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Opinion Editorials

Will you get to retire? Boomers, their kids headed for sad reality

With the Boomer generation and their children on their current path, retirement will not be a reality for many, but there is an answer and it lies within in ourselves.

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Retirement no longer a priority

Considering the country’s last 40 years of economic history, one might conclude that retirement would be a top priority for most people. The 1970s brought us our first run-in with double digit inflation and interest rates. The 1980s began with a prime rate in excess of 20%. There was 14% inflation, give or take. The FHA interest rate hit around 16.5%. Unemployment was 9% — or higher if you believe the real, non-spun numbers.

The 1980s also saw the top marginal personal income tax rate slashed from 70% to 28%. Employment blew up positively, causing the unemployment rate to drop like a rock. The economy recovered, over 20 million jobs were added, and life was good.

Then, in the 1990s we endured the S&L ‘Crisis’. Commercial properties all over the nation ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar. Real estate in general was a no-go. In fact, I’d take it further. For around half that decade real estate was, to use an industry technical term, in limbo.

The only good thing about that decade was that after 10-15 years of drastically reduced taxes, welfare reform, and a reduction in capital gains taxes, our leaders in D.C. Gumped their way into a balanced budget — that is, as long as you didn’t look too closely at their accounting.

Enter the Darth Vader Economy

The Bubble came — had its way with us, and left. It was akin to an economic F-4 tornado following 5-8 years of perpetual spring and summer. In the process, regular folk invested in the Nasdaq, lost the shirts off their backs at the start of the century. I had a couple clients who literally lost almost 40% of their retirement nest egg in that crash. Try goin’ from $500,000 to just over $300,000 faster than you can watch it happen.

Same thing happened on a bigger scale in 2008. Imagine being retired in 2007 when the stock market crash of 2008 hit. Or, how ’bout those poor people scheduled to retire in late 2008? That couldn’t have been a normal Thanksgiving.

The current unemployment fiction says over 8% of us are unemployed. Really? Yup, it’s true. ‘Course to get to that figure those in power found it necessary to remove more than a million citizens from the equation. Seems you’re not unemployed after a certain time period. Who knew?

Rents are now rising while vacancy rates are falling. Not everywhere, but it appears to be a nationwide trend. We’ll see. The percentage of Americans buying their own homes is decreasing annually. Most of us have realized by now, that this isn’t just another economic cycle which will end by completing the circle with a pretty ‘recovery bow’.

The retirements of millions of Boomer-Americans are not only gonna be postponed. Many will never truly retire. They will never stop working. Those who can’t will begin living with family, almost always one of their kids. If not, their kids will at least be providing significant financial support to fill the gap. This will necessarily stretch their kids’ budgets, while simultaneously transferring potential investment dollars to parent care dollars. I realize that’s not fun to read. It’s a whole buncha real though — and like a virus it’s already spreading.

The Catch-22 for Boomers’ progeny

Many have indeed learned from watching older generations in their family retire less than well. The writing on the wall for thousands of Boomers’ kids is that one, if not both their parents will need them as they reach retirement age and older. On one hand they realize they need to prepare seriously for their own retirement. On the other hand reality inserts their parents into their longterm planning. They want to execute a solid retirement plan. But diverting significant investment capital to maintain Mom and/or Dad in their old age acts as a governor of sorts on how effective their plan can be.

What to do?

I hate to put it this way, but it depends. 401Ks are a virtual guaranteed loser. Ditto with IRAs. Let’s not debate those statements. Do your own surveys. Whenever I’ve challenged people to do that, they’re astounded by the fact they can’t locate anyone who’s retired with even a mediocre income via their job related ‘retirement plan’. Real estate investing takes seed capital and capital reserves. Most of ’em believe Social Security is an oxymoronic phrase — and why should be blame them? Pensions are only found (except for gov’t workers) in history books.

The only hope for BoomerKids

They need to face a harsh reality. The government isn’t their mommy. Trying to rob those who spend their lives as magnificent producers in order to fund their own needs is not only a losing strategy, it’s for losers. The majority of our kids better step up to the plate and realize any form of consistent collectivist government is a guaranteed FAIL. Millions are now watching with their own ‘lyin’ eyes’ how low the bar is set when their parents’ ‘Golden Years’ are financed by others’ efforts. Pretty soon those ‘others’ find a way to avoid playing the part of Peter in the Robbing Peter to pay Paul vignette.

