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When The Well Runs Dry: Retirees Without Benefits

A growing concern for American citizens of all ages is what to do about the lack of retirement for our aging population? While some people claim there is no problem and Social Security benefits will be available for those who have paid in all these years, the concern is a legitimate one. In 2011, 2.8 million baby boomers will become eligible for Social Security benefits. With retirement already a reality or soon to become one, these individuals who have worked and paid into Social Security for the majority of their adult life will begin tapping the system to which they have contributed.

The fear of course is that there is simply not enough money to go around. Not for the baby boomers or the generations to follow in their place. What was once considered a definite resource for retirement money, is now on shaky ground. The same is true for pensions in other areas. In a recent article featured in the Mobile Tribune, another instance of retirees without benefits is described.

As reported in the Mobile Tribune, “The New York Times featured a story last week about a city in Alabama named Prichard. Sadly, there are people in Prichard who worked for the city for most of their lives and now they’re retired but there’s no pension fund money to pay them. So, a few of them live in their homes without electricity or hot water and they wait for help. Prichard could be a small example of a much bigger picture to come: broke cities and counties who can’t deliver what they promised. Indeed, most people pay into their own pension funds out of their paychecks so it can just be considered what – a bad investment? Twenty years ago only a lunatic would have claimed it was a bad idea to invest in municipal bonds – solid money, a government entity so those can’t fail like companies sometimes do. The only problem is they are failing, and the dominoes have only begun to tip.”

Considering the millions of people who have lost some or part of their retirement in the recent recession, the issue of pensions and social security programs failing is a major problem. Even more so for the folks who have no other source of income to fall back on when they retire. Americans must not remain complacent on this issue and become involved with the process to ensure each and every person who has paid into a retirement plan has access to the benefits they deserve when the time comes to collect.

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