May 25th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

What does it mean that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you think talk on Capitol Hill over reducing our deficit and raising the debt ceiling has been ugly - just wait until the focus shifts to making cuts to Medicare or raising the retirement age for Social Security.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/05/25/art.retirememt.jpg caption=""]
Long-term deficit reduction can't be achieved without reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and the politicians know that. But millions of Americans depend on these programs and, as the Baby Boomer population ages, tens of millions more will, too.

A new survey out from the AARP finds many Americans in retirement or close to retirement age won't ever recover financially from the so-called Great Recession. Record job losses, declining home prices, skyrocketing health care costs and investment portfolios rocked by stock market volatility have all played a role.

One in four Americans over the age of 50 says they have burned through all of their savings. More than half, or about 53 percent, say they are not confident that they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.

And about half of those surveyed who are having problems taking care of their finances say they have delayed getting medical or dental care or even stopped taking medications because they simply can't afford to.

Of those surveyed who started to collect Social Security retirement benefits, more than two-thirds say they did so earlier than previously planned.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

It means that the economy is in deep trouble and that really large budget cuts will cause a depression. Social Security is more necessary now than ever before and should be assured by eliminating the cap but keeping the maximum benefit at the present level (adjusted only for the cost of living). This would eliminate 30% of he budget problem.

It says perhaps that we all need to put retirement savings as a bigger priority in our lives, which would mean doing with less today, and lowering our expectations in terms of lifestyle in general. It’s a pragmatic analysis, but often those contain the most truth.

Dave in Virginia:
I'm not sure what the answer is. You can save all your life and then blow it all on long-term care, or you can blow it during your earlier years and use Medicaid for long-term care. There doesn't seem to be a dignified middle ground for most people.

Instead of sitting back and enjoying our golden years in the swing on the porch, we're doing without. Medical care and prescription cost have gone through the roof. The cost of everything has soared from food to fuel, and nothing has been neglected in the price rise. Except of course my social security payments. "They" say there is no cost of living increase, so last year's payment will handle our living cost just fine. Well it does, when we use our "rainy day funds." The problem is the rainy day fund is finite; we're too old to get another job to refill it. A dollar taken out can never be replaced, it's gone.

Mary Anne:
Jack it means we, old folks, who always voted Republican, will vote Democratic if the Republicans touch our Medicare in any way! I have been a good Republican for 68 years, but this year that could change. I'm just sayin."

Sadly, for the retirees, it means getting back in the work force, probably at minimum wage. For the rest of us, it just means we have to speak louder to the 93 year old cashier at Burger King to ensure our lunch order is properly understood.

Filed under: Longevity • United States
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    It means many things. First, babyboomers will HAVE to work longer and wtih the unemployment where its at, live off much less. The economic crisis of the the last 5 years has wiped out IRA's pensions etc. Speaking as a boomer, i was unemployed for 2 years before finding a full time job, out of my area of expertise paying half of what I earned in 2008. Inflation, cost of living and having no "savings" to fall back on means- work longer to stay afloat and forget about saving anything. Not even a social security increase for two years. Want to know why medicare is such an important issue? NOONE wants to give up anything they feel they have a right to.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Jimbo

    It means that 1 out of 4 people have screwed up like I have.
    I would like someone to throw us a few bones, but then, why?
    I had money. I spent it. Thats all there is to it.
    I wish no one with a few more nickels in their pocket any ill will, nor do I want the politicians to rape those people any more on my behalf. Thanks for the ride. Its been great.

    "Take Me Oh Soylent Green Master Chef"

    May 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  3. Mark

    It means that our economy will suffer from their lack of funds to spend or gift to kids. It means that the Wall Street geniuses in Greenwich or the Upper East Side will buy another home in some overseas resort or another Ferrari or Bentley. In the end...it means the Middle-Class and their kids will be handed yet another bill to transfer more wealth to Plutocrats.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  4. Charles, Lansing, Michigan

    It is amazing it is only 25%. With most money concentrated in the richest 20% we can only expect it to get worse.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  5. David in Tampa

    What it means Jack, is that the people that should have been looking out for the American people over the years have betrayed us yet again. I mean not only those in government but those in the private sector that have put their wellbeing above all else.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  6. sam delray beach fl

    Just what it states. No magic.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Fran Robinson, Albuquerque, NM

    It means The US is in a lot of trouble. This and 25% of the minor children in The US are at or below the poverty line. Right now 1 out of 6 US citizens are "food insecure." (Nice spin on "hungry.") We are going to be a Third World country with a lot of people homeless and hungry. I looked at Pres. Obama and his wife in England - what do they really care about us?

    May 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  8. Bmoney

    It means Uncle Ben and Timmy are raiding the pension funds of hard working Americans in order to keep this ponzy scheme going as long as possible. We simply are driving a 1000 mph at a brick wall. 401ks are next. America you have been warned.


    May 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  9. ImALibertarian

    From near Houston, TX

    When 25% of retirees in the U. S. say their savings are all gone, it means that 75% would say that their savings are NOT all gone.

    May 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    What does it mean that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone?

    It says to me that an Unregulated Wall Street should be REGULATED.

    Those CEO's, Directors, Presidents, VP's shouldn't get a dime in BONUSES if they lost their Customers their life savings. That is NOT meeting their objectives!

    Roseville CA

    PS Why are the same folks that caused this mess still holding onto their jobs? Shouldn't they have ALL been replaced by now??

    May 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  11. Paul From Austin Texas

    It means for one thing Medicare needs to last much longer some how. The other is most did not plan for prices of everything to go so high for them.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Scott in Bellingham

    This means that 25% of all retirees will depend on Social Security checks and supplemental income from part time jobs to live.

    Their group will be joined soon enough by other retirees whose income also will run out.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Jayne

    It means our trade agreements over the past few decades have forced wages down and people who are now retired had less money to save. In addition, Social Security recipients have not gotten a cost-of-living raise in a couple of years, despite the fact the cost to exist in this country is skyrocketing. Did I mention uncovered medical costs the older among us incur? Many people of my age who might normally be preparing to retire are now opting to continue the daily grind until we drop in our tracks. There is no other option.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    Maybe you should be directing this question towards the Wall Street Banksters, no?

    May 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    It means the cost of living has risen far too fast, and there are a number of reasons for that, but the number one reason, is world over-population, which simply puts too much demand, on too few resources, making everything rise too rapidly, in cost.

    Add to that, the lack of manufacturing in the US, for US made products, and you can easily see where the money's going.........off shore.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  16. Pete in Georgia

    It might mean that we have the most corrupt government in the world ............................2nd only to Zimbabwe.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  17. lou

    They're not really gone, they've just been redistibuted. To the oil companies with increased prices. To the speculators who bet against america during the recession, buying risky stock market insurance that paid huge when the housing market crashed. To the health industry whose prices have spiralled out of control. When one group is losing that much money, it doesn't just disappear...someone else is raking it in.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Russ in PA

    That they don't have any common sense, and have fallen into the government trap that government will take care of everything? Good luck with that...

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    May 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    tampa, fl that me and my wife are not alone. no bailouts for us, not even a cola.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  20. ColMike, Marietta, GA

    Versus what % never saved a nickle; versus what % never planned; versus what % never checked; versus what % who, Godforbid, just got hurt....?

    May 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  21. Brad, Portland, OR

    It means that the Republican plan to eliminate Social Security and Medicare and replace Medicare with a discount coupon for a private insurance policy priced at whatever the market will bear is not just stupid, it's actually evil.

    Might as well just put our seniors on an ice floe, and push them out to sea.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  22. Jim


    It means conservative politicians who want to mess with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid better start planning their next career.

    Reno, Nevada

    May 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  23. Larry,Springfield,Ohio

    Jack,it means that people made lousy choices along the way to retirement,instead of driving the used Chevy,they drove the new Caddy,instead of going on a local vacation they went to Europe,instead of using free off the air broadcasts,they chose to use costly cable or other costly tv programming,instead discount stores,they chose Macy's and other big name dept. stores.I don't shed a tear for stupidity!

    May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  24. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it's called "inflation", Jack.

    with the oil companies ripping everyone off, the "cost-push" of high fuel prices seems to have doubled the price of everything in the last decade. people that thought they had saved enough for retirement now find themselves short.

    and you can add to that the money lost in senior's home values and retirement accounts that were destroyed by the wall street weasels. those "too big to jail" crooks got bailed out, seniors didn't.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  25. Ken from Pinon Hills. California

    It means the stock market has an never ending thirst for profits resulting in perpetual inflation. Most of us have a savings lifespan that has been shortened by a marketplace run riot for profits.
    Unfortunately we are living longer to see our savings grow shorter. Greatest country in the world?

    May 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  26. Bull

    Jack I have been retired for 21 yrs. and I guarantee that our savings are gone. After helping our daughters family through tough times which I have no regrets it's living month to month from SS and a small pension. We have had no cost of living increase for three years. I wish I hadn't gotten a cola three yrs. ago as it put us in a different tax bracket and a $20.00 increase cost us $3.00 more a month in taxes than before the increase. . $3.00 don't sound like much to most people but it's 3 cans of soup for us.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  27. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    They got the carriage before the horse and then the Fed reduced the interest rates to nada and there is no cost of living raise but there is no inflation according to Big Ben.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  28. Conor in Chicago

    Gee I don't know. Maybe that the Reagon/Bush Republican Conservative model for Capitalism is a fraud that made them rich and all of us poor? Of course not. I am just a commie pinko who hates America because I think criminals should go the jail and con-men fraudsters shouldn't be in government.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  29. Phyllis G Williams

    What does it mean that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone?

    Including myself. I am only protected by Psalm 37: 25 as the money I saved for retirement others with full bank books are threatening to draw it out. “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields”…their cries have “entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth” – James 5: 4.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  30. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    It says that Wallstreet has robbed us of all of our pentions. And, as of August @nd there will not be a cent left for them to take or for the retired seniors to collect. Wrap your head around that, Jack.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  31. Ed from California

    Their savings aren't gone! Their savings were re-directed to the very rich of our great country! The Bush- Bank/Wall st- bail-outs were directed to save them...not us!! We as depositors should've been first in line, in getting our money back. But, OH HELL NO!! we have to save the crooks first. To Big to Fail!! What a bunch of crap!! Those thieves should all be in Bernie's cell. Arguing of who's going to be the husband or the wife, along w/ all the members of congress who allowed anyone with a heartbeat to buy a home. And all other "professionals" who bared witness to the biggest rip-off off of "hard money", in the history of America!!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  32. Bud Rupert

    It means big trouble over time. We are a consumption based economy and unless we have a strong middle class to consum the goods and services it can only lead to real problems for the health of the country.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  33. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl

    Simple. This is a depression. There reason there are no soup lines is that the food stamp has taken it's place.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  34. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Well for one it means they didn't invest very well in the first place. I took a hit a few years back but i am just about back where i was thanks to high oil prices and investing heavily in oil futures. If people arte not making money it is their own fault Jack.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  35. Jane (Minnesota)

    It's not a one answer question, Jack. It's probably a combination of:

    1. Lack of Discipline (Saving)
    2. Low paying jobs (Education limits)
    3. A medical crisis (Lack of proper medical insurance
    4. Living a life style that doesn't match income
    5. Divorce
    6. Spouse's death (lack of life insurnace)

    In the case of medical expenses – the government has failed in that it continues to believe that medical care should be a for profit industry.

    In the case of low paying jobs, the government has failed by allowing mergers to the point of creating to little competition and allowing US jobs to be out scourced.

    No one can do anything about death, but if one doesn't plan for the possiblitly, they have big loss exposure.

    The blance of the list goes to personal responsibilty – as Harry Truman said, "The Buck stops here"

    May 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  36. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Too many believed in "don't worry, be happy". They believed spending would bring them happiness? Rainy day, What rainy day? They didn't expect to live so long? It was someone elses fault.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  37. Kevo in New Mexico

    It means the light at the end of the tunnel is actually the headlamp of an on coming train.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  38. Joe CE

    It means that the economy is in deep trouble and that really large budget cuts will cause a depression.. Social Security is more necessary now than ever before and shouold be assured by eliminating the cap but keeping the maximum benfit at the present level (adjusted only for the cost of living). This would eliminate 30% of he budget problem.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  39. Gordon NJ

    While it suggests that many have not saved for their retirements, many more have never earned enough to get ahead of the basic costs of living in America. Republicans won the war against unions and pensions, impoverishing millions who were once the backbone of American industry. Many others have lost good career jobs in their 50s with no prospect of comparable work. Many others, like me, also lost big chunks of our retirement savings in Bush's 2008 market crash. As I try to catch up with an increasingly distant retirement, I see a gauntlet of perfectly legal vultures in the medial industry, retirement industry, and financial industry licking their chops in anticipation of picking me clean before I die.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  40. Mr. D

    That figure of 25 percent will probably rise when members of the "spend" generation reach retirement age. But don't worry, the federal government has plenty of money to take care of everyone.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  41. Lori - PA


    What's the point in even asking a question like this? Government won't listen to me, or to anyone else in the same boat I'm in, because I'm not rich or a lobbyist for BP. They want to force me to buy health insurance I can't afford, and then in an effort to balance the budget want to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security rather than rescind the tax break, or subsidies, that oil companies get (despite billions of dollars in profits). Where’s Robin Hood when you REALLY need him?

    May 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  42. Mack-PembrokePines, FL

    It means Paul Ryan's plan to take Medicare away from old people is pretty flipping stupid...or maybe he wants to see all those old "hangers-on" just die. I know, let's get Big Oil and Wall St to care for all those folks who worked & saved their whole lives just to have it stolen from them in one of the biggest scams of the century that not ONE person has ever been indicted for to date. They got all the money from the raw deal they handed to the rest of us.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  43. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    Sadly, for the retirees, it means getting back in the work force, probably at minimum wage.
    For the rest of us, it just means we have to speak louder to the 93 year old cashier at Burger King to ensure our lunch order is properly understood.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  44. tom winn

    it means just that, we're broke! instead of sitting back and enjoying our golden years in the swing on the porch. we're doing without. medical care and prescription cost have gone, not just through the roof, but out of the atmosphere! the cost of everything has soared, from food to fuel, nothing has been neglected in the price rise. except of course my social security payments. "they" say there is no cost of living increase, so last year's payment will handle our living cost just fine. well it does, when we use our "rainy day funds". the problem is the rainy day fund is finite, we're too old to get another job to refill it. a dollar taken out can never be replaced, it's gone.
    i did hear the price of real estate has gone down. i hate missing a deal so i guess i'll check into buying me a home (gotta have a no money down/low monthly payments deal, i'm broke). get me one of those low apr rates. if i can swing this deal, you're invited to my combination mortgage burning and 101st birthday bash. i'll let ya know.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  45. virginia - Atlanta, GA

    My brother retired at age 65 – mandatory at that time. He is now 88 years old. His once very nice retirement package is barely livable by today's standards. Even cost of living increases didn't keep up with what has happened in that time. Even with a decent health insurance policy – premiums of course much higher, there are staggering health care costs. We retired 10 years ago. My husband has a serious chronic disorder, we have excellent health insurance, but of course dental insurance coverage is minimal. His medications cause his teeth to rot. We spend from 4,000.00 TO 5,000.00 each year on dentistry. My brother and I both had stock – look where that got us a few years ago. Savings accounts and CD's don't bring much in, we all must use principle in order to meet daily expenses – then we have less to invest or earn interest on and so on...

