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Rethinking Retirement

21 Mar

Retirement to most people today means the end of working a job and living off of portfolio income (401k), a pension and social security. This concept, which is fairly new, is already obsolete. To understand this let’s examine its origins and progression.

Traditionally, in early America (from its founding until the mid 1880’s), when a family member was too old or physically unable to work, the other members of the extended family took care of him. However, four important demographic changes happened in America beginning in the mid-1880s that rendered the traditional systems of economic security obsolete: The Industrial Revolution, rapid urbanization, the disappearance of the extended family and a marked increase in life expectancy.

The Industrial Revolution transformed the majority of working people from self-employed agricultural workers into wage earners working for large industrial corporations. This meant mass migrations to urban centers where the work was to be found. In the crowded urban environments, family sizes were forced to get smaller. The cost of housing, clothing and feeding an extended family (grandparents, parents and children) was undoable in the new economy. This fostered the creation of the “nuclear family” (parents and children only) which most of us are accustomed to seeing today.

The final significant change happened in the early decades of the 20th century. Better health care, sanitation, and the development of public health programs, led Americans to live significantly longer. Between 1900 and 1930, average life spans increased by 10 years. This was the most rapid increase in life spans in recorded human history.

The net result of these historical demographic and social changes was that the traditional strategies for the providing for those no longer able to work quickly dissolved.

The decade of the 1930s found America facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history. Millions of people were unemployed, and the majority of the elderly lived in dependency. The traditional sources of economic security: assets, labor, family, and charity had all failed. Radical calls for action were being made by the public. President Franklin Roosevelt responded by signing into law The Social Security Act on August 14, 1935 to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement.

Fast forward to today… Four major demographic changes have made that system obsolete as we emerge from the second worst economic crisis in US history. Change from the Industrial Age to the new Innovation Age, globalization, further dissolving of the nuclear family, and another marked increase in life expectancy.

The loss of manufacturing jobs, the increase of exportation of jobs, and importation of goods from the global economy has changed the face of the job market forever. Companies no longer promise work until retirement and a pension plan for your twilight years. Nuclear families have gotten even smaller and young people are more detached from their parents as this society celebrates individuality and independence over cooperative living. Finally, as medical technology improves, people are now outliving the age for which social security, their pensions and portfolios were designed to last.

The solution… the whole concept of retirement should be reevaluated. You only retire from a job (earned income) – especially a job you don’t enjoy. There is no retirement from passive income sources. With passive income sources that pay dividends (real estate, securities and business ownership), you work hard to acquire the asset and then it continues to pay you continuously until the market changes and it can no longer provide positive cash flow. You don’t retire; you simply shift your resources into a new cash producing asset.

7 Jun

The Internet now has 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses

By David Goldman @CNNMoneyTech June 6, 2012: 9:13 AM ET

The IPv6 launch has expanded the number of Internet addresses to 340 undecillion.

The IPv6 launch has expanded the number of Internet addresses to 340 undecillion.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — One of the crucial mechanisms powering the Internet got a giant, years-in-the-making overhaul on Wednesday.

When we say “giant,” we’re not kidding. Silly-sounding huge number alert: The Internet’s address book grew from “just” 4.3 billion unique addresses to 340 undecillion (that’s 340 trillion trillion trillion). That’s a growth factor of 79 octillion (billion billion billion).

If it all goes right, you won’t notice a thing. And that’s the point.

The Internet is running out of addresses, and if nothing were done, you certainly would notice. New devices simply wouldn’t be able to connect.

To prevent that from happening, the Internet Society, a global standards-setting organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and Reston, Va., has been working for years to launch a new Internet Protocol (IP) standard called IPv6.

IP is a global communications standard used for linking connected devices together. Every networked device — your PC, smartphone, laptop, tablet and other gizmos — needs a unique IP address.

With IPv6, there are now enough IP combinations for everyone in the world to have a billion billion IP addresses for every second of their life.

