Retirement Planning - Lessons Learned

KennyG

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For the last 20-30-40? years i've been hearing all about how americans don't have enough saved for retirement. In many cases not a penny and in many more cases, deep in debt.

It's been 20, 30, 40 since i started hearing all that. Whats happening to those folks now?

Some are in real trouble, some are getting by. Retired people continue to be, on average, the wealthiest group in the population. Those that took the future seriously and planned for it are doing better than they ever expected because of the great growth in investments. The others, in most cases, are just getting by and don't have the luxurious retirement they wanted.
 

Fuddy1952

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^^^Very true^^^
As a kid I read Aesop's Fables. "The grasshopper and the ant" I remembered.
"A Grasshopper frolicked while an Ant stored food for the winter. When winter came the Ant was comfortable; the Grasshopper not so."
My 73 yo brother had a very successful business for years, sold it for peanuts, partied, now in bankruptcy. They're barely able to make it.
 

Fuddy1952

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I started retirement saving in my 20s, retired at 61. My Dad retired at 56. Be frugal living below your means.
Our banker says most people spend to their income. A good friend & wife were making together about $300K/yr fifteen years ago and lived like it...bought an expensive home, Lexus, etc. Now in their 60s lost jobs, making $100K. If they lived as if they were making $100K back then they'd be on easy street today.
 

goeduck

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For the last 20-30-40? years i've been hearing all about how americans don't have enough saved for retirement. In many cases not a penny and in many more cases, deep in debt.

It's been 20, 30, 40 since i started hearing all that. Whats happening to those folks now?
I won't state my opinion on how some of the people you refer to are expecting to get by. TBN posting rules.
 

ultrarunner

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For the last 20-30-40? years i've been hearing all about how americans don't have enough saved for retirement. In many cases not a penny and in many more cases, deep in debt.

It's been 20, 30, 40 since i started hearing all that. Whats happening to those folks now?
Some are in subsidized housing with discounted utilities, free computers and cell phones and fully covered medical…

Subsidized housing varies but senior only has some very nice offerings in some great locations… speaking locally SF Bay Area
 

MossRoad

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For the last 20-30-40? years i've been hearing all about how americans don't have enough saved for retirement. In many cases not a penny and in many more cases, deep in debt.

It's been 20, 30, 40 since i started hearing all that. Whats happening to those folks now?
They're living in crap apartment houses, old hotels that have been converted to crap apartments, and other not so nice places.
 

goeduck

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They're living in crap apartment houses, old hotels that have been converted to crap apartments, and other not so nice places.
Curious, who you think is responsible for this situation?
 

ultrarunner

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As stated no plan can be a viable option for some… all depends on expectations.

The wait for subsidized housing often is many years but expedited for seniors.

People living in the street I encounter and I encounter a lot are seldom of retirement age… most teens to about 40.

Many have burned too many bridges when it comes to family/friends.

Others don’t like rules… some have pets they couldn’t keep and some simply don’t have income and or programs in place.

A difficult situation for sure… the nearby supermarket spent over 9k cleaning up a camp… and now ongoing security to keep clear as an unbelievable amount of trash accumulated… plus utility theft.
 

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^^ With all due respect to you and Moss, both of which I greatly admire:

Boo Hoo !!
 

ultrarunner

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There is a cost so I guess the question is who foots the bill?

More seniors are going to reverse mortgages...

My neighbor will be 106 next month... two years ago she was active but this last year health is going down...

Built her home 67 years ago and a widow the last 40 and her only child and only great grandchild predeceased her...

I was able to help her get a reverse mortgage and she is now able to stay in her home and afford home care....

She made it well past 100 on social security and a $300 monthly pension after investments exhausted...

Her equity will carry her for the rest of her life...
 

MossRoad

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Curious, who you think is responsible for this situation?
Just an observation of what happens to elderly people that for whatever reason do not have any retirement savings. All kinds of reasons. Poor planning. No planning. Drinking. Drugs. Mental illness. Misfortune. Poor health.

One major reason here in South Bend was (most are dead now) loss of pension. Studebaker was a major employer here. The company went belly up and their pension fund failed. Thousands of people lost their pensions. It was the major factor in the establishment of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).


