Let’s start off by saying that Robert L. Citron has gone on to greener pastures. Poor Bob, a really eclectic full time USC Trojan Fan, Astrology Devotee and best of all – a really in the know kind of guy with Orange County Supervisors, Orange County School Districts, Orange County Sanitation Districts, Orange County Water Districts and even a few San Diego entities….that shall not be disclosed. Bob wound up doing a year in jail, mainly for calling his off the shelf Astrological Consultant about “what to do about bonds”. “Know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away…Know when to run. You never count your money when you are sitting at the table….there’ll be time enough for counting….when the dealin’s done!” Every time she gave him that advice it cost him another $100 bucks. Brutal. Anyway, Bob lived longer than his jail sentence and was able to Bankrupt Orange County to the tune of $1.6 Billion dollars, plus interest of course…..and was still able to collect his bullet proof $92,000 dollar a year pension till his passing at 87! So, since his retirement at say 65 that’s a cool $2 million, $24,000 dollars collected in his Orange County Pension. We are pretty sure Bob was a real competitor and wanted to be sure he was able to beat the County out of another $2 million plus bucks before he left for Heaven’s Heritage Hall.
Today, most folks are having a pretty tough time thinking about Pensions. Most Private Sector Companies are Outsourcing, Off-Shoring jobs as fast as they can and then finding Private Equity Companies like Blackstone and Bain Capital to bury them in debt – go BK and devoid themselves of any Employee Pensions what-so-ever. Well, they obviously have to leave the Defined Benefit 401K’s in place required by law – but grudgingly! As everyone knows those wonderful Retirement Accounts and Company provided Pension plans were all tied into the Stock Market and after 2008…..most people could more or less figure out that whatever was in there before the crash…..was not going to be there much after. Interestingly enough, yesterday the news told everyone that the Stock Market has hit Historic Highs! Does that mean that all those Big Cap or Small Cap Investments in the few Private Retirement Accounts left in the country have spiked and all is well? Not really! Let’s see, Stocks took a tumble at the end of the Dot.Com rise, after 9/11, after we went to war in Iraq, after we left Iraq and will probably do so again next year if we decide to leave Afghanistan. This is called Uncertainty! Not particularly good if you are planning to retire anytime soon.
Folks with their own companies have been trying to put away something in their own IRA or ROTH Accounts for many years. It is truly a dicey game and never quite know which Administration is going to put the screws to various Investment Stocks, Bonds or Commodities. So, a bunch of folks jumped on board the “giant sucking sound” and became Day Traders, Hedge Fund Managers, Derivative Analysts. They worked for guys like Goldman-Sachs, J.P. Morgan and in the day Bernie Madoff. They made millions and millions and millions and some like Bernard Goldfein, Hank Paulsen and Jamie Dimon – Billions!
Ah, but back to everyday civilians that at 50 now have lost their long term employment to outsourcing, off-shoring or technology innovations. They have little chance to re-join the work force and are finding it hard not to go back into their Retirement Money….just to pay current bills or that nasty built up debt that accompanies – long term unemployment! The rumors are that most folks never accumulate much more than $25K to $55K before they retire. Those that have been lucky, thoughtful and that have watched every dime – may accumulate a little over $100,000 before they start to get their big Social Security check which goes from a little over $1000 dollars a month to $15,000 a year. You don’t have to be an Actuary to figure out that unless you have a Retirement Income of at least $5,000 a month at age 65……you will not be living a very Middle Class lifestyle right here in Orange County, California.
You may have noticed, that nothing has been said about Healthcare in your Retirement Plans? You know, now that you are going to live to a at least a ripe old Bob Citron age…say 87 – what happens if you encounter ailing health? Not to worry, companies like Glaxco-Smith-Kline have recently come up with a pretty good treatment for Alzheimers….at least for 85% of the folks that get the drugs and treatments. Hey, that is pretty cool. What about the other list of 100 bad things that can happen after Retirement? Hey, maybe modern medicine and ObamaCare will save us all. Who knows? Big Pharma will not….because they just want bigger profits and more television advertising….obviously.
