On air: Are you scared of getting old?

If you were tuned on Friday you may have heard me read an email from Greg (a loyal subscriber to the Daily Email). This is part of it:

‘Like many others, I am now watching all of the funds I prudently put aside for my retirement disappear. There’s nothing I can do to even stop it. I drive a car with 240K miles, served my country, do not buy things I can’t afford and try to teach the kids the value of a dollar.

Now all of these things have been proven to antiquated and meaningless in the wake of the new “something for nothing” culture fostered by this administration. The truth is that these people will walk away from this carnage without even a glance over their shoulders.’

In response many others responded, saying they too had had to give up plans for retirement, or had seen their pension fall dramatically in value. We’re going to pick up on some of those concerns.

First we were told to invest in stocks and shares to support our pension, in recent years property was seen as the surest long-term bet. Now who knows?

Whatever your age, are you worried about how to be financially secure when you’re older? What advice are you being given and what advice are you following?

And are there are other things that cause you to worry? I have a friend who told me the other day that he wasn’t having kids because he was scared for the future of the earth because of global warming.

Is that melodramatic, or is this no longer a world you’d want to introduce new life to?

Or should we all remember that the human race has overcome many obstacles and that this crisis is just another challenge which historians will document us coming through? Is it our optimism that has underpinned our achievements, and which we should keep in tough times?

Latest on the financial crisis

84 Responses to “On air: Are you scared of getting old?”

  1. 1 Roy, Washington DC
    October 13, 2008 at 15:15

    Life is too short to worry about things like this. Have faith…things will work out.

  2. 2 Jon Kiparsky
    October 13, 2008 at 15:21

    Am I scared about getting old? Beats the hell out of the alternative, doesn’t it?
    -Jon Kiparsky
    Somerville, MA

  3. October 13, 2008 at 15:23

    on this topic all i have is a joke. A guy of 65 says to his doctor after receiving a clear bill of health, “Not bad for a 65 year old huh doc? Do you think I will live to see 85?”

    To which the doc says, “I don’t know, go you drink, smoke, or do drugs.”

    The man answered, “other then the wine in church and on Christmas, I haven’t been drunk since my mid 20’s. I have never smoked. And I am opposed to illegal substances.”‘

    The doc say, “do you do dangerous behaviors like sky diving, mountain climbing, or riding motorcycles?”

    The man answers, “no safety is my middle name.”

    The doc says, “do you hang with loose women, party all night?”

    The man says, “NO! I met my wife in my mid twenties and have been faithful and true ever since. I have always worked too hard to be staying up all hours of the night.

    Then the doc looked at him and said, “why would you want to live to 85. You are already dead to the world.

  4. 4 Brett
    October 13, 2008 at 15:23

    Well I got excited to hit 25 when my car insurance nearly halved. That was pretty much the last milestone I was striving to hit as far as beneficial age… I suppose now I get to look forward to senior citizens discounts lol.

  5. 5 Dan
    October 13, 2008 at 15:30

    Of course we are all afraid of growing old. No longer do we see our financial nest egg being as secure as it once was. Health care and access is becoming an ever increasing issue. We tire more easily and our thought processes slow down.
    Incomes and job security are an issue.
    However….all of this is vastly superior to having the grass above you. I am much happier with the grass below my feet.

  6. October 13, 2008 at 15:36

    I am very optimistic and always see rays of hope in life. Know body knows what will happen tomorrow. So why we just made very big hypothetical assumptions? I think today majority of the people want to be away from their responsibility. So problem is here. Irresponsibility made every thing worst. Question of responsibility is not just for public but also equally important to the governments. Why we are so much pessimistic? Why media always want to raise issues of harassment and pessimist primarily.

    Though big financial crisis seen in economic super power countries is very sad to all of us. But remembering thing is that third world countries people are always living their life with full of tension. But they know well how to make life happy and satisfied. So, we can learn from their life. And have to be optimist thinking that this financial crisis is very short and we will get our original shape again. Together we can pray for that being responsible.

  7. October 13, 2008 at 15:41

    It’s been scary to watch what’s happened, but it may or may not actually affect my overall retirement scheme. I’ve invested for the long haul, and I plan to buy more now that stocks are low. If I was a lot closer to retirement — say, over 60 years old — I’d be in a dead panic.

    I’m far more worried of out-living my meager retirement plans. I have really great health and there’s incredible longevity on my father’s side of the family. I can’t possibly do enough planning to cover what could be 20 to 25 years of retirement, and our Social Security won’t even exist by the time I’m old enough to use it. I would have done a lot more planning than I have, but I suffered a major disability from a work injury for 18 months and couldn’t work. That put me in the hole for 8 years until the slowly grinding wheels of justice finally overtook my predicament and I received my settlement. These things happen, and very few of us have wealthy parents (or spouses) who can pick us up and put us back on our feet.

    So, I’ll be in line with Brett for those Senior Citizen discounts! 🙂

  8. 8 fred
    October 13, 2008 at 15:42

    I am not scared of getting old since, like a new day,it’ll surely come. Now at 23, if anything would bother me it should be about how I am going to achieve my dreams.

    Accra, GHANA.

  9. 9 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    October 13, 2008 at 15:48

    Hi WHYSers!

    I share some of the concerns about the future myself, in terms of the costs of that future, however, my fear is not so much getting older as it is getting older and not achieving the targets I set myself. Right now I am working on completing a postgraduate degree and that is my main preoccupation. Think about the other stuff afterwards!

