Comparing our retirements with yesteryear

America loves comparisons:

Compare retirement of the past to today: In the past retirees were given a gold watch, fancy plaque and a big party where they were given the homegrown version of a celebrity roast. This was a kick off to the “Golden Years.” For people in Michigan this may well have been the beginning of a dual residence – a warm location for the winter and the old hunting shack converted for summer use. Medicare plus Blue Cross took the worry out of health care and Social Security, a company retirement and maybe a bit in a 401(k) took away the fear of economic disaster. The Golden Years were to be spent taking care of your grandkids when you wanted to see them. Political involvement was something you did on Election Day every two years.

Compared this with today’s retirement: The company you worked for all those years may well have gone bankrupt. If not bankrupt they struggle to survive and daily try to figure out a way to keep from paying the benefits you worked all those years to accumulate. Your 401(k) was probably treated very badly when the real estate bubble burst and is jokingly referred to as your 2001/2 K. Obamacare is your new insurance provider so the doctor you’ve been visiting regularly is probably going out of business. Medicare is serviced by Blue Cross: the cost has doubled, services cut in half and appointments are somewhere in the future. You will not be able to see the grandkids since you took a job babysitting another person’s grandkids because you need the money.

Now real political involvement is standing on a street corner with a homemade sign saying join the Tea Party because only We the People can save the American dream.

Bob Lamb