This online series marks a change for me and Research, where I’ve been writing columns in the print magazine that are about one-third longer.
The shorter format changes the content possibilities. Arguments with three or five part articulations have to give way to shorter narratives. And, please, let me know about the topics that you would like to read in this new format.
Using recent statistics, almost 116 million U.S. households have an average income of about $68 thousand dollars per year. Also, the U.S. economy supports about $52 trillion (and climbing) dollars in total debt.
This means that the average U.S. household earning $68,000 per year is supporting an average of $450,000 in promises to pay back creditors.
Trillions, billions and millions can confuse the best of us. Don’t take my word, look at the math: $52 followed by 12 zeros divided by 116 households followed by 6 zeros returns $448,275.86 per household: about $450,000 per household.
These numbers do not include contingent liabilities such as Social Security, Medicare and public pension promises made by the various levels of government.
One of the important difference between now and the First Great Depression is the size of government. Government was very small then. It is very large now.
Depending upon what is included and how it is reduced to a present value, government promises may add-up to a number between $50 and $100 trillion dollars. This means that the average U.S. household earning $68,000 per year is also supporting another $450,000 – and perhaps as much as $900,000 – in un-funded promises to give money to others.
How can clients fund these million dollar liabilities per household as well as their own retirement liability?
In our lifetime, the common wisdom about retirement funding for the average household changed several times: