80% of Americans Experience Income Insecurity
Entitlement program costs(social security, medicare, medicaid, SS disability, snap, aidc, etc.) are out of control. There is no way we (the middle class) can continue to fund all this. When the music stops, a lot of people "on the dole" will have no way to pay their bills.
Unless something changes dramatically between now and 2027, Social Security retirement and medicare benefits will be cut significantly between 2027 and 2035.
By 2020, twenty million Americans will be displaced from the traditional workforce by automation and artificial intelligence. Millions more will be forced out by competitive pressure from younger candidates.
Blue collar workers (machine operators, drivers, agricultural laborers) must retrain and find other ways to earn income when their body is worn out or they are replaced by technology.
Many white collar professionals are forced into retirement and replaced with younger and cheaper versions with more current skill sets, or automation and artificial inteligence systems that never make mistakes, never need a vacation, and cost significantly less to maintain.
Longer, Less Productive, More Expensive....Life
This is an unpleasant, but inescapable fact.
We are living a lot longer (average lifespan now 85 years), far longer than anticipated (65) when when the Social Security system was created. People are not preparing for their "less than optimal" working years.
Most of us are also not preparing for living our final years with significantly diminished mental and physical capacity.
Staying mentally and physically active helps us maintain quality of life, maximize our productive lifespan, and reinforce our financial position by working as long as possible at something of our own choosing that we enjoy.
We have become a consumer nation fueled by credit. Average household consumer debt is $15,983, total debt including mortgages is $133,568. Some of that mortgage debt is home equity lines of credit used to buy cars and fund vacations.
Americans have been conditioned to trade their financial future for luxury goods and services that have no intrinsic value, and drain the financial resources they will need to live in dignity in their old age.
This is where the rubber meets the road. It was my parent's generation and mine (I'm a boomer) that spawned the age of instant gratification. Having stuff and having it now was made possible by the widespread expansion of consumer credit after WWII.
As a culture we became accustomed to making payments on stuff rather than saving up to get stuff. We became a nation of spenders and payment makers rather than savers.
The average sixty-something has around $172k in retirement savings and an annual income of $46k. Most experts agree that boomers should have at least 8-10 times ($414k) their current annual income right now to support their current lifestyle in retirement.
Obviously, there is a big math problem here that will have a significant impact on the quality of life for many Americans.
All of the issues mentioned here contribute to an ever-increasing number of Americans for whom the "American Dream" seems perpetually just out of reach.
We can't change the world alone. But there are a few things we each have total control over. All it takes is clear vision, commitment, and hard work. Are you ready to reclaim your American Dream?