Retire Broke

by: John Lohr

If you think the current retirement crisis is a problem, just wait.

There is no optimal solution yet to the problem the Gen Alphabeters are facing.

The YOLO lifestyle becomes the YOOT lifestyle.  You Only Live Once=You're Out Of Time.

A couple years ago I wrote a short book on the escalating retirement crisis called Die Early.

The title was my not very serious solution to that crisis. Well, guess what? It has not gotten better. Let me rephrase that; it’s worse. Those lettered generations like Gen X, Y (Millennials) and Z are less equipped to prepare, or even think about retirement than their Boomer parents.

Let’s look at Hank and June, now in their early 20s. Their plan? Take part time jobs or a succession of portable jobs so they can travel and play. Settling down in one place—No; buying a home someday—Hell, No. Raising kids—don’t even mention that. Saving—Nope. IRAs, 401(k), HSA—What are those? This lifestyle is gaining in popularity. It’s emblematic of the YOLO generation: You Only Live Once.

CNBC reports that 37% of 22-37 year olds do not save for retirement at all; most 18-24 year olds have less than $1000; and “27% of millennials spend more on coffee that they do on retirement savings.” But, you know—statistics.

So, this sequel to Die Early for our younger generations becomes Retire Broke. The boomer retirement crisis will become a comedy by comparison. I dedicate this article to those kids in their 20’s through 50’s for when they turn 70 and wonder “What the hell happened?”.

Just to pile on for another minute or so, assuming we have healthcare and Medicare in the future, and that Social Security is not decimated along the way, the average 30 year old is expected to live to 100. See The 100 Year Life by Drs Gratten and Scott. If you think you will retire at 70—that’s 30 years of retirement. Factor in the uncertainty about the future availability of Social Security, and Medicare, add the concept of inflation, interest rate uncertainty, another crash, some world-wide catastrophe, alien invasions and the walking dead, and what do you wind up with? A financial crisis of personal magnitude.

So what advice do you give to a coming senior who may face the prospect of running out of money if they retire? Weigh the options:

  1. Don’t retire. Work until you drop over.
  2. Sell, rent or air b&b your home.
  3. Move in with your kids or siblings.
  4. Ask your relatives for support.
  5. Reverse mortgage.
  6. Seriously downsize. Can you say small houses?
  7. Borrow against your life insurance (if you have any).
  8. Start a business to support yourself. (With what? A loan?)
  9. Join a commune in the Smokey Mountains.
  10. Take 3 or 4 side jobs, maybe general handy person—“No job too small”.
  11. Sell everything: houses, furniture, clothes, soap, etc. Buy a conversion van and just keep driving.
  12. Steal.
  13. Go on welfare. (Wait! It’s gone too.)

None of these is a perfect solution and the answer we are searching for may lie somewhere in a mash up of those 13. Even more likely, the answer is something nobody thought of yet. We are dedicating our research and our volunteers to actively research the voids for a viable solution. We are forming coalitions with financial firms, banks and corporations to mentor the project. Comment if you have a good idea, besides steal a TARDIS and go back in time to start saving.

So far, we know some ideas that are not the solution, such as:

Die Early©

Retire Broke©

Starving in the streets.

Stealing their friends’ Oxy.

Being a Wall Mart greeter.

Robbing banks.

Wait for a government bailout.

Replicate Breaking Bad or Weeds.

Privatize Social Security.

Buy lottery tickets.

None of that works. Besides, seniors would still be broke from making bad decisions.

Maybe we can all get a grant. What do you think?

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: The MoneyCulture Initiative delivers finance eduction to those traditionally underserved from this information:https://moneyculture org