Readers Write (May 19): Retirement, neighborhood safety, marriage, domestic violence, political fairness

  • Updated: May 18, 2013 - 5:07 PM

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401(k) worries are one thing that’s growing

Lee Schafer’s excellent May 12 column (“Booming market not enough for 401(k)s”) got to the heart of the problem retirees face. On the one hand, 401(k)s haven’t been an adequate substitute for traditional pension plans. On the other hand, not everyone can be expected to work past age 66. I started working at age 12 with a paper route. I’m 51 now and would love to retire early and spend time with my wife while we are both healthy. But on top of my putting money in my 401(k), I’m also saving for two college funds, and I’ve started paying for long-term care insurance. I’m not complaining, because my wife and I will be OK when I retire, which probably won’t come early. But our good fortune is partly based on money we inherited, something not everyone has.

STUART D. HENRY, Minneapolis

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A letter writer asked why taxpayers must pay for the shortfall in public pension plans (Readers Write, May 12). He states: “Does that mean when my 401(k) plan goes down, public employees will pay to shore that up?” Well, if his 401(k) plan has gone down when he retires, the public and public employees will eventually pay, because he will be on welfare. The Schafer column explained why 401(k)s are inadequate for retirement. Private employers need to go back to defined benefit plans for their employees. They pay an adequate benefit and can be backed by the U.S. government.


The writer is executive director of the Retired Educators Association of Minnesota.

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How nosy should neighbors be?

The editorial about the neighbors who helped rescue the three Ohio kidnapping victims raises the question: How proactive should one be in possibly uncovering the despicable acts of a neighbor (“In Ohio, the value of not turning away,” May 9)? For years we lived next door to a man who came to his house a few times a week, kept all windows covered and never interacted with neighbors. We never saw anyone else at the house. Aside from mowing the lawn or removing snow, he never was in the yard. Could he have been concealing someone against her will? Should we have tried talking to him more, asking about the house, etc.? We value our privacy and that of others. And a sociopath, such as what appears to have been the situation in Cleveland, would have little difficulty in avoiding scrutiny. So, what more to do?

EDWARD SHAFER, Rochester, Minn.

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Politics plays its part in bringing change

Opponents grumbling about DFL overreach in Minnesota’s historic vote for equal marriage rights need to remember one thing: Republican overreach started this. Not content with Minnesota’s oppressive Defense of Marriage Act, the GOP sought to carve this prejudice into the state Constitution. Voters rejected that bad idea and soundly punished Republicans in the 2012 elections, and that momentum continued through to last week’s historic vote.


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