That sounds unimaginably vast, but it’s necessary, because the number of connected devices is exploding. By 2016, Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) predicts there will be three networked devices per person on earth. We’re not just talking about your smartphone and tablet; your washing machine, wristwatch and car will be connected too. Each of those connected things needs an IP address.

Then there’s all the items that won’t necessarily connect to the Internet themselves, but will be communicating with other wired gadgets. Developers are putting chips into eyeglasses, clothes and pill bottles. Each one of those items needs an IP address as well.

The current IP standard, IPv4, was structured like this: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, with each “xxx” able to go from 0 to 255. IPv6 expands that so each “x” can be a 0 through 9 or “a” through “f,” and it’s structured like this: xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx. (Yes, there was an IPv5, but it was a streaming multimedia standard developed in the late 1970s that never really caught on).

The changeover is akin to when the U.S. telephone system handled soaring growth by increasing the digits in each telephone number — except for one crucial difference. While the entire telephone system was upgraded in the 1990s, the Internet will be upgraded gradually.

IPv4 will continue to exist alongside IPv6 for quite some time, just as digital and analog TV were broadcast side-by-side for years.

Though most of the major Internet players will be IPv6 compliant going forward, many routers, devices and operating systems won’t be. For instance, Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows XP, the world’s most-used PC operating system, is not IPv6-compliant.

Just 1% of end users are expected to now be reaching websites using the IPv6 standard. The Internet Society expects that to gradually grow as users update their software and hardware.

Most of the major websites and networks are already participating. More than 2,000 websites, including Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), Facebook (FB), Bing, Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), AOL (AOL) and Netflix (NFLX), as well as a number of network operators such as AT&T (T, Fortune 500), Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500), Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC, Fortune 500), have begun enabling IPv6.

But they’ll all need to continue to support IPv4 until the entire world upgrades. That will take years.

There have been some grumblings about cyberattackers getting ready to pounce on Wednesday, taking advantage of potential holes in a new technology. But a year ago, on June 8, 2011, all those participating networks and sites turned on IPv6 for a day-long test run without a hitch.

They reverted to IPv4 the next day. This time, the change is permanent. It’ll be a slow transition, but it’s a crucial one that will support the Internet’s current rate of expansion far into the future.

First Published: June 6, 2012: 5:13 AM ET

Peer-to-Peer Job Sites Inspire Micro-Entrepreneurs

12 Feb

By Darren Dahl

Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:32pm EST

(Reuters) – Chris Mok, like many Americans over the past few years, lost his job in the wake of the Great Recession.

While Wok, 46, diligently sent out resumes trying to replace his Macy’s marketing job he lost in 2009, he also kicked in to help his wife, Isha, run Hi’iaka, her Hawaiian-themed florist shop in San Francisco.

It was early last summer, when many florist businesses see a bump in business from graduations, that Wok first heard about a site called Task Rabbit, where people can post jobs of any just about any kind – such as helping with a move, painting a room or even running an errand – or bid to work on a job posted by someone else via computer or on the go with a GPS-enabled smartphone. Mok suggested that his wife try the site out as a way to hire on a few extra hands for the busy season.

His wife’s experience with Task Rabbit went so well that Wok, who hadn’t worked outside of his wife’s business in about nine months, came to a realization: why couldn’t he earn some extra money bidding on jobs himself?

“I hit the ground running and have been working almost seven days a week since July,” says Mok, who now makes about $3,500 a month tackling everything from handyman repairs to hanging whiteboards and assembling Ikea furniture for the burgeoning number of startup companies in his area.

“It feels great to be your own boss and to pick and choose the jobs you take on.”

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the hot button political issue these days is the nation’s unemployment rate. In January, the U.S. jobless rate was 8.3 percent, on its way down from last summer’s rate of 9.1 percent.

That’s why the rise of online marketplaces, so-called peer-to-peer job sites like Task Rabbit are so exciting. They promise to generate new employment opportunities, or let just about anyone earn some extra income.

“We’re enabling people to invest in and engage with folks in their community in a way that I think we’ve forgotten,” says Leah Brusque, a former programmer with IBM who founded Task Rabbit in 2008, just as the recession was unfolding. “And we’ve done that by turning them into micro-entrepreneurs.”

