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Retirement and Timing

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Retirement is not what it once was. As a child, I was completely oblivious to the process, but I knew that something called “Social Security” was the safety net that grandmas and grandpas had as they aged, and pretty much just assumed I’d have that too when I was a grandma.

With the economy sputtering and stalling, the oil and gas prices astronomically high, the job market scratching its head and people scrambling just to make ends meet these days, if not completely at a loss with foreclosure, natural disasters, layoffs and cutbacks, retirement almost seems like a darling old notion America once had, similar to Hollywood happy endings and perfectly straight teeth.

If you have been lucky enough recently to retire in the traditional way as my parents were, for example, you put in what amounts to a major portion of your life in service of something greater than yourself: the factory’s product, the education and molding of young minds, delivering the mail, protecting the peace, putting out fires, or whatever your position may have been, and then collect a reasonable portion of the last highest amount you earned through your pension, as well as, eventually, social security, then you really can live the dream, move on to greener pastures, golf, go camping, go to Italy, or watch daytime television if you’re so inclined.

But with major counties and cities such as New Haven, CT operating at a loss and confused as to whether or not they’ll even be able to pay out the state worker pensions that workers signed on for five, 10, 15 and even 20 years earlier, unprecedented heartache and despair are occurring in shockingly quick succession; police officers and public school teachers, formerly some of the most secure jobs in the country once you’d made tenure, are now actually being handed pink slips along with 12-weeks-on-the-job newbies and those that can’t make the cut. http://www.yourpublicmedia.org/content/wnpr/new-haven-mayor-says-change-pension-plans-urgently-needed

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