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Retirement on Main Street

The Rolling Stones had an Exile on Main Street while dodging out on the high-tax environment of their home country (the UK) in the early 1970s.

Their time in the South of France was (sometimes) well spent; the group's musical work at Keith Richards' villa in Nice resulted in a good deal of material for the aforementioned Exile, one of the best records the Stones ever made.

Unfortunately, for many middle-class Americans, that type of creative holiday in the sun may never come. High taxes, inflation eroding away the value of retirement benefit payments, and a negative "wealth effect" from falling house and stock prices may combine to level this facet of the American Dream.

If we can shift gears from the Côte d'Azur and back to middle America, we'll let Gary North explain why Elkhart, Indiana, the RV capital of the world, is a metaphor for the "lost lifestyle" of American retirees:

"Over the last 18 months, Americans over age 55 have suffered a reversal in their capital that has not fully registered psychologically. They will not be able to afford a comfortable retirement...

...throughout Greenspan's bubble economy, the savings rate of American households fell, going negative in 2005. The boom fooled Americans who owned stocks that they were getting richer. They weren't. They were merely benefitting from the greater fool theory of investing. That theory has brought down the real estate bubble. There will be further declines. It has ended the stock market mania. And it has just about shut down Elkhart, Indiana."

Read on to find out why Retirement on Main Street may be a difficult (or fading) proposition for many of us here in the good ole' USA.

Do you agree or disagree with North's assessment? Tell us all about it.

Related articles and posts:

1. Singing the Middle Class Blues - Finance Trends Matter.

2. All We Have to Fear is Fear Itself - Financial Philosopher.

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