Home > Retirement Rant

Retirement Rant

December 22nd, 2019 at 07:57 pm

First of all, as you probably are aware, I try not to be political in my posts. And although this will sort of start out that way, please understand, I am not trying to be.

I'm tired of some of the folks on my Facebook friends list complaining that those rich people love Donald Trump because their 401Ks are doing well. Then go on to say those rich people don't understand the working people. This week, I had had enough.

This is not a pro Trump or even an against Trump thought. I'm just glad the market has shown some improvement and my retirement accounts are showing some gains. But what got me is this latest person was basically saying I'm rich because I have retirement accounts. I finally commented that not everyone who has retirement accounts is rich, and those people who have them made sacrifices through their working careers to put money aside. Since I worked in education, there were no matching funds for my 403b. My Roth is funded by money made by me.

So, I thought for awhile. We went to high school together. I chose to attend college. I worked to put myself through school. Neither of my parents finished high school, so going to college was a big deal. Between scholarships, grants, and working, I paid for college. When I graduated, I worked various jobs, sometimes two jobs, to make ends meet until I could get hired as a full time teacher. When I was hired full time, I opened a 403b and let me tell you, at $15,000 a year, paying $100 a month into that 403b wasn't always easy. As I made more money, I increased that. I started a very small IRA on my own. And when I could, opened a Roth IRA a number of years ago. I'm not rich. DH worked at the library and library salaries are notoriously low and he was not a librarian. I earned my master's degree and then went on to get 32 hours beyond my master's to get the step increases that come with that. No school loans. We tightened our belts so I could get this course work in.

DH is older than I am so the goal was to get the house paid off before he retired. We were paying extra each month so our mortgage was decreasing. When we had a family member die and there was a small inheritance, we used it to pay off the house, the car, and to buy the year and a half I subbed for my retirement. When I subbed, the state didn't take out money for the teacher pension, so I had to pay for it to help my pension. Other than the small inheritance, everything else was earned. I know a friend of ours when he heard we had a small inheritance told us he would go on a fancy trip and buy lots of stuff. We said no, we wanted to pay stuff off.

When we no longer had a mortgage payment, we started putting money away. As we had more savings, we then could look into investing. I still shop frugally. I use coupons, buy loss leaders, make a lot of things from scratch. Am I rich? Probably not. Am I comfortable. Yes, happily so.

I get tired of people who could have done something more trying to make me feel guilty because I have retirement accounts and my house is paid off. I learned a lot of lessons watching my parents. They struggled and it wasn't because they were not lazy or felt entitled. They just never had jobs that paid much. My dad kept drilling into me as a young person I needed to get an education and improve my quality of living.

The specific person I am writing about had many more opportunities than I. Both parents were college educated. I'm sure they would have helped put her through college. She chose to be the party gal and live that sort of life. Not everyone needs to go to college to make a great salary. I'm not saying that. But whatever one's career, they need to keep learning and be diligent as an employee and work to help themselves when it comes to saving money and helping themselves.

I feel like I can safely rant here because I think we are kindred spirits when it comes to bettering our financial lives. I have learned so many things reading your blogs and the forums.

14 Responses to “Retirement Rant”

  1. Kymberlee Fisher Says:

    I love this. And I do not look at this in any way, shape and/or form as being a political post. I think it is more of a common sense / practical post.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    Thanks, Kymberlee!

  3. Wink Says:

    In my experience, those who fail to save and then put down those who do are just showing jealousy. I had a former friend who often commented how "lucky" I was to have a good job. Luck had nothing to do with it. Like you, I worked my butt off to get the education I needed to get that good job.

  4. disneysteve Says:

    You are so right. Very often the people complaining about those who are successful aren't really angry at you; they're jealous and angry with themselves for not achieving more with their own lives. They'll never admit that, of course. Instead they take it out by trying to knock down the successful person by making themselves the victim.

    And the whole concept that "rich" people like Trump is inane anyway.