Online job sites have been around a while, of course, and even sites like e-lance and oDesk have become viable markets to outsource highly-skilled jobs such as programming, design and writing tasks.

But what makes Task Rabbit and the growing number of others like it such as Coffee & Power and Zaarly different is that their jobs vary widely and often involve face-to-face interactions in the real world. Skillshare, for instance, is a site based in New York City that enables people to teach or attend a class on just about anything. A recent search revealed classes ranging from how to eat healthy or how to crochet an Alpaca rug – not online, but in person.

“We are changing the way people think about doing business with the people around them,” says Bo Fishback, formerly the vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, who founded Zaarly in March 2011. “We’re making it possible to ask for and get anything, in real time, from the people around you.

Mechanically, most of these sites work in similar fashion. People can post jobs, or bid on them, while the site handles the payment process – usually taking a small percentage fee of the transaction for itself. Both parties involved in a transaction can then rate each other after the job has been completed. At Task Rabbit, which has some 3,000 registered bidders, some $4 million of activity is reported every month, which, while impressive, is still a sliver of the estimated $473 billion earned by freelancers in 2010.

Those kinds of numbers have given high-profile investors reasons to take notice. Zaarly, for instance, reeled in $1 million from a group of investors that included Ashton Kutcher (while also adding Meg Whitman as a board member). Similarly, Coffee & Power, which was founded by Philip Rosedale, the creator of the virtual online world game SecondLife, recently raised about $1 million from investors like Jeff Bezos.

“Our mission has been to find out how you get people who are interested in working for each other to cluster and find each other in the real world,” says Rosedale, whose business plan combines an online market with currently three physical locations – upscale coffee shops in San Francisco, Santa Monica and, soon, Portland, Oregon – where people can meet and make a deal.

There are, of course, critics who point to the fact that it can be difficult if not impossible for someone to earn a living bidding on $100 jobs. But, if the number of people flocking to these sites to not just bid on jobs but also post them continues, we might just see a change in the concept of what a job is.

“We’re still early in the game, but we think we’re reinventing the concept of how we all go about working,” says Rosedale.

The Greatest Running Shoe Never Sold

23 Jan

BusinessWeek
Features January 12, 2012, 4:30 PM EST
The Greatest Running Shoe Never Sold
How hard is it for an independent inventor to sell an idea to a multinational? Try running a mile in Lenn Hann’s shoes

By Bob Parks

(Corrects the year the sneaker was patented.)

Late one night in August 1997, 54-year-old inventor Lenn Rockford Hann placed two bottles of Gatorade near Concourse F of Chicago O’Hare International Airport, unlaced his sneakers, removed his socks, then dodged curious maintenance workers for two hours while running 13.1 miles on the walkways. His pace surprised him. He was convinced the springy, resilient surface was almost perfect. “My legs felt amazing,” says Hann, a marathoner. “I’ve been chasing a shoe that feels that good ever since.”

For years, Hann had been designing a running shoe that he hoped would give him an edge. After his airport run (in the days of lighter security, naturally), he knew he was on to something, and he became obsessed with O’Hare’s movable sidewalks. Finding a walkway in the midst of repair on a subsequent jog, he jumped into the pit to look at its clockworks. There he found rollers on each side, with nothing holding people up in the middle but the belt’s tension. The next day, Hann called the belt company, Dunlop Conveyor Belting, and learned they were adjusted to 2,500 foot-pounds of force to create the right balance.

Athletic brands spend millions every year trying to build a better sneaker that will propel them to the front of the $6.3 billion running shoe business, one of the biggest and most visible areas of sporting goods, with 11 percent growth in 2011, according to industry analyst SportsOneSource. Nearly all sneakers have a sole that looks like lasagna, composed of layers of rubber, foam, and plastic. The fluffy foam is made from ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, which has its critics: EVA adds weight to shoes, and lab tests show it requires more energy per stride. Running shoe companies have long sought an EVA substitute that absorbs shock but also returns more energy. “Consumers like the cushioned feeling associated with a conventional running shoe,” says Darren Stefanyshyn, a University of Calgary researcher and former chairperson of the Footwear Biomechanics Group. “If you could provide that without using foam, you’d have a winner.”

It took him eleven years, but Hann finally converted his airport research into a breakthrough sneaker patented in 2008, a shoe with an entirely different system to cushion and propel the foot. It quickly attracted the attention of fast-growing athletic brand Under Armour (UA), which spent two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop it as the prospective centerpiece of the company’s first line of footwear. Hann’s shoe was scheduled to launch early this year and was poised to rock the footwear industry, but it never quite made it to market.

Hann is a former software engineer with glasses, short brown hair, a high domed forehead, and ears that stick out like antennae. He is talkative, relentlessly upbeat, and consistently attired in marathon T-shirts. His Volkswagen (VOW:GR) bears the license plate TNASHS, for “tenacious.”

In the years following his midnight airport jog, Hann licensed several inventions—an electronic cat toy among them—that brought him modest income, but the shoe was always his favorite project. He tried many materials before landing on carbon fiber, an ultra-strong substance that holds its shape after years of pounding. He engineered carbon fiber shock absorbers into his shoe to give it cushioning and stability in one mechanism. A hinge in the forefoot provided flexibility.

Three days before the 2002 Chicago Marathon, Hann bought industrial carbon fiber fabric and baked it in his kitchen. Once the fumes dissipated, he cannibalized the uppers of a pair of New Balance 763 running shoes for his proto-types. As he hacked off layers of EVA foam from the sneakers with a table saw, his hand slipped and the blade cut deeply into his thumb, embedding bits of blue foam into the wound. Hann rushed to the emergency room, then assembled the shoes the next day.

Hann believes his prototype was responsible for shaving 17 minutes off his record in the marathon. He immediately made more. A member of his pace group wore them, reporting her legs felt “full of energy.” Kris Hartner, owner of Naperville Running in Naperville, Ill., delivered a tougher critique: “pretty good,” he said, but “a bit slappy.” The transitions between midstance and toe-off were “rough.” A shard of carbon fiber came loose, slicing Hartner’s calf.

All the same, Hartner, who has a master’s in biomechanics, took Hann’s concept seriously. When New Balance owner Jim Davis visited the shop, Hartner said he should check out Hann’s shoes. Hann met with New Balance and secured an investor, who contributed $300,000. Hann and the investor made prototypes in Korea, paid an attorney to patent the shoe, and hired an exercise laboratory to test it. The facility found that runners in Hann’s prototypes consumed an average of 2.2 percent less oxygen. That may not sound like a lot, but it pointed to a significant reduction in energy when running long distances.

When it came time to talk price with New Balance, Hann set his offer sky-high. He says he meant it as a starting point, but company executives closed discussions. Hartner remains a supporter of the shoe, but says Hann blew the negotiation. “He would be way better off with an agent to represent him,” says Hartner. “He’s the inventor-scientist guy, you know it from movies. But in real life they sometimes end up shooting themselves in the foot, and it’s hard to watch. They’re not as good at the people thing.”

Six years later, it appeared Hann might be back in business. Kip Fulks, chief operating officer of Under Armour, learned about Hann’s shoe after the inventor completed a small, exploratory project with the company. Fulks wanted to launch a major sneaker development, and in 2009 he invited Hann to the company’s Baltimore headquarters to negotiate. Since its inception in 1996, Under Armour has come out of nowhere with innovative products like its HeatGear compression shirt to stalk Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADS:GR). The shirt is a nylon garment that hugs the body, and it has largely replaced heavy cotton tees for athletes. But Nike’s annual revenue is around $20 billion vs. Under Armour’s $1 billion, and to truly challenge its competitors, Under Armour needs footwear. (The company hastily designed trainers in 2009, but the attempt impressed neither consumers nor investors.)

