I asked for STRENGTH that I might ACHIEVE.
He made me WEAK that I might OBEY.
I asked for HELP that I might do GREATER things.
I was given GRACE that I might do BETTER things.
I asked for RICHES that I might be HAPPY.
I was given POVERTY that I might be WISE.
I asked for POWER that I might have the PRAISE of man.
I was given WEAKNESS that I might feel the NEED of God.
I asked for ALL THINGS that I might ENJOY life.
I was given LIFE that I might ENJOY all things.
I received NOTHING that I ASKED for;
ALL that I HOPED for;
My PRAYER was ANSWERED!
According to the AP. Bolivia lowered their retirement age to 58, and will be backing the move with borrowed money. The authors state that Bolivia enacted a law Friday lowering the country's retirement age to 58, bucking a global trend in which countries push people to work longer to counteract the burden on national treasuries of rising life expectancy.
Critics say the law, which also nationalizes the pension system and generously extends coverage to the poor, is overly ambitious and unsustainable.
Leftist President Evo Morales signed the bill surrounded by members of the powerful Bolivian workers federation, which helped draft the law.
Bolivia's current retirement age is 65 for men and 60 for women.
"We are fulfilling a promise with the Bolivian people. We are creating a pension system that includes everyone," Morales he said at the signing ceremony.
The law, which takes effect in a year, also extends pensions to the 3 million people -- 60 percent of the working population -- who labor in the informal economy as everything from street vendors to bus drivers.
"Evo Morales thinks about the poor people, so they can have something for when they get old," said Juan Quispe, 45, a father of three without a pension who sells ice cream on the street outside the National Palace.
The new law will allow Bolivia's 70,000 miners to retire two years earlier -- or as soon as age 51 if they have worked in life-sapping conditions deep underground. Mothers with more than three children will also get special treatment: the right to retire at age 55.
Morales, an Aymara Indian and the country's first indigenous president, grew up a dirt-poor llama herder and later went on to become a coca-growers' union militant.
The socialism he preaches is rooted in the communitarianism of his native culture. Since taking office in 2006, he has put this landlocked Andean nation's natural gas reserves, main phone carrier and electrical grid under state control.
"This is enormously important, possibly one of the greatest advances for lower- and middle-income people in South America in the last 15 years," said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
But critics say the new law could breed financial disaster.
Jacob Funk Kierkegaard, an economist at the Peterson Institute in Washington, says he knows of no other country lowering its retirement age at a time when higher life expectancy is burdening national budgets with pension obligations.
"I would say that they are setting themselves up for a train wreck down the road," he said in a telephone interview. "That they should be willfully going down this road strikes me as very, very shortsighted."
Other countries are moving in the opposition direction. France has led the charge to raise the minimum retirement age in Europe, increasing it last month to 62, with full benefits not available until age 67. Even socialist Cuba has raised its retirement ages from 60 to 65 for men, and from 55 to 60 for women.
Bolivia's deputy pensions minister, Mario Guillen, says his nation should not be compared to the rest of the world.
"A lot of Bolivian workers perform jobs that are eminently physical, not intellectual, and this means that at age 55 they don't have the ability anymore to keep working," he told The Associated Press. "Yet we made them continue."
Bolivia's average life expectancy is 68 years for women and 63 years for men, according to the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division. The division puts the global average at 68 for both sexes, with western Europe at 80 and Latin America at 73.
In addition, Guillen said, the conditions spurring European governments to raise retirement ages -- more elderly people and falling birth rates -- don't exist in this country of 10 million where per capita annual gross national income was $1,620 in 2008.
Lowering the retirement age had long been a priority for the labor federation, a strong backer of Morales.
Bolivia's business community is not pleased, however.
The president of the country's Federation of Private Businessmen, Daniel Sanchez, called the new law unsustainable and complained that his group was never consulted on it.
And the government has not explained the financial details of how the new system will work.
"The government is preparing a banquet for 300,000 people, but inviting 3 million to partake," said pensions expert Alberto Bonadona. "It will collapse."
In order to provide for those 3 million new future pensioners, employers will pay the equivalent of 3 percent of their payrolls into a "solidarity fund." Workers will add 0.5 percent of their wages on top of retirement contributions of their own.
Informal sector workers will qualify for pensions if they pay at least $13 a month into pension funds over a decade. They would then qualify for pensions beginning at $68 a month.
Thirteen years ago, Bolivia privatized pension funds after a state-run system collapsed under a cloud of mismanagement and theft.
Currently, Bolivia's two pension funds, covering 1.2 million private- and public-sector workers, are privately run by Zurich Financial Services and the BBVA bank. Together, they manage $4.5 billion.
However, the state has borrowed most of that money -- $3 billion at 2.6 percent interest -- and critics cite that as a worrisome precedent how the government will now administer all pensions.
Associated Press writers Paola Flores reported this story from La Paz and Frank Bajak from Bogota, Colombia. AP writer Carlos Valdez in La Paz contributed to this report.
One of the major concerns shared by most of our readers is: "Will I have enough money when I retire?" Until recently, most people could accurately estimate how much they could reasonably expect to have accumulated at the point of their retirement. With the uncertainty of today's economic climate, that is becoming all but impossible for a growing number of Americans.
