You will never retire, in part because America's existing pension system is crazy quilt of various empty bank accounts full of lies and IOUs. Does a better pension system actually exist? Yes, it does.

For the sake of pure civic engagement, I would like to draw your attention to this weekend's New York Times profile of the Dutch pension system. "A profile of the Dutch pension system? Sounds boring as hell, when I could be reading about various 'hot' celebrities of the moment, and their picayune fashion choices for the upcoming awards shows," you're probably thinking to yourself, if you are Caity Weaver. Not true at all. All this bullshit news about celebrity bullshit is nothing but a bullshit smokescreen. I'll tell you what is really exciting: the cold hard fiscal facts about how this nation is screwing its retirees and what we might learn from a friendly nation by the name of "THE NETHERLANDS," when it comes to proper accounting practices that can assure pension stability. That is "exciting." Because you don't want to be old and broke!

What does the Dutch pension plan do that most pension plans here in America do not do? Well, the most important thing is this: the Dutch pension plan honestly calculates how much money you will need to retire, and then they take that money and invest it wisely, whereas in America, we dishonestly calculate how much money you will need to retire, and pretend that we can get all the money you need for retirement via investing magic (that will never work out in real life), and then, when the bill comes due, we just push the huge financial burdens down the road for decades, because our pension plans are run by fucking politicians rather than by honest accountants. The Dutch force their pension plans to keep enough money on hand to weather bad financial markets; in America, our pension plans just try to hire hedge fund wizards who will make up all the losses through, you know, wizardry. (This does not work out in real life, either.)

The Dutch also give pensions to almost all workers, whereas we give pensions to barely any workers now.

About 90 percent of Dutch workers earn real pensions at their jobs. Their benefits are intended to amount to about 70 percent of their lifetime average pay, as many financial planners recommend...

And if the markets rally and a Dutch pension fund earns more than it needs, the employers are not allowed to touch the surplus. In the United States, companies have found many ways to tap a pension surplus. The problem today is that there usually is no surplus left.

Thinking realistically about how much money a worker will need in retirement.

Saving enough money to reach this goal without magical market-beating investment results.

Not spending all of your surpluses up in the good times, so that you have some cushion for the bad times.

Offering a decent pension to almost all workers.

Completely un-American!

[Photo: Shutterstock]