The negotiations between Hann and Under Armour were never smooth, but they seemed headed in the right direction. On one side of the table sat Fulks and his designers. On the other was Hann, his investor, and his attorney. First they hammered out an option agreement, a sort of preamble to a longer-term licensing deal. Hann asked for a monthly option fee, basically an advance on future royalties. After some haggling, Fulks agreed to $8,000 per month, to be shared with Hann’s investor and attorney.

Next, Fulks and Hann locked horns over the range for future royalties. Hann asked for 3 percent to 6 percent, a rate more akin to a tech product than footwear. Fulks pulled the pair back to 1 percent to 4 percent. (Aerospace engineer M. Frank Rudy, who sold “Air” to Nike, was awarded a royalty of around a single percentage point when he originally made the deal, according to a source familiar with the contract. Nike would not comment on how much Rudy earned.)

Finally, on Mar. 24, the two signed the option, agreeing to the 1 percent to 4 percent range, with an exact percentage to be determined later. It was a huge step. To celebrate, an Under Armour design manager invited Hann to a nearby bar; they drank beers into the night while talking footwear tech. Hann proudly showed off the blue foam embedded in his thumb. They toasted the new shoe. “At that point, I suddenly realized that more people had gone to the moon than had ever licensed running footwear,” he recalls. “We were almost there. I was in heaven.”

That year, Hann was an electrical storm of activity, calling the company almost daily with ideas. Under Armour made six rounds of “prototype tooling,” the aluminum molds for model shoes, and performed extensive testing with favorable results. The project was getting close to “final tooling”—when expensive steel molds are struck in all sizes, men’s and women’s. Then, in summer 2010, Fulks announced that it was time to settle on a licensing agreement. To Hann, this seemed like a formality. He suggested leaving it to the attorneys. Then he waited.

After a four-week silence, Hann couldn’t take it and called a former Under Armour employee for insight. “It’s a delaying tactic,” guessed the acquaintance. “This is their way of introducing sharp elbows.”

Three weeks later, Hann traveled to Portland, Ore., for a hastily scheduled meeting with Adidas. Executives there were encouraging, but they didn’t want a bidding war with Under Armour. That very afternoon, Under Armour sent an apologetic e-mail with the much-anticipated licensing agreement. (Hann doesn’t know whether this was somehow triggered by the Adidas trip.) It included a royalty rate of 1.5 percent for the first stage of sales, and 1 percent thereafter. Through his attorney, Hann countered with 5.75 percent and 4.25 percent. Hann’s lawyer says Under Armour took the soaring rates like a jab in the eye; Under Armour would not comment on the specifics of the negotiations.

For the next three months, Under Armour refused a face-to-face meeting but did make concessions, raising its percentage and throwing in a monthly advance. Hann held out for higher numbers. He fielded interest from a new set of investors and became more wary of Under Armour. “I feel like the mouse dancing with the bear,” he said. “No matter how careful the bear is, the mouse better watch out.” In late October 2010, Kevin Haley, senior vice-president of innovation, took over the project from Fulks. Haley offered to put the licensing negotiation on hold and renew the option agreement at $15,000 per month. The implication was that this would allow them to work together like old times.

Hann rebuffed the offer, believing Under Armour was bluffing and it was a way of avoiding a licensing agreement. In early December 2010, Under Armour’s attorney delivered the news: The company decided to move in a different direction. Hann’s work with the company was over.

Last month, Under Armour introduced its Charge RC running shoe. It features a strip of carbon fiber along the bottom, not for cushioning but to enhance the ride and response. “It’s a different use of carbon fiber than what we were exploring,” says Haley. “But I think it shows that Under Armour takes an open approach to innovation—we test a lot of technologies and make a lot of different prototypes before arriving at what comes to market.”

Unlike Hann’s prototype, the Charge RC fits the current trend of minimal running shoes; it weighs under 10 ounces and has a sole close to the ground. Hann’s shoe weighs more and sits higher. Asked why Under Armour didn’t go with Hann’s shoe, Haley says: “We go down the path of evaluating new technologies with more people than other companies, so we’re going to encounter more situations where it doesn’t work out for us as a commercial product.”

