Working 'til you drop

Sad state of economy reduces prospects for retirement

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The old saw that “Life’s tough all over” isn’t just a dismissive gesture anymore. It’s simply a truism in today’s economy.

So when Georgia teachers lament the difficult impact on them of nine furlough days to save the state millions – as they did in a Monday Chronicle story – we’re not without sympathy. But we’re not without perspective, either.

Those in the private sector, which pays the public sector’s way, have it far worse. Businesses and entrepreneurs are losing sleep just trying to survive in today’s marketplace. “Joe’s Plumbing” isn’t guaranteed of existing next year; it’s a pretty good bet the state of Georgia will be around, though.

And furlough days? That would be a luxury in the private sector. Here, you get pay cuts without the commensurate time off. From that vantage point, being furloughed looks pretty good.

Moreover, in the public sector, one is guaranteed a retirement. In the private sector? Good luck!

“For boomers, it’s a new era of ‘work ’til you drop’,” said one headline on an Associated Press story Monday explaining that many workers today don’t see retirement in their future anymore.

The story profiled one insurance industry communications specialist in Wisconsin who, when she entered the workforce in 1972, thought “she’d do pretty much what her parents’ generation did: Work for just one or two companies over about 45 years before bidding farewell to co-workers at a retirement party and heading off into her sunset years with a pension.”

Reality has set in. At age 60, she sees nothing on the horizon resembling time off to enjoy her golden years.

“I’ll probably just work until I drop,” she said.

We wish it were otherwise. But if the public sector has a cold today, it’s because the private sector is battling pneumonia.

On the whole, we’d pick the cold.

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Techfan
6461
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Techfan 02/22/12 - 12:52 am
2
0
To heck with those overpaid

To heck with those overpaid teachers, cops, firemen, and EMTs. Sarcasm, in my book they're all unerpaid and overworked. Do the administrators and superintendent get furloughed as well?

david jennings
571
Points
david jennings 02/22/12 - 08:37 am
0
0
This all fired struggle of

This all fired struggle of life has left me with great diffiiculty in laboring under the misapprehension that there are some sort of "Golden Years" ahead for me. Happy I'm still able to work, Thank You Lord.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/22/12 - 08:56 am
1
0
I was feeling bad for the

I was feeling bad for the teachers lately, but this article showed me the light. Educated me one would say. Teachers will lose on average of $2,476 this year because of the furloughs, but at least they have a retirement plan and got some days off!! Of course kids will have less class time, which is good- we don't want them competing on a national level or even a global level; let alone even think about them going to a liberal college in the future. Heck, since most families are duel income (because that's what it takes now to survive it seems) one of the parents will probably have some extra days off too, since they have to be home with their children who should be in school. Win-win-win. No one likes school anyways.

Now that some teachers are taking a second job to make ends meet, they should count themselves even luckier because isn't that the American dream? Work hard and maybe you can pay your bills and feed your family?

Public sector does have it sweeter. Next time I see a cop, firefighter or teacher- I'll remind them how much easier they have it compared to "Joe’s Plumbing”.

burninater
9328
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burninater 02/22/12 - 12:46 pm
1
0
No offense, but if you've

No offense, but if you've been gainfully employed from 1972 and have not saved enough to safely retire, there's probably one person at whom to point the blaming finger. Is this responsibility envy we're seeing?

itsanotherday1
41319
Points
itsanotherday1 02/22/12 - 01:28 pm
0
0
Normally, I would high-five

Normally, I would high-five that comment burn, but there is a caveat these days, and that is the poor market of the last decade, and the fact that a lot of people had to dig into their savings just to keep their heads above water during this recession.

Otherwise, you are exactly right!

tiredofexcuses
6
Points
tiredofexcuses 02/22/12 - 04:41 pm
1
0
I love all the talk about how

I love all the talk about how people in the private sector or business world have taken a hit and it's only right for teachers to do the same. When the stock market was going gangbusters and the business world was on fire, did the teachers benefit like the business people or private sector did? No, they didn't. I'm tired of the private sector people whining because they didn't have the foresight to put away money when they were making it hand over fist. Now that they aren't, they want everyone to suffer with them. It's a classic risk-return scenario. The more risk you take with your earnings potential, the more you stand to either gain or lose. Everyone in the private sector knows this and should understand it. Educators chose a path that was not risky and also did not have pay scales to match the private sector. In lieu of the risk, they chose a moderate but stable income. Now that the economy has been down, the public sector has every right to expect to maintain their moderate salaries. The private sector simply can't have it both ways.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 02/22/12 - 05:16 pm
0
0
Ultimately, teachers would be

Ultimately, teachers would be better served if local taxes -- not state funds -- provided all the funding for local schools. Giving the state or federal government "say-so" over the budget opens a counterproductive can of worms.

That said, teachers ought to realize that spending on incredibly expensive technology, new buildings, and hiring all sorts of personnel in special ed have all, combined, worked to diminish their future wages and benefits.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 02/22/12 - 07:40 pm
0
0
Really socks? The problem

Really socks? The problem with teachers is that they want computers, a building to teach, and that people are hired to teach children with disabilities?

leawords
62
Points
leawords 02/22/12 - 08:08 pm
0
0
As a teacher in Richmond

As a teacher in Richmond County, I've watched my salary drop almost $10,000 in the past three years, even after going back to school (at a cost of nearly $12,000) and earning a Specialist's Degree. The sad thing is that if I worked in a neighboring Georgia county, I wouldn't have seen such a drastic reduction in salary. My friends teaching in Columbia County and Burke County aren't having to endure these furloughs. I love my job, my students, and my school. But I also love to eat something other than tuna and peanut butter every now and then. . . .

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