Three Legged Stool


Doing a Google search, I cannot find the ‘3-legged stool’ reference about politics for which I looked.

No matter.  This is not about politics, at least not directly.

This is about retirement or about financing your retirement.

Back when I was a young lad, post WW2 and into the 60s and 70s, retirement for the average person/married couple consisted of three parts.  They were

  • Social Security
  • Pension from your employer or union
  • Savings

My parents were born a hundred years ago.  They lived their formative years in a large, eastern, industrial city.  The best depiction of what The Great Depression was like, from what they told me, was the movie Cinderella Man.

Anyway, my parents and my aunts & uncles were relatively frugal after the experience of The Great Depression.

Post WW2 was the good times when only one person in the family was employed – usually.

My dad was a union man and my parents saved and when he retired, they were both comfortable for their remaining years.

But times have changed.  I see far too many adults that are working for less than $10 an hour and there is no union where they work.  Wal-mart is the leading employer that has no union and most employees are part-time, but all the ‘big box’ stores are the same.  All these gas station/convenience store chains are, also,  the same way, minimum wage, no benefits and 35 hour weeks.

So, my question is:  If even with two shitty, minimum wage, part time jobs, you can barely afford to scrape by and cannot save a cent and your contributions to Social Security will not even pay half the rent if you ever could hope to retire, how are these 30 year olds ever going to retire?

They cannot save, so that leg is gone.

The have no hope of a pension from their employer and no hope of ever being a union member – that leg is sawed off.

Their Social Security benefit, which is based on the 35 highest earning years, is woefully inadequate.  This is the only leg left and it is woefully short.

Just pointing out the obvious.  Wish I had an answer or two.

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