When I got hired at my last employer back in 1987, I was kinda shocked at the number of old people working there part-time. It wasn't because it was a great place to work. It was because they all lost their pensions at Studebaker and had to keep working until they died. Many had to live in the worst parts of town because that's all they could afford. Some had OK housing, places that I would like to live in. But they were not paid off, so they had to keep working. These were folks in their 70s and 80s doing manual labor, standing all day. I became pretty good friends with most of them. Good folks with bad fortune.

You want some compelling reading, search up the Studebaker pension failure.

We have a very large homeless population here. I don't know the back story on most of them. Many are veterans with PTSD, mental illness, alcohol and drug issues. They don't have the best of living conditions. Wife and I also volunteer at the food bank when able. Lots of elderly people served by that organization.

Anyhow, many reasons elderly people end up with no savings.
 

MossRoad

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^^ With all due respect to you and Moss, both of which I greatly admire:

Boo Hoo !!
I can understand that feeling.

However, I've met quite a few folks that just got screwed by life through no fault of their own. I think a large portion of people living in poverty in our area now have little to no education or mental health issues, or both. I don't think they're lazy. I think they never got the tools to succeed when they were young. Many are unemployable. They have no skills. None.

What are you gonna do with a sizable population of uneducated, unskilled people? Cut em all off from any source of subsidized housing and food and then you got a heard of angry, hungry, homeless people doing whatever they need to do to survive.

You could make them work for assistance. I still wish someone would explore that more. Gotta break that cycle somehow.
 

MossRoad

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As stated no plan can be a viable option for some… all depends on expectations.

The wait for subsidized housing often is many years but expedited for seniors.

People living in the street I encounter and I encounter a lot are seldom of retirement age… most teens to about 40.

Many have burned too many bridges when it comes to family/friends.

Others don’t like rules… some have pets they couldn’t keep and some simply don’t have income and or programs in place.

A difficult situation for sure… the nearby supermarket spent over 9k cleaning up a camp… and now ongoing security to keep clear as an unbelievable amount of trash accumulated… plus utility theft.
My brother in law works with homeless men in Arizona. He said most are mentally ill, uneducated, do not like rules, and have a hard time living in group settings. All they really want is a roof over their head, a place to sleep without getting stabbed, and something to eat.
 

goeduck

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Just an observation of what happens to elderly people that for whatever reason do not have any retirement savings. All kinds of reasons. Poor planning. No planning. Drinking. Drugs. Mental illness. Misfortune. Poor health.

One major reason here in South Bend was (most are dead now) loss of pension. Studebaker was a major employer here. The company went belly up and their pension fund failed. Thousands of people lost their pensions. It was the major factor in the establishment of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).


When I got hired at my last employer back in 1987, I was kinda shocked at the number of old people working there part-time. It wasn't because it was a great place to work. It was because they all lost their pensions at Studebaker and had to keep working until they died. Many had to live in the worst parts of town because that's all they could afford. Some had OK housing, places that I would like to live in. But they were not paid off, so they had to keep working. These were folks in their 70s and 80s doing manual labor, standing all day. I became pretty good friends with most of them. Good folks with bad fortune.

You want some compelling reading, search up the Studebaker pension failure.

We have a very large homeless population here. I don't know the back story on most of them. Many are veterans with PTSD, mental illness, alcohol and drug issues. They don't have the best of living conditions. Wife and I also volunteer at the food bank when able. Lots of elderly people served by that organization.

Anyhow, many reasons elderly people end up with no savings.
Understand but Studebaker is a very small slice of the pie that is not not worth focusing on. Your other reasons are the majority of the problem. Mental issues (unrelated to drugs, etc.) we all own.
 

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There are people out there that deserve help and there are also people that don't. How do you determine who does and who doesn't.

I know of a family where one brother saved and managed to retire early. The other brother didn't and is dependent on inheriting a retirement income. Both were raised in the same household so you have to assume by the same set of values and had similar opportunities.

As for the veterans that need assistance, I think our country has failed to provide the assistance they deserve. Unfortunately I don't have any answers. There are individuals that are trying to help but more is needed, and it's not just money, but also people's time.
 

