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On Being A Good Listener And The Financial Perils of Retirement

I have learned how important it is to be a good listener. I was in the locker room at the pool where I swim. There was a young man in his 20’s. He mentioned that he was a veteran of combat in Afghanistan. He showed a young friend a scar from where he was shot in the back by a Taliban AK-47 bullet. He then pointed out his knees. They had been badly injured by an IED (improvised explosive device). He told his young friend that the Veteran’s Administration had granted him a disability pension. He was now fighting to get his disability check and unemployment benefits. The poor young man admitted that he was currently homeless and broke. (What a horrible way to treat the young people who go out and risk their lives fighting for this country!) I told him that 40 years ago when I was a young veteran we were treated much more nicely. I got wonderful unemployment benefits and help from the Veterans Administration. (I guess long ago we were richer and had much more money.)

There were also some older men in the locker room my age. One pointed out that his greatest fear was running out of money before his life ended. I told all of the older men gathered in the locker room that my greatest fear was not having the money to pay for medical care.

I gathered that all of we older men had voted for Obama in 2012. Each one of these older men were sure that Social Security would go broke and stop issuing checks before they died.

I came home and opened my mailbox. There was a nice book from Medicare. It was written in simple language and obviously an effort to generate good public relations. I sat down and read the book carefully. Medicare is not a magical program that makes medical care affordable for all seniors. There are monthly premiums and all sorts of co payments. Dental care and long term disability health care are not covered. If I had to rely on my Social Security check to survive, I could never go to the dentist. Health care would also eat up a good part of my paltry check.

The prognosis for the future is grim. Either a conservative Republican will come to power and cut entitlement programs like Social Security or Medicare (Despite the violent opposition of groups like the AARP.) or the programs will literally run out of money, even after massive government printing of money.

If you are already retired you need to do a very careful analysis. If you are younger and still working I advise you to save a lot of money for retirement. You cannot depend on the government for anything!!! I made one comment to Elena yesterday: “When you retire you’d better have a shit load of money!”


About tatamkuluafrica

I am a man who has lived n 6 of the 7 continents. I first arrived in Africa on April 18, 1981. Africa has been a part of my life since. I spent 8 months living in a Xhosa village in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. I was given he nickname Tatamkulu Africa. In Xhosa it means "Grandfather Africa." In April of 1994 I was allowed to vote in the first democratic election in South Africa..I was honored to be part of such a historical moment. It was a beautiful and a magical day.

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