June 18th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How has your definition of 'retirement' changed?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Thanks to the economy - millions of people are being forced to redefine what "retirement" will mean for them. USA Today reports how many of the 77 million baby boomers are coming to terms with a new reality: Working longer, saving more, and spending less.

AARP says nearly a quarter of Americans aged 45-to-54 have put retirement plans on hold.

They've seen the Wall Street crisis affect their retirement savings more than any other group. Many have lost jobs at a time they expected would be their peak earning years... and are now trying to find a new job.

Baby boomers are typically out of work longer than younger Americans - sometimes finding it harder to get a new job because they've had higher salaries; but also because they may be rusty at applying for jobs and their skills could be out of date. To make matters worse, their health care costs rise as they get older while their home values decrease.

Things are especially tough on a group known as the "Sandwich Generation" - people who are footing the bills for their children's college education and their elderly parents' long-term care, while trying to save for their own retirement.

According to A-A-R-P:

– 35-percent of people ages 45-to-54 have stopped putting money into their 401k, IRA or other retirement accounts

– 25-percent have withdrawn funds early from retirement accounts

– 56-percent have postponed a major purchase

– 24-percent have postponed plans to retire

As one boomer put it: "Today, I see myself working until I drop."

Here's my question to you: In light of the economy, how has your definition of "retirement" changed?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Markel from Houston writes:
We resolved long ago that we cannot depend on Social Security to be there for us. We've stashed everything we could into IRAs, 401ks and an annuity. We've been planning to work less by going into "semi-retirement" when the opportunity presents itself. Our big concern? Health insurance.

Karen writes:
Traveling, spending time at the beach in Baja has turned into living with my oldest daughter and her family, caring for my grandchildren. The hotel money is spent at the grocery store.

Ed from Montana writes:
Jack, A particularly painful question you ask today: After almost 40 years in the IT business and being a consistent top performer, they are off-shoring my job. I'm closing in on 60 so I will not get another IT job; the keyword they use for applicants in my field is energetic, which means under 40. I was within a few years of retirement, but now I am trying to learn a trade that I can become self-employed in, so I can keep my wife and myself from becoming a burden on society.

Esther from Ohio writes:
Retirement means poverty now.

Steve writes:
The new definition of retirement is collecting rent from the kids that moved back home after college and working part time at a second career at half the salary.

Frann from Los Angeles writes:
Retirement is an outdated term. I like the concept of the second half of life being considered the 'encore years' where valuable experiences are re-channeled into mentoring, consulting, working for want rather than just need. Retirement is an advertising slogan; it’s not the reality of today. Just my two cents which used to be worth a lot more before the financial crash.

Steve writes:
I have adopted what I call a "working" retirement. Up at 5:30 am, coffee, go to work. My retirement happens at night, in my dreams.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Kevin , Fl

    Retirement?? With this major stimulus spending bill, taxes about to skyrocket, and now being forced to pay hefty penalties for not buying into Government Insurance that alot of the premiums go to support Illegal aliens and Welfare recipients, and lastly scarcity of jobs ,let alone careers .......I ask you what retirement. We all will work like slaves till we are 82 and have nothing much to pass on to our children!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  2. David A Whitaker

    Jack I am a disable veteran, I am about retired as I am going to get. It feel as though sometime I am trap, but I am blessed for what I have. All prices are going up, but not the salaries. Almost Everyone I know , that is retire is during some type of PT job.


    Martinsburg, WV

    June 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  3. mack from michigan

    Jack I've given up on retiring from the work force totally! Retirement to me hopefully means I can take a job that pays less, but is just more fun to go do. With my social security, eight bucks an hour would be just fine if I'm surrounded by fun people and enjoying my days doing something I enjoy.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  4. DrFrann in CA

    Doesn't seem like there is such a thing, whatever that 'thing" was.
    Golden years look a little rusty now. Nest eggs are cracked. New views of how we do like needs to be explored.

    Retirement is an outdated term. I like the concept of the second 1/2 of life being considered the encore years where valuable experiences are rechanneled into mentoring, consulting, working for want rather than just need.

    Retirement is an advertising slogan. It's not the reality of today.

    Just my two cents which used to be worth a lot more before the financial crash.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  5. Adam Wood

    My dad was planning to retire earlier this year. However, now he cannot afford to do so with the drop in his 401(k) and he probally won't be able to retire for at least five more years if not 10. As for me Jack, I more than likely will be working until I'm 90 years old and your great-great-grandchildren are anchoring CNN.

    Adam Wood
    Runnells, IA

    June 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  6. Chuck

    Took a somewhat forced early retirement at 50.
    Hired back as a consultant to the same company a few months later,
    then really retired at age 53 when I maxed out my contract.
    This was by design of the bush economy where even an engineer with 2 Masters degrees couldn't find a job. Still managing OK, but not living
    high on the hog.
    More time on my hands than I'd like.
    Got plenty of time to write you don't I?

    June 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  7. Carla

    I am 56 years old and single.The year I am eligible to retire is the year that Social Security benefits are projected to be dissolved. I do believe I will be working until the day I die.

    Casper, Wyoming

    June 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  8. Darren

    After this little financial meltdown, we may want to consider renaming "The Golden Years" to "The Silver Years?"

    June 18, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Anthony....Swedesboro, NJ

    Jack, I'm comfortably retired and my biggest problem is losing weight and dodging my wife whose bored out of her mind.
    Be grateful those who can't retire, work until you drop! Be careful what you wish for.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  10. Tom

    Thanks to the mismanagement of the republicannots, who chose not to govern when they were in charge,I am back at work at 72.
    If I hear one more republican complain of government intervention in business or complaining of defecits, i will ask them to help me in my next job selling apples on the corner.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  11. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, retirement is going the same way as newspapers in this country. Many years from now, retirement will be one of those myths like Stonehenge or the Easter Island statues. With 401k’s disappearing, pension plans eradicated, and the increasing cost of healthcare, we are going to work at our computers until they wheel our dead bodies out and insert another cog in the corporate machine.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  12. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    I retired 16 months ago and refuse to let the economy change any of my plans. My salary was cut in half and I am too young to collect Social Security. I have no investments because I used them to buy the house I live in. I never had a mortgage but I do now. I am sure that my house already lost value but I have faith that everything will work out just fine. Living large and loving it !

    June 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  13. Josephine6Pack in Philly . . .

    Pretty much my definition of "retirement" is the same = What's "retirement?"

    Now that I have come to terms with the fact that I will work until I die, the real question on my mind is "Who's going to hire me?"

    I was laid off a few years ago, and it was perfectly obvious that when a "boomer" walked in you already didn't have the job. It has nothing to do with my skills not being there. My health is excellent also. It is the perception that the interviewer has along with the presumption that a boomer will cause their medical insurance costs to rise when in reality a mother of 1 child uses more insurance than I and misses more work than I do. I had 3 years of consecutive "perfect attendance" prior to being laid off and I don't have to leave early for the Easter, Christmas pageant, singing, piano, dancing recital, baseball, football, soccer game!

    So I'm older now. So who's going to hire me if this company shuts down?

    June 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Michael Odegard, Portland, OR

    I'm 33 and my expectations for my retirement years have changed dramatically from the views I held when I was in high school civics. I think we all know social security is a ponzi scheme. Maybe it wasn't intended to be a racket, but with baby boomers having depressed wages for future generations through outsourcing, embracing illegal labor and their unabashed greed–its pretty clear Gen X and Y are being hung out to dry: no social security, a weak economy, poorly educated and obese-to-unhealthy population.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  15. Ted Beaverton, OR

    My definitionn of retirement has not changed. I learned to live within my means before retirement. I do not have a mortgage, or a second mortgage or even a third, to sustain a lifestyle I couldn't afford. More of those crybaby boomers should have tried it years ago, along with counting their blessings. If you say you can't....you won't.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  16. Steve Canada

    I have adopted what I call a "working" retirement....Up at 5:30 am, coffee, go to work..My retirement happens at night, in my dreams..

    June 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Adam Mercer

    I'll sleep when I'm dead.

    -Bon Jovi

    June 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  18. james sloan

    Dear Jack, as a retired pesson, who is also handicapped, I realize that retired in America means Thrown away. I Love my country and if I could afford to , I would still live here. But I can't. I live in Thailand because it's much cheaper. I' m here currently visiting my children. I will be going back to Thailand next month. If I could, I would go to The middle east to replace a serviceperson in a job I could do, so one young person defending our country could go home to thier family. Jim Sloan Phoenixville, Pa.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  19. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    It hasn't. A conservative approach is the only way. Once that money is gone, it's gone. If we die with some money in the bank, then that's a good thing for our kids and grand kids, and I'm afraid they're gonna need it.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  20. Gerard Delprado

    I never wanted to retire any way. I love to work until I die and I believe you are never to old to give the best of yourself in order to make a difference and lead the young to success!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  21. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    retirement will happen when I will not be listening to political news anymore! Come to think about it, a healthier retirement would exist if living in a sustainable environment with no negative political news around! That day is far from here unless I decide to really disconnect in order to live longer and healthier!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  22. BigD Northern, Mn

    We Deleted That Word, What Was it? Out of Our Vocabulary!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  23. Dea in Fayetteville NC

    I now expect to be working at least part time into my 70's instead of spending my days RV'ing around the country to bug my children and play with my grandchildren. I'm 38 so I still have hopes that by time I am ready to retire my investment accounts will become healthy again.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm |

    Thats a definite yes. The very word "retirement" should be retired from the poor and middle class dictionary. The rich can still hold on to it.

