The other day I was reading a Bloomberg article about how income inequality in the US has hit a disturbing new threshold.
It went on about the fact that US wage growth is ridiculously slow, despite our near full employment situation…that African Americans and women are still disadvantaged…and that the wealthiest are accumulating more money than ever.
Really, none of it surprised me. This is one of the issues that boosted Trump into the White House.
It’s also a trend I don’t see changing much in the near future, thanks to the demographic path we’re currently on. And, as I see it, it’s a path that doesn’t end at a beach resort with perfect weather, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and limitless free cocktails.
Never mind the income inequality, the US is careening towards a retirement crisis so epic, there’s no historical precedence.
And note, Australian readers, that the demographic analysis that follows applies to your nation just as much as ours.
For decades, part of the American Dream was to work 35 to 40 years for one company, then ride off into the retirement sunset with a healthy pension and social security to boot.
But times have changed.
First, the death of pensions in America has caused a dramatic shift where individuals — and only individuals — are responsible for their retirement savings.
That’s why, unless you’re sitting on one of the few remaining pensions, knowing where you stand today is critical to finding out whether you can outlive your nest egg.
Second, Americans simply cannot rely on social security alone as their safety net any longer.
The average social security check for 2018 is a pitiful $1,404 a month. And the maximum you can receive each month is just $2,788 for 2018.
When you add up food, gas, medical costs, and other basic living expenses, social security just won’t leave much left over to actually enjoy your retirement.
To make matters worse…
The trustees of the Social Security Trust Fund projected, in their 2017 report, that the excess funds in the account — the total of what you, I, and all current and past workers have paid in — will be exhausted by 2034!
That projection doesn’t mean you’ll get nothing starting in 2034. It means that the program will only have enough revenue coming in to pay out 77% of promised benefits beginning in 2034.
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For example, if you were expecting to get $2,000 a month at full retirement, your payout would shrink by about 23% to just $1,540.
That’s a scary scenario if you’ve been counting on social security as a core part of your retirement planning.
And finally, the most disturbing trend is this…
People are living longer than ever before. In many cases, much longer…well into their 90s and beyond.
Never mind the fact that social security wasn’t designed to pay out benefits for 20 to 30 years, the health issues we have as we get older are more expensive to treat…and they’re the number one threat to your retirement balance.
According to some numbers I’ve seen, one in four US seniors spends the last five years of their lives fighting off bankruptcy from medical bills…and fails. And according to HealthView Services, a software company that projects healthcare costs, ‘The average 65-year-old couple could pay almost $490,000 in total health-related costs throughout retirement.’
It begs the question: Do you have an EXTRA half-million dollars lying around just for healthcare expenses?
I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s highly unlikely.
To cover expenses like that, you’d need a sizeable income stream during your retirement years…along with a seven-figure portfolio you can draw upon.
Editor, Harry Dent Daily