Be an ant and not the grasshopper November 30, 2010Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
Have you heard the Aesop fable about The Ant and The Grasshopper?
One summer day a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about. He was having a wonderful time. He saw an ant who was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter.
“Stop and talk to me,” said the grasshopper. “We can sing some songs and dance a while.”
“Oh no,” said the ant. “Winter is coming. I am storing up food for the winter. I think you should do the same.”
“Oh, I can’t be bothered,” said the grasshopper. “Winter is a long time off. There is plenty of food.” So the grasshopper continued to dance and sing and chip and the ant continued to work.
When winter came the grasshopper had no food and was starving. He went to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn. Without it I will starve,” whined the grasshopper.
“You danced last summer,” said the ants in disgust. “You can continue to dance.” And they gave him no food.
I was reminded of this by a recent ProZ.com poll on private pension plans. I was shocked to see that 64.4% of the respondents do not have a private pension plan and only 31% do. I started paying into a private pension plan (well, a German annuity) when I was 30, and I also have a Roth IRA set up here in the States. I currently pay about $400 a month into my various pension plans. I reduced the payment to the German annuity when I moved back to the States, but I still continue to pay a small amount into it every month from my German earnings.
I saw how tight things were for my great-aunt when she was living on Social Security – plus I have no doubt that Social Security will be bankrupt by the time I am old enough to collect on it. When I get older I plan to continue translating, but I am certainly not going to keep going at the pace at which I am currently working. This will require some savings, which the private pension plans will provide. This gives me some peace of mind.
Oliver Lawrence did a very good job summarizing exactly how I feel: “I think that those without their own pension provision may find themselves with the choice of continuing to work into their old age or living in something close to poverty in 20-30 years time. Given that more and more people are living longer and longer, combined with the somewhat short-sighted public resistance to increasing the retirement age, where is the state going to find the money to pay all these pensions?” I couldn’t agree more!
So how about you, dear readers? Do you have a private pension plan, and why or why not?