Self reliance is the key. It’s what America was known for since its creation. We’re either gonna realize this and correct course, or we’ll pay the same price every citizen of every collectivist government has paid throughout history.  Complete and irreversible failure as a nation. Any nation is only as strong as it’s core beliefs and principles. They didn’t volunteer for this mission, but the offspring of the Boomer Generation will, for good or ill, be the pivot for America, the Idea. If they steer us back to our foundational values we’ll begin to pull back from the cliff’s edge. If, instead, they opt for keepin’ their hands in Peter’s pockets?

They’re not far from livin’ in a world where everyone is a ‘Paul’ and Peter left town. Then retirement will be something their grandparents did.

Jeff Brown specializes in real estate investment for retirement, has practiced real estate for over 40 years and is a veteran of over 200 tax deferred exchanges, many multi-state. Brown is a second generation broker and works daily with the third generation. With CCIM training and decades of hands on experience, Brown's expertise is highly sought after, some of which he shares on his real estate investing blog.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    March 15, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Amen brother!!

  2. Missy Caulk

    March 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Excellent, the Google+ button is not working. 🙁

  3. D Evans

    March 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

    401k’s, IRAs and Roths made us millionaires. Use them to your advantage.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    March 18, 2012 at 8:12 am

    some of this rings true but I can’t see children supporting parents. it just doesn’t happen which is a good thing. However I agree that many boomers will never stop working. because of that stock market crash, the recession and the housing crash I will need to work until I am at least 120 years old. Self employment is the only way to make that happen because people who are much over 50 rarely get job offers.

  5. Ryan

    April 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Aw, come on those sheep don’t need pensions. They don’t even need soical security. Their well-planned retirements will include vast stores of cat food and Ramen noodles.I read at HuffPo where some Dems in Congress were retaliating with Where are the jobs? since the house majority went to the GOP. Clearly that’s rhetorical because anyone with a pulse knows the GOP is exploiting the current situation without any real expectation of creating jobs despite what they might say at times.So in a political environment where many have drank the Kool-aid informing them that it’s not government’s job to help it is legitimate to ask what will help? and also why the only remedy available to the GOP (after possibly drowning government in the bathtub), corporate America, is not helping either. Isn’t it kind of strange this isn’t asked more? Good of you to point is out. Maybe it will catch on. Maybe the Dem leadership will start to play offense for the first time.Many say that the sheeple never turn their attention to the elite because they someday dream of joining the upper class. The sheeple would rather smack down the ones one rung higher on the ladder than move up themselves. That looks more like they’ve concluded reaching the upper class is an unattainable dream and they’re just spiteful. Clearly they trust the hand that feeds them poorly more than those who say they can change the hand that feeds.They can’t seem to get their heads around how it is exactly the corporate failure to help them that has made the corporate successes possible.

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Opinion Editorials

6 skills humans have that AI doesn’t… yet

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the growing power and skill of AI, but here are a few skills where we have the upper hand.

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Man drawing on a roll of butcher paper, where AI cannot express themselves yet.

AI is taking over the workforce as we know it. Burgers are already being flipped by robotic arms (and being flipped better), and it’s only a matter of time before commercial trucks and cars will be driven by robots (and, probably, be driven better).

It may feel unnerving to think about the shrinking number of job possibilities for future humans – what jobs will be around for humans when AI can do almost everything better than we can?

To our relief (exhale!), there are a few select skills that humans will (hopefully) always be better at than AI. The strengths that we have over AI fall into 3 general categories: Ability to convey emotion, management over others, and creativity.

Let’s break it down: Here are 6 skills that we as humans should be focusing on right now.

Our ability to undertake non-verbal communication

What does this mean for humans? We need to develop our ability to understand and communicate body language, knowing looks, and other non-verbal cues. Additionally, we need to refine our ability to make others feel warm and heard – if you work in the hospitality industry, mastering these abilities will give you an edge over the AI technologies that might replace you.

Our ability to show deep empathy to customers

Unlike AI, we share experiences with other humans and can therefore show empathy to customers. Never underestimate how powerful your deep understanding of being human will be when you’re pitted against a robot for a job. It might just be the thing that gives you a cutting edge.

Our ability to undertake growth management

As of this moment, humans are superior to AI when it comes to managing others. We are able to support organization members in developing their skillsets and, due to our coaching ability, we are able to help others to grow professionally. Take that, AI!

Our ability to employ mind management

What this essentially means is that we can support others. Humans have counseling skills, which means we are able to help someone in distress, whether that stems from interpersonal relationships or professional problems. Can you imagine an AI therapist?

