DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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24 August 2010

The grey tsunami

I sat down with my knitting last Sunday afternoon and watched the second half of a TV program on SBS called The Grey Tsunami. I missed the first part (Baby Boom to Bust) of this two part documentary and the first half hour of the second part, nevertheless, it scared me to my bones and has started me thinking of a whole new range of possibilities. I feel like my charger has been turned on all week and my awareness is heightened. It made me stop and think about the implications of what I'd seen and it's made me rethink how we're living. We are not only threatened by global warming and peak oil, we are threatened by our aging population. I have always known that Hanno and I are incredibly lucky to live life as we do, but I didn't realise how lucky we are, and that living like this could save all of us.

Let me first explain what I saw in that life changing half hour. When the retirement age of 65 years was introduced, the average life expectancy was around 61 and there were 16 working people for every one person on the aged pension. That ratio is now three working people for every person on the pension and in the next year or so it will be two working people for every one person retired and living on a pension. But this next fact is absolutely staggering: in just 20 years time - 2030 - there will be more old people in the world than young people! Who will support us all? In a reaction to this, the retirement age in many countries, including Australia and the UK and US, is increasing. By 2027 the retirement age will be 67. Eventually there will be no pension.

Right now in Australia, the age expectancy is 84 if you're a woman and 79 if you're a man. There is a list here so you can check you're own country's life expectancy. Generally, we're now living 20 years past retirement age; twenty years that the people who came up with the retirement scheme never imagined would be there. And during those 20 extra years, we develop a wide range of illnesses and weaknesses that require we are sometimes cared for by others. Dementia now commonly plays a part in the lives of many older people. When dementia and serious physical illnesses present themselves in old age, those people not only need money to help sustain them, they need others to look after them, thus increasing the financial burden on each country.

I expect to live another 20 or 30 years and I hope that I am able to live as I am now without needing care from anyone, but I will expect my government to support me with an aged pension. Hanno is already receiving one, and we have no problems accepting a pension as we have both worked all our lives and paid taxes expecting to retire on a pension. For most of our working lives, there was no compulsory superannuation/retirement plan/pension scheme/401K and so those people of our age and some a bit younger, do not have sufficient funds to live on until we die. There was always that promise from our government to look after us by paying an aged pension.

It is predicted now that the aged pension will stop for most people in my life time. That is, that the people who are now on a pension will receive it until they die, but no new people will come on to a pension. It is expected that the compulsory superannuation/retirement plan/pension scheme/401K that most pay into while they're working now, will be the only financial support after retirement, and that retirement as we know it now will not exist. I was absolutely flabbergasted by that thought. That retirement, once seen as the golden gift at the end of a long working life, disappears and we work until we drop. Retirement will be optional.

Now I see living as we do, and relying on a simple life, as being vitally important for all of us. Simple living can save us. It can give us a life where we focus on home instead of the economy, and it will give us a retirement. So, my friends, this is what I've been thinking about these past few days. At first I was scared and in a bit of a panic, thinking that this precious baby we will welcome into our family soon will have a future of work with no retirement. Now I understand the significant role our way of life will play in the future. It is vitally important that we develop the skills of simple living and apply them to our lives, right here, right now.

Tomorrow I'll write about what I think that future might look like, and unlike today, when adding photos seemed deceptive, tomorrow I'll soften my message with pictures of our simple home. Today needs to stand hard and alone to reflect the bleak message. I hope you'll come back to be part of the discussion. We need your ideas.


41 comments:

  1. The future will require many things of us. Simple living is definitely one but I also think we'll create a new definition for 'work'. I think we'll be more conscious of choosing 'work' that feeds our souls as well as our bodies and bank accounts.

    That could be a wonderful future for our children... If we choose it now rather than have it thrust upon us later.

    Love your 'work' Rhonda!

    Diane

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  2. Excellent post, to give us all pause for thought of making our lives more deliberate in small ways that make huge impact.
    I have enjoyed your "this is where I work" series, having found many wonderful blogs with ideas galore. Especially yesterday's contributor, Wendy, who printed this *most charming poem* somewhere in her posts.....

    Vegetables
    by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

    The country vegetables scorn
    To lie about in shops,
    They stand upright as they were born
    In neatly-patterned crops;

    And when you want your dinner you
    Don't buy it from a shelf,
    You find a lettuce fresh with dew
    And pull it for yourself;

    You pick an apronful of peas
    And shell them on the spot.
    You cut a cabbage, if you please,
    To pop into the pot.

    The folk who their potatoes buy
    From sacks before they sup,
    Miss half of the potato's joy,
    And that's to dig it up.
    -------
    Love it!

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  3. My husband and I are in our 30s and we are not counting on any type of government assistance for our retirement. Would be nice, but I just don't think there will be any by the time we retire. I'm hoping through contributions to our retirement plans (401k, pension and ROTHs), paying off our home, living within our means and learning skills to be more self sufficient, our retirement days will be bright and comfortable.

    Mary Ellen

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  4. I'm like Mary Ellen. As part of our marriage preparation, my fiance and I have decided to live as if we won't get social security, because we probably won't. My parents' generation and older are outraged (rightfully so on their part) because our government took from the coffers. But they seem to think I should be outraged as well. I don't agree. As long as I know the rules of the game ahead of time, I'm okay with them. We know that we won't be supported, and we're making preparations now. I just worry about those who don't do the same.

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  5. This is an important message. My husband and I are in our early 30's, and we understand that here in the US, there will be no social security for us, and that the age of retirement for those who do receive a pension might well be 70. Simple living, with an emphasis on health in terms of meals and lifestyle are going to be the only comfort for us and others like us.

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  6. I agree with you, Simply Striving. If you know what to prepare for and take control of your own future, you should live a good life.

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  7. Great message today. I wonder if I can find that program somewhere on the web? I'll have to research that. As another person already meantioned I do not think it would be wise to count on the government to help my Husband and I when we reach retirement age. Therefor I feel so relieved right now that we have started our family on the simple living pathway. We won't be stressed when we get older about where our money is coming from because we will have saved and be growing or making most of the products we will need. Also, our children will be equiped to do the same and that gives me great relief.

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  8. This is one big reason why I am so glad I stepped forward into this life while I am young. This issue actually makes my DH angry, because he has believed for a long time that we will not get this money back. And here in Canada, it's a lot of money.
    My goal is to have an entirely self-sufficient home, where we can live without electricity, gas, even plumbing if need be, and that it be modern and beautiful at the same time. My DH is making me a solar oven and a cob oven so that we will have two alternatives from the modern oven. Things in my home are getting slowly replaced- the essentials, so that if we don't have money for them, we aren't in the bind.
    We aren't counting on a pension, we never were. We are preparing. I'm glad you raised this issue though- we need to all know we cannot rely on the government to take care of us, and take steps now.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

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  9. So Rhonda what do you think will become of the option to be a full time homemaker for our daughters. If they will be relying on their superannuation payments and they have only worked for a few years before they become mothers then they will not have much money to see them through their old age. Sad to think that the choice may be taken away.

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  10. I'm 43, and hubby is 46. I was told by my financial planner not to count on any social security or state pension being available when it came time to retire. It was all up to me. So, we have a house with no mortgage, have no debts, and are saving, saving, saving and becoming self sufficient as much as possible. The government coffers are bare, and it is up to us to fill them ourselves if we don't want to be working until we drop.

    AM of the bread

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  11. Dear Rhonda jean
    I am quietly VERY worried about things here. I am a woman in her early 40s and dispite my best efforts there hasbeen no money in order for me to subscribe to a pension.
    Belive me I am scared and with the finacial sitiation and the instability of my family home, we are to be bought out by our local authority and have no choice but to move thus deepening the precarious finacial position we are in.
    More and more I find myself reading and digesting what I can do to make me more finacially efficiant,and women like yourslef and others on the net have provided me with much good usful "how to" help. thank you for the heads up i know what I will be doing as a matter of priority tomorow calling our government pension office.
    please kep up your invaluble work
    rachel
    uk

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  12. Hi Rhonda. In my early teaching days (70s) I taught high school Social Science, my favourite area being social Geography where population issues were central. This tsunami has been coming as long as our generation has been around but has been ignored by governments until recently.

    I think our generation also places too much expectation on retirement -- as we have on so many other things. So many people expect that retirement must contain at least one overseas trip a year, a new car every five years etc etc.

    I agree, the simple life may provide an answer here.

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  13. I'm 38, and I know the government won't give me anything when I retire, I don't expect it. All my working life I've been contributing to a superfund, but there's not enough in there to support me in retirement. When I chose to leave the workforce and be a homemaker I also chose to no longer earn income or see my superannuation fund increase.

    Being a homemaker, growing our food, living frugally and supporting the kids is a full time job, and not one I could do if I was working. In that situation I'd have a much higher reliance on supermarkets, processed goods, quick fixes and shortcuts, because I just would not have the time to run things the way I do now. I'd also be under a lot more stress.

    I do often wonder what the future holds. Have I sacrificed a comfortable retirement by stopping work at age 35. Will my husband have enough super for the both of us? Will he even be around?? (I reckon he will by the way!!) Can I depend on my children to support me? Is that even fair?

    Its a tough call.

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  14. Have always known that the government will have to bail on my generation. So my hubby and I aren't scared. Just getting prepared. We both have just turned 40 and simplifying our lives is something we are both doing in different ways.

    Love that you are getting the word out so that others won't fall victim to a system that won't be there for them no matter which country they live in. We all have to be prepared for this shift.

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  15. The objectives of the welfare state were undoubtedly noble and humanitarian, but the results have been disastrous. As harsh as it may sound, I think it would have been better if entitlements like the aged pension had never been enacted in the first place. And I didn’t need the benefit of hindsight to help me arrive at this conclusion. Instead of incentivising self-reliance, hard work and financial responsibility, what we have now is a system which actively encourages dependency and tells us that becoming a ward of the state is something to which we should all aspire. Anyone listening to talk-radio in the lead-up to the recent federal election (in Australia) would have heard what this does to a person’s moral compass. Instead of expressing concern for the country as a whole and acknowledging that profligate spending is unsustainable and destabilising(see Greece), most callers were only interested in what was in it for them personally...and to hell with where this leaves their grandchildren and all future generations.
    Obviously the current system cannot be abolished overnight and the transition from welfare dependency to self-reliance needs to be fair and just, but the fabric of our society will be made all the stronger once the aged pension is all but eliminated (some kind of safety net will no doubt still be available).

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  16. I have an additional concern to put alongside the grey tsunami and that is the issue of government debt. The US owes trillions of dollars of debt that it cannot pay back (not including the unfunded debt of health care and pensions). The only way out of debt will be to default, or more likely hyperinflate. If they default on debt there will be monstrous job losses. If they hyperinflate any savings will disappear. I wouldn't count on financial security through 401Ks though of course we have to have it in case they don't hyperinflate.
    I think security has to be psychological through preparation at the level of the mind and learning the skills to keep ourselves alive and thriving as best we can.

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  17. In Japan the retired people are going back to work. I watched a program that showed women who used to be retired working at a fast food place. The oldest was in her 80's. Japan's economy is down the chute. Just waiting until USA goes down too. My hubby and I are trying to go back to the land. Family thinks we are crazy but we want to be prepared. Love your blog by the way!

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  18. I could not agree more. In my late 50's now, and maybe I will get a pension here in the UK, but my daughter will definitely not, her school do not even offer a pension scheme.

    My parents are both still alive and almost 90 now, they both receive pensions and both retired at 60, I fear those days are long long gone.

    Simplicity, self reliance and trying not to be dependent upon gas and fossil fuels seems to me the only way forwards, and I concur with many other posters that 'work' will have to mean 'life' and ultimately therefore satisfaction, I hope, and maybe we will be the better for it.

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  19. I am in the same situation as Caitlyn Nicolas. I stopped working when I had my daughter, rejoined the workforce when she was 5 and worked fulltime for 2 years until my misery at watching my daughters childhood flash by without me fully partipating overcame my desire for more money. We live comfortably but frugally on my husbands wage and always put a little away for a rainy day, but the thought of what lays ahead of us when we are both old terrifies me. Will my partners Super be enough to support us both? It seems so unfair, given the crazy amount of taxes that he pays (more than my net income was!) that the government won't assist us when we need a helping hand.

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  20. really good points brought up by fellow subscribers. i wonder how accurate the "life expectancy" is, i work as a caregiver and have had numerous clients well into there 90s and know of many more around my district.
    looking at tv shows, we have programs dealing with family dynamics, sexual identity, shopping and drinking coffee and vampires. what message are the next generation getting? no little house on the prairie, partridge family or others showing families working together or struggling to live a valid life. here in nz we have the great country calendar show that often shows "alternative" lifestyle choices but most tv is superficial compost! we could start a revolution here, demanding more shows about living simply and how we dont have to have the latest commodities, (mmm no sponsorship i guess lol)

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  21. Dear Rhonda,

    It's true, all you say.

    Upside-down priorities, including rejecting children (our future in so many ways!), have gotten us to this point.

    But in the whole history of the world, only the past 50 years or so have seen this demand of comparative luxury and ease.

    Let's get back to what matters: family, children, grandchildren, and living simply.

    We have to recover faith in God, not in government. And then we won't panic.

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  22. I think what you've said is very true, and I think it's time that people started thinking about the implications of it - particularly women who are on average much worse off when it comes to retirement funding - partly because they are more likely to have taken time out to have and care for children, but also because they are still paid at a significantly lower rate than men. Single women do worst. I attended a superannuation forum at a university a while ago, and learnt that the single best predictor of women being financially sound is to have their houses paid off. I personally find that terrifying since I'm 43 and I haven't been able to buy at all yet. Further, the last government raised the pension age for people born after 1965 so that we won't be able to access our superannuation funds until age 67 - I think we should expect that it's unlikely that we'll be able to stop work and receive the pension that we have personally worked for until into our 70s.

    The answer has to be frugality now - I'm not in favour of putting more money into pension funds if we're not going to be able to access them for a long time - but rather to do as much as we can to secure our future now.

    In the scheme of human history the idea of being paid to not work is a pretty recent one - in the past working class people did work until they dropped - and I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing - I'd like that work to be meaningful and not too onerous - probably part time as I get older.

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  23. Great post Rhonda, thank you :) I must admit I've never understood the idea of retirement but that's probably a generational thing. I am 31 years old, I have worked hard to create a career I love, and I hope to still be working in that career (at least part-time) until I die. I just love my work and can't imagine a life without it.

    But I also agree it's very important to plan for the future and be able to look after yourself in your old age, whether you plan to fully retire or not.

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  24. Thought provoking post, Rhonda. I have printed out this post for our 22year old son as I feel he needs to be aware of how the future will be. Luckily my husband has had the good foresight to impress upon our son & daughter that the hard work they put into their financial planning whilst young will hold them in goodstead for their aging years. So both of our young adult children have over the last 3 years put their plans into action.

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  25. Hello Rhonda,

    I have just watched the Grey Tsunami on the SBS website and now I have something to think and worry about. Retirement for me may not be a good thing. I must remember to keep living simply and try my best to stay healthy.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am disappointed to have missed the first episode.

    I will follow this with interest...

    Take care of yourselves,

    Tania

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  26. Yes living simple life, and like what Diane said "being conscious of choosing 'work' that feeds our soul as well as our bodies and bank accounts". If this can be done who would need to retire. It is often the people that love and passionate about their work that never retire.

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  27. I don't even expect to see my super returned to me. In Australia we have no guarentees with super, and like any financial investment it all depends on the stablility of the markets.

    When world economies topple, we won't have our cosy nest eggs we've been spending years accummulating. I've never believed (since it's not guarenteed) that super is a sure thing.

    My husband suggested we pay extra into our super and I said, "no way!", put it on the mortgage or put it into land, but don't sink more of our money into super funds that aren't guaranteed.

    I would ask everyone reading Rhonda's post to make plans for no super funds either. Heaven forbid it actually reaches that point, but as has already been mentioned, plan for what could be ahead and you'll be better prepared for the future if it does happen.

    To be honest though, I think the more we're connected to meaningful work with our hands, then we're building a future to look forward to.

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  28. Gosh Rhonda, thank you for this, how thought-provoking. I have put a link to it on my own blog, I think everyone should be aware of it.

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  29. I listened to my grandparents family stories, (they were all born in the century before last) and no, we don't want to go back to no old age pension. And we shouldn't have to - over the last 30 years we've allowed too much money to go into the hands of comparatively few, rather than into the community chest. We should demand that be corrected.

    That said, I think its reasonable to expect people to work much longer, if they can. If I can I would like to work full-time 'till I'm seventy, then drop down to four days a week for a few years, then finally 3 days a week - perhaps 'till I'm near 80. Then retire. I very much want the option of voluntary euthanasia - I will not end up drugged and strapped in a chair in a very expensive nursing home, as my father did - life after 90 is no joke for many!

