Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The myth of "Retirement Savings"


Advocates of Kiwisaver and other funded retirement savings schemes perpetuate the fundamental misunderstanding that "conventional" in New Zealand's case "neo-liberal" economists, speculators, finance companies, politicians and those with a lot of share holding wealth in non-productive enterprises like to perpetuate.

In other words all those who gain from wealth transfer from workers to non-productive wealthy parasites.

The myth is that, if we give our wealth to any of the above they will magically increase it due to the "miracle" of compounding interest from investment. Then give it back to us with extra when we retire.
US retirees are already finding out how that works.
The wealthy are keeping the retirement funds. Thanks very much!

"Saving" for retirement relies on three assumptions.

One. That an ever increasing amount of money equals a similar supply of real wealth and real capital.
Two. That an exponentially increasing wealth per person is possible in a finite world reaching resource limits.
Three. That putting money into increasing land prices and increasing derivative prices in the USA, a failing State, will somehow, "magically" mean more money (Healthcare, food, Housing etc) to support you or me in our retirement.

Retirement income, real income as opposed to monetary income, as does schooling healthcare, infrastructure supply and food, always comes from current production. If I do not eat my dinner today, it does not mean there is someone who can give me my dinner in my eighties.

If however, I ensure our young people have enough to eat, good health, training in skilled jobs, functioning and effective infrastructure and good jobs, or if these are not available, at least enough to live on, then New Zealand will be prosperous enough to support me in my old age.

The best investment for my old age then, is not giving my money away for financial wizards to lose, but to pay taxes to make sure that the next generation are happy, healthy, educated, employed and comfortable.

Also published in "The Standard".