    Is it any wonder seniors, even those who were well prepared for retirement, are having it rough??

    May 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  46. Jim in Gardendale, Alabama

    I think it means that people lost a lot of money when the economy tanked. It also reflects the massive loss of jobs during the ten years of Bush and Cheney, while we shipped too many jobs overseas. Unless something is done to discourage outsourcing, it's probably not going to get better.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  47. Dennis north carolina

    it means that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. the american dream at its best!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  48. Nate Evans

    This shows that Americans are so used to living beyond their means that even the wise, old retirees were not prepared. Now imagine us youth, who will perpetuate it because we learn what we live.
    -Nate, Fayetteville, NC

    May 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  49. Kathie

    as a retiree with social security frozen for 2years while the cost of living escalates only proves to me that our elected officials could care less about us except during elections when they spout empty promises. congress sees fit to give subsidizes to oil companies, give billions to other countries for nonemergency income, cater to illegal aliens, undercut our education system, etc proves they are in the back pocket of the special interests and completely out of touch with our struggles. In Wisconsin our junior senator, a republican, cannot even acknowledge or respond to our correspondence/calls so just who is he representing??

    May 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  50. Paul P

    It says perhaps that we all need to put retirement savings as a bigger priority in our lives. Which would mean doing with less today, and lowering our expectations in terms of lifestyle in general. Its a pragmatic analysis, but often those contain the most truth.

    May 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  51. andyz Lynn, MA

    It means that the Labor Bureau and the Department of Redundancy Department will have to contract out to a group of Math PhD's, to come up with a formula that will make the government look good.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  52. Janne from NC

    It means the democrats will soon be inventing another entitlement program

    May 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  53. David from Herndon, VA

    I'm not sure what the answer is. You can save all your life and then blow it all on long-term care, or you can blow it during your earlier years and use Medicaid for long-term care. There doesn't seem to be a dignified middle ground for most people.

    And that's assuming that people have the option of saving anything. So many people are living paycheck to paycheck that they can't save anything.

    Hell, I'm in my 30's and probably upper middle class and I've already stopped getting prescription medicine when my family gets sick - insurance refuses to cover anything and the cost of medicine for even routine illnesses is just obscene.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  54. Mary Anne

    Jack it means we old folks, who always voted Republican, will vote Democratic IF the Republicans touch our Medicare in any way! I have been a good Rep. for 68 years, but this year that could change.... I'm just sayin"

    May 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  55. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    It means some one had better tell the millionaires in the Republican Party that Medicare and Social Security are not optional. The transfer of this nation's wealth from the middle class to the top two percent must stop.

    "The gap between the wealthiest Americans and middle and working class Americans has more than tripled in the past three decades – not including the loss in benefits like retirement and health care." (Virginia L. Downie, Just thought You should Know)

    May 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  56. Bob Melbourne, Fl

    It means that everyone who is not a member of a union is broke. There are no jobs and everything costs more. Now we’re broke and unlike the government we can’t just keep spending money we don’t have. We can go to jail for that. Come November 2012 people should ask themselves are you better off now than eight years ago? Why because that’s when the Democrats took control of the House and Senate. The stimulus didn’t work and the bailouts only seemed to help the unions. The president promised to be the most transparent administration ever. Well how’d that work out for us? A health care bill that we had to pass to see what was in it. This administration has turned out to be the most partisan administration of all time, demonizing everyone who dares question it and shifts the blame. Now the administration can announce its new Re-Election Champagne Management Staff, CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS

    May 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  57. Elle

    It means that inflation is way in the double digits in reality even if interests rates are being kept artificially low. It means that the costs of daily life are way higher than they were when the elderly were saving for their golden years. It means medical costs are through the roof. It means rents and taxes are higher than expected.
    The economic system we live in is mainly neoliberal. It only works for the top 5%.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  58. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    The word in Congress is that taxpayers can no longer afford retiree entitlement programs. Wall Street whiz kids will make a fortune in bonuses for promoting the next big investment opportunity, dog food products for Seniors.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  59. Elle

    May 25th, 2011 4:20 pm ET

    It means that inflation is way in the double digits in reality even if interests rates are being kept artificially low. It means that the costs of daily life are way higher than they were when the elderly were saving for their golden years. It means medical costs are through the roof. It means rents and taxes are higher than expected.
    The economic system we live in only works for the top 5%.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  60. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    It means George W. Bush and the right wing nut jobs have ripped off 25% of retirees. But then they are probably the 25% who voted for GWB and the right wing nuts in the first place so they got what they had coming.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  61. bryan, colorado

    Tells me we are already to late to help these people we care so much about. The New Solution is to continue to take away peoples ability to have a pension and or social security to have an income to live on during their twilight years. Sounds like highly educated think tank stuff. Future retired people must be so happy to know our goverment is working on this problem with such conviction. Managements twilight years must look really bad as well.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  62. MyWay

    It means that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone. Next question.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  63. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    It means times are tough. Many retirees on a fixed income are struggling with ever higher costs and living on their credit cards when their savings run out. Even with a slowly recovering economy, responsible adults are also challenged to help out their unemployed adult children and/or are taking care of their parents.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  64. Gary H. Boyd

    It means that 25% of the population is incompetent which squares with most polls dealing with intelligence in America. One quarter of Americans can't pass an IQ test so how can they be expected to know anything about saving for old age. Pretty simple really.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  65. Ed from MD

    25% less retirees.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |

    That means 75 % of the retirees are about to share the same fate, excluding the rich of course.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  67. Sandstone.

    "The cost living has risen right up to that cracked-ceiling, that Hillary was trying for, and it's gone right through the roof. Your country is wasting! Wasting power, and is not listening! All Obama can do is waste more dollars, trying to educate himself in a job he should have never been allowed to enter. He is an illegal alien, and the usa was to scared to take him on in court!"

    May 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  68. pat in michigan

    It's time for those death panels the Republicans were talking about.
    Old people.What a bunch of deadwood!!!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  69. Ted from Hershey, PA

    Jack, it means just that! 25% of the retired people have 0 savings, rely on social security plus any income they can get, or live with their children. What do they do when we run out of social security money and the government is NOT required to pay us anymore per the supreme court??

    Maybe we need to get serious and reforn social security, medicare, and medicaid!! Do we have $62 Trillion in unfunded committments? We also need major spending cuts just to balance the budget, let alone worry about the debt of $14.3 T plus ($62 T ?)!

    May 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  70. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It means that Americans have trusted crooked politicans and greedy corporations and investment bankers to secure our future. Instead they stole it from us! We have nothing and they live in luxury. The middle class has been eliminated. There are only tow classes–The Haves and the Have Nots.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  71. Kim Smith

    It means that an "American Spring" type of revolution is right around the corner. The question is, will our own military turn on us when we are forced to exercise our Constitutional rights? And when they do, who will come to our rescue? China? Saudi Arabia? Mexico? Don't hold you're breath.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  72. Michael A

    It means that Trickle Down Economics has made America a less than 3rd World Nation.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  73. Elle

    It means that inflation is way in the double digits even with interests rates near zero.
    It means that the costs of daily life are way higher than people can cope with, along with under-employment or unemployment that they never expected when they were young. It means medical costs are through the roof. It means rents and taxes are higher than expected.

