Monday, June 30, 2008
As you know, I just turned Seventy and I am drawing full Social Security, plus I work full time. It is enabling me to put aside enough money for retirement is I ever decide to retire, which I doubt I will ever do. I will work until I fall over if I am able.
Read it and tell me what you think.
IS RETIRING EARLY UNPATRIOTIC? By Jay MacDonald
Want to do something truly patriotic to help preserve the American way of life? Don't retire. At least not yet. That's the advice of Andrew Yarrow, vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization Public Agenda. Yarrow urges the nation's 78 million baby boomers to forgo traditional or early retirement and work for a few more years, for their own sake and the good of the country.
If boomers all turn in their keys at age 55, 62 or 65 and head for the Tuscan hills, that great sucking sound you'll hear is untold amounts of taxpayer dollars being leached from the economy. That is money heirs will either have to replace or do without. It's an act Yarrow calls "profoundly selfish and unpatriotic."
"The argument for working longer is not just about people working to pay more taxes; it's about people working to have more income and wealth themselves, to save for their own lives and their children and grandchildren," says Yarrow, who is also a professor of U.S. history at American University in Washington, D.C.
"This is an intergenerational issue," says the author of "Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility."
"This idea of 'getting what's mine as soon as possible' really doesn't think about future generations." Yarrow notes that when people work longer, they not only continue to pay taxes and produce additional goods and services to spur the economy, but also slow the growth of the national debt. The debt currently stands at $9.3 trillion and is largely driven by rising Medicare and Social Security costs.
Today, the average retirement age is 62. If millions of Americans worked five more years and retired at 67, the added income would provide about $800 billion in additional tax revenues and reduce benefit costs by at least $100 billion in 2045, according to a 2006 Urban Institute study.
Elephant in the living room
Working longer would also be a gracious way to begin to deal with the elephant in our collective living room: the Social Security mess. Back in 1935, when Congress passed the Social Security Act, the average U.S. life expectancy was 63, according to Yarrow. Today, the average life expectancy is 78, and if you make it through your 50s, you're likely to live into your 80s or beyond.
"If you retire at 62, you may live another third of your life in retirement," Yarrow says.
"Maybe that's right for some people, but a lot of able-bodied Americans could contribute to their employer, their society, the economy, themselves and their children for at least a few more years."
Although the 1983 reforms by the Greenspan Commission gradually nudged up the age for full Social Security benefits by a year or two, our increasing longevity continues to dog the program. Economist and actor Ben Stein says a change is gonna come. "That retirement date is for sure going to be pushed way, way later," says Stein, author of "Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably!" "I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years that date were 70 years old, given the fact that people are more vigorous in their old age, generally speaking."
Stein also expects the cap on Social Security taxes to disappear. "Wealthy people are going to pay much, much, much more tax," he says. "The 6 percent tax is not just going to stop at $90,000 (income), it's going to go up to $1 million or several million. That's going to affect this whole situation quite a lot."
"I would guess that in 20 years, there simply is not going to be any Social Security for wealthy people; that will be thoroughly means-tested, and probably should be," he says. "I mean, why should very rich people get Social Security? More and more, the whole program will be skewed toward helping poor and close-to-poor people and ignoring people who are already well-to-do."
As for the 63-year-old Stein, he has no plans to retire."I don't ever expect to stop working," he says. "I love my work. I don't believe there is a meaningful life without work. You're not a whole person without work."
Who will hire older workers?Every boomer who delays retirement or starts an encore career will help offset the coming shortage of American workers, especially in areas such as education and public and social services.The 2000 Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act helped pave the way by allowing workers ages 65 through 69 the freedom to earn as much money as they wish without losing Social Security benefits.
But the coming worker crunch runs far deeper than a shortage of ready hands and welcoming smiles."The problem is, companies aren't looking for older workers.""It's not just a shortage of people who were born 18 years ago, it's a shortage of people with the skills companies need," says Melanie Holmes, vice president of world of work solutions for Manpower.
"It's a combination of a warm-body shortage and a skills shortage."Holmes says American companies are unprepared to attract and accommodate older workers or transfer the knowledge from retiring workers to their successors.
"The problem is, companies aren't looking for older workers," she says. "When we surveyed about the aging workplace in 2007, only 18 percent of the employers we talked to said they had a strategy to recruit older workers, and only 28 percent had a strategy to retain older workers.
