Posts Tagged ‘Investments’
If you want to frighten Baby Boomers, just show them the list of statistics in this article. The United States is headed for a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and we are woefully unprepared for it. At this point, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen for almost the next 20 years. The number of senior citizens in America is projected to more than double during the first half of this century, and some absolutely enormous financial promises have been made to them. So will we be able to keep those promises to the hordes of American workers that are rapidly approaching retirement? Of course not. State and local governments are facing trillions in unfunded pension liabilities. Medicare is facing a 38 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. The Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. Meanwhile, nearly half of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. The truth is that I was being incredibly kind when I said earlier that we are “woefully unprepared” for what is coming. The biggest retirement crisis in history is rapidly approaching, and a lot of the promises that were made to the Baby Boomers are going to get broken.
The following are 35 incredibly shocking statistics that will scare just about any Baby Boomer…
1. Right now, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States. By 2050 that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million.
2. According to one recent poll, 25 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no retirement savings at all.
3. 26 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no personal savings whatsoever.
4. One survey that covered all American workers found that 46 percentof them have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.
5. According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “60 percent of American workers said the total value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000″.
6. A Pew Research survey found that half of all Baby Boomers say that their household financial situations have deteriorated over the past year.
7. 67 percent of all American workers believe that they “are a little or a lot behind schedule on saving for retirement”.
8. Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.
9. More elderly Americans than ever are finding that they must continue working once they reach their retirement years. Between 1985 and 2010, the percentage of Americans in the 65 to 69-year-old age bracket that were still working increased from 18 percent to 32 percent.
10. Back in 1991, half of all American workers planned to retire before they reached the age of 65. Today, that number has declined to 23 percent.
11. According to one recent survey, 70 percent of all American workers expect to continue working once they are “retired”.
12. According to a poll conducted by AARP, 40 percent of all Baby Boomers plan to work “until they drop”.
13. A poll conducted by CESI Debt Solutions found that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired.
14. Elderly Americans tend to carry much higher balances on their credit cards than younger Americans do. The following is from a recent CNBC article…
New research from the AARP also shows that those ages 50 and over are carrying higher balances on their credit cards — $8,278 in 2012 compared to $6,258 for the under-50 population.
15. A study by a law professor at the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percentof all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.
16. Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.
17. What is causing most of these bankruptcies among the elderly? The number one cause is medical bills. According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
18. In 1945, there were 42 workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits. Today, that number has fallen to 2.5 workers, and if you eliminate all government workers, that leaves only 1.6 private sector workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits.
19. Millions of elderly Americans these days are finding it very difficult to survive on just a Social Security check. The truth is that most Social Security checks simply are not that large. The following comes directly from the Social Security Administration website…
The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,230 at the beginning of 2012. This amount changes monthly based upon the total amount of all benefits paid and the total number of people receiving benefits.
Could you live on about 300 dollars a week?
20. Social Security benefits are not going to stretch as far in future years. The following is from an article on the AARP website…
Social Security benefits won’t go as far, either. In 2002, benefits replaced 39 percent of the average retirees salary, and that will decline to 28 percent in 2030, when the youngest boomers reach full retirement age, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
22. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
25. Today, only 10 percent of private companies in the U.S. provide guaranteed lifelong pensions for their employees.
26. Verizon’s pension plan is underfunded by 3.4 billion dollars.
27. In California, the Orange County Employees Retirement System is estimated to have a 10 billion dollar unfunded pension liability.
28. The state of Illinois has accumulated unfunded pension liabilities of more than 77 billion dollars.
29. Pension consultant Girard Miller told California’s Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have 325 billion dollars in combined unfunded pension liabilities.
30. According to Northwestern University Professor John Rauh, the latest estimate of the total amount of unfunded pension and healthcare obligations for retirees that state and local governments across the United States have accumulated is 4.4 trillion dollars.
31. In 2010, 28 percent of all American workers with a 401(k) had taken money out of it at some point.
32. Back in 2004, American workers were taking about 30 billion dollars in early withdrawals out of their 401(k) accounts every single year. Right now, American workers are pulling about 70 billion dollars in early withdrawals out of their 401(k) accounts every single year.
33. Today, 49 percent of all American workers are not covered by an employment-based pension plan at all.
34. According to a recent survey conducted by Americans for Secure Retirement, 88 percent of all Americans are worried about “maintaining a comfortable standard of living in retirement”.
35. A study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.
So what is the solution? Well, one influential organization of business executives says that the solution is to make Americans wait longer for retirement. The following is from a recent CBS News article…
An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.
The Business Roundtable’s plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.
But considering the fact that there aren’t nearly enough jobs for all Americans already, perhaps that is not such a great idea. If we expect Americans to work longer, then we are going to need our economy to start producing a lot more good jobs than it is producing right now.
Of course the status quo is not going to work either. There is no way that we are going to be able to meet the financial obligations that are coming due.
The federal government, our state governments and our local governments are already drowning in debt and we are already spending far more money than we bring in each year. How in the world are we going to make ends meet as our obligations to retirees absolutely skyrocket in the years ahead?
That is something to think about.
So what do you think? Do you believe that there is a solution to our retirement crisis? Do you think that we can actually keep all of the promises that we have made to the Baby Boomers? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
Pursuing opportunities of the past only speeds the dissolution of any Status Quo that depends on spent models of growth.
If we had to summarize the global effort to reflate various debt and asset bubbles to “restart growth,” we might say the Status Quo is pursuing opportunities of the past.
Let’s start with investing in real estate. Retail space is in massive oversupply. Others have done an excellent job describing the overcapacity, high vacancy rates and cannibalizing of sales at existing stores by adding stores: Are you seeing what I’m seeing?
Suffice it to say that an era of deleveraging, declining household income and aging populace is not a good foundation for retail expansion.
The wave of creative destruction unleashed by the Internet has yet to envelop commercial office space–but it’s already reached the front steps. Just as online retail has decimated retail sectors such as bookstores, the Web is busy revolutionizing white-collar work, the mainstay of office towers and business parks.
Real work can now be done offsite/remotely at a home office, café, or anywhere but a cubicle at headquarters, and the cost advantages of this flexibility will not be going away. Yes, there are still powerful reasons to meet in person, but there are equally powerful reasons to permanently downsize travel and office costs.
Structural changes in the economy are increasing self-employment and contract labor and shrinking the scale of new enterprises. Millions of well-educated American workers already work at home, and since the average U.S. house has grown in size over the past 50 years, free-lancers and self-employed professionals have plenty of space rent-free.
High-growth companies which once hired thousands of employees and rented entire buildings are increasingly offer highly automated products and services. New-tech juggernaut Twitter recently leased more space in San Francisco as it was expanding its staff by–gasp!–200 employees. Will Twitter be filling that empty office tower near you? No, because its “service” is largely automated software. It now requires less than 1,000 employees to operate a global tech juggernaut.
Many global companies no longer need a headquarters; their senior staff work just like junior employees, from home, hotel room, cafe, etc. Airbnb, Coursera and Uber: The rise of the disruption economy.
The “recovery” in housing is limited for structural reasons. Household formation is in a multi-decade downtrend, household income is also in a structural decline since 2000 and trillions of dollars in subsidies and giveaways have barely budged the needle of housing sales, starts, etc.
Buy and hold stocks: adjusted for inflation, returns on the “buy and hold stocks forever” strategy since 2000 registered a 14% loss, as we see in this chart, courtesy of master chartist Doug Short:
The “buy and hold bonds” strategy is also running out of air. Now that interest rates are zero or negative when adjusted for inflation, there are limits on how much bond yields can decline. This game may run for for awhile but the returns from here until the day rates rise in a “credit event” are modest. Not only have the low-hanging fruits been picked in the 31-year bond bull market, those buying now are stripping the last fruit from the top of the tree.
What happens to those who buy into opportunities of the past? As a guide, we can see what happened to household net worth since the 2007-8 global financial meltdown ended the financialization era: American Households Hit 43-Year Low In Net Worth.
Pursuing opportunities of the past only speeds the dissolution of any Status Quo that depends on spent models of growth.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
The brittle financial American middle class – 50 percent of Americans would be in financial trouble if $2,000 of expenses came up in 30 days. By 2020 the world’s richest households will control $202 trillion in wealth, 4 times current global GDP.
This economic recovery has excluded working and middle class Americans which begs the question, what really defines a financial recovery? In past and distant recoveries the economic gains were widely distributed amongst all Americans. Most realize that income gains will never be equal simply because in a market based economy those with certain desirable skills will be rewarded more than others. Yet in the last decade the banking sector has co-opted the government to turn it into a welfare state for the large banks. Desirable qualities are now replaced by predator diseased qualities of ripping off the taxpayer for bad market based bets. That is why recent data showing that nearly 50 percent of Americans are unable to come up with $2,000 in 30 days if an emergency came up is startling. $2,000 for most is the basic monthly expenses on food, home, and other little items. So half our country is living one paycheck away from financial collapse. 44,000,000 Americans are living with food assistance from the government already. Keep in mind the recovery has been going on now for close to two full years. According to the NBER the recession was over in June of 2009. The fact that $2,000 is enough to bankrupt half of American households tells you about the new state of our economic recovery.
This is a recent survey and the implications are troubling:
“(WSJ) The survey asked a simple question, “If you were to face a $2,000 unexpected expense in the next month, how would you get the funds you need?” In the U.S., 24.9% of respondents reported being certainly able, 25.1% probably able, 22.2% probably unable and 27.9% certainly unable. The $2,000 figure “reflects the order of magnitude of the cost of an unanticipated major car repair, a large copayment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair,” the authors write. On a more concrete basis, the authors cite $2,000 as the cost of an auto transmission replacement and research that reported low-income families claim to need about $1500 in savings for emergencies.”
The above data fits into the mold that average Americans are simply falling behind the elusive curve. The average per capita income for the United States is $25,000. People get somewhat surprised when they hear this figure because it seems low for the most wealthy nation in the world. We invented Cribs and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for crying out loud. Yet most that are surprised do not live in the bottom half and keep in mind many of these families are in the two income trap. Meaning both spouses have to work in order to keep things moving financially:
Source: Social Security
This brings up the question of recovery once again. If half of Americans are teetering on financial disasters and all it would take is $2,000 in unexpected expenses, what do we really mean by a middle class lifestyle? The last two years have not been supportive to the working people of America. The large gains have gone directly to the top 1 percent:
Even with these kinds of gains the income is going to the wealthiest in our country because the current bailouts have rewarded those with large financial positions in stocks:
Now part of this inequality is merely the widespread pillaging of Wall Street on the American public. The banking bailouts that occurred to an industry that turned housing, the largest net worth item for average Americans, into a commodity to be traded and exploited. Most Americans derive their net worth from home values, not stock market gains. So the 100 percent run-up of the stock market has done very little for the majority in the country (this can be seen by the Gallup 19 percent underemployment figure). Do we think that those that are $2,000 away from financial ruin are loading up on stocks in their retirement accounts? They are simply getting by. This is why wealth inequality is now at levels last seen since the Great Depression:
The rich will get richer
An interesting report from Deloitte came out showing that over the next decade the rich in the world will simply get richer by using the current system that pillages the working classes around the globe:
Source: Zero Hedge
“(Zero Hedge) A new study by Deloitte confirms everyone’s worst fear (and every millionaire’s wettest dream): the wealth amassed by millionaire households is set to increase by more than 100% over the next 9 years. From a total of $92 trillion held by the world’s richest in 2011, by 2020 the world’s millionaire households will possess $202 trillion, or roughly 4 times current global GDP. Even though much of move up is attributed to the wealth surge in the developing world, the biggest beneficiary is, you guessed it, the United States where the millionaires (those with net wealth of at least $1 million), who currently account for $38.6 trillion of total wealth, will see their assets increased by 225% to $87.1 trillion! And while a comparable study of how much wealth the lower and middle classes are set to lose over the next decade, we are confident that it will be roughly comparable…inversely. So if anyone harbored any illusions that the current status quo was about anything but the rich getting richer, all those can be promptly swiped aside.”
The model of exploiting bubbles and financially ruining working and middle class families has worked so well that it is being applied globally by the wealthy and financially connected class. Again the question becomes what do we mean by recovery? Is it a recovery if the majority of American families are left in a financially destitute situation just to bailout too big to fail financial institutions to protect the wealth of the top one percent? Keep in mind these are the individuals that have set fire to the economy and have put a match to the home equity of most Americans. This is the system that is being protected but not for the majority.
Job growth in low paying fields
We would expect that a recovery would occur with good paying jobs dominating the new workforce. That is not the case:
As you can see from the chart above most of the jobs being added in the recovery are from lower paying job sectors. The middle class is seeing more and more strains being placed on their monthly budgets. Trading good blue collar jobs in say building cars into burger flipping McDonald’s jobs. Anyone that has followed the trends closely realizes that seeing 50 percent of Americans only $2,000 away from major financial issues is no surprise. In fact 1 out of 3 Americans doesn’t even have a penny to their name! This is the issue at hand and while too big to fail banks leverage the Federal Reserve for zero percent loans and a place to trash toxic waste loans, many Americans do not even share in their rising productivity:
No wonder why profits are up and wages are down. Less is being given to those creating the new gains under the guise that things are financially tight. Tight for who? The CEO of JP Morgan that makes 800+ times the median household income of Americans for foreclosing on millions and gambling in speculative investments that hurt the real economy? If you wonder why nothing is done in Washington D.C. the vast majority of representatives support the elite class because they are part of it:
Until people start making these wider connections we will keep rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and by 2020 the wealthy will be even wealthier and the middle class will be a shell of what it once was in the United States. This is the new recovery according to the large financial interest that controls our government.
This should come as no surprise to those who have even remotely been paying attention. I mean, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3 years, it’d be hard to miss the massive fraud perpetrated by Goldman Sachs on a regular basis. Who could forget such classics as, Goldman pressing for high ratings on its mortgage-backed securities (CDOs), then selling them off to clients (‘they’re triple-A, you know), while unbeknownst to the sucke….errr….client, took short positions against those very same CDOs. Then, there’s everyone’s favorite, Hank Paulson denying (to Congress, no less) that he had any knowledge this was happening at Goldman Sachs…..when he was CEO of the firm at the time.
Despite all this illicit behavior, the Vampire Squid still lives…..and it apparently continues its murderous rampage on clients’ portfolios. According to The Street:
Goldman helped to catalyze the recent commodity sell-off as its researchers expected little upside when the economy hit a soft patch. Crude oil tumbled beneath $100 on that report. Then, two days ago, with few fundamental changes in the demand outlook, Goldman reversed its stance, advising clients to buy.
This flip-flopping from Wall Street’s most closely followed researcher is being perceived by some as client-fleecing since the bank is able to trade in proprietary accounts before it releases research and the markets react, as they often do to Goldman’s calls.
Heh…but it gets better…..
News broke yesterday, or rather, a blogger pulled data yesterday to show that Goldman dumped 1,260,802 shares of Apple(AAPL_) during the first quarter, even as its research division rated the stock “buy” and maintained its lofty $470 target. Little due diligence is done in the journalism community on the interplay between asset-management and research units.
To check up on the bank’s activities, we tracked its 58 Conviction Buy List stocks, which are the equities that the bank claims that it is most optimistic about to clients, to see if it sold any during the quarter. The results are intriguing. Of the 58 so-called Conviction Buy stocks that Goldman recommended to clients during the first quarter, it sold 31, or more than half, according to its 13-F filing. [We did not include Goldman mutual funds in these calculations].
Of the 31 Conviction Buys that Goldman sold, it sold more than 1 million shares of 12 of those stocks, begging the question: How does Goldman define “conviction”? To most investors, it means putting your money where your mouth is.
On the following page is a look at 12 Conviction Buys that Goldman sold in bulk.
Find out if you’ve been fleeced by going to The Street.
I guess one would have to ask the obvious at this point: Exactly who still uses these guys for investing? I mean, really? How is it they have any clients left at this point? If you’re thinking, ‘Oh, but I’m different, they only do that to the other guy,’ you really should have your head examined.