Did You Put Off Saving For Retirement?
This subject is an area where the failed expectations and the controlling nature of the JW religion can really be felt. Being disappointed about failed expectations is one thing but the adverse effect of finding oneself in the latter days of life without a comfortable means of support is something else. True, a lot of people fail to make proper plans for the future but the Watchtower combined retirement/insurance plan is woefully lacking in any payout.
I wish I knew 20 years ago what I now know to be true and had started a regular savings plan for just a modest amount. Compound interest is a wonderful thing. It is important that everyone consider the effects of untimely death and make sure that dependants are adequately cared for after our unscheduled demise.
A while back I wondered what my JW elder and oldest brother was doing for retirement savings and asked him in a round about way but he declined to give an answer (he did a lot of that until he stopped corresponding all together). Like Anne, I have been acused of being materialistic by my parents but that I believe was spoken in frustration that I am far away and cannot be controlled by them. I do have a much better standard of living than they ever had but that is partly because I have a career (unlike my Dad) and made choices in life based on my working skills and have been prepared to get an education, retrain when necessary and relocate. Part of that process now includes planning for the post-work period of my life and I think it bugs my parents when I discuss plans for son's college education, his career and my retirement. In the 1950's when my parents became JWs armaggedon was 'just around the corner', and it still is...it's some corner is all I can say.
Hey El Cid,
You Wrote: Well, the years went by and no 'Armageddon', so my father had to keep working way past retirement age until basically he was too old and nobody would hire him (he was 72 by then). So he was forced to retire - no 401K, no pension plan, no savings. All he had was Social Security
I'm sorry to hear about your father's financial woes. It is sad that he gave so many of his years to the WT and then died without having the finances to enjoy his remaining years. It is sadder still that your mother now has to suffer because the GB misled your father into thinking that the end was just around the corner. I just hope that any lurkers here will wise up and save for their future. The WT will certainly not fund their retirement.
You Wrote:Well our discussion kept going until we got to the subject of 401k's and pensions. He still thinks this is totally unnecessary, because Armageddon is going to come and he'll never be old enough in this system of things to retire and besides, they can just come and live with me, right? Hmmmm....
It is amazing how firmly the WT has taken away the human ability to think for oneself. Instead of putting away money for the future, they continue to trust in the big A coming soon. Couldn't the Witnesses just view the retirement fund as a savings plan. Why would God condemn anyone for putting money away for their future or to provide monies in case of their untimely deaths? Of course, he wouldn't do that. I hope that your father comes to his senses.
You wrote: She is glad now that she did. She collects from her pension, social security and interest from her savings. I am glad too. A sister in her congregation had to go back to work because her JW husband's retirement was not going to be able to support them both. She had not participated enough in the SS plan to collect anything. Her daughter was also allowed to quit school at 15 and pioneer because the end was coming in 1975. This daughter had to go back to school later to get her diploma so she could go to voc tech.
Sometimes it takes a crisis in ones life to realize that the JW world is nothing more than a pipe dream. I'm glad that your mother was able to see that even though it took a divorce for her to see it. The scenario that you described above is all too familiar among the JW's. Just trust in Jehovah and he will provide. Then why did God give us a brain with which to think and hands with which to work. It is our God given responsibility to care for our families financially so that they will not be under intense duress in the event of our untimely deaths. And also if we live to retirement we can actually enjoy our golden years.
You wrote: Around the same time, I had a close friendship with two "anointed" couples who were in their eighties and nineties. I'm not kidding when I tell you that after the husbands died both wives expressed to me their doubts that their mates were in heaven or that they themselves would be going there. Instead of realizing that their lives had been spent in futility, I did my best to encourage and assure them concerning what should have been their glorious hope.
This is so sad Herk. I was always of the mindset that the anointed had an unshakeable faith. These poor people spent their whole lives toiling for the WT. To admit that they had wasted their lives slaving for a manmade organization must have been too much to bear. I think you did them a kindness by encouraging them. Even if you had known the truth about the WT at that time, it would have been cruel to have revealed what you knew. Hopefully they died in blissful ignorance rather than spending their remaining years regretting the decision they made as youths.
Just a little additional point re: the two "anointed" sisters:
I do believe they went to their graves with sadness in their hearts. Though they were led to believe they were going to heaven to reign with Christ, it seems to me that this became something secondary after their husbands died. They pined away for their husbands and for those good times when they were together and enjoying the adulation and fellowship of many in the organization. While the husbands were alive, some of the "other sheep class" gave the impression it would be a thrill just to touch such holy people. After the husbands died, the two women seemed to be forsaken by many.
On the other hand, I knew some "anointed" men who continued to thrive on popularity in their old age. They always had an audience when they spouted off their speculations about history, prophecy or anything else related to the organization.
I'm a man, but it used to bug me when I saw the disparity between the way old men were admired but some women with no experience as public speakers and with less past opportunities to shine before others were relegated to the sidelines and nearly forgotten. That wasn't true in every case, but it happened often enough that I sometimes wept.
College wasn't even an option when I graduated but if I had wanted to drop out of High School so I could have started pioneering earlier they would have let me. I came from a large family and half my brothers and sisters didn't even graduate high school. They all took a stab at Regular Pioneering till they got burnt out on it.
I wasted so many of my prime years pioneering and working meanial jobs. There seemed to be merit, the simpler your job, the more humble you were. Especially if you were working for one of the Elders who paid no benefits, paid you late, paid you with bad checks and had you run the business while they went to the Bahamas.
I started a retirement plan at age 48. Unless something majical happens I'll have to work till I drop over dead.
My dad had 35 years in the truth, quit his good job to go where the need is greater in the 1970's and died a couple years ago broke. He had to work into his seventies till his body gave out. After all those years of sacrifice there were very few at his funeral besides the family and a couple who were suppossidly close to my parents missed the funeral beacause of a special assembly day.
The Society is expert at manipulating our lives using threats and false predictions and then absolving themselves of any responsibility. Then they put it on our sholders and tell us it's a test of our faith. It reminds me of people who set a couple up to meet and push them to get married and then when the marriage goes down the tubes, they are nowhere to be seen.
Does anyone understand the "Special Pioneer" arrangement for older circuit or district overseers. It seems they are getting some retirement money from the Watchtower but not really putting in the hours. If this is a way the Society helps those in their old age I think that's great.
To bad for the rest of us. That's what we get for pursuing a materialistic career and going after those low-paying jobs.
Putting Missionaries, DOs, COs and Special Pioneers on the "Infirm Special Pioneer List" is an arrangement that's been in effect for perhaps 20 or more years. In some cases, it has worked out fine, especially if the persons were able to live in a trailer or room on the property of a kindly JW family who charged them no rent and who looked after them. In a comparatively few cases they've been brought into Bethel or a branch office. But I know of one couple that ended up living in a garage because they couldn't afford rent on the measly amount the Society sent them each month. If I remember correctly, when the husband became senile and would sometimes utter a tirade against the Society, the local elders recommended that he no longer receive support from the Society. The couple faded almost completely from the view of the JWs. They were rescued by a man and wife of another religion who were simply shocked when they discovered the conditions this elderly couple were living under.
You wrote: My dad had 35 years in the truth, quit his good job to go where the need is greater in the 1970's and died a couple years ago broke. He had to work into his seventies till his body gave out. After all those years of sacrifice there were very few at his funeral besides the family and a couple who were suppossidly close to my parents missed the funeral beacause of a special assembly day.
Where is the appreciation for ones years of hard work and sacrifice? It is sad that hardly anyone showed up for your father's funeral. This too is very common. A few years ago I attended the funeral of an elderly Witness that had served the WT for many decades. I'll never forget the time that my family and I had dinner with this widower and he told us of the struggles and trials of the old days before he became a Witness. He also told us of the death of his wife many years before. The elderly just want to know that they are still loved and not forgotten. All too often they are shoved to the side when they can no longer produce for the WT.
