How old are you? They did a number on the "boomers."
First the media started telling us all we needed to have a least a million dollars by the time we retire or we would blow through it before we died. I had always saved my money in a bank, in a savings account, and I paid into the savings-based retirement plan at work. That was were most of my "nest egg" was. I never had much to save, and it did not take a genius to figure out I was never getting to a million bucks.
Next, this great new "benefit" suddenly became available in the work place: "Matching IRA contributions." If I just signed on to this new account, the "stock market professionals" would manage my money for me, and they have charts and graphs to compare the stock market versus standard savings - only as examples of course - but the potential to make up for "lost time" on my retirement funds was clearly possible. Besides, it was like a 4% raise, if I maxed out my contribution. (I made sure to point that out to all my staff, I was SO excited about this "opportunity.")
OK, the "big thing" of my life is the internet. It did not exist (at least not outside the military) when I was in school. I could tell it was an amazing tool with incredible potential, when the "professionals" who were managing my retirement account "for me" started advising we invest in the internet, a WHOLE lot of us butchers, bakers and candlestick makers said "Well, you're the professional. OK."
They used our own money to inflate these stock prices, to justify taking more of our money to inflate the prices, and then one day the piper came calling. Most of these "great internet investments" were nonsense, and most of the professionals who traded in their stocks KNEW that, but most of the money used to inflate the price was the money from people who were guilty of trusting the professionals their employer hired to manage the account. We had no idea exactly what we were invested in, other than "the internet."
Those of us who were raised when policemen really were trying to protect us, and when our employers really did think of us as family were taken advantage of by the same sharks that are trashing the economy today. They work in cycles, and if you think they do not have a plan to separate the next generation from the fruits of their labors, you will be taken advantage of, too.
Love or fear? Chose again with every breath.
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