New American Retirement Scenario: Work Until You Die

  the american dream

Here is some good news for all the working stiffs: nobody except the top quartile of income earners will be able to retire at 65 anymore, so plan on working until you die. Young people trying to find jobs? You will never, ever find a job because all the jobs will be taken by 80-year-old people, especially those good Wal-Mart jobs.

Those who earned between $11,700 and $31,200 will need to work till age 76 to have a 50% chance of covering basic expenses in retirement. Those who earned between $31,200 and $72,500 will need to work to age 72 to have a 50% chance and those who earned more than $72,500, those in the highest income quartile, catch a break; they get stop working at age 65 to have a 50/50 chance of funding their retirement.

Do you really love whatever job you are doing now? Good, you will be doing it for another fifty years. [MarketWatch]

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124 comments

    1. freakishlywrong

      Bootstrapsblahblahblah, independent spiritblahblah, American exceptionalismblahblahblah, shared sacrificeyaddayadda….

    2. DahBoner

      Go to China and make a movie about you trying to apply for your old, outsourced job.

      Hi-lar-ious!!!!

      You could be the next Michael Moore…

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    I always figured my retirement announcement and my obituary would be listed at the same time.

    1. GOPCrusher

      Yeah, I gave up the idea of ever being able to retire about 7 years ago. Besides, I thought that this was the Republiklan game plan since the Raygun Regime? Now they can start working in the other direction and do away with those Child Labor and Minimum Wage Laws so our grandchildren can be born into indentured servitude.

  2. freakishlywrong

    Fortunately, death will come sooner than later as the Republicans will dismantle Mediicare and the Dems will go along to achieve a "Grand Bargain". We gotta get outta this place.

    1. Rotundo_

      And by golly, I bet a lot of those workplaces will have crematoriums for just such eventualities. 21st century capitalism, plucking the best ideas of early to mid 20th century Germany. And charging the relatives left behind for the services rendered! Damn, these rich folk have thought of everything!

    2. Buckminster

      Well these olds are just trying to impede Amurika's progress by dying in the traces! Of course, we should charge them!

  3. OC_Surf_Serf

    Most will be looking forward to death as it will be a reprise from making cheap widgets for our Chinese overlords…

  4. harry_palmer

    "Those who earned between $11,700 and $31,200 will need to work till age 76 to have a 50% chance of covering basic expenses in retirement, providing they don't live past 77."

    1. revmod

      I'd think someone in that range is unlikely to be covering basic expenses now. Does the 50/50 cover the odds of socialism by that time?

      1. Tommmcattt

        Basic expenses include and are limited to:

        Soda Crackers
        Peanut Butter on Friday and Christmas
        A Towel
        Meth

        …everything else is classified as a "luxury" for the purposes of this study.

  5. ManchuCandidate

    It's my retirement plan as well, unless I win the lottery and don't go all Palin with the winnings.

    Stories like this will make me less than sympathetic to the crying and whining of the cranky senile bitter olds (who helped elect these dipshits) when we convert them into delicious Soylent Green.

  6. PsycWench

    And people made fun of Alan Grayson for that "Die Quickly" statement, not knowing it was a jobs program.

  7. Sue4466

    Raising the retirement age and cutting benefits is the only way to save Social Security. Because eliminating the cap on SS taxes so the wealthy pay their share is just too crazy of an idea.

    Shared sacrifice is for suckers.

    1. OhNoGuy

      Destroying the village to save it, the lesson resonates down to the present. And still makes as much sense.

  8. Goonemeritus

    Personally I wouldn’t mind that scenario if there was meaningful work to be done in my Depends years

    1. Rotundo_

      Which is lovely, but cold comfort to people who beat their bodies to pieces in repetitive motion jobs and physically demanding jobs. If you are a doctor, an educator, a stock broker, it sounds perfectly reasonable. Most folks working crap jobs or even well paying factory jobs are physically incapable of doing those jobs into their 70s and beyond. The Catfood Comission conveniently omitted that group from consideration as they examined alternatives to having the wealthy throw a little more in the kitty.

      1. OhNoGuy

        Yeah, but there are "Pawlenty" of bridges to sleep under and if they happen to fall on your head when you're not lookin' (and President Pawlenty will make sure they're in prime fallin' down condition), you'll be saved the trouble of looking for the can opener to get at your daily ration of "Friskies".

  9. prommie

    My new vacation scenario is also my retirement scenario. I'm gonna re-enact Leaving Las Vegas. Except without the beautiful whore. More despair that way. Less "Hollywood," more real life.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      Everyone's plan for suicidal despair starts off looking like Leaving Las Vegas and ends up more like Barfly.

    1. DaRooster

      Quads in Yosemite could help…
      How about ocean floor sludge…
      Nuclear meltdowns will be it… that's what is really gonna do it…

  10. Mahousu

    Sounds to me like it all works out: you're retired (well, technically, unemployed) in your 20s and 30s, when you can enjoy it; while you're working in your 60s and 70s, when you couldn't do much with the free time anyway. Win-win.

