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Where has all our money gone? We earned it! We saved it! We spent it?

Jim Sandrick

While growing up I was my dad's apprentice, handing him tools. I learned to always have the best tools. I applied that theme to my practice and in 2004 took classes for certification. My focus is the emotional, physical and financial health of seniors.

The reason is that the accumulation of negative emotional issues manifest into physical disease, which can deplete funds for retirement. There are so many different issues facing seniors these days.

The common thread with the hundreds of seniors I have talked to is running out of money.

Social Security was enacted in 1935. The average life expectancy then was 61. Today it is 76 for men and 81 for women. Social Security was designed to last as long as we live. Today, there is uncertainty of its ability to fulfill its guarantee partially due to increasing lifespans. According to, a 2014 report from Social Security trustees said reserves will run out in 2034.

In 1875 the first Pension Plan was established to provide a lifetime income to retirees. But employers never thought that retirees would live 25 to 30 years. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a government fund created to protect workers in jeopardy of losing their pensions when companies, closed. To reduce overhead, employers started offering early retirement buyout packages. Shortly afterward companies filed bankruptcies. Retirees' funds in their “buyout” packages were cut in half.

The accidental birth of the 401k, 403b or 457 plans allowed full-time employees to fund accounts with pre-tax dollars partly matched by the employer. When workers retire, their “4” plan is converted into an IRA. Unlike the Pension there is no guaranteed lifetime income. Money drawn from Social Security or pensions could never be touched. Today, you can “borrow” money from your “4” account, which created two new problems.

1) Seniors who have been late on credit cards are taking money from retirement funds to make minimum payments on a cards now charging 25 percent.

2) Seniors are giving too much money to their kids and/or grandkids.

From birth, any money received was deposited in a bank. Your parents moved savings into CDs. According to during Jimmy Carter's term in office CD rates were 12 to 15 percent with rates as high as 22 percent but rates often dropped. The Federal Reserve lifted interest rates for first time since 2006. Savers know what the rates are today.

You know how you are spending. Perhaps it’s time to step back and revisit the value of moving from want to need.

Jim Sandrick is a certified senior adviser. Opinions are solely the writer’s. He can be reached at