There was hardly anyone that attended this elderly man's funeral. What an insult for a man that was a very zealous Witness for decades. How sad that very few took the time to at least show this elderly man some respect for all his years toiling away for the WT. On the other hand, an aged elder died recently and there was over 300 hundred that attended the funeral. I feel that he was a genuinely good man, but he was shown more honor because he had elder attached to his name, whereas the other elderly Witness was not as prominent.
You wrote: If I remember correctly, when the husband became senile and would sometimes utter a tirade against the Society, the local elders recommended that he no longer receive support from the Society. The couple faded almost completely from the view of the JWs. They were rescued by a man and wife of another religion who were simply shocked when they discovered the conditions this elderly couple were living under.
Were those elders brain dead? They should have ignored his tirades against the WT because he was becoming senile. The cruel and hostile elders will one day find themselves in the same position. They deserve the same treatment heaped upon their own heads. Can't you just feel the love?
Were those elders brain dead? ... Can't you just feel the love?
I met the couple when I was a little boy and wanted to grow up to be just like the husband. He always smiled and took a real interest in us kids. She did too. Later they became missionaries, but in their senior years they had to return to the States for health reasons. I first heard about him speaking against the WT from their neice who never mentioned the senility factor. She was terribly disappointed that her uncle had gone "apostate," and she wondered how her aunt was taking it.
It was after I left JWs that I found out the man's mind had been playing tricks on him and that the two had been abandoned by JWs.
Your first question is a good one. The ones with the more serious brain (as well as heart) problems were the elders. I just can't remember whether they or the CO or somebody else recommended the removal of this couple from the infirm list. But the elders can surely be faulted for not making some arrangements for the care and comfort of these people who had given so much of their lives to the Society.
Hey, I got into trouble once because I was the only person in the congregation who went to an elderly sister's funeral, because I had to take the bus and was five minutes late. How the elders knew this, I don't know, since I was the only JW there....
Thanks for sharing. It's good to see you weren't affected by the "too busy to show care and concern" syndrome.
I seem to detect from another post that you're a mother. Sincere and best wishes for a happy Mother's Day!
Hey Mr Shakita
Sorry for my brevity, my PC crashed in the middle of posting:
What I wanted to say was this:
As I grew up particularly in my teenage years through the 1980’s I watched my parents living ‘hand to mouth’ week in week out having barely enough money to put food on the table sometimes. My stepfather did ( and still does) a very menial job with low pay because he ‘put the Kingdom first’. My mother like a good J-Dub wife stayed home and cooked, cleaned etc and then went out in the service.
We had virtually nothing in the way of luxuries, and to be honest most of the time we lived on the poverty line. Now the reason I complain about this is that whilst I appreciate some people through no fault of their own have difficulty providing for their families; my parents DELIBERATELY stayed in low paid non professional jobs at an age where between them they could have bettered themselves with a view to providing for their family and giving my brothers and I the best possible start in life.
By the time I got married at 20 in 1990 I had no clue whatsoever about household finance or how to manage money. As a result by 1995 I ran up serious amounts of debt and had no savings.
It has taken me until December of last year to clear my debt and just get back to a ‘break even’ position. So at 33 years old with 4 kids I find myself some decade or so behind where I should be financially. Whilst I don’t blame my parents or the Watchtower for every last action of mine that ran up my debt; I feel they have a large degree of responsibility.
Being told at every meeting that the end was ‘real soon now’ and having this mantra at home every other day didn’t give me much inspiration to plan for the future. By the time I came to leave school it was enough for me just to get a job that covered my needs, not anything else and god forbid go on to further education.
I am very fortunate that I have got time on my side to make up my losses and also that I have been in a pension scheme for 14 years that unknownst to me at the time has be invested wisely.
As for my parent, I have watched them very belatedly watched them scramble to provide for themselves (nowhere near enough funds though) to tide them over as the retirement they thought they would never see looms on the horizon.
Yes Watchtower you have indeed abused your position and condemned poor people to a miserable lifestyle they could easily have avoided.