  10. October 13, 2008 at 15:49

    I think you have asked the wrong question in this context. I am not scared of getting old (as Jon Kiparsky reminds us, it beats the alternative) but I’m scared of becoming impaired physically or mentally, and losing my independence on any level whatsoever. I’ve found getting old to be surprisingly enjoyable thus far; being too old to die young is an achievement.

    Like Greg I was frugal and lived always within my means, accumulating enough from hard work and some laborious and lucky property dealing to live comfortably in retirement on the interest from my investments. I hoped to save most of the capital for my heirs. (I have twelve grandchildren who will need educating.) Ho ho, pride comes before a stockmarket fall. My investments have dropped 40% in the last year, like everybody else’s. All that frugality going down the drain…..?

    This morning I counselled my financial adviser who has not been sleeping well, that he has done his best and that is all he can do. We agreed that most of the wreckage in the market has resulted from panic and even panic is cyclical.

    A prescient couple in UK sold their house four years ago and invested the money in gold, meanwhile renting. That was a wise move economically, but what can you do with gold beyond filling your teeth and counting your financial blessings? Lifestyle is one’s main concern.

    As long as you have your health and enjoyable passtimes, getting old is OK.
    Going broke is not.

  11. October 13, 2008 at 15:50

    Old age has always been a moment to dread because of failing health and the spectre of finding oneself alone, face to face with the death clock ticking and the memories that are a summary of moments that depict one’s whole life as a success or failure.

    But the most dreadful aspect of old age is to be then broke and in poor health, making it impossible to earn one’s living with a decent income.

    Perhaps old age is an issue in Western society where people are more inclined to be individualistic. In traditional societies, people invest in their children, which they are the “big cash” when they get old. They get all the necessary material and moral support to help them pass away in peace and dignity.

    It is perhaps the end of the extended family and the domination of capitalism that make old age a frightening period when all the savings almost vanish after youthful hardworking life that make the expected golden age a nightmare.

  12. 12 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    October 13, 2008 at 15:52

    Still, I am with Roy, life is too short! We have to live a litte – whatever that means!

  13. 13 1430a
    October 13, 2008 at 15:52

    hello everyone,
    A very interesting topic indeed.Well I am 16 years old and not too much worried about getting old.But I do understand what my father is going through.People now have to kick aside their retirement plans and work for a few more years so that they can help their regular lives.This should be the age of enjoying’the fruits of success’.Instead they have to worry on how to earn more money to eat a days meal.

    Thank you

  14. October 13, 2008 at 16:02

    In which part of the world are we talking about?

    In parts of the world I am ancient – in others I am old in others I am just middle-aged.

    So it is perspective. Scared of getting old – well really, no.

    Dropping dead is another thing……

  15. October 13, 2008 at 16:05

    Afraid of getting old ? What a waste of energy. I’m much happier and
    healthier since I’m almost 80, having gotten rid of my aches and pains thru
    prayer and oral chelation ( removing toxins from the body that had me in
    rotten health for 60 years ). And no B.O. ! What a joy that is ! My advice to
    women is : take plenty of vitamins / supplements, eat right, and exercise,
    and cut your hair ( no use wasting a moment fussing with it – chop it off so
    you look as good getting up in the a.m. as when going to bed ). Give your
    long strands to “Locks of Love” to make wigs for cancer victims and you’ll feel
    good about your radically new appearance. If you are a dog lover and don’t
    have one, get one. That way you’ll get outside 4 times a day and meet new
    friends and find out what’s going on in your neighborhood. Having been
    attacked on the street once, I used to always carry a riding whip when walking
    the dog, but now carry a hiking staff – sturdy enough to crack someone a good
    one if they bother you, and a real help when climbing up and down steep slopes.
    It’s my theory that if women would always carry something sturdy in their hands,
    ( table fork ? heavy flashlight ? your choice…. )
    they’d be much safer walking around, night and day.

    Even better, move to Greenville, Pa., USA, where you can walk safely on the
    streets day and night. No beggars, no street people. Just good friendly
    folks. Nice college town in good, green, well-watered and wooded land.
    They have 3 museums and a fine symphony. If you want to find out more, email Mayor Richard Miller at rhmiller@keystoneresearch.net
    I can’t wait to move back there myself – a job moved us out of state.

  16. 16 selena in Canada
    October 13, 2008 at 16:06

    I am not scared of growing old. It is not in my makeup to be scared of anything. Whatever happens will happen.

    Still, it is worth noting that it is impossible to protect one’s self from the chaos in which we now find ourselves.

    A couple of years ago, I pulled everything out of the stock market when research demonstrated to me that, at the end of the day, my money was more safe in the bank earning interest that it was in the stock market. Stock market returns after ten years had not been much better than interest and, in some cases, were less. It was not worth the hassle.

    At the time, it seemed that the only way to win in the stock market was to do one’s own investing and buy and sell regularly. Otherwise, the market was just another way for others to make money with my money. I didn’t need to be burdened with that worry so I opted for interest and some gold for fun.

    It seems funny that, presently, money in the bank is not safe. So, when things get bad, even those who try to prepare are caught in the same grip of uncertainty. Like it or not, we are in the same boat!

    It could be a time to worry about growing old without money. But worry will not solve a thing and, sadly, only make things worse.

    There is more to worry about than my little troubles, as my mother used to say. 🙂

  17. October 13, 2008 at 16:09

    The process of aging can be slowed down but not halted. There’s nothing to be scared of about getting old because with every passing day, we get older. Make best use of your younger days. With regards to dwindling investments in pensions and the like, there’s something called the next best thing …

  18. 18 steve
    October 13, 2008 at 16:15

    I’ve never in my entire life thought that retirement was going to be possible for my generation except for the people who were born into money. My only real fear is if there will be age discrimination, because currently, employers don’t like to hire older people because they get paid more. Perhaps things will change.

  19. October 13, 2008 at 16:17

    I am not scared of getting old, it does not bother me.

    And i do not think it should bother anybody. Aging is a phase in life and it is ordained by God

    .We were born to get old. Lets not bother about the things we cannot change.

    One of them is aging.

    Mary from Nigeria(Naija).

  20. 20 John in Salem
    October 13, 2008 at 16:19

    Shortly after buying our house we had to dump my wife’s entire pension into remodeling the basement after a flood. For the last couple of years we’ve worried about how that would pay off.
    Now our basement is a short-stay rental appartment that is booked for months ahead and the market funds that WERE holding my wife’s pension have tanked.
    We bought the house to live in and as long as the population continues to rise land will always be the best investment for the long haul.

    Check out this Frontline report on “Can You Afford to Retire?”

  21. 21 gary
    October 13, 2008 at 16:22

    Getting old is great (I’m 64.)! Being old can be a bit inconvenient, though. But still, 20Km on a mountain bike goes by pretty quickly.

  22. 22 Katharina in Ghent
    October 13, 2008 at 16:27

    Every morning when I look in the mirror… 😉

    On a more serious note: not yet, I’m 34, so I still have a bit of a way to go. I do have a private pension insurance, plus benefits from my employer, plus whatever a state pension will be worth in 30+ years, but still I’m not sure I will be able to retire at 60 or 65. In any case, I refuse to worry about that already, there’s still a long way to go… luckily!

  23. 23 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    October 13, 2008 at 16:28

    What amazes me about the aging process is the unexpected and, apparently, easy shifts that occur in terms of perspective. As a (part-time) teacher, I am often amazed at how much older I feel in relation to many of undergraduate students, especially when we are in a classroom setting. The gaps between the different groups of people in terms of age, then, seem so much more stark. When I was an undergrad, myself, I was not as always as keen to take some of these matters as seriously as I do now and would, perhaps, not relish anyone pointing them out to me as readily. Now, though, I assume that responsibility without, necessarilly, questioning it even while I accept it is part of the requirements of this job!

  24. 24 Dennis@OCC
    October 13, 2008 at 16:30

    Yes, i am very scare of getting old…


  25. 25 Julie P
    October 13, 2008 at 16:37

    I have no a problem with getting old than anything else. It’s that or die.

  26. 26 John in Salem
    October 13, 2008 at 16:50

    I agree. All things considered, getting old is better than the alternative…

  27. 27 Jessica in NYC
    October 13, 2008 at 16:59

    I am not scared or afraid of getting old, but am worried about the journey. Planning for your retirement in your 20s and 30s is what is suppose to bring you ease and calm during those golden years. With turbulent times and so much deceases popping up everyday, I’m not sure we can adequately prepare for old age anymore.

    I went to the memorial yesterday of a man I admired more than I realized. Which made me think of the saying old people have for the young. “Youth is wasted on the young.” So today, I decided to take a day off and enjoy being “young and fabulous”. I’m going to eat ice cream for lunch and watch a movie in the middle of the day and sit at a cafe enjoying some over price coffee drink while listening to WHYS.

    And that pile of cloths that needs washing, well I decided to treat myself and the play the $30 for have the laundry mat wash them for me. Life is too short to spend half of my day of freedom washing stinky cloths.

  28. 28 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 13, 2008 at 17:00

    Whatever your age, are you worried about how to be financially secure when you’re older? What advice are you being given and what advice are you following?

    I am 30 and I am working towards being financially secure when I reach old age. I think it is a concern for me now because I am seeing how my granddaddy is running out of money. He saved a lot and was very responsible, but due to my grandma´s illness (who passed away last year) and his own health problems, the money is less every day. Obviously my mom and my uncles help him, but they also have their own financial problems. It breaks my heart seeing him worried about money.

    So, my plan is to be financially independent of my husband. We, as a family (I have 2 daughters), can live with his income, but I decided to return to work in order to save it for a rainy day and retirement (and I plan to work as long as I can). Probably I´ll survive my husband for some years, since he is 17 years older than me, so I have to plan ahead and not being dependent on him. This was HIS idea in the first place, which I think is a good idea.

    Nobody knows what is going to happen when reaching old age. I´ll try to be the best prepared I can. The future is uncertain, but one should not take it lightly.

  29. 29 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    October 13, 2008 at 17:04

    @ Jessica in NYC:

    I love your spirit! I just paid half of my salary on retail therapy because I was under pressure and needed to not think and be responsible all the time. When I saw the bill, I reminded myself that the cost of foregoing “therapy” would probably even worse. So, I do think we need to worry less! Life happens! Usually when we are (supposed to be) having fun! Aging is part of the process. I am only aware of it when, as said earlier, I am consider the differences in perspective, among others, between myself and others with whom I interact. Still, worrying really just ages more rapidly!

  30. 30 Jessica in NYC
    October 13, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Dwight From Cleveland
    If I have my pick… I’ll go out with a rotten liver. 😉
    @ Steve
    Age discrimination… You’re dumping me out. Maybe I should have a mimosa with my ice cream.
    @ Selena
    Agreed, but we should still wear some life vest in this boat, because it’s getting kinda crowded.
    @ Maria Alexander & Bret
    You can just claim your a student, take a fun class once a year for no credit and get those discounts you would get a seniors now.
    @ Will
    Naw, I’ve dropped dead who cares now. I just hope that I have time to say I was sorry on my way down for the vices, in case Christians have it right so God will let me in.

  31. 31 Sia
    October 13, 2008 at 17:10

    I am actually rather the opposite. Although of course none of us look forward to what the shape of our bodies will be when we are “old”, I really look forward to that time in my life when the children are raised and it is just me, or just my husband and me,… perhaps I can pick up my pottery again, or my painting again. I look forward to having more contemplative time, to read, write and be still. These young days are the dishes-scrubbing, diaper-washing stage; those days could be something really beautiful if I make them so.

    What I AM scared of is the thought of my spirits going down and me sitting in front of the tube all day, getting more and more depressed. I am not as scared of being old as I am of the state of my soul when I am old. As long as I live, I want to be spritually and mentally alive so as to make every stage as fruitful and as beautiful as possible.

    -sia, portland, Oregon; age 26

  32. 32 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    October 13, 2008 at 17:12

    @ Luz Ma,

    Good point about the need to plan ahead, however, I think we also have to plan to be less stressed out in the process of attaining the futures of which we all dream. I do agree that it makes perfect sense to save as much as we can for the rainy days that will come as well as to invest wisely. Still, there is something to be said for “living a little” and having some fun along the way. I think I spent most of my twenties planning to live! Thank God for the thirties, I do not feel that pressure as much anymore and am the better for it! There are numerous things which I can still do for the days ahead, but living is top priority on my list; and by that, I mean, living qualitatively – less stress, less entanglements with people, things and events that sap my energy and more of the things which make me happy!

  33. 33 Venessa
    October 13, 2008 at 17:23

    Distressing about getting older which is inevitable is a waste of time. Of course I have concerns about my financial well being in the “golden years” but losing sleep over the unknowns is fruitless. Plan the best you can. Life is full of unforeseen obstacles and there are never any guarantees….unless you are born into a wealthy family.

  34. 34 John in Salem
    October 13, 2008 at 17:29

    Your comment reminded me of the joke…

    To answer the question, “When does life begin?”, a student asked a priest, a minister and a rabbi.
    The priest said, “Life begins at conception”.
    The minister said, “Life begins at birth”.
    The rabbi said, “Life begins when the kids are gone and the dog has died”.

  35. 35 roebert
    October 13, 2008 at 17:29

    The blessings of growing older:
    I can read and enjoy the masters: Cicero, Virgil, Plutarch etc. because they finally make real sense to me now. At a dangerous time, such as the present, I can read Boethius and Marcus Aurelius, and know that what they offer are true consolations.
    I can see the real value of virtue and compassion, being no longer blinded by youthful egotism, and I can be a do-gooder without having to cringe. I can act and think conservatively, because I’m an old-fashioned bloke whose outdated ideas mean nothing anyway.
    I can think clearly and calmly because I’ve traversed a good few calamities ‘in my time.’
    I can say what I please, and no one can convince me otherwise. And, I can interfere in anyone’s business in order to put them right.
    Now and then, I can misbehave, and get away with it too.
    I know that death is only a natural end to all of this, and don’t fear it.
    I can simplify everything, and having seen wealth and luxury come and go, and come and go, I can be content with little.
    No amount of money can replace these privileges.

  36. 36 jesse
    October 13, 2008 at 17:36

    I am scared; I am terrified!!! I’ve always believed that if you plan and do the proper savings and investments for the future; if you pay your taxes and do what you have to do to provide for your family and nation, things will work out….but it seems that the older I get, the more I think that I have been abused, cheated, and robbed!!! I am not pleased and I wish we could do something to these cockaroaches who taken advantage have put this economic in disarray and will come out ahead from this scandal/problem. Now we hear that the Oil/Cartel companies, OPEC, are thinking of limiting their output or production of oil in order to protect their profits-unbelievable!!!! Yet, I am getting murder every week at the pump-my future does not look good but who cares-since these deceiful punks/bugs believe it is my fault for the economy being this way and should have planned better-go figure!!!!

  37. 37 Dinka Alpayo, kampala
    October 13, 2008 at 17:47

    No . I cannot be astonish by being old in ages.Well as i have been in money making because i was knowing how i can makes money and where i can get a profits, so i was advice by certain people that getting wealth at this young age will let you(me) miss out some years in future or die in any case, therefore i decided to backup what traditionist were telling me and then i give up business and went back to school because of lossing out to God at a young was fearful to me, i would like to be old as much as my father is now(62 of ages).

  38. 38 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 17:49

    Unfortuntely we all fear the end-you know the great unknown-but we can’t do anything about it. The recent events of the financial world have made me realize that we can’t rely on our savings and our health is somewhat limited by our chromosomes. One of the things that I have questioned, though, is what will I do if I land in a situation like the great depression? Do I know how to survive without money to go to the store? Do I know how to grow food? Can food? and am I comfortable enough with my neighbors and neighborhood that we can live as a community to sustain ourselves until we rech old age?

