Money through the ages: The 50s

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2011
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Money through the ages: The 50s

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: Talking about European debt problems just now with Leigh and Felix, and the housing mess, brings back not so fond memories of the financial crisis and what it did to both our personal and national economies. The overall economy is recovering, but a survey out from the Employee Benefits Research Institute not too long ago says our confidence that we’ll be able to have comfortable retirements is at an all-time low.

Some of that’s how slowly the economy’s coming back. Some of it’s because most people just don’t plan for their money very well. Our personal finance show Marketplace Money’s got a special this weekend on our changing perceptions of money as we age — from our teens to our 80s, and, like this lady, right in the middle.


Marina Sturm: My name is Marina Sturm. I’m 55 years old and I live in Tucson, Ariz. I play with the American Symphony in New York City. Well, I’m also a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and so I’m really a freelance musician. American Symphony is part-time and so I fly in and play so many concerts a year. Since I’ve become a professor, I’ve cut down on the amount of times I go back and forth. It’s getting more and more expensive.

I think anybody in the arts is seeing a real change. And obviously in education — higher education — we’re extremely concerned. We’re getting pay cuts or furloughs, so everything I seem to choose to like to do is not having a very good time in this recession.

I tend to live pretty frugally and money was never a motivating factor for me in choosing my career. My father was a professional musician and I knew that also being a teacher that these are not places that I’d make a lot of money. Money is not what rules my life. But I am, of course, concerned about retirement.

I think when you’re in your 30s, you never think like that. Then 40s you go, oh I’ve still got time. Then all of a sudden 50s, you go, whoops. I mean I don’t know, without having children and things, I feel like I probably should have saved more, but I traveled a lot. I still travel a lot and I’m quite happy about it.

I’m not very smart with money. I could use some help. I perhaps haven’t been that wise with it and I’m not shrewd at all. I think I’m kind of naive about it. And also, I don’t want to think about it. Not that I don’t want to think about aging and all that. I don’t want to think about money. I want it to just, it’s sort of like I try to have a relationship with it kind of like music. I try to not have it rule me or fear it too much. It’s all it is, is money.


Ryssdal: That’s from a special edition of Marketplace Money coming up this weekend, it’s a collaboration with the New York Times: how money changes from your teens to your 80s. There’s checklists for personal finance through the ages, full audio portraits, and stories of money from every decade of our lives.

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