Meet Jim The Oil Refinery Worker
A couple things: Jim's got 11 years for the stock market to make up what it lost in the last few weeks. It probably will. In the next decade he'll need to move some dough in his 401k to more conservative investments.
People who are closer to actual retirement have more to worry about. But isn't it pretty cool that people can take such early retirement in this country?
Thanks to our health care system, which is taking a lot of guff lately, American citizens are living longer than ever. If you make it to 55, you're pretty likely to make it 85. For Jim, that's 30 years of not having to work, thanks to his own investments, social security and medicare.
However, in retirement Jim will need millions of younger Americans to be working so that he can collect even more social security payments and medicare benefits than he ever had to pay in for during his working life.
"Fixing" social security is going to require raising the retirement age to reflect the new reality of how long people are living. Also the SS tax will have to be raised if we don't want to substantially cut benefits and maybe even if we do. Look for the $98,000 income cap on SS taxes to be raised substantially higher.
Nobody likes to see their "net worth" even on paper, cut in half over the course of a few weeks. But the American economy being the American economy it will start growing again fairly soon. By this time next year, unless a President Obama and liberal Congress impose draconian tax policies and regulations on business, the economy should be humming again. People aren't going to stop being people, which is to say they aren't going to stop working and striving because a few idiots in the financial sector and in Congress caused a large bubble in the housing market to burst.
One more thing:
It seems the oil business isn't just good for its executives. It's pretty good for its lower echelon workers too if they can afford to retire at such a young age. Good for Jim.
But with the price of oil sinking faster the value of your home, here's hoping Jim's portfolio is well diversified. Not to worry, oil prices will probably make a comeback too.