  39. 39 Ogola Benard
    October 13, 2008 at 17:58

    I always felt i should live to see the next generation but does it work? Sickness,cleanness, good breath , shelter and good feeding is what everybody would look for. Now that there is a financial crisis and government bailing out- Is there re-reimbursement? what rate of interest? what’s the percentage ration of the bail to foreign Aid?

  40. 40 Dinka Alpayo, kampala
    October 13, 2008 at 18:02

    It depends on somebody age as old people now dream if there would been the God to recreate them be look like kids again it would have been better yet we the young people eager if God could let us reaches the old ages.

  41. 41 Kaidala Danappiah
    October 13, 2008 at 18:23

    Getting old is scaring phenomenon. We don’t want to get old. However, it is funny, that we celebrate ‘birthdays’ every year! Celebrating that one is getting old? how surprising…

    In India, we have moved from undivided to nuclear families and from nuclear to single parent families off late!

    This has put the elderly in grave danger. Recently, BBC had a special report on this with ref to India.

    As one gets older his/her equations of mental capacity, economy, brain and body function change dramatically.
    Most of the time they get worse! Is is not scary?

  42. 42 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    October 13, 2008 at 18:24

    In 1999 I transferred to Indianapolis from San Francisco with United Airlines. After 911 I lost my job. I was an employee of 12 and 1/2 years. I do have a bit of retirement from them. I also have an IRA, which has lost a lot the past month. However, unlike others I am just letting it ride. But after 911 I just committed myself that I will never retire like my parents did. I will also have to work part time during my older years. I will die working and that is just the facts. I just enjoy my life and take one day at a time. Who knows maybe it will work out in the end.

  43. 43 Shane in Oregon, USA
    October 13, 2008 at 18:27

    I am young and just started my 401k with my company. I had $2900 saved a month ago. It now sits at $1800. Although I know I still have time and this isn’t much money, I cannot get over that I could lose that much over such a short period.

  44. 44 tim
    October 13, 2008 at 18:29

    Portland OR

    at 33 yrs, my wife and i, while pushed hard by family to pursue our professions inside safe ‘institutions, are split. one of us (transitioned from large corporate) is self employed pursuing dreams w/ no assurance of 401k or ‘advancement’ and meager income, while the other works for an age old institution and hates the job. we are transitioning to both being self employed, as there is no assurance that there will ever be a tomorrow. the last several weeks has proven the paradigm has shifted from 20 years work and fat 401k. if we can leave within our means and enjoy each day together, i believe we can do it.

    if we are both slaving 60hours a week to put away for tomorrow w/ no promise of retirement, aren’t we missing out on the most important part of life – time together? what if one of us dies now? what regrets will we have had?

  45. 45 Kaidala Danappiah
    October 13, 2008 at 18:32

    Finatial security is one of the issues. It is not the issue. Old age needs mental and physical support. Money can buy a nurse, and a wheel chair and for sure it cannot buy a son and/or a daughter.

    Animals and Plants invest in offsprings, because they want to secure their genes. Humans (also a group of animals) have bettered it. They invest in emotional intelligence, which is meant to be more rewarding when a parent gets old.
    Is this happening?

  46. 46 champagne
    October 13, 2008 at 18:33

    I’m 27 years old and I don’t have time to be worried about getting old because I’m too busy worried about everything else. I spent $30,000 putting myself through college and by the time I graduated there were no jobs in my field. Now I’m in debt and I can’t even get my career started, much less imagine how or if I’ll ever retire. It’s something that definitely concerns me, but right now I have to be more concerned with how I’m going to pay my electric bill every month.

    -Scotssdale, AZ, USA

  47. 47 Ace
    October 13, 2008 at 18:41

    Banks and investment firms use scare tactics to get you to hand your money over to them. Live it up while you can and while you are young and can enjoy it.

  48. 48 Philippa
    October 13, 2008 at 18:47

    I’m 46 and have lived and worked in many countries and on many continents. I never worried about my pension until a few years ago, when I realized that I would probably never benefit from any of the various compulsory government schemes I paid into over the years, through my work.

    This having been said, when I look at the current mess, I am reminded of the basic fact that the only proper pension fund is investing in family, friends and neighbors. That’s the only safe investment.

  49. 49 Clay
    October 13, 2008 at 18:47

    I’ve tried to keep my lifestyle in line with my ability to earn. However as an artist I have not been able to put aside anything for retirement. I will receive a small monthly social security payment when I turn 62 (next year) otherwise I must continue to work into old age. I am some what fearful of getting older as I have some health problems that may limit my ability to continue to earn. I am an optimistic person by nature and things have always worked out for me one way or another.
    I resent the fact that our government (US) seems more interested in taking care of the wealthy. Many of our public officials have generous retirement pensions and lifetime health care yet the average person is left to fend for themselves with little or no safety net. It seems wrong. Wouldn’t anyone fear that kind of old age?

  50. 50 Matt
    October 13, 2008 at 18:48

    i am fed up with the bbc’s scaremongering.

    everything in the bbc news is negative.

    you use words like fear and worry and scared all of the time, this is no help what so ever and you well know it. how about a more positive spin suggesting how people could better support themselves. even the title of the piece suggests that there could be something wrong with getting old.

    how about using ‘your thoughts on getting older’, people are scared at the moment. programming like this just makes it worse

  51. 51 Kabiru from Nigeria
    October 13, 2008 at 18:50

    I became scared about reaching retirement not because of the present financial crisis, but because of the current insecurity and lack good pension management in Nigeria. You will serve the country for many years but you end up having to wait for two or three years before receiving your gratuity.

