Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nana Ponders Chicken Little, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, the Debt Crisis and Retirement

I retired two and a half years ago.  I am one of the fortunate ones who had an excellent pension plan.  The spouse is still working, but looking toward retirement in the next few years.  His pension plan is not as generous as mine.  Since I have retired I have spent more time reading about retirement issues.  I’ve read enough to make me nervous.  There are a lot of horror stories about seniors who are reduced to eating cat food because their retirement income is not sufficient to pay for the ever increasing cost of living.  I’ve done the math and my pension is adequate to maintain a reasonable lifestyle, but is my pension secure?  As our government gets closer and closer to default, I worry about the security of my pension.  Will my state government continue to keep the commitment they made to me when I started working over thirty years ago in public education? 

I’ve watched a little of the coverage of the debt ceiling “negotiations” on television.  If it wasn’t such a serious issue, it would be comical.  

When my children were small I read to them every night before they went to bed.  We read all the classic fairy tales and stories.  As I watch the news I am reminded of Chicken Little who ran around warning people that the sky was falling.  There are many people in Washington who have joined him in this chant.  Then there is the Boy Who Cried Wolf who gave the warning so frequently that everyone stopped listening…and then the wolf showed up.   As we wait for Congress to act, I don’t know which story I’m listening to.  Is the sky falling?  Is there really a wolf?

I’m too old for fairy tales.  It is time for Congress to stop grandstanding and get to work to preserve our economy and our future…and my retirement!


  1. Hear! Hear!
    Those people are fiddling while the match is being struck to set Rome afire.

  2. We also are on a fixed income, with Social Security making up more than half of our retirement. We retired three years ago, and my annuities took a nosedive in 2008, but it wasn't enough to cause us panic, and it's been slowly rebuilding since then. Since there's nothing I can do about it, I've decided to stop worrying. Good post!

  3. I worried myself sick in 2008. Couldn't sleep. Since then, things have gotten better and all that worrying was for naught. So this time around, I'm not so much worried as discouraged that our elected people look like self-interested idiots.

  4. Great insights, and interesting to compare what's going on with "fairy tales". Yikes. We are close enough to retirement to taste it, and more than a little nervous. I also worry about those who have minimal retirement, what are they going to do??

  5. Great post Nana, scary times. Job interview for me on Wednesday, US company so amongst all the global economic issues the US ones have my attention just now!

    Blogger continues to plot against me so this comment may come up anon or just not at all, in which case you won't see it.
    Mrs M

  6. It is a rarity to even have a pension these days so I'm glad for you. Though it is hard to trust that companies/governments will keep up their end of the bargain these days. I know that my husband and I won't be able to count on any company to come through for us long-term. It is kind of frightening.

  7. We're pension-vulnerable on three threatened fronts: military, state, and Soc.Sec. And we live in one of the five states that are so dependent on federal aide (SC) that, if the federal gov. defaults, so does the state. There were a few days there where I was trying to figure out if I should start sucking up harder to my DIL or my SIL, on the off chance that default wiped us out and we had to figure out which kid to live with.

    I'm suing Congress for duress and mental anguish.

  8. I have forced myself not to watch any of it. I read some articles here & there but the national sensationalism channel is not where I like to be taught anything anymore. Call me ignorant but I'd rather be ignorant and not kept up at night trying to justify my class level in the eyes of the government. Republicans will blame Obama for the current state of affairs, democrats will suggest that Obama walked into something GWB started. We will elect/reelect someone in 2012 and nothing will ever be solved. The only way to fix any of it is to go back to when we first migrated here from other countries and not do that. Just my opinion of course. I would love to see everyone as equals but that's just my romantic idealism of hippy-dippy-dom rearing its head. My cynical side knows it can never really happen.

  9. I'm with you! I'm a retired federal employee, so I'm thinking the same thing... Much of our savings was in the form of equity in a couple of houses. Most of that is now deflated away.


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