The State of American Pensions


David, Karen, Bret, and Joe discuss the developing pension crisis within the United States, and what it could possibly mean for you and your future.

David, we don\’t use Punxsutawney Phil when we\’re planning, we\’re looking at retirement. But he has a pretty good record, at least in terms of predicting what the weather will be for the next six weeks after today.

Wow, Joe. That was really good.

It was a good analogy or segue.

I know Karen and I are hoping that Punxsutawney Phil has no relevance to us in the future, being down in Florida and not really having to worry about winter anymore. But since we\’re still here in the Northeast, we\’ll focus on that and see what he turns out.

But, absolutely, we don\’t have a crystal ball for what the stock market and people\’s investments will do. But we certainly have things and governors available to us to help people navigate retirement successfully, making sure they deploy certain strategies, different tools that can help them make sure it\’s a success for them.

We spend a lot of time covering topics, and then I spend a lot of time encouraging and reminding the listening audience to come out to one of the workshops and start the process of learning. Start the process of getting educated. Since we were on a week ago, I received multiple reminders this past week just being in general conversation with people about retirement.

The one thing that became evident because of listening to this show is that, a lot of times, people make decisions about what to do or what they should do based on what their neighbor tells them or based on what a colleague at work tells them, which sometimes isn\’t accurate information. I think it\’s really important to remind people of that. It\’s one thing to be able to consume what people suggest. It\’s another to be able to know if it\’s right or not based on what they\’re suggesting.

Joe, that\’s such a fantastic point and so ironic, because I find myself sometimes listening to some other of the financial advisors who are on this radio station later hours and hearing their input and evaluating what\’s being said and what value they may be bringing or not, what\’s good-quality information, what\’s misinformation.

But one of the good things that I did hear was the hosts of a financial service shows said the same exact thing. He was actually very blunt with a call-in guest. Somebody who had called him had a question related to retirement. He made the same commentary about having to be very, very cautionary in where you get your financial information. He just, somewhat in a maybe sarcastic viewpoint, said most people do get their financial information from friends, family members, and neighbors.

What friends, family members and neighbors don\’t necessarily take into consideration, is they make blanket statements. They don\’t make customized statements. They don\’t know what your situation is. I\’m the type of person, I hate the word \”always\” and I hate the word \”never\” because anybody that sits out there on the poles, \”You never want to do that,\” or, \”You always want to do it,\” that\’s one of the things that drives me a little crazy about. Whether it\’s magazines or it\’s radio shows, a lot of times, those statements get made: \”You should always do it this way,\” or, \”You should never do that.\”

I just say to myself, \”How is that possible that somebody who doesn\’t know you intimately, doesn\’t know what your financial condition is, doesn\’t know what your financial goals are, makes that statement?\” So, I really caution our listeners, and that\’s why we try show to be very broad in what we do. We try to provide education. That education sits at a 30,000-foot level. And then when people come in to see us, we take it down to surface level in the sense that, how does what we shared with you, whether it was in a workshop, whether it was here on the radio, whether it was in a book that we wrote, or an article we published. How does that pertain specifically to your situations?

So we really caution people. Again, Joe, I think the information we talk about is awesome. I really think we give a high level of education, really good points that we make. You as a listener, though, really just have to find out how applicable it is.

Good stuff. Bret Elam is here, and certainly that statement holds true to what you deliver in terms of information, a high level of information, tax efficiency in retirement. I\’ve learned quickly over the last 13 months there\’s not an element of the tax law that you can\’t recite or that you know that you don\’t know.

I wouldn\’t go that far, but I appreciate it.

Close enough.

David, Karen, and I, we were really talking about Monday morning, how scary it\’s going to be if the groundhog sees its shadow and the NFC wins tomorrow. You know what that means for the market, don\’t you?

What does that mean?

Well, we have no idea either. But you know how many people will be talking about that? Again, let\’s talk about facts when we make our decisions, not these blanket statements. Again, we\’re going to go deep today talking about taxes and the climate we\’re in today and how it all relates.

Good stuff. We\’ll start with Bret Elam after the break. Karen Bezar is with us as well. Karen, what\’s on your agenda for today?

Something that we don\’t always like to think about but something that we plan for here at Thrive is the death of a spouse.

Bret, you kick us off as you normally do with our opening segment following the lead-in.

Absolutely, Krause. Yeah. I\’m actually excited. I\’m going to actually go through, actually, a document that one of our partners had sent out as it relates to tax planning in today\’s economic environment. So I\’m going to actually go through a little bit of it and just translate it into a little bit about what we do and how we utilize that data as well.

So to start off, as you plan for retirement, you\’re going to face choices of how to invest your money. Should we participate in a retirement plan? Is it my 401(k)? Is it an IRA? Does a Roth make sense? Should I go into stocks, bonds? Should I even use a vehicle? Corporate bonds? Municipal bonds? Permanent life insurance? Term life insurance? Annuities? No annuities?

Again, those questions, they\’re always difficult to answer. But when you\’re trying to decide how to invest money, these are just things of why we\’re investing, things we\’re going to think about. Retirement? Is it family legacy? Is it charity? Again, if you\’re investing primarily to create a comfortable retirement, you\’re always going to want to choose investments that one day will help us maximize retirement income. And what works hand-in-hand with retirement income, as we talk about the Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review and especially in today\’s conversation, is how to deal with taxes at the same time.

Knowing when your income will be taxed is only half the battle. Here\’s the problem, is the uncertainty that we don\’t know what our tax rate is going to be. Again, all the tax rates that we\’ve talked about over the show over the past almost, I guess, two years now. We\’ve talked about a lot of these changes with the new tax reform from President Trump that are here for 2025. So that\’s what we do know, is that they\’re going to be here for a while and, again, now for the next seven years.

Again, let\’s move on and start to put some of the pieces together, talking about the federal deficit and the debt. The national debt is how much the United States owes to its creditors, while the deficit represents the yearly growth of national debt by how much more it spends than earns. Let\’s think about this. Let\’s think about Esther, who brings home $3,300 a month from her job. Let\’s say that she\’s in debt for $17,000 on her credit card, and she spends $4,000 a month on various things: rent, consumables, interest rates on her debt, helping out Mom and Dad, maybe some health care, maybe some tuition payments, if you will.

Since she\’s actually spending $700 more every month than she actually makes, she\’s going into a deficit. She\’s putting that money on the credit card. Now she\’s quickly approaching her credit limit. But here\’s this: her bank allows her to increase the limit as necessary since she never had defaulted. She\’s a good, creditworthy person. So, the Visa Mastercard says, \”You can have more. You can have more. You can have more.\” How long can you continue this type of spending before you must actually increase her revenue or working more hours?

What I just described right there, Krause, is the United States government. If the government reaches its debt ceiling, it will no longer be able to borrow money to meet its obligations. It can either reduce the deficit by a combination of increased tax revenue or decreased spending, or it can default on a number of obligations. Obviously, we\’re not into defaulting in this country. But a default would be disastrous, resulting in a hit on its credit rating. Again, we almost hit that a couple years ago. We went from AAA to AA, and that was most devastating. So our credit rating would change. Higher interest rates. Higher prices on consumables. And, my gosh, you go back to the \’70s and \’80s, where inflation was through the roof as well.

[bctt tweet=\” If the government reaches its debt ceiling, it will no longer be able to borrow money to meet its obligations\” via=\”no\”]

This is why Congress increases its debt ceiling as the national debt reaches this level.

However, just because Congress allows the government to borrow as much as it can doesn\’t mean there isn\’t a limit. That\’s important. If the government\’s debt becomes too high in relation to its gross domestic product, its GDP, its credit rating could get lowered, resulting in problems similar to those associated with default, again, if I was Esther with that credit card payment. Does that mean that a tax hike or budget cuts are imminent? The answer is actually not necessarily. Let me go back to Esther.

