This is the time of year where, in many parts of the county, the weather — and weather forecasters — dominate the nightly news coverage, certainly when the predictions are dire. Indeed, having had the opportunity to live in several different parts of the country, I can assure you that the bigger the projected snowfall, the more hyped the coverage.
Several weeks back, the local meteorologists were all agog about an impending snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area — a snowfall initially projected at two to four inches of accumulation was quickly revised to three to five inches and then to four to seven inches.
The local mass transportation systems sprang into action, announcing alternative schedules, state officials advised those who didn’t need to be on the roads to stay home, non-emergency federal employees in the area were granted an excused absence, while others were directed to telecommute.
As it turned out, it did snow — but not much, and certainly not in the amounts that had garnered all the attention. Afterward, meteorologists were quick to point out that accumulations had matched projections in some areas, although those areas were relatively small and generally far removed from major metropolitan centers. Ultimately, more were affected by the weather forecast than the weather itself.
Dire predictions are also common about the retirement prospects for Americans. You may have seen a recent headline that proclaimed “Americans Are $6.8 Trillion Short On Retirement Savings,” a figure that the article proceeds to tell us amounts to $113,000 per household “for those on the eve of retirement” — that is, those ages 55 to 64.
Actually, that $6.8 trillion is the low end of a range published by the National Institute on Retirement Security about six months ago, and is close to the $6.6 trillion estimate of the Center for Retirement Research, which we have commented on previously.
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