Are We Being Lulled into a False Sense of Security About Retirement Savings?

OK, so now we have an economist telling us that on the basis of his
research, people 51 years and older seem to have accumulated sufficient
resources to maintain their living standards in retirement.

With all due respect to the good Prof. John Karl Scholz of the University of
Wisconsin and his colleagues, his study of people born between 1931 and
1941 that found that at least 80% had saved enough for retirement is
fundamentally flawed as a guide for today’s workers. The fine print used in
mutual fund advertising, “past results are no guarantee of future earnings,”
has applicability here: the working years for these individuals (let’s
assume 1949-96) were arguably the peak postwar years with extremely high GDP
growth and prosperity, and likely aided by secure defined benefit pension
plans. So the experience of this group could hardly be replicated by today’s
debt-strapped baby boomer generation and their children (and grandchildren)
who have no such guaranteed post-retirement income.

The statistics speak for themselves. For the last three decades, families
with incomes of $80K and up have watched their credit card balances increase
10,000 %. In June 2006, the Federal Reserve Board announced that consumer
credit rose $10.3 billion to $2.19 trillion following a revised $5.89
billion increase in May 2006 — the biggest two-month gain since
September-October 2004. The incidence of foreclosure filings in January was
25 percent higher than any month during 2006.

In addition to these statistics, many economists and academicians can
document why Prof. Scholz’ methodology would lead to far different
conclusions for today’s working population. Alicia Munnell, director of Boston
College’s Center for Retirement Research, estimates nearly 45% of
working-age households are at risk for being unprepared for retirement,
telling the Wall Street Journal, “We continue to think people are going to
be very vulnerable as they approach retirement in the future.”

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. If you’re working but
spending all your income on your creditor obligations (credit cards, car
payments, student loans, and even mortgages) you’ll likely be unable to save
enough for retirement. That makes you a good candidate for a
professionally-administered Financial Liability Portfolio Management
program. You’ve come to the right place to learn about this innovative
solution that, unlike debt consolidation, do-it-yourself credit counseling
and personal bankruptcy, has no effect on your credit rating. In fact, it’s
designed to pay down your obligations in under 10 years, so you can be
assured of retiring debt free.

A Unique Perspective On Debt Elimination

Welcome to a new commentary about personal finance and advice on the smart and professional way to eliminate your financial obligations while improving your credit rating.

Your credit card obligation is your bank’s asset

Poor Citigroup. It appears the banking juggernaut suffers from an epidemic of wise consumers who have actually chosen to pay down their Sears credit cards, creating what the company calls a “‘real drag'” on the bank’s portfolio.  While it focuses on Citigroup’s woes since acquiring the Sears credit card portfolio, a recent Wall Street Journal “Citigroup’s Sears Problem”, Jan. 30, 2007)  report coincidentally highlights how  Citigroup’s value to Wall Street is built on the backs of their credit card holders.

With Wal-Mart scheduled to introduce a no-fee credit card in March, it’s
clear that businesses want to cash in on the credit-card boom and entice
their customers with easy credit so that their own “assets” — the credit
card liability of their customers — makes them more valuable.  The trend is
disturbing. For the last three decades, families with incomes of $80K and up
have watched their credit card balances increase 10,000 %.  In June 2006,
the Federal Reserve Board announced that consumer credit rose $10.3 billion
to $2.19 trillion following a revised $5.89 billion increase in May 2006 –
the biggest two-month gain since September-October 2004.
Next time you get an offer from a bank to increase your credit just keep
this in mind. Rather than help you overcome what you think is a short term
cash problem, remember that they are really offering to increase your liability
obligations to them — and enriching themselves in the process.