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View Diary: Ezra Klein: Why rich guys want to raise the retirement age (342 comments)

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  •  70? Shoot me now. (64+ / 0-)

    I take fairly good care of myself. i don't smoke, drink very moderately, blah blah. But I work a manual job on my feet, moving packages at UPS. Young people there think it's a hard job. At 63, I can still hang with them, but it hurts, every day. If I stay two more years, I actually get a small pension, and with SS, I'll have about 19,000 a year to live on. (yes, you read that right) So, actually, I'm not looking at retirement, I'm looking at what job I can do to augment my income that I can tolerate with my arthritic body.

    Retire at 70? I truly could not make it. And I'm moderately healthy, except for the arthritis. Many people are much worse off, with less to look forward to. People with no experience in working class reality, and no empathy, should not be the ones who make decisions on retirement age.

    •  I am 66 1/2, and back again teaching (28+ / 0-)

      but it is a far more tiring job than many people realize, especially with my current population of students.

      Up thread someone talked about the difficulties of maintaining skills in a profession like engineering.  I saw that happening in my previous career in computer with people even in their 50s being treated as if they were obsolete, although some of us at least could both perform our current responsibilities and keep our skills current.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 04:55:48 AM PST

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      •  No matter how skilled, (31+ / 0-)

        and no matter how you keep your skills up through additional training, in some professions if you haven't made management by a certain age it becomes more difficult to avoid layoffs.
        A friend of mine is 55, mildly disabled, and had worked payroll in a large corporation. She was laid off and two weeks later the same company held a job fair for new grads. Luckily her spouse still works and so she will be covered under his insurance for the next ten years. If she had been single, as many of my other friends are, she would have been in dire circumstances for 10+ years, if she survived that long.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:07:59 AM PST

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      •  Never hear me dis teachers (7+ / 0-)

        It's a job that requires a whole lot. I've had brief forays teaching adults, and that was challenging. Doing it with at-risk kids? Dang.

        It's funny, part of the reason my life is so odd is that I spent much of it trying to be a musician. Although I never got beyond a local level, i've enjoyed it, and made a few dollars. Let me tell you though, 63 year old guitar players are not really a hot item for bar bands these days. Of course, the tendency to nod off at 11:00 probably doesn't help either!

        •  My sister will only teach high school kids, I will (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dvalkure, The grouch, whataboutbob

          now only teach adults. I love working with adults in adult basic education, literacy programs,  GED prep programs and I was also working in job training and life skills under the welfare reform job training program for several years. I worked in the projects and I loved that job ...just loved and hated to leave when I got sick and then we moved for husbands job too.

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          by wishingwell on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:16:04 AM PST

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      •  Working in inormation technology (12+ / 0-)

        And approaching retirement, I really have lost interest in constantly upgrading my skillset. There is relentless pressure to work faster and faster, but there is little reward for producing a better product or service, at least in the mega-corporation I presently inhabit.

        Also, the company is reluctant to pay for training for older workers or even younger workers, so all the responsibility (both financial and time wise) is thrown back on the individual worker. I would rather learn something on the 'puter at home for my photographic hobby rather than donate more time and effort to my mega-corporation employer's bottom line.

        "I come close to despair because so many of the pieces of the country are broken, and when you see that, you have two choices: You can give up, or you can do something about it." Elizabeth Warren

        by Ed in Montana on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 06:39:24 AM PST

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        •  My dad, when he retired in 93, he said he decided (6+ / 0-)

          to retire a year before he planned, as that was the year Penn State was going to have all their employees in the business offices take computer training. Dad was rather anti technology...LOL, it became a joke that they did not have a VCR, answering machine, or computer. But he deicded after working from age 14 to age 65, that was it for him.

          LOL, the man grew up in dire poverty during the Great Depression with a single mom who worked long hours for little pay where men in the same job made ore. It was very rough. But then he went into the marine corps and he said that was good until the Korean War and he became one of the Frozen Chosin. Afterwards, he thought he was the luckiest man on earth to land a job a letter carrier with the USPS and have a union..after retiring there, he ran the golf operation business office at Penn State for a decade.  He thought he was so lucky but he worked damn hard  but the union gave him and his kids a good life.  

          He was able to choose when to retire ONLY because he had worked USPS, retired after 30 yrs in his 5os and went on to work for a state university with great benefits.   He said he wished that would be true for his kids but it wont be.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:21:35 AM PST

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    •  I probably shouldn't mention this, (0+ / 0-)

      but I know of a case in which a person receives a retirement income of $30,000 a month. Of which social security disability contributes about 10 percent.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 05:23:35 AM PST

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    •  I hear you grouch...... (15+ / 0-)

         I am also 63, and old Arthur, you know, Arthur Ritis, has been kicking my arse for some time now. Knees, elbows, shoulders. Gaaaaa.....!!!

         I was a locomotive engineer. The guy who trained me once said, "This is a job an old man can do." Well, yes, I guess........ But the arthritis and the unpredictable call times and night hours were a real buggar. I bailed @ 62, my first chance at it. Have 24 years in the coal mine as well.

         Thank God for the unions, is all I can say!

      Compost for a greener piles?

      by Hoghead99 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 06:58:52 AM PST

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      •  Yes the United Mine Workes was how my granddad (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The grouch, whataboutbob, KenBee

        could retire in his 60s. He was a huge union supporter but without that union, he said he would have worked himself right to the grave as his dad did.  

        He worked in the coal mines from age 8 to age 62 and then went to the steel mills for another few years.  

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        by wishingwell on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:26:22 AM PST

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    •  I am 49 and hurt all over. (8+ / 0-)

      I do not do physical labor. i am a school social worker. For years I pushed paper andmet withlawyers ( people just love to sue schools ) finally they took mercy on me and let me do counseling instead. It is demanding work; I don't mind the kids, it's the administrators that make me crazy. I have fibromyalgia, i have lymphadema from surgery for a rare tumor. I'm prediabetic ( despite walkng anhour a day for 20 years ) have high BP and collapse every day after work, often unable to get up for hours. And I'm supposed to do this until 70?The press doesn't help, here in NJ repeating the mantra that public employees can retire at the "sprightly" age of 55 ( now eliminated for new hires, thank Christie ). i don't know many people who are sprightly at 50, let alone 55. I do know lots of people that are dealing with heart disease and cancer; I do know quite a few that didn't make it past 55. Just buried a friend two weeks ago who had "indigestion' while housing displaced relatives from Sandy. The rich have their own hjealth spas on site, and private chefs to make healthy foods taste palatable. Yes, healthy foods mostly taste bad. to quote my doctor, if it tastes good it is bad for you.But if you have to pick fatty foods or smoking as a vice, you're better off by alot with fatty foods rather than smoking....that's according to a cardiac surgeon.

      •  My sister can retire in her 50s after 30 yrs of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bridge Master, The grouch

        teaching but she said she cannot retire completely. She will have to work another 10 -15 years as a sub,and probably work part time retail or tutor or find another job.  

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:28:28 AM PST

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      •  Healthy foods tast bad? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnySacks, Bronx59, MGross

        That's strange. My family's been eating healthy foods for decades and never noticed that they taste bad. In fact, we quite prefer healthy foods and I grow quite a bit of it. Go figure...

        •  Yes, they taste bad. (0+ / 0-)

          Unless you smother em in butter, salt, or sugar. In which case they are no longer healthy...

          •  I very much disagree, (0+ / 0-)

            but you no doubt already know there are a good many people who don't think healthy foods taste bad. You aren't trying to convince them/me. It's a handy excuse to keep eating unhealthy foods, though. YOU are obviously convinced, so have at it.

            •  Yeah, after 50 years I'm convinced. (1+ / 0-)
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              •  That seems slightly sad to me, (0+ / 0-)

                just considering your above-stated health problems. Especially the prediabetic issue, which (as I'm sure you know), is controllable via diet.

                I'd say it "just takes getting used to," but that isn't true in my experience because I've always liked healthy foods. It really is a matter of taste and opinion, influenced by cultural/social experience with food. People are different from one another. And despite more than 40 years of semi-vegetarian life, there are certainly some healthy foods I can't stand. Eggplant (except in baba ganoush), zucchini, cauliflower, avacados (except in guacamole). TVP and tofu make me gag. But there's lots and lots of other things to eat.

                It doesn't hurt that I am able to prepare meals from scratch, work from home. Many people don't have that kind of time or energy after long days and weeks. And while there is plenty of flavor in herbs and spices, I admit being overly fond of salt. Only BP problem I ever had was too low, so maybe it's craved for a reason. My purpose hasn't ever been to add years to my life, just to stay as healthy as possible for as long as it lasts. Fortunately, that coincided with my food and activity preferences.

                I'm lucky in that at my age (more than 60), I guess. Best to you, maybe you'll beat a few of those health issues or not let them get you too down. Nobody gets outta here alive, so it's the time between arrival and departure that counts. Getting some pleasure out of it is entirely warranted.

              •  Oh, and just one other note... (0+ / 0-)

                The reason that "going healthy," even going vegetarian, is a lot easier in this modern world. It's because we can purchase just about anything you can think of at a supermarket somewhere close to where we live, any time of year. Thus seasonal foods are not a limitation on diet - you know, where you have to eat turnips and beets for 6 weeks at the end of winter, with possibly a few leftover potatoes, pumpkins or cabbages that haven't gone bad yet in the root cellar.

                Which makes the non-locavore eaters of 'healthy foods' dependent upon our society's gross overuse of fossil fuels. Hence not blameless on the global climate change issue.

                ...if that makes you feel any better.

                •  Ya know, I got to thinking (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  a lot of the stuff that is "bad" for us really isn't. the prediabetic issue is genetic for me, but i 've kept it at bay through exercise. The official position of the Mayo Clinic is that the cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown. I know fit thin people who have it, and grossly overweight people who don't. But inthinking about the holiday just past, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, are all good foods loaded with anti-oxidants.And i'm not sure organic butter is all that bad for you. The sugar is a problem though. And in fact sweet potatoes are also loaded with good stuff ( an especially good choice, i'mtold, for people with insulin resistance ) I guess what i mean to say is that, raw pecans, raw blueberries, and raw apples are unappealing for me. I do love blueberries from my in law's yard up in Maine, but only mixed with pancake batter. I use the whole grain batter, but my doc says ofcourse, pancakes are bad for you. They do screw with insulinl levels, but they do wonders for smooth digestion. You can't beleive how frustrating it is to see people enjoying a fresh salad when that same salad causes you to gag. An interesting topic, one that deserves more discussion at some point.

                •  as for eggplant... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I grow tons of it, all different kinds. this year my crop failed. I espcially like parmigiana made with Japanese eggplants, which are very sweet. tried the baked variety, but no good. Fried tastes best. One way I've found with eggplant that's healthier is to sautee it lightly in olive oil with chopped peppers and tomatoes, and dump the whole thing right over hot spaghetti. Add a little tomato sauce. Actually not too bad. You can do that with summer squash too.

                  •  I've never had any luck (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    whatsoever with eggplant, though I've planted seedlings every year for the past five. Hoping that at some point the variations in summer temps/rainfall would allow a harvest. They get eaten entirely by some kind of bug that ladybugs, praying mantises and even ducks can't seem to keep abreast of. My husband and grandsons are always happy that it fails, I am always disappointed. Since I built my nifty front porch solar food dehydrator, I've been itching to bottle up some dry powdered eggplant I can use to mix up baba ganoush any old time. Sigh.

                    I'll grow yellow crookneck squash in amongst the Indian corn and yard-long red pole beans, at least two of us will eat it in with fried corn-breaded potatoes, onions and peppers. Haven't grown zucchini for at least a dozen years because my neighbors always have literal bushels of it they push off on anybody who happens by. The stuff is almost as bad as morning glories for taking over.

                    I'd say it's the texture of tofu that gets me, since that's why I gag on TVP, but I can honestly say I've never tasted any kind of tofu that was worth eating. Even before my digestive system starts objecting to it because it's soy. Every tofu dish I've got in any of my cookbooks works much better with marinated trout, which I'd much rather eat. But heck, if I'm gonna go to that much trouble (catching the fish, since I live where I can fish for big rainbow or smaller native brown), I'd rather wrap it in green sassafras leaves and cook it under the smoker lid on the grill...

                    Food is a more important element in people's acculturalization experience of life than most food processors understand. The CEO of Monsanto expressed total shock some years ago when informed that Jews wouldn't welcome tomatoes with spider genes or pig genes inserted. Many cultures revolve tightly around their cuisines and certain foods. You're right it's a fascinating subject that deserves more exploration. You're also right that some of those 'bad' foods aren't really that bad for you at all. To my thinking, especially butter! §;o)

    •  Yes my husband works in retail, on his feet (3+ / 0-)

      all day and suffers from arthritis in his ankles and feet plus a thyroid disorder which causes swelling his feet..the thyroid is getting normalized but it is taking years and he will still have arthritis, He will have to wait until his late 60s to retire and he is only mid 50s so we are quite concerned about that.

      They need to lower retirement age, not raise it, as so many workers in this country do some sort of manual labor or are on their feet all day as nurses aides in nursing homes or maintenance, janitorial, factory, retail, food service and yes, UPS and USPS and so on.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:13:45 AM PST

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