The President is shaping a "new" economy, one where former corporate VPs with six-figure salaries who were flying the Concorde to London and Paris for business meetings are now working jobs that pay little more than the minimum wage.
Don't believe The Motley Monk?
Meet Tom Palome, the 77-year-old former VP for Oral-B who worked hard his entire career, paid off his mortgage, put his children through college, and helped make the downpayments on their homes (Palome calls it their "inheritance"). When life was good, Palome earned about $120k/year and, although Palome saved, he didn't didn't save enough for retirement. Then, the 2008 financial crisis hit and Palome's $90k savings--mostly in stocks--shrank from $90k to less than $40k. Palome said "I was shocked by how fast I lost so much."
To survive, Palome did what a lot of other senior citizens refuse to do. With no intention of giving up his independence, Palome took whatever jobs he could, including minimum-wage, part-time jobs at Sam's Club and the local golf course.
Today, Palome uses the charisma that made him successful in the corporate world to push multi-grain crackers at Sam's Club. His quota is 2 boxes per day but, having studied his product on the Internet, Palome sells 24 boxes by shift's end. His other job, a short-order cook and bartender at a golf club, requires Palome to rush between the take-out counter and indoor counter to collect orders, operate the cash register, while simultaneously grilling hot dogs and hamburgers as well as grabbing soft drinks from the refrigerator. After serving 70 customers before closing time, Palome scrubs down the grill and sweeps and mops the floors. (This is similar to what The Motley Monk did junior high school and during summers in high school.)
For all of the hard work, Palome earns about $80 for the day, or $7.98 per hour in wages plus tips. Concerning his earnings, Palome observes that "I earn in a week what I used to earn in an hour."
Palome's says that his jobs keep him active and learning new things. He could survive without working, he notes, receiving $1.2k/month from Social Security and a $600/month pension from his last corporate job. Palome's $1.4k/month in wages allows him to add to his savings account and for some extras: going to the theater, paying for plane tickets to visit his children and grandsons, and taking an occasional vacation.
Palome is frugal, too. He runs the dishwasher once/week and turns off his hot water heater every morning after showering. Palome also purchases airline tickets six months in advance and books rental cars for as little as $13.80 a day.
In the corporate world, Palome did everything right except save enough for retirement. Today, that means saving about $1.2M by age 65. That's a staggering amount considering the expenses associated with a home as well as raising and educating children.
"I never thought I'd live this long," Palome said. And if he has one regret, it's that Palome didn't get better retirement investing advice. He said:
I thought I could do it on my own. I'm not going to sit on my laurels
and say I was an executive making six figures and traveling the world.
I tell people I demonstrate food and I do short-order cooking. I don't
mind saying it. What's important is that I can work today.
Having not saved enough for retirement and having to work after retiring are facts that many people don't think much about today. Then, when "R-Day" hits, they don't have the savings to maintain their independent lifestyles. Worse yet, many won't countenance working. Observing others his age living in the retirement village where Palome lives, he notes:
I know seniors like me who hardly ever leave their homes because
they don't have money to do anything. They could work, but won't
take a lesser job.
In the President's new economic order ("novus ordo economium"), perhaps some will move in with their children. Others many move into Medicare/Medicaid subsidized nursing homes.
As bad as the idea of working minimum-wage, part-time jobs may be, the other options look worse.
But, what the heck? At least, they'll have quality, federally subsidized healthcare insurance...as long as they don't need any major procedures where the money will be spent on the healthcare needs of the next generations. The "Death Panels" will see to that.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the complete story about Tom Palome, click on the following link: