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Episode 129: Is Social Security secure?

Social Security and the future of retirement with Mak and G

SHOW NOTES

Today, Mak and G look at why we have Social Security, who it’s there to help, and what the future of retirement looks like for their generation…

 

Social Security is one of the biggest expenses in America’s budget, so why do we spend so much money on it, and is it sustainable to spend so much in one area?

 

Today, we look at what Social Security is, and why it’s so necessary for so many people. 

 

Mak and G also talk about the future for Afghanistan’s economy and send their prayers out to the people still there…

 

“Stocks go up and down!” – Mak and G

 

“You have to remember when things go down it never helps to panic.” – Mak

 

“Social Security is about one-fourth of the entire budget for the US.” – G

 
Time Stamps:

00:36 – How the stock market tends to perform in August and September.

01:14 – How the market has moved this week.

01:40 – The benefits of Social Security and who it’s there to help.

02:20 – The difficulties in continuing Social Security at its current rate.

03:15 – Why taxes might need to rise to support Social Security.

03:38 – Afghanistan: the rising costs of products, GDP and the future of their economy.

 

Resources:

Social Security Trustee report

 

Connect with Ben Jones:

 

TRANSCRIPT

MAK: I can smell it in the crisp air.  Fall is coming our way.  The mornings are a bit more “refreshing”, and the trees are going to be changing colors as we head towards the end of the year. 

GRANT: Yep, time to start thinking about breaking out the sweaters and make sure the fireplace is cleaned out and ready to go, if we have to take the chill out of the air.

MAK: Plus blankets, and I mean lots of SOFT blankets.  Nothing better than just chilling on the couch and watching dad catch flies as he falls asleep watching Anime Series with us.

GRANT: Even the stock market gets a bit chilly in August and September?  When looking at the S&P, they tend to be the worst two months of the year.  But, we all know.

GRANT/MAK: Stocks go up and down.

MAK: Yep, and last year, there were big increases for both months. So, it’s not a rule, but it does seem to be a recurring thing.  But, if we stick to a well-thought-out plan, we should be fine.  

GRANT: You’re right. It’s kind of hard to sometimes see things go down, and it gets a bit emotional.  But, you have to remember it does happen and remind yourself when things go down, it never helps to panic.

MAK: So, what happened this past week in the markets? Let me tell you.  This is Mak and these are the markets. The market is bouncing around, with the Dow dropping below 35,000, while the S&P500 and the Nasdaq are off their highs.

GRANT: Bitcoin dropped over 10%.  It’s an endless up and down, trending higher.  Overall for the year, things have been really strong, with each index right now above 13%.  

MAK: Even with COVID, there is a good amount of optimism out there.  Didn’t you say dad ran across some news that was not very positive last week?

GRANT: Yep, he was talking about Social Security. I had to ask. At first,  it sounded complicated, but it’s not. The government gives security to people in our society who need it.

MAK: It started after the Stock Market Crash when the Great Depression hit and a lot of people lost jobs and didn’t have enough to eat. So, the government set it up to help those in need.

GRANT: I can see you’ve been doing a little research. 

MAK: I have. Social Security actually helps people who are retired, disabled, or survive the loss of a family member and need money.  If you worked and paid taxes, the government will send you money when you’re older during retirement. It also sends money if you’re disabled and can’t work or you’re young and lose a parent to make sure you have a house, food and clothes.

GRANT: It’s like a security net for the people in our society who need it. But, it sounds like the money used to pay for these things is running out. This report says it will run out a year faster.

MAK: I know we’re kids, and we don’t think about this stuff. But, maybe we should. It says in 2034, the money in the trust is gone. Everyone, including mom and dad would get less because payments would be cut. Will we have to support them? What about OUR retirement?  

GRANT: IDK. Sounds like we’ll work longer, and I haven’t even started working. I don’t want to work until the day I die. That doesn’t sound like fun. Just another reason to keep saving and working the plan. The scary part is there are a LOT of people who REALLY need these benefits.

MAK: Some research says about 4 out of 10 people receiving those payments rely on it completely. It’s the only money they have. That is scary, especially if things get cut.  However, the government can make some choices to fund benefits, but that means…..

GRANT/MAK: MORE TAXES.

GRANT: Workers pay in, and the money goes out. So, benefits continue, but if there are fewer workers now, there’s less money going in.  If taxes are increased there’s going to be a fight.  

MAK:  Agree.  Something to think about since Social Security is about ¼ of the entire budget for the US.  We have a personal budget and our US budget may need an overall.

GRANT: Agree. Speaking of budgets, we’ve seen a lot about Afghanistan lately since the US military has left the country.  Its economy looks like it’s going to fall apart, which is really sad.

MAK: Yeah, nobody wants their money, which reduces it’s demand a lot, which really reduces its value.  That means, their money can’t buy what it used to. Plus you can’t find the “basics”.

GRANT: Everyone is looking for flour, milk, and meat. With a high demand, we know that pushes prices up. They’ve already seen stuff rise over 50%. Can you believe that?

MAK: That is tough.  Remember GDP from last week?  That’s the total of products produced in a country. The more a country makes, the more it can sell, and the more income for its people.

GRANT: Here’s where it gets weird. Since the US is pulling out, all the money it’s given to the country has helped it’s GDP. If a farmer who grows wheat can’t get it to the market, because there’s not a good road, he won’t produce it.  But, with all the money invested, that’s changed.

MAK: You’re right. Roads were built so that farmer and others could move and sell their products. Crazy to think, but about 45% of their total GDP is due to the money given to them.

GRANT: Roads definitely help. Providing electricity through dams, like the Kajaki project. It’s kind of hard to make products and grow GDP without electricity, right?

MAK:  You got that right.  Their budget, which supports all their programs is about $5Billion, but over 80% came from other countries, like the US which looks like it might be going away.

GRANT: It’s a crazy downward spiral.  Nobody can get food, they can’t produce anything to sell, and their economy falls apart.  It sounds like they need $200 million to feed their people through the end of the year because almost ½ of the people are so poor they can’t support themselves.

MAK: It is complicated and the US has been there for 20 years.  Did you know about 70% of the population is under 25 years old, which means they’ve never known life without the US there?

GRANT: I didn’t. We’re only talking about the money, but it looks like it’s going to be a very tough transition.  I’ll hope and pray it gets better fast.

MAK: I agree.  We should probably say goodbye, and until next time

GRANT/MAK: Bye!!

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