  11. Mumbletypeg

    This is why having kids is out of the question for me. On the one hand, some argue that said progeny (assuming we get along well enough as we age) can handle the burden of the caretaking of my ageing ass. Then I look at my dad, who at 72 is refusing to quit working his accounting job, & while he did 'retire' from smoking only around age 65, shows no sign of elderliness-onset — only the unabated workaholistic lifestyle.

    Maybe I should have done the accounting thing too. It could have meant steady work and I could go on working at it, forever. Because my health/longevity-charged genes would make it so. But kudo's to anyone out there financing their own future *and* putting kids through college. Honest to goodness, I can barely see how I'm supporting myself on zero-wage growth let alone extra mouths and brains to feed. So seriously, snarklessly, hats off to you parents.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      I'd have kids, but since I'm a vegetarian, they would be useless in a crisis. Unless I sold them for meat…

  12. horsedreamer_1

    Here we are at last
    The moment soon will pass
    We'll go our seperate ways
    We'll vanish in the haze
    We'll never be the same
    We'll forget each other's names
    We'll grow old and lose our hair
    It's all downhill from there

    But tonight we'll reach for the stars
    We'll rent expensive cars
    And dream our dreams
    Of a perfect night
    And we'll sing our prom theme

    [&] Here we are at last
    We're running out of gas
    The air is getting thick
    The girls are feeling sick
    We'll pass out on the beach
    Our keys just out of reach
    And soon we'll say goodbye
    Then we'll work until we die

    But tonight we feel like stars
    We'll play our air guitars
    Cause we're eighteen
    It's a perfect night
    To sing our prom theme

    Happy Graduation, Class of 2010! (Though the sentiment is from when you were seven (!) years old.)

  13. PabaBritannica

    Well, this looks like a good time to get in on applying for jobs with those Death Panels (at the private insurers)!

  14. jodyleek

    This is why I have my eye on a Sikh ashram in New Mexico. I think I can get use to wearing the turban.

  15. KeepFnThatChicken

    All kidding aside, it's nice that rule of law and the civil societies they encouraged have worked as long as they did for us. But as long as we are bound by the appliance, we're still slaves. Our shackles are convenience.

    As much as they were ridiculed, I have a great amount of respect for Helen and Scott Nearing, because they were capitalist enough to sell the goods from their farm, yet had enough dignity to keep working it well into their nineties.

    And — to be fair — I could probably enjoy that way more than being a greeter.

  16. AJWjr.

    I've had a lot of practice being poor, having grown up that way and never doing much to improve my lot in life. It's finally worked to my advantage–they shoved me out the door at 55, and now I'm bringing in about the same as my highest wage-earning years, but no more commute, no more union dues, no more soul-crushing pecking order to deal with. Living within my means has really never been easier. I can only wish the same for my fellow wonketeers…

  17. DustBowlBlues

    And yet America refuses to even acknowledge my low-cost, maximum pleasure answer to the problem of the Oldz (which, much to my surprise, I seem to have become while I wasn't paying attention): Opium dens. Opium kills the appetite (hence their popularity in 19th C. England, where the dope was cheaper than the food) and makes the user hap-hap-happy until they waste away and die.

    Appointing myself as spokesperson for the Baby Boomers who went to college in the 60s, I know it would fulfill one of my lifetime dreams. So what about it, America?

    1. HuddledMass

      As I approach 62, my aged mind turns to the drugs of my youth. Too bad I don't know any dealers any more.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        Dr. Caveman (accredited and licensed since 2010 by the Rand Paul Opthomology Board) has closely examined you, and determined that your nascent glaucoma may well be slowed or even reversed with daily doses of medical marijuana.

        Let me write you a scrip for that…

    2. GOPCrusher

      Opiates cause constipation. And as a fellow Old, I can tell you, being constipated makes me cranky.

    3. Biel_ze_Bubba

      "hap-hap-happy"?

      Republicans will vote that down in an instant.
      (They're much like El Fistula in that respect.)

    4. ChapterUndVerse

      Exactly! Because to fulfill the American Dream, it will be necessary to find it in a pipe.

  18. SayItWithWookies

    Republicans in government remind me of those stories about infantryman who capture a prisoner and maybe the guy's wounded or suspected of planting bombs or something, and they ought to bring the dude in, but then just decide it's too much trouble (all that paperwork! gathering evidence! the mess — the fuss!) and so just shoot him in the street and plant a weapon on him.

    They don't really believe in all that laissez-faire stuff, clearly, or they'd engage in actual competition instead of fixing the game in their favor — but it's just too much damn trouble to deal with the long-term implications of all their decisions and plan for those, too. So they settle for the "Okay, you people are on your own — some of you will get sick or injured and die, and many of you will be far more miserable, but planning is hard work, so seeya" approach. As long as they can live like their money will never run out and the rest of the world is their ashtray, who gives a fuck about anyone else?

  19. ph7

    The refrigerator box I set aside for retirement has some extra room. My wife and I are heavy sleepers, so we don't mind.

  20. CapeClod

    I think that they should also put loudspeakers in every home and at work so the corporate overlords can exhort us to greater efforts.

    1. Iam_Who_Iam

      Win. I'll be stealing that line for future debates. Thank you.

      Unfortunately, my experience is that my attempt to use sarcasm as a counter will backfire, this will be part of the Republican platform within the next decade.

  21. proudgrampa

    Well, I've always said that I want to live rich, not die rich.

    Now where is that Sapphire martini?

  22. widestanceroman

    Birth. School. Work. Death.

    Any questions?

    snarkless aside: I have fond memories of singing this to my nephew on the night before his first day of school. He grew up with no illusions from Uncle Widestance, but with one hell of a dark sense of humor.

  23. GOPCrusher

    Once they privatize Social Security, you'll be personally responsible to invest your money the stock market, where you'll make tons of money.
    What can possibly go wrong?

  24. BarackMyWorld

    I keep hoping by the time I retire we'll have single-payer healthcare and even distribution of wealth so those other problems will take care of themselves.

  25. axmxz

    Back to work, lazy good-for-nothing poors! Prince Phillip is still working, and he's 90.

  26. OneYieldRegular

    "Do you really love whatever job you are doing now? Good, you will be doing it for another fifty years."

    I only wish. Since they'll force me out at 68 (should I get that far), I'll be exactly like that senior citizen in the old commercial where McDonald's thought it would somehow be appealing to retirees to envision themselves spending the rest of their lives next to the deep fryer.

  27. mavenmaven

    The future: People will work till they drop, then be recycled into food for the other lower quartiles. And they will continue to struggle politically for their beloved rich people, whom they continue to believe care about their freedoms and will trickle stuff (at that time it will also mean actual food) down to them.

  28. Rotundo_

    The discretionary spending pool of the middle class got hoovered out by our friends in the banking business. Increases in wages are inflationary, as opposed to increases in dividends and profits and managerial salaries. The driver of the consumer driven economy ran out of gas money, the tires have come off and the battery is dead. I'd love to be wrong about this, but I'm betting that it is going to get a whole lot uglier before things turn around, assuming they ever do.

  29. Rotundo_

    The prospect of having diapered confused people working fast food really is terrifying: Drop by any nursing home (the larger ones run by state and county agencies are better examples) about an hour to an hour and a half after feeding time. Even in the best run homes the smell is enough to knock a buzzard off a shitwagon at a hundred yards. In the bad ones it's like the good ones at their worst, all the time. Now imagine that being emitted at McDonalds, Subway, and Taco Bell. And they would be taking advantage of the free meal for employees. Taco Bell flatus and blowback from an eighty year old.

  30. sezme

    This post is so funny, because, ha ha, it's my mother's life. I'm so sad for her: worked at the same job for 30 years, then fired several months before her scheduled retirement by her sociopathic supervisor. Now works part-time trying to make ends meet at seventy years old. In America!

  31. ttommyunger

    Ha ha ha. Silly Wonkette. Crime is the answer. Rob a bank a week, stay on the move. Use a note, not a gun. The locals will be eager to turn the cases over to the FBI, they are so busy setting up fabricated terror cells they don't have time for the small shit. Anyway, they couldn't find a bale of hay in a telephone booth. If they get lucky and catch you, so what? Three hots and a cot, free medical. …Either way you're fixed for life.

  32. OhNoGuy

    The Republican answer to your riddle is this – "I'd really like to stop and chat but I'm on my way to the Lexus dealer, see you 'round". If you need help translating this into American, go back to where you came from.

  33. OhNoGuy

    Ask DustBowlBlues (see above) to pass the opium pipe because this is what they call "a pipe dream".

  34. Sue4466

    You sayin' Reagan raised taxes?! them's fighting words!

    They're true, but still.

    And yes, the Dems are so feckless they refuse to stand up for their platform even when the vast majority of the country agree with them (e.g., abolishing Bush tax cuts for the rich), which is why I think they're in the same pockets as the GOP but they put on a good show to convince the rest of us they're on our side.

  35. zhubajie

    "If you are Righteous and go to the right church, G-d will make you rich!" — Republican

  36. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Teabagger candidate for public office ought to be a good match, and the Koch brothers pay well.

  37. C_R_Eature

    To be honest, my plan is to take a plastic jet boat far, far upriver, find a stone age tribe, become their Living God and Split the Whole Fucking Program. Then, an Errand Boy will behead me while Jim Morrison screams "Yeahhhhhhh!" & the jungle erupts in flame.

    Who's with me?

  38. sportshort

    Well, I'm rich so I got that going for me. Well, rich in spirit. So, I got that going for me. Plus, I know when they dump the good shit in the dumpster at Safeway. So I got that going for me, too. And I know how to give myself a lobotomy, cause I learned how to do it from watching "Francis". Actually, Alzheimer's is looking like a great retirement option.

Comments are closed.