Podcast: Andrew Biggs on the “Retirement Crisis” (He Says There Isn’t One) and a Look at Social Security

In this podcast episode, Andrew Biggs, an expert in retirement economics, discusses the perceived retirement crisis in America, challenging the notion by presenting data on Social Security and private retirement savings. He argues that Americans are generally better prepared for retirement than commonly believed, emphasizing the substantial wealth embodied in Social Security benefits and the improvement in retirement plan structures over time.

Andrew Biggs

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Article: Retirement Crisis? Maybe, But the Reality is that Most People Will Retire Happily and Be Just Fine

Transcription of NewRetirement Podcast with Andrew Biggs

Announcer (00:00:00):

This episode is brought to you by the NewRetirement Planner. Create a financial plan for free at NewRetirement.com.

Steve Chen (00:00:19):

Welcome to today’s episode of our podcast. We’re thrilled to have Andrew Biggs, an expert in retirement economics. Join us to discuss whether there is a retirement crisis at all. We’re going to dive into his background and his point of view on Social security Medicare, the state of the household balance sheet across America. I’ve been a follow of Andrews on Twitter for a long time and we actually originally talked about doing this podcast five years ago. Originally I was going to have you and Ucci and different folks on at one time, but I’m glad we’re going to this. Andrew, welcome to our show. Appreciate the time.

Andrew Biggs (00:00:55):

Oh, thank you very much for having me. I really enjoy doing this.

Steve Chen (00:00:57):

Andrew is joining us from Klamath Falls, Oregon just north of the California border. Could you give us just a few minutes on your background, your education, how you got into retirement, economics, becoming talking head retirement?

Andrew Biggs (00:01:14):

I’m a New Yorker originally I grew up about 10 miles north of New York City, so I’m the city boy living in rural Oregon. Now, despite that, I did most of my education once I went to college in the UK, undergrad at Queens University of Belfast, then my master’s at Cambridge and then went to London School of Economics for my PhD. Then moved to Washington DC just thinking, Hey, I can get involved in government or it was one of those things with zero game plan. When I look back, I probably should have been smarter about it, but it just led a little bit of time working Capitol Hill, doing banking stuff, but then I kind of wanted to get back into research. I spent time in a couple of think tanks in DC, the Cato Institute, and I’ve been at the American Enterprise Institute now for about 12, 13 years.

(00:02:01):

In between, I’ve spent about five years in government. I ran the Office of Policy at Social Security Administration. We did a lot of research work on social security. Spent a year in White House National Economic Council back when George W. Bush was working in social security reform. Then kind of doing number crunching and things like that. So originally was focused very much on social security. Since leaving the Social Security administration and going to a EI, it’s broadened. I still do a lot of social security work, but I really became interested in the broader state of retirement savings because the social security and the private retirement saving system aren’t separate things. Even if Congress acts like they’re separate things, they work hand in hand and what you might do to fix social security depends on what you think is going on in the household sector. So it’s both useful to know it, but it’s also just a fascinating area to do research in.

Steve Chen (00:02:58):

Well, we’re definitely going to dive into both and I think one of the big things about you just to frame this up is you’re like a voice with a different perspective than we hear from the mainstream media about the state of retirement health. If you’ll and readiness for America overall, I’m sure you have a strong perspective on social security and how to fix it or whether it needs fixing. Before we get into that, what drew you to the government sector and also just curious what it was like to work inside of these organizations. I’ve never worked inside the government, but I’ve met some folks that have and love your take on it.

Andrew Biggs (00:03:34):

It’s not something where my personal inclination say, Hey, I want to get a government job. I mean there are a lot of downsides working in government. It moves slowly, but at the same time I picked well in the sense of if you’re a researcher and you say, I’m going to work in the policy department to the Social Security Administration, you have amazing access to data and modeling and the people there are fantastic. I was a Republican political appointee. I never found anybody there less than professional, so it was really a fascinating thing and it was partly my views on the retirement system today are shaped by my time at Social Security. I mean we had very sophisticated models there projecting future retirement income resources for people and we weren’t finding anything like the stuff you read about in the newspaper. So partly I sort of act as kind of a Greek English translator. I mean I’m good enough in the technical and to read the equations and the technical papers, but I think the real value added is translating that to English, that ordinary people and policymakers can understand what the best researchers are saying about the retirement system in the us.

Steve Chen (00:04:44):

Got it. By the way, just one color commentary. I met someone who was an appointee, a young man and his take, I remember we went mountain biking in Tahoe and he was like, there’s appointees and then there’s career people in the government and there’s almost two types of people, but a lot of the appointees are outside experts. They bring a high level of talent, not that people in the government aren’t talented either, but do you have any color on what you saw? It sounds like you’re seeing great people up and down.

Andrew Biggs (00:05:13):

Sure, and I was a little bit atypical for government appointing in the sense of I wasn’t just sort of put in there to manage an office. I started out managing an office about 15 people then moved up managing office about 125 people. Then for some reason they bumped me up to the number two in the agency, which is at that point, I dunno, 60,000 people and at that point that’s the point we discover, okay, my management skills aren’t what they should be, but the reason for that is I really went in almost as an analyst in the sense of I was in there working just side by side with the career people doing the data work. So for me it was very satisfying. I never felt like it was me against the career people or deep state or whatever people it just, that wasn’t my experience at all.

Steve Chen (00:06:01):

Yeah, that’s super interesting. Get that perspective. I mean, how old were you when that was happening?

Andrew Biggs (00:06:05):

Oh, maybe 30 I guess.

Steve Chen (00:06:07):

So you went from 15 people to 20 people to co-leading 60,000 people.

Andrew Biggs (00:06:13):

That was the time I decided to get out. I mean you would find in your calendar some meeting with an acronym that you’ve never seen before and then your assistant would say, oh yeah, and you’re running the meeting and it would be stuff. I had no idea what was going on. I mean because the Social Security administration, you’d think they sit around thinking about how do we fix social security? They spend zero time thinking about that is really an administrative agency where it’s the right check to the right person at the right time. It’s not like they want social security to go insolvent, but that’s just not a focus at all. They really are an administrative agency.

Steve Chen (00:06:48):

Why don’t we talk about social security first since we’re on the topic? What’s your perspective? I mean obviously we see every X number of years there’s a bunch of headlines, Hey, social security trust fund’s going to run on money and not just a future and at that point benefits will get cut by 25%. What’s your take on how this plays out?

Andrew Biggs (00:07:06):

Well, there’s the familiar story of social security, which is purely demographics. It is a pay as you go system workers pay money in retirees and disabled take money out, and so all you care about is the ratio of workers, retirees, and I would say five to one in 1960. Then it’s probably a little under three to one now it’ll drop to two to one. That significantly increases the cost of paying benefits because you’re just dividing the burden among fewer people. I mean if you had six people to carry one person, that’s easy. You’ve got two people to carry one person, that’s a lot harder. But there’s a second angle that doesn’t really get touched on, which I think is actually really important, which is if you look at how social security worked from 1935 when it was started, it started paying benefits 1940 up until the mid 1970s, you didn’t automatically increase benefits, which meant that congress would increase benefits sort of as needed and as affordable, and between 1940 and 1970, they increased benefits something like 10 times.

(00:08:17):

So it’s not like the benefits were never increased, but it was a discretionary move. Then in 1977, congress passed and there was always technical mumbo jumbo going on at the time, but they passed amendments to Social Security Act, which got rid of the discretionary benefit increases and said, we’re going to increase benefits automatically. What it says is each new generation or cohort of retirees is going to get benefits that are higher than the previous one by the rate of economy-wide wage growth. So if the economy grows 1% faster than inflation each year, a new retiree next year is going to get, the average benefit will be 1% higher in real terms than today and it just keeps going on. It was that moment in time when the sort of solvency problem was sealed into place because as you are paying higher and higher benefits, in addition to having fewer workers to support them, in a sense that good news for retirees just it’s kind of a factoid off the top of my head is if you look at people retiring in 2022, that’s the latest data we have.

(00:09:21):

The average benefit they received, the average monthly benefit was 39% higher in real inflation adjusted terms. Then people retiring in the year 2000. Over the course of 20 years, you get a close on 40% increase in the real value of benefits. So if you have a typical couple retiring, they’re getting something like $48,000 per year. This shapes how you view social security reform because people view it very much, oh, this is a safety net program. Look, the elderly poverty threshold for two people is around $22,000. So the typical couple would be more than twice that before touching a penny of their own savings. So it’s gone well beyond what really is a safety net program. People would say middle class entitlement or whatever, but you’re essentially running a pension plan for middle class people where the costs are and you’re doing it as a pay as you go basis, which means you’re very vulnerable to demographics. So probably not what Congress was thinking about when they started the program.

Steve Chen (00:10:28):

So what do you think happens here? I know that I was just looking it up, so it looks like the old age survivor insurance and disability insurance funds are scheduled or slated to be depleted in 2035, and the mainstream media is like, okay, if that happens and that point, we can pay 75% of benefits as a pay as you go model. Obviously a lot of people listening to this, but just to frame it up, I think a lot of boomers and Gen X are like Social security fine. It can’t go anywhere. A lot of millennials and Gen Zs are like, I’m not counting on this thing. I’d love your perspective on it.

Andrew Biggs (00:11:04):

Again, as I said before, social security is a pay as you go program. The vast majority of money going out each year is paid in that year, and so for social security benefits to be eliminated, what people think of as bankrupt means you have to eliminate the payroll tax. As long as you’re collecting 12.4% of people’s wages to a trillion or so year, you got a lot of money to pay out. So the idea you’re going to get nothing is just wrong. I mean, there’s a New York Times magazine article a couple weeks ago about the 401k and whether it’s a bad idea, blah, blah, blah, but they start out with example of a woman who’s like, I don’t think I’m going to be able, my 401k is not going to support me and she’s assuming she’s going to get zero money from Social Security. I’m like, well, sure, if you assume it’s zero, but even if you assume you got 75%, you’re going to be okay.

(00:11:51):

The reality is that the political spectrum on social security has shifted significantly to the left since I worked in the Bush White House at that time. I mean George W. Bush is willing to compromise. He was clear on that and he understood he’d have to, but his preference would be to fix the solvency problem, the funding problem as much as you could by reducing the growth of future benefits rather than by raising taxes. That’s where he was. Now you have essentially Donald Trump and Joe Biden have basically the same positions on social security, which is we shouldn’t cut benefits by a penny for anybody at any time, and what they also have in common is neither of them proposed the tax increases necessary to do that. If you get to your social security insolvency situation, I mean let’s say the trust fund runs out at that point, your annual cash shortfall say of 2035 is somewhere around 400 billion in today’s money.

(00:12:44):

Now that’s real money. If Congress says, we’re going to borrow that money and that’s going to be our plan, that’s your fiscal crisis or your dollar crisis right there because you can’t say we’re going to borrow that kind of money every year without any idea how to pay it back. This is serious business. The political spectrum has shifted to the left in the sense people are less in favor of benefit us today. At the same time, there aren’t really any solutions on the table that could get through Congress. It’s that level of tax increases. Even liberal Democrats I think understand they’re not going to get, so it’s not an easy problem to solve right now.

Steve Chen (00:13:26):

Yeah, I mean when people talk about it, I think there’s three levers, right? Yeah. Limit benefit increases like you’re describing, so don’t auto escalate it and cola delay the claiming age. I think the last time we did a big social security reform, they basically pushed up. We have this range of earliest claiming age, the full retirement age, and then the maximum age it goes from 62 to 70, and then the last option would be raise taxes or remove the cap on the social security wage tax. So I think right now you’re taxed up to 50,000 or something like that if your wages and after that you’re not taxed on it anymore, what do you think happens? One of those things has to happen, right?

Andrew Biggs (00:14:06):

In a sense, I understand you’re kind of giving the menu of options as commonly understood. What I find interesting is if you look at countries that are like us, I mean the interesting thing about social secure pensions is that every developed country has the same issues of demographics and every country has something resembling a social security program. So you get to take a look at it’s sort of what might social security look like in some alternate universe. In a sense, I don’t particularly care what’s going on in France or Belgium or whatever because they just have a kind of different idea of how you do this stuff than we do. What I find interesting is if you look at Canada or the UK or Australia or New Zealand, and these are countries are pretty much like us and yet they do social security very differently than we do, their safety net element for their programs is much more robust, stronger guaranteed minimum benefits, stronger protections against poverty.

(00:15:01):

At the same time, their maximum benefits are much lower than in the us. If you’re too high wage workers, say the maximum taxable salary this year is 168,000, so let’s say you earned that amount, you and your wife or high flyers earned that amount over your career, you would retire this year on a benefit about $96,000 a year. Now let’s say you were that same couple and instead you were north of the border in Canada, you would get something like $31,000 a year from the Canada pension plan. And what is interesting is that you don’t see rich people living in the frozen tundra of Canada. They simply save more, which is what economics would tell you they do, but that’s in fact what they do. So we are unusual in that our social security system pays relatively low minimum benefit, no minimum benefit. So it’s not very strong as a safety net, and yet the maximum benefits are very high, and so I think unduly restricting ourselves to just as many of options hurts us.

(00:16:05):

I mean a lot of people talked about the investors letter that Larry Fink did a month or so ago and people comment a variety of things there, a lot of which I disagreed with, but one thing he said, which I thought was spot on, was we should think about moving to a system closer to what Australia has. We have a flat benefit that guarantees you’re not going to be in poverty, but then you sign everybody up for a retirement plan on top of that. So government does the poverty protection part, the redistribution part, the part that government is good at and that only it can do, but the income provision part for middle and upper income people, that’s done by the private sector and again, that’s what the private sector does in the sense of if you find any government pension plan anywhere in the universe, they’re all underfunded because government has poor incentives on that part.

(00:16:59):

Private sector, I mean if you don’t put money into your 401k, you’re not going to have any money in the future. You might make mistakes, the behavioral economic stuff, but the incentives are in the right direction. So I think something like that is doable in the us It’s not a policy problem in the slightest. It could eliminate poverty in old age while making social security solvent and affordable. It is purely an issue of not even partisan politics, but of the ability of congress to do public policy. Right now on most things, they can’t do public policy, they can’t decide what they want to do, implement policies follow up. They just don’t do that. But we need to do that if we want to have a well-functioning sort welfare state for people.

Steve Chen (00:17:43):

So lemme this to you. So right now if you have a couple and they each making $168,000, they’re at the highest income rate for 35 years because it’s a 35 year test, I think they’ll then be able to claim $48,000 of real income today, right? Because it’s inflation adjustment. They retired

Andrew Biggs (00:18:04):

At the normal retirement age of 67. Yeah, they would get about 48,000 each. So 96 all told,

Steve Chen (00:18:09):

I mean that’s a material amount of money. You could go live in big parts of this country for 96 grand a year and be kind of largely okay.

Andrew Biggs (00:18:17):

I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal, I dunno, maybe six months or nine months ago and my argument, it was a very simple proposal simply that maximum benefit, say if the maximum benefit a single person gets $48,000 per year, don’t increase it in the future because the way the current benefit formula works is by 2050, it won’t be 48,000, maximum will be 60,000 or so, and my argument was just cap it just say at some point we say enough is enough. You don’t need more than that and that wouldn’t fix the whole problem. But honestly the impetus for that was I was sitting down doing some of my own financial planning and I calculated how much my wife and I are going to get at retirement. I was like, this is insane. I’m happy to get my money back I guess, but as an ongoing basis it’s just we don’t need this. It’s just very weird. It’s one thing if you bankrupt your government over costs, over programs you really, really need, but to essentially bankrupt yourself over paying high benefits to me, it just seems not kind of worth it.

Steve Chen (00:19:18):

Did you build your plan on NewRetirement?

Andrew Biggs (00:19:20):

Sadly, I didn’t. I was pencil and papering it at that point.

Steve Chen (00:19:24):

Come on. Alright, you got to try it out. Alright, that’s super interesting. I guess this goes to your argument for privatization. I mean essentially the other angle is the US government’s not necessarily great at investing the money in my four one k, the best practices, save money, put it into low fee index funds and just ride the market and capture the four to 6% real rate of return over long periods of time and you’re going to do better. I think what the government has is it’s already getting the money. Is there an argument, sorry, a solution here real time to say, okay, fine, let’s use a chunk of the money in super safe treasury, whatever to guarantee the floor safety, net income and then take the rest of it and the government actually just puts the money into the market for everybody. I don’t know. I guess maybe it doesn’t work. We’re a pay as you go motion largely pay as go

Andrew Biggs (00:20:19):

Motion. I mean back when I worked in the Bush White House, the argument for personal accounts then what people call privatization was you would let people invest part of your payroll tax in a sort of 401k type account rather than paying a social security. The main argument for it then was not really a rate of return argument. Oh, I’m going to get more money on stocks versus bonds. It was at that point social security was running surpluses. You had an extra say we’re collecting 12% of wages and benefits cost 10% of wages, we like 2% of payroll extra, which is quite a bit of money and effectively yes, it’s credited to the Social security trust funds special issue, non tradable bonds, blah blah, blah. The reality is the government spent the money and they put kind of an IOU in the trust fund. The personal account would’ve saved that money.

(00:21:05):

Money. So the difference there was not the interest. The difference was the principle whether people invested that money in stocks or bonds didn’t make so much of a difference. What mattered was in fact you would have money set aside for the future. Today that surplus is gone. So the idea of investing part of your payroll tax, it just doesn’t work. There’s no money and plus it’s politically very, very problematic. So I think the idea of something like Australia where you have a base benefit set by the government, then the government sets up a system where if you’re not offered a 401k or a retirement plan at work, we provide one, you’re automatically enrolled. I mean the UK set up a system like that 12 years ago over that period, their private sector retirement plan participation rate when 42% to 86%, that solves your problem. You don’t need all this other stuff. It’s just if you sign people up at some decent contribution rate, they’re going to be okay. And so I think sometimes there’s too many people are, oh, we got to tweak this, that and the other. It’s like if your concern is that people are not saving retirement, give ’em retirement account, sign ’em up and don’t worry too much about it. That gets you 90% of the way there.

Steve Chen (00:22:17):

What do you think happens here? I mean, do you think that we get to a private sector solution and people are obviously, I guess Larry think we’ll get into this in a second, but like, Hey, private sector, great, let’s have the government mandate this and that’ll drive savings rates, which drives my business. Or do you think, do we reach this kind of price point? We’re like, Hey, it’s 20 30, 20 33, we’re two years from now social security trust fund’s out of money, people are freaking out and then we finally get something done.

Andrew Biggs (00:22:47):

I think it’s probably the latter, but my fear is that what we get done is not going to be sort of good blank slate public policy. It’s going to be what can we do to patch this thing together? The way I tended to look at social security over the past decade or so is try to think if you were inventing this system from scratch, you say you’ve got some kid who’s 17 years old, he’s never paid a dollar into the social security, he is not owed a dollar from social security in the theory. You can give him any program you want. What would that program look like? Now my argument is, okay, minimum benefit from the government plus automatic enrollment retirement accounts on top. It can be whatever you want. The point is to think about it in that sense of how do we get to what we really consider to be good public policy? But if you’re faced, you’re looking down the barrel of a 400 billion annual deficit from social security, you’re just thinking, how do we patch this thing together? It really is a failure of stewardship for the program, a failure of governmental capacity to do things. I mean every country, as I said before, faces these demographic issues of population aging. Not every country goes 40 years without fixing their pension system, which is what in fact we’ve done. So it is a political problem we face ultimately it’s there’s no solutions to this. It’s a political problem.

Steve Chen (00:24:05):

Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens here.

Andrew Biggs (00:24:08):

I mean, I will turn 65 right in the mid 2030s when this thing goes belly up. I have zero fear. I’m going to have some huge cut to my benefits. That’s not something I’m worried about. What I am worried about is to be honest, I spent much of my career arguing that we can scale down benefits from middle and high income people without harming retirement security and none of that is happening. So ultimately the thing is it’s good for me financially, in fact reflects poorly on social security policy for the country

Steve Chen (00:24:40):

Country. Well, maybe we’ll get more people that are thinking more broadly about what’s sustainable versus what’s in it for them.

Andrew Biggs (00:24:49):

I hope so

Steve Chen (00:24:50):

What’s the threshold for real money in the government? You said 4 billion is a real half a trillion is a real number, gets people’s attention.

Andrew Biggs (00:24:56):

You hear people say, oh, well education department’s a billion a year. I’m like, go work in entitlements and it’s basically you have entitlements and everything else and entitlements. Social security and Medicare are such massive amounts of money. Everything else. I mean I guess the Pentagon is important, but all the other things, they’re important as policy. Education matters a lot to people, but it’s just not that much money. If you fix entitlements, you fix our long-term budget problem. If you don’t fix entitlements, we’re going to go broke. So entitlements are kind of important.

Steve Chen (00:25:31):

I mean, I know Medicare is even bigger, right? Medicare is even more money that goes out and comes in and it goes out. I think. So

Andrew Biggs (00:25:38):

The Medicare thing is interesting in the sense of with social security, I said, you’ve got two things going on where you have this demographic issue. Say more retirees getting higher benefits. With Medicare, you have three things going on. I mean, we have more retirees and we have what people think about as medical cost inflation, higher prices for Medicare, for procedures, drugs or whatever. If you just had more retirees and higher prices for procedures, Medicare would be solvent. The third element with Medicare, which is the problem is what the trustees call intensity of usage, which is meaning it’s not a rising price for your MRI or for your drug. It’s using more MRIs, taking more drugs, doing more procedures, the intensity of how much we’re consuming. If you roll that back and say, look, people are just going to get the same sort of healthcare treatment in the futures they got today that’s perfectly affordable.

(00:26:37):

It’s this idea they’re in more and more and more. That’s not affordable. And if people want more and more and more, they should pay for it, but nobody wants to pay for it. A lot of these issues, I mean there’s some complicated actuarial stuff in math, but the real problems come down to things that have been problems of human nature since Adam and Eves people don’t want to take difficult decisions. They want to benefit themselves. They don’t care very much about other people. They want to procrastinate. All of that’s just human nature writ large through the entitlement system.

Steve Chen (00:27:08):

How do we incent people to make good choices that they get a reward for delaying gratification. So I think that for what it’s worth, the 401k and savings model has done some of that. It’s like, Hey, you get tax savings today by putting money into a 401k. I think the Roth is kind of interesting mechanic. So some of this stuff seems like it’s working. I mean,

Andrew Biggs (00:27:31):

I think by and large, if you look at the data, it is working. Something doesn’t have to be perfect to be better than what came before. And 401k is in fact better than what came before.

Steve Chen (00:27:41):

I think it’ll be interesting to look at the cohort data. Unlike you, my parents had pensions. My dad has a pension. I’ve only known four oh ones. I know people that have pensions and it’s pretty incredible for them. And because it kind of came up in a time when there wasn’t a lot of financial literacy. I didn’t make optimal choices and it’s like, I mean, I’m doing fine. I’m doing better than 95% of the country or whatever. But it feels like future generations are doing better because they’re better educated. They have better default rates, higher savings rates, higher default savings rates, higher or better default investment rates or investment selections and escalations. Those kinds of things are making the program better. But those things didn’t exist for earlier cohorts.

Andrew Biggs (00:28:20):

401ks replaced DB pensions, and that’s not really true. It gets at some of these design features. I mean defined benefit pensions peaked in 1975 at 39% of the private sector workforce, and at that time you had these very strict vesting rules. So I mean there’s a congressional study in the seventies. I found literally nine out of 10 people who are participating with the Quoing fingers DB plan never received a penny from it. You had these very strict vesting rules, but once ERISA happened, it was 1974, they said, look, you can’t have these insane investing rules and in fact you’ve got to try to fund your pension. So literally the following year, DB pension coverage started to decline. Now the 401k wasn’t even invented until 1978. It really didn’t kick in, so I’ll say 10 years later or so. So you did have this dip where pensions are declining and 4 0 1 Ks hadn’t really caught up yet, and moreover, the product was just not as good back then.

(00:29:23):

But it’s a lot of people when they talk about 401k’s today, they were referring to what happened back then. They say, oh, high administrative costs or fees, and we had all these issues of, I’ll say people have a tough time rebalancing their portfolios. Okay, look, everybody’s in a target date fund now, or we had behavioral econ stuff of people are not signing up. Okay, we have automatic enrollment now the fees are drawn down by index funds. Now there’s some talk of putting annuities in, which is fine by me, but I think it’s probably less important overall. But the thing is your 401k has become pensionize. It’s much more an automatic thing now. So it really is a much more competitive product. If you want to know why retirement savings have increased so much, hint, retirement is creating, savings have increased a lot, but if you want to know why, it’s the shift from DBS 401k’s.

(00:30:16):

I mean, lawyers didn’t want to offer DB plans because there’s this huge implicit liability and all that stuff. Plus you had the issue of only the employer paid in. There was no employee contribution. Now we have 401k’s. which are much more widespread. I mean say 70% to private sector workers or offered retirement plan. If you look in BBL S data and a little by 53 or 55% are participating, but you also have, in most cases, you have both the employer and the employee paying in. So if you look at contributions to plans, percentage of wages, there’s 90, 75 is like 5.8%. Now it’s like 9.3%. That’s a huge increase in the amount of money we’re actually putting away for retirement. And the assets have reflected the assets are through the roof compared to the past. It’s this weird sort of story that you hear all these factoids, oh, blah blah, blah, and I’m sure we can talk about ’em, but if you want to know is our retirement system working? One way of checking is how many people are participating, how much they contribute and what kind of assets they have. And all of those are very, very encouraging numbers. I mean, the common sense way to look at this is in fact the correct way to look at it. You just hear bugaboo about what we call retirement factoids, which are things that sound like they’re really important and meaningful, but in fact don’t mean anything. Something like how much retirement savings we have that in fact kind of matters and that’s a very good number.

