[ExI] The ultimate test of your transhumanist convictions...

samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Jun 25 07:53:06 UTC 2010

Ross Evans wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:18 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com 
> <mailto:pharos at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     On 6/24/10, Ross Evans wrote:
>     > I'm 30, have no pension plan, nor any
>     > intention to burden myself with one. Indeed, for those
>     > transhumanist/singularitarians in this age group, the ideology
>     confers a
>     > distinct economic advantage; the ability to turn their backs on
>     a fiscally
>     > unsustainable ponzi scheme, the need for which technological
>     progress will
>     > obviate. Capital that would otherwise be deployed into such
>     schemes could be
>     > more usefully employed in gaining new skills, travelling, and
>     investing
>     > inthe very companies that will build the future they want.
>     >
>     >
>     You should always have a Plan B.
>     In the present economic crisis there are many problems attached to
>     pension schemes and investments of any kind really. Especially as
>     broke governments are looking to take over pension schemes (i.e. steal
>     them).
>     But basically a pension scheme is just a wealth accumulation plan,
>     deferring present spending and accumulating the deferred money to
>     spend when you are no longer able to generate much income yourself.
>     Anything could be called a pension scheme if it ends up providing
>     capital to use when you are too old to work.
>     Even if Kurzweil's accelerating change takes off, it is always handy
>     to have some capital accumulated. If it turns out that you don't need
>     a pension, the capital could still be handy to buy rejuvenation drugs
>     or treatments, etc.
>     (And accumulated capital tends to attract females).  ;)
>     BillK
>     _______________________________________________
>     extropy-chat mailing list
>     extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org <mailto:extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
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> Productive deployment of capital now will always beat passive 
> investment for the future.
There are companies even today that you can make an easy 8% or so year 
in and year out.  Do the math putting that money aside.  Yes, you will 
not make as much as starting your own successful company or being part 
of one from its early days.  But you will likely make more in this 
modest way than attempting to pick winners in high tech companies as an 
investor.  Unless of course you are a qualified investor doing angel 
capital and really know your stuff. 

> Pensions plans are the only way a person on average income can ever 
> hope to accumulate a fund big enough to provide a meaningful 
> retirement income.
Not so.  Pensions today are unsound.  The public employee pensions in 
the US are a huge burden that cannot be paid in full.   The 401K plans 
are at the mercy of the economy which sucks of late.  And some types of 
401K investments are prohibited by law to play the down side of the 
mraket or to be less than 100% invested even if the markets are 
tanking.  This in addition to the threat to nationalize some of these 
things "for our own good".   If I had a large 401K fund I would be 
tempted to take the substantial hit, liquidate it and turn it to hard 
goods and/or gold.    I don't think the economic nastiness has done much 
more than clear its throat.  

> These plans basically involve playing the stock market, and as such 
> their performance cannot be guaranteed.
Yes.  So don't do that.  Invest in the handful of companies that have a 
decent but modest upside and pay nice dividends with most of your 
savings if you want to play there at all.  Don't leave it to mutual 
funds or money markets. 

> The reality is that people on average incomes cannot afford to set 
> aside a sufficient amount of capital for a retirement plan that does 
> not resort to casino capitalism to make returns.
Modest investing is not gambling.  Compound interest is really your 
friend if you have decades left to work.

> The whole pension system is predicated upon actuarial assumptions that 
> no longer hold true; it was never envisaged that people would live 20+ 
> years beyond their retirement age,

Actually, things like Social Security were never expected to pay for 
themselves to be honest.   Many private pension plans were insisted upon 
by unions and priced many workers out of the open labor market 
completely.  The public pension plans are worse.

> and this flaw now represents a risk of systemic failure in the pension 
> system, especially in Europe. I'd say if you're 30 years or more from 
> pension age, putting capital into a pension is likely to be a bad 
> financial decision.

I think you are calling too much a "pension".

The best way to make a pile of money, especially when young, is to start 
your own successful business or join up with a very young venture that 
succeeds.    If that isn't your thing and you can't marry money or 
invent something spectacular then save and invest modestly yourself.    
Don't depend on someone or something else to take care of your future.

- samantha

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