job security and benefits.  If there were five things I learned, it was to have job security of a government job, health insurance, a pension, borrow as little money as you could, because of the interest you'll have to pay on the money you borrow, and to save money, and NEVER dip into the principle.

This advice has served me well.  Not so much for my kids though, who have decided to live for today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.  But they are starting to come around, and are at least starting to understand, as they have kids of their own, that they need to plan for the future, and not just have the newest and best I Phone, cars, and other trappings, which are really above their means.

Some people never learn though!
Riding the Highway through Hell in our 2000 Chevy 3500 Gulfstream Class C, with a
Honda Shadow AERO motorcycle and trailer in tow.
From: Boston, Ma.
Retired and living in Palm Bay, Fl.

 

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