Steve Chen (00:31:44):

Yeah, it’s an interesting perspective. So it’s great to get, so I think the common narrative is we were way better off whenever it had pensions because the assumption has never had pensions, and now it sucks because we all have to save for ourselves. There’s some truth for it in that I do think back to generational thing. We said, Hey, everybody has to become their own CFO and learn how to invest. But when I hear you describe, it’s like, Hey, back in the day, 39% of people had pensions. So 61% of people didn’t have them and they probably didn’t save that much money. And if you look at the average household, the savings because you blended that rate, the savings rate was, I’d love to look at this data, what was, do you know what the average household retirement savings equivalent rate was back in the 1970s?

Andrew Biggs (00:32:31):

You can get it from Department of Labor and basically what you do is you take total contributions to private sector plans as a percentage of total wages and salaries, so including the wages, salaries, and people who are not participating in a plan. So that captures both your participation rate and your contribution rate. That number 1975 was 5.8% of wages and salaries. Now it’s 9.3% or something like that. And that reflects more people participating in plans today and they’re paying more in and they’re contributing more out of their own paychecks. So that catches this economy wide or population wide level of retirement saving. You would think from what you read in the newspaper, we’re saving less for retirement today than we did in the past when in fact the opposite is true.

Steve Chen (00:33:20):

Okay, so back in the day, say that the average household income in the 1970s was $25,000 a year. Well, let’s do it on real dollars. It was like say it was a hundred thousand dollars in real dollars for a wealthier family, they would’ve way less in retirement savings. I dunno after the fact we should run these numbers and look at

Andrew Biggs (00:33:42):

It. Yeah, the problem is it’s really late eighties, early nineties. You start to get good data on this. The survey could finance from the Fed started in 89 before then the data are no good, say Social security administration, where I worked, did surveys, and this is for 1980, so you’re at this point is right after when participation in traditional pensions peaked in 1975, but they looked at new retirees, people retiring in 1980 and they asked about their sources of income. At that time, only 27% of new retirees had any income coming from a private sector pension plan from a traditional pension, maybe there was some profit sharing, whatever. If you looked at the bottom half of the income distribution, only 9% of people had any sort of income from a private pension. If you look at retirees today for the whole 65 and up population, it’s basically about 65% of people are getting income from a private retirement plan. So you go from 27% in 1980 and to 65% today, and people are like, oh, wow, it would’ve been great to be in 1980. I’m like, you got to be crazy to think this stuff. All these rose colored glasses, oh, my dad had this. Well, your dad might not have been typical.

Steve Chen (00:34:57):

Yeah, no, it’s interesting actually. My father has a couple pensions from GE, but I think the total pension amount is a thousand dollars a month or so

Andrew Biggs (00:35:07):

In the public sector where nobody leaves, it’s extremely good deal in the public sector. If you’re going to stick with the same employer all your life, a pension works. If you move around, if you have two or three or four employers of your life and each of them offered a pension, you’d be screwed because it’s dividing into your career into four parts still produces much less than if you spent all your career in one pension plan. So you lacked portability. These plans were underfunded, your Bethlehem Steel, all that kind of stuff. A lot of people didn’t invest in their benefits. It’s just very strange people look back on this, but part of my point on this is if you read a report about retirement security, you always have something like as we transition from traditional pensions to 401k’s, look, participation in traditional pensions peaked at 39% of the workforce in 1975. We’re kind of past that. We are in a 401k IRA world now, and that’s by and large has worked out well.

Steve Chen (00:36:09):

I would love to look at the data for the average household in the eighties, the nineties, 2000, 2010s, 2020, what does their balance sheet look like? Where’s the income coming from? How secure are they? So I guess your take is makes sense. The reality is we’re saving a lot more money and households are better off. I think that’s probably true. I mean, I know, Hey, our real income is growing, right? If you look at how up in the 1970s versus 50 years later as we go into deep into 2020, it’s like, hey, generally we have a better quality of life and real incomes are higher. But yeah, and hopefully our balance sheets are growing. But yeah, it’d be great to, has anyone written that up? If you

Andrew Biggs (00:36:53):

Only at the full balance sheet, it’s possible to do. I’ve done some work using Fed Data where I focus really on retirement savings, so I could look at retirement account balances plus the present value of benefits accrued under traditional pensions. These data started in 1989, but that’s going back a fair bit and what I found is that retirement savings have increased. Some people say, oh, it’s just the super rich, the mean versus median thing, but it’s not. It’s retirement savings are at record highs in every age group, every income group, every educational group, and every racial or ethnic group. That’s true. Whether you look at retirement savings in real inflation just to dollar terms, it’s true whether you look at retirement savings as a percentage of households, wages and salaries, which is a way of doing it in the sense of if your wages rise, you’re going to need more savings to replace those wages once you retire. So the data are there and you can look at CBO has some nice data to go back to 1970s, and at that point, seniors were a disproportionately poor group. I mean, the eating cat food thing was always overstated, but they were more likely to be in the bottom income quintile. The overall population today, they’re more likely to be in the top income quintile. Their incomes rose much faster since the seventies than then did the incomes of working age people. So the relative economic status or financial status of seniors simply just reversed.

Steve Chen (00:38:20):

Okay, and prepping for this, I was actually looking at retirement savings by generation, and I’m going to read it out to you. Hopefully this is correct. It’s from perplexity, but basically Gen Z 1997, the average balance, the median was millennials. It’s $45,000 to $60,000 is the average and the median is $15,000. Gen X, it says $145 to $180 average. So wealth concentration and median is $44, seems pretty low. Baby boomers $215 to $241, average balance, $61,000 median balances. Does that sound right? That seems pretty low.

Andrew Biggs (00:39:01):

Those figures are very difficult to interpret for a couple reasons. And first is you need to include not just 401Ks, but IRAs, IRAs almost nobody saves in IRAs, but they’re just deposit depositories of rollovers. So you want to lump those two together, but if you want to compare the generations, you need to compare them different or the same time in life looking a cross section. People say, well, baby boomers, almost the wealth like, well, the baby boomers are old, they’re rich. I mean when they die off, other people own most of the wealth. So those numbers, to be honest, this gets to my thing of retirement factoids where they’ll somebody read a number and you’re supposed to draw a conclusion from it, but in a lot of cases it’s not at all clear whether it’s some number indicates the retirement system is or is not working.

(00:39:50):

Well, it’s consistent with either and so those numbers, to be honest, I don’t even know if those numbers are true. They may be, but it’s just the question is how do you interpret it? But what I will say is in general, when you hear some factoid, oh, the average 401k balance is only X, what I can assure you is if you went back in time, the average 401k balance was something less than X because retirement savings has gone up. And so part of the way that I look at this is if we don’t have a retirement crisis today, which we don’t, and if today’s workers are saving more than we did in the past, why are we going to have a retirement crisis in the future? I could concoct some sort of mathematical improbable thing to produce it, I guess, but just common sense tells you if we’re not in a crisis today and we’re saving more, we’re not going to have one in the future.

Steve Chen (00:40:39):

Yeah, I mean I think it’s so interesting. There is this narrative of Larry Fink, a BlackRock, CEO comes out with his letter a few weeks ago and he is like, what are we going to do about the retirement crisis? Right? So is that narrative put forth by the financial services private sector because they want people to save more money because that’s how they make more money?

Andrew Biggs (00:41:00):

Well, I think in this case, no, but I will say that what is the chance that Fidelity slash Vanguard slash Schwab is going to tell you you’re saving too much for retirement? I mean, I’m not accusing anybody of dishonesty. I think they believe in their product, but people are very sort of non skeptical about things. The Larry Fink letter I thought was good in the sense of it was good to raise these issues, but people will think, okay, this Larry Fink, he’s running BlackRock. He must know, or to be honest, I see videos from, I hate to say financial planners online on YouTube, and people are like, oh, they must know. The reality is most of what they’re telling you they got from the newspaper. It’s not like Larry Finger is there crunching the numbers, and he’s like, oh, here’s what we got. I’ll give you the main factoid he repeated is he says something like Half of Americans approaching retirement have no retirement savings, and B are shocked to hear this, and that is not something he found himself.

(00:42:02):

That’s a favorite talking point. I hate to tell you Bernie Sanders, who loves to repeat it, even though he is been fact checked on it a million times by me. I guess this is a good example to talk about though, just to repeat. The fact is half of Americans nearing retirement have no retirement savings. And when you think about it, what does that mean? The reality is what that actually measures is half of Americans approaching retirement to have a retirement account, and what they’re not counting there is, well, think of every public sector employee in America who has a defined benefit plan. Most of ’em don’t have retirement accounts, they don’t have 4 0 1 Ks. Do they have no retirement savings? Well, according to that factor, they don’t. If you add them in, I think it’s around a third of people approaching retirement, have some entitlement to DB plan.

(00:42:53):

You add them together, there’s overlap and you’re up to 75%. The Fed in one of its surveys asks people specifically about savings for retirement outside of traditional plans. They say, do you have a small business or a farm or real estate or a taxable retirement account that you have set up to provide income and retirement? And they also ask about 401k’s and traditional pensions. I ran the numbers this afternoon and if you look at for 2022 and this fed survey, it’s a survey of household economics decision making for people 55 to 64 in 2022, 90% have retirement savings.

Steve Chen (00:43:32):

So that’s private sector 401k is half of it, 25% is public sector employees with a DB plan, and the remaining 15% are like small business owners, pharma, whatever. They have other sources of wealth.

Andrew Biggs (00:43:45):

You could think of it that way. The reality is a lot of people have a lot of things. The sort of idea that, okay, retirement is okay, social security plus a 401k, well kind of, but you find people got a ton of incoming retirement from different sources that people don’t think about. My point in that factor is let’s say you’ve got 90% who do a retirement savings say, okay, what about the other 10%? Surely they’re doomed of that other 10%, the vast majority, 80% household incomes under $50,000, which means they’re the people who get redistributed to from social security is this factoid, which people use all the time. Larry Faint use in fact means nothing about the state of the US retirement system. It tells you nothing about you, and I could give you all sorts of factoids like that. People like, oh, that’s so convincing.

(00:44:36):

No, it’s either wrong or it means nothing. So you really are better off. Just ignore all that stuff and just say, if I were trying to figure out whether the US retirement savings system we’re working, what would I look at? How many people have retirement plans, how much they’re contributing? What do assets look like? What does labor supply look like at older ages? When are we claiming social security? Those are common sense ways of answering that kind of question. And those tell you something completely different from what the Larry Fink factor, I mean the absolute opposite of it. Yeah.

Steve Chen (00:45:09):

So what you’re saying, Andrew, is we’re going to be okay.

Andrew Biggs (00:45:12):

You’re going to be fine. Everybody working on in public policy thinks their issue is the most important one, but arguing contrary to interest here in the sense that compared to problems like healthcare, education, infrastructure, retirement is a second tier issue. Clearly it’s first tier in the sense that if we don’t fix social security, we’re all going to go bankrupt. So I’m still important. Don’t fire me, American Enterprise Institute, but the idea that we face a retirement crisis when you look at the data is so absurd.

Steve Chen (00:45:47):

Why don’t you think people, so you’ve been out there proposing saying this for years. Do you think it’s just human nature that we want to hear the bad news? It’s not just that financial services wants you to save money, but it’s as people we’re just warriors. I’m just like, I want to hear the bad news, how I’m in trouble and be super secure.

Andrew Biggs (00:46:10):

There is that in the sense you can look in, people will say, my friend Theresa Gil Arducci will say, well, if you look at surveys, people are worried about retirement. I mean, that is true. Although I went to Google News and I googled the phrase retirement crisis. Over the last year alone, you had 7,900 media hits with the phrase retirement crisis. So it’s not surprising why people think that, but even before all that nonsense are going on, you could look at people approaching retirement in the 1980s and like say, health and retirement study would ask them, do you think your standard living is going to decline when you retire? And a lot of people say, yes it is. But you revisit those same cohorts of people 10 years later after they’ve retired and they would ask them, okay, what happened to your standard of living when you retired?

(00:47:01):

Very few people say it declined. A lot of people say it increased. So part of it is just a worry. Retirement plan’s really complicated. I mean, think about what is involved in figuring out how much you need to save for retirement. You got to say, what’s going to happen to my earnings over time? What rate of return can I get on my investments? How long am I going to live? It’s a complicated thing, and so you can expect people to be worried about it, but I’ll be honest on top of it is they’re told this stuff and part of the problem is nobody’s got an incentive to tell ’em a different story. I mean, if you’re in the news media, if it bleeds, it leads. So you get these headlines that people click on, you’re doomed, et cetera, et cetera. Financial industry, I don’t think they’re nefarious, but they don’t really have the incentive to tell you, Hey, maybe you saved enough.

(00:47:46):

A lot of people, your experts on it who are widely cited in the media are they have a certain, say, political philosophy that is very much more trustful of government solutions where they look for structured systems like traditional pensions. It’s philosophically or temperamentally, distrustful of decentralized systems, distrustful of household discretion and choice. They just don’t think it works, and that’s fine, but they’re out saying all these things. And so you have say me, I guess. And what I will say is it’s not just me voicing the wilderness. It’s kind of nice to be that. If you look at actual academic studies, retirement savings done by legit economists in peer review journals, they’re much, much more optimistic than this nonsense you’ll get from different organizations. But partly it’s just there’s an incentive to worry or there’s a natural thing to worry, and there’s not an incentive to tell people the good news.

(00:48:46):

You put that together and everybody’s freaking out. I mean, just to give you a factoid, several years ago, Vanguard did a survey of the people knew retired young retirees, and they asked them, do you think the country faces a retirement crisis? Not like 55% or 60% said yes. Then they said, would you describe your own situation as a financial situation, as a retirement crisis? And it was like 3% said yes. So it’s this idea that there’s retirement crisis everywhere except where we actually look, you can ask everybody else at, I mean, the feds got various surveys. They ask people, are you finding it difficult to get by? Which is okay? You don’t want to be in that situation. It’s like 3% of retirees, 4% of retirees say this. So it’s a very strange thing in that at some point, I mean, there’s survey after survey where you ask retirees how they’re doing. You think at some point we take them at their word. If they say, no, I’m okay. Then say, look, you’re in fact, okay, but we refuse to believe it.

Steve Chen (00:49:45):

I think that’s a really interesting and probably accurate take. I mean, I would say Michael Kit says there’s a thing they did where they looked at people with money when they retire, when they pass away, they have even more money. I’d actually be curious how low that number goes, because people, one, your real rate of spending declines like 1% a year in retirement. And I mean, I usually look at your parents. My parents were alive, are spending way less money in their seventies and eighties. I was like, whatcha doing? You’re definitely spending more as a person decline. So I think that’s one thing that’s true. So end up not using all your money is suboptimal it. That’s in the news. Okay, yeah, there’s retirement crisis, but also there’s going to be this 80 trillion wealth transfer. Where’s all that money coming from? That’s like our savings. That’s going down to generation. Generation.

Andrew Biggs (00:50:39):

The path of retirement spending is an important factor. You listeners may have heard of what’s called the National Retirement Risk Index. It’s done by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Alicia Minne is their head. I had written stuff with her, so I like her very much, but we disagree about the retirement crisis stuff, but they say 55% or whatever of Americans are inadequate retirement incomes. And obviously there’s a lot of technical stuff that goes into a model like that, but it’s really two things which determine that result. One of them is the path of spending in retirement. They assume you want to have the same expenditures in inflation adjusted terms from age 65 through death. Now, if you look at actual data, the best work on this is from Michael Herd and Suzanne Rowett who Rand and they use the health and retirement study where they can track people over time, and they basically find for typical household spending, including healthcare costs, drops by about 40% from age 65 to age 90.

(00:51:41):

So if you do that, okay, that eliminates a huge chunk of the people who are going to not have enough money. The second issue is how do you think about children with retirement savings That what say this retirement risk index and a lot of standard planning assumes is, well, you want to be able to spend, let’s say they say you want a 75% replacement rate. You want to be able to spend 75% of what you had when you were age 50 or something. But when you’re at that age and you can look at expenditure data, huge amounts of people’s money is going to raise their kids. And what you find is once kids leave home spending drops significantly for households in precisely the categories where they would be spending on kids. So what you find is people don’t need nearly as much money. They don’t need to be able to replicate what they had during their prime working years.

(00:52:37):

They weren’t spending a lot of that. Their kids were taking it. So if you take those two things alone and you just adjust, say the Boston College model to account for ’em, the retirement crisis completely disappears. When people are making these projections, it’s not about what rate of return or we can have or anything like that. It’s all about these very fundamental things of how you think about it. But you’re right, a lot of people just, they don’t spend everything they have. If we didn’t have enough money in retirement, you see a lot of retirees declaring bankruptcy, strangely, they declare bankruptcy at much lower rates than working age people. Why? Because they got a lot of money. So it’s almost like this philosophical thing. Can we see the reality of it? I don’t know. But there’s a whole bunch of different angles by which you can view it, and almost all of those angles don’t tell you the story they’re giving you. We

Steve Chen (00:53:24):

Need to build a Newark Retirement competence Index, the feel good button. You’re going to be good. You’re going to be fine.

Andrew Biggs (00:53:32):

Well, it’s one of these things, I mean I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal a couple months ago and it was the motivation. We use this survey that came out by, I can’t remember who saying, oh, the average American thinks they need a million and a half dollars for retirement. We don’t have that, so of course we’re doomed. I mean, just roll the rest of the story there. And what I did is I used Federal Reserve data. I said, let’s just do it back. Let’s start with retirees who tell you I am financially secure so we know they’re doing okay and then see how much money they have. And the answer is they have far less than a million and a half

Steve Chen (00:54:07):

Dollars. What’s the number?

Andrew Biggs (00:54:09):

Oh boy. I have to go find the OP-Ed for people who said they were living comfortably, which is the highest of four ratings of financial security. The Fed offers I think somewhere at $200,000 for people who say I’m doing okay, which is one notch below that. You’re a $100-$150 maybe.

Steve Chen (00:54:30):

I mean this depends on where you live though. My mom lives in upstate New York, relatively lower cost falls. I live in the Bay Area. I would never feel comfortable at that level.

Andrew Biggs (00:54:43):

No, if you live in the Bay Area, you shouldn’t. I did testimony a few months ago before the Senate Finance Committee and I was questioned that I’ve argued we’ve got to reduce benefits, reduce social security benefits for high income people. I said, we’ve got this maximum benefit of a couple from 96,000. That’s too much. One of the response I got from senators, well, San Francisco is real expensive. I’m like, that’s San Francisco’s problem. It’s not social security’s problem. If you live in San Francisco, you make a lot more money and you need to save more or you got to move out of San Francisco when you retire. Those numbers I gave you from the Fed, that reflects the reality in America overall. And I get it, I grew up in New York, very expensive Bay Area, very expensive. Most of America is not nearly as expensive as that. So people, they transfer their views of what they might need to have to the population at large and it’s just a very different story.

Steve Chen (00:55:33):

Okay. Well this is great. Look, I know we’re at time. I have one more question for you. What is the net present value of the $48,000 social security benefit? Roughly if you were to buy that, you cannot buy an annuity that has a cost of living adjustment in it, but what do you think it is mean? It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Andrew Biggs (00:55:55):

I’d say about a million dollars. Okay. If you’re converting, this is why people hate annuities because you take it and you divide it, take some lump sum, divide it by 20, and that’s your income stream. You go from being a millionaire to making 50 grand a year or whatever as a guess. I mean I’d have to run actual calculations, but say if you’re getting $48,000, call it a million in present value. I mean one way of thinking about it is people talk about, oh, don’t have any retirement savings and total retirement plan assets now are somewhere at $35 trillion. And yeah, they’re tilted towards the rich total accrued social security benefits, meaning the social security benefits the people earned but not yet received. That’s somewhere on $45 trillion and that’s tilted towards the poor. And if you look at a time series, I can go back to nineties maybe, and you have values for both of them.

(00:56:52):

The combined value of our accrued social security benefits plus retirement plan assets on top have skyrocketed Social security benefits. If you’re in the game, the term you use is social security. Wealth is the present value of your accrued benefits, and those are substantial for people. But in addition, when people talk about wealth inequality, they’re only talking about financial assets. When you include the value of social security benefits in it, your wealth and equality is a lot lower, but B, it has not increased over time. The accrual of social security benefits has been disproportionately in the lower end, so even most low income retirees don’t tell you they’re living miserably.

Steve Chen (00:57:33):

That’s a super interesting perspective that 35 trillion private sector savings makes sense. 45 trillion in accrued benefits. That also makes sense. It’s interesting that it’s in the point of view about how it’s oriented towards each one

Andrew Biggs (00:57:44):

To get a true picture. You got to think about them both.

Steve Chen (00:57:47):

Right? I think it’s so interesting for people to think about their wealth. They discount social security because it’s paid as a stream of income like an annuity is, but the fact that it’s cost holding adjustment, the fact that, okay, if you’re at the top end of social security, you’re walking around with a million dollars of value, that’s pretty material. I mean, if Grand family is a teacher, I think he retired, I think his benefit like 90 grand a year, so that would be a couple million dollars new value that he is getting in the public sector and I think he might have a little social security on top of that, so he might be walking around with two and half million of equivalent wealth to get that benefit.

Andrew Biggs (00:58:24):

Sure, they’re financially secure. They may not feel great because again, people feel good if they have that lump sum, but maybe they should just convert it to 401k just so people stop complaining. Just they see the number or you could print it on their benefit statement. Okay, your monthly benefits could be this. Here is the present value of it and it’s actually a useful number. It gives some people an idea of what in fact is being devoted to them and that’s good on retirement security, but it’s also good for thinking about you’re asking your grandkids to pay this. That million dollars is not coming out of nowhere. It’s coming from your kids and grandkids.

Steve Chen (00:59:00):

Well, I think that’s so interesting. I think it’s like we should show this. One thing about our users is they feel way more confident about their situation because they understand the numbers better, but we could show them, we’re not even showing them the present value of their social security. It’s like, oh, you saved a million. The average user on our platform, free users saved million dollars. The average paid customer is 2 million, so it’s much higher mouse affluent people. But those 2 million people also have another million of social security value, so it’s three plus. They probably have another 500,000 of home equity, so they’re walking around with three and a half million of net present value wealth that they’re going to use over the rest of their lives.

Andrew Biggs (00:59:37):

Some of the work we did when a social security, we would count, obviously we’d include your social security pensions earnings in retirement, which is like 25% of the incomes of 65 and over. People are really working a lot retirement now, but we’d also include implicit rent from home equity and the idea was that the degree you own your home, you’re not having to pay rent on it. And so that gets it that homeowners are in fact better off than renters. And again, it’s a lot of money.

Steve Chen (01:00:08):

Yeah, it’s lot of money.

Andrew Biggs (01:00:09):

Once you pay off your mortgage, that helps your cash flow a lot.

Steve Chen (01:00:12):

Yeah. Well, there’s a whole other discussion with topic we’re going to have about reverse mortgage home equity for less wealthy people or they tap into it because they do use it, but we’ll have to say that for the next one. Alright, well look, Hey Andrew, you’re going a long way to convince me that we have a lot less to worry about and in fact I think that’s probably borne out in the data. I think we’ll look at some of these ideas like a competence index showing the present value of these assets for people. I think that would help them a lot and maybe get them engaged in like, Hey, let’s fix social security. Right, because it’s really partly for you, but it’s partly for future generations.

Andrew Biggs (01:00:44):

This is like the matrix. Once you start looking at it differently, you’ll never see it the same way again.

Steve Chen (01:00:49):

Take the blue pill.

Andrew Biggs (01:00:51):

That’s right.

Steve Chen (01:00:53):

Andrew, appreciate your time and this has been a fascinating conversation. For anyone who’s interested, we’ll link to Andrew Biggs. He’s on Twitter, American Enterprise Institute. You can see writing there. He’s definitely been out and published many places. We’ll link to some of that stuff. You have a book coming out or do you have some book published right now? We can link to that stuff. I do.

Andrew Biggs (01:01:11):

I have a book coming out. It will be called The Real Retirement Crisis, which whi social security and things like that. It is essentially done, but it probably won’t come out until the end of this year, early next year. But I’d be happy to come back on and talk about that and pedal my wares when I got a chance.

Steve Chen (01:01:28):

Yes, let’s do it. We’ll sell some books. We have a few thousand people listen to this at least. And then for anyone else, it all reviews and likes of this podcast are welcome and you can check out our platform at your NewRetirement, our Facebook community. There’s 20,000 people out there talking about these issues and trying to figure it out and obviously our platform, we want as many people as possible. Andrew, hopefully you check it out. Build a financial plan, lemme know and lemme know what you think. With that, thank you very much folks.

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