    What will it mean to lose Medicare as we know it with no price controls in place?

    May 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  74. Allan Chicago.IL

    It means the inflation going up in everything and the credit cards and banks making big profits on there backs. The attacks on the middle class from the GOP has been harsh and scary just wondering when will the diehard republicans get the hint they are the ones being attacked and vote democrat.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  75. Ralph Nelson

    It means they shouldn't have voted for Ronald Reagon and Supply-side economics (funnel money to the rich). You are what you vote.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  76. Ralph Spyer

    It means 75% of Americans are not as stupid as they look.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  77. bonnie from NJ

    It means I will have a lot of company at my local homeless shelter!

    May 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Rudolf

    It means two things: the cost of living is very high in the US and people are not very financially savvy. Social Security was not meant to be nor cannot be the sole source of one's retirement income. If people think so, they are deluding themselves.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  79. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Well, here I am. Retired. My husband is retired. Our savings are gone.

    We are BOTH looking for jobs so we can manage to make it every month. Where we will be able to afford the GAS to get to WORK if we get jobs is a mystery.

    Others in my family and friends are in the same spot. A coupld of friends who were SECIRE just told me that their retirement plan is now in the hands of the government because the company they worked for for YEARS went under.

    MILLIONS of seniors, good, hard-working people, have run out o money.

    And now the politicians want to take away Social Security, which is the basic income for millions.

    What does it mean?

    It means the RICH have finally got all they wanted, all our money!

    May 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  80. bob in florida

    Jack, that money isn't gone. It's just resting in the bank accounts of a few Wall Street Bankers.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  81. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    It means that America is not doing a very good job of taking care of Americans. There has been too much trust placed in Wall Street investors and Big Business. Basically all they care about is how to make money for themselves and their ethics demonstrate an insatiable appetite for pleasing their own self interests. Big business makes decisions based solely on EBITDA and if they can improve the earnings by moving to China they will do it. Government has provided no oversight on keeping American companies in America and in keeping Wall Street bound by ethical standards and it is getting worse. It seems that no one is looking after the average American. Where is the leadership? We need a return to the ethics this country was based on, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  82. Michael Roepke

    First, we lower taxes. Next we deploy our military to conquer sand dunes. Then we crash the economy. Now that so many are suffering, we have decided that fiscal responsibility is so important that we need to gut Social Security and Medicare and quite helping victims of natural disasters.

    What does it mean that 25 percent of retirees in the U.S. say their savings are all gone? It means that they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  83. Brian in IL

    This one is a mixed bag. Many on the right will argue that it is our fault because we assumed that SS and Medicare would cover everything, but they don't. I'll be the first to admit that I am among those who did not save enough to have a great retirement, but that was not dominant in the culture as we are brainwashed to believe that we should spend and consume, and during the last six weeks of every year we are led to believe that our entire existence for being is to go shopping. I would be all for raising the full retirement to 70 in view of longer and healthier life spans, but most in the employment community consider anyone over about 55 to be dead wood even though they are usually more reliable than are younger workers. A couple of days ago you asked if we feel the American Dream is dead. Unfortunately I am in the camp of those who would have to say yes.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  84. jean2009

    Jack I think you summed up the reasons in paragraph 3.

    I think the Ryan /Republican plan for social security and medicare are in truth the "Death Panels" we heard so much about in the last election.

    Basically it means that 25% of retirees are hurting from the lack of increases to their safety net when gasoline, utilities, prescription drugs, daily living expenses, property tax, home, health and auto insurance premiums, auto maintenance, and every other item that people, even though retired, face the same as the non-retired is through the roof. Things that have not improved are interest on savings/securities, home values, pensions and social security are just not keeping up.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  85. couldcareless, California

    We tried the untried and untrue with the current president. I don't want a president named for a lizard, or on that has no last name and to first names instead or name for the glove a catcher uses in a baseball game. The GOP need to get read but alas we a probably destined to a repeat of the disaster that is now the president. I am glad I am old, so I won't have to live through the mess he has created.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  86. Kevin in CA

    It means that the neocon's aren't doing a good enough job of eviscerating the middle class wealth and returning to the way it was in the early 1900's.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  87. Susan

    Retirees you say...it means that they've spent pretty much all of it on health care.

    Mansfield, Ohio

    May 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  88. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    It means that they need to re-think their values as Americans. Most are hard working middle class citizens that have been self supporting tax payers, paying taxes that help pay for the less fortunate. Now THEY are becoming less fortunate, through no fault of their own.

    A new thinking would be, spend all of what you have left, go on public assistance until the middle class is completely eliminated and can't pay anymore. Wait and see if our public officials will ask the US Chamber of Commerce if it would be okay if we asked some of their members to pay a wee bit more taxes.

    No middle class to pay taxes? Watcha goin to do know.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  89. Lesa B. (Florida)

    Jack it means that the younger generations are screwed. I'm in my early 30's and when my generation makes it to retirement age, we'll just continue working because over 50% of us will have no savings due to student loan debt, and social security would be gone by then.

    Isn't that what the super rich want anyway-more indentured servants?

    May 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  90. Steve, Clifton, VA

    If the savings of 25 % of those over 50 years of age have dried up already, then the safety nets of medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will become even more critical and essential to senior citizens in the not too distant future. Subsequently, Congress will be hard pressed to modify Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security in a manner which will force a significant number of senior citizens into poverty. Seniors who are forced into poverty will still look to the Federal Government for relief, so the Government will end up paying one way or the other.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  91. Renee Peoria,Ill

    It means Bush did a good job while in office for whoever it is he really worked for. Meanwhile I've recently had a renewed interest in gardening, especially vegetables. I'm still in my 40's and I figure by the time I reach my grandmother's age I'm going to need a green thumb if I want to eat.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  92. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, it simply means that the retirees did not save enough money before they ended their careers. Social Security is for supplemental income, not to totally sustain a person. The minimum age to receive Social Security benefits HAS to be raised. The great Ponzi scheme that is Social Security will collapse unless big changes are made.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  93. Guy from Hawaii

    It's sad but It means that 25% of the people will be coming out of retirement!..."Would you like fries with your order?" As long as 3% of the country has most of the wealth this percentage will go higher and higher.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  94. kim c WI

    It means get your hands of my fricken medicare.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  95. Pat Stressman

    I think this is a very sad commentary on the U.S. who can spend billions to enrich the people of plenty of nations who hate the U.S but not help Seniors who have worked all their lives to have to donate toward all these billions.

    And Jack,please let's remember BO who has refused to give the seniors a cost of living increase for the past 2 years. His excuse is-there's been no inflation.

    Scary, isn't it?


    May 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  96. Karl in Flint

    Basically, it means I'm broke and looking for a part time job. Do you need an offsite Contributing Producer? I can generate as many dumb questions as I do dumb answers. I can't afford to go anywhere so you know I will always be here and I can't afford to get sick so, no problem.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  97. Tonie from OK

    Retirement does not keep up with the cost of living and health care.

    We cannot keep giving our tax money away to the top 1% and expect a different outcome. It is insane not to raise taxes on the very rich.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  98. dave in nashville

    Means those 25% were never paid enough to save anything, and that's the tip of an iceberg Jack that is floating at sea. Go back 30 years and tell us who has had any significant pay raise in any field except computers. People just can't keep up man.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  99. Anthony J. Frascino from Swedesboro, NJ

    I live in a retirement community. It was all about harmony and peace in our golden years. In three years, scores of homes are now under foreclosure, sales signs are springing up like mushrooms, service charges are exploding and taxes are going through the roof. We're now looking for jobs that don't exist for elders and watching our nest egg turn into a pebble. We're drowning and desperate for relief. All the plannnig in the world couldn't prepare us for these unforeseen times. I'll write you from my tent city if this keeps up.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  100. Donald in New Mexico

    It means wages haven't kept up with the cost of living. Meanwhile, the rich get richer. If the rich were not so greedy, they would be sharing the profits more fairly with employees. Productivity has increased without fair compensation. What percentage of retirees get no pension or health care? Social Security and Medicare are not enough to live on without retirement benefits. Now the Republicans who took over the House want to cut Medicare and pay doctors less. They want to gut the elderly and make them use coupons for their healthcare. It won't be long before they get the savings from another 72% of retirees. Leaving the elite 3% to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor. Greed has killed the middle class and left our country in disrepair.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  101. Gigi Oregon

    Being a retiree the biggest cost is Insurance, doctors and prescriptions. I'm at the point now, of saying cancel every everything. Even with the full insurance coverage when I go to the doctor my insurance covers nothing that I need. Co-pays and drugs are getting higher every year, you have to wait to be approved for surgeries which takes weeks unless you pay cash. It has become a joke. The needs of seniors are dental, vision and drugs which are not part of the insurance package those are extra. We are insurance and tax poor. I say lets refuse to play-n-pay the game. Cancel our policies bank the money and go out of the country pay cash for affordable care and it will give you a vacation as a bonus.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  102. Chandler in Rockaway, NJ

    It means the country has been turned into a kleptocracy designed to vacuum every last penny out of your pockets before you die.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  103. Tonie from OK

    Our politicans are out of touch. The cost of living out paces everything else. Giving tax money away cuts revenue – we have a revenue problem or we would not be having some of these very problems it is creating.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  104. Sandstone.

    "You have to be satisfied on what you have, Jack. I lost most of what I had saved getting here in BC, I live like an emperor now, because I learned how to survive. I had nothing a few years ago, now I have all I need, and I can even talk direct to you. Things most other's can't! Why??
    Because they want too much from a world that is broke!!"

    May 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  105. John ........................... Marlton, NJ

    And now they are living off of the rest ... It wasn't the greatest generation, it was greediest generation !

    May 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  106. Emmitt, ND

    I can't type now, Jack. My arm is stuck down in the back of the couch
    up to my elbow as I try to retrieve the change that fell out of my
    pockets in 73'.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  107. Bill in New Mexico

    For America, it is the hand-writing on the wall.

    Already social security alone is not enough for retirement. This trend will accelerate as increasingly more cuts are made in medicare and social security. It predicts great changes in America:

    Medical care is going to become a luxury.

    The middle class will be disappearing.

    Street people's numbers will explode.

    There could be a huge shift in politics to the left, (really left!)

    This will not be the America that you presently know and love.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  108. Edith, the Keys

    It means I'm going to have to check with Harold Camping to see if he has an extra room for rent, Jack.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  109. virginia - Atlanta, GA

    In 1925 my parents said that they would need a truck to bring $10.00 worth of groceries home.
    In 1965, our income went up to $4,000.00/year and I began to spend $15.00/week for 4 of us – and felt we ate pretty well.
    Any idea what it costs 2 of us to eat – and not so well, today?
    With that kind of costs increase few can know how to be prepared.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  110. Jack Dempsey

    Jack , It means they didn't work for CNN or the Government. They probably worked at low paying jobs with little or no chance of getting a better education . Let alone finding better jobs or paying there bills. Thanks for bringing up Jack and reminding us of where were all heading. Jack from Nice, Ca

    May 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  111. calaurore9

    It means they paid college tuition.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  112. Marge, Tampa

    I say we declare a national senior looting day at the grocery stores and
    pharmacies. They can't take us all down at one time.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  113. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Any Republican plan to reduce retiree benefits is the real "death panel".

    May 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  114. Bob

    I means that even age and wisdom can't teach someone to live within their means.

    I'd be curious to see how many of these broke retirees are driving fancy cars, taking frequent vacations and expecting to keep buying shiny new things as though they were still employed

    May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  115. Devon B

    It mean that I, a 24 year old Marine Corps Veteran, will have a big bill that I'll be working the rest of my life to pay off. Your Welcome in advance.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  116. Nick

    It means that we should end the bail outs and the wars, and should not touch Social Security. It also means that those in the media who "re-frame" the argument, saying that "we all now we must address social security in order to reduce the deficit" are full of it. So thanks for being a part of that bs.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  117. wes

    It means that this country has officially failed. My parents lost a large sum since 2000 and have managed to get a part of it back but it was a huge chunk of their retirement. It was partly due to bad investments by the company handling the stocks and getting a financial planner/adviser has helped.
    What does it really mean? It means that anyone under retirement age is better off just sticking their money in a jar in the basement as you can't trust the government or wall street to do the right thing and not let you starve to death.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  118. Corey, Annapolis

    It means that adjustments will have to be made to help those in need out now. But someone my age, at the ripe age of 22, should expect not to receive any benefits until 75 or beyond to make up for those adjustments. I accept this and the sooner others my age do, too, the better off we'll be.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  119. Dirk from So. Cal

    It means our social woes are only just beginning.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  120. Bob from Baltimore

    Simple, it means they should call Ryan at 1800-idontcare

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  121. bob

    Euthanization before retirement age is the only answer, so people won't have to suffer through their "golden years"

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  122. Frankie

    It means that the financial CEOs and wealthy companies who allowed this to happen for their own profit, it means that now it is their turn to share the burden. At the very least.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  123. Ted

    I retired when I was 78. I don't have a problem. Maybe these 25% guys retired too soon?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  124. Joe

    It means the rich are getting richer and the poor, well you already know about the poor that's you and I.
    Just remember for you naysayers to the current administration policies Chrysler is paying back all loans SIX years early, so when we want to discuss politics remember the party of "No" really is about undermining our economy for political gain and could CARE LESS about you and me.
    Just look at medicare where the average woman age 65 earns $14,000 per year, do you think she can really afford health insurance premiums of $12,000 per year? The men, well forget it ... their insurance premiums will be off the charts. So when you want to discuss politics remember the self-serving agenda from the wealthy and powerful.
    How about getting rid of energy corporation welfare? Saving $4Billion per year or more would certainly take care of many health insurance costs. Oh by the way, when I see hypocritical attitudes from a Georgia Republican Congressman "public good" have NO INTENTION of eliminating their "personal" government paid health care.
    So when you think about our veterans remember these veterans need more than just words, they need our financial support, too.

    Joe, NY

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    It unfortunately means that the greatest generation has yet another opportunity to live up to their well deserved moniker! The question is will subsequent generations be able to do the same. I think not!
    Antonin Z. Sergelin
    LCDR USN(ret)

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  126. B. Clark

    I'm on of the 25% who had to retire, age 50, for unforseen medical reasons, with no savings to be had. This generation is one who borrowed against their home equity in the 90's and have lost all of their equity that was left in the 2006 crash. In addition, this generation is one who made sure our children had more than we ever had at their age. Hence, we know have nothing. God help this generation.

    B. Clark

    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  127. Mike B


    It means that those retirees should have demanded a defined benefit retirement plan from their employer like the one that many public employees get, as opposed to being forced to rely on the faulty 401(k) plan which is subject to the the whims of the stock market.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  128. cynthia rafler

    It means if you are in your mid-40's you become the sandwich generation. My 71 year old mother has to live with me and my 2 adult children still live at home as no one can afford to live on their own and we still have trouble making ends meet.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  129. George Riepe

    I started saving for retirement as soon as I graduated college. I retired early from an average paying job and have no financial problems. If people would plan for the future and not live for the present, there would be a lot more folks enjoying the fruits of their labor. Everyone I know who did as I did are out playing golf without a worry in the world.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  130. Dan in TN

    Jack...it means either society's social safety net or the criminal system will be burdened with the deficit. Somehow people will survive. Society provides in one way or another.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  131. Paul L.

