Monday, April 06, 2009

Retirement: It's just not worth it!

Latest study out says American couples planning on retiring will need an extra quarter of a million dollars (!) to cover their medical expenses. Of course, this is probably a conservative figure if we consider the annual cost of health care is increasing even faster than America's slide into oblivion.

The $250,000 additional is based on a bunch of very sound actuarial statistics, the decline of Medicare and Medicaid programs and other extremely dire possibilities I'm sure. But it alerts us to a very sobering point. If one doesn't properly prepare for increasing health care costs in their declining years, any of us could end up dumpster rubbish before our time is up.

Dada suggests, before getting too upset by another retirement affliction like those minor annoyingly vanished 401-K's we didn't count on losing, there may be ways around this latest unearthed financial health care burden. The most obvious being, just don't retire! A $25,000 bill for a few unexpected days spent in the hospital can be paid off in the matter of a few short years if you maybe have an extra job as a Wal-Mart greeter or put in 20 hours a week or more at a Wendy's, etc. In other words, just work until you keel over dead.

Another possibility, you could always simply "borrow" the $250,000 from your regular retirement savings! I realize some may be reluctant to do this as it means they would probably have to cut back on dining out (even at those *senior specials* rates) a couple times a month.

But Dada has another option, one that many might find even more appealing than the alternatives, i.e., outliving your financial viability in the Third World nation the U.S. has become (save, of course, the 2% of those of us getting pornographically filthy rich). Solution? Merely lower your life expectancy.

This could be done simply by offing yourself when you run totally out of funds. Of course, while your government won't admit it, this will please them a great deal because of their burden to you your exit will relieve them of -- providing you some modicum of aid in old age that could be better spent in the Pentagon or paying interest to China on our national debt.

But if it's any consolation, know you will be missed. Sorely. By whom? By the health care and pharmaceutical industries who are always waiting to mine the gold from the body of every elderly or desperately sick person in America.


eProf2 said...

I don't think we're the only two who are contemplating suicide when the money is all gone or our health is just plain shot. 60 Minutes covered a story on Sunday night about how more than a thousand people received "death notices" when the only public hospital said they were shutting down several departments, including outpatient cancer patients. In one case, they interviewed a woman in her rented hospital gurney at home and then said the rental agency came and took the bed away from her when her insurance was no longer in force. This country needs, and we have to demand, national health insurance. I'm not buying Obama's plan which calls for more insurance company participation. OK, so the Post Office isn't the most efficient in the world, probably social security isn't perfect either, but government run operations without profits for the rich is a really viable source of medical assistance for just about everyone, including the nearly 50 million people in this country who have nothing for a safety net. No wonder suicide is a strong alternative to breaking down slowly and suffering a terrible death. A thought provoking post, Dada, thanks.

Dada said...

eProf: I most often miss 60 Minutes on Sunday eve but I didn't miss this one and I'm very glad. But watching this made me extremely pissed. It may be those images of the desperately ill in desperate need of treatment from a desperately uncaring nation that inspired my description of folk like that as dumpster rubbish because that's what the elderly, the uninsured and infirm, our soldiers, vets poor and underprivileged are treated like by an seemingly unappreciative nation."Expendables."

As Xandtrek (you know, "Brenda") remarked while at the house last week (referring to Obama's health reform proposal), "I don't want health insurance for everyone" (a nice way of saying private insurers will still be able to operate AND PROFIT - but it sounds so nice to unsuspecting Americans)...."I want HEALTH CARE for everybody" (implying a gov't managed single payer system as you also advocate).

Well, Mrs. Dada has turned me on to an NPR program by Dr. Dawn. And she advocates a health care reform that would make all of our senators and reps be in OUR system with the very same health care. I totally support that and have been an advocate for equal health care for those poor bastards up on the hill, same as we "enjoy" (whatever the final product may look like.)

D.K. Raed said...

Is that the ultimate Exit Plan?

Where are Vonnegut's "Monkey House"s now that we need them?

As a big-believer in single-payer health systems, I was nonetheless impressed with both the German and Swiss health systems featured on PBS last year ("Sick around the World"). Both of them were instituted in the 1990's while we dicked around expanding HMOs and bowing down to the gods of big pharma. Anyway, theirs is a compromise system and it wasn't all that hard to implement once the govt mandated it, and now their doctors & drug companies no longer make million$, but no one, NO ONE, has to go bankrupt due to medical bills. The Swiss spokesman said he'd never heard of a Medical Bankruptcy!

We have a sham system of health care here in the US. And the shame of the sham is that even those who can afford it might be better off consulting a shaman rather than the drug-promoting pill-pushers we call drs (but who might more accurately be called rainmakers for the pharmaceutical industry).

ps, it would be wrong to let you think I am against all pharmaceuticals. When I'm ready to Exit, I wants drugs!

A Ball of Light said...

i wonder ...
if the ones who have committed to ending their lives before the inevitable dumpster rubbish state of non-living takes hold and completely and irrevocably strips them of their tattered dignity and will to persist might be open to lobbying those deemed responsible for the 'managed care' travesties, the financial greedfests, the corporate offloadings of 'profit-in-lieu-of-tax' to their island paradise shelters and their enablers that continue to indulge in winkwinknudgenudge to the statistically insignificant increase of the 1%ers portfolios...
these citizen lobbyists, who after forming or joining independance assurance cooperatives or contributorships, might be provided with specially crafted wheelchairs, vests, prosthetic devices, hats and other goodies built with the same distinctive red/gray chipped formulations that were apparently used to aerosolize asbestos, Tuesday morning workers and sec investigations. these citizen lobbyists might then hold group lobbying exercises at appropriate locations for which their dependants would be recompensed. heck, there might even be statues erected to these final brave and patriotic acts of these citizen lobbyists.
As the professional K street crowd seems to leverage small amounts of things into quasi-legalities far out of proportion to their numbers relative to the members of potential citizen lobbyist groups, it would be meet for the independence assurance cooperatives to house themselves orthogonally on K-P-O&W streets.

a thoroughly disillusioned and very, very angry ball of verbosity

dk - your alliterative euphony is superb

xandtrek said...

Obama said that single-payer makes sense (before he became President). But, being the political animal that he is, knows that we can not get single-payer in the current environment that relies on corporations' lobbyists to fund campaigns. So a grassroots campaign is necessary to convince members of congress that we will not re-elect them if they don't support single-payer. But as we all know, the push back from the insurance/pharma companies will be horrific. I can't even imagine what they will do to convince us of the socialism, lack of choice, waiting lists, etc. that we will have to endure. We will see this even with the incremental, half-hearted system we will probably end up with.

But I have tried to bring up public financing of campaigns -- getting rid of money completely from politics -- and I usually get censored on places like HuffPost (please don't censor me Dada).

In fact, almost every issue we progressives are concerned with would be dealt with so much more easily if we got rid of money in politics. Why won't anybody even bring it up nationally?

In the meantime, I like the idea that members of congress should get the insurance we do.

Fran said...

I'm seriously considering going the AIG route.....
that is totally eff things up before my *final exit*....
borrow (preferably billions) spend like a drunken sailor on furlough, rack up a huge bill, then kick the bucket.

Ha! Screw you wealthiest 1% huge tax break people & wall street too!

It was a nice thought.

xandtrek said...

Yeah, that'll show em. We will all cash in, spend all our money, overlimit all our credit cards, and then just check out! See if you can get any payments from us now, suckers! Where's my Kool-Aid?

Dada said...

I've really enjoyed this comment's thread. (BTW, thanks for speaking up ABOL -- I get concerned when I go more than 8-10 mos. when you don't -- still coming to LC in May?).

Well, I love it when you all get "pissed" and write with such passion! This seems to be a particularly hot topic important to a lot of people.

As to my flippant comment in the original blog re killing ourselves upon exhaustion of our funds to buy more health care, to wit, "while your government won't admit it, this will please them a great deal because .... your exit will relieve them of .... providing you some modicum of aid in old age that could be better spent in the Pentagon or paying interest to China on our national debt" I was dismayed to read an article in today's paper dispelling the myth of the cost to all Americans by those who smoke.

We all know what a drag smokers are upon us more healthful minded individuals. We all have to pay for their damn health problems as a result of their addiction. But who foots the bill for our NON-Addiction?

Well, that would be our government. And, believe me, according to the article it costs more than caring for the damn smokers because we live longer.

Hmmm, maybe instead of taxing those puffing bastards more for their habit, the gov't should be providing us all with free smokes. It's cheaper in the long-run, which means more soldiers for Afghanistan, more drones for their Paki neighbors.