How about those entreaties by your mom when you were 16. “Put a dollar or two away every week and save something for a raining day. Those dollars will build and soon you will have a little security!” Of course in those days, most of us those the philosophy was: “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young and Leave a Beautiful Memory!” or “Faster Horses, Younger Women and More Money!”. Heck, back in the ’60s and ’70 and ’80s everyone had jobs if you wanted one. Those that didn’t want to work got Food Stamps from LBJ and Public Assistance from Jimmy Carter. Everyone had money for gas, beer and potato chips! Well, those Baby Boomers knew how to live alright. They lived off their parents as best they could. They tried not to go into the military service. They finally went into Real Estate or jobs in the Financial Markets that they got through friends of their parents. Remember Ms. Robinson i.e., “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman?
We had Bob-Carol-Ted and Alice days, 80’s Ladies, The Apartment, California Suite, Down & Out in Beverly Hills, Saturday Night Fever, Carnal Knowledge and 1000 more examples of how to live large! But, something happened after Reagan left office – something we couldn’t put our finger on, but there was a quesy and uneasy feeling about George Bush “The Elder”, the invasion by Iraq of Kuwait, “Iraqui Freedom”, one term and GHWB being part of a company called Enron after he left office. The growth of exports of our best agricultural and dairy products, then those lovely HI-B Visas bringing so-called engineering expertise from foreign countries we could not produce here, the Mequiladoras that produced American Products on the other side of the Mexican Border, NAFTA, the Canadian exploitation of our Auto and Film Industries……hey, where are Americans going to work? Wal-marts, Costos, Targets, CVS, Rite-Aide and of course any thing you might even bearly consider as a Service Industry job – like restaurants, fast food, UPS and Fed Ex. What about the glut of illegal immigrants that want those same jobs?
The Clinton years brought some other Canary in the Coal Mine moments: WACO, Whitewater, Ruby Ridge, The Unibomber, Elian Gonzales, the bombings in Yugoslavia, The Bombing of the World Trade Center (the first one), The bombings of our Embassies in Africa….but hey, we are talking about Retirement and Pensions here! George and Laura took over after Clinton had removed the protections for consumers of Glass-Seagal and allowed Sub-Prime Mortgages and unfettered Hedge and Derivative Markets to flourish. Then we got 9/11 and our war with Iraq (Part II), Afghanistan…..and lots of wounded warriors coming home – some hospitalized, some PTSD victims – some not coming home. Today, those that come home from the military are finding ever so tough to find jobs after the service. With the military cut-backs – they will not be able to stay in and get Retirement.
That leaves our so-called Public Servants. Congress people, Senators, Bureaucrats, State Workers, Teachers, Police and Fire along with Sanitation Workers and anyone that works for the Public Utilities – Gas and Electric. Even these blue and white collar types are finding it harder and harder to Retirement, Pensions that can add to an adequate lifestyle after 65. We have arrived at a time of two and three tiered Pension programs. Only those elite Global Investment Bankers seem to be exempt from downsizing of Pensions, Retirement and Medical Insurance after 65.
So, let’s finally figure this out: If you were able to accumulate $250,000 in investment equity prior to Retirement and are able today to get a 8% return annually – or $20,000 dollars plus Social Security of say $15,000 gives you a Retirement Income of $35,000 a year. If you are capable of getting 20% on your $250K that would be a decent $50,000 grand plus your $15,000 and now you have a livable $65,000 a year…….but what happens to that $65,000 in 10 years? What kind of prices will we all be paying for food, gas, insurance? Healthcare?
The glut of Baby Boomers and the rest of us…..are facing some interesting times. Perhaps, all of us should take a long look at how our Golden Years are going to look without a much stronger Social Security, a 100% Government paid Healthcare and a bigger Senior Discount on a variety of things!
Our first recollection of a minimum wage in California was in 1955. It had just gone from .90 cents to $1.10 an hour. In those days, $1000 dollars a month was big money. An automobile cost about $4,000 dollars. Gas was .32 cents a gallon. Well folks, there aren’t anymore Quarter Hair Cuts either. It looks to us that those Institutional Globalists have just one thing in mind: Put the United States in a race for the bottom. Move all our jobs to low cost foreign climes. Give no one either a decent living or a decent retirement. Would the real Americans please show up…..just this once to save our country. It ain’t the National Debt, or the National Accumulation of Trade Deficits. It’s not the Annual Budget Deficit – its a Congress that is getting theirs and doesn’t care what happens to those that have served their country or will serve their country in the days to come. It is hard for Congress people to grasp, they say: j “There’s plenty of money!” and so their is – for them! Just not for the rest of us!
Retiring Baby Boomers and the like………….. Good Luck to all of us! May we all suffer the Retirement woes of Bob Citron!