I thought that I was going to have to work until I was 70, but with my pension plan I can retire at 66.
I think me and my wife are going to be all right. I feel blessed.
-- Ralph D., Oxon Hill, MD, floor tech, has worked for the same employer for 33 years
Everyone should have (a pension) because it’s rough out here when you get a certain age and you can’t retire because you can’t afford to retire. People that retire still have to pay rent. They still have to get their medicine.
I’d like to work part-time to earn some extra money but nobody’s hiring, especially not a senior citizen. It’s pretty hard to get by on just $13,400 a year.
-- Esther L., 91, Bethesda, MD, retired
I worked all of my life to support my family and retired at age 65. I had some savings but no pension. I was widowed at an early age and had to raise my daughter on my own. Now I’m 91 years old and I have only Social Security for income.
My income from Social Security is not enough to live on. It was to my advantage to be in the Federal Employee Retirement System most of my career. My daughter has followed me as a civil servant, working for the federal government throughout her life. She started after 1985, so she has always been in the Thrift Savings Plan. She does not foresee the retirement comfort that I enjoy. I’m satisfied with my 15 years in retirement. -- Russell P., 79, McKeesport, PA, retired federal civil servant
That put my retirement time back. I've got to wait at least 10 more years, and I had planned on being out of here before then. I am very concerned.
-- Willie L., 53, Washington, D.C., electrician, has worked for the same employer for 32 years.
I have a 401k plan. With the recession, I call it a depression. I’ve lost a substantial amount of money -- around $50,000. I am really hurt by it. That’s my hard-earned money. I worked hard for it. And for something like this to happen to me, it’s just devastating.
Pensions provide security and an ability to retire with dignity to really enjoy your golden years.
-- Carol G., 56, San Jose, CA, retired
My husband died in 2003, and I would not have been able to retire without my pension. My pension allowed me to retire after 26½ years as an emergency dispatcher for Santa Clara County. I am really grateful that I have health care, too, which was negotiated as part of my pay package.
For most of my life, I ran a one-person architect shop. Then, what happened in 1993-1994 nearly killed me. My investments fell. The housing industry went into a slump. My daughters were starting college, and my mother was in a nursing home. These extra expenses wiped out most of my savings. Since then I’ve been trying to rebuild my retirement savings. The current downturn comes at exactly the wrong time. I gave up my own business and went to work for a firm. I will keep working as long as I can. -- Ed A., 69, Fairfax, VA, architect
I should be thinking about retirement, but I can’t even work part-time. I’ll have to continue to work full-time in order to make ends meet.
If anything ever happens and I won’t be able to work anymore, I’ll have nothing to fall back on.
After working all my life, I should be able to have some kind of retirement.
After being laid off, I had to use my 401(k) to pay my mortgage and other bills. Now as a childcare provider, I don’t have a pension or a 401(k). -- Lillie M., 61, Randallstown, MD, social worker, now a childcare provider
Thanks to Robert England Beth Myers and Anna Oman, SEIU Local 520 Trimica Gartrell and David Sachs, SEIU Pamela Tainter-Causey, NCPSSM Khanh Weinberg, SEIU Local 521