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Social Security Is Screwing Millennials

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#1
Mauldin: Social Security Is Screwing Millennials

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/11/2019



Authored by John Mauldin via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Social Security is a textbook illustration of how government programs go off the rails.
It had a noble goal: to help elderly and disabled Americans, who can’t work, maintain a minimal, dignified living standard.
Back then, most people either died before reaching that point or didn’t live long after it. Social Security was never intended to do what we now expect, i.e., be the primary income source for most Americans during a decade or more of retirement.

Life expectancy when Social Security began was around 56. The designers made 65 the full retirement age because it was well past normal life expectancy.

No one foresaw the various medical and technological advances that let more people reach that age and a great deal more, or the giant baby boom that would occur after World War II, or the sharp drop in birth rates in the 1960s, thanks to artificial birth control.

Those factors produced a system that simply doesn’t work.

A few modest changes back then might have avoided today’s challenge. But now, we are left with a crazy system that rewards earlier generations at the expense of later ones.



Screwing Millennials

I am a perfect example.

I’ve long said I never intend to retire, if retirement means not working at all. I enjoy my work and (knock on wood) I’m physically able to do it.

Social Security let me delay collecting benefits until now, for which I will get a higher benefit—$3,588 monthly, in my case.
Now, that $3,588 I will be getting each month isn’t random. It comes from rules that consider my lifetime income and the amount of Social Security taxes I and my employers paid.

That amount comes to $402,000 of actual dollars, not inflation-adjusted dollars. (I also paid $572,000 in Medicare taxes. Again, actual dollars, not inflation-adjusted dollars.)

What did those taxes really buy me? In other words, what if I had been allowed to invest that same money in an annuity that yielded the same benefit? Did I make a good “investment” or not?

That is actually a very complicated question, one that necessarily involves a lot of assumptions and will vary a lot among individuals.
In my case, if I live to age 90 and benefits stay unchanged, the internal real rate of return on my Social Security “investment” will be 3.84%. If I only make it to 80, that real IRR drops to 0.75%.

While this may not sound like much, it actually is. Even 1% real return (i.e., above inflation) with no credit risk is pretty good and 3.84% is fantastic. If I live past 90 it will be even better.
But this is not due to my investment genius. Four things explain my high returns.
  • Double indexing of benefits in the early 1970s (thank you, Richard Nixon).
  • I delayed claiming benefits until age 70, which I could afford to do but isn’t an option for many people.
  • I will probably live longer than average, due to both genetic factors and maintaining good health (thank you, Shane!).
But maybe most of all because
  • The system is massively screwing the next generation. From a Social Security benefit standpoint, being an early Boomer is a pretty good deal.
Social Security structurally favors its earliest users. The big winners are not the Baby Boomers like me, but our parents.

They paid less and received more. But we Boomers are still getting a whale of a deal compared to our grandchildren.

Now, consider a male who is presently age 25, and who earns $50,000 every year from now until age 67, his full retirement age.
Such a person is not going to get anything like the benefits I do, especially with benefit cuts, which my friend Larry estimates will be as high as 24.5%.

So, if this person lives an average lifespan and gets only those reduced benefits, his real internal rate of return will be -0.23%.
I suspect very few in the Millennial generation know this and they’re going to be mad when they find out. I don’t blame them, either.

The Next Quadrillion

The reason Millennials won’t see anything like the benefits today’s retirees get is simple math. The money simply isn’t there.
The so-called trust fund (which is really an accounting fiction, but go with me here) exists because the payroll taxes coming into the system long exceeded the benefits going to retirees.

That is no longer the case.

Social Security is now “draining” the trust fund to pay benefits. This can only continue for so long. Projections show the surplus will disappear in 2034. A few tweaks might buy another year or two. Then what?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. If Congress stays paralyzed and does nothing, then under current law Social Security can only pay out the cash it receives via payroll taxes. That will be only 77% of present benefits—a 23% pay cut for millions of retirees.

And please understand, there is no trust fund. Congress already spent that money and must borrow more to make up the difference.
This IS going to happen. Math guarantees it.

Missing Opportunities

These problems would be less serious if more people saved for their own retirements and viewed Social Security as the supplement.

There are good reasons many haven’t done so. Worker incomes have stagnated while living costs keep rising.

