Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where the stimulus money is coming from

I've said this to many people in several different ways, but what this recession really means for most North Americans is that they won't retire as early as planned or that they'll have to continue working at least part time to buffer their savings.

Well, here's some talk from Calculated Risk with a great quote courtesy of the NY Times.
“What the average citizen doesn’t explicitly understand is that a significant part of the government’s plan to repair the financial system and the economy is to pay savers nothing and allow damaged financial institutions to earn a nice, guaranteed spread,” said William H. Gross, co-chief investment officer of the Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco.
Of course, this basically screws over fixed-income retirees, but it also damages prospects for those close to retirement. If you're 60 and planning to retire at 65, you're basically making no money in safe investments, but you also don't have any time to "ride out" highly volatile investments like stocks. Unless, of course, you wait until 70 or 75 to retire.

It sounds absurd, but what else are you going to do? We've put ourselves into a really tight spot here. The Obama plan (for better or worse) is to inflate the money supply, which is going to be done at the expense of those people who want to retire. To be fair, the McCain plan wasn't really any different.

I guess the big question is really if this is simply to be expected? Personally I think the whole concept of everyone retiring at 65 and living to the ripe old age of 90 is also pretty absurd, so though I blame the US for making some pretty bad financial decisions over the last 3 decades, I also think that we have to get over our delusions of multi-decade retirements for everyone.