The quarterly newsletter from my retirement advisor says that my age group (31-42) worries the most about money - moreso than older or younger people. I worry too. Rising prices and basic living necessities aren't too much of a concern at this point, nor is the ability to weather (smallish) financial emergencies. What I worry about most, which is not a category in the newsletter breakdown table, is funding my old age. I now have a retirement plan (and hence a retirement advisor), started earlier this year the moment I could afford one, which will hopefully take care of basic living necessities after I'm too old to work. That leaves old age medical expenses.
I'm an American. Over here, lots of old people are on expensive daily drugs that they can't live without. Health care, meanwhile, is mainly provided by for-profit corporations; for-profit corporations are by their very nature mainly interested in deriving the maximum possible money at the minimum possible expense with which they can line the pockets of their board members, which is not, in my opinion, in the best health interests of the standard customer in the longterm. In my particular case, there is a lifetime maximum benefit - and I'm not quite sure what's supposed to happen if I exceed that. Do they expect me to just keel over and die and thus stop troubling them anymore? Because if I hit that point, I doubt I'd find another corporation who would want to cover me, as I'd be a major expense rather than a source of income for them.
The other option would be our current governmental non-system known as Medicare/Medicaid. What we have there is a massively inefficient bureaucratic triage that, due to insufficient funds to cover everyone they should be covering, they've used what funds they have to set up a system that discourages people from asking in the first place, and that ensures that people with low chances of survival die as quickly as possible. (People who disbelieve this notion should try needing it themselves sometime.)
Obviously, the only realistic approach for me is to avoid needing expensive daily drugs in the first place. To that end, I pay attention to what I eat and try to stay healthy. I go in for the free yearly physical and dental cleanings. I sank a lot of money into a chiropractor this past year, and more recently a massage therapist; together they're fixing up a bunch of things that have started going downhill and they've shown me a whole lot about how to keep things in good working order. They pointed me to an exercise program that a) even someone as puny as me can do, and b) it seems to actually be working (albeit slowly).
To round this all out, there is supposed to be a government-based alternative option to the retirement plan, too. We call it Social Security. It doesn't provide enough funds to actually cover basic living necessities, and furthermore, any attempts to make up the difference through other income sources are heavily penalized. I consider myself fortunate that I can afford a retirement plan.
08 October 2007
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Say what you like about the US Military, the retirement plan (especially for somebody like me who came in under "High Three" in the early 80's) can't be beat. In addition to my retirement plan, I've got the VA for medical needs, which while not too bad is fairly overtaxed at the moment for obvious reasons. But I'm fortunate to also have full coverage under my wife's insurance, which takes care of anything the VA doesn't and gives me a degree of flexibility in medical needs. This is a good thing since I'm fairly busted up these days and can't always make the 80 miles trip into Anchorage to visit the VA Hospital.
But it was a long hard road getting here and I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't covered. You're absolutely right, MWT, to think ahead and get a plan in place now. A lot of folks don't, and end up paying for it big time later in life.
It certainly beats worrying endlessly about it back when I couldn't afford it yet. I'm fortunate that I've reached a point where I can. I'm also fortunate to have avoided some of the tighter situations people find themselves in, though I've had to do a few things I don't look back on very proudly.
Hmm, I'm not sure what I've ever said about the US Military to get a "say what you like about the US Military." It would've been an option to consider had I stood a chance of surviving boot camp. It's too bad there's no way to get to the parts where I can do something useful without doing that first.
As to that "say what like about..." I didn't mean you'd ever said anything, I just tend to start conversations that way these days. For some reason. And it's usually me who say something disparaging. Don't sweat it.
by the way, you've said that you're working in Global Climate Change research. Science, has done more to improve the human species as a whole than the military ever has. MWT, I suspect that in the long run your contributions to the world as a whole will turn out to be a heck of a lot more useful, and longer lasting, than if you'd been able to make it through boot camp. You have my respect and gratitude - now if we could just get this asshat of a president to listen...
The respect and gratitude is returned manifold. If it weren't for people like you who volunteer to put your lives on hold so the rest of us can continue to live ours, we probably wouldn't be doing much science, either. We all do our parts. :)
Only 1.33 more years...
Only 1.33 more years...
Not that we're counting or anything though, right? :)
'Course not. And certainly not with a calculator. :)
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