Table of Contents

087 Jason Fichtner: Understanding A Changing Retirement Landscape

Stan Haithcock
December 14, 2021
087 Jason Fichtner: Understanding A Changing Retirement Landscape

About Fun With Annuities Episode #87

Fun With Annuities co-host # 87 is Jason J. Fichtner, Ph.D., vice president and chief economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center. His research focuses on Social Security, federal tax policy, federal budget policy, retirement security, and policy proposals to increase saving and investment. Wow now if that isn't a mic full, I don't know what is. This co-host's resume has a resume.

"In retirement we're not trying to maximize returns, we're trying to minimize risks - ensure that I have enough income to last for the rest of my life." —  Jason Fichtner

During this episode, Jason and I primarily focused on his recent article called “The Peak 65 Generation: Creating a New Retirement Security Framework.” Here are some hot links from the episode.
   •    What is Peak 65 and Why Should Pre-Retirees Care?
   •    Let's Meet the Challenge of America's Historic Peak 65 Moment

Because the US is now experiencing a demographic tidal wave of retirees and less than 10% of private sector employees offering pensions, lifetime income annuities are “in the way” of this unrelenting surge of demand for contractual guarantees.

The old metaphor of the three-legged stool of retirement planning no longer holds (employer pension, personal savings, and Social Security).  Most Americans do not have sufficient, reliable, and protected retirement income that will last for the rest of their lives.  Jason pounds the table for a “new retirement security framework” that focuses on the need for sufficient protected income in retirement.

Our discussion also addressed why more people don’t buy annuities to put in that needed income floor.  We went at it on the messaging fails of the annuity industry, and discussed where Jason’s insights and research plays a major role.
There are some really smart people trying to figure out this “retirement thing,” and I’m glad Jason is focused on this important topic.  Put on your thinking cap for this podcast and get out your notepad.  Enjoy!

Brief Bio on Co-host Jason Fichtner:

Jason earned his BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; his MPP from Georgetown University; and his PhD in public administration and policy from Virginia Tech. He is the author of “The Hidden Cost of Federal Tax Policy” and the editor of “The Economics of Medicaid.

Fichtner was previously a senior lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Fichtner has significant government experience, having served in several positions at the Social Security Administration, including as Deputy Commissioner of Social Security (acting), Chief Economist, and Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy. He also served as a senior economist with the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress and as an economist with the Internal Revenue Service.

His work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and USA Today, as well as on broadcasts by PBS, NBC, and NPR.

Bonus articles sent to Stan by Jason for our viewers:
   •    When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits - SSA:
   •    Peak 65 Paper
   •    Participant Attitudes Toward Guaranteed Income in a Defined Contribution Plan:
   •    The Retirement Solution Hiding in Plain Sight
   •    Forbes Article about the United Income paper
   •    And if people are really bored and can't fall asleep at night -- they're welcome to read anything else I've written  

In this episode, The Annuity Man and Jason Fichtner discuss:  

   •    Preparing for depletion
   •    Preaching to a hurricane  
   •    Maximizing returns and minimizing risks
   •    The real danger zone

Key Takeaways:  

   •    There’s going to be depletion in combined trust funds in 2024. In response to this, you can delay claiming your social security until you absolutely need it, you can also save a little more - do anything to minimize the risk.  
   •    People want a personal pension and a guaranteed paycheck for life, but they don’t want an annuity. That’s absurd, because that’s exactly what an annuity is and people have it already in the form of social security, because it’s such a good thing, they would want to have another one.  
   •    We’ve trained people to be good investors, in that they must always ask how they can maximize returns. But there is no ROI in retirement, not until you die, so we need to keep talking about how minimizing the risks with annuities is the best way to go.  
   •    The danger zone is complacency. We need to keep reframing and educating people on the truth about retirement and finances. People right now are not too crazy for annuities, and that’s not a good thing - because that means that it’s not being represented factually.

Fun With Annuities® Podcast is hosted by America’s Annuity Agent®, Stan Haithcock, The Annuity Man®. Hear brutal annuity facts with no sales pitches from the top independent agent in the country, licensed in all 50 states. Author of 7 books, Stan dives deep on all annuity types and strategies. It’s fun, learning the contractual truths on how annuities actually work and if they’ll fit your personal retirement lifestyle.

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