My Interview with Former US Comptroller General David Walker (Part 2)
Play • 23 min

Things may seem bleak when you look at the numbers, but there are solutions that we can implement that could help our situation and ultimately prevent the worst outcomes when it comes to the national debt.

David Walker’s book was divided into three parts: a wake up call, a call to action, and a way forward. He has a number of solutions that he’s proposed that meet six principles. Any solution would have to be: pro-growth, socially equitable, culturally acceptable, have mathematical integrity, be politically feasible, and have meaningful bipartisan support.

We have to agree that the real metric to measure is debt-to-GDP and we need to get it to a sustainable level within a reasonable period of time. We also have to recognize that this can’t be done one reform at a time and needs to be addressed as a package.

Medicare seems like the hardest nut to crack because it is tied to demographics and health care costs grow faster than inflation, which prevents the US government from printing their way out of the problem.

Most Americans agree regarding gradually increasing the age of retirement over several years which was done in the 1980s Social Security reform package. Increasing the the taxable wage base cap and adjusting the benefits paid out (e.g., higher replacement rate for lower income and somewhat lower for higher income individuals) are reasonable solutions for Social Security. When it comes to healthcare there are a number of more complex issues to deal with.

The first is that the US government has overpromised on healthcare. Government needs to determine a reasonable, affordable and sustainable level of healthcare that should be available to everyone and government needs to have a budget. Government will do more for the poor, disabled and veterans. The US is the only country on the Earth that doesn’t have a budget for healthcare, which is one of the reasons that there are so many healthcare horror stories in the US.

If interest rates simply return to 2003 levels, the cost of servicing our current debt quintuples. Interest rates are not going to stay low, they are going to go up. The only question is how much and how fast. David Walker believes that we will not default on the debt because federal debt is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The responsibilities of the federal government envisioned by the founders took up 97% of the budget in 1912. This has fallen to 29% of the budget, and was declining as of 2019.

The higher the debt-to-GDP goes, the higher that taxes are likely to be, and the lower the level of economic growth we are likely to achieve. The longer we wait to solve the problem, the higher that taxes are likely to go as well.

The biggest deficit the United States has is a leadership deficit. We have too many people living for today and not enough people focused on how to create a better tomorrow.

The two party system is part of the problem. 43% of voters are unaffiliated, and are largely unrepresented. It ultimately falls onto the President to make this issue a top priority.

We need a mechanism that engages the American people in unprecedented ways and sets the table for tough fiscal choices in Congress (e.g., a Fiscal Sustainability Commission), and the sooner we do it the better off we’ll be.

President Biden needs to deal with this problem because we only have one President at a time and one bully pulpit where the message can really make an impact.

We need a number of political reforms because today we have a Republic that’s not representative of, or responsive to, the general public. David recommends redistricting reform, integrated open primaries, ranked choice balloting, campaign finance reform, and 12-year term limits.

Career politicians are not what the US needs. It’s not what the founding fathers intended and it’s one of the many things that we need to change to revitalize our republic.

On a personal level, we need to focus on our families and our clients. We can’t control what happens in Washington but we have to take steps to hold our elected officials accountable as much as we can.

Retirement Answer Man
Retirement Answer Man
Roger Whitney, CFP®, CIMA®, RMA, CPWA®, AIF®
Let’s Get Physical - Creating Your Health Action Plan
Over the past 3 episodes, we have been talking about different ways that you can improve your health in retirement. Today you’ll take action. Choose the habits you want to build and learn how to actually build these habits and set yourself up for success. Learning about health and nutrition is one thing, but taking action is something else entirely. Press play so you don’t miss out on these tips to learn how to create and stick with healthy habits. Do you need to redefine your fitness identity? When we are young it can be easy to take on a fitness identity. I’m a mountain biker. He’s a basketball player. She’s a swimmer. But as we age we can face a fitness identity crisis. Our fitness becomes more about mobility and nutrition. To help yourself create your new fitness identity think about what you want to accomplish. What do you want to improve about yourself? What new version of yourself would you like to see? Think about your motivation. Why do you want to have a healthy body? This is how you can define yourself. Listen in to hear my new motivation for good health. Choose the habits you want to build The power of good (or poor) health comes from habits. Positive and negative habits compound over time so to begin a healthy lifestyle you have to start by building healthy habits. You could start by building a huge meal plan or exercise routine, but that could also set you up for failure. Rather than creating a strict workout routine try tinkering with your movements to explore healthy activities that you really enjoy. How to build a habit and make it stick You may already understand the importance of building healthy habits but some of us don’t know how to make them stick. Many of us try to create a routine but then struggle to maintain the habits we have created. Luckily, starting and keeping up healthy habits doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. Try using these tips to help you create and maintain your healthy habits. To create healthy habits: * Set yourself up for success. Make the habit simple to do. * Create friction. Take a bad habit and make it hard to do. * Start with a small habit. Plan on starting with 5 or 10 minutes a day. To maintain and build up your new habits: * Over time increase your routine in small ways. * As you build up your routine, split it up into separate times each day. * When you falter restart quickly and don’t beat yourself up about it. You have the opportunity to change your health Retirement gives you the freedom to change your lifestyle. You have the opportunity to structure your day in a more purposeful manner. Think about who you want to be in retirement and get started building the habits you need to become that person. Listen in to the Coaches Corner segment with BW to hear how movement and mindset can shape your retirement. OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT * [3:30] Most of us have to redefine our fitness identity as we age * [7:25] How to build a habit * [15:32] Two stories to demonstrate different life views COACHES CORNER WITH BW * [19:45] Movement and mindset can help keep you young * [26:52] Use technology to improve your health TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT * [34:36] Start to make a change to improve your health Resources Mentioned In This Episode Streaks app Noom app Peloton app Oura Ring James Clear Habit Guide BOOK - Atomic Habits by James Clear Stride app Leave me a comment! Rock Retirement Club Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That BOOK - Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney Work with Roger Roger’s Retirement Learning Center
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Episode #154 - Learn how to get more autonomy & freedom before you even reach financial independence using something called career capital. Companion article: __________ 🏘️REAL ESTATE IN YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT? This is a strategy I've used successfully for years, but you've got to make sure you have a custodian that specializes in this type of investment. I personally use and highly recommend my friends at American IRA. You can watch a short video, get an information guide, or set-up a free consultation at __________ 🎧SUBSCRIBE to the podcast for more episodes about how to achieve financial independence and do what matters using real estate investing! ---------------- ▶️WATCH my YouTube channel - Coach Carson TV - for tutorials, tips, strategies, and interviews ---------------- 📋 GET MY FREE REAL ESTATE INVESTOR TOOLKIT ---------------- FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM 📸 ---------------- READ MY BOOK ON RETIRING EARLY 📚 ---------------- 👋👋 SAY HI ON SOCIAL
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