  52. October 13, 2008 at 18:51

    The greatest, surest and permanent assurance that any man will enjoy food security, a home, friendship, god health and peace at retirement is FAITH IN GOD’S GOODNESS AND LOVE, according to His promises: Do not worry about what yon would have to wear, eat …. do not worry about tomorrow, the troubles of today are enough”. secular and LOST USA and Europe will not appreciate this TRUTH.

    Next to this is the insurance assurance that children, brothers and extended family members provide. This is African tradition. My people say, in this regard: onwe madu ka onwe ego; which means, literally, the one who has people is greater than the one who has money.

    The failure of USA banks should teach every person, nation and government a lesson that it is at least naive and, really, most stupid to depend on any human institution, philosophy, and promises. It should teach faith in God and reliance in God; then good thing and judgment

    Prince Awele Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  53. 53 Rachel in Portland, US
    October 13, 2008 at 18:51

    One aspect of this question that hasn’t been addressed is the gender component of retirement planning. In the west, so many pension programs are designed around the workplace, and historically women have had less experience of paid work or have been concentrated in lower paying jobs that don’t offer pension plans. Meanwhile, women tend to live longer than men, meaning that widows are more likely to live into old age, while they are less likely to have access to adequate pensions. This has been a persistent problem throughout history, and one that employer-based systems don’t address.

  54. 54 Bob in Cleveland, Ohio
    October 13, 2008 at 18:53

    Your show is great, but the element incorrect facts comes to the fore when you are relying on individuals for anything other than thier own opinions.
    My understanidng is that the lady in Akron had her house paid off completely over 20 years ago. She then took out two subsequesnt home equity loans and failed to pay off the second one. Whether it was due to her not being able to make ends meet or a desire to have more material things than her income allowed has not been disclosed. However, if it is the latter, then she would fall into a category into which too many Americans selfishly placed themselves. It is still a sad story, but is it one of excess or something else?

  55. 55 Dan (in California)
    October 13, 2008 at 18:54

    My small business has had a broadly invested retirement program for our employees, which we have managed somewhat conservatively, lagging the market’s gyrations, both up and down over the last 15 years. However, the novelty of the economic instability in recent years has created a greater concern that we might experience a 1930s type meltdown, in which we could lose nearly all our assets, just as many of our staff are leaving middle age. Accordingly, we withdrew our funds from the stock market. We reasoned that the risk of a total collapse is too big, while the downside of being out of the markets for the next year or two is small. We will not try to guess the bottom. We will wait for the wild swings to cease, then resume our prior approach. Now we are sleeping better and have stopped watching the hourly financial reports.

  56. 56 Vijay
    October 13, 2008 at 18:54

    Are you scared of getting old?

    No,because I know exactly what I am going to do till retirement,work at a minimum wage job,last week the minimum wage in the UK was raised to £5.73per hour,for some reason the news got buried.
    When I get my basic UK pension I’ll work part time on the side till lights out.

  57. 57 Sandra in Panama
    October 13, 2008 at 18:55

    We, my husband & I, are now 65 y.o. Three years ago, at age 62, we retired to Panama. We have a small, 6 acre coffee farm. We had a house built and we are debt free. Cars & everything else are paid for. We live on our retirements. We do not use credit cards only debit cards. Our SEP-Iras have lost value over the last few months, however, we have not cashed out and we do hope that the markets will recover as well as our retirement accounts. You asked, “What can government do to help those of us already in retirement?” This is a great question: I purpose that all SEP-Iras, traditional Iras, 401K accounts, and any other investment vehicles that were not taxed going into the accounts be exempted from taxes as we withdraw these funds.

  58. 58 Harriet Jones
    October 13, 2008 at 18:57

    I am over 50 and have no hope of ever retiring. I will work until the day I die. Many of my friends, high level executives, are chronically unemployed or in one case had her quarter of a million dollar 401K wiped out in the Enron scandal when in her mid-40’s. She was lucky to have subsequently married well. But perhaps even her wealthy husband has now been wiped out by the latest shananigans of corporate America’s collusion with the current government.

    I myself am so used to living month to month that this current situation does nearly nothing to change things. And I do not feel this is fair or appropriate for someone with my job skills and educational level wich is post graduate.

  59. 59 Christa
    October 13, 2008 at 18:57

    (CA, US) Sure, things could always be worse… I’m 34, and i’m worried about retirement. I’ve done the right things, saved early, live(d) with my means. Perhaps i’m too conservative, but what if i lose my job and have to drain my 401k? It’s not just about the ability to plan for the future, it’s about being about being able to plan for the worst.

  60. 60 Eric Karkovack, PA
    October 13, 2008 at 18:58

    I’m a 31 year old small business owner in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Like many people around the world, I’m watching my small retirement account dwindle down to nothing. I’m not very confident that I will be able to retire once I reach age 65. But, my family and I are doing the best we can to put aside as much money as possible into savings. Unfortunately, there are too many people in our world who are worse off and cannot put any money away – even with working more than one job. I fear for our future.

  61. 61 Elizabeth in Ohio
    October 13, 2008 at 18:59

    I am 21 years old. I’m not really worried about saving enough money for retirement. This is because of the great advice I have received from my mom and grandma. They tell me to save as much as I can afford to do without, to spend as little as possible, and not to worry about things that may not happen and the other things that you can’t change.

  62. 62 Helen in Cleveland Ohio
    October 13, 2008 at 19:00

    Yes.Being sick and helpless comes with being old.So does being alone and uncared for and dying warehoused in a nursing home.To me aging and being old aren’t the same.An 80 year old might not be living the life of an old person.”Old” is a state of mind.Being sick and on pills that make you sicker and being unable to afford or prepare healthy meals is the fate of an old person.So is hopelessness and not caring if you live.

  63. 63 Tracy in Portland, OR
    October 13, 2008 at 19:01

    I am scared for my parents. They did not save or prepare. They are getting older and are in no position to make their situation easier.

    As for me and my husband, I am not afraid. I am well aware of what is to come physically. We have been renovating our home. Which we have only a modest person loan from putting on the new metal roof that will last our lifetimes and then some. The rest is debt free. Thats how we plan on keeping it. We have a garden(a big one). We hunt and have a few head of cattle. Yes we live in the country and I think that will be an advantage for being self sustaining if/when things get bad. My biggest concern is getting to and from work. Once we retire that will not be a concern anymore. About the house. We are making it old friendly. We have time and the house needs work because it is old, so we will fix it right as we go. My vision for it.. a big shower that can be wheelchaired into. Concrete paths that a wheelchair or zippy cart can run on. Solar/Hydro power to charge the zippy cart and modest power needs. Raised plant beds nearer to the house when the garden becomes too much. Live simply an healthy.

  64. 64 Vijay
    October 13, 2008 at 19:02

    After the Lloyds name scandal there was a bailout.
    Pension miss selling, bailout.
    Equitable Life, bailout
    national lottery reverse taxation the poor by the tickets the middle class get the grants.
    If the rich and middle class shares lose value ,if they put their money in Icelandic banks because they are so smart,if every thing goes belly up lets have a bailout.
    This Christmas as usual the investment bankers and senior managers will get million dollar bonuses and cash in their preferential share options.

  65. 65 Po in Uganda
    October 13, 2008 at 19:04

    Hi ros, am only 21 & am not scared of aging. In uganda, we live one day at a time. You just never know whats coming tomorrow, u may have to sleep hungry, no incomes translate to no savings.

  66. 66 Jennifer
    October 13, 2008 at 19:05

    At 23, I am not scared to get old or die because it will eventually happen. I hope that I have the opportunity to finish my master’s degree because I feel that it will help improve my access to a good paying job with benefits and greatly secure my future. I don’t expect any type of governmental assistance because I am not sure that there will be any of those programs by the time I would have need for it. Even if there are, it’s important to remember that they are not be considered a sole source of income but as a supplement with savings and etc.

    I imagine the most horrible thing about getting older would be loosing the people you love and feeling pushed aside because you aren’t young.

  67. 67 Leni
    October 13, 2008 at 19:13

    It’d be interesting to hear someone discuss alternative arrangements in which aging boomers join forces and create communities in which their mutual needs can be taken care of, and their financial needs are greatly reduced by pooling resources — along the lines of land trust communities, or co-housing communities, or what is sometimes called “intentional communities” — perhaps we need a whole new paradigm of how to survive old age, beyond depending on your children.

  68. 68 Karuga from Kenya
    October 13, 2008 at 19:14

    Hi Ros, Karuga from Kenya here. Given the current cash crunch crisis, old is no longer gold.The news these day paint a grim picture the environmentalists tell us impending global warming will roast us all.Well i cant even take of my shirt in the sun since i should be concious enough to reduce my carbon footprint.Well if i am in Africa, none of those worry me, why should a person in UK be worried to have kids yet jobs are many in 1st world as compared to Kenya and my joblessness.Lets be optimists even at a flip flop level.

  69. 69 James Elder in the UK
    October 13, 2008 at 19:20

    I am sitting listening to your programme.

    The gentleman who is on your show, Rodney Smith I think is his name, he is living on a different planet.

    When the woman from America said all you need is to have a positive attitude, Mr Smith said that is the attitude everybody should have.

    The woman was an estate agent, and she had just had news that her husbands pension was guaranteed, what would her attitude have been if her husband’s pension fund had been decimated, and she was not conditioned to talk estate agent talk.

    Mr Smith also said that the regulators and government were to blame for the current `credit crunch’, as the bankers been forced to to be greedy and take the ridiculous risks they have taken.

    He also mentioned that people shouldn’t worry about their pensions, as in the new financial world they should be okay, as the government should help them, what about the people who are retiring now.

    People are worried about their pensions because of the policies Mr Smith worships, which will cause many more suicide attempts other than the lady who you mentioned at the beginning of the programme, but a persons life is not important in the Capitalist Free Market, all that matters is profit and self-interest.

    Does Mr Smith not know that their are a couple of million people in the UK who struggle to survive everyday, never mind during the `credit crunch’, but as I said above, these people are of no use in a Capitalist society.

    I think he is one of the most patronising people I have ever listened to, he thinks that to say `just hold on’ is fine, and `things will get better’.

  70. 70 Kevan
    October 13, 2008 at 19:31

    It is unfair to categorize all Americans as free spenders with no savings ethic. Many Americans save in traditional ways such as low- to moderate-risk deposits and money markets. Good saving and spending habits can be taught and learned–any by many Americans, they have.

    With a solid financial “compass”, one can easily toss unsolicited credit card offers in the recycle bin, keep his/her books balanced, and save for a bright future in later life.

  71. 71 Arron in Ohio
    October 13, 2008 at 19:31

    Do I feel I took part in the system? It’s more like I’ve felt trapped by the system, and do my best to stay on the fringes of it as possible. Of course, it’s virtually impossible to escape all of the system and methods, despite personal feelings.

  72. 72 James in Uganda
    October 13, 2008 at 19:33

    Hi, im 25, i have a bachelors degree with no proper job. (under employed). I spend all the money earn! I dream or plan for getting a house , car, a good family. Planning for retirement package is far away from my plans or dreams. Althoug automaticaly 5% of my gross salary goes to social security savings. Im sacred coz it may be managed wrongly.

  73. 73 Natalie -kenya
    October 13, 2008 at 19:38

    I am 19 and I wish my dad had saved his money earlier,then maybe I wouldnt be stressed trying to pay for university. Although I am bitter at least now I know I should save and not rely on others. And relying on african hospitality. . . . May breed laziness. Its not safe to assume that you shouldnt save cause your children will end up taking care of you when your in old age.

  74. 74 Abdikadir in Somalia.
    October 13, 2008 at 19:50

    In islam allah says, oh people do worship me and i am responsible to feed you,so don’t worry about it if you are old or youngand iam the only provider forever.

  75. 75 Leni
    October 13, 2008 at 19:52

    I think the whole paradigm will have to change. I envision a Senior cohousing or land trust arrangement blossoming into a movement that would give retired people a chance to actually enjoy the freedom of their retirement, with a community of others around to help, and pooled resources. So much more appealing than coming to live with your children, or having to work until you die. It will require we re-think the isolated way we’ve come to live, and a willingness to band together.

  76. 76 old ron
    October 13, 2008 at 21:26

    In a few more months I’ll be seventy but I’m to senile and happy to show it.
    All on far less than $1,000 a mo. and I’m glad that I picked cheep athletic past times.

  77. 77 Bruce Sickles
    October 13, 2008 at 21:38

    Leni-I have been kicking around your idea (from your earlier post) and it sounds very appealling-except-you are talking communism. I personally am not opposed to communism if it is a true communist system where everyone gets an equal share (for equal wok of course). the only problem is first ,how do you insure an equal share? or on the other hand who administrates such a system? then, again, who builds the system to begin with? So far all I’ve come up wiht are questions though I really like the basic concept of the people working together to take care of the people.

  78. 78 John LaGrua/New York
    October 14, 2008 at 02:20

    I had the good fortune at 30 to go broke through my own youthful folly.Paying off debts such as my college loans had given me a foretaste of the needed discipline .I vowed that never again would I let a month go by without savings.Working on Wall Street gave me a eyeful of grandiosity and profligacy and I erd on the side of caution,fortunately.Old age comes on silent feet but if you are fortunate you have gathered weat into the barn in good times ,preparing for ;lean days.I watch the madness around me in the last 10 years and began to lament my conservative attitude.but then I realized I was watching a party which would end badly.My heart goes out to those who have victimized by the example of the Bush crowd ,encouraging reckless behavior .They belong in the 7th level of Dante’s Hell.Less will prove to be more as good sense and strong values reassert themselves.It is always darkest before the dawn!

  79. 79 Ndirangu Mwangi/Nairobi.
    October 14, 2008 at 06:25

    I happened to be listening to the programme on the above topic and I think most of the Africans who contributed to the topic generalized a lot in the sense that what happens in their countries does not necessarily mean happens in all African countries. For starters, a good example is my mom and dad who have taken all three of us through university and now in their 50’s, they have secured their future through us. But looking at them, I can say that they wouldn’t need much of our help in the sense that my dad has invested a lot in real estate and the stock market thus ensuring his and my mom’s future in their old age. Kenya’s pension scheme is run very well because my mom receives her pension religiously every month and she retired from work like 12 years ago. For me, I have not yet started to secure my future maybe in investing in something because I am starting out in life at the moment. I graduated last year and got a job soon after. So I guess I still have time to do that. I’m 24 yrs and I liked the 3 step method prescribed by a listener from Holland or Germany (can’ t remember).

  80. 80 Justin Durueke
    October 14, 2008 at 07:06

    I cannot be scared of getting old. The African culture associates age with experience and wisdom. I belong to that school of thought. I think people that are scared of getting old are generally under-achievers. I am in my late 20’s and cannot wait to hit the big 30…….

    Seattle, WA

  81. 81 rick
    October 14, 2008 at 11:51

    I’ll be 60 next year and I wonder how the hell that happened. It must have been while I was looking the other way! I don’t feel that old, I feel 27 ..or so.
    God, I’ll be 70 in 10 years! If I am lucky and get 20, I expect them to just slip on by like the last 40 so I don’t fear it at all cause it’s been such a great journey so far. I’d like to exit sometime after 80 by being shot by a jealous lover.

  82. October 14, 2008 at 19:18

    No. I worked hard and was frugal but I would give up my savings for another day with my sweetheart. It’s quality not quantity.

  83. 83 Inshan
    October 15, 2008 at 15:39

    I looked at my father working hard all his life and when things finally fell in place at his retirement financially, with gradkids to play with and all the other joys of retirement he died.

    My take on life and growing old is to live life now as if there is no tomorow, when tomorow arrives deal with it.

  84. 84 Kate
    November 5, 2008 at 04:17

    Everytime I come to a big change in my life, I start to freak out about getting older. Now Im 22 and graduating from college next spring, and I almost wish I could just stay this age forever. Never get old, never get wrinkles. But I know I just have to stuck it up and face the music. Life changes and we need to accept that.

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