For Under Armour, making a shoe with such an unprecedented technology would have been a challenge to source, manufacture, test, and market. Could Under Armour have managed those logistics given another few months of exploratory development? We’ll never know; Hann’s over-the-top royalty demands denied it that opportunity.

Hann accepts that he had a role in the falling-out. “I know I screwed up,” he says. “But despite my bumbling efforts, the technology deserves to be out there.” In the last few months, he has continued pitching his sneaker. He says he now has a promising new partner, and is also in talks with a medical device company about an electronic invention for hospitals. He has not hired an agent.

Curious about Hann’s supershoe, I took a few turns around his cul-de-sac in the upscale suburb of Wheaton, Ill., with a test pair. I was surprised to see lots of EVA. Hann argues that some foam is needed to hold the carbon fiber in place, but that it doesn’t cushion the shoe. The sneakers didn’t exactly feel like they were injected with gravity-defying Flubber, but there was something different about them. Even though they weren’t especially light, they felt light—like floating on little trampolines.

Parks is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor.

©2011 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved. Made in NYC

Twitter Redesigns Its Site

12 Dec

DECEMBER 9, 2011

By AMIR EFRATI

Twitter Inc. on Thursday announced a redesign of the micro-blogging service and new features to help widen its appeal.

In the biggest announcement since Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator, returned to the company as an executive in March, the company said that when people first sign up to use the service, Twitter will help them discover information that might interest them, based on their location and other signals.

“It’s not just a visual redesign but a conceptual redesign to make Twitter more accessible to the next billion users,” said Satya Patel, a Twitter senior executive, at an event inside the San Francisco-based company’s future headquarters in an Art Deco building in a blighted neighborhood here.

The redesign, which will roll out globally over the next few weeks, will add a section to every Twitter user’s account called “Stories” that shows them content on Twitter they may find interesting. “It’s the first step to start to surface all the rich content that’s pouring into the platform for people who are experiencing it for the first time,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said.

Twitter announced a redesign of the micro-blogging service and new features to help widen its appeal, Amir Efrati reports on The News Hub. Photo: AFP / Getty Images.

Twitter, which lets people broadcast messages called “tweets” of up to 140 characters in length, is attempting to become an online-advertising powerhouse but still faces challenges including the perception that many people don’t understand how to use the service, which includes symbols such as “@” and “#,” and don’t know what kind of information they can view on it. People use Twitter to keep up with the latest news about everything from technology and politics to transportation delays and promotions by big retailers.

The company recently said more than 100 million people actively use Twitter. The majority of its accounts are based overseas, the company has said.

In August the company raised money at a valuation of more than $8 billion and now has more than 700 employees, who will move into the new headquarters in mid-2012. Its fledgling online-ad business is expected to generate around $145 million this year, according to research firm eMarketer, as brands such as Starbucks Corp., luxury-brand giant LVMH and others dip their toes into Twitter’s ad products, which aims to target ads based on people’s personal interests. That revenue figure is up from $45 million last year.

Mr. Dorsey, who was Twitter’s first chief executive and has long been chairman of its board, said that, on average, between 3% to 5% of people interact with, or “engage,” with ads they see on Twitter. That figure is higher than many other forms of online advertising.

Bloomberg NewsExecutive Jack Dorsey, in New York this year, oversees Twitter’s look.

The five-year-old Twitter is competing with other social media companies such as social network Facebook Inc. for the attention of marketers. Mr. Costolo said Thursday that the company is testing a long-awaited “self-serve” system that lets anyone buy ads on Twitter, similar to the kind of system that propelled Google Inc.’s growth, and that it would become available more broadly next year.

Twitter on Thursday also announced that brands such as American Express and organizations such as the American Red Cross will soon be able to customize their publicly-viewable Twitter pages to have more control of how they look.

The company has leased 220,000 square feet in its future headquarters, a space that “holds thousands of people,” Mr. Costolo said.

Do Unions Really Matter to the Young?