    People do need to be as self-reliant as possible: I probably saved too hard, but I'm glad now that I paid off my 25 years mortgage in 15 years. The discipline of doing without during those years, helped me learn what the really important things are, and how enjoyable small, occasional luxuries are.

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  30. I am now 66, laid off from my teaching job at 62 1/2 due to a natural disaster. So, I elected to retire at less than full retirement benefit and work only part time since then. As a single parent with 2 children and later a grandchild to raise, I have always lived simply, yet now I live even more frugally in a small apartment. My granddaughter and I have the basics for a good healthy life, yet few luxuries. She is planning for a career in the health field as that is where secure jobs will be more plentiful in the future. She has inherited a good sense of budgeting and frugal living from me, although she does love to shop for clothes like all young adults!
    Life is what you make it, no matter what age and although my life turned upside down 5 years ago, I held on, persevered and am still here to tell the tale!

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  31. I just recently saw two different shows about peak oil.

    I wanted to shout out to everyone to begin growing their own food, even if it is just on a deck to get experience.

    Very few people understand what it means to our food supply.

    One person being interviewed gave a wonderful comment that people would be more willing to live a simpler lifestyle if they knew how enjoyable it was.

    I know here in the U.S., they have considered pushing back the age one can retire even more than they already have.

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  32. Rhonda

    Thank you for this posting.

    It is exactly for this reason that my husband cancelled all his policies in order to buy a property, which we are developing (in an eco-friendly way as possible and definitely off-the-grid) to a point that, within the next three years, we hope to "retire" to. We are working towards our retirement, and neither of us can wait :-) - and for different reasons than most poeple do - for we want to work for ourselves in our retirement.

    He discovered that the policies were not performing according to the salesman's / insurance companies predictions, and that if we had left them to mature, we would have no where what we would need to support ourselves.

    We will keep our existing home and live off the rental income, until our property is at a stage that it can support us. And then, IF we become too frail for our property, we still have our existing home to sell, in order to purchase medically cared for retirement accomodation.

    It is proven that the best financial growth is in a home - not in insurance policies!

    Thanks again.

    Dani
    http://www.ecofootprintsablogspot.com details that journey we are on

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  33. I have a son with an intellectual disability and I try not to be terrified for his future all the time. We have no savings and have a very large mortgage debt. But this debt bought us a farm. I am haoping that by investing in the farm, planting the trees native, fruit and timbers I leave them something. By creating a vegetable garden and having a small free range egg business I am leaving them their home, their food and a livlihood for the future. My son will hopefully leanr by rote how to manage the chickens and eggs and that he has enough brothers and sister that will stay around to help him to help himself. Solar power is our next investment, as then we could be stand alone out here in all ways. The only thing that worries me is failing health, as I have been sick this year, but I am more determined than ever after this post to get myself back up to health and make this work for my hubby and myself and our children. I have tried to create a future job here for my family, they may not want to chose this life, but if all else fails for them, it will be here for them as a way to live and earn for themselves.

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  34. I'm in the same mindset as some of the other folk who are in their 30's. It's been clear to me for a number of years that we are going to have to rely on ourselves if we wanted any type of 'retirement'. While my husband and I are working hard to ensure we can be self-reliant in this respect, I think there are going to be many very disappointed and disillusioned people in the years to come who are expecting the same entitlements as were given to previous generations. I saw some startling statistics recently about the lack of funds people actually have in their superannuation. It surely will not be enough to live the type of comfortable retirement they've been promised. Coupled with environmental degradation and energy depletion, the economic system we currently have is not sustainable and we are set for a very rude awakening in the decades to come.

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  35. Like many others have said, we're not counting on any social security (we're in the US)--this deeply upsets my husband that we pay into the system but likely won't get anything out of it. I figure it's better not to count on it, and if by some miracle there's something there, great. In the meantime, we are working to pay off debt (only the mortgage to go!), and save as much as possible. Contemplating the future can be terrifying, but better to be prepared...I worry most about our little girl. What kind of world did we bring her into?

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  36. Something I have often thought about. I also think what would I do if I outlived my husband by many years. My grandfather was only 63 when he died; my grandmother lived to be 91. Both my father and my uncle took good care of her and the house and property. I do not know if i can count on my kids in the same way--who knows if they will even live in this area.
    We live a fairly simple life, at least in comparison to most people in my area, but there is certainly room for improvement. :o) I am at home, and my husband works.

