There are have recently been many events affecting retirement. It is hard to know when we will pull out of our current recession, but it does make one wonder if we will be the last generation that will be able to retire. The American Dream, as we once understood it, may be very different for future generations.
For people that have been retired for awhile, it is a scary time as retirement funds continue to dwindle. People looking forward to retirement may postpone it, if possible, and continue to work until things improve. The latest government report shows household net worth dropped by 9 percent in the third quarter, which is the most since records were first kept almost 50 years ago. Even if people want to go back to work, the outlook is bleak as more people are losing their jobs and the number of unemployed has reached an all-time high with 5.3 million people receiving unemployment benefits, with another 1.4 million receiving extended benefits.
For the first time in history, there are as many women as men in the work force.
While women have made strides in recent history for equality in pay, we are still not there. So the fact that more women are working is a mixed blessing as it also means that those being laid off are often those with the higher pay, with women being retained due to their lower pay. Loss of pay is only one of the affects of unemployment. Families that that suffer this monetary loss of income, also suffer from emotional loss of self-worth and purpose.
Everyone is ready for this recession to be over and to go back to life as we knew it. Economists and newscasters continue to look for signs of progress and sometimes report hopeful stories. So when the stock market goes up, will people believe that it can be sustained?
I have always heard people speak of the American Spirit. From what I have observed, we are actually witnessing a time in history when people are showing hope, when all the indicators would show otherwise. It is a time to stay positive and to stay away from people who blame the government for all our ills and offer no solutions themselves.
Hope and optimism are contagious, but unfortunately, so are doom and gloom. Our country was built on optimism and I believe we will return to more optimistic times. Let’s make it so.