Usually I agree with Ronni Barrett on her blog, Times Goes By [see side bar and click to check it out] but today I disgree. She writes about all the Americans with no retirement savings and says that it's because people are paid to little to save.
I agree that the average family doesn't make enough money -- I mean average, what used to be called blue collar. I don't mean professionals. And I believe that far too many people in America live in poverty. There is too much hunger, we are doing something very wrong.
I am almost embarrassed to state my disagreement because it sounds like some cockeyed conservative instead of the liberal that I believe myself to be. But I believe people do not save for retirement because they spend too much of what they make, no matter how little that might be, on unnecessary lifestyle choices. I believe advertising and the media have convinced the American people that they should have, deserve, really need many things they could live without. The list is enormous, to name a few: brand name sneakers and jeans, electronic devices, including multiple cell phones, flat screen TVs, and everything in the kitchen that has a plug, all those things that plug into your ears also, personal care, like the mani-peddi mania, hair coloring, toys -- oh, my god, I can't begin to name the toys, and decorative crap around the house especially at holidays--all those Christmas lights and other seasonal geegaws, all kinds of recreational paraphenalia. Shall I go on and on and on? What about fast food and gambling casinos, $4 coffee, e-books.
Don't I think people should have fun and live a gracious life? Of course I do, but I don't think most television is fun, I don't think blow up Easter bunnies on the lawn are gracious. If people want to save, they save first -- before the manicurist and the gym membership, before the trip to Disney or the new app. Americans can't save but there is an epidemic clutter overflowing into storage units. We buy too much. And put too little in IRAs. Will the economy collapse if we don't support the electronics industry, the fast food industry, the gaming and sports industries? I don't think so.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!