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Martha Shedden: Why Advisors Should Watch the Social Security 2100 Bill

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Martha Shedden is president of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts, which she co-founded in 2016. An engineer by training, Shedden turned to financial and retirement education in 2011 when she opened her business, Shedden Social Security & Retirement Planning.

In an email, Shedden responded to 10 questions on her professional and personal endeavors.

1. What market indicator, industry statistic, regulatory change or advisor trend are you watching most closely right now and why?

Martha Shedden: My priority is any regulatory changes that affect retirement. Most consequential to retirees is the Nov. 1 introduction of the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust bill. Health care is the largest unknown future cost for retirees, so it is a high priority in retirement planning.

Due in part to the pandemic, the future of work has come to the forefront during these last two years. I’m especially encouraged by some of the changes that can make part-time, flexible and remote work more accessible for older workers.

2. How has this statistic/indicator been changing recently (2021), and how do you expect it to change (2022)?

Introduction of the Social Security 2100 bill has the potential for positive change that will affect millions of retirees, possibly beginning in 2022 if it is passed. The bill includes changes to increase benefits and strengthen the trust fund.

3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about it?

Become knowledgeable about the Social Security 2100 bill so [they] can address client questions and provide them with the correct details of changes to come. There is a great deal of misinformation surrounding the topic of Social Security.

4. Who or what critical source of information do you track, or follow online, to keep up with this or other trends?

I follow the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Boston College Center for Retirement Research and I have Google alerts set up for any news on Social Security.

5. Are you changing any of your work habits at this stage of the pandemic? Why/why not?

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Luckily, I have not had to change any of my major work habits because I have always been able to work remotely and in a flexible way. The increased focus during the pandemic on remote communication and workflow technology has been a small silver lining for my business. I believe it has helped our team communicate and work in a more efficient way.

6. What’s your biggest hobby, and what was the last event/activity you did related to it?

My biggest hobby is anything outdoors. I love to travel, camp, hike and ski with family and friends. We have been fortunate to be able to continue traveling safely in our trailer during the pandemic.

Our latest and best event this year was camping and getting married in Glacier National Park up above Sperry Chalet in August! Joined by my best friend from college and her boyfriend as well as my son and his girlfriend, [my now spouse and I] were married there surrounded by gorgeous mountains, lakes, wildflowers and patches of snow.

7. How about your latest community/charitable activity/event/cause?

I am an avid supporter of our local community college, the National Academy of Social Insurance, National Public Radio, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and various national park conservancy groups.

8. What books are you reading now and why?

I just finished reading “Caste,” “A Gentleman in Moscow,” “The Last Green Valley” and “The Four Winds.” I enjoy historical fiction for its perspective and my continued education about the world. On a lighter note, I am currently reading “Project Hail Mary” and thoroughly enjoyed “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”

9. Any special holiday plan, activity or focus you’d like to share as we near year-end? Or a New Year’s resolution that you’ve decided on?

I’m not a fan of one-time New Year’s resolutions because I think it’s my daily resolutions that keep me balanced, healthy and happy. I strive to always be present in my interactions, empathetic of others and grateful for the love of my wonderful family and friends.

10. Any other update/fact about you or piece of advice/wisdom you’d like to share with our advisor audience?

As a professional, treat your clients and colleagues with genuine respect, be “real” with them and have a sense of humor. Those will serve you well. On a personal note, which cannot be overstated, cherish your family and friends. You never know when it may be your last time together.