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Unfortunately, the real discussion that needs to be had about poverty, homelessness, and public support is not allowed in this venue.

As for retirement, our youngest is a HS Senior. Once she graduates, we are done. We may, if needed, do some consulting or contract work. That will only be necessary if, as seems likely, inflation goes big and goes long. We are in our fifties and have planned for this most of our 30+ years together. Like many in our situation, we have been frugal and did not plan on SS or a company pension to be our primary nest egg. We have both, but they pale in comparison to money we have put in 401k or other long term investments.
 

RickB

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Understand but Studebaker is a very small slice of the pie that is not not worth focusing on. Your other reasons are the majority of the problem. Mental issues (unrelated to drugs, etc.) we all own.
Apparently that single pension failure is neither small nor unimportant in South Bend. Most problems are local in nature.
Hardship is easy to overlook for those that never experienced much or any.
 

ultrarunner

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Look for universal income to increase as it is already here in a small scale roll.out.
 

beowulf

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One explanation for the differences in the quality of life at all stages of life - the ability to delay gratification.


And BTW, I am not a good example of this trait - a slow learner and no mentor - but I do agree with the sentiment.
 

Fuddy1952

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There are people out there that deserve help and there are also people that don't. How do you determine who does and who doesn't.

I know of a family where one brother saved and managed to retire early. The other brother didn't and is dependent on inheriting a retirement income. Both were raised in the same household so you have to assume by the same set of values and had similar opportunities.

As for the veterans that need assistance, I think our country has failed to provide the assistance they deserve. Unfortunately I don't have any answers. There are individuals that are trying to help but more is needed, and it's not just money, but also people's time.
Great reply:"I know of a family where one brother saved and managed to retire early. The other brother didn't and is dependent on inheriting a retirement income. Both were raised in the same household so you have to assume by the same set of values and had similar opportunities."
You just described my brother and me. A step further: my brother was given a free car after high school, I had to work buying my own car. My brother was a straight A student while I was C average. His I.Q. was higher (not now after drugs/alcohol), his business 10X more successful than mine. I have a few community college years, PhD for him (all paid for by parents, $0 for me).
Now he's bankrupt.
 

MossRoad

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I woke up around 3:00am this morning and watched a few minutes of The Future Of Word on PBS. I plan on watching the rest of it when I'm more awake. The goal of most businesses is to employ as few people as necessary to do the job, as employees are one of the biggest expenses. I was involved in quite a bit of automation of processes over the years at my last job. Those human jobs were done away with through attrition and buyouts. But at the end, they were done away with by RIF (Reduction In Force). Which is basically, "we no loner need you, bye".

As fast as you can get trained on a new technology, that technology can and will be automated. What they need to teach people is the ability to learn and comprehend so that they can adapt to the changes they will be facing.

Some people on that show were predicting a net loss of jobs world wide as automation and AI takes over. With a net loss of jobs, there's going to be a lot of people in need. That's just a fact that's going to have to be dealt with by anyone left that has money.
 

MossRoad

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Also, just because you come from the same parents doesn't mean you're going to be exposed to the same levels of care, education, love, etc...

Growing up in a household with multiple children, spread out over 15 years in age, there's going to be times where the parents have to devote more time and effort into one or more of the children than the others. There's also times when the parents are stressed at different levels when their children are of different developmental stages in their lives.

It's why birds lay multiple eggs and the one that hatches first usually gets the most attention and has the best chance of survival.
 

ultrarunner

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Off Shore and Automation...

Thankfully some things cant be Off Shore or Automated!
 

goeduck

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Apparently that single pension failure is neither small nor unimportant in South Bend. Most problems are local in nature.
Hardship is easy to overlook for those that never experienced much or any.
Agree, but that was about 60 years ago. Is there anyone that worked there that was anywhere near retirement age back then still alive?
 

goeduck

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There are people out there that deserve help and there are also people that don't. How do you determine who does and who doesn't.
That is exactly what needs to somehow be figured out. Everyone wants to help those that truly need it.
 

grsthegreat

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wife retired about 6 years ago when her company folded up and offered early retirement package. i shut down my company almost 1 year ago, but still maintain a bunch of standby generators a few days a week for spending money.