    It means that the trillions of dollars flowing upward to the wealthiest have stayed right there, in their pockets, and have NOT trickled back down to shore up an economy devastated by the mistakes and excesses of corporations and banks.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  132. Peter Ida Iowa

    jack it mean we need to add more money to save the medicare and security instead of eliminating them as suggested by the teabaggers and their GOPers allies... because we cannot afford to let our seniors suffer while the young thrive on.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  133. golferman

    Sedona, AZ
    25% with no savings means that Soc. Sec. and Medicare programs will be necessarily continued (probably expanded) or our economy will experience another flameout caused by lack of consumer spending.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  134. Fred Binford

    A more meaningful number might be the percentage of people who had no savings before all the great recession activities hit.

    Many of these baby boomers have never saved for retirement in any serious way (ie giving up some current lifestyle for future security).

    No question it is a problem to be solved, but don't blame it all on the great recession.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  135. Ed in AZ

    This has got to mean that the hand writing is on the wall that the economy will take another hit. With that many people nearly out of money and without the ability to afford medical care, won't their purchasing power be severely compromised? What a shock!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  136. Isabel from Michigan

    It means that the Ryan budget is all wrong. It means we bring home the troops, and eliminate non-essential bases. It means we cut salary and benefits for our legislators, and ask them to live like we do. If they won't elect new ones that will. Their retirement and insurance benefits (for life) are outrageous! They work for us... If we do not invest in ourselves, who will?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  137. Sisu

    It means that everything has gone up except earned interest and/or income/social security/pensions. Tthe "nest egg" that once would have been enough for a comfortable retirement is now paltry when compared to today's cost of living.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  138. Paula Bennett

    Jack – What does it mean??? It means my husband lost his job at age 57 (age discrimination live and well), I was working as a Realtor in Florida when the real estate BOMB hit. That equals no income. We lasted for three years – went through investments and savings. We applied for Social Security at age 62. We live in our son's rental and he has to augment our income. We hit 65 this year and we can't wait to go to the doctor – it's been four years since our last visit. Dental? Let's just say that our son has been our support on dental. Could not possibly afford a root canal on our own. Thanks to the Wall Street crowd and our congress, life has become one big root canal.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  139. Peggy

    Why has no one suggested removing the ceiling amount on collecting social security taxes on wages? Is it because in would effect those who would have to vote to remove the ceiling? Also we as a country cannot afford the extension of the income tax cuts.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  140. Deni

    The country has become so CODEPENDENT with allowing policies to use others, where free agency has gone out the window. Because of the new plans for health is not for the people BUT FOR THE GOVERNMENT, which people DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON, I believe that it will be a bill that can't be trusted for the people. let the people vote for the bill to see where it goes, not shove it down the USA throats, like taking medication is going to be the key to fix the problem. Why don't we aid until June of 2012? By then this country will see, better the important changes!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  141. Ellen

    It means that any senior, or anyone who cares about a senior, should vote for candidates who will preserve the social safety net, even if it means that those of us with more-than-adequate incomes will have to pay more in taxes. (Yes, that means Democrats.)

    i'm a senior who retired early by layoff from a job i'd had for 40+ years. i'd planned to work until I was 70, not 64. For now, my finances are in OK shape, but if Medicare is turned over to the private sector, one illness could wipe out everything I've saved in a lifetime.

    It's immoral to try to balance the budget by gutting Medicare, Social Security and programs to feed and educate and care for the poor. But, of course, the Republicans know a great deal about immorality, right Newt Gingrich? John Ensign? Christopher Lee?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  142. Stewart


    Back when we took Jesse James off the highway and then the "within the beltway idiots" allowed him back on but now to work on behalf of Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank, Bank of America! and of course themselves!

    Stew Lustgarten
    Palm Beach, FL

    May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  143. MichaelP

    I am over 50, have no savings, and nearly broke.
    I recently missed my monthly payment to my
    internet service provider and fear they will cut it off befo...

    May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  144. Linda in Arizona

    "Long-term deficit reduction can't be achieved without reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and the politicians know that."

    If they know that, then they must also know deficit reduction can't be achieved without ending bloated military budgets for 4 useless wars, corporate welfare, and tax cuts for the obscenely rich. Do YOU know that?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  145. Ken in NC

    Normally I would say they didn't prepare very well for retirement but now I have to say the recession hurt most of us. A job loss compiled with a 60% loss in a 401k really helped suck my savings almost dry. After being offered the same job by my old employer after they relocated to China at half of my last pay, I decided to suck it up and tough it out.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  146. Tommy

    Its would be reason i think of the recession that the US suffered last year that caused for 25% saving of the retirees gone...and also maybe the rise of inflation also one of the causes why it happened.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  147. Barb in Texas

    Why should this surprise us? For years we've been told we haven't been saving enough. And, in a time of great crisis our Fearless Leader, President 'W' Bush said to be good Americans we should shop to boost the economy. We sure did show those terrorists, didn't we George? Of course, that worked for you and your Halliburton friends. Born with a silver foot in his mouth indeed!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  148. Linda in Charleston, SC

    I am one of those people, I am an American citizen, demoralized, depressed, stressed, living in fear, no health insurance, no job in a jobless society, I've worked 42 years of my life and the last three years has beat me to a pulp. I live in a crooked world, with crooks for politicians, that are bought out by sleazy lobbyist that are hired by corrupt corporations to have their way in the world. I live in a world where investment firms, private equity firms, and shady mortgage brokers inflate my living expenses, bankrupt my workplaces while my government stands by and does nothing. I'm sure I am not alone.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  149. sherry

    I can easily identify. Thanks to the financial and lending institutions, the real estates scams, and the stock market coniving with them, we have lost everything. We tried so hard to be the responsible people we have always been, we used all money trying to keep the house we had until we were depleted. We were assured by the above it was not a bubble to hold on and things would change. On top of that my daughter had a spinal cord injury and they decided to retire my husband early. He has applied for hundreds of jobs and I am doing as much as I can with my business. What else can we do. So I do understand. What I do not understand is how the CEOs of the businesses mentioned are making more money then ever.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  150. Kathryn MacLean

    I think it means, sadly, that the elder suicide rate will see a jump over the next 25 years. Or prozac will have to be sent along with those tiny SS checks. K.L. MacLean, Villa Park, IL

    May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  151. Malcolm

    What a statistic Jack. My first thought points directly to the fact that the value of money has declined significantly, paired with the rising level of inflation and how our health care system is severly broken. I would like to know the percentage of the 25% who depleted their savings; how much of those funds went to prescription drugs. Jack; I thought retirement was supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation after working all your life. I guess my wife and I will have to come up with an alternate plan to continue working, rather than growing gray with happiness.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  152. Jim, Nicholson PA

    It means that the country has nearly completed its transformation from a manufacturing powerhouse with a well-off middle class, to a third world service economy with 90% of everything owned by the corporate oligarchs who have the federal government wrapped around their little finger.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  153. Glenn

    It means that the system is screwed up, and it is attacking our flat income retirees, and no one seems to listen. no matter what, it is not right for us to ask our retired people to pay even more when we cut medicare and social security to pay for the tax cuts to the only group that does not need them. Come on, they deserve a break.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  154. Sherry Cooper

    Jack, I took retirement earlier than I expected as I was layed off and could not find a job..It means that the Social Security contract with the American people is needed and it also serves to show that these entitlement programs should never be put at risk in the stock market and should have been invested only in secure markets and legislated in a manner that no government can loan from the fund. The numbers indicate the program was well thought out and had the program been protected we would not find ourselves in the situation we find ourselves in today.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  155. joan gallagher

    simple prices are sky-rocking and pay checks are decersing except for congress of corse

    May 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  156. Peter

    It means a lot of people are screwed! Life as we knew it will never be the same! Money doesn't just evaporate, it filters up to the wealthiest americans – those people buying up all the foreclosures and renting them back to us for even more $$. Reagan was dead wrong, there is no such thing as "trickle down economics", it just sounds good and that's about the only thing republicans are good for. Without proper regulation and higher taxes on the wealthy, there is no question the financial health of the middle class will continue to get worse!!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  157. Faith Miller

    My husband and I are among those retirees who have lost most of their retirement savings.

