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Social Security Administration

Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: “reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” There are many pundits who will tell you that Social Security is dead in the water. Not exactly.

But the latest report by the Social Security Administration is certainly sobering. One big takeaway from the newly released, 270-page Trustee Report is this: the existing cash reserves for the program will run dry by the year 2035. The program itself will continue to exist provided that payroll taxes continue to be taken out of wages. But as of 2035, the 63 million Americans who rely on Social Security may see their benefits shrink by 20 percent.

Perhaps the best way to see this report is as a wake-up call. Social Security was always designed to be a narrow safety net. Benefits were intended to replace only 40% of the average worker’s salary– less for those in higher income brackets.

What that means is that we now have an opportunity. We can chart our own course, rather than mistaking a benefits backup for a solid retirement plan. We can make our own arrangements for predictable monthly income that will extend to 2035 and far, far beyond. The only bad choice is not to make one.

Quote of the Day

“Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe.”

Private pensions have been in steep decline for a long time now. 

What’s new news is that public pensions continue to have real troubles of their own. Despite the longest bull market run in U.S. history, many states have pension liabilities that far exceed their assets. How are public pensions in your state faring?

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It can be temptingly easy to bash the aspirations of millennials signing on to the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement- FIRE for short.

Realistic or not, the goal of retiring by age 40 or 50 can prompt a healthy discussion of what prudent personal financial management looks like. Take it from this journalist- & be sure to check out Myth #7.

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