    Hopefully I don't get so sick in my old age that the state takes my home to pay for the high cost of health care. I would like to leave something to my children.
    I'm a boomer and yes, I also ,will work till I drop just to make ends meet. Retirement is a dangling carrot that I continually chase and my legs are growing old and tired.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  25. Terry in Virginia

    My mother just retired after 50 years teaching but she must work as a substitute teacher for the school system and a secretary to a business man to make her retirement income stretch to meet the basics. This is not how she envisioned her retirement years.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  26. Karen - Missouri

    It hasn't. I never expected to collect much social security. I sold all off and downsized at 55 after a heart attack. Learned to live on less, make foods instead of fast or processed foods...got rid of car or mortgage payments. so when this economy tanked, it really didn't effect me much. No, the definition hasn't changed for me...I enjoy my life and found I didn't need all the crap people work themselves into the grave for. I didn't expect much, still don't expect much, and won't expect much from social security or "retirement"...I'm happy and have little stress and that's what counts.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  27. Gigi

    It sure has...This happened in the 80"s lots of our parents and friends lost their jobs. Companies laid of the older employees. For younger employees. It cost them less to run their companies. But they/we still continued to support retirement funds. Which many invested in, they thought, great deals and then lost all their money.

    This time around we should remind our children to put their money in a mattress ten years before retirement. We have children in Oregon working in the timber and auto related industries. One has been laid off and several working part time. Also three work as teachers with cut days and pay. One works for the state and has to have mandatory "no pay" days off

    My husband I are trying to help as much as we can which drains us financially. Our hope is that we raised them right and they will pay us back (our interest is less). We tell them not to plan for retirement the bankers way. Plan to work until seventy ( many at seventy today our yesterdays fifty) If you are fortunate to financially retire early go for it. But keep your money in a sock. You may think this is silly but its not. I have seen this happen twice in my life time. My parents now my kids.


    June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  28. Ellery

    Yes we should, even the slightest help from America can help Iran have their freedom and rights.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  29. Mark M

    All I remember as a child is all my grandparents being retired and spending time with us.

    All I will see in my future is me never being able to enjoy what my grandparents had, and working till I am dead, or just cant walk.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  30. Rob

    Jack, I don't think the definition has changed at all. Rather, people's realization that the need to have planned for, and started that planning years earlier, seems to be the biggest issue. I've worked for Wells Fargo for a few years, and I see dozens of people, of all ages, every week, who are completely unprepared for what they will need. The tools are out there for anyone. The problem is that very few know what to do or when to do it. This is what happens when you have entire generations growing up with no idea of how to save money in a standard savings account, let alone an IRA, annuity, 529, Coverdell . . .

    Robert in San Francisco

    June 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  31. jim, Spartanburg, SC

    Why would you ask that Jack? The economy is in the tank, home foreclosures are up while the value has plunged, unemployment is at record levels, and I just got a letter from my Pension Plan saying it is in Critical Condition and benefits may have to be reduced. The only way I can keep my sanity is having a stiff drink and praying that the Christian Brothers don't start poisioning their Brandy.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  32. Alice NEWYORK

    Regardless of economic times . retire means re-evaluate,the income really efficiently

    June 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  33. A Jones, Galveston, TX

    This is such a loaded question as I peer over the horizon with retirement near. Yes, it's not my father's retirement.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  34. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida


    As a member of Americas baby booomers I concede that we will not retire to life of leisure as we all planned . We did however live through Americas Golden Age. A product of Two World Wars and the Great Depression in which we did not endure. We witnessed men on the moon and a unstoppable desire for advancments in all sectors of science. We will pass the torch to the next generation with hope they will do a better job than the Booomers. History will likely remeber the boomersas a wasful generation that exploited the enviiorment and mortgaged the future of others...

    June 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  35. Jim, Boston Ma

    I started my work career bagging groceries after school and
    It's a good thing I have the credentials to work the checkout line
    before I checkout.

    Thanks Jack

    June 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  36. Joanne Clayton

    Instead of retiring at my full retirement age of 66 (I'm 55 y.o. now), 70 yrs. old will be more likely how long I'll have to work to in addtion to doing without more and more "luxuries" at the present time in order to save more pay presently for usage in my "golden years". It is each individual's responsibility to have saved sufficient funds for retirement and not the government's place to provide for the elderly. Before our present system of Medicare, we all took care of both our children and our elderly. I'm all in favor of such a return now in order to save our government billions of dollars.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  37. Chris from Buffalo, NY

    I think too many people in America have been brought under the assumption that a comfortable retirement beginning at age 60 is a "right." It's not. Retirement is a relatively new concept that was not even an option for 99% of those Americans in my grandparents' generation. People should expect to work, in one form or another, for their entire lives, and that is a good thing really. They should feel lucky to live in a time where so many people in their 70's are able to work and earn a living. That was not the case even 50 years ago.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  38. Esther massillon ohio

    retirement means poverty now

    June 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  39. DrFrann in CA

    Doesn’t seem like there is such a thing, whatever that ‘thing” was.
    Golden years look a little rusty now. Nest eggs are cracked. Re-examination of how the course of one's life, i.e. retirement, needs to be defined. It is a new type of engagement.

    Retirement is an outdated term. I like the concept of the second 1/2 of life being considered the encore years where valuable experiences are rechanneled into mentoring, consulting, working for want rather than just need.

    Retirement is an advertising slogan. It’s not the reality of today.

    Just my two cents which used to be worth a lot more before the financial crash.

    DrFrann in Los Angeles, CA

    June 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  40. Markel, Houston, TX

    We resolved long ago that we cannot depend on Social Security to be there for us. We've stashed everything we could into IRA's, 401k's and an annuity. We've been planning to work less by going into "semi-retirement" when the opportunity presents itself. Our big concern? HEALTH INSURANCE.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  41. Steve

    The new definition for retirement is to collect rent from the kids that moved back home after college and to work part time as a second career at half the salary...


    June 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  42. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: My plans for retirement are on track. I don't see myself ever stopping doing something. It will just be on my terms. I've saved and will be ready to go – winning that powerball would also certainy help.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  43. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    I am look forward to it. Do what I want when I want.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  44. stan calif

    Hi Jack I'm retired and in my 70's. This recession has me spending less as I know I will have to assist my family with their retirement and the education of my grandsons. I was raised with very little luxuries and realized the necessity to save at an early age. It also has helped to have a frugal wife who loves to bargain shop. I think my generation is the last one with this mindset.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  45. Nancy, Tennessee

    Retirement may now mean staying at home swinging on the porch as opposed to taking trips and seeing the sights. Remember a bad day of swinging on the porch beats a good day at work.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  46. stan calif

    Jack P.S. I bought my first new vehicle at age 70 upon the urging of my son. Its a Honda Mini Van and will last my lifetime.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  47. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Retirment is a function of money, not time. People these days live longer than past generations so they should expect to work longer and contribute to the system longer. I expect to work long enough to ensure I can live off my savings, not a day more or less.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  48. Kevin McManus

    Well Jack,
    Seeing as how there will be no Social Security on the other side when I get there, I'd say that retirement looks like more work.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  49. Kevin McManus

    Well Jack,
    Seeing as how there will be no Social Security on the other side when I get there, I’d say that retirement looks like more work.

    Kevin – Olympia, Washington

    June 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  50. Rebecca, Columbia, SC

    Retirement LOL!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  51. BP Yukon territory Canada

    I am 63 and I will still be working 20 years after I've died.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  52. Karl from SF, CA

    My view of my retirement hasn’t changed much. I’m semi-retired now and have sufficient resources to have the modest retirement I have always planned. I have taken the trips I wanted while I was young enough to enjoy them and only plan to visit family and friends in the Midwest occasionally, so life is good.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  53. Rich Seidner

    "Retired" is what my tombstone will say.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  54. Susan B

    The word retirement has been eliminated from my lexicon

    June 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  55. Terry Edger


    Simple, "Retirement" is no longer in my vocabulary.


    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  56. Richard New Hampshire

    Retirement?I planned to work part time for five years or so.No body wants you when your "old and gray".Thank you MR. George and your cronies.You guys really screwed all of us.Hasn't any one else figured out that the "Bail Outs" were simply a way to provide large bonuses for Bushes buddies.There was no money left to pay off the CEOs bonuses at the end of the year.Now,in 2009, they want to pay the money back.Which means the CEOs have figured out how to get thier 2009 bonuses.
    Everything that has happened with the economy was planned.The citizens of the US are getting screwed to the wall.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  57. Randall

    Well Jack to me it just means more work.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  58. Charlie

    At the rate we're going, retirement will mean living off the land. On a serious note, as we get older, we will begin to put more and more strain on an already strained system. Anyone who can afford to do so will probably become expatriates, living in another country with a lower cost of living.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  59. Eric in Erie, CO

    As a 38-year old, I'm adding to my retirement funds more than ever. Mutual funds, stocks, and bonds are at bargain prices.

    Eric in Erie, CO

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  60. peter

    No it hasn't.. The economy will get better. We've been through rough patches before and we'll get through this one.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  61. Scott Stodden

    I think that retirement is a sad issue that needs to be addressed, many people who are in there younger years are very concerned that by the time they retire nothing will be left. If we dont do anything now that is exactly what will happen and its wrong that Americans should have to work until they drop. Thats not the American way at all.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, IL)

    June 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Mike McKibben, Lady Lake

    Retirement? I'm going with the new Republican plan that they have work on over the past 10 years.................death.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  63. Fred


    Retirement--what is Retirement?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  64. John, Fort Collins, CO

    My definition of retirement is "still working, but using a lighter hammer".

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  65. Robert H Sarasota, Florida

    Jack, It's kind of hard to retire from the job that I no longer have so I guess "retirement" for me will be when I'm no longer looking for a job that I'll never be able to retire from.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  66. Larry Segal

    Dear Jack,
    I got into forced retirement 3 three years ago with the real estate fall out. I would like to come out of retirement and build solar or wind already. Enough bail outs for the old dinosaurs. Let's get money NOW to the businesses that can CHANGE things. By the way, have any of the politicians lost their homes yet?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  67. Ken in NC

    My definition has changed from enjoying each day of the week to enjoying each Saturday and Sunday before going back to my part time work for 40 hours a week.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  68. john ... marlton, nj

    I have not changed my retirement plans, only the definitions of the retirement vocabulary I use, such as:

    The "great generation" is really the "greedy generation"
    The grandest Ponzi scam of all time is Social Security's scheme that pays old investors with new investors money
    and lastly;
    In politics, "reform" means "an action to take something someone has and give it to someone that doesn't have it"

    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  69. E Butler

    I'm 50 years old and still have a child in high school with a parent in her 80's. I had to face the reality that I might never get to retire. In response to that I'm applying to law school. My logic is, if I have to work into my 70's, I want something meaningful to do. I'll be taking the LSATs in September . . . wish me luck!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  70. Monica Cutting

    I used to have a target retirement date. But instead of getting closer, it's getting farther and farther in the future. Now my idea of "retirement" is retiring for the evening and then getting up in the morning to return to work!


    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  71. Kevin M

    I am of sandwich generation age (46) and totally agree with your assessment. I cannot even begin to entertain the notion of retirement and have little to no money saved, there are just too many medical, education, car, and home expenses now that curtail my ability to save and I make over $100K a year.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  72. Mike McKibben, Lady Lake

    Retirement? I'm going with the new Republican plan that they have been working on over the past 10 years.................death.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  73. scott

    It means getting out of America while you stil can and moving to foreign country like Mexico or Nicaragua where you can live good on less an $1000 a month.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  74. Joe Crawford

    Just checked my personal dictionary, Jack. Couldn't find that word in it. Now I'm depressed.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  75. Shane

    My definition of retiring has changed in the aspect of, I'm 25 years old, working full time and going to school full time. I know I won't see a dime of social security and will be paying back student loans until I'm 6 feet under, in other words I don't forsee a retirement on my part

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  76. ted lanoue

    I see that the seniors of America who are on fixed incomes, will not be getting the cost of living raise in Jan, but we can bail out all the other guys. I got an e mail back where the fellow said we should have two terms only for congress, clean house and get them out of there. They do vote for increases for themselves. God, where is justice in this country.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  77. Bee

    So far we are OK at ages in the upper 70's. But our home is losing its value, but our taxes went up, our Mayor wants to build a new stadium! I feel for my children. One of which has lost $50,000 in her 401K. Our prescription costs are out of sight, so that may affect us in the near future.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  78. Howard in Novato, CA

    The new definition of retirement will soon be used exclusively for former employees of we the people. The bureaucrats, the civil servants and elected members of Congress are laughing their buns off that they have such cushy pensions and we have social security.

    Put the politicians on social security and the same medical plan that I must settle for for my wife and I have based on what we can afford. Take Congress off their pension plan and medical benefits package (they shouldn't be the new aristocracy on our dime) and I think we'll see some changes and fast.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  79. Neil in Denver

    I don't think I ever plan to retire. I just hope that I can slow down a bit.

    But that's all I ever planned to do, bad economy or not.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  80. Eliza

    I recently went to the hallmark card store looking for a retirement card, the young cashiers laughed and said they no longer stock them, no one was buying them.
    Simply put, I plan on working as long as humanely possible.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  81. Howard

    I would join the list of now working until I drop, but as one trying to unretire, I am wondering if I will ever be able to work again.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  82. Shirley

    Lake Forest, IL
    We have worked hard, paid our credit card balances every month, paid for our kid's college, have no debt. But, we will have to revise any plans to retire after watching 30% of our savings disappear last fall. Now I think we should have done what so many other Americans did: live wildly and irresponsibly and let someone else pay for it.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  83. Tanya from TX

    No, I'm 36 and always figured I wouldn't have a whole lot of money when I do retire. Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Dennis Montgomery, Indianapolis

    It's all about multitasking these days. Therefore, retirement will be combined with my last day on earth...

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  85. Rick- Long Island, NY

    what was once a realistic and somewhat conservative retirement plan without a "serious" is now a fantasy. I don't think I will ever see that leisure suit in Florida. Instead, I will wear my blue collared shirt until I am in a wheelchair.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  86. Lou in Virginia

    That's easy, Jack. It has changed from pretty unlikely to utterly impossible.

    In reality, though, many of us boomers are experiencing involuntary retirement, needing more income but under- or unemployed as a result of rampant age discrimination and the general economic crash.

    A more sensible stimulus program than we have seen would focus on keeping baby boomers employed. That would simultaneously convert tax consumers to tax payers and ease the pinch on older boomers, most of whom would rather keep working.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  87. Purnell, Kankakee, IL.

    When that time does i will retire from Full time and going into half time employment, for the foreseeable future we all will have to work until we leave this world. Since the government gave all of our tax dollars to big business to keep them from going out of business, and the Republican are doing everything that they can to keep the people from getting affordable healthcare, we can not afford to stop working at all!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  88. Dina, Ashland VA

    As a 45 yr old, black, married, mother of 2, college educated, under-employed, female, I never thought I'd be able to retire. The American dream has always been a hoax. Welcome to my world.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  89. Amber in Dallas


    Unfortunately for me, there won't be a retirement by the time I reach that age. I'm in my mid twenties, and I'm already looking to the future and putting money away. I doubt, however, that unless I win the lottery? It won't be enough.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  90. Juli fro Phoenix, Arizona

    I have been teaching in the public schools for 33 years, and I am retiring July 1st. I feel somewhat forced to retire this year, because at present I will receive health insurance and a pension; however, I see thse things dropping away in the future. Most employers have already cut health benefits for retirees, and so I retired just to keep what I worked hard for for a third of a century.

    However, in order to afford to maintain my meager lifestyle, I will have to work on top of these benefits. I will continue to teach and who knows...maybe someday I'll be wearing the blue vest and handing out carts. Retirement is no longer about coffee klatches and learning how to paint. I'm sorry I just missed that boat, and I worry how much worse it will get for others in the future.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  91. Bob McGuire

    I wonder how many suicides will be attributed to this phenomenon? At some point, 'working until you drop' just won't work. I'm 59 and live in Florida and I've applied for 3,500 chef positions over the last 18 months before I found one in Maryland. After 6 months they canned me for a trivial reason (it's a 'right to work' state) so they won't have to pay my vacation time.

    I'm still hanging in there (ha ha) but wonder what is in store for me down the road.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  92. Donna P

    What retirement? All my generation has done is work and save to get where our parents are. No-more retirement plans were taken away years ago,then told to put in 401-K , I hope no-one touches social security because that is all we have left my hope is my children will put a roof over my head when I can no longer get up and get to work. My parents have it made and they keep saying there going to spend it all. Gee! future doesn't look to good.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  93. Julie

    Yes Jack,
    First it was my 401k and then it was the loss of value on my home. Now I worry about high inflation down the road making my fixed income worth half. Yes, my definition of retirement has changed.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  94. Skip Wauconda,IL

    It does not exist.
    My only plan now is to keep my same car,
    TV and everything else I have until I die.

    According to statistics, I would have to save $2400 a month
    just to have a glimmer of retirement. Heck, I can't earn that now
    in two months, and I am still living check to check.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  95. Christine

    As an American, I think citizens of this country are among some of the most spoiled individuals in the world. Although we may not think so, we live like kings compared to most of the world's population and if the times have changed to where I now have to work until "I drop" as Cafferty quoted an individual saying, then that is fine with me. Most people in the world DO work without even a glimpse of the retirement possibility. As long as I have a means to provide for my family (ie. food, water, shelter) then I know I am blessed and people who are complaining for having to work longer need to take a look at reality and realize that this is how most of the world functions and now, we are getting a minute taste of it while still living exceptionally well lives.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  96. George , New York

    Hi Jack,
    I have been working since I was 15 years of age. I am now 49. Over the last year my family has lost a total of $400,000 in home equity and 401 Retirement Savings. That is the equivalent of 2/3rd of our Net Worth. I will not live long enough to recover from this financial hit. My only wish is that I will have something to give my kids after I am gone. Otherwise, it has been a lifetime working for nothing.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  97. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    I do beleive your last statement that the economy will not be getting much better which is another reason to definitely direct our money and energies to create more of a sustainable development environment...if we are going to be living with less money can we at least now invest in improving the quality of life by reducing waste and increasing better lives by creating better food supplies outlet for all, increase physical activities, building and renovating green housing and increasing public transit!
    Maybe we need to be making decisions as if we were already retired with the dreamed life as a peaceful life...would we then invest 106 billions for wars? All countries are investing in destructive habits and not in constructive habits! Will we ever get it right!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  98. Rick- Long Island, NY

    what was once a realistic and somewhat conservative retirement plan without a “serious” job is now a fantasy. I don’t think I will ever see that leisure suit in Florida. Instead, I will wear my blue collared shirt until I am in a wheelchair.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  99. Tumbleweed in Kennewick WA

    I retired three years ago when my husband took a new job. In the meantime our retirement accounts tanked and the freelance work I was getting has dried up. Getting another job is tough. My husband is still working and it looks like he'll have to keep working indefinitely. But we consider ourselves lucky to be living in a place that has a low cost of living. Since we live in the middle of Washington wine country I guess we'll just enjoy a good glass of wine when he gets home from work and consider that "retirement."

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  100. bob from woodland park, co

    I have re-defined retirement. Retirement is now leaving my current strenuous job for a job that is less strenuous. Then ya die.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  101. J

    Jack you have hit the problem right on the head. During his campaign,Pres. Obama promised to suspend the 10% penalty for 2008 and 2009 for us who have had no choice but to tap our retirement accounts. As of now, we have not heard or noticed any movement in congress or from the pres. on this matter.

    I guess the IRS said no!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  102. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Yes, Jack, My definition of retirement has changed to the point were i just might have to move to another country just to survive. The american dollar goes a long way in other countries.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  103. Nick

    If I'm lucky I will be struck by lightning and die instantaneously, I believe its about as probable as winning the lottery, but with the lightning I'll die penniless with one Hell of financial plan using my last penny before I die.

    Seriously it's impossible to save for retirement when you're living paycheck to paycheck, I don't believe I have the luxury of ever thinking I can retire.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  104. Robert Londraville

    As a 58 year old single Dad, I tell friends that Good Management is getting 5 sons through their bathroom, and to school on time.

    How has my definition of retirement changed?

    Simply put: Deferred Wealth has become an oxymoron.



    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  105. M Roach

    Jack, how do you even spell that? My husband and our two young boys have had three bubbles burst in our faces within short order... the internet bubble (I worked for a dot com), the real estate bubble (we recently moved in with family), and the financial bubble (my husband is an ex bank VP). Once we wipe the dust from our lives' devastation off our faces, we'll talk about retirement. Until then, our focus is another "-ment"... payment; as in, making them.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  106. cathyFlorida

    Jack, in describing the "sandwhich" generation, you were talking about me and my husband exactly! No more deposits to 401's, big expenses being put off, early withdrawls, and way putting off retirement. Don't get me started on our health care. The past 8 years destroyed this country and many lifetimes of work. It makes me sick. Please, tell me why there is still NO ONE going to jail for the destruction?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  107. Coady - Winter Springs, FL

    Jack, My definition of retire is 'put to sleep'. I will continue to enjoy my life and Family. My Generation of 'Boomers' shook up the world in the 60's and we'll shake it up again in the 'Roaring 20's (2020s)'. The only thing we're going to 'retire' is the Republican Party!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  108. Bill

    I have been a educator for 34 years. I thought I would retire with a fairly decent income at 55. Then my 401k tanked and I am now about to turn 56 and I believe I will be teaching until I am well into my 90s or until I drop.
    My father retired at 60 (in the mid-80s) and was able to afford a new home and a new car. Those days are gone for good. I would like to know exactly what happened, but no one seems to be able to answer that question. I think they have even given up trying......

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  109. Mark

    Retirement now means working until you can no longer get out of bed....then all I need is for someone to take me to the vet to be put to sleep because our society thinks animals deserve to end their suffering, but people don't.

    Oklahoma City

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Jeffery, Toledo, Ohio

    I turn 51 next week, and I currently work for a luxury hotel, where I've been employed for 14 yrs. Due to both the economic situation, and a recent sale of the hotel to a new operation, I have seen my income drop about 40% over the last two years. My response to this situation, has been to start up a home-based business, which should launch in about 3-4 wks. I'll probably never retire–just work when I want, where I want, for as long as I have the use of my eyes, ears, fingers, and brain. Wish me luck.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Henry from Flagstaff, AZ

    Yes, my definition of "retirement" has definitely changed. With my 401K wiped out, savings drained and income barely covering expenses, my new definition of "retirement" is as follows:

    Retirement = Death.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  112. Tony

    I'm 58 yes. old. I've been unemployed for over a year. I have the skills and experience to get another job, but salaries are thousands of dollars less than what I was making and prospective employers are not impressed when I explain that I'm willing to take a salary cut to be employed and have benefits. I will be the old man on the subway still going to work every day. not because I love work but because working will be a necessity.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  113. Becky - Las Vegas

    Retire? Are you kidding? With the economy the way it is I'm going to be working till I'm dead but I'll be going green. I am planning to be recycled - organs that can be donated then the rest used as fertilizer.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  114. Chris from Syracuse

    I'll definitely be working in some capacity the rest of my life. I will not really be able to "retire" as previous generations have defined that term. I have already had to take some money out of my 401K and don't have any golden parachute to fall back on. I am only one of millions in the same boat.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  115. James in Florida

    Jack – I never thought I would "retire" from the working world. I work and save so that as I make less as I get older, I hopefully will not have to cut back so much. I lived in a city in Florida where there is a large population is retired and those retirees might as well be dead – very slow in pace and mind. There is a reason why Florida is called "God's waiting room".

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  116. Annie, Atlanta

    Retirement is now work ‘til you drop. Thanks Wall Street. But they don't care, they got theirs. So have our Representatives, who were supposed to be doing the job of “we the people.” “We …” just realized too late it 's only the rich ones that count.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  117. John Franks

    I had t take early retirement due to an accident at work. when I was 60. I planned to have more than half a million in my retirement account and was on the way to getting there – at least I thought. Then I was injured at work and had to take money from my retirement fund to live until my employer begrudgingly recognized that I couldn't work any longer. And then, just as I thought I had figured out how I could livest in my retirement fund while drawing a minimal amount, the market crashed. So, now, disabled or not, I am going back to earning money through consulting and I will be doing this for as far out as I can see.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  118. Fred Griswold, CT

    Retirement? That goes on my wish list under "things I cannot afford" column. Along with my prescription medications, health insurance co-pays, and a new eco-friendly fuel efficient automobile.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  119. Anne Dill

    I retired five years ago. I own my house and my retirement was in place. I worried about being on a fixed income. Who knew that a fixed income would become the best of all worlds? But I do worry about my not-so-younger friends who are trying to get here and are failing. Their money is gone in their retirement accounts, and some have had to refinance their homes in order to meet emergencies. I may be one of the last happily retired folks in America for some time to come.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  120. Joel in Iowa

    ha ha retirement. My dad has lived in the same house most of his 72 yrs,

    He still walks out the door, down the steps, to the barn and feeds the cows. Just as he's done since he was ~5yrs old. So I suppose he had his retirement from age 0-5.

    Myself, I'd imagine a similar situation for me & mine (not a bad thing) but the WASP-GM retiree might have to actually learn to say "Welcome to Wal-Mart" ...

    I already have my skill set to carry me on after I've chosen not to "work" ... yea right! ...

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  121. Joanne, Washington, DC

    Retirement, HA! I'm having to spend it now to survive this recession at 51. There won't be any retirement monies left in a few months and my retirement will be living under a bridge - not what I planned.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  122. Michael

    We will all be working until we die in this economy or in the foreseeable future. Excessive spending by the Administration will ultimately cause higher inflation and increase interest rates which will devalue and eat up what is remaining of many retirement accounts. The pain is coming but no one appears to be concerned or cares.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  123. Andre

    Retirement is fine for those who can afford it, although I would love to be able to work until I am at least 70 and will attempt to do so if my health allows for it. Of course in Canada, the health factor is probably more favourable for us. Who wants to be doing little or next to nothing at 60. I work overseas in the oil & gas industry and we are also paying the price as far as work is concerned and many of us are sitting at home. In the case of Americans suffering due to the current economic situation, all I can say is "You brought this upon yourselves so live with it and stop whining". It will never recover and be like it was and why would we want it to be as it was just to falter again? You saw this coming ages ago but just continued to live far beyond your means.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Anna

    My retirement IRA account has been used for Health Insurance. I thought I was saving for retirement. I turned 59 1/2 on April 5, '09 and used my IRA account to pay Cobra $1100 a month. What choice do we have at our age. My husband became unemployed in Oct. "08 and we are using every account we have to keep going. Obama needs to fix the health care mess before we lose our homes next. Some have already lost more than a home, retirement accounts, and savings. We ran up credit cards last year to pay property tax.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  125. onu f.

    hello jack, yes u r right, the retirement plans is no more assured, so i think the best way to retire is when u have made enough money that will last you till you die, so technically there is no retirement, because you can never make enough money to last you.......... Brooklyn Park, MN.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  126. E Butler

    Wait a second . . . that made no sense at all. How's this:

    I'm 50 years old, I still have a child in high school, and I care for my octogenarian Mom. I had to face the reality that I might never get to retire. In response to that, I'm applying to law school. My logic is, if I have to work into my 70's, I want to do something meaningful. So, I'll be taking the LSATs in September . . . wish my luck!

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Is this better?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  127. Stuart

    I guess I could consider myself among the lucky ones. Although I've lost my job I always made it a habit to save and put money away for a rainy day (sage advice from my father who lived through the depression). I always lived within my means and, as a result, I can sleep at night. Unfortunately many of my friends did not and are having a tough time. I guess there's a lesson to be learned in all this. Your parents were right.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  128. Swarna

    I am glad that I have reti\red and not depending on my 401k money for the present everyday living expenses. I have a retirement benifit from my previous employer along with my own contribution to that fund. Fortunately the retirement system is still afloat and paying me retirement. I am afraid what the 401k amount will be when I definitely need it. I am hoping things are going to get better. I am counting my blessings.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  129. Pam

    from Boston, MA

    I barely got back into the workforce after raising my children, when I got laid off. I am now living off my savings. If I'm lucky enough to get another job, I don't plan to retire.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  130. Paul D. Steeves

    Turning 68 in two days, I cannot move out of my full-time job for another couple of years, contrary to earlier plan. "Retirement:" now means new rubber for an auto previously scheduled for replacement about now.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Tim in Texas

    The idea that people should work themselves silly from age 22 to 62 and then live high on the hog for the next 20 years (if they lived that long)always seemed off to me. We should all work 4 days a week. We could spend more time with our kids, have less unemployment, grow a garden, get to know our neighbors, and work a little longer without resenting it.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  132. Michael Sienicki

    My definition of retirement hasn't changed at all. Deciding when to retire is the biggest crap shoot of your life, if you retire too soon you run out of money, if you retire too late you run out of health ! My company layed me off 5 years ago after 181/2 years of service. My wife and I were not ready to retire and were at first terrified. it' has been the best thing that ever happened to us. If you want to do it bad enough, you just do it and adjust. We always kidded one another when we first got married that when we were tired of working, we would quit and take a 10 year sabatical. If we liked it we would continue, if we didn't or ran out of money, we would go back to work. I think Walmart is still hiring !!!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  133. Robbie Rocheleau

    "Retiring" is something I will do to a car – I plan on working until I drop.

    (Plano, TX)

    June 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  134. Jim

    I figure that if I don't work 'til I drop, I'll at least have to work past when I can retire in four years. If I have health care, or if Congress passes universal health care, hard work can take care of the rest. Seeing the people in Iran getting shot at for speaking their mind sort of puts things in perspective.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  135. vern

    Unlike many of my generation, I've never lived beyond my means. I've only borrowed to buy a home or a car, and always paid my credit card bills in full each month. My wife and I were counting on the equity in our home and a rental property we own to finance our retirement home, and had a very nice retirement community picked out. I had hoped to retire before reaching full retirement age for Social Security. Now, I'll probably have to work for a few more years – but I'm lucky to have a job. We might not now be able to afford the retirement community, but we'll have a paid-for roof over our heads, and will probably be able to live within our means with Social Security, what we've managed to save, and a small pension. We feel very fortunate.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  136. Dexter

    The Social Security retirement age hasn't kept up with life expectancy, so we've been living under a false impression of what we would be able to do. We're readjusting to a reality that is closer to what life was like when Social Security was first implemented. This isn't a failure; it's the abandonment of an unsustainable system. The end result may not be a dreamy multi-decade retirement, but I'd rather go into a tough situation knowing what we will face and owning up to the hard truths.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  137. Randall

    Well Jack to me it means at this point it means nothing. I' m just hoping the economy will even out soon, until then I have to just keep on working.
    New York, New York

    June 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  138. Jackie Broo

    Well, they have blamed everything else one the Boomers, so why not the retirement crisis. Correct me if I am wrong, but haven't the number of companies offering traditional retirement plans shrunk from around 65% to around 35%. The millennials weren't interested in these kinds of plans so they bought into 401Ks, which are joke. No one is going to be able to retire anymore.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  139. Ken in NC

    Jack, my definition has changed from enjoying each day of the week to enjoying each Saturday and Sunday before going back to my part time work for 40 hours a week.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  140. George Fisher

    I'm 65 and I was going to retire in a year and try to make it on social security alone. I own no real estate or stocks or anything of much value and still have $5,300 in debt to pay down on my car and credit cards. If I felt healthy I'd keep working but I don't so the future looks bleak. I hope it doesn't include living under a bridge somewhere.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  141. Paul Albert

    In light of the prevailing economic circumstances, not even a scintilla of thought do I give to any thing called "retirement" any more. My confidence in saving for retirement was shattered about a year ago, when my employer unequivocally informed us that they were no longer able to honor their share of the bargain - matching the 401k. This problem has been further exacerbated by the drop in the values of the stock market which in turn curtailed the amount in associates' accounts. Only prayers will get the average worker out of this mess!!

    Paul Albert
    Spencer, North Carolina

    June 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  142. Greg Mechanicsburg, PA

    Well, Jack my definition of retirement has not changed. I’ll just have to put it off untill I’m one hundred years old.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  143. joni


    I fit all of the above. I am a 56 yr. old female who has lost my job, 401K and barely keeping up my home payments. I have had no luck in finding a job. I have decided to join an inexpensive health and wellness business. It's putting some funds in my pocket, I'm getting healthy again and I am meeting fabulous people. My destiny is in my own hands.


    Rochester, NY

    June 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  144. nick

    Our definition of retirement hasn't effectively changed. It means my wife retires and I keep going for several more years. But that was always the reality. Fortunately I am in an industry I enjoy, own my own franchise in that industry and am my own boss. In this crazy economy we are well positioned, have pared down our expenses and relocated to a wonderful area. It's a dream come true. (Touch Wood!)
    Greene, NY

    June 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  145. Stephen

    Jack, my parents retired comfortably in their mid-sixties. I'm in the same line of work, and I live more frugally than they ever did, but I doubt seriously that I will ever have the resources to retire. My profession, education, just doesn't produce a middle class income anymore. Brand-new UAW members in Michigan with no job experience and no education beyond high school earn twice the starting salary for a public school teacher in Georgia with a master's degree.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  146. Lisa, Dallas, TX

    I am a 43 year old single parent with 2 children. I transitioned into teaching 2 years ago from a career in the healthcare industry. My savings and retirement are minimal to say the least. I thought I would be financially sound at this point in my life. I've already calculated that I need to save over a thousand dollars a month just to retire at the age of 65. This doesn't include putting my kids through college. RETIRE! FAT CHANCE! I have a better chance of winning the lottery.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  147. Holly Rigby

    Thanks for asking, Jack. I am a public school teacher and librarian for 21 years now, who took a 15 year maternity leave to raise children and follow my husband's 22 year Army career. He then went to work for 11 years for, yes, Enron. You know how that movie ended. We clawed our way back within striking distance of real retirement until last fall. Fortunately, we are both healthy; we absolutely love our current jobs; our children are in their thirties, well educated and employed; and we are quite conservative in our spending. However, we will not retire any time in the next several years and have had to postpone rebuilding our New Hampshire cabin for full time use. We are grateful for all we have, and we had planned to work until we were 65 anyway, but this is quite discouraging. Our defintion of retirement is "just beyond our fingertips" Like Elvis, we think we need to find an income that will continue after we're dead! Got any ideas?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  148. Mary

    As a baby boomer on the cusp ( I just truned 64) I don't see retirement coming anytime soon. Fortunately i have a good paying stable job, but I have very little in my 401 K, no pension and am still paying on my house. Since I got a divorce in midlife and didn't start my carrer until my children were grown I figure I'll have to work unitl I'm at least 70 and even then I'll be poor. The retirement my parents had is a thing of the past.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  149. Michael Hammermeister

    My retirement pension savings was used up during an extended layoff from 90-92. So, I had few plans and little money to think about what I would do know at 63.
    However, this year, due to someone else bad luck, I was able to get a forclosure condo in AZ from what little savings I accumulated since 92. I can afford the mortgage just with my social security and that is a big relief.

    I will retire with little, but I will have a roof over my head because of the mis-fortune of others. Sadly, I feel like a organ recipent granted a little extension on life.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  150. Ken


    I had made plans to retire at 55 years ago. However, lost lots of money in stock market crash and 401(k) crash as well as getting ridiculous 0.25% interest on money in bank, I had to postpone retirement. Now governement talking about raising Social Security and Medicare to 70. I am not counting on Social Security.

