By: Russ Kamp, Managing Director, Ryan ALM, Inc.
I just got my latest email from the folks at the IFEBP – thank you! They provide wonderful and relevant content each day, if not more frequently. The following grabbed my attention: “Each year since 2001, Gallup has tracked Americans’ self-reports of delaying medical care in the past 12 months due to cost. In Gallup’s latest annual Health and Healthcare poll conducted in November 2022, 38% say they or a family member put off treatment due to cost, up 12 percentage points from 2021.” I generally focus my attention on defined benefit pension issues, but I just had to comment on this information, as it speaks to a greater issue.
Many Americans, in this case nearly 4/10, can’t afford basic essentials that would provide a quality existence. We have Americans not being able to fund a retirement account through a DC plan, pay for college unless taking on massive debt, and put a roof over their head given the dramatic increase in rents and the cost of homeownership. Yet, we have “investors” lamenting the fact that wage growth and full employment are contributing to inflation. After decades of no to low “real” wage growth, it is about time that the average American worker is seeing some growth in their wages, but at roughly 5% annually, they are still falling further and further behind as inflation continues to outpace that growth. How did we let this happen?
It is sinful to me that the greatest and wealthiest country in the world can’t figure out how to provide necessary medical procedures at a reasonable cost. Educate students without hemorrhaging their financial future. Retire with dignity! I am blessed with five healthy and happy children, who have good educations and terrific occupations, yet I see how they struggle with the cost of housing, healthcare, childcare, etc (we have nine grandkids). Most of my kids and in-laws don’t have access to a defined benefit plan, so funding a 401(k) or 403(b) is challenging, to say the least. They appreciate the need to do so but don’t have the means to set aside as much as is necessary to ensure a dignified retirement. I certainly understand! Again, how’d we get here?