We are on the cusp of a retirement crisis that will affect everyone. Far too many promises have been made and the demographics we face do not bode well for a bright future. The answer that some people tout is we should have more children or open the borders. This is based on the idea we need more workers and ignores many other factors feeding into this issue. There is simply no way “more children” or workers can ever pay enough into the system to fulfill the promises that have been made.
The competition for programs from the government to support the needs of different generations is about to explode as young and old Americans reach out for more help. Much of our problems stem from a slew of bad policies either driven by stupidity, corruption, or an unwillingness to accept the reality you can postpone a reckoning for only so long. Investors and the public at large suffer from a “recency bias of hope” that tends to blind them from unpleasant long-term realities.
The coming together of surging investment risk, an interrupted business cycle, and demographics are coming together to form the perfect storm. To clarify, much of the wealth in America is held in the hands of the baby boomers that have just or are about to retire, and over the years, many have moved into risky investment in search of yield. It has been years since we have had a major recession so sooner or later, it is logical one will arrive. Last, but not least, we are now seeing demographics play a larger role in the economy as boomers downsize (sell assets) and cut spending.
While we look upon a world of wealth, we also see a world of debt. Unfortunately, over the last few decades growing inequality has placed much of the wealth in the hands of a few and distributed the debt in places where it will come back to bite us. Below are a few ugly indicators highlighting some frightening imbalances.
Facts Indicating Problems Ahead
- Demographics show older consumers tend to downsize (sell assets) while spending less
- The boom-bust business cycle has been largely interrupted by surging government spending
- Stock buybacks continue to set new records and drive stock markets higher
- The top one-percenters own more than 90% of America’s wealth. Specifically, the 1% collectively own $43.27 trillion, while the bottom 90% earn $40.28 trillion combined.
- Moody’s estimate of Illinois’ retirement debts, made up of pension and retiree health shortfalls at the state and local level, hits $530 billion in 2020
The example of the pension and retiree health shortfalls in Illinois is well documented. Sadly, many other states and local governments have the same problem. This is despite a massive multi-year stock market rally and huge tax hikes that went to pension funds. It is difficult to imagine how many of these pension plans can avoid default. This is already baked into the cake.
The financial giants aided by media have created the myth that everyone is making money when they invest in a retirement plan. Financial companies often forget to tell investors that when they invest in a 401 plan, the risk falls directly onto the individual owning the plan. Adding injury to insult, looking deeper into these schemes you will find outlandishly high fees buried under a slew of different names.
Often the magic of compounded returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounded cost. A report by Robert Hiltonsmith claims these are a retirement savings drain. Hiltonsmith revealed a slew of pay-to-play and hidden kickbacks dwelling deep in the details of long difficult and boring documents. These tricks used to drain wealth from a customer’s account helps to explain how financial companies pay for all those commercials and slick pamphlets constantly being thrown before us.
A big problem looms for those Americans that continue to believe disaster is something that hits other people but not them. Sadly, whether you have invested in a pension plan or a 401 account, prior economic crises show there is no guaranty that you will ever see your money again or if you do, that it will have retained its buying power. The risk is not only in stocks, but also lurks in bonds. Investors in bonds face a huge risk of default if they buy junk bonds and a good possibility of getting crushed if interest rates rise.
Based on how Japan has fared over the last several decades it is difficult to see the green shoots of a global economic renaissance suddenly spring forth as the result of even lower interest rates. In fact, the next economic downturn will likely envelop the planet and may last forever and a day. This is because central bank intervention and manipulation often have negative unintended consequences. People often discount how lucky Japan has been following its economic bubble burst in 1992 to be located next to China. Because of China’s years of booming growth, Japan was able to mitigate much of the pain it was forced to endure.
The ramifications of a retirement crisis will affect everyone. When older people lose their savings or watch their wealth fall they have little time to earn more. They cut back or need help to survive. When these people sell their assets it could cause deflation but that is not a certainty. My feeling is inflation is strong enough it will only slow its rate as money flows to tangible assets and away from paper and promises. Regardless of how you view this, it is not a recipe for strong growth.
Footnote: Some of the thoughts outlined above are also voiced in the YouTube pieces below and several prior articles on AdvancingTime that focused on the generational divide and why the next downturn may be hard and long.
- Affordable Retirement Is A Glaring Issue For Many People
- Generational Conflict Is Posed To Dramatically Increase
- Next Economic Downturn May Last Forever And A Day
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Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!
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