    The majority of our retirement funds and 401K funds were invested in stocks ... and that money (approx. $400,000) is now GONE !

    The fat cats on Wall St. STOLE our retirement from us. Thank goodness for Social Security .. and now they want to take that away, too.

    Think where we'd be if George Bush had gotten his way and Social Security had been invested in the stock market !!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  158. Wildspirit

    This government has failed the middle class. So now there's only the greedy rich and the poor bastards like me.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  159. clark

    . I'm 42 and have been living in The Villages, World's Largest Retirement Community, for 10yrs helping take care of my parents. If they are broke it means they are Gluttonus Pigs!!! because this place is full of absolute idiots worth hundreds of thousands. If this generation didn't save $$$ it is their own fault! No generation has ever made more money any where on earth!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  160. Helen

    It means that the top 2% of wage earners need to lose their Bush tax cuts.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  161. Pete, Clearwater, FL


    Before I answer your question I have to challenge the opening line, "Long-term deficit reduction can't be achieved without reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," Why isn't anyone challenging the billions dedicated to the DOD? We don't need thousands of troops in how many foreign countries, Germany, Japan, Korea, etc.

    We don't need all the new DOD dream toys, who is the enemy?

    Why are we automatically putting deficit reduction on the backs of folks that worked all their life for what they paid into?

    What it means is the system is broken and we the people need to re access what our real priorities are and where REAL deficit reductions could and should be made.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  162. Chuckiebtoo

    It means that Dubya's swath of destruction continues to lay bare more and more of the evil and stupidity that is his legacy.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  163. Victor Miller

    They're screwed because they didn't plan ahead. I guess they'll have to live with their kids.
    A flush retire from Wisconsin.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  164. Jeffrey from Los Angeles

    It will mean that me and my generation will relive the old age poverty of our grandparents and earlier generations. We will have to try and work well past retirement age if our health allows it and employers don't disciminate against us. It will mean that our children and grandchildren will continue the sandwich generations struggling to care for their own children as well as their parents and grandparents. Thanks to the return of social Darwinism under Republican rule and their adamant demands that the social safety net and the compact between generations be eliminated, we have a lot to do.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  165. Steve in Manchester, WA


    This is hardly surprising. Years ago, during the "good times", the US Social Security administration published a report that showed of 100 COLLEGE GRADUATES (never mind everyone else) retiring at age 65, one was wealthy, 3 were financially independent, and the other 96 were either dead or broke. As long as the Federal government continues to provide a safety net, the vast majority of citizens aren't likely to make the tough financial decisions necessary to provide a comfortable, independent life.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  166. David

    First, this is clear evidence of the existence of 3 Americas: one, with about 2% of the population, controls about 60% of the wealth; the second, with about 5% of the population, controls about 30% of the wealth. Both groups are undertaxed and overindulged.
    So 93% of the population get the shaft.
    The social contract has been broken – and none of our so-called representatives in Washington have the guts to repair it.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  167. S Hiram

    Five years ago I had a good job, had successfully raised three children alone (widowed in 1990), and in line to comfortably retire a few years hence. I discovered I had medical issues that ended up making me lose my job, I am still waiting to see if disability will ever decide I have the right to continue to live, my home that I had sunk my money into, believing if all else failed, I could always sell my real estate and live off the proceeds, turned out to be nearly worthless. I had to cash in my 401(K) to try to survive, but it is long since gone and my twentysomething year old children are now trying to support me while I wait for disability, I have stopped taking all but the most basic medication, have had to leave my expensive doctors for the conveyor belt variety, and have considered giving up. What am I expected to do at nearly 60 years old and in poor health? How do I recover? it's impossible.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  168. Ron in Oklahoma

    I fit right into the group you are talking about. The Market decimated our IRA. Then I got laid off with no severance pay when a Fortune 100 corporation bought the company that I worked for – they closed it a year and a half later. COBRA premiums nearly wiped out what we had left. We lost that last September, when it ran out. The high cost of private insurance was out of the question. I went on Medicare in November, but my Wife can't get that for 5 years. Last month she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Thank God, her month long stay in the Hospital has put her into remission, but the staggering bills are overwhelming. I could work 24/7/365 for the rest of my life and never pay them in full. There are no suitable jobs out there for a 65-year-old man.

    What does it mean? Poverty. Simple as that. And, we are not alone.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  169. Rob Perry

    Well Jack "how do I feel about this?" just one word says it all SCREWED. At 57 years old my personal retirement fund took a 50% hit due to the financial crisis . It has barley returned to the amount that I had saved prior to the collapse. At this rate I will probably have to work until I drop. Retirement will unfortunatly not be an option. That's my American Dream!

    Rob Perry
    Waterville NY 13480

    May 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  170. hugh s jameson

    i believe it means that our capital markets are some of the most fraudulent on earth. the consequences of market corruption have not been dealt with in any appropriate manner by our political leadership.
    indeed ourt political leaders whether in Washington DC, or any of our state legislatures bend over face down for corporate America's lobbyists. Americans need to understand this reality. we have undergone two market meltdowns since 1999. they are not the last we will endure. it is virtual certainty that between jobs disappearing in America, falling incomes of the middle class and corrupt capital markets there is little hope for successful efforts at financial accumulation for retirement purposes for the vast number of Americans.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  171. harry

    jack all their money went to the top 2% and their lobbyest. big pharma. big oil big insurance wall st. etc. the devils golden rule he who has the gold makes the rules!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  172. Texas Tea

    It means that Americans are lazy at thinking critically and planning for their future. They believe everything that they are told by their government and have given up thinking for themselves. And that means also that they have not learned anything from history – those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. And so it goes.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  173. Emmanuel Jal

    If we really love our seniors we have to pass the real budget and not the cut it, modify it, slice it or change part of it for election cycle. I am sick and tire of the God we created the so-called politicians in the first place.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  174. Thomas Davozzi

    It means we as a country are spiraling out of control and our elected leaders are trying desperately to balance uncontrolled spending at the expense of the very people that made this great country what it is [or was]. When we take from those who sacrificed and worked their whole life, while giving to those who knowingly break our laws...We, as Americans, must say enough is enough and let our elected officials know that we still have one vote per citizen.


