Keep the Faith

I've often said I think there's a lot wrong with Social Security (search) and that it does need fixing, but I think we'll fix it.

What disturbs me is a piece in the Wednesday's Wall Street Journal that says Social Security isn't the half of what ails us. If we haven't socked away at least three times our income by age 45 and 12 times our income by age 65, we're in deep doo-doo.

Look, I don't dismiss writer Jonathan Clements' point we don't save enough in this country. But I think he's missing hidden savings:

Like homes that are going up in value. Even allowing for a slowdown in the rate of increase in that value, it's bound to be a lot cash for a lot folks a lot of years from now.

Like 401(k) (search) plans that are increasing in value. True, more Americans should participate in such employee-sponsored plans, but for those who do, it's forced savings that stand to reap huge savings.

My point is there will always be people leveraged to the hilt and Mr. Clements is right to address them. But I have enough faith in our markets over time and our real estate over time and the soundness of most honest company 401(k) plans over time and that we'll be in much better shape — over time — than we think.

There are lots of hard choices to be made, true. But they are not impossible ones. I'm just tired of hearing people say what we can't do, or what we're not doing. Because I know what we can do.

My parents' generation got through a depression and a World War and they turned out OK.

Trust me, so will we.

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