Our ability to perform collective intelligence management

Human creativity, especially as it relates to putting individual ideas together to form an innovative new one, gives us a leg up when competing against AI. Humans are able to foster group thought, to manage and channel it, to create something bigger and better than what existed before. Like, when we created AI in the first place.

Our ability to realize new ideas in an organization

Think: Elevator pitch. Humans are masters of marketing new ideas and are completely in-tune with how to propose new concepts to an organization because, you guessed it, we too are human. If the manager remains human in the future (fingers crossed!), then we know what to say to them to best sell our point of view.

Using what we know, it’s essential for almost all of us to retrain for an AI-driven economy that is most likely just a few years away. My advice for my fellow humans? Develop the parts of you that make you human. Practice eye contact and listening. Think about big pictures and the best way to manage others. Sharpen your mind with practicing creative processes. And do stay up to date with current trends in AI tech. Sooner or later, these babies are bound to be your co-workers.

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Opinion Editorials

Questions you wished recruiters would answer

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Job searching is anxiety inducing, and not getting feedback can be tough. What can job seekers, recruiters, and HR do to make it easier?

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Two men interviewing at a table, job searching.

Job searching can be frustrating and stressful – not to mention anxiety-driven – but also sometimes filled with hope and excitement for a new opportunity on the horizon. Most people aren’t huge fans of multiple interviews, constantly selling themselves, or the uncertainty of when an exciting offer will come their way. Here are some considerations to try to put it in to a healthy perspective.

Yes, you will feel stressed and anxious. If you can, allow yourself to accept these feelings as part of your journey in life. Take note of what can you do to move forward, and hopefully it will propel your energy into time and space that is well spent.

Just know that you are not alone on a myriad of questions that no one has really answered for you. That is mostly due to the other side of the table which usually includes Human Resources and a Hiring Manager.

Question: What is the status of my application?

Answer: It really depends. Did you apply online? Is it sitting in an ATS (Applicant Tracking System = software to track job applicants and open job requisitions)? Has anyone looked at it? Have you gone through a recruiter and are waiting to hear back? Have you sent it to a friend or former colleague who works at that institution? Do we know if this position is still open?

Ideas to move forward: If there is anyone you can get in touch with about your application, do it. Send a polite email to them asking if there’s any chance if the position is still open and/or if your application has been reviewed. If there is no one to get in touch with, keep moving forward in your job searching. ATS’s are GREAT for the employer. They help track applicants and scan for keywords. The challenge is they may not be great for the job seeker and might be sitting in a black hole. Consider that 300 job searching applications are sitting there with yours.

It’s not that you are not good enough. And it’s not that you don’t have what it takes. It’s that your resume is combined with a lot of other information and may not even have been reviewed. They may have also filled the position and didn’t take the posting down.

OR, clients change their minds all the time – maybe they are going in a new direction with this role. See if you can find out the status first. And if you can’t, move on. You can learn more about ATS here from Jobscan.

Question: May I have feedback from my interview(s)?

Answer: Most likely, no. They may give you some simple answer “You didn’t quite have the experience they were looking for” or “We’ve hired an internal applicant.” Without getting into too many details and legal guidelines (that I’m not even sure I’m aware of), company representatives often cannot give too much feedback to an interview for fear of being sued. They don’t want to be sued for ageism, sexism, etc. so it’s easier to not give any feedback.

Please excuse the gross oversimplification here, but also think about the company. They may be trying to recruit new employees for 100s of positions. If they interview even 3-5 people per position, they just don’t have the time to give detailed feedback to every interview. Try to think back to a time that maybe you had a crush on someone and or were dating and it just didn’t fit or feel right. Did you want to have to give a detailed explanation or did you just hope you (and they) could move on? Move on if it’s not a right fit. NEXT.

Question: If not a fit for this role, am I fit for other roles within the organization?

Answer: You can certainly ask this if you are given a rejection (and not ghosted). The truth is, the team (or people) you were interviewing with are most likely not concerned with too many other roles in the organization. They may not have been briefed on what others are looking for nor care – going back to the time thing, they just don’t have a lot of it.

However, it could be worth asking on the off-chance that Jim from another department did mention to them he was looking for someone like you. However, if you don’t hear back on that, definitely do not take it personally. They likely have no clue and it may take you applying to another position or another person in your network helping you to identify this other role during the job searching process.

Question: Why did the recruiter ghost me?

Answer: Honestly, I’m sorry that they did. It’s crappy and doesn’t feel good. It’s disrespectful and really doesn’t leave a good impression. I don’t have an excuse for them other than to say that they’re busy working to fill roles. It’s unlikely that they are on a 100% commission basis but if they are, think about how they need to move on to the next thing to keep food on their table. And even though most get paid a decent base salary, each role does lead to commission for them. It is part of their job responsibilities to find and hire the right talent. Recruiters have a lot of metrics they need to hit and they only have so much time in the day like everyone else. They may not have the luxury of time to follow up with every person that is not the right fit.

I still believe they should let you know, but chalk it up as something out of control, do your best to move on.

Request to HR/Recruiters

If there is any way at all that you can make sure you keep in touch with your job searching candidates (even if it’s to say you don’t have new updates), you will really help their anxiety and help them balance timelines and possibly other interviews and offers.

As this article from Evil HR lady shares, if you are unable to give them feedback regarding their rejection for a position, consider offering a couple things you feel they could approve upon. Your advice may not even be job specific but here are some ideas to consider that may be helpful to the job seeker:

  • Make sure you answer the phone with enthusiasm and not sound like I interrupted you or you just woke up.
  • Be sure to do company and role research for every single interview.
  • Dress to impress – even if it’s a virtual interview (and don’t forget to test your camera and audio before).
  • Turn off your phone and IM notifications when interviewing to minimize distractions.
  • Thank you emails or snail mail are still more than welcome and a nice gesture.
  • Google yourself and do a quick look at what a recruiter might see if they Google you – are impressive and professional details coming up? If not, you may want to work on pushing out some thoughtful content.
  • Tread lightly with insincere LinkedIn connection requests.

You cannot control the process so you must hold onto your hope and continue to make efforts. Hopefully this help shares some insights and helps to normalize this process.

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Opinion Editorials

Woman fired for premarital sex, raises questions of company culture

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) This unfortunate circumstance for a former David Ramsey employee has raised the age-old conversation of how to enforce a company culture.

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Company culture being established around a meeting table with dark colored drinks and notebooks.

America, the land of the free, and the opinionated. And in company culture, this is no different.

Over the years the US has grown and changed. A nation that over the centuries formed from the amalgamation of beliefs and cultures. Now let us be frank, there is a majority in certain beliefs and practices. Those groups can also sometimes come with rather large mouth pieces as well, but that isn’t always a bad thing. People’s moral and cultural compasses influence the world around us. Ultimately, we can create cults or communities. We can be harmful or helpful with how we choose to influence those around us.

When you combine that with economics, though, that’s when things can get tricky. The difficulties of mixing the cooperate world with morals and beliefs can get expensive. There are numerous instances of companies being sued for wrongful termination. Currently, Dave Ramsey’s company has recently come into the spotlight due to a lawsuit being filed against them by a disgruntled employee. The company culture has strict rules against certain extracurricular activities. Now usually people would think they would mean recreational drugs, but not in this case. As of March 8th, Ramsey Solutions has reportedly fired 8 employees over the last 5 years for engaging in premarital sex.

Caitlin O’Connor is the latest employee to deal with this situation. Now, while some of us may have seen this company culture and decided to just keep life and work separate, there’s another difficulty here. Ms. O’Connor has recently become pregnant, which leaves no doubt about her outside of work activities. Now there is a number of different emotions that happen here. A woman who is now pregnant is losing her job. This may be a person who has no desire to get married and now she’s thrust into unemployment for doing nothing but enjoying a part of life. It is a frustrating situation to say the least on her side.

In that frustration on the part of Ms. O’Connor, however, there are also similar issues on the part of the company. While they have set up this company culture and laid down rules for all their employees, they now have to uphold and find a replacement for this resource completely unexpectedly. It was not only clearly laid out in their company guidelines that they do not condone this behavior, nor its implications, but Ms. O’Connor openly admitted that she was aware of the implications of her actions as well. This company has built a community with expectations and is willing to uphold them. That is their right.

I remember growing up there was a cake shop in Colorado that refused to create a cake for a gay couple based upon their religious beliefs. It was back in 2012. In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that the shop had the right to refuse service based on their beliefs, which to be honest was my expectation. However, in the process of this that particular his business has not flourished. Ultimately one has to decide whether they want to follow their beliefs in the face of economic hardship. It’s a true show of faith of course but also, is it practical.

Living your life, your way, is the point of this country. We have to remember to share that space with those who believe differently. Bringing no harm to others is one thing, but can we truly be a common people if we refuse to go outside of our own beliefs and morals?

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