  5. SavingBucks Says:

    Well said!! DH and I are in a similar position. I have a 457b with no matching. DH has a 401K with matching. But we sacrificed over the years so that we are well off now. We are so fortunate that we can cash flow college for 2 children. This is not politics but a frugal mindset. I came home today with some sourdough buns and the first thing my husband said is -- "Was that on sale?" Answer -- Of course!

  6. Smallsteps Says:

    Thank you for this... I feel like I am not alone. I have had this conversation with many people in my life. People who do not want to change or be frugal and put anything away.
    I simply do not understand WHY the guesstimate is 50% of people whom have zero skin in the game. I also do not understand why some people do not participate in 401ks if they have the chance also.
    I see no reason why most people can open an IRA or invest in many ways now easier then when I was starting out.
    IF they have nothing if is their fault no one else. It angers me when people claim I was just "lucky" and their problems were the fault of ....(insert reason).
    This attitude and outcome simply reminds me of the old fable of the grasshopper and the ant.

  7. MonkeyMama Says:

    Wow! That, "You are rich because you saved for retirement" sentiment is crazy.
    We have always lived very far below our means, because the reward is worth ten times more than the sacrifice.

    Wink is very spot on with the jealousy comment. It's easy to be jealous of one small piece of the puzzle while ignoring the entire rest of the puzzle. That's what drives me batty about those comments.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    Generalized statement that label people based on any criteria are wrong. I'm sure you could find a supporter of any politician on any side of the aisle that from all income levels. Generally, we choose our elected officials based on the policies that have or will put forward that we agree with.

    I agree that those that haven't saved and see those of us who have and say such things are jealous or at the least frustrated with their own behaviors towards savings.

  9. CB in the City Says:

    The problem with social media is that now we are bombarded by all the dumb things that people are thinking, and there's no filter, no moderators. You've got to ignore them. Don't let them upset you. It's disappointing how -- what word to use? Stupid? I hate to say it, but there is just a lot of stupid out there. I avoid social media as much as I can and I am happier for it. I highly recommend it! SavingAdvice is, of course, an exception.

  10. Lucky Robin Says:

    I think it is part of the hand out mentality, where people want everything for free or for no effort on their part. They don't want to sacrifice for retirement, they just want it to be there for them. They don't want to pay for college, they just want to take out loans and have the government forgive them. They don't want to cook meals from scratch every night, they want to eat out every night and then complain they are broke. They don't want to rent movies from Netflix, they want to see everything in the theater when it first comes out. They don't want to turn down the heat and wear a sweater or use fans instead of air conditioning for as long as possible. They don't want to buy a used car, they want to buy a brand new one. They don't want a 1500 square foot house, they want a 3000 square foot house when just starting out. They make choices and they are bad choices, but they want to live in a world where nothing is their fault and they have no personal responsibility for anything because they are just unlucky. You make your own luck through hard work and sacrifice.

  11. rob62521 Says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the great comments!

  12. terri77 Says:

    I don’t see this is a political post. I agree with you on all points. I have been lucky that I probably had more opportunities than others living in a middle class family, but I still worked hard & sacrificed. For most of my career I either worked 2 jobs or if I had one job I was working OT. Yes, I splurge on experiences (travel) but I do not feel that I’m materialistic. Some people spend their money on phones, televisions, cars, etc. I don’t judge them for how they budget, but investing in accessible for most of us in the middle class. It’s a choice.

  13. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    i get that a lot. People saying how do you stay at home and not work and not worry about money. How do you seem so secure about retirement. Then I get a lot of it must be have parents handing out money. Nope. Nor is the fact most people miss DH and I have a smaller home and older cars than most people we know.

  14. disneysteve Says:

    " Nor is the fact most people miss DH and I have a smaller home and older cars than most people we know."

    This is a biggie, and I have to remind myself about it from time to time. We go to visit friends and see the shiny new cars in the driveway of their McMansions and I can't deny I get a bit jealous. But then I remind myself that we save 30% or so of income, have zero debt, and well over $1 million invested. I have no idea if that's true of our friends or not, though the topic of their lease payments or mortgage payment does sometimes come up in conversation.

    I'll take our paid off house, old cars, and million-dollar net worth over the shiny stuff and debt any day.

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