So let\’s go back to Esther. Again, she\’s spending 4,000 a month. 3,000 go towards consumption that does not yield anything: her rent, helping out Mom and Dad. That\’s money she doesn\’t expect to receive anything back in return.

But that\’s monthly output.

Yes that\’s monthly output. But what else is also output is tuition. Let\’s say $1,000 of that $4,000 was spent on tuition. Ready? Which she hopes will help her find a better job, now thinking leading to an increase in her income, let\’s say now from $3,000 up to $4,500 a month. Pardon me. She was at 3,300 a month. So that\’ll take her a $1,200 increase. If her assumptions are correct, she would now have a surplus of $500 in the future, which could help her get out of debt or invest it somewhere else, which will help with her monthly pay.

At any rate, she would be operating now on a surplus instead of a deficit, so she would no longer have to increase her hours worked or reduce what she was spending. So now, similarly to the government, the government spends money in a variety of ways. Some of it\’s going towards consumption. The vast majority of it is. Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, those three solutions right there are almost 80% of the government\’s budget today, while other expenditures are funding economic growth.

Theoretically, the investments in the growth would increase gross domestic product, resulting in the more tax revenue, more sources from which the government can borrow funds. This is called supply-side economics, and we\’re putting all this together. So, the United States\’ debt is currently, I think the number I just saw this morning was somewhere around 22 trillion dollars. Two years ago, that number was like 18. It\’s nuts.


We have to listen to these numbers as we see that debt continue to go and move on and on. And, again, a lot of our brothers and sisters working for the government are now back at work. But again, one half of 1% of the United States government works for the government, or pardon me, of the population works for the government. Those people are all off of work. The trickle-down effect and what that\’s doing to the deficit, we hear a lot about that as well because what we need to think about with these changes that happened in 2017. If you go back to 1982 or 1986 where you had the highest tax rates at the 50%. Before that, in the late \’70s, you had the 70% range. You go back to World War II, the highest tax rates, 34%.

Now we\’re talking about the highest tax rates in the 70s, and we know they\’re there for the next seven years. Is there something I should be doing today for myself, not listening to Bob down the street or Joe on CNBC? Because, again, gathering this information, this is what our workshops are all about, is putting that education, becoming advocates out there of how you can take that information and translate it. How does it apply to me? So understanding that taxes are historically low from where we\’ve been and where we\’re at today, what does it all mean?

Why spend so much time discussing the economic landscape, recent legislation history, and new tax rates? It shows that taxpayers can probably expect to remain in a season of higher taxes than they\’ve experienced in the past. It\’s where I believe we\’re heading. We talk about it all the time in 2026. It may last a long time. Individuals will want to implement strategies that are designed to lower their taxable income in the future. If you believe that tax rates will only increase, which is our belief in here, just talking about putting all the pieces together, one potential strategy is to invest in currently taxed assets to avoid future tax liabilities.

David always does a great job during the workshops saying, \”Go look at line eight and nine on your front page of your tax return. If it\’s too high, you may not be doing things in the most efficient way.\” Again, lines eight and nine.

So it\’s where we want to start thinking about tax-free items. What are tax-free items I can look at? Municipal bonds, tax-free interest. Makes sense for some people, especially when you\’re in a higher tax bracket. If you\’re in a lower tax bracket, we see it all the time from advisors that people are working with they forget to change your portfolio. Are they actually looking at everything in your best interest? Municipal bonds may have made sense while I was working. It doesn\’t make sense, necessarily, in retirement when my taxes are a lot lower.

We always talk about Roth IRAs, a great item that\’s out there. Life insurance that\’s held until death. Those are tax-free benefits. We talk about Roth IRAs and Roth conversions. It\’s a big topic of a conversation for us in 2019, especially with the market plummeting along with tax rates being low. A great opportunity to consider what we call Roth conversions. We start talking about tax-deferred items. Those are tax-free. Tax-deferred items, these are our everyday solutions that we may have through our employer.

Here\’s the one thing as I\’m listening and I\’m processing the information. This is where I think it\’s important for the listening audience to know, realize to understand that my scenario as an individual is going to be different than my neighbor\’s.

Amen. Absolutely.

My scenario is going to be different than my brother-in-law\’s. That goes back to that opening statement that I made to everyone about I was given a reminder … I don\’t want to take up too much of your time, but I was given a reminder that, a lot of times, the information that we get at the water cooler…

Doesn\’t apply.

Doesn\’t apply. I mean, we talk about tax-free money. Then you have tax-deferred money. Is it my employer\’s 401(k), my 403, my 457? Should I invest in a traditional IRA? How about annuities, or maybe life insurance as an investment? Again, all tax-deferred vehicles that are out there.

We see it all the time, Krause, to your point, self-managed people. \”I got this under control.\” \”Well, where are you hearing everything?\” \”I\’m reading everything on Bloomberg,\” or, \”I tune in to CNBC,\” or, \”You know what? No one watches my money like I do, and I got it.\” When people come in, sometimes they have a decent portfolio, but there\’s nothing as it relates to tax efficiency. There\’s nothing as it relates to avoiding Medicare surcharges. There\’s nothing built out there from, \”How do I disperse that income?\”

They might have that income piece figured out, but what they\’re not doing is putting those puzzle pieces together. And, again, that\’s where our passion is. Whether we\’re out in East Coventry or Horsham or Montgomeryville or Ludington, again, it\’s what we do. We have these workshops to provide education and advocacy. And then, inevitably, why we offer that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review is to allow people to come in on a complementary basis where we share with them the beginning steps of how to start putting those puzzle pieces together.

You were right when you said you were doing deep with information, Bret, but it all does circle back. It all does apply. Nice job. Well done. Thank you so much.

It\’s our first Saturday in the month of February, and despite talking about Punxsutawney Phil and the anticipation of whether or not there will be six weeks of winter, we do know that coming up on April 15th, Tax Day will once again come, and that is one reality that we know is going to be there. Karen Bezar is going to join us. The topic is difficult to talk about, but it is often reality.

Sure. It is.

Death of a spouse is something that is an inevitable reality, Karen, that we must all realize and all understand. And I think most people do, but we must be prepared for it.

I agree. That\’s one of the things that we talk about or bring up in one of our reports that we offer for attending our workshop. We do run four complimentary reports for you, and one of them is a stress analysis. In that stress analysis, if we have a couple, we deal with, what are the economic ramifications if there\’s a death of a spouse? It\’s not something that anybody likes to think about.

David and I have been married for over 30 years now, together longer, and talking about it now, I know something is going to happen to one of us and it literally makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. But we plan for it. He had a health scare a few years ago. We dealt with cancer, and we know it\’s a possibility. So the reason I\’m bringing this up today is, recently, I seem to have a rash of couples or, actually, single people that came in for the most part, attended a workshop, and then they came in.

Anybody that\’s out there and you\’re listening and you\’re a couple and you feel that, \”Oh, my husband or my wife takes care of everything. I don\’t need to know what\’s going on,\” yes, you do need to know what\’s going on. Here are some examples of why. I recently met with a lady. Her husband passed away. It was not even a full year ago. So she came in. She still had the tax return with his name on it and everything. This is her first year filing single.

What she\’s telling her friends who are in similar situations, or could be, is, \”Understand everything that\’s going on.\” She let him take care of everything, and she thought he was doing a great job. Well, he really wasn\’t. We asked about pensions. \”Do you have a pension?\” He had a pension, and he kept saying, \”Don\’t worry about it. I took a smaller amount now so that when I pass away, you\’re going to get 100% of what I get.\” Long story short, she\’s getting 50% of what they originally got.

So she lost the social security check, and she lost 50% of the pension that was coming in the home. So now she\’s struggling. That\’s an area that we as a company, we look at ahead of time. And something that we focus on is overall stress analysis.

