There is a looming retirement crisis, as individuals are increasingly being asked to take responsibility for their own retirement planning and a majority of these individuals are financially unsophisticated. They cannot perform basic compounding calculations and do not understand the impact of inflation, both critical aspects of retirement planning.
Yet, these individuals are being tasked with the responsibility for three complex, interconnected decisions: how much to save, how to invest (with many additional decisions), and how to decumulate one’s portfolio at retirement.
Compounding these challenges, current financial instruments and products (e.g. T-Bills, TIPs, or Target Date Funds) are risky because they focus on the wrong goal - wealth at retirement, as opposed to how much retirement income can be guaranteed to support pre-retirement standard-of-living. Moreover, annuities are complex, costly, and illiquid and seldom used.
Without financial innovation and a change in the metric for measuring retirement success, many individuals will retire poor – a financially and socially undesirable outcome for any country.
This paper, written by Robert C. Merton, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Arun Muralidhar, the founder of AlphaEngine Global Investment Solutions, presents an easy, quick and efficient solution for countries to address all these challenges and improve retirement security by creating and issuing an innovative new bond – SeLFIES (Standard-of-Living indexed, Forward-starting, Income-only Securities).
The SeLFIES bond is a single, liquid, low-cost, low-risk instrument, easy-to-understand for even the most financially unsophisticated individual, because it embeds accumulation, decumulation, compounding and inflation-adjustments. SeLFIES is good for governments too, as the bond lowers the risk of individuals retiring poor, improves balance sheet management, and funds infrastructure. The paper also discusses key design aspects of SeLFIES to show how they can ensure longevity risk protection and hedge standard-of-living risk, a key unmanaged risk globally today. Additionally, the paper by concludes by demonstrating the universality of the SeLFIES design as well as by showing how it serves a useful purpose by becoming the “currency of retirement.”
Opting Out of Social Security: An Idea That's Already Arrived
Under current law, workers can partially opt out of Social Security and reduce Medicare tax liability by accepting compensation in forms exempt from payroll taxes. Changing forms of compensation has an ambiguous effect on a worker's lifetime consumption possibilities. With respect to Medicare, all households are better off since they reduce tax contributions to a fixed benefit. For Social Security, the effect is ambiguous since the tax reduction implies future benefit reductions. Analyzing a hybrid reform proposal that requires workers to place exempted earnings and foregone payroll taxes in a personal retirement account,, the author David P. Richardson of TIAA Institute, finds that all workers can increase retirement resources.
More research about retirement
There is a looming retirement crisis, as individuals are increasingly being asked to take responsibility for their own retirement planning and a majority of these individuals are financially unsophisticated. They cannot perform basic compounding calculations and do not understand the impact of inflation, both critical aspects of retirement planning. Subscribe for full article
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