Retirement Answer Man

For as long as I’ve been aware of Social Security there’s been concerned that there won’t be enough funds to support future retirees. Well here we are in 2016 and the Social Security system is going along as it always has. Today’s guest is an expert on the topic, which is why I’ve invited her to be a part of this show. Emily Guy Birken is going to help us understand the changes that have happened in Social Security recently, why we should not put all our eggs in the SS basket, and what we can expect from the system for the next 75 years. It’s all on this episode.

The largest U.S. Pension fund cuts its retirees benefits.

When something like that happens it’s enough to make anyone a bit skittish about whether their own retirement funds are safe or not. And for me, it’s a lesson in why each of us need to be a bit more proactive in creating our own retirement rather than waiting on someone else (like a pension fund) to do it for us. On this episode I tell you what I think about the defunding of a pension fund, how Social Security feeds into the concerns surrounding it, and how I would advise one of my clients to view the situation. I hope you take the time to listen.

In the midst of writing a book about Social Security, the Social Security system changed.

Emily Guy Birken had just finished her book about the Social Security system and sent it off to her publisher when the announcement came that some major changes were being made to the way the Social Security system works for beneficiaries. She had to recall the book, make the needed changes, then resubmit it - all in time for her deadline. On this episode you’re going to hear about that testy time in her book writing career, how Emily has come to be one of the foremost experts on the Social Security system, and why she recommends that nobody depend on Social Security as their sole source of retirement income.

Isn’t Social Security there to help you retire comfortably?

The operative word in that sentence is “help.” My guest on today’s episode says that Social Security was never created to be a sole source of income for anyone. Instead, it’s supposed to serve as a safety net, a small stipend to ensure that nobody is going hungry during their retirement years, but it’s far from something you could or even should depend on. Emily has lots of advice on what you should do in light of the small role Social Security really plays in the retirement of most people, on this episode of The Retirement Answer Man podcast.

Are there more big changes ahead for Social Security?

According to Emily Guy Birken, the answer is, “Definitely, Yes.” Emily says that SS has some very serious problems still, and the powers that be over the Social Security Administration have already announced the issues that will be on the chopping block within the next few years. Some of them will have a significant impact on the benefits and income of retirees, so we should expect that. The main problem is that we don’t know when the changes are slated, and the SSA is not telling. All the more reason to have more control and more diversification in your retirement strategy, and we’ll cover that on this episode of the podcast.


  • [0:24] My introduction to this great episode.


  • [2:12] The largest U.S. Pension cuts retirement benefits.
  • [3:54] What this news says to all of us who are in a pension fund.


  • [4:26] My introduction to my guest, Emily Guy Birkin.
  • [5:20] Emily’s struggle to write the book given recent changes in Social Security benefits.
  • [7:17] The real purposes and uses of Social Security: a safety net.
  • [11:07] Why changes in Social Security show us that we need to make other plans as well.
  • [11:53] Things people do wrong when planning in light of Social Security.
  • [14:05] When some Social Security benefits could be taxed.
  • [15:59] Does it make sense to “spend down” assets in light of Social Security?
  • [17:50] Are more big changes in Social Security ahead?
  • [19:46] Should Baby Boomers be concerned about Social Security?
  • [21:14] Where you can find Emily’s book.


Pension fund cuts link:    

Emily’s book: Making Social Security Work For You

Roger’s retirement learning center:

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook page:


Direct download: RAM123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT