The Middle Class Retirement Nightmare And The Retirement That May Never Happen


from Silver Doctors:

Millions of Americans may have to delay retirement for years — if not permanently. The outlook is not good at all. Here’s why…

by Brian Maher of Daily Reckoning

Today we bear dire news…

Millions of Americans may have to delay retirement for years — if not permanently.

Like a squirrel facing a long winter with a lean stash of acorns… 80% of American workers have under one year’s salary salted away for retirement.

This we learn from a new report issuing from the National Institute on Retirement Security.

We are further informed that over 100 million working-age Americans own no retirement accounts whatsoever — including 401(k)s, individual accounts or pensions.

77% of Americans fall woefully behind “even the most conservative retirement savings targets for their age.”

Summarizing the dismal business is Diane Oakley, the report’s author and Cassandra:

The facts and data are clear. Retirement is in peril for most working-class Americans. When all working individuals are considered — not just the minority with retirement accounts — the typical working American has zero, zilch, nothing saved for retirement.

Thus for millions a “middle-class nightmare” is fast displacing the American dream:

The American dream of a modest retirement after a lifetime of work now is a middle-class nightmare. Even among workers who have accumulated savings in retirement accounts, the typical worker had a low account balance of $40,000. This is far off track from the savings levels Americans need if they hope to sustain their standard of living in retirement.

How has American retirement come to such a sad pass?

We grope for clues, hoping to stub our toe upon some accidental truth…

We stumble at once upon a lead…

It takes us to the mid-1970s, after Richard Nixon scissored the dollar’s final tether to gold.

The gold standard, neutered though it was in its dying days, nonetheless kept the balance of trade in a range.

A nation running a persistent trade deficit risked depleting its gold stocks.

The ersatz dollar removed all checks.

America no longer had to produce in exchange for goods… or worry about losing its gold.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat,” Genesis tells us.

But under the new dollar standard, America could eat by the sweat of others’ brows… without spilling a drop of its own.

Scraps of paper, rolling off an overworked printing press, were its primary production.

Ream upon ream went abroad in exchange for real goods.

The international division of labor was opened to hundreds of millions, particularly peasants from the labor-rich fields of China.

They entered the factories in their millions, each toiling for a dollar or two a day.

The competition depressed average American wages… which have never recovered.

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