But more important, telling people to invest their own money presumes they have investment opportunities and the ability to seize them. That may not be the case.

The prior generations to whom Social Security was so generous also had the advantage of 5% or better bond yields or bank certificates of deposits at very low risk.

That is unattainable now. And let’s not even talk about mass numbers of uninformed people buying stocks at today’s historically high valuations. That won’t end well.

So, if your solution is to put people in private accounts and have them invest their own retirement money, I’m sorry but it just won’t work.

It will have the same result as those benefit cuts we find so dreadful: millions of frustrated and angry retirees.

So, what is the answer if you are in retirement or approaching it? The easiest answer is to raise the retirement age. Yes, that’s really just a disguised way to cut benefits, but making it 70 or 75 would get the program a lot closer to its original intent.
Today’s 65-year-olds are in much better shape than people that age were in 1936 or even 1970.
(Note, I would still leave the option for people who are truly disabled to retire younger. I get that not everybody is a writer and/or an investment adviser who makes their living in front of the computer or on the phone. Some people wear out their bodies and really deserve to retire earlier.)
 

Scorpio

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#2
Worker incomes have stagnated while living costs keep rising.
we here at GIM have spoken to this for years and years,

exporting inflation and importing deflation thru globalization,

jobs go buh bye, and along with it, worker wages,

so in order to survive, slaves buy from chin mart and the rest. Doesn't matter if you are speaking of iphones or building materials. Chin made.

corporations and your .gov encourage and expedite all of this,

NAFTA my keister,
TPP my keister,

all to insure the slaves are properly kept down and living hand to mouth
 

Bottom Feeder

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#3
Unh, I'm no financial math wizard but it seems to something amiss there with their reasoning.
1. They borrowed the money from SS and spent it all
2. They have been payin it back (with interest)
3. In 2034 this debt is going to be "retired"
4. Now the same amount they were paying for this debt should be available for use. (and less because no interest payment anymore)

Is there a error in my thinking?
BF
 

Joe King

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#4

Scorpio

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#6
and for clarification so as not to be a smart azz about it,

the dough paid in never rests and collects interest, it is spent, every penny of it on current deadbeats along with other .gov spending,

this paying back you speak of, well that is the illusion, a accounting gimmick, IMO nothing ever happens that way, just a shift of digits from one place to another (that is the pretend IOU's everyone speaks to in that fantastical lockbox of 'ole Al Bores')

these discussions about 'ROI' and all of that jazz is pure fantasy.
Every penny is spent, there is no 'investment', and there is no 'ROI', and there are no gains to be had.

even the author of the article is totally misguided, believing falsely that somehow he paid x into this system, and he gets to take out x + y if he lives long enough.

Bullshit,

That is not how it works. That money he paid in is spent, and he is owed exactly ZERO. They only do it to passify the masses who are too stupid to save a plug nickel for retirement. They have conditioned the slaves well, as now they even believe it to be 'owed' to them or that they are 'entitled'. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No matter how much people wish it to be otherwise, demand it be otherwise.
 

TAEZZAR

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#7
Bullshit,

That is not how it works.
THIS IS HOW IT WORKS !

I was married to a Peruvian, whose elderly family members & friends would come over here and get a green card, open a bank account, file for SS benefits & have them automatically sent to that account.
THEN they went home to Peru & collected the bank monies in Peru !!! :totally steamed:

AND that is how it works for so many THAT NEVER PAID A FUCKING DIME INTO SS !!!
 

Fatrat

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#8
Another of my co-worker went out at 62, collect your money while you can guys...
 

Bottom Feeder

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#9
THIS IS HOW IT WORKS !

I was married to a Peruvian, whose elderly family members & friends would come over here and get a green card, open a bank account, file for SS benefits & have them automatically sent to that account.
THEN they went home to Peru & collected the bank monies in Peru !!! :totally steamed:

AND that is how it works for so many THAT NEVER PAID A FUCKING DIME INTO SS !!!
When they left then they started committing fraud by collecting ss bennies.
wife unit's mom came over here with her — same thing; SS benefits
after eight or ten years she went back to nam, but ss didn't follow, it ended
BF
 

TAEZZAR

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When they left then they started committing fraud by collecting ss bennies.
wife unit's mom came over here with her — same thing; SS benefits
after eight or ten years she went back to nam, but ss didn't follow, it ended
BF
That's how I see/saw it.
The trick was automatic deposits in to a local bank account.
This was back in the early 70's to mid 80's, maybe some things changed.

edit:
Present wife is Chinese. Her parents came here in the late 80's & stayed til death. They too collected from SS under a different SS benefit name, I don't recall that name, but it came from SS, as I understood.
 

