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September 16, 2013 at 6:58 AM
Use a Roth IRA as both an emergency fund and retirement savings? [“Roth IRA can be a backup emergency fund,” Business, Sept. 8.]
That is unwise. Folks who take that advice are likely to liquidate investments when the market is down to fix the car.
That will lead to disappointment. Disappointment will lead to an abandoned retirement plan. Sure, you could leave enough of the Roth IRA in cash to cover emergencies, but that is no solution.
In the long run, everyone needs a separate emergency fund in addition to a retirement plan that is invested for long-term growth.
Brian Wright, Seattle
September 6, 2013 at 6:54 AM
This Grandparents Day (Sunday), it is important that we take a minute to celebrate our aging loved ones and reflect on all the ways we can promote caring across generations.
All around the country, including right here in Seattle, groups are organizing storytelling activities and service projects that honor intergenerational relationships, highlight aging with dignity and independence and demonstrating our country’s growing need to support long-term care and caregivers.
Every eight seconds, another person turns 65 in our country. There has never been a better time to talk about care.
Robby Stern, president of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Seattle
March 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Defined-benefit retirement plans are sustainable
The Seattle Times editorial “Replace public pensions with contribution plan” [Opinion, Feb. 28] is wrong. Defined-benefit retirement plans are sustainable. In fact, a well-designed and properly managed defined-benefit plan is a very effective, cost-efficient benefit with less cost to the taxpayer. In Washington, employees pay 50 percent of the cost, so any risk is shared equally by employees and employers.
The Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters plan (LEOFF) demonstrates how a properly managed pension plan can work for employees, employers and taxpayers. It is fully funded, provides moderate benefits and is not projected to require any increased contributions despite the recent recession. All reputable economic studies have concluded that switching to a 401(k)-type plan simply results in less income for the same amount of money. Secure retirement benefits help to attract and retain competent, dedicated employees and respect retired citizens.
We should focus attention on urging the Legislature to be more responsible in funding our existing public retirement plans and on creating similarly effective plans for private workers. Dismantling secure retirement benefits, such as defined-benefit pensions, not only affects public employees and suppresses benefits for all workers, but it mostly hurts retired citizens by reducing their income. It is our shared responsibility to respect our retired and elderly citizens and to ensure for them the secure retirement they deserve.
–Kenny Stuart, president, Seattle Fire Fighters Union
March 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Plan would aid economy, threaten power structure
Your proposal to shift public-employee pensions out of defined benefit plans and into private 401(k)-like plans makes too much economic sense to ever be adopted [“Replace public pensions with contribution plan,” Opinion, Feb. 28].
As things now stand, the private economy through tax revenue must ultimately support government pensions anyhow. If government employees at all levels were to finally realize that their pensions (and their jobs) depend directly on the health of the economy, they might begin to question whether current government policies foster economic growth or hamper it. This could lead to a policy shift and to a vibrant, prospering economy.
However, by diminishing the illusion of government as our primary benefactor, such a plan threatens the existing power structure and therefore could never be taken seriously.
–Jesse B. Jolibois, Lakewood
February 27, 2013 at 7:00 AM
State figures are also a concern
Before The Times publishes articles critical of Norm Dicks’ pension as a retiring U.S. congressman, it should look right here in our own state of Washington [“Congress retirees’ pensions too high?” page one, Feb. 22]. I think you will find many public employees in this state who receive similar or greater benefits who are far-less-deserving.
An example might be a state legislator who has a long career, retires (or is voted out of office), then gets appointed to some cushy state job at a much higher salary, then receives retirement benefits based on those last two years salary. At least the congressman was a full-time legislator who represented his constituency 100 percent.
–Jim Jones, Marysville
February 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Financial security is being challenged for current retirees
It’s been a week since Michael A. Fletcher’s article appeared on the front page of The Times, and it still resonates — unpleasantly so — with many, like my wife and me [“Financial outlook grim for future retirees in U.S.,” Feb. 18]. The reality is that the economic perils described for “future retirees” (baby boomers) are already fully vested in the presently retired elderly. The presently retired elderly worked hard, saved religiously and entered retirement with a sound plan that would extend their Social Security, company pensions and hard-won savings through their final years.
Well, our Social Security is threatened by the vermin in Congress, half our pensions are consumed by much-needed health insurance and prescriptions, and the interest income from savings doesn’t exist thanks to greedy Wall Street bankers — 0 percent interest goes nowhere.
My wife and I, though more comfortable than many, may start scouting for an eventual place to live under a highway overpass.
Mr. Fletcher, the scope of your article was woefully inadequate.
–Jim Cornwell, Kent
February 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Live more sustainably
The page-one headline Feb. 18 was “Financial outlook grim for future retirees in U.S.” and the article talked about being “worse off” that our parents and about declining living standards.
We know that our consumption is way beyond anything sustainable. It has been said that the first 50 years we accumulate and the second 50 years we declutter. The process can be liberating, profitable and very comfortable.
We must use up, repair and wear out rather than buying new. We must live in smaller spaces rather than the biggest house on the biggest lot. We must invest in things that are useful and satisfying for the long haul rather than the fad of the moment. We must build relationships and community rather than a stockpile of trophy possessions.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of what they have.
–Jody Grage, Seattle
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