When Retirement Accounts are treated as savings you better be asking the question.
Are we in trouble?
If we had economic growth in the U.S. economy, we would be experiencing an increase in the standard of living. But wherever I look in the U.S. economy, I see more people suffering. The pockets of average Americans are being squeezed like never before.
In these pages, it has been very well documented how food stamps usage has increased in the U.S. economy—47.5 million people as of October 2012, or more than 15% of the population. ( Source: United States Department of Agriculture web site, last accessed January 17, 2013.)
But this is not all. The so-called “jobs growth” and “job creation” in the U.S. economy are simply talking points for politicians and nothing more, as job creation in the U.S. economy has mainly been in sectors where wages are low, with bare minimum benefits available to the employees.
So how are Americans surviving when prices are increasing (inflation) and their jobs don’t pay well? According to data compiled by Vanguard, one of the biggest 401(k) managers, the number of people borrowing against their retirement accounts in the U.S. economy has increased 12% since 2008. (Source: The Washington Post, January 15, 2013.)
Another finding by financial advisory firm HelloWallet reports that 25% of all workers use their retirement funds to pay for expenses, such as mortgage payments, credit card debt, and other bill payments.
Sadly, it doesn’t just end there. Those who are poor in the U.S. economy are becoming poorer. As per Urban Institute’s findings, for those households that earn $20,000 per year or less, their debt load has increased more than 100% in the period from 2001 to 2010. (Source: The New York Times, January 14, 2013.)
The fact of the matter is that the U.S. economy is on life support. It will require an extensive amount of fundamental changes for us to witness real economic growth. Right now, Americans are suffering and real economic growth is non-existent. With savings deteriorating and prices moving upward, the problems currently faced by the U.S. economy, at least for the poor, will not be solved by money printing and increasing the national debt.
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