TAEZZAR

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Mujahideen

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Mortgaged future for the children.
 

tigerwillow1

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I was married to a Peruvian, whose elderly family members & friends would come over here and get a green card, open a bank account, file for SS benefits & have them automatically sent to that account.
There is a 10 year minimum of paying SS taxes to be eligible for retirement benefits.
 

TAEZZAR

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TAEZZAR

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#17

tigerwillow1

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#18
Not for 'supplemental social security', thanks BF.
OK, different program than I realized. After a quick read, it sounds like they couldn't pull it off today due to changes made in 1996. The window was from 1972 to 1996. The program requires residency in the US, and payments are supposed to be stopped after a 30 day absence. Sounds like a whistleblower could get payments cut off for somebody who has left the country. I've just been reading about some lawyers who like to help whistleblowers.
:winks2:
 

Thecrensh

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#19
Mauldin: Social Security Is Screwing Millennials

by Tyler Durden
Fri, 10/11/2019



Authored by John Mauldin via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Social Security is a textbook illustration of how government programs go off the rails.
It had a noble goal: to help elderly and disabled Americans, who can’t work, maintain a minimal, dignified living standard.
Back then, most people either died before reaching that point or didn’t live long after it. Social Security was never intended to do what we now expect, i.e., be the primary income source for most Americans during a decade or more of retirement.

Life expectancy when Social Security began was around 56. The designers made 65 the full retirement age because it was well past normal life expectancy.

No one foresaw the various medical and technological advances that let more people reach that age and a great deal more, or the giant baby boom that would occur after World War II, or the sharp drop in birth rates in the 1960s, thanks to artificial birth control.

Those factors produced a system that simply doesn’t work.

A few modest changes back then might have avoided today’s challenge. But now, we are left with a crazy system that rewards earlier generations at the expense of later ones.



Screwing Millennials

I am a perfect example.

I’ve long said I never intend to retire, if retirement means not working at all. I enjoy my work and (knock on wood) I’m physically able to do it.

Social Security let me delay collecting benefits until now, for which I will get a higher benefit—$3,588 monthly, in my case.
Now, that $3,588 I will be getting each month isn’t random. It comes from rules that consider my lifetime income and the amount of Social Security taxes I and my employers paid.

That amount comes to $402,000 of actual dollars, not inflation-adjusted dollars. (I also paid $572,000 in Medicare taxes. Again, actual dollars, not inflation-adjusted dollars.)

What did those taxes really buy me? In other words, what if I had been allowed to invest that same money in an annuity that yielded the same benefit? Did I make a good “investment” or not?

That is actually a very complicated question, one that necessarily involves a lot of assumptions and will vary a lot among individuals.
In my case, if I live to age 90 and benefits stay unchanged, the internal real rate of return on my Social Security “investment” will be 3.84%. If I only make it to 80, that real IRR drops to 0.75%.

While this may not sound like much, it actually is. Even 1% real return (i.e., above inflation) with no credit risk is pretty good and 3.84% is fantastic. If I live past 90 it will be even better.
But this is not due to my investment genius. Four things explain my high returns.
  • Double indexing of benefits in the early 1970s (thank you, Richard Nixon).
  • I delayed claiming benefits until age 70, which I could afford to do but isn’t an option for many people.
  • I will probably live longer than average, due to both genetic factors and maintaining good health (thank you, Shane!).
But maybe most of all because
  • The system is massively screwing the next generation. From a Social Security benefit standpoint, being an early Boomer is a pretty good deal.
Social Security structurally favors its earliest users. The big winners are not the Baby Boomers like me, but our parents.

They paid less and received more. But we Boomers are still getting a whale of a deal compared to our grandchildren.

Now, consider a male who is presently age 25, and who earns $50,000 every year from now until age 67, his full retirement age.
Such a person is not going to get anything like the benefits I do, especially with benefit cuts, which my friend Larry estimates will be as high as 24.5%.

So, if this person lives an average lifespan and gets only those reduced benefits, his real internal rate of return will be -0.23%.
I suspect very few in the Millennial generation know this and they’re going to be mad when they find out. I don’t blame them, either.

The Next Quadrillion

The reason Millennials won’t see anything like the benefits today’s retirees get is simple math. The money simply isn’t there.
The so-called trust fund (which is really an accounting fiction, but go with me here) exists because the payroll taxes coming into the system long exceeded the benefits going to retirees.

That is no longer the case.

Social Security is now “draining” the trust fund to pay benefits. This can only continue for so long. Projections show the surplus will disappear in 2034. A few tweaks might buy another year or two. Then what?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. If Congress stays paralyzed and does nothing, then under current law Social Security can only pay out the cash it receives via payroll taxes. That will be only 77% of present benefits—a 23% pay cut for millions of retirees.

And please understand, there is no trust fund. Congress already spent that money and must borrow more to make up the difference.
This IS going to happen. Math guarantees it.

Missing Opportunities

These problems would be less serious if more people saved for their own retirements and viewed Social Security as the supplement.

There are good reasons many haven’t done so. Worker incomes have stagnated while living costs keep rising.

But more important, telling people to invest their own money presumes they have investment opportunities and the ability to seize them. That may not be the case.

The prior generations to whom Social Security was so generous also had the advantage of 5% or better bond yields or bank certificates of deposits at very low risk.

That is unattainable now. And let’s not even talk about mass numbers of uninformed people buying stocks at today’s historically high valuations. That won’t end well.

So, if your solution is to put people in private accounts and have them invest their own retirement money, I’m sorry but it just won’t work.

It will have the same result as those benefit cuts we find so dreadful: millions of frustrated and angry retirees.

So, what is the answer if you are in retirement or approaching it? The easiest answer is to raise the retirement age. Yes, that’s really just a disguised way to cut benefits, but making it 70 or 75 would get the program a lot closer to its original intent.
Today’s 65-year-olds are in much better shape than people that age were in 1936 or even 1970.
(Note, I would still leave the option for people who are truly disabled to retire younger. I get that not everybody is a writer and/or an investment adviser who makes their living in front of the computer or on the phone. Some people wear out their bodies and really deserve to retire earlier.)
I wonder how much of the SS budget is actually being stolen for kickbacks and graft by the "elite" (read: corrupt D.C. denizens...).
 

anywoundedduck

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#20
Corrupt politicians, over the years, borrowed from Social Security anytime they could not raise taxes to pay for ear marked programs (bridge to nowhere, sperm whale pregnancy rate, Etc.)
I use the term borrowed very loosely, as not one penny was paid back. Billions and Hundreds of billions stolen from the fund.
So I have a question.
Since the a-holes seem to freely print money for everything, including short selling metals and buying treasuries and stocks to prop up markets, why can't they print money to pay for Social Security?
Inquiring minds want to know.
 

keef

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#21
Would ya pls quit fkin waking the children!!!! They need their rest for those three part time jobs they will have to work all their lives.

If you paid in since 1976, like I did, now would be the time to collect and at least try to break even.
 

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Corrupt politicians, over the years, borrowed from Social Security anytime they could not raise taxes to pay for ear marked programs (bridge to nowhere, sperm whale pregnancy rate, Etc.)
I use the term borrowed very loosely, as not one penny was paid back. Billions and Hundreds of billions stolen from the fund.
So I have a question.
Since the a-holes seem to freely print money for everything, including short selling metals and buying treasuries and stocks to prop up markets, why can't they print money to pay for Social Security?
Inquiring minds want to know.
I think they do already. There really is no fund, just an illusion. SS is nothing more than a special tax. Already been through the SC and that was their ruling. Benies are allocated and paid out of the general fund every year. There is no mandate to do so other than politicians don't want top be hung.
 

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#23
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

― Upton Sinclair

Government benefits work the same way. Nobody bites the hand that feeds them. The government can commit any crime and the people dependent on the government will not rebel.
 

Scorpio

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#24
SS is nothing more than a special tax.
it is a welfare program disguised as a tax and further disguised as a entitlement to old people,

they get the slaves agreeing to be taxed for their whole working lifetime, with the promise of crumbs after they are too old to work any longer

too funny,

then they turn around and use those funds in all manner of bs methods, as it is a tax ie gen revenue and there is no separate balance sheet for it, only a income/expense statement that says how much in and how much out.

that is why they can give SS funds to illegals, to immigrants, to slugs who have never paid a penny, to kids who parents passed away, etc.