"Older workers have a wealth of job and life experience to offer employers. They tend to be more loyal and dependable too, she says."The main advantage is (boomers) have a work ethic," Holmes says. "When our clients complain to us about the temporary employees we send to them, it's not because they don't have the skills necessary to do the job, it's that they don't show up on time, they're not dressed appropriately, they may not treat their co-workers with respect -- all that work-ethic stuff that older workers have.
"On the negative side, older workers may be set in their ways, resistant to training, less adept with technology and judgmental of younger co-workers. Employers fear the older worker will want a higher salary and cost them more in health coverage and special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Still, the number of older workers is growing, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. A boomer herself, Holmes figures her generation is predisposed to continue working in some capacity as long as mind and body permit."Most of us have always been workaholics," she says. "We don't want to quit cold turkey.
The challenge for business, she says, is to prepare now to attract and retain older talent before retiring boomers drain the bathtub of skilled workers."Are we part of the problem because we're retiring and there's going to be a talent shortage, or are we part of the solution?"
Holmes says. "The answer is really 'yes' to both of them."When we get to the height of the baby boomers retiring, I think companies are going to be seeing a lot of knowledge and productivity walk out the door. That's when they're going to start feeling the pain. Those are the people they need to retain by offering flexible work arrangements and changing the way some of the jobs are done to compensate for the decline in our physical abilities. Companies are going to have to work hard to get people to stay."
Jay MacDonald is a contributing editor based in Texas.
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As you may remember, my birthday is May 5, 1938. However, we were so busy in May that it was impossible to plan a party to celebrate my entry into the Eighth Decade of life. So, my daughter Julia and wife Karen decided to put on a secret party for me on June 28, which incidentally is my elder brother Maury's birthday.
They are both introverts so son Tim was recruited to be the MC and get all the names of friends from my address book. The secret was exposed when I caught Tim trying to download my address book and they were "busted"!
The party was Saturday night and it was wonderful. Almost 100 folks showed up at the Mill Golf Course and Banquet Center and a great time was had by all. Tim was MC, Jim Weible the DJ, Julia and Dave with son Jacob greeted and chatted with Tim's wife Shelley cutting the cake with Dave.
Many of our friends offered tributes to our past times with God and ministry. Thanks to all of you who came. I was in hog heaven because I could reminisce with so many pals and co-workers, almost 100 in all. Julia's blog has the photos.
Also see the comments of thousands on Julia's special blog
Julie's tribute to me on Father's Day
Friday, June 27, 2008
David Corn of Mother Jones Magazine mocks John McCain for his technological backwardness: "Where is McCain's intellectual curiosity? Over the past decade, more and more Americans of all ages have become wired. Using email and the Internet has become a fundamental activity of modern life. How could McCain, who has long wanted to lead this nation, say to himself, I don't need to know how this stuff works? And in an era when so much depends on the Internet--including much of the economy and aspects of national security--how could a senior legislator and commander-in-chief wannabe eschew firsthand experience of how this series of tubes and wires functions?
Do you get the irony?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
If you were one of the people touched by the Holy Spirit during the Jesus Revolution leave a comment and let us know what happened. The Jesus Revival began in 1958 for me so I bloomed early, possibly because I am older than the Boomers. My Generational Cohort, called The Silents" goes from 1928 to 1945 and the Boomers came along after WWII in 1946.
Age 95+ ------- WWI ------430,000
GI Gen 1910–1927 Also known as Builders The Great Depression and WWII shaped their values. Ages 82–98----GI's 17,000,000
Pioneers 1928–1945 Also known as Silent’s. They have led social change in music and culture. The Korean War and the Civil Rights movement influenced their young adult years. They led the Jesus Movement Revival Ages 63–81 34,000,000
Baby Boomers 1946–1963 Led by the high school class of 1964 they were shaped by the events in the 1960s and 1970s. Spiritually came alive in Jesus Movement. Ages 45–62 Baby Boomers--77,000,000
PoPost moderns1964–1981 Also known as Gen X and Busters. Born right after the assassination of President Kennedy and are the first generation to live with a postmodern perspective. Ages 27–44 Post moderns--65,000,000
Millennials 1982–2000 Led by the high school class of 2000 they will set the trends in the first two decades of the 21st century. Ages 9–26 Millennial----78,000,000
Genomic Children-Under 5-- Genomic----20,000,000
Monday, June 23, 2008
Where can I go from your Spirit...? Nowhere.
Ten years before I had come to Christ but the intervening years had taken a toll on my walk with the Lord. My Grand Dad Taylor with whom I was very close, had passed away and I was lost in a jumble of fears, anger and rebellion.