Yeah, and I think one of the things to reference as being so important, and I think it\’s been said many, many, many times, always worth repeating: sometimes, decisions that you make about electing what to take in a pension or when to take social security creates something that you can\’t change. Once you\’ve made the decision, you own the decision.

When we do our seminars, one of the questions that … I think Bret asked this question, perhaps David. \”How many of you have pensions?\” People raise their hands. Then we say, \”Keep your hand up if, with absolute certainty, you know what the survivor benefit is on that pension.\” All of a sudden, you see the hands going down because I think people don\’t always think about that.

That\’s just an example of something that happened. But, also related to pensions, had another couple come in, married later in life. He was already retired. Guess what he already is on? He\’s on a pension. He wasn\’t married when he picked his pension, the benefit of how the survivor was going to benefit from his pension. There\’s no survivor benefit at all to that. So when he passes away, that\’s it.

Now, is he an older man?

They were early 60s.

Early 60s. Okay.

Maybe 59-ish, something along those lines. So these are just examples of what happens when it\’s not fully planned for. If you have an advisor that\’s doing a great job for you now, have they thought about that? Is that something they include in their stress analysis?

We also had another couple come in. They were married. Not related to pension, but again, we ran the stress analysis and everything looks great as long as they\’re both alive. But when one person passes away, it was a devastating effect on their income. The gentleman said, \”I don\’t understand. If I pass away, why is it such a dramatic effect? Because we\’re making enough money now to cover our expenses.\” What I reminded him is one of the social security checks is going away. So they didn\’t really think long and hard about that as far as their financial plan is concerned.

Yeah, and just real quick to add into that, Karen, that\’s one of those decisions on social security. Again, everybody has to make a decision on social security. Not all of us are in a position to have a pension or to expect a pension, but social security, we\’re going to make a decision on that at some point.

Right. And if you haven\’t started taking social security yet when you come in and meet with us, we can sometimes help you make a better decision on social security because not only are we trying to get the most income for a married couple, but we also understand that there\’s going to be implications when one person passes away. So we try to work on that as far as getting your income to a higher amount. There\’s so many different decisions that you can make on that. Just like a pension decision, social security wants you to make that decision. That\’s it. So it\’s important.

I met with another gentleman, and he taught me something after meeting with him. His wife passed away about a year ago, and they had everything planned out. He was going to retire. She was going to keep working, and then she was going to retire. They had everything planned out, but you know what they say about best-laid plans. Sometimes things don\’t go the way that you plan. She had cancer that was very aggressive, and she passed away very quickly.

They saved, and they planned, but also enjoy your life while you can. So that\’s something important that David and I do, as well. You never know what\’s going to happen, so try to get a little bit of joy. You still plan, and we\’ll still help you plan here at Thrive. But you also want to enjoy your life while you\’re going through all the different stages. It\’s very important.

Yeah, and I think that\’s part of the roadmap. It’s so fitting because roadmap, to me, when I try and visualize what that actually means, it means that. It means part of it. It means preparing for where we want to be and at what stage we want to be at that point. And self-enjoyment or personal enjoyment, whether it\’s through a hobby or whether it\’s through whatever you do enjoy, I still think it\’s an important ingredient and an important variable.

Right. Exactly. And David would agree with me 100%.

[bctt tweet=\”You never know what\’s going to happen, so try to get a little bit of joy.\” via=\”no\”]

Of course I would.

He wakes up every day saying, \”I\’m so happy I\’m married.\” I tell him every day. I thank him every day, and I tell him, \”Don\’t worry. I\’m here with you for the rest of your life. I\’m never, ever going to leave you. Does that make you feel good? Every day you wake up, I\’m going to be here.\”

But, all kidding aside, it\’s definitely a devastating thing that will most likely happen at some point in your life. And it\’s best to have all your ducks in a row so at the time of the death of a spouse, when you\’re talking about funeral and memorial arrangements, that you don\’t have to worry about everything else that\’s going on in your life, that you know, \”Okay, we planned for this. My husband planned for this. My wife planned for this. And I know what to do.\”

So Go to Thrive Financial Services. Take a look at our website. Come to a workshop. If you\’re out there and you\’re in that situation, come visit us. We\’ll be glad to sit with you and see if there\’s anything we can do to help.

David Bezar now joining us. I did write down, David, from the opening dialogue and our opening conversation, \”always\” and \”never.\” I\’m going to keep those two words with me long past today. But thank you for bringing them up in the context that you did.

Yeah, Joe. Thanks. I appreciate that. What I\’m going to cover in this last segment is I want to talk about how we feel here at Thrive, how we feel about what the markets are doing, what they may be doing, how that incorporates with our strategies related to our clients, for our listening audience who may be not our client, that these are things that you can take away.


We here at Thrive are focused on retirement income planning. That is really what we do. I\’ve been in the business 30 years, and I\’ve done investment management. Investment management is a part of retirement income planning. Social security. What\’s the best election choice out of those 567 choices that we have? That\’s about retirement income planning. Like Karen said, the death of a spouse triggers event that the lower of the two social security checks is going to go away. What does that do? How does that disrupt cashflow?

Pensions. I\’m going to talk a lot about pensions in this last segment and how we think pensions are performing and what could happen in the future. And are people making the right survivorship benefit election choice there? Our goal for our clients is to get retirement to a point where it\’s basically on autopilot. I\’m 55 years old. I don\’t see myself ever retiring, because I just love this, and I get to do this. This is not \”I have to do it.\” I get to do it.

But I would imagine, for the amount of people that we have visited with and the ones who have become our clients, that dream of retirement is tranquility. It\’s peacefulness. It\’s relaxation. It\’s enjoyment. The words of \”stress\” and \”hassle\” and \”anxiety\” are supposed to be removed. As people are trying to get to retirement, there is stress. There is anxiety. There is hassle in managing money and trying to make sure that we do the best job that we can.

Again, here at Thrive, our goal is to eliminate that. We try to apply this theory of the SWAN theory of retirement income planning, S-W-A-N: Sleep Well At Night. I put a plan in place. I bulletproofed it. I tried to make it all contingencies evaluated and planned for. And I can go out and enjoy myself. That\’s really the goal for our clients.

I want to share a couple things. I read an article in the New York Post talking about from 1977 to the year 2007, that the number of employees who have surpassed full retirement age and are still working at that particular point went up by 101%.


Pretty amazing. Now, when they go to do that analysis again, it\’s going to be very interesting because here\’s what. A lot of people think that we\’re at the lowest rate of unemployment that we\’ve seen in God knows how long. But when you look at the unemployment number, what doesn\’t get publicized is the amount of people that are employed not by choice but are employed as part-time people. There are tons and tons and tons of people out there that are on the employment record but are completely underemployed. They\’re not getting benefits. They\’re working, on average, less than 20 hours a week. They\’re called gigs now. \”I\’ve got some type of gig that I\’m doing.\”

From a cynical standpoint, people look at what gets publicized. Markets are doing phenomenal. The economy\’s doing this. That\’s all in the media, and the reality when you dig underneath that, it\’s not always the case. What we try to do here at Thrive is to be very real with our clients and not get caught up in the hype, not get caught up in the greed and all of that, and try to be very rational about things.

With a statistic like that, there\’s a lot more people that are working beyond. Some people say they want to do it because they\’re bored and all that, but then there\’s a big segment of people that have to do it to make ends meet. There\’s a billionaire hedge-fund manager by the name of Seth Klarman, and he just sent out a very, very sobering letter after he attended this economic forum at Davos, which happens every year. It was a letter that basically said due to the global tensions that we\’re experiencing at literally every point that you can pick in the world, there\’s some type of global tension going on.

The rising global debt, which is now over 164 trillion dollars, and the political divide that we\’re seeing not only in our country but in a lot of different countries is not helping. He believes that the market\’s going forward, and this is a guy who\’s really got his finger on the pulse. He got basically kind of reinforced, and a lot of other economists agreed with his assessment that we will see extreme volatility. We will not see the double-digit rates of return that we\’ve seen in the past.

Our job here at Thrive is trying to pull people back from those types of expectations. Now, I don\’t want to paint a terrible picture. But I want to paint a picture that is reality, a real possibility, possibly even probable, and get people prepared to go through that versus thinking everything\’s going to be just like it has always been. So one of those areas that\’s really important that we get to see a lot of are pensions here at Thrive.

When we do our workshops and we ask a question, \”How many of you are anticipating getting a pension?\” typically, about 60 or 70% of the room raises their hand. Now, because of the age bracket of people who attend our workshops being basically pre-retirees and retirees, that\’s totally believable. If we were doing that with the 20-somethings, the 30-somethings, and even the 40-somethings, it wouldn\’t even be close to that.

With that many people raising their hand and really having a significant degree of reliance on that pension, we want to prepare people for that. I\’d love for people to just go to Google. What I want you to Google is the Kline, Miller Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act. A lot of words.

It is a lot.

But that was two senators, Kline and Miller, who got together, put some legislation together that ultimately got approved by Congress that is now law. This happened back in \’14. Yeah, \’14 exactly. So that happened back in … I have to go to Bret for the historical data. A lot of people don\’t know about it. It\’s not spoken a lot. But if you go Google it and you have a pension, I think you\’re going to come out very, very surprised.

Now, give it again one more time.

Kline-Miller Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act of 2014. When you read it, what it basically says in a synopsis is that if your pension, whether it\’s federal, state, corporate, whatever it may be. If it is underfunded by a certain percentage, the pension administration company has the right to reduce the amount that they pay you on a monthly basis, and, if necessary, actually eliminate the pension payment forever. So that\’s scary.

Wow. That\’s scary.

That\’s scary. And long thoughts about it, and the reason the government put it together is, \”Look, there\’s 22-trillion-dollar deficit and growing.\” Heard some statistical information that, based upon this shutdown and the next possible shutdown that\’ll occur in a couple of weeks, they think there might be an additional 40 trillion dollars of debt created because of that. Now, these are just numbers you hear on TV and so on and so forth. It\’s crazy.

So two things that we can pull out of that. Number one, is taxes are definitely going up. If you\’re listening, that\’s why we put such an emphasis on taxes: because we\’re currently in the lowest tax environment that we\’ve ever been in. There\’s nowhere but up at this particular point, and possibly even an aggressive up because we\’ve got to start paying down this deficit. You can\’t be a company or a country that\’s running that kind of deficit. And the impact of that debt, and the reason the government put that in place, was so they could grab some money to cover this debt situation.

The thing that I want to point out related to the pensions is these pensions got underfunded, Joe, during an economic bull market over the past 10 years, where we see 85% underfunded. You could actually pull the list up and see if your company\’s an underfunded company. What\’s going to happen when the market changes and we get into a bear market situation, volatile economic times? This situation\’s just going to get a whole lot worse.

Bret, Karen, and I here at Thrive are very, very, well versed on what you could potentially do. If you\’re already taking the pension, we\’re going to give you some strategies to bolster outside of the pension. In case you lose it, what can you do to get some additional guaranteed income? I don\’t want to leave this show on a Debbie Downer type scenario, but I really do want people who have pensions to give us a call: 800-516-5861. Go to our website. We have something up on our website called the Hidden Pension Crisis in America. You can download that white paper.

Go to the website and schedule an appointment. Tell us you want to talk specifically about pensions. We\’ll do a pension analysis. If it comes under unfavorable, we\’ll tell you what we can do about that.

Well done. Good stuff from David Bezar today. Also thanks to Bret Elam and Karen Bezar for joining us in a great discussion today, and don’t forget to contact us if you’re interested in our services in any way!


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