For American Retirees, the Future Looks Bleak
A government report released in October warned that unless the nation makes drastic changes, America will face a serious retirement crisis in a few years. Current projections suggest that Social Security will not be able to pay what it promises to retirees by 2035.
In 2015, just over a third of American retirees relied on Social Security checks for 90 percent of their income, 61 percent received at least half of their income from their monthly benefit checks, and for almost 20 percent, Social Security provided their entire income. If Social Security fails, a whole generation of retirees will be left with little or nothing to live on.
Ten thousand baby boomers hit retirement age every day. However, research shows that the vast majority of retirees don’t have enough savings to sustain them through retirement. Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist specializing in retirement security, told the Washington Post, ”There is no part of the country where the majority of middle-class older workers have adequate retirement savings to maintain their standard of living in their retirement.”
Ghilarducci’s research shows that, across the board, people nearing retirement age are behind recommended savings by almost a third. Less than 25 percent of baby boomers believe that the money they have saved will last as long as they will need it to.
There is a massive shortfall between what Social Security has promised to pay and the money that it actually has to deliver on those promises. According to the United States Debt Clock, Social Security liability is almost $16.5 trillion right now and continues to rise. American national debt is $20.4 trillion and counting, which is already a trillion dollars more than U.S. gross domestic product. This trend is simply unsustainable.
What happens if the U.S. government cannot back up its promises to retirees? An entire generation of Americans will be left with little to no income. cnbc said, “Simply stated, many Americans—perhaps most Americans—are on a path to outlive their money in retirement.”
Part of the problem is that people live longer today than they did 20 or 30 years ago. This year, life expectancy in the U.S. is estimated to be about 79 years. Many people live far longer than that. John Mauldin, chairman of Mauldin Economics, explained the dilemma: “[W]hen Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security for people over 65 years old, U.S. life expectancy was about 56 years. If the retirement age had kept up with the increase in life expectancy, the retirement age in the U.S. would now be 82. Try and sell that to voters.”
For the U.S. government, there is no easy way out of this dilemma. TheTrumpet wrote in 2013:
America’s “spend today, worry tomorrow” economic practices are beginning to come full circle. As more and more people hit retirement age, the government is realizing that its lack of planning and preparing for future retirees is leading to more and more debt. As more pensioners start collecting, more money will need to be borrowed to make up for the increase in retirees.
Mauldin added another dimension to the dilemma: “Worse, generations of politicians have convinced the public that not only is a magical outcome possible, it is guaranteed. Many politicians actually believe it themselves. They aren’t lying so much as just ignoring reality.”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the April 2013 Trumpet, ”What is the single greatest threat to America? Ourselves!” America’s financial system is crumbling, but many Americans are content to ignore the issue. But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away.
Trumpet writer David Vejil wrote in May this year:
[M]any who are aware of future retirement shortfalls, whether the older Americans approaching retirement or the younger Americans who can see the future problems of Social Security, still refuse to change their behavior. That complacency is asking for trouble. Ignoring the danger never removes it.
This is a lesson that is built in all of the Trumpet’s various warnings in the news, financial and social trends it covers. It is easy to “put far away the evil day,” but hard to see how quickly the day of destruction can come.
The mindset and attitude behind the financial decisions of millions of Americans can easily rub off on more important matters. Jesus Christ said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). How someone handles his finances reveals much about his character.
There are definite laws that lead to financial success. America is struggling because it is breaking those laws. (The Bible also says that nations that disobey God suffer additional curses.)
The good news is that the same is true for individuals. The same laws lead to financial success in individual lives. God promises blessings to individuals who obey Him. To find out more on how to have financial success and security in your own life, despite the bleak national picture, read our free booklet Solve Your Money Troubles.