It is one big welfare program and most haven't a clue

It was a genius setup, as once in place, the people begged for their slavery, and still do
 

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It was a genius setup, as once in place, the people begged for their slavery, and still do
...and even at this point, people still somehow think they're due some amount of crumbs from uncle sam when they meet xyz requirements. It helps immensely with the scam that the SS administration sends out those notifications about what you'd be "due" if you retired today. The reality is that you're due NOTHING, just keep working/paying and stfu. People are willfully ignorant about the magnitude of this particular scam.

The tip off should have been when even the goobermint stopped pretending their was a separate SS "fund". Also it should have been obvious to anyone that cared to look into it that it was a scam and not retirement savings the second people that had never paid in a penny began getting benefits.
 

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#26
that is the beauty of the scam,

they knew all these old people were going to have to be supported in some fashion,
so rather than a tax for old people, they created this,

then people don't even realize it is a welfare program tax, and they beg to be taxed until death,

and even more fun, if you make over the minimum, then they tax the tax again until your grave,

which doesn't even speak to the blatant social engineering that comes from it,
ohh you can't do that as it will impact your SS take........
sure you want to do that? it will decrease your med benefits......
etc
 

solarion

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#27
...and people think federal regime goons are stupid. lol

The SS scam is pure genius. Boomers think they're "due" benefits and gen x, y, z, millennials, and beyond will be providing them with their sweat today. If someone has a problem with the way the scam works, they simply point the finger at another generation...and not the actual perpetrators of this fraud. If this brilliant scheme weren't a federal regime program...it'd clearly be labeled a ponzi scam and be shut down overnight.
 

Thecrensh

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#28
...and people think federal regime goons are stupid. lol

The SS scam is pure genius. Boomers think they're "due" benefits and gen x, y, z, millennials, and beyond will be providing them with their sweat today. If someone has a problem with the way the scam works, they simply point the finger at another generation...and not the actual perpetrators of this fraud. If this brilliant scheme weren't a federal regime program...it'd clearly be labeled a ponzi scam and be shut down overnight.
Additionally, if a corporation ran it's books like the US. government does, the board would be arrested.
 

solarion

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#30
I'll take SS the day I'm 100% eligible for it (2020) ...if its still there.
...and none should blame you for doing so, I certainly won't. It's easy to see however why later generations would be upset about the scam though. That's how ponzi scams work. Those that are in early(est) get paid at the expense of those that get in later. I'm an "X" myself, so it's anybody's guess what the SS ponzi scam will look like in 16 years or so, but I sure ain't counting on it being there for me.

Millennials(my own kids), Ys, and Zs are likely screwed though. If there's anything at all left of the SS scam by then, then the retirement age will probably be 80 something to ensure that more people die before they can collect anything.
 

the_shootist

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...and none should blame you for doing so, I certainly won't. It's easy to see however why later generations would be upset about the scam though. That's how ponzi scams work. Those that are in early(est) get paid at the expense of those that get in later. I'm an "X" myself, so it's anybody's guess what the SS ponzi scam will look like in 16 years or so, but I sure ain't counting on it being there for me.
Yeah, I hear ya! Believe me, looking back now, we were duped. My intention is to get out as much as I can. I'll never get all my money back that I thought I was letting the government hold for me. I'd be a fool if I didn't try and get back as much as possible!

We've all been screwed by the assholes who've made up Uncle Sam over the last 60 years or more!!!!
 
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solarion

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Even if you do get all your "money" back, what you get back will be worth a whole lot less than what you paid...in terms of real world value of "stuff". Combined with the constant devaluation of the currency, the scam works like a charm at looting people. The sad thing is, most don't even notice, surely the sign of a brilliantly constructed scam.

Most would just say, "I paid in xyz USDs and lived long enough to get back xyz+ USDs so it was a great deal". Except inflation burned them and they didn't even notice. Even the federal regime's ridiculous COLA increases are pretty meaningless, when you consider they're merely providing tiny increases in the amount of ever devalued dollars they're stealing from kids currently working.

The system which was originally billed as something that was "moral and right" is about as immoral as can be.
 
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