Will Social Security Be There?

Here starts a mini-series of TGIF 2 Minutes editions.

The following is taken directly from the current Social Security website. The italics below are copied from the website and presumably are meant for emphasis. Underlines are mine.

The concepts of solvency, sustainability, and budget impact are common in discussions of Social Security but are not well understood. Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent of scheduled benefits. This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman. Importantly, this shortfall is basically stable after 2035; adjustments to taxes or benefits that offset the effects of the lower birth rate may restore solvency for the Social Security program on a sustainable basis for the foreseeable future. Finally, as Treasury debt securities (trust fund assets) are redeemed in the future, they will just be replaced with public debt. If trust fund assets are exhausted without reform, benefits will necessarily be lowered with no effect on budget deficits.

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A Good Time to Borrow Money?

Life without some kind of debt is nearly impossible. Still, there are “good” kinds of debt and “bad” kinds of debt, and timing of taking on debt matters too.

As the US economy emerges from the extended pandemic a number of factors affecting debt and borrowing are at play:

  • Jobs – job openings, job creation and job RE-creation
  • Ability of small businesses to pay workers amidst longer-term uncertainty
  • The presence of Inflation for all kinds of popular products and services – meaning consumers are being forced to pay more, often unexpectedly
  • Changing demographics and geographies around home ownership…
  • …Creating increases in home prices
  • Super low interest rates
  • Plain old desire to spend after year-long restrictions on nearly everything!
As the US economy emerges from the extended pandemic a number of factors affecting debt and borrowing are at play.

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The Cost of College

College is expensive.  As with all expensive things, planning and talking through plans – even hopes and dreams – can make the situation more affordable in the long run.

Case in point: paying for college. Back in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s when a lot of the people reading this note went to college, college was mostly affordable depending on the choice of schools. The most expensive colleges and universities cost less than $15,000 or $20,000 per year (definitely, in the 1960’s and 1970’s). Although families still struggled to pay the cost for college in lots of cases.

person writing debt on paper
Talk with your kids about debt and its implications well before they start college.

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