my wife has planned out retirement for many years. she forced me to pay off mortgage and all vehicle loans. so now only costs are food, utilities and taxes for the most part. plus the occasional house repair and vehicle bill.

with the 2 SS checks, we have not had to touch the IRAS, pensions, CD's or any savings. She just got on medicare last year and i get on in about 8 months. that will help with the unknown health cost burdens. but even if we had to use 4% of investments to live, it would be more than we made in combined income over the years. we had expected to do some vacationing and sight seeing when we retired, but with covid thats gone.

but thankfully we live in a place where others chose to visit, so we feel blessed.

my biggest advice is dont retire if you own mortgage and vehicle bills. i know people that have, and they ended up going back to work full time to get back on their feet.
 

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98% of people make their own choices... Not to get educated, not to work hard, not to give up the booze or drugs, not to show up 40 hours a week. I chose higher education over a sports scholarship, chose to work like a rented mule, chose to never do drugs or use alcohol to self medicate, and chose to excel in my profession. I also chose to emulate the Son of God, which is the hardest thing I have ever done.
 

two_bit_score

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With real estate booming my property taxes have gone up to $13,000 a year. The rate per $1000 should have gone down in my mind. I sure bet if real estate prices ever drop, they would raise the rate to keep the coffers full.
Once they get used to having a certain amount to spend it will never go down.

But as much as people complain about taxes, I almost never see an organized group show up at school boards, city councils or county commissioners budget meetings to voice their complaints to those who impose the taxes.

And they keep electing the same ones who keep giving themselves raises from the taxes they impose.
 

Larry Caldwell

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There are people out there that deserve help and there are also people that don't. How do you determine who does and who doesn't.

I know of a family where one brother saved and managed to retire early. The other brother didn't and is dependent on inheriting a retirement income. Both were raised in the same household so you have to assume by the same set of values and had similar opportunities.

As for the veterans that need assistance, I think our country has failed to provide the assistance they deserve. Unfortunately I don't have any answers. There are individuals that are trying to help but more is needed, and it's not just money, but also people's time.
My brother in law is a retired veteran. He gets 50% of his highest active duty pay, PX privileges and Tricare. He earned it with 22 years of service, including two tours in 'Nam as a helicopter pilot.

I'm a veteran too, but got out of the Army as soon as I could honorably do it. I have piddled away more time in my life than I spent in the service, and neither need nor want any veteran's benefits, though they did give me $50/month for going to college, which covered my rent at the time. Too many guys blame a two year hitch for screwing up their lives. Two years, out of decades. McNamara didn't turn them into drunks and druggies. I don't waste any more sympathy on them that I do on the guys who didn't serve and still screwed up their lives.

I often wonder what happened to some of the guys I went to high school with. Some of them had no interest in an education. They planned to "get a job in the mill" and work there the rest of their lives. It worked for their dads, and worked for them for about 15 years. Then the mills closed or automated. As my dad used to say, "Root, hog, or die." A lot of them did. I think at least a quarter of the boys I went to high school with are dead now, some by their own hand, either accidentally or on purpose.

If your health holds up, retirement is an opportunity to have some fun before you croak, but we're all headed for that long dirt nap. If you have a few bucks put by, you will get about 10 more years than somebody who is poor.
 

Larry Caldwell

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Agree, but that was about 60 years ago. Is there anyone that worked there that was anywhere near retirement age back then still alive?
It went from Studebaker to Peabody. The coal miner health care and pension funds got invested in spinoff subsidiaries that went bankrupt, dumping the whole expense on the government while Peabody pocketed the money.
 

California

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I woke up around 3:00am this morning and watched a few minutes of The Future Of Word on PBS. I plan on watching the rest of it when I'm more awake. The goal of most businesses is to employ as few people as necessary to do the job, as employees are one of the biggest expenses.
This is the reality those coming of age today will face. Even a good education is no guarantee. Look to India for an example, huge numbers of well educated people that no one needs to employ. Of course some will do well but the skills of many simply aren't needed.

Universal Basic Income will become inevitable, as automation pushes all the wealth to the owners of the machines and people are no longer needed for production.

