Russians will consume marinated mushrooms and vodka, salted herring and vodka, smoked salmon and vodka, salami and vodka, caviar on brown bread and vodka, pickled cucumbers and vodka, cold tongue and vodka, red beet salad and vodka, scallions and vodka-anything and everything and vodka.

— Hedrick Smith

The most provocative Hedrick Smith quotes that will activate your desire to change

Less money for retirees means less purchasing power means less economic growth overall. It's a big problem.

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In Western Europe, most countries have variations of the lifetime pension system for most workers so they are keeping the system that we are walking away from. By comparison, 50% of the American workforce is not offered any retirement plan by their employers. And of those who are offered a plan, roughly 25% do not choose to join. In other words, everything is voluntary, and that's one of the reasons our results are so perilous for most people.

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It's probably also smart to keep some money in cash to invest it.

But I would resist at all costs taking a lump-sum distribution because the tendency is to spend out too fast in the early years of your retirement. The advice of professionals is to take out no more than 5% per year and that will give you 20 years of distributions, and at your age, 55, you probably have more than 20 years life expectancy.

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The issue of the pension gap has got to become visible and important to millions of people before Washington will respond seriously. Right now, everyone thinks it's his or her own problem and that individuals have to do better and save more. Of course, that is true. We all have to save more and take responsibility for our own retirement. But we have a huge social and economic problem on our hands.

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I personally make sure that some of my investments are in foreign securities or in international commodity portfolios that are independent of the US dollar. But that's a personal preference. I do not invest in currencies because it's so complicated and so risky. I would not attempt that without excellent professional help.

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Television's compelling power is its immediacy .

.. this immediacy feeds the politics of emotions, gut reactions and impressions rather than the politics of logic, facts and reason; it emphasizes personality rather than issues.

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It's usually much easier for people with professional skills to find work for themselves or even possibly to continue with their old employer, but on a part-time basis. Some labor economists predict that in about five years there will be a labor shortage in the United States and that demand for retirees to work part-time will grow naturally. I don't know if that's true or just wishful predicting.

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Only if enough ordinary Americans speak up and demand better from both their employers and their government is the system going to get fixed. But first of all, we have to understand how serious the problem is.

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If the experts are right in their calculations, then we face the prospect of millions of people retiring into poverty from the American middle class in the years ahead. That has all kinds of social and economic consequences. We need to anticipate those and start tackling the problem in a constructive way.

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The main problems are insufficient diversification and the failure to pick age-appropriate strategies - that is, more aggressive when you're younger, and more conservative when you approach retirement. But even then you have to invest for growth.

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There is no question that policy makers, corporate leaders, pension consultants, and journalists too have to get out into the real world to at least see the pain of retirement woes before they start to prescribe policies and solutions.

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One of the strongest lessons I learned in doing six months of work on retirement topic was how absolutely crucial the Social Security system is for the great mass of Americans. The research of professionals and our own reporting convinced me that many millions of people are not capable of effectively managing the finances for their own retirement.

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About Hedrick Smith

Quotes 18 sayings
Profession Reporter
Birthday July 9, 1933

One of the difficulties in getting to the bottom of the poor prospects for retirement is that the policy and intellectual elites, including corporate leadership, who are dealing with this problem, rarely have the same difficulties as the great majority of middle-income Americans.

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Social Security is the foundation stone of that kind of retirement security.

It not only needs to be strengthened in order to make sure it's there for younger baby boomers and Generations X and Y, but it probably needs to be strengthened and expanded because the retirement benefits now being offered by most employers are not sufficient to support middle-income Americans in their long years of retirement.

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It is absolutely stunning. You cannot read numbers that communicate what the reality is. That's part of what I'm trying to get across and that's partly why I use video.

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It really depends upon how much money you have in your account.

Having a monthly paycheck come in for the rest of your life is extremely important. So it would probably be smart to put some of your money into an annuity, which is a way of buying a monthly pension check.

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This is precisely the purpose of censorship - not only to block unwanted views, but to keep people who are unhappy from knowing how many millions of others share their unhappiness; to keep the dormant opposition from awakening to its own developing strength.

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