    But what if something happened to him? I am 53, and my kids are 14 and 12. We are well set up, and if everything goes as it is now, we will be fine...but it's the future you really can't count on.

    Last night my husband told me he found a suspicious "lump" on his chest (which he is already getting checked out), so of course this is really on my mind today. Reading this post added to my already overactive imagination.

    ~Debbie

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  37. I have heard similar dire predictions about the state of Canada's government pension, and it worries me (and I'm 24!). I am starting the push in my life to live simpler, and this is just one more item on the growing list of reasons to do so.

    Your blog has inspired my desire to live simply, and I look forward to each of your posts. Thank you for all that you do, and the enlightening time you spend with us readers.

    Mandi

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  38. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for this post. My husband and I are in our early 40's and late 30's. I have been saying for some time now, that we will never be able to retire. For a number of reasons.

    One, being that there will not be the population we need to keep the workforce operating. And, alot of the younger generation today are unwilling to do 'menial' tasks and work in physically demanding jobs (they want careers, not to work in a supermarket or as a cleaner. Which is great, just that we need them to be willing to do the menial jobs as well).

    Two, our federal government(Australia) has sold off alot of the income earning assets it had. And it relies on taxes to keep the economy running. So, less people working equals less money for the coffers.

    Three, our superannuation will not be enough to support us as a pension. As mentioned by someone else here our supers aren't guaranteed. The Global Financial Crisis really hit our super funds for a six. And who knows where they will be in another 20 or 30 years. I know, by the time our retirement age comes around, there will be no government funded pension.

    Four, our retirement age will just keep getting pushed up, because of the last three points.

    So, we are living frugally, paying down our mortgage as fast as we can on one wage. Trying to save for the kids futures. We have just been to a financial advisor and reassessed our super and insurance options.

    And while we may never be able to 'retire'(as in the traditional sense of the word) onto a pension. Pretty much all we can do is plan not to have any kind of government support and hope that all we have done is enough to get us to where we want to be.

    And fingers crossed, we will live a happy and hopefully self sufficient post work life.

    Cheers, Deb

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  39. Hi Rhonda. I enjoy reading your posts everyday but have not commented for a while...you have awakened me from my slumber!
    I believe it is best to choose the simple life for health reasons(our own & the planet's) rather than out of fear of current or future government policies.

    Also, beware of media propaganda!!! The demise of the aged pension in the western world is highly unlikely, unless we allow it to happen by sheer complacency & belief in its inevitability. The most worrying comment for me so far was the one by 'striving simply': " My parents' generation and older are outraged...they seem to think I should be outraged as well. I don't agree. As long as I know the rules of the game ahead of time, I'm okay with them.".
    In a democracy, the people make up the rules. Yes, they do!

    Let us all inform our political parties that we ARE outraged. After all, money does not seem to be a problem when it comes to big business subsidies ($19 billion annually in Australia last time I looked), middle class welfare, rescue packages in times of financial crisis, etc, etc...
    ALSO, check all projection figures given in the media...where do they come from? Are they correct? Whose interests are best served by popularising these ideas? Let your media know you are not prepared to swallow whatever they dish out to you! By the way...that goes for financial advisors too....please do your homework, research, think, debate, reflect. Yes, it is hard work, but well worth it. Just like gardening really...

    Thank you Rhonda for another thought provoking post!

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  40. Personally, I don't think our GOvernment will drop the aged pension because it would be electoral suicide to do so. But the aged pension has not risen as fast as the cost of living, though Mr Rudd put it up a bit. As it becomes more expensive to maintain, the pensions will shrink.
    And if anyone doesn't think the welfare state was a good idea, try reading Jack London's 'The People of the Abyss', online here:
    http://www.jacklondons.net/theabyss.html

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  41. Sorry for the sort of negative comment, but I just wish Social Security in the U. S. were enough to retire on. Due to a series of unfortunate choices, my husband, who is 15 years older than I have, has zero saved for retirement, so I fully expect to have to re-enter the workforce to support him when it's time for him to retire. I just think it's ridiculous to expect private individuals to save hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own retirements, and it's very upsetting that so many elderly people in this country live below the poverty line. I just think it's so upsetting and unfair. Not to mention the wretched situation with health insurance, heh. Sometimes I get a little irritated with my country. :-)

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