Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #398: Insecurity

Retirees Cope With Dwindling Portfolios
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Since the stock market began to fall, friends have been coming to Barbara Goldsmith to talk about their depression, loss of appetite, insomnia and cravings for hot fudge sundaes.

“People are grieving,” said Ms. Goldsmith, a semiretired psychotherapist who counsels fellow residents of the Gleneagles Country Club, a gated community here. “There was a death. Their money died.”

In communities like Gleneagles and in the homes of retirees across the country, these are days of fear and uncertainty. In theory, retired people are not supposed to invest much in the stock market; in reality, many millions of them do. With the economy in free fall and stocks down about 40 percent this year, legions of middle- and upper-middle-class people are suddenly worried about having enough to carry them through.

Emphasis added by me.

Read this next bit carefully:
They all heard the standard advice to move their assets out of stocks and into supersafe investments as they neared retirement. But, with interest rates so low, the returns on safe investments like government bonds were meager, and many of them saw a risk in not keeping some money in stocks. To finance a long retirement, they figured they needed the gains characteristic of the stock market.

Keeping money in stocks left them exposed, of course, to the risk of a once-in-a-lifetime market meltdown. Now, that day is at hand.

That is what the Republicans have wanted to do with Social Security.

Privatize it. Collect all that "cash" and ship it of to Wall Street for multiplication.

Where would Social Security be today if Dubya had gotten his way eight years ago and finagled the privatization of Social Security?

The people in this article are well-off. Some have $2M portfolios, so don't go weeping for them.

Save the tears for yourself.

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