18 April 2014

More On An Aging Population

I've commented here, here, and here about the effects of a falling birthrate on public retirement systems. A falling birthrate is one, albeit small, reason why municipalities are finding it increasingly difficult to fund pension promises to retirees. It's only a matter of time before states suffer the same fate, and not much longer yet before the federal Social Security system finds itself broke. Social Security can be changed and thus saved by legislative action, at least once it becomes politically feasible, but state and municipal public pension may be locked in place. (For the reasons why states and cities can't modify their pension obligations go here and here.)

If you want to see 30 or so years into America's future, read this piece at the Washington Post about the increasingly dire situation in Singapore. Singaporeans aren't having children; the birthrate is 1.2, not enough to replace a population that is retiring from productive labor. Already the ratio of workers to retirees is 6:1 today (down from 17:1 30 years ago) and is expect to fall to 2:1 in only 16 years--by 2030.

If we aging folks hope to retain the good will of our children and grandchildren, we had better give some thought to saving more and expecting less from our government retirement systems.

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