It’s easier to think of tough love in the abstract than it is to administer it. Especially when the loved ones might be expecting something that is not within our means to provide.
If you’re within 15 to 20 years of traditional retirement age and have some kids, there’s a good chance that one or more is contemplating a college experience and getting close to a freshman year. Good for them. That’s great! In these days of 9%+ unemployment, I read the other day that only 4.6% of college graduates are unemployed while nearly 17% of those without a degree are seeking jobs. Everyone who wants to go to college and has the ability should be encouraged to get their degree.
But, although there are abundant career and lifestyle reasons for our kids to want to attend college, it’s a reality for many families that there’s just not enough savings to greatly assist in that endeavor while, at the same time, making sure that our retirements are adequately funded.
Things are pretty messy out there, aren’t they?
Our economy is either not growing or growing so slowly nobody notices. The official statistics indicate we don’t have an immediate inflation threat but we all know how much more we’re paying for things nowadays. There are way too many good people who want to work but cannot find a job. We’re told the banks are now okay but not a week goes by without more bad news on that front. The Europeans may be in worse shape than us but don’t seem to have the backbone to solve their problems, either. Our elected representatives seem more interested in getting elected again than seriously and responsibly addressing important issues.
With all the current messes there’s a tendency not to worry so much about one that is down the road a bit. That would be our Social Security program.
We should worry about it now.
I’m certainly no expert in the inner workings of the Social Security system. But I’ve got some common sense and I know a few basics.