Pastor Fred Boatright was holding a revival at our church and everyone was praying for me so I decided to "Get out of Dodge" and escape the pull of God's conviction and love. But I could not escape. God had a plan for me and He pursued me to accomplish that end.
Many years ago a homeless man in London took to writing poetry and leaving it under the door of a newspaper writer. The poetry was so good that the paper decided to hunt the author down. Much to their surprise they found him to be an alcoholic who lived under a bridge. He wrote the following words.
The Hound of Heaven
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat -- and a voice beat
More instant than the Feet --
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."
I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
The final verse:
Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit ;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea :
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard ?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me !
"Strange, piteous, futile thing !
Wherefore should any set thee love apart ?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught" (He said),
"And human love needs human meriting :
How hast thou merited --
Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot ?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art !
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me ?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home :
Rise, clasp My hand, and come !"
Halts by me that footfall :
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly ?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest !
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest me."
Despite the old English this poem indicates much of my journey. God sent a wild sea to tame a rebellious Jonah. He sent jealous brothers to bring Joseph to maturity. He caught me while driving a 57 Ford to a night of gambling and drinking. That was almost exactly fifty years ago and I am so thankful He would not let me go.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The rising number of Seasoned Citizens will either break the US Federal Government Bank or will be unleashed to do more good for people and God than any generation is history. Here are some dizzying facts about aging.
Statistics According to Social Security
"Over the next 14 years, the number of people over 50 in the U.S. will grow 74 percent, while people under 50 will increase by only 1 percent," according to research conducted by Edwin J. Pittock, president of the Society of Certified Senior Advisers.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 50 every day and the trend will continue for the next 10 years.
In 2000, the elderly population increased from 130 million to 419 million over the last 50 years.
More people are living longer which will cause all of the stages of life to shift; fewer children are being born and more older adults are living longer; and many older adults will continue to work long after "the normal" age of retirement.If everyone decides to actually retire, lay back and spend their kid's inheritance and the wealth of the US Government, we are in for a heap of trouble. If all the experienced, wise and learned Boomers and Builders disappear from the work force, many of our best organizations will collapse. As a nation we desperately need Seasoned Citizens making decisions.
What are Christians doing to prepare for this reality? Right now, many are recruiting as many young people as possible and suggesting that the Seasoned Believers leave the church. This is a strategy built upon sand not rock. Seasoned Believers have the disposable money, disposable time and disposable wisdom to keep Christian organizations strong.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The buzz among Brand and Product Researchers is simple. When they ask parents what they want for their kids the answers have changed dramatically over the past decade.
The "Soccer Moms" answered by saying things like, "I want my kids to get a good education from a good school and get a good job." That has now changed.
When researchers ask moms now they say, "I want my kids to be good and do good things."
Question: "Can you give me an example?"
Answer: "Sure, take care of the environment. Recycle and use less energy."
Question: "So, be 'Green'".
Answer: "Yes, being green is important but that is just one part of being good people. I want my kids to be kind and helpful to other people."
Christians have largely won the battle for goodness and kindness but it is now separated from any religion and made into a universal character trait. This is why it is so important for Christians to be kind when we disagree with others. And, it is important to be "Green" as Christians. If we are not concerned about the environment we will not get any kind of hearing on other issues.
I do not mean become fanatics but sensitive to green issues. As God told Adam and Eve in Genesis, He is telling us to "Serve and care for creation."
What do you think?
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This afternoon my son Timothy, who lives in that foreign land called Pittsburgh, PA, called and wished me a Happy Father's Day. He is a great guy, funny, bright and very affirming kid. He has followed in my footsteps as a consultant and teacher but has definitely exceeded his dad in skills of math and assessment. I really enjoy hearing him talk about improving organizational behavior.
With so much love from the children and grand kids how can life get better. Tim let me know that Julie had written a nice tribute about me on her blog. You can see it at
Julie is a terrific writer and a brilliant woman in so many different fields, but the things she said on her blog were about the best writing I ever saw. Thanks Julie Rae and thanks Tim.
There is no greater joy than having kids and grand kids.
I have been watching the US OPEN Golf Tournament this week. I am amazed at the skills for these professional golfers. They are generally great at every aspect of their game.
The picture on the left shows three of the best that ever played the game for money. From left to right are Gary Player, Jack Nicholas and Arnold Palmer.
These guys could hit drivers, fairway woods, irons and putters. They knew how to hit off tees, long grass, fairway grass and the putting green as well as from the sand traps.
