Social Security's Blinding Optimism

I got my Social Security statement in the mail a couple days ago, and man, these people don't have a clue in the world.

So I got my statement from Social Security, and I discovered two very, very surprising pieces of information directly from Social Security.  To paraphrase:

1. Social Security is so totally not doomed.  Please believe us.  Please. 

2. You should probably be saving for your own retirement. 

Social Security, in its standard semi-clueless fashion, told me quite a bit that I frankly didn't believe a word of.  For instance, they told me that, even if no changes were made to the program in its most current incarnation, they'd still probably be able to fork over about three quarters of what they're supposed to be paying out.  They then followed that up by suggest that, if I could just put away fifty bucks a week, every week, for the next forty years, assuming a five percent annual rate of return, I would have nearly a third of a million dollars.

Of course, it's what they DON'T say that makes what they DO say so hilariously enraging.

One, they're assuming no changes.  They're not taking into account the massive deficit spending the rest of the government is engaged in.  They're not considering that the government spent fully $333 billion more than it taxed in March.  And they seriously think that, forty years from now when I'm in a position to take MY MONEY BACK, they're going to have it?

Two, I really would like to know what they're smoking that they believe that you can find, anywhere, an investment product that will hold a five percent annual rate of return for FORTY YEARS RUNNING, without deviation of any sort.  I don't doubt their figures, I doubt their underlying logic.  An investment that will hold five percent for forty years?  Anyone want to suggest one?  Because I haven't heard of one!  Especially considering where the fed has kept interest rates for the last, oh, three or four years.  And considering that their number is about a third principle (ninety six grand for those forty years is what I put in outright), it's not exactly the wonder they count it as.

So you'll excuse me if I'm a bit torqued, because I just got Story Hour from Social Security, and no one even gave me juice and a cookie to go with it.




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