What they need to teach people is the ability to learn and comprehend so that they can adapt to the changes they will be facing.
Aside from the nuts & bolts of financial analysis and forecasting, this was the main point that profs in my MBA hammered on: Keep your eyes open to recognize change as it approaches and respond by creating new strategy to take advantage of what's new - The alternative is that you will get run over by changing circumstances.

That, and for those starting out now: expect several unrelated careers as your work environment changes and evolves. I've read that the tech generation making the highest salaries change jobs every couple of years. They learn a skill, recognize that their new capability isn't appreciated by a new salary where they are, so they go where their skill level is recognized and rewarded. This seems otherworldly to us old timers who earned pensions working for one of a few firms, but it is the reality these kids now live within.
 

MossRoad

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Agree, but that was about 60 years ago. Is there anyone that worked there that was anywhere near retirement age back then still alive?
Not only did it affect the people that lost their jobs and pensions, that kind of stuff trickles down to their children and grand children in the form of lost generational wealth.
 

MossRoad

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This is the reality those coming of age today will face. Even a good education is no guarantee. Look to India for an example, huge numbers of well educated people that no one needs to employ. Of course some will do well but the skills of many simply aren't needed.

Universal Basic Income will become inevitable, as automation pushes all the wealth to the owners of the machines and people are no longer needed for production.


Aside from the nuts & bolts of financial analysis and forecasting, this was the main point that profs in my MBA hammered on: Keep your eyes open to recognize change as it approaches and respond by creating new strategy to take advantage of what's new - The alternative is that you will get run over by changing circumstances.

That, and for those starting out now: expect several unrelated careers as your work environment changes and evolves. I've read that the tech generation making the highest salaries change jobs every couple of years. They learn a skill, recognize that their new capability isn't appreciated by a new salary where they are, so they go where their skill level is recognized and rewarded. This seems otherworldly to us old timers who earned pensions working for one of a few firms, but it is the reality these kids now live within.
When I was in I.T. it was just an endless upgrade in learning and certifications. If you stopped for a few years, you were way behind the system. As soon as you got comfortable with a system, it was obsolete.
 

California

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When I was in I.T. it was just an endless upgrade in learning and certifications. If you stopped for a few years, you were way behind the system. As soon as you got comfortable with a system, it was obsolete.
Amen bro. In undergrad math a prof had said computerization of everything was inevitable. And the primitive 360-20 that we sent our cards to for overnight processing, was a faint headlight far in the distance coming at us fast, foretelling what would soon be commonplace. So get ready now for the changed world you will soon work in. That was good advice.

I don't know what today's equivalent of that advice is, maybe newcomer auto mechanics learning EV's. Maybe something that we haven't imagined. I think climate change will be the biggest change the new generation will need to learn to deal with. And maybe the possibility that continually mutating Covid could change education, entertainment, dining, dating and matchmaking, even food production. Circumstances that you never imagined could change - will change. We might as well get good at working within continual change. Or get left behind.
 

Fuddy1952

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Maybe I'm just optimistic about things but I've always thought there's something good that can come from something tragic.
Covid is a good example. I have a good friend who's a college math professor and because of covid works from home. The good part is it saves all that driving time, both he and students. Then lots of things can be ordered online delivered right to your door.
I'll be glad when things get back to normal.
Every time I go in Lowe's or Home Depot I try to imagine what someone like Thomas Edison would think!
Opportunities are out there, and I believe new technology like satellites, cell phones, etc. lends itself to new ideas.
 

3Ts

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As for the veterans that need assistance, I think our country has failed to provide the assistance they deserve. Unfortunately I don't have any answers. There are individuals that are trying to help but more is needed, and it's not just money, but also people's time.

My brother in law is a retired veteran. He gets 50% of his highest active duty pay, PX privileges and Tricare. He earned it with 22 years of service, including two tours in 'Nam as a helicopter pilot.

I'm a veteran too, but got out of the Army as soon as I could honorably do it. I have piddled away more time in my life than I spent in the service, and neither need nor want any veteran's benefits, though they did give me $50/month for going to college, which covered my rent at the time. Too many guys blame a two year hitch for screwing up their lives. Two years, out of decades. McNamara didn't turn them into drunks and druggies. I don't waste any more sympathy on them that I do on the guys who didn't serve and still screwed up their lives.

