September 19, 2019

Nothing Golden About The Golden Years

A friend of mine recently noted that he had only a few years to work before he retired and then “things will get better.”  I debated about breaking his bubble as there is nothing magical about retirement.  In fact all the preparations in the world may not cover all the contingencies that you and your spouse may face.

Mr. Obama is trying to work in reductions to Social Security and Medicare that could impact senior citizens.  Without a supplemental policy to cover expenses should you be hospitalized, the infamous Part B of Social Security may cover less than before.  When you get out of the hospital, if you have any money left, you can use it hire a bankruptcy attorney to ward off the collection agencies that were hired by the doctors and hospitals to collect their money.   Part D is a great help if you can figure out all the paperwork.  Many senior citizens play Russian roulette with their medication even now or they have elected to stretch the medications by taking them every other day.  Many physicians do not want new patients especially those on Medicare.  Not enough money in it for them.

Oh yes, and the 401 (k) that we paid so dearly to build up for our retirement years.  Yep, it isn’t worth much any longer and there is no time left to replace the lost money.  How about the 0.2% you get on a savings account these days.  Or you can buy a CD and get $0.6%.  Try living on the interest – not a chance.

If you live in Michigan and you were lucky enough to have a pension, Governor Snyder is waiting out there to tax that pension January 1, 2012.  The local school system is struggling.  Some of the money that they lost when the property values tanked, they want to collect as part of a “special mileage” this November.  This “back door” approach is getting a big play these days.

How about that house that you struggled to pay for so dearly so that you could live comfortably in the “golden” years?   I recently had an independent appraisal and had to take my nitro-stat heart pills before I opened the envelope.  Yep, down again and worth about 50% of what it was worth in 2007.  So much for a reverse mortgage!

Auto insurance rates may go up on senior citizens for no other reason than they are collectible.  The insurance company loved you during your working years but now senior citizens are put in the same class as teenage drivers.  They are probably still the safest drivers but insurance companies need money.  Too many storms and hurricanes to pay for!

Senior citizens are the target for most of the scams on the market today.  I remember diverting my mother’s mail to my house when she was alive.  The mail was jammed full of offers.  Most of these offers were not worth the paper they were printed on.  How about putting your pre-paid funeral on your MasterCard?  I didn’t even know they were so many “step-in tubs” on the market.  I still like the $1000 dollars off of your personalized hearing aids.  Of course, the full cost of the hearing aids was never disclosed.  The real culprit seemed to be the charities.  My sister and I had a cardboard box in her apartment.  We filled it every week.

Enjoy all you can and my advice is to not wait for the “golden years.”  About all you can count on is a lot of prescription pills, quarterly tax payments, and doctors who want to see you every week.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer

DONALD WITTMER is a retired business executive who held key roles in the automotive and banking sectors. For a time, he also served as a Fiscal Agency Manager for the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati's Xavier University, an M.A. in business management from Central Michigan University, and earned certification in bank operations from the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A husband, father, and grandfather, he teaches part-time at the Kent Place School for Girls in Summit, New Jersey.

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Written by Donald Wittmer
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