I want to start this off with a excerpt from an article about private pension plans. Highlights added by this author.
Regarding private pension plans:
A defined contribution (DC) scheme can be either an occupation scheme provided by an employer, where contributions are made by the employer and the individual, or a private scheme where contributions are made by the individual only. However, the risk of investment is always borne by the individual.
Typically, individuals will invest in a mixture of secure and more risky investments with the hope that they will receive year-on-year returns, building a pension fund which can be used to purchase an annual annuity on their retirement. However, the financial crisis has had a dramatic impact on the stock exchange and the value of securities. Many DC scheme funds have dropped in value, thereby reducing funds available for the purchase of an annuity, and leading to press coverage that pension funds are one of the many casualties of the credit crunch.
In combination with reducing fund values, individuals are finding it harder to maintain contributions into their DC schemes due to financial pressures and job losses. Research carried out by Prudential last year found that voluntary contributions into DC schemes have almost halved , which will contribute to depressed DC pension funds on retirement. Furthermore, the Budget earlier this year announced that tax relief on pension contributions for high earners will be reduced from 2011 - which will also contribute to the reduction in funds contributed into DC pension schemes.
For DC members retiring in the future their fund value is still uncertain and will be largely driven by the investments of their scheme, the future performance of the economy and any contributions they are able to make. Regardless of the type of pension scheme an individual is a member of, they will be impacted - the extent of this impact will depend on the recovery of the economy, with DC members retiring in the short term hit the hardest.
Source: RGL Forensics,
Think of Social Security as a form of a pension fund. When you work you pay into it from payroll deductions. This money is in a separate fund that the government cannot spend for other things so it remains safe for your retirement. It is not tied to the state of our economy. If you retire this year in the middle of a recession your check will be the same as if it were a boom year. It is tied to your historic earnings plus occasional cost of living increases. You can count on it being there when you need it*.
There are those on the right and the far right who think Social Security should be wiped out or privatized or some combination of the two. Most of their arguments pro this approach are based on misinformation and in some cases, outright lies to the public.
Our present Social Security system has over $2 Trillion in assets and can continue to pay out 100% of it's obligations until at least 2037. Opponents of SS like to claim this means the system is or will be bankrupt then. That is not the case. It is true that some changes are needed to assure full coverage beyond that time but most experts agree that simply increasing the cap on taxable income could solve the problem with no other changes being made. The system we have has worked since 1935 when it was enacted in the wake of the Great Depression.
It's purpose was to provide a safety net in the form of a insurance policy nearly all workers are required to purchase while employed. The protection of the elderly and sick from the ravages of poverty is the goal. After the depression, people of conscience were appalled at seeing elderly men and women in rags, begging on the streets to survive. They concluded that our nation needed to protect it's citizens from such a disgraceful existence when faced with economic difficulties. Our Social Security system is just that insurance. It is yours, you pay for it and you should always be able to count on it.
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