Your Retirement Plan Cannot Include Uncle Sam

I’ve known my share of martial artists in my time. I’ve traveled the planet and seen a host of martial arts practiced in regions throughout the world. I’ve been to Thailand and seen the fighters, I’ve watched men train in the jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam, I’ve seen Africans and their war dances, and I’ve been to a host of places that are no longer so safe for a female traveling alone.

The one thing that seems to be common among all martial arts teachers is their love for their craft. That’s special. And, many of these men and women make their living doing what they love (that’s a miracle!). But, I’m sounding an old alarm today for those that believe the U.S. government is going to care for you in your old age, send you a social security check, and ensure you have health care. Because the writing is on the wall, and this simply isn’t going to happen.

We live in a country where our total unfunded liabilities have reached nearly $100 trillion and outstanding debt is nearly $19 trillion. These aren’t even number we can really understand. The average teenager now owes over $100,000 in federal public debt – debt that will become taxes. The average American is on the hook for nearly $59,000 each. Since late 2012, the national debt has been rising at an average rate of $2.41 billion per day.

This year, for the third time in the last 40 years, the federal government will not be increasing Social Security payments, and it won’t raise payments to disabled veterans or federal retirees. What’s startling is…all three of these “non-raises” have come since 2010. The decision to raise payments is, by law, made every October based on a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

However, costs are going up. Since last September, medical care costs have risen 2.4%, housing costs are up 3.2%, and food prices are also up 1.6%. Studies show, including those done by senior citizen watchdog groups like Senior Citizens League, that Social Security benefits have lost nearly 22% of their buying power since 2000, despite the COLA increases.

These studies point out increases in costs including:

  • Medicare Part B premiums up 131%
  • Landline/Telephone Services up 52%
  • Stamps up 48%
  • Heating Oil up 159%
  • Ground Chuck up 130%

Prices for home insurance (up 161%) and real estate taxes (up 127%) have skyrocketed. And one in three Social Security recipients counts on the government for 90% or more of their retirement income. This is a disaster. So, if you’re self-employed, a martial arts teacher, or someone who believes that the government will take care of you in retirement, it’s time to change your retirement strategy right now. Start saving at least 10% of what you earn and max out your retirement accounts with investments that suit your risk profile. Get some help. Make a plan. Just like self-defense, no one is coming to help.

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