7 Sep

 

Do unions really matter to the young? Should they?

Thouhgh they’ve been past helpful in making America strong they’re so weak and ineffective and in some ways outdated in this new economy that they may be on their way out.

From Tuesday’s Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC, Democratic strategist David Goodfriend shares his thoughts on what Labor Day means for younger Americans.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Young, jobless and dangerous

6 Sep
Sept. 6, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EDT

Why the young jobless will ruin your portfolio

Commentary: Wealth is frozen between idle generations

 By David Weidner, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) – Happy Idle Labor Day.

For most Americans yesterday was a day to exhale. Not only do they have jobs, they had reason to celebrate: a paid day off.

But for more than 14 million Americans, Monday was just another day in the soul-crushing reality of unemployment. If you add in the truly despondent, the people who have simply quit looking for work, the number is roughly 23 million.

Jobs data spells bad news

Market Beat’s Mark Gongloff explains the disappointing jobs report numbers and how this will affect our economy, in the Markets Hub.

This is a national tragedy. Hardest hit are the Americans who can least afford to be out of work. The recession has hit minorities hard. The unemployment rate is 16.7% among blacks and 11.3% among hispanics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the work force is actually growing and yet more able-bodied and able-minded workers have nothing to do.

But there’s a bigger trend we should be worried about. What jobs exist are held by older Americans. The unemployment rate for teenagers is 25.4%. For younger workers aged 20 to 24, it’s 14.8%. Compare that to the 55-or-older category which is at 6.6% and hasn’t topped 7.5% since the recession began.

At this rate, the post-Baby Boom generations won’t need Social Security. After all, you need a job in order to contribute to payroll taxes and earn a return for retirement.

In other words, today’s younger Americans are bearing the brunt of the recession. But not only that, the economic slump is stealing important work experience from generations X, Y and the millennials.

In addition, now comes a troubling poll by Inc./WomanTrend that shows the financial and psychological toll this recession has taken on young Americans.

• More than a quarter, 27%, are delaying going back to school or getting more training.

• 28% are delaying saving for retirement.

• More than one out of five, 23%, are delaying starting a family and 18% are putting off getting married.

• And don’t expect younger Americans to bail out their parent’s housing mess. Nearly half, 44%, say they’re going to delay buying a home.

The upshot of the study, which included a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, is that the younger end of the work force is stalled — in numbers that suggest that even those who have jobs aren’t optimistic.

This should be raising alarm bells in Washington and on Wall Street too. It’s not only a matter of national policy, it’s an economic one. The leading edge of the Baby Boom is retiring this year. That means the primary holders of stocks and bonds and other securities will need to sell those securities for income.

Without a flourishing younger America, those securities aren’t going to have willing buyers. It’s a death spiral of market economics.

That means we’re all going to get poorer: young people with no money, older Americans with a bunch of securities they can’t sell. It’s going to get worse over time.

That is, of course, if recent trends hold up. As mentioned, more older Americans — those 55 or older — are working relative to other generations. Fearful of not being able to make ends meet in their golden years, they’re not letting go of their jobs.

By holding on, of course, they’re not passing the baton to younger Americans. So you can see the cycle: Older people keep working. More younger Americans are unemployed. The wealth is hoarded by the old folks. The wealth diminishes in value without anyone (younger Americans) to whom they can sell it.

That’s why we need a broad systemic fix to the system that focuses on getting younger Americans back or into the work force. Tax incentives for hiring younger workers is one obvious way. Government-sponsored work programs to build infrastructure is another.

Government and big business aren’t going to solve all of our problems. We need to ask younger and older Americans to accept less, be more entrepreneurial, be more resourceful. Both generations seem to be in a funk. Both are so worried about the future, they’re paralyzed.

And this is the real tragedy, one we don’t talk about. We’re all afraid. The problem is we’re not doing anything about it. Young people aren’t taking risks. Older people aren’t passing on the wealth.

When you’re stuck in idle, you’re not going to get anywhere.

David Weidner covers Wall Street for MarketWatch.