I often wonder what happened to some of the guys I went to high school with. Some of them had no interest in an education. They planned to "get a job in the mill" and work there the rest of their lives. It worked for their dads, and worked for them for about 15 years. Then the mills closed or automated. As my dad used to say, "Root, hog, or die." A lot of them did. I think at least a quarter of the boys I went to high school with are dead now, some by their own hand, either accidentally or on purpose.

If your health holds up, retirement is an opportunity to have some fun before you croak, but we're all headed for that long dirt nap. If you have a few bucks put by, you will get about 10 more years than somebody who is poor.

I am a veteran as well and I think I did not convey the "need assistance" phrase adequately. I came back from combat in one piece, some of my friends did not. The case of need assistance, is tempered with "deserve assistance". Things like coming back from combat missing body parts qualifies as "need" assistance (among other things). Many of my neighbors are veterans and do not need nor use assistance. Then there is an occasional veteran that is dependent on assistance but one wonders why they need it since there is no apparent need other than they won't apply themselves to a task. Everyone in the military should have learned to to a job well and on time even if they really don't want to do it, other people (and lives) are dependent on that - and that should carry into the civilian world. So, if they didn't learn that or won't use what they learned . . .
 

dirttoys

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I woke up around 3:00am this morning and watched a few minutes of The Future Of Word on PBS. I plan on watching the rest of it when I'm more awake. The goal of most businesses is to employ as few people as necessary to do the job, as employees are one of the biggest expenses. I was involved in quite a bit of automation of processes over the years at my last job. Those human jobs were done away with through attrition and buyouts. But at the end, they were done away with by RIF (Reduction In Force). Which is basically, "we no loner need you, bye".

As fast as you can get trained on a new technology, that technology can and will be automated. What they need to teach people is the ability to learn and comprehend so that they can adapt to the changes they will be facing.

Some people on that show were predicting a net loss of jobs world wide as automation and AI takes over. With a net loss of jobs, there's going to be a lot of people in need. That's just a fact that's going to have to be dealt with by anyone left that has money.
I struggle with automation vs people. My old/last employer's only meaningful high roller always said (and I think he believed) "the single thing I would like to pass on to my employees, is the ability to deal with change". Other than being ridiculously successful, the company is a bit of a turd, but, I think from his point of view of making people irrelevant for a living, his "heart" was in the right place.

Best,

ed
 

dirttoys

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When I was in I.T. it was just an endless upgrade in learning and certifications. If you stopped for a few years, you were way behind the system. As soon as you got comfortable with a system, it was obsolete.
You are correct, funny I had an IT shop as well, probably the most productive gig of my life.

The reality does remain, in IT or probably a load of other careers, in your mid 30's if you can't be a useful mid manager, you won't be able to keep up. At least when I was there, there was a place to go and server out another 10 years with some value to the company and not stay up all night reading white papers.........

Best,

ed
 

California

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Lets not go all political on this point. But as we imagine possible changes to come, something to keep in mind as people are made unnecessary by automation and offshoring jobs is the example of the Middle East (and elsewhere) with an excess of bright enthusiastic people who have no job prospects at all. In some countries that's a formula for revolution in the streets by those who aren't needed. The US isn't at risk of this but universal guaranteed basic income might eventually become needed to keep the public settled down if enough people know, realistically, that they have no prospect of earning enough to support a family and live decently. In the richest country in the world. May you live in interesting times .... :)

My point here is we may see universal basic income adopted, out of necessity - not to stir up political rivalries!
 

goeduck

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I know what a universal joint is. Is it similar?
 

Frankenkubota

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Once they get used to having a certain amount to spend it will never go down.

But as much as people complain about taxes, I almost never see an organized group show up at school boards, city councils or county commissioners budget meetings to voice their complaints to those who impose the taxes.

And they keep electing the same ones who keep giving themselves raises from the taxes they impose.
term limits, people are lazy
 

Frankenkubota

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I know what a universal joint is. Is it similar?
i know what a UJ is. like a cv joint

i constantly read about the universe (current book, einstein's telescope)

i know what a joint is, funny, the cure for a bad joint is a good joint!

so what's a universal joint?
 
 
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