Tag Archives: pension
I’ve often talked about the “three-legged stool” on this blog. No, you don’t have to leave. This post won’t qualify for a certain tag that shall remain nameless. I’m going to keep this post on a higher, more sophisticated plane.
So often, in fact, that I should probably elevate the topic to the level of a category so you can ignore all the posts equally at the same time. But that would be convenient therefore I won’t do it.
The future is something which “occupies” my thoughts from time to time. (Yes, my brain has little protesters in it.)
To refresh your memory, the “three-legged stool” is a metaphor rolled out around the time that piece of sassafras Ida May Fuller clutched her first Social Security benefits check in her kung fu death grip. I remember it well because I was there. On the floor. Licking her ankles. Whispering hotly, “Be my sugar momma? Mommy? M to the O to the M M Y.”
Continue reading →
C: Hey, Hyppo. What’s with that “$1” text floating about your head?
H: That? Pay it no mind. That’s just my retirement number.
C: Retirement number?
H: Yeah. It’s like a goal. It represents the amount of money I’ll need to comfortably maintain the lifestyle I want after I retire.
C: And it’s only one dollar?
H: Think that’s too high? I’m trying to keep it real. I’ve got 12 cents in my pocket. Only 88 more cents to go!
C: Good god, man! What’s your plan? You gotta have a plan!
H: It’ll involve a lot of recycling and reuse. And curbs. And a shopping cart. I have my dreams.
What are you working for? Sustenance or subsistence? The next weekend? A paycheck on Friday? Enough money to get your wife and/or husband that fancy dress in the store window? Just trying to hold on to the end of the current shift? Or do you have bigger fish to fry?
I have two pensions. I worked at a company 16 years. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. The first 11 years as an employee and then five years as a member of management. That’s 11 years in a union and five years as a company man.
There was a grand tradition at the company. The owner was a legacy and the company grew as it was passed down from generation to generation. Finally it was owned by the Old Man. He liked to pork his secretary. So he married her and then died. It was a bit of a promotion for her. She become the owner of the company. She retired and passed it down to her adopted son who was a bit off kilter and not quite right in the head.
He was also, for a time, on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
Soon after he sold out to the foreign investors. The end of the company’s legacy and tradition. I’m sure the Old Man’s father would be so proud.
Meanwhile the company was subjected to remarkable shrinkage. And that guy on the Forbes list? He croaked while driving his $2 million car.
In another part of the galaxy, a guru was wondering about his financial future. He had no savings and social security was under siege from all sides. What if, he thought, both of those aren’t there when I need them? The legendary promise of a three-legged stool seemed more like a pogo stick. Then he remembered. His pensions!
He called his union. Yep, the pension was good. They’d send him a statement and even had his current address. Nice.
He tried to call his former company. Oops. Problem. He couldn’t find any place to call. Finally he located a phone number on the internet but it turned out to be some poor sap’s personal cell phone. It must suck to have that phone number. So far he’s been unable to find any trace of his company pension.
For those keeping score:
The guru rested easy. All was right with the world. He had half a pogo stick and some stranger out in the world was most likely enjoying his swimming pool.
Wait. Check that.
Dad would work and mom would stay home, take care of the kids, go shopping, do the laundry, clean house and make dinner. Dad would also grunt all over mom when he was in the mood.
I think they called this The Golden Age.
The point was: One spouse could have a single job that would provide for a middle class lifestyle, with enough earnings to allow the other spouse to not have to work. The job provided for health insurance benefits and a retirement.
Now, I do know what you youngins are saying. “That’s about as likely as rainbows flying out of a unicorn’s arse hole.” I am not shitting you. This sort of reality used to exist in our country. Of course, you guys are the first generation in the history of the United States to be worse off than your parents, so I certainly can understand a skosh of cynical skepticism.
Now you can have a married household where both parents work full time to earn a portion of the lifestyle that used to be achievable by a single wage earner. Worse, besides working twice as hard for less, they have to pay strangers to take care of their children, a little bonus stressor on the traditional family unit for which they get to pay top dollar.
Isn’t progress great? Or, in guru parlance, “Ouchies. Too much fucking change!”
Continue reading →