    May 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  175. Rusty Weise, Rochester, MN

    To me, it means a couple things. First, the middle class is shrinking. Without manufacturing jobs, its more likely that many from the middle class are moving down to low income status. And second, Social Security and Medicare are even more important. Unless we want to revert to seeing half of the senior population in poverty and medical bankruptcy, its important to fix the senior entitlements so that they remain effective and solvent, without being drasticallly changed.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  176. Howard Kiefer

    What does it mean? A comfortable retirement. I am 67, own my house and land and my wife works. SS covers all the bills and mywife pays for car insurance and food. We live comfortably. Incidently i quit when i was 52 to finish our 1200 sq foot house. No mortgage cause i built it. Those people are fools that think uncle sam owes them a living. No one owes them anything.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  177. Jeffrey Sacek

    Hey Jack Jeff from Indiana love your headlines first time responder.... 25 % just think in 10 more years 50% of the population will have no money to spend, recession getting better?????? How much more money could China loan the US now?

    May 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  178. Helen Risso

    Many of these seniors of which I am one...perhaps should have thought about being a little frugal...no... you can't eat out 4 days a week..no... you can't have your nail,including toe and hair done once a week, no you can't buy expensive homes and cars......and maybe your children did no not have to go to schools in far distant states ..so you could brag.....with lavish weddings afterwards. .. I find that those who bemoan the loudest are most often those whoare and have lived extremely well and were and are the biggest spenders You seen them going out for breakfast every Saturday morning.. I'm surprise that you would even ask this question...you must see people, every day, living way above their meanes..and now they want to jeopardize the future of their grandchildren because of their carelessness...I would say their children but I think alot of their children have lived by their parent's example and are deep in credit card debt as are their parents...sooo sad!!!.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  179. Sherry Cooper

    Jack, It means that the financial community has used our tax dollars to enrich themselves and then after making money on our money they returned it to us without reinvesting in the United States community. Only government will be able to invest in businesses so the tax payer can be employed and continue to fund the contract of Social Security and increase government tax revenue to run our country's valuable infrastructures, Sherry in Arizona

    May 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  180. Richard Stevens

    It means the rich have taken away most of our savings . We will elect more of the rich so they will take away even more that is how stupid the american elector,s is .

    May 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  181. Ken


    As a male, over 50, out of work, who gave 25 years of service to a career that is no longer looking for my skill set and a workplace that will not help me to retrain in a new field were I can work or hire me as an entry level worker if I retrained myself. I feel I will never work again for anything more than minimum wage. I prepared for my retirement to start at 67 with enough put away each year in the past and with a projection that I would put the same amount away in the future, unemployment kill that equation.

    It therefore does not surprise me that 25 percent of people over 50 have burned through their savings (by the way I thing that number will rise in the future), because so many of us are living paycheck to paycheck now and the smallest disturbance of income vs. outgo (sickness, a new roof, etc) will eat into what we have or can save. Working until we are 70 or more is what some in congress say is the answer, but it can't help if the only jobs available pay minimum wage and have little or no benefits. Some people are planning to live until they die, working in the fields.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  182. Charles P Carr, Jr.

    It's Simple we are in trouble-Hopefully our government leaders will make the necessary changes-

    I would like to take this time to promote my unemployment IRA–we the employees would split the unemployment taxes with the employers who are currently responsible for the unemployment taxes.

    These funds would go into our IRA/401K account–I would like to see 30% in the stockmarket and 70% CD's, Savings, (I am worried that when the market goes down again our funds will be cut in half)

    These funds would be used when you are unemployment- tax free, and if you are lucky and do not need these fund they become part of your retirement funds.

    This would provide tax break for small and large business, and it would help the States in the long-run improve their financial position-Califorina I believe was borrowing 41million a day to pay for unemplement benefits

    I figured out that I would have almost $20,0000 if I worked just 10 years (I was only making about $10/hr)–for others the amount should be high enough that some could pay a house note for a year or not use up all of their saving–With compounding interest it is more tax free–(It should be tax free-after all we would have worked for it!!)

    Thank you for your time,

    I am Just Telepathic–

    May 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  183. Jan - Lancaster, PA

    There has been a continuing downward spiral since the deregulation of the financial institutions, special interests in pharmacuetical & insurance industries, etc. Medical insurance companies are now denying claims that have been covered for years. Everything is a battle to get due compensation ... and THIS is the solution the GOP is pushing for us. Without returning to the tax on the highest incomes, without regulation of industry, without eliminating speculation on fuel & commodities ... we are all truly lost. The derugulated markets & low to no taxes on business & tax subsidies to big industry have NOT provided jobs or economic stability ... in fact just the opposite has occurred. Representing social security & medicare as entitlements as if all Americans who have INVESTED in these programs for our entire working lives are asking for something we have not contributed to is really upsetting and the GOP needs to step back and take stock as to who, in fact, they are supposed to be representing. This circumstance has been years in the making and it is time both parties stop playing these games and get serious about fixing the problems.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  184. Dawn Snyder

    It means it is way past time for term limits! We the people have got to get these career politicians out of Congress before they completely destroy our country.
    Their decisions are all fear based because they want to be sure they get re-elected. They should be doing work based on what is best for America, even if it means they only serve one term!!
    We have gotten lazy. We need to get educated on the canidates and vote for those who will truly represent us.
    The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves people!

    Charleston, WV

    May 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  185. William Vancouver Wa

    It means they have lost their future, more importantly they have lost their voice. Lets face it in this country today those with the most have the loudest voice and those with that voice seem to find it easy to toss those without under the bus. If we would spend the price of one war on people it wouldn't be necessary to have the conversation about how to pay for social security and health care. If we had one stich of morality left we wouldn't be having the conversation anyway.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  186. Becky

    It doesn't mean what most think...poor planning on the retirees' parts. It means that hard working people, who should now be enjoying the fruits of their labor,s trusted financial institutions to protect their savings and retirement plans. That money disappeared from their accounts while those in charge of the financial institutions violated their fiduciary duties and became wealthier and wealthier.

    Trusting retirees are forced to seek employment in a bad job market where age is not valued but rather used as a tool for denying employment. Maturity, dependability, and experience doesn't count. Retirees are becoming the new poor.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  187. Andrew, Japan

    It means the rest of us should be more careful and ensure we don't end up like them.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  188. dave

    The GOP always tries to protect the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle-class. The wealthy don't need Social Security or Medicare and don't want to pay for them. The fairest thing to do is to remove the FICA limit on all income (including capital gains) so that the wealthy pay at the same rate of their total income that the rest of us do. We could also bump the retirement/Medicare eligibility age up a year or two if necessary.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  189. Mary in Florida

    What this means, Jack, is that there is real possibility of "Baby Boomer Ghettos" forming in the next few years.
    What are the solutions? Sadly, there are no immediate solutions for the millions of us who are planning to leave the work force in the next few years. I will probably work until I am physically unable to do so, or die in my cubicle. What a legacy for the children of World War II vets!
    I propose the following ideas for our politicians:
    1) Set up Medicare with a "points" system. Whenever you retire (no matter the age), you get a certain number of points to use however you want to for your healthcare. When those points are used up, then you would be required to either buy additional coverage, or go without. The advantage of the points system, is that if you take care of yourself when you are younger, your points would last the rest of your life.
    2) Gradually increase the Social Security age, until it equals the maximum actuarially defined life expectancy, or age 100. Then, you could get a certain percentage of the benefits, depending on when you retire.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  190. Albert

    jack, Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body with a lot of money, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and
    screaming '
    WOOO HOOOOO what a ride!

    You can't take it with you!

    May 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  191. Gia in Los Angeles

    It means, Jack, that we've long forgotten the lessons of our grandparents (and for many of us, our parents) who lived during the Great Depression and learned how to conserve resources. We're just now learning where instant gratification (and let tomorrow take care of itself) gets us! Sure, the past couple of years have inflicted their damage, but preparations for such a time should have been made long ago by someone who is now at retirement age.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm |