A Social Security Primer: Breaking Down Your Options

When to claim social security benefits is one of the biggest questions when thinking about retiring. Your retirement income will likely come from various sources, and each will fit into your financial plan in different ways. Still, for most people, social security represents a risk-free source of retirement income. How do you maximize that income? It’s a delicate balance.

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GMB Ep #103: Revisiting Social Security: The Social Security 2100 Act

 

The Social Security 2100 Act was recently introduced by the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. The reinstatement follows the Social Security Administration’s latest forecasts that the trust funds will deplete in 13 years. In this episode, Grant dives into the status of the Social Security Trust fund, some potential solutions to buffer its reserves, and his overall thoughts on the proposed bill.

 

 

Show Notes

[04:35] Concept of Social Security Trust Fund – Grant explains the whole idea behind the social security trust fund and how it has evolved over the decades.

[06:10] Time to Revise – Why this is the time to revise rules and regulations related to social security.

[09:54] Running out of Money – Grant shares his take on the depleting reserve in the social security trust fund.

[14:26] Raise the Retirement age – Though raising the retirement age is an option for buffering the reserve on the trust fund, Grant explains why it may not be as easy as it sounds.

[15:06] Increase Taxes – Grant identifies a tax increase as the easiest option politically, and explains how this solution will contribute to the elimination of wealth inequality in the country.

[17:30] Adjust the Benefits – How adjusting the amount going out of the fund is another option to prolong the reserve.

[18:18] Social Security 2100 Act – Grant dives deep into the provisions of the proposed act and shares his thoughts on the matter.

[23:11] Investing in US Government Bonds – Though there is added risk, Grant explains how investing the excess of the social security trust fund in US government bonds will help to grow the pool of assets a little bit faster.

 

Resources

Social Security Board of Trustees: Combined Trust Funds Projected Depletion One Year Sooner Than Last Year: ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2021/#8-2021-2

Congress has a new plan to fix Social Security. How it would change benefits: cnbc.com/2021/10/26/social-security-what-a-new-plan-in-congress-would-mean-for-benefits.html

Social Security Reform Under a Trump Presidency

With Donald Trump now in office, there are a lot of people approaching retirement who are concerned about the state of Social Security.  With Mr. Trump initiating drastic reforms in other areas of the government, the fact that Social Security is underfunded has many current and future retirees concerned their benefits might be reduced at some point.

Social Security is a huge component of most Americans’ retirement plans.  And while I consider myself pretty well versed in the system, I decided to bring in a subject matter expert for this post.  Ben Brandt, of Capital City Wealth Management, was kind enough to share his time and shed some light on the matter.  This post is a quick update of the current status of the Social Security fund, as well as Ben’s insight on what reforms are currently on the table.

 

The Current State of Social Security

We’ll get to my interview with Ben shortly.  For some context, let’s take a look at the current state of Social Security.  Every year, the Social Security fund’s trustees are required to issue a report on the fund’s financial status.  Each report includes data on the fund’s current assets (cash) and liabilities (retirement benefits payable).  They also include long term projections based on demographic data and a bunch of other variables.

The most recent report claims that the Social Security trust is currently taking in more revenue through payroll taxes than it’s paying out in benefits.  It projects this to be the case through 2019.

Social Security Reform Under Trump: What's on the Table

Some key assumptions from the trustees’ most recent report.

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