Not only that, the top players such as these guys and young men like Tiger Woods and Phil Mikelson are able to stay calm under pressure and control their emotions and bodies. All these are critical to being successful in their professions so they are constantly being coached, mentored and helped physically.
One cannot be a success in golf, baseball, business of the Christian life if we neglect mastering any dimension of our profession or craft. Yet, I read about many Christian leaders who seem to think that they can be successful by mastering just one or two elements of church life.
In my profession, education and counseling, we call it a "Nothing Buttery Philosophy". They preach, teach and promote one and only one element of the Christian life. Here are some of the "Nothing Buttery" things I see that are emphasized.
1. Nothing but "Kindness Evangelism".
2. Nothing but an "Outward Focus".
3. Nothing but "Contemporary Music".
4. Nothing but "Contemporary Topics in Sermons".
5. Nothing but "Drama and Video Clips on Sunday Morning".
6. Nothing but "Starbucks for the Attendees".
7. Nothing but "Removing all Bible References from our Talks".
8. Nothing but "Fun and Games for the Kids".
9. Nothing but "Dancing, Flags and Joy" on Sunday.
10. Nothing but "Small Groups".
11. Nothing but "Missional".
12. Nothing but "The Social Gospel".
This is like a pro golfer saying "I need Nothing but Putting and I will be a champion golfer". Just imagine that Tiger doesn't need to drive or use irons. To mix my metaphors we can imagine that a Cincinnati Red only needs to be a great hitter but can't catch a ball or play defense.
It is baffling that Christian leaders can be so out of touch with the balance and multi tasking that is required to be a success. All one need do is talk with any educator, counselor, business person, scientist or parent to discover that success is multi faceted.
Contact us at www.sweetenlife.com if you want to improve your leadership abilities.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Race is off limits, gender is off as well but not age. Well, waith til they see the power of the Greay Panthers and Seasoned believers. We do vote! Every time.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Report from: Institute for American Values * Institute for Marriage and Public Policy * Georgia Family Council * Families Northwest
Ohio Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Why should legislators and policymakers care about marriage? Public debate on marriage in this country has focused on the “social costs” of family fragmentation (that is, divorce and unwed childbearing), and research suggests that these are indeed extensive. But marriage is more than a moral or social institution; it is also an economic one, a generator of social and human capital, especially when it comes to children.
In this study, we adopt the simplifying and extremely cautious assumption that all of the taxpayer costs of divorce and unmarried childbearing stem from the effects that family fragmentation has on poverty, a causal mechanism that is well-accepted and has been reasonably well-quantified in the literature.
Based on the methodology, we estimate that family fragmentation costs U.S. tax-payers at least $112 billion each and every year, or more than $1 trillion each decade.
These costs arise from increased taxpayer expenditures for antipoverty, criminal justice, and education programs, and through lower levels of taxes paid by individuals who, as adults, earn less because of reduced opportunities as a result of having been more likely to grow up in poverty.
Even very small increases in stable marriage rates as a result of government programs or community efforts to strengthen marriage would result in very large savings for taxpayers. If the federal marriage initiative, for example, succeeds in reducing family fragmentation by just 1 percent, U.S. taxpayers will save an estimated $1.1 billion each and every year.
The crisis of family destruction is upon us. If every church in America adopted a small program to support marriages, we could help break the cycle of poverty and increase giving to our own churches.
Want to learn how to decrease family break ups? Contact me at email@example.com
Michael thinks a lot like me. I know what the odds are for winning anything in Vegas and I work too hard for my $$$ to give it to the underbelly of society.
Here in Cincinnati there is a huge promotion to pass a bill to allow casino gambling. We have gambling boats and casinos just a few miles from us in Indiana but that is not enough. Here is my response to Vegas.
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" (Except the greedy casino owners who want to bankrupt more people in Ohio.)
In this case we might say, "What happens in Indiana"
What do you think?
Paula Clare wrote a great response.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Religious Habits of Young Americans Spell Trouble for Fund Raising
Baby boomers give less to religious causes than their parents’ generation did when they were the same age as boomers are now, new research has found. And members of Generation X, people born after 1965, give even less than boomers.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Yesterday's post had a photo of our grand daughter Lily. She has her grandma's looks and her Papa's interest in computers. If you look around the blog you can see me when I was about thirty and working at The University of Cincinnati. I was sitting with our very young daughter Julia on the steps of the Residence Hall where I served as a Resident Counselor to 600 students. Julia had 600 big brothers and they loved having her around.
Memories are made of this.