Retirement shouldn’t be a time to put things on hold; no one lives forever. Yet far too many Americans might have to put retiring itself on hold, says an employee based on their experience working at an “old folk’s home.”
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance
“Bad news,” the nursing facility employee said, sparking a conversation about retirement being a myth. “If you aren’t currently retired or already well set up to retire, you aren’t going to retire unless we have a MASSIVE wealth redistribution.” In the eyes of this nursing facility employee, retirement is bleak for, well, everyone.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Social Security and Medicare aren’t enough to cover bills or medications. “Homeless, clueless, and broke” is how the employee describes retirees at their facility.
“Retirement is having someone that can generate revenue to support you when you can’t anymore, or having a light job you can continue doing until you die,” says the nursing home employee. They advise people to “plan accordingly.”
Sounds About Right
Overly pessimistic? Maybe not. Many commenters agree with the original poster. “Yup. I work in home health. Medicare/SS is absolutely not enough. So many of our patients are an inch from homelessness at 80+ years old.”
What’s the Point
Some folks have given up on saving for retirement altogether. “There’s little point in throwing money into a retirement fund: either the world will change for the better and personal retirement will be replaced with a full social safety net for those deemed too elderly to work, or society will worsen/collapse, in which case the money I put away is pointless.”
No Laughing Matter
Even with a steady career, it seems like there aren’t enough years in a lifetime to save up. “I make a decent salary now, but it’s nowhere near enough to save for retirement, and I’m already in my mid-30s. Retirement is a joke, and I’m really scared for my future.”
God Bless America
With current affairs, some find it difficult to be patriotic. “Land of the Free…home of the GoFundMe for Medical Bills and Bankrupt your Family for just a few extra years on this miserable rock. But hey, look at our military!”
Keep Your Furry Friends Close
“Dude…I’d better go hug my cats extra tight tonight,” says one commenter. That’s one way to cope with things.
Same Old Song and Dance
Another employee faces the same harrowing questions from retirees. “I work in retirement finance, and I see similar sad stories all the time. They come to me asking, ‘How can I retire? How will I live?’ I have no answer for them or myself, and I now fear my own future.”
All That Glitters
Maybe Rose, Sophia, Dorothy, and Blanche had affordable retirement all figured out. “I knew retirement wasn’t an option in my 20s, back in the 80s. I remember that episode of The Golden Girls when Rose had to get a job because she no longer had a pension. No job I ever got had a pension.”
Facing the Music
Working in therapy doesn’t exempt you from a rocky retirement. “I’m a mental health therapist and 55. Early Gen X. I’m seeing the same thing – both personally and professionally. I know that I will never retire.”
False Sense of Security
“I feel so bad for the old folks who worked their whole lives, thought they were safe, and then had the rug pulled out from under them,” reflects one commenter. “What can you do when you can’t work anymore, and your kids are too poor to afford any care for you? Or even too poor to have a house to let you live there?”
According to this alum, the lack of retirement benefits has been a long time coming. “I’m just assuming there will be nothing, and it will never be possible to retire. They told us not to expect social security in my business classes in college (graduated 2012).
Hope Isn’t All Lost
A little bit of positivity is refreshing. One commenter believes the U.S. can still turn the tides. “As long as society doesn’t completely collapse, we can fix it for our kids once they’re gone. Those programs [Medicare and Medicaid] aren’t irredeemably broken or anything. They just need to be funded by the government, which is a simple vote from Congress and a John Hancock from the White House.”
For the Kardashians
Life is short and miserable unless you’re rich and famous, according to this commenter. “Boomers are going to live past 80—no one else. And, of course, climate change will kill us all. America is a lovely failed experiment unless you’re a Kardashian.”
Not even those who have already retired are out of the woods. “I wouldn’t be shocked if my dad had to unretire. My mom still works, but it’s not even really minimum wage. Now that he’s officially retired, they continue to live off almost nothing, but I would be shocked if they have enough to coast for another 20 years.”
Ending on a High Note
If you’re filled with dread and fear of the future now, take this dose of optimism. “Make friends. Connect with others. Especially younger people. We never know what may happen. Things might get better in some way. Maybe not the way it is now…but don’t despair entirely. Play the game on multiple levels.”
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