Welcome back! Yeah, we’ve missed you, too.
Today, we’re sharing a post that has made the rounds rapidly – it comes from MarketWatch and mad props to the writer for addressing the guy’s question with ease, empathy, and deftness.
Here’s the post. Go ahead, read it. We’ll be here with comments afterward.
First Up: He Paid Off His House!
Financial bloggers worth their salt will tell you that paying off the house is probably one of the biggest steps you can take toward having financial freedom. With the average monthly mortgage payment checking in at a little more than a grand ($1030, thanks to thebalance.com for this write up), that’s…well, a little more than a grand in this guy’s wallet each month.
Well, actually – that’s a grand that he doesn’t have to spend. So it’s not like the money is going INTO his wallet each month. It’s just a grand not going OUT OF his wallet each month. You get our drift.
Looking at it another way – and probably in a way that’s a little more relatable for those who are so angst-ridden that they swore at the writer of the question – imagine you have an auto loan, and then you don’t have the auto loan anymore. And imagine that the car is in great condition and will run for a long, long time. And so on, and so forth. Cut this guy some slack, please.
He Has Savings!
The guy has put away $370,000. Now, that may not seem like enough – to this guy it’s not enough, that’s why he’s writing – but believe it or not, it’s a darn good chunk of change for a 65-year-old guy.
Were he to take 4% a year out of that savings account (that’s a recommended amount of withdrawal, though you’ll see 3 some other places, 5 others) he’d add $14,800 to his bank account yearly. Should we begrudge him for planning?
He Has a Military Pension!
You think we’d be nicer to this guy; after all, he served our country with dignity. How do I know that? Well, if he’s been able to earn a military pension of $45,000, he served long enough to move into a salary grade that was high enough to warrant that much of a pension. (I’ll spare you the math, but it looks like that’s anywhere from 40 to 50% of his highest military salary.)
What’s REALLY The Problem Here?
The problem with the reaction to this post is that people are jealous and are mad at Baby Boomers like this guy for ruining their lives.
Except he didn’t.
I don’t begrudge him at all for saving, for paying off his house, and for working somewhere (the military) that has a pension. Good for him.
Is the current system flawed? Sure. It is. Is there anything you can do about it? Well, that’s a whole other subject.
I’d imagine that this guy isn’t all that concerned about what other people think – his question wasn’t looking for sympathy, it was looking for guidance. He wants to feel comfortable enough to spend after all this time.
Maybe, just maybe, what’s in your control is…well, what’s in your control.
What Can We Learn?
Hey, I’m not perfect – far from it – but perhaps he’s telling us something. We don’t know what sort of creature comforts he has, we don’t know what sort of lifestyle he lives, and, assuming he’s no longer in the military, we don’t even know what he does for a living. What we do know is that he has made some smart moves – possibly not smart enough in the minds of the financial planners who would have him save seven figures by this point – and that he’s looking to maintain some level of comfort in his golden years.
The bigger point may be that casting dispersions based on the fact that he’s a “Baby Boomer,” especially from other groups that, by and large, don’t think they’ll have the same luxuries in another 20, 30, or 40 years, is bad form.
And, really, should someone be blamed for saving, planning, and looking out for themselves first?