Blue collar blues: Working hard, planning ahead and getting nowhere

October 10, 2011

This poor economy has destroyed any hopes of a level playing field for blue collar, working class people like me.

Only possessing a high school diploma and a skilled trade (barber), I knew that over my lifetime that I would probably not earn the same salary as my white collar counterparts. Therefore around age 20 (I am 43 now) I acquired a personal financial planner so I could at least make it to retirement age as secure as white collar individuals who earned higher wages during than their work years. I really thought I had my (and my family's) future safe and sound, but needless to say I was wrong.

I am very aware of investment risk, but this sagging era is different and sad. I rarely hear stories about working class people who did all the "right" things over their work years. I saved, invested, carried no consumer debt, paid my share of taxes and lived below my means, but one thing that I can never get back is the time value of money. With this struggling economy, compound interest is pretty much nonexistent. Wall Street types will retire with great pensions, but those of us who followed the rules correctly and could only play in their backyard (the stock market and mutual funds) hoping to get just a small piece of the pie are left with little to no hope.

Robert W. Cradle, Baltimore

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