With the current economic policies now in effect in the United States, the value of your money is slowly being diminished. The last couple of years have brought on rampant federal spending, numerous bailouts, and an explosive increase in the national debt. Inflation, devaluation of the dollar, monotizing of our national debt, the absolute uncertainty of global economic conditions, and future actions of congress and the Federal Reserve leave even the best prognosticators bewildered. How much will $100 in today's dollars be worth in comparative dollars 10 years from now? Sure, it will still be a $100 dollar bill, but what will you be able to buy with it at that time…half a tank of gasoline, a small sack of groceries, or a family dinner at Taco Bell?
Today I talked with a friend who's brother refinanced his home a little over one year ago. During the intervening year, his home has lost some 60-65% of its value and its owner finds himself living on a street that is lined with vacant houses. Why is his home worth 60-65% less than it was a year ago? There is no simple answer, but it involves our stagnated economy, our jobless recovery, the devaluation of the dollar, the treacherous real estate market in his location, etc. etc. etc.
This week revealed the fact that the Fed had secretly loaned trillions of dollars to foreign banks and institutions. Secret Federal Reserve System data released on December 1 revealed that the Fed and its member banks bailed themselves out with more that $10 trillion in emergency funds, with trillions going to European and other foreign banks. This previously undisclosed information was made available after Congress passed and the President signed Ron Paul's (R-Texas) bill calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve.
The Fed was forced to hand over details about six emergency loan programs, trillions in "asset purchases," the bailout details of certain favored firms like AIG, and "currency swaps" with foreign central banks, These facts have had a shocking effect upon financial analysts and lawmakers. The $700 billion Wall Street bailout turned out to be mere pen money compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans the Fed lent to major banks and financial institutions. After years of hidden practices and stonewalling by the Fed, Americans are finally learning the incredible details of the multi trillion dollar bailouts of Wall Street and corporate America. 2011 will see Congress taking an extensive look at all aspects of how the Federal Reserve functions.
Our country is in trouble. Millions are living under the constant threat of losing their jobs, their homes, their families, their retirement accounts, and many other cherished things. There are no easy answers and there will be no quick-fixes. Our country may be facing major downward economic adjustments and may even be flirting with possible bankruptcy, and loss of the lives we have grown so accustomed to enjoying.
Yet, there is good news...when man and women get desperate, they turn to God. While it is obvious that many took their eyes off the Lord to discover what men could do for them, they have now realized what man can't do for them and are turning back to God. What are we to do? Draw near to the Lord and cultivate an intimate relationship with him.
Pray and seek God's wisdom, trust in the Lord, be thankful for your many blessings and give back to the Lord, look for opportunities to help other people, cut your spending, establish a cash emergency fund, work diligently to pay off your mortgage, pay off your credit cards, save all you can, invest in a widely diverse portfolio, and enjoy life in spite of all the troubling news that bombards you. Things may get worse, but they will also get better; make the most of the life God has entrusted to you. Your devalued money may just enrich your life.by christianretirement.com
Millions of peoples' retirement accounts could be diminished by the potential massive debt crisis looming in America's future. According to a Washington Post editorial by Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC.)
"The US needs to take urgent action to cut its debt in order to prevent the next financial crisis, which may start in Washington. The federal debt has doubled over the past seven years, to almost $14 trillion, and the growth is a result of both the financial crisis and the government's 'unwillingness over many years to make the hard choices necessary to rein in our long-term structural deficit,'" Bair wrote.
Retiring baby boomers will impact government spending heavily and this year, combined spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are expected to make up 45 percent of primary federal spending, compared with 27 percent in 1975, she explained.
"Defense spending is similarly unsustainable, and our tax code is riddled with special-interest provisions that have little to do with our broader economic prosperity," Bair wrote. "Overly generous tax subsidies for housing and health care have contributed to rising costs and misallocation of resources."
If no action is taken, US federal debt held by the public could rise from 62 percent of gross domestic product this year to 185 percent in 2035, she warned.
"Eventually, this relentless federal borrowing will directly threaten our financial stability by undermining the confidence that investors have in U.S. government obligations," Bair said.
"With more than 70 percent of United States Treasury obligations held by private investors scheduled to mature in the next five years, an erosion of investor confidence would lead to sharp increases in government and private borrowing costs," she added.
There needs to be "a bipartisan national commitment" for an austerity package of both spending cuts and tax increases over many years in order to solve the problem, according to Bair.
"Most of the needed changes will be unpopular, and they are likely to affect every interest group in some way," she said.
We at Christian retirement suggest the following actions and ideas for your consideration that can positively impact your future retirement:
1. Readjust your lifestyle to live on less
2. Make saving a priority
3. Cut personal spending
4. Establish and contribute to your personal retirement account
5. Widely diversify your investments after seeking competent professional advice
6. Plan on the possibility of having to retire on less than you may have anticipated
7. Expect the value of your home to decline during the coming years
8. Anticipate the eroding power of inflation
9. Consider investing in and taking possession of precious metals
10. Discuss your options and prioritize your retirement plans
11. Contact your congressmen to express your concerns and share your opinions and personal wishesby Christian Retirement . com