Monday, July 21, 2008

The Great Corporate Retirement Scam

Over the past few years many companies have walked away from their pledges to fund retirement for their workers, leaving so many retirees out in the cold. These folks were loyal to their employers and worked hard for 30 or more years in return for what they believed would be security in their declining years. They were betrayed.

Recently, companies have been using the economy as an excuse to cut health insurance for their retirees. Health insurance ranks very high on the list of necessities for those who have retired. They simply cannot afford private health insurance, and they rely on their retirement plans. Now they either have to go back to work at 65 or 70 to make ends meet because their loyalty and hard work means nothing to the bean counters running the company.

Young people today and even a few of us old heads have been taken in by the big corporate 401 (k) scam. Aided by Wall Street, companies have convinced these young workers that they will be millionaires and in the driver's seat for retirement by age 50 or 60. Therefore, they don't need a company retirement plan. Just look how much better off you will be if YOU are in control of your retirement they say (Sounds kind of Republican-like doesn't it?).

I refer you to those folks who are going back to work because the slowing economy has killed their 401 (k). Their retirement dreams are on hold and may never return. There are also those who are losing homes, etc. and having to borrow from their 401 (k). Where will they be in a few years? The American dream is on a fast boat to China, no pun intended.

I am one of the lucky least for the moment. A couple of years ago when the Enron scandal hit, we were assured that our retirement plan was very solvent with no problems. Then the Governor and his henchmen began to try to mess with it. They wanted to change the way the money is invested, putting it in more volatile investments.

Suddenly, out of the blue, the plan is in trouble and needs help. Cost of living allowances have been cut. There is talk of cutting the plans for new workers, leaving them with a 401 (k). There is a new health insurance option, giving US more control over our health insurance (Sounds kind of Republican-like, doesn't it?)

Our plan appears very solvent, but the Governor and his ne'er do well buddies are looking at a way to dissolve the State of the added expense of health insurance and other retirement options for State retirees. The extra money that they save, can be better used for their pork barrel projects.

I don't know how this major change in the way Americans approach retirement will lead us, but it looks very bleak at the moment. Our parents looked forward to a day when they would be able to rest and enjoy life. Their twilight years were supposed to be secure and without the stress of going to work every day, trying to support a family, and paying for a home. That dream has become a nightmare for many and whether they awake from it remains to be seen.

1 comment:

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

So much I wanna say on this one, but can't. I hear ya ... there are options, but today it is a necessity to make the right plans early on or there is no way to fix it later on. Good post.