    Talk about taxing medical benefits is also taking money away. With all that is happening, I will never get a chance to retire. My parents worked hard but were able to retire. I do not see that happening to me. I try to save but through no fault of my own, money is getting taken from me.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  151. Kathy S

    I have worked in some fashion since I have been 16 years old. I was hoping to retire in 5 years at age 57 but will now have to work until I am at least 67. I have saved and lived well below my means but I don't think it will be enough. I continue to put as much into my 401K as possible. My biggest concern is that when it comes time for me to collect social security I will be penalized for saving so much as compared to some of my friends who had alot more fun.

    If I have to I will continue to work part-time as long as possible. I figure with my post graduate education I should be able to get a job at Walmart as a receipt highlighter!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  152. john tarmann and bonnie

    Most of our problems are with our banking system.They received all the tarp money without interest perhaps, and never made refinancing available to us at a reasonable cost ,without extending obligations,or adding large closing cost , pocketing large bonuses and not providing trust. Furthermore, the guru financial representitives of these banks put many of our retirement accounts into their own bankshares under insurance companies in the news, and often not in the news. They then flagrantly disavow any relationship to these insurance companies while having their bankshares fail, while their preffered stock which is sold only to the elite investers gain money by our losses.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  153. Norman

    Hello Jack, Really enjoy your short comment time. Wolf should share the podium with you. I am 61 years old, lost my job do the construction slow down and lost about 40% of my retirement investment, what do I do? My son just finished his residency as a doctor with hell of a school bill. 14 yrs of medical education and training to do what he has always wanted to since he was about 5 yrs old. Now the new Obama medical plan. Talk about the american dream going down the toilet, what else will the Obama crew think up? My insurance benefits stop in 2 weeks and I will have to pay about $1000.00 a month for my cobra insurance to take effect. That is1/2 of my unemployment check a month. Maybe I can call Obama and ask him for a stimulus check to keep my small business going on which is my personel life. I hope everybody in my boots {that haven't gotten dirty lately} will write and tell their nightmare story. Thanks for your time. Need a job in south jersey, Norman

    June 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  154. Lisa

    I'm 50, a single mom, deadbeat ex, pays nothing at all for them. Decent job but one kid in college and another hoping to go in a year. I'm already exhausted because even having a job today means working extra hard to keep it and that's tough too. Plus I'm earning 40% less than last year and working more. Think I will find a guy in the same place and hook-up so at least we can share expenses!
    I don't feel sandwitched I feel suffocated. The worst part is my 17 year old can't find a job because of the economy so he can't help save for college...and my 20 year old is a waitress and she isn't making much anymore either. Very worrisome, very stressed out.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  155. George Sarty

    Uh, yeah Christine...but you need to compare us not to 'the rest of the world' but other wealthy western countries. While we have been paying low taxes so that we can live it up buying SUV's, vacation homes, and big screen TV's, other western democracies have continued to invest (yes, through higher taxation) in health care and government retirement plans. Hence, while certainly not as healthy as they were, these countries e.g. France, Canada, Germany, will still offer a decent standard of livign to their retirees.

    by contrast, we chose to abandon all controls on the financial system and employers, put our retirement in the hands of the 'free market' and are now suffering the consequences i.e. no retirement, no health care. Our rainy day is here and our pockets are empty.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  156. John

    I feel bad for any members of the "sandwich generation" out there but overall I don't feel sorry for the baby boomers one bit. They created an entitlement society where people were supposed to make easy money and never have to pay taxes. The parents of the baby boomers didn't saddle their children with a massive deficit; they lived within their means and worked hard. The baby boomers refusal to pay taxes is going to result in a tax burden that their children simply cannot bear. Thanks to the baby boomers we have a $43 trillion unfunded social security burden. The baby boomers have nobody but themselves to blame for the fiscal irresponsibility of the last 30 years. I just hope my own generation grows up fast enough to remedy their mistakes.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  157. Valerie Lorenzini

    I will never retire. I am 45 years old and starting a new career as a nurse. I chose to go to college and get a Bachelor's degree instead of attending community college and getting a Associate degree. I did the right thing. I took an early out from my previous job as a Flight attendant in March. I applied for 100's of jobs even though they say there is a shortage of nurses, finally getting one because I have a BSN! I had to use part of my savings, which I did not have much. I am $50,000 in debt, I do not own a home or hardly have any retirement. I realize I have to save for retirment but at my age and my student loan debt I should be able to retire when I am 85 years old, at that age if I am still alive why bother!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  158. Monika E.

    What retirement? Is that where you get after you die – if you have been real good down here?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  159. Steve

    in responce to "Yes, my definition of “retirement” has definitely changed. With my 401K wiped out, savings drained and income barely covering expenses, my new definition of “retirement” is as follows:

    Retirement = Death.
    No retirement, life will be measured based on shelf life of that generations workload and production & then to the grave.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  160. Pete

    My wife and I have pursued higher education, worked hard, managed our finances and saved in conservative, responsible ways. We put our kids through college, help our aged parents, and set up college funds for the grandkids. We relied on our 401K savings, not on Social Security, to live a dream of a pleasant, family-centered retirement. Then came 2007-2008. 401K – poof! Back to work -thankfully. Retirement is now not a dream, but a fantasy. Don't let them put Social Security into the same market system that changed retirement for us!!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  161. Mac Smith

    The retirement phenomenon is a product of the social security program initiated after the great depression and the rise of labor unions. Both are on the fast track to extinction. Before them only the well-to-do retired. The Boomers and their parents may have been part of an era that may never happen again.

    Personally, my wife and I, both in our early thirties, have no plans to fully retire. We have the saving accounts and the 401k's, but will most likely use those to supplement partial retirements forty years from now.

    Others may want to take our approach and just stop worrying about it.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  162. Edward New York City

    I'm 45 years old with two kids and a wife who lost her job. We made plans to retire at 50 but thats not in the cards anymore.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  163. Karen - TN

    I never thought I'd put my feet up when I retired. They'll just be walking around the office instead of the golf course.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  164. wieckmann's

    What retirement. Any extra money is put in the gas tank, how are we supposed to save for the future. Last year's stimulus check went to the oil company's because the cost went up to 4.00 per gallon. The President should look to regulate gas prices during this troubled economy before prices get out of hand again this year. We will never get out of this mess as longs as the oil company's continue to profit. AND YOU KNOW THEY ARE!

    Richmond, VA

    June 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  165. John Nashville

    Jack-I lost my teaching job a year ago when the Federal Goverment cut the funding for working with drop-outs. They replaced me with a younger,cheaper worker. I do have medical insurance, but my $1,500 a month retirement is barely enough to survive on. I applied for the Mortgage stimulas January 14th. I still await the results. Working two jobs my entire life to raise a family, doesn't seem to work anymore.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  166. independent4ever los angeles, ca

    At this point, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to retire. The cost of my medical insurance just went up 30% and it is now as expensive as my mortgage. On the other hand, my savings decreased more than 25% since the recession began. So, it looks like I won't be ready to retire anytime soon.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  167. William Russell

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    I deeply regret mis-spelling the word "your" on my first e-mail in the big-time. I imagine, Sister Moira, my first grade teacher at St. Aloysius, ain't too happy right now.


    Bill Russell
    Lanexa, Va 23089

    June 18, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  168. Sam Pulliam

    my definition of retirment hasn't changed. i still plan on retiring in a few years. nowadays i just spell retirement differently. i used to spell it as PHOENIX now i spell it as BUFFALO.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  169. Ben

    My people came to this country in 1682, and I always wondered why we, as a family, hadn't accumulated more wealth and property. Looks like in all that time, with each generation working to give the next one a step up, we should be on easy street by now.

    I'm 59, have a masters degree in information science, and have worked every day of my life, not to mention spending 3 1/2 years in the Army, but it looks like I may be out of work soon, and I don't mean retired. My folks did okay, and they got substantial property as inheritance from their folks, but that land is gone now. The money from those sales went to their church, not their kids, which hardly endears the church to yours truly. I had hoped to leave something to my kids, but I'll be lucky to make it to the grave without calling on them for help.

    Who do I blame? Well, it's pretty easy to see where the money is in this country. Personally, I'd like to see the rich taxed back to the Stone Age. Unfortunately, they own the government, so that will never happen.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  170. Larry Lange


    I'm a 61 year old Army veteran, and will soon be forced to apply for 'early' social security 'benefits' (not retirement). I'll then try to find some type of job that can pay me my 'cap income' which will be way less then the salary I made as an I.T. professional since the good I.T. jobs are ow being 'out-sourced'. . I don't get it! They don't want us to work, but they really don't want us to retire either. Funny how they sure wanted us to 'answer the call' and go to Viet-Nam. Its a heck of a way to say thank you.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  171. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I think the definition of retirement has been dropped from the dictionary. It no longer exists.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  172. Miguel E. from San Leandro, CA

    What is the american dream anymore? I think we have a whole new american paradigm developing and changing.

    We should encourage people to develop careers that will allow them to not want to retire. Spend more on educating the public so retirement is not a desired goal but something we have to do because we can’t do our career anymore.

    We should redefine what success is to a more poetic definition like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “What is Success?”

    June 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  173. Charlie


    My defination of "retire" is now going to bed.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  174. Ken - Durango CO

    What has happened, especially with the stock market is another slam on the working middle class. Those of us who did save, did not extend ourselves with a lot of credit and supposedly invested in conservative investments have had a lot of money simply stolen from us by those in control of the unregulated side of Wall Street. For a good portion of working middle class retirement doesn't exist anymore. Look back to Robert Rubin (a current advisor to Obama) as a Treasury Secretary under Clinton, the controls dropped then on Wall Street amd then Citigroup (which Rubin became CEO of after having a hand in dropping some time honored controls overm insurance, banking and brokerage). How can we get change when some of those who are at the root of the problem are the new advisors to Obama? Maybe we have gone back to FDR when he hired Joe K for the new SEC job. "You need a crook to catch a crook".

    June 18, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  175. JD in Seattle

    Well, I still plan to retire early in 3 years and am focusing on paying off my debt by then. Watching my retirement savings go down forced us to watch our spending very carefully. My husband is already retired and we have always resisted overspending and getting in over our heads just to keep up with the neighbors. We have what we can afford and are comfortable.
    The last of our kids will be out of college in a year and a half, so that expense should be gone. Our only concern is that one of them will need help because of the economy. We should be just fine if they can take care of themselves.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  176. Jimbo from Redondo Beach, CA

    I am 54 and do not foresee any scenario where i would be not working in some way. I am working on developing my next career and it includes several different income streams. The days of me working a nine to five job are over. I do not view working for a company as a safe way to live. Health costs and taxes and good credit are issues that concern me.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  177. Nan

    Retirement? No clue what that means. I am now 56 years old. I have worked since I was 15. Worked my way through college and grad school. Had a great job. But that was with Enron. Lost a great deal of money then and lost most of the rest during this recent downturn. i have found a new job at about 1/2 the pay. No plans to retire. They will have to pry my cold dead hands from my desk.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  178. Louise, Ohio

    I don't remember what the word "retirement" even means. Having lost a business several years ago due to no fault of our own, we are now facing the "golden" years with anything but gold. I am hanging onto my current job of several years, however things are so bad here now that none of us have been paid for almost 8 weeks! We can't even file for unemployment! Plus, they expect overtime from us! They promise to fully repay us someday, but we wonder when this day is going to happen! There are no other jobs open in our area, so it is a moot point to try for one, even though I know we all have.
    I worked hard to repay the people I owed when our business went under–for 5 years I worked 80 hours a week. Now my husband's 401K is a 101K and we are both living on his social security. Not much to live on. We had to refinance a home that had been paid off, and now cannot afford to make those payments either. Years of hard work now and don't have much to show for it. Hope there is a light
    at the end of the tunnel–for everyone!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  179. William Perrill

    The unregulated capitalism of the Bush years brought us Enron, WorldComm, and 201k's. The banks and insurance companies – the bastions of capitalism – got their socialist bailout now I want mine. I'm 61 just laid off. I planned on working 4 more years but now I'm getting unemployment – my socialist bailout. Heath care is the issue. Only in AMAerica can heath care be considered a commodity and not a right.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  180. Bob

    Hi Jack,

    I'm so bloody sick and tired of people blaming the Republicans for everything. People, don't you get it – you did this to yourselves. You overspent, undersaved, and mortgaged your own future. Did the Republicans make you go out and buy a bigger house than you could afford? Did they make you buy that big screen TV and you had no business having? Did they force you to rack up huge bills on your credit cards? Or maybe they bullied you into not saving a dime for years.

    You caused this financial mess. You're responsible for your retirement. You're responsible for the risk you take when you put money into an IRA.

    Take some personal responsibility and point at the real person responsible for your financial condition. Then shut up start living within your means.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  181. Lisa, from Bridgewater, NJ

    I'm not even counting on Social Security to be around in the next 20 or so years, so I don't even factor that in for retirement. If we do end up getting it, I'll feel like I won a "Win for Life" lottery prize!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  182. andyz Lynn, MA

    Nope. 4 years, 5 months, 14 days. Then it's bingo seven days a week; a little lawn bowling, reruns of M.A.S.H., completely absorbing discussions of bowel movements, and nasty nurses that won't flirt. Oh ya, retirement, here I come.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  183. Barbara

    Well, Christine, I think your attitude about being grateful is healthy to a certain extent. Yes, we have a lot to be grateful for...but that doesn't mean we should be complacent about the losses we've been experiencing. Also, I think we should recognize that some have been hurt far more than others during this downturn.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  184. Christian

    Mine has not changed...I will continue to live below my means and not count on social security when I reach current eligibility age (I am now 37). I will assume that I have responsibility for everything I do and will not blame the government for me not having the ability to live in my later years. One person commented that the last 8 years are what destroyed everyone's retirement dreams. Funny, I don't recall anyone complaining where there were over-inflated home values and the DOW was at 14,000.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  185. Jeremy

    I am 30 years old. I have increased my reirement contributions. The market is on sale. It's all about taking advantage of the sistuation. It will come back and I will buy it cheap.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  186. Skip Anderson

    My wife's job was eliminated last year, so she can no longer contribute to household expenses. I am lucky I still have a job, but I and many of my fellow workers may have to accept forced furloughs again in fiscal 2010.

    I am driving a 12-year old Chrysler which is falling apart, but I cannot commit to buying a newer car because of the uncertainty. I would love to take advantage of the upcoming "cash for clunkers" federal program which would subsidize the purchase of a new car, but the federal government says my car gets 19 miles to the gallon (which it does not). Still, being one mile per gallon over the bureaucratic threshold totally disqualifies me for the program.

    I am 56 years old and have been working as hard as I can since 1975 just to stay middle class. Will I ever get to retire? Maybe to a casket.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  187. Lori

    Retirement is not going to be what we had hoped. I went to work summers at 14 the same year my dad died. I worked through high school and college and have been fairly successful. The dream was to be able to retire at 60. But, there is no longer a pension.,my retirement accounts are down 40%, my husband is ill, and we have debt now that we never had due to only one salary now and helping to pay for college. My professional job is being sent overseas, and at 55, I'm not sure I can land another one. In the short term, I am most concerned about being unemployed and not being able to get health insurance for my husband. Not quite the dream we had – worrying about pre-retirement first! But we have food and a roof over our heads!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  188. Marti Lofton

    Absolutely, My husband and I took our retirement out of our 401K and set up a Ltd. corporation- Self Directed Retirement. He is having a blast
    'gambling' with our money in commodities. Who cares if we lose it all.. we can always count on social security....... ha.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  189. Texas Pioneer

    I have some plans that are on target. I did not lister to the Broker at all.
    Not sure how this will all wash out.
    I am 59 have a stable job that pays just OK
    I am aiming for 65.
    I am hoping for some Medical Insurance help so I can take my
    Grandchildren off of my insurance.
    Good Luck to everyone

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  190. Drake on Whidbey Island, Washington

    My definition of retirement has not changed. That is because I retired at the age of 55 after saving enough to fund early retirement, put two daughters through college (without borrowing), and take care of my mother. As a member of the boomer generation, and well aware that deficit spending by individuals and the US government would eventually create an economic crisis, I planned for the worst-case scenario that we are now experiencing. However, since I live off the interest on my investments, I have been hurt by the reduced interest rates adopted by the feds in order to prime the economy and to help people get more favorable rates on auto and home loans. (Ironically, the feds' policy benefits those people and institutions who are not able to manage their financial affairs without becoming overextended, and penalizes those who are.)

    I must confess that I did not anticipate the sub-prime and derivatives mess, although I did expect the real estate bubble to burst. In any event, the main consequence of the current economic crisis for me is that I am not able to travel and indulge myself (e.g., buying an ultra-light aircraft) as I had hoped to do while retired. But I'll survive unless my retirement company (TIAA/CREF) goes belly up. And that is not likely because those folks know what they are doing.

    So, tough as things are, I have no complaints. I feel blessed to be in the position I am in. But I do lose sleep worrying about the economic future my kids will face...

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  191. Jack Phoenix, AZ

    My wife and I are still on target for retirement at age 62. I am 2 years older than she, and I am 60. We have saved aggressively in our 457 accounts and have lost over $100000 as a result of market adjustments; but, both of us are government employess with fully vested retirement plans. We are looking to defer our Social Security benefits till we are each 66 to gain full benefit. We are both in stable, necessary jobs in law enforcement and courts. It would be nice to have had the additional money, but everyone is in the save boat that invested in the market.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  192. Jason


    I have never planned on retiring- I set myself some goals of hitting 100K in assets by age 30- made that- but since then I've seen nearly 60k drop in those same investments.

    Fortunately a layoff only 3 years out of college convinced me to hoard money. I do not vacation and I rarely splurge- this is what the marketplace has taught me.

    My wife (forced to endure my fear of losing jobs) understands. There is no reward for anyone that works for a living but only those that 'manage' or can vote themselves whatever cushion they want.

    Public service should be required of everyone- and then you're kicked out. Anyone that desires a position in the public sector should automatically be disqualified for it. We want people that get the job done and get out. It should be a hardship to go to congress, to a state convention.

    Now please excuse me as I check my 401K to see how oil has done...

    June 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  193. pat

    My retirement plan is – work til i'm dead, or I'm incapacitated, or I hit the lotto. I live day to day because that's what I can afford to do. Tomorrow will come soon enough.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  194. Matt Nelson

    I am lucky I have a great pension and can retire when I am 60 with health insurance. I still put in 700 each month for my 401k. So I feel lucky.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  195. Palermo

    I am 60 and a small business owner. Every penny I had has gone into supporting my business through the bad times of the last couple of years, and trying to keep my few employees from losing their jobs. I will probably still be able to retire by 65, but I will have to live outside the US where the cost of living is less expensive and health care is affordable or free.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  196. Mike Leach

    I am one of the many who have cashed in retirement savings to survive. I am also one of the many who have lost a 12 year investment toward the comfort of owning a home and am living with others 'till I can rebuild my life with a huge portion of my lifetime wasted, or more accurately, taken from me by unscrupulous people within a system that failed to protect with any integrity from that system. Has my definition of retirement changed?! Yes, it has! Besides the destruction of my life savings at a very late stage in life and America in debt beyond reasonable accountability for the future, the greatest country in the history of the world has lost its integrity with regard to honest business. Should the spirit of America ever return, I will long have turned to dust, blowing in the wind from a time of huge shame.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  197. Tim from Washington State

    No. It's more of a decision to take the narrow road, not doing what everyone else is doing (i.e., I don't have a 401K, or IRA). I live within my means, have no credit card debt....never did (always pay full amount.) House is paid off (took 17 years), and there is very little debt....one low car payment. Also, take the time to learn how to invest (or trade) yourself, keeping in mind that price movement is the important thing, not what analysts and brokers say. I keep stocks short term, and trade depending on the price movements. Long term investments are hard cash (i.e. gold and silver.) I'll be fully retired by 55. Take the bull by the horns and take responsibility for your financial future.....it foolish to put your hard-earned money into other peoples hands (who just want their commission) and cry whenever it loses value. You can make money in both up and down markets....take the time to learn!

    June 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  198. Teresa , Rock Springs, Wyoming

    I hear a lot of complaining, but I do not see a lot of action. Personally I think that many of us close to retirement age, have no one to thank for our problems but ourselves. How many baby boomers have taken the equity out of their homes to play. I believe that to many people spent their retirement funds in their 30's and 40's. And now they want to blame someone else. Yes we are in a crisis but if we had saved better, played less, and stayed with our first 30 year loan on our homes, our homes would be paid for and if we had lost our jobs we could afford to take a cut in pay and still survive. That is what our parents did, that is why they made ends meet in spite of any down turn in the economy.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  199. Tom Swift

    No. I retired with a teacher's pension and early social security.
    I planned and was lucky. I feel terrible for those who planned but were shafted by their companies and by the banks,insurance companies and the government that deregulated or under regulated these corporations so that they played fast and loose with other people's money.
    Why are the criminals who created this mess not being indicted?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  200. Marc M

    Maybe you should think about this article and your issues with retirement the next time you defend Obama, considering what he is doing now is going to just make it harder for anyone to retire.

    Add to that healthcare, cap and trade and inflation that will skyrocket as we keep printing money to pay for it all and you will never retire.

    I guess that's okay though, right Jack?

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  201. Chuck, NW Arkansas

    For most of my adult life, I have run my own businesses. I do not want anyone else to determine my future. As I approach my 60th birthday, I pan to liquidate my assets and start all over in a Semi-retired situation with even less stress than ever. I am looking forward to many golden years.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  202. William Courtland

    Evil fights civilization: civilization provides a stable retirement: evil is anti-life...

    Fight evil: have the stability in life to retire... evil is strongest in socery... yet most deny it exists... eventually the whole species will be retired in extinction without the truth and the honest fight.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  203. Ron NC

    Yes the thoughts of retirement for me have changed. I turned 50 in Jan. of this year,lost my job first,had to fall back on what was left of my 401K after paying the penalty on it. Now I'm living and paying the bills and mortgage with my unemployment check each week. I can't even afford to take taxes out on it or I will loose everything. And now the federal and state governments want to increase taxes and fee on everything to make up for there shortfalls. Retirement I'll never have one.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  204. Christine from Lee's Summit

    Here is how I think my retirement will go. Would prefer to work until I am 65 to maximize my salary, 401k, and retirement account, but I am pretty sure my employer would prefer to let me go at 55. So, at 55, I will live on what little I have saved until I find a job making 50% of what I make now. I will work that job until I either can't, or they don't want me. That's how I see my retirement.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  205. Mike

    I am a 33 year old man, who had hoped to retire soon, due to the collapse of the tech bubble, real estate bubble, and the stock bubble recently those hopes were dashed. This whole crisis can be resolved if we could all focus our efforts in coming up with another bubble.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  206. Brian, from STL, MO

    My definition of retirement has not changed. I'm 25, still employed, and I'm contributing to both a 401k and IRA. I understand that I'll never see social security, so it's not part of my vocabulary.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  207. Aaron

    I believe people are so caught up in trying to impress others by buying fancy things then doing things simply to cut down on costs. If you think about this point why what are peoples motives when buying a new car? If it has doors, it accepts the gas at the gas station, also has four tires and goes from "point A to B" then it will work to help us travel. Use this example in your life if the food I eat is good and is not harming me or others then eat it. However things such as alcohol which people all around the world knows its bad effects to help over long periods of drinking or drinking too much at once. I personally do not drink but I look at people who drink and they are drinking to impress others. Picture the last time you drank alcohol or anything. Did you get it cause you like it? "Oh I drink this because I like this" but in reality someone awhile ago probably told you "Drink this its good" and they learned a long time ago "I going to drink this because its new" and the people that made that drink said "I going to make this because I want to make a lot money" So just eat and drink things that are good for you and simple not going out on a limb or hope the branch does not break but really each time you go out on the limb it cracks and you laugh when that happens but one day that limb will break and I guarantee you will not be laughing.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  208. DM - San Diego

    I just turned 60 and after reading all these comments all I can say is "Happy B-day"... Woopie we're all gonna die.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  209. Scott Wolf

    Of course it has.I truly believe that in another generation or two the concept of retirement will be foreign to most people.Our exploding illegal,uneducated hispanic population will continue to contribute to wage depression and poverty,corporations will continue to outsource good manufacturing jobs,our currency will continue to be devalued and the cost of living will continue to skyrocket.The coming generations will not only have to bear the burden of insurmountable debt,they will have to find a way to compete on a global scale with middle class workers in countries like China and India willing to work for slave wages.Do the math.Cheap foreign labor coming in illegally to the United States and globalization.It all adds up to oblivion.Our quality of life is doomed.Americans(whatever that means these days)just haven't realized it yet.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  210. Bart Hawkins, San Antonio, TX

    At this point, "retirement," in the classical sense is, for most Americans and certainly for me, a fantasy.

    "change of lifestyle," – downward – is more apt.

    I point out that many of the responders here are in fact public employees with huge pensions funded by the rest of America. I can see 75% for 25 years for a policeman or fireman (I am not running INTO burning buildings!!).

    I cannot see such horridly ludicrous pensions for schoolteachers – as valuable as they are to society, 30 years and out at 90% is just not sustainable.

    We need to redefine retirement and embrace half-time work at the corporate level (without overly harsh penalties for earning too much under Social Security). The 53 year old retiree living on the beaches of Monaco, especially on the commonwheal, is a thing of the past.

    June 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  211. James in Indy

    Already knowing that social security wouldn't be available to a 36 yo, I felt it was time to align my skill-set with an industry that would allow me to work into my 80's. I am now 38, have a year or so left with my bachelors in computer science, and feel comfortable that only parkisons and arthritis can stop me from earning into my latter years.

    June 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  212. Mike – Denver, CO

    Retirement – the ability to win the Lottery, and then hide the winnings from your family and friends.

    June 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  213. Arlene


    10 years ago I'd planned to retire when I turned age 55. The my company's pension plan took a drastic turn. So I moved it up to age 62. Then last year my 401K tanked. Now who knows. A lot depends on whether I'm even able to stay employed through the end of this year. That could be when I retire...

    Arlene in Atlanta

    June 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  214. VICKY

    I am 66 and don't see retirement in my future. It would be all right if I loved my job-I don't. Or if it wasn't the most stressful job in the world. I'm trying to come to grips with the reality that I will die before I ever quit work (probably at work). Guess that greatest generation was the only one that will get to retire in numbers in this country. Yest our parents worked hard, but so did we. Maybe if the retired would stop demanding open heart surgery at age 85 and maybe if those of us who don't work for a government wouldn't have to fund their retirement accounts, maybe we could all retire.

    June 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  215. Richard Kowalski

    Retirement = Work a lot harder for a lot less.

    June 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm |