Part of America's promise has always been that if you were honest, reliable, and worked hard throughout your life, in your old age you'd reap the fruits of your labor and be able to live out the rest of your days in peace.
That is no longer true. The old-style, secure company pensions are all but gone, and more or less left to their own devices, fewer and fewer Americans are financially prepared for retirement.
According to recent surveys:
- 57% of US workers have less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments.
- Only about half of Americans could come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need were to arise within the next month.
- 61% of Americans fear outliving their money more than they fear dying.
Even those who have managed to save several hundred thousand dollars are facing a barrage of challenges that could turn their "golden years" into a burden of lead...
The Healthcare Curse
Health concerns top the list of retirement worries for Americans. And with good reason: it's natural that with increasing age, your medical bills tend to go up. Medical conditions affecting three important areas–vision, hearing, and dental health–are not covered by Medicare and can drain much-needed savings out of your retirement account.
For the average couple retiring today, Medicare out-of-pocket costs will be $240,000 to $430,000... but the vast majority of retired households have less saved than Medicare costs alone will consume.
And that's just health care; it doesn't include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, heating, gasoline, and food, which all need to be paid for too.
It's a bleak picture for baby boomers, at 79 million the biggest segment of Americans ever to retire at the same time. And the traditional safety nets are failing, because the government's entitlement programs are in equally bad shape...
Medicare and Social Security are going broke
There Is No Trust Fund
Even though the term "trust fund" is still being bandied about, it is in fact rather misleading.
There is no huge fund for safekeeping the money of hard-working Americans so it will be there when they retire. The truth is that Social Security and Medicare are "pay as you go" systems, which means that current workers are paying for current retirees' benefits. And whatever surpluses there were over the years have been looted by generations of spendthrift politicians.
The reason why Social Security and Medicare are in such dire straits today is that 79 million baby boomers—that's 26% of the US population—are now set to retire, and there aren't enough workers to support them.Case in point: In 1945, there were 49.1 American workers to support one retiree. By 2010, that number had dropped to 2.9. Soon the worker/retiree ratio will be 2:1, at which point the system becomes unsustainable.
As you will hear from one of our speakers, former US Comptroller General David Walker, Social Security and Medicare are teetering on the brink of disaster.
The just-released 2013 Medicare Trustees report estimates that Medicare's Disability Insurance trust fund will be depleted by 2016... only three years from now. While that doesn't mean that all the money is gone, disability payments will drop by at least 20% at that time.
And at current projections, Medicare's Hospital Insurance and Social Security will meet the same fate in 2026 and 2033, respectively.
While the baby boomers probably won't see the ultimate demise of Medicare and Social Security in their lifetime, costs for Medicare premiums are already rising, while at the same time Social Security benefits are being cut.
Of course, these stumbling blocks to retirement security couldn't have come at a worse time...
3 Ways You're Being
Fleeced by the Fed
Low interest rates and money printing: this is the US government's strategy to inflate itself out of the sky-high national debt. However, Fed Chairman Bernanke's low-interest-rate policy is crushing savers and income investors–particularly those who can't count on income from wages anymore.
Low yield on "safe" income investments
Between September 2007 and December 2008, IRAs and 401(k) plans lost a combined $2.8 trillion, or 47%, of their value–leaving savers with half of the money they had counted on for their retirement.
And to add insult to injury, in the current low-interest-rate environment, previously dependable investments like CDs, bonds, money market accounts, and fixed annuities now yield 1-2% (if you're lucky). That's not even enough to keep up with inflation, let alone to live on in your "golden years."
Now many income investors, hoping for better returns, are being driven into the stock market and higher-risk investments, while others are paralyzed with fear to the point of inaction.
Raging inflation on the horizon
Printing money like there's no tomorrow has consequences: rising inflation, and–if the money issuers overdo it–potentially even hyperinflation as in 1920s Germany, where people were pushing wheelbarrows full of money to the bakery to buy a loaf of bread.
So far, the Federal Reserve has staved off rampant inflation by depositing the excess money with the banks and the banks refusing to lend much to the public. That scheme can't go on forever, though–at some point the floodgates will burst, and the newly printed money will pour into the US economy, driving consumer prices up.
The Fed's policy has already begun eroding Americans' purchasing power: while the official inflation rate is only 2%, acclaimed economist John Williams of ShadowStats fame–who uses the more honest, old-fashioned methods of government accounting–says real inflation is closer to 8-9%.
If you've been to a grocery store lately, you've already felt it in your own pocketbook–and things will only get worse from here.
Long-term care insurance premiums are up
Nursing home care, assisted-living facilities, adult day care–those are the services that can be so vital for elderly retirees, and that are covered by long-term care insurance.
Thanks to the Fed's manipulation of interest rates, premiums for this type of insurance have virtually exploded. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, rates today are about 50% higher than they were five years ago–and for every 1% decline in rates, insurers are forced to raise premiums by 10-15%.
Casey Research called together a panel of experts to discuss these problems as well as feasible solutions for the "golden years":
America's Broken Promise:
Strategies for a Retirement Worth Living
This unique video event, featuring John Stossel, host and commentator at the FOX Business Network, will answer your most pressing questions.
Are there still ways out of the retirement jam? Ways that don't involve gambling your money away... but instead give you the steady and inflation-beating income you need for a peaceful retirement?
A blue-ribbon cast analyzes the challenges retirees and soon-to-be retirees face in today's economy and markets, and present sound financial strategies to make your money last as long as you do.
Here are some of the questions that you'll get answers to:
- Americans are facing the death of retirement–what exactly are the problems, how big are they, and how can they be solved?
- What will happen to Medicare and Social Security benefits in the next 5, 10, 20 years? And how can you get ready for what's coming?
- How do you best prepare for retirement if you're still a decade or two away? Which steps should you take today?
- Will the "good old days" of 6-7% yield on conservative investments like CDs come back soon–and if not, then what's a prudent investor to do?
- Are there safe solutions for retirees to make sure their nest egg will last for the rest of their life?
- And much more.
Registration to watch right now - simply enter your email address below. The video will begin immediately.
Meet Our Expert Speakers
Prior to joining FBN, he coanchored ABC's primetime show 20/20, where he contributed in-depth special reports and recurring segments on a variety of consumer topics, from pop culture to government and business.
His John Stossel specials explored tough questions facing Americans today. His economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits, and high school teachers in most American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year.
Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. The Dallas Morning News named him the "the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time," and the Orlando Sentinel said he "has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound."
In our online event, America's Broken Promise, he discusses lessons from his new book No, They Can't: Why Government Fails–But Individuals Succeed, and why it is so important to take your future (and finances) into your own hands.
Previously, Walker served as the seventh Comptroller General of the United States and head of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) for almost ten years (1998-2008). This was one of his three presidential appointments during his 15 years of total federal service.
Walker also has over 20 years of private-sector experience, including approximately 10 years as a partner and global managing director of Human Capital Services for Arthur Andersen LLP.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities at CAI, Walker currently serves on various nonprofit boards and advisory groups. He is also a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, the Trilateral Commission, and the Sons of the American Revolution.
Walker has won numerous leadership awards both domestically and internationally. He also has authored three books, the latest one being Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility.
In America's Broken Promise, he drives home some inconvenient but immensely eye-opening truths about the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare.
An honors graduate of Wharton with an MBA in economics and a BS in finance from Iowa State University, White holds Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 securities licenses. He holds both the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designations with over 40 years' experience serving a wide-ranging clientele. He has been on advisory boards of four major financial companies, and has lectured in universities and numerous regional financial forums.
White is a valued contributor to Miller's Money Forever, a newsletter dedicated to helping Americans prepare for a financially secure retirement. In our online event, America's Broken Promise, he shares his favorite solutions to the retirement dilemma.
After the crash in 2008, millions of Americans lost up to half of their savings invested in 401(k)s and IRAs–and due to drastically reduced yields on CDs, bonds, and money market accounts, many of them have never managed to bounce back.
The stated mission of Miller and his team of investment analysts is to empower income investors to make sound financial decisions for today and tomorrow, and to build a sizable nest egg that will last throughout their retirement. Miller's strategies include seeking low-risk, high-yield investments that provide a steady stream of income, which is especially critical for those investors who aren't working anymore.
Previous to his investment career, Miller was a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies, training hundreds of executives to effectively communicate the value of their company's products to their customers. An active international lecturer for 40 years, Miller wrote several books on sales and sales management. He was a contributor to the American Management Association and is a former US Marine and a member of the Mensa Society. Early in his career, he was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.
In America's Broken Promise, he shows you which strategies to employ so that the "third half of your life" can indeed be a golden one.
Over the course of his varied career, which includes a stint at the fabled Climax mine following college, Galland has served as a conference director for the world's largest investment conference (National Committee for Monetary Reform, 1979 to 1987), as a financial newsletter publisher or editor (Gold Newsletter, the Aden Analysis, Wealth Magazine, and Outstanding Investments, among others), as a founding partner and director of a successful mutual fund group (Blanchard Group of Mutual Funds), and as a founding partner and executive vice-president for EverBank, one of the biggest recent successes in online financial services.
For America's Broken Promise, he is the moderator and interviewer.
America's Broken Promise:
Strategies for a Retirement Worth Living
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