Chris Farrell, Economics Editor at Minnesota Public Radio (Marketplace Money) writes today, New Thinking on When to File for Social Security“. This is more media-induced nonsense simply to get you to pay more for Wall Street’s advice services, promoted through media shills, in this case the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, a leader in promoting expensive financial intermediaries, on your nickel.
Why Financial Literacy Efforts Failed: Wall Street Wrote the Curriculum and Spread the Message with the Help of Public Radio.
Remember, Minnesota Public Radio obtains “sponsorship revenues” from Wall Street firms, such as Financial Engines and the Minneapolis Star Tribune prominently places “financial advisor” ads, next to Chris Farrell’s article. We would label this piece by Mr. Farrell, “Paid Advertising” and think it only proper for the Star Tribune to do so.
Wall Street’s latest push —”everyone needs a financial advisor” is now a PR Blitz that everyone needs an advisor to understand social security’s complexities. It is their way to get you in the door and cross sell all their other expensive intermediary services.
Listen to Financial Engines 2/20/14 Analyst Call, in the upper left box.. In this call you will hear Financial Engines describe their strategy to increase the American retirement investor’s dependency on their service: “The social security” strategy. We aren’t making this up. The facts are on the Analyst Call (2/20/14) linked to above.
You might also want to listen in this afternoon to see how Financial Engines Q1 results are with their new social security entrapment strategy for workplace retirement investors.
As Chris Farrell is telling you, on behalf of Financial Engines, Social Security is so complicated you now need a financial advisor, such as Financial Engines, to run it through their computer, to determine when you and you spouse should take the benefits. This is Wall Street’s ongoing push to create brain-dead Americans who are incapable of thinking or feeling, without paying Wall Street a fee.
Financial Engines has moved into your corporate 401k and now are pushing your employer to take greater and greater fees from you for Financial Engines paid “advice” services. 90% of the services Financial Engines offers, one can obtain on the Web, for free. One of the supposed new “value-added” services is when you should take social security. You are fully capable of determining this on your own. Take out your annual Social Security statement and you can calculate yourself how much you and your spouse get under varying scenarios. The puzzle is quite easy to determine, based on your own needs and desires, particularly when many couples have worked their entire lives and may be close to getting the max from social security. That limits the options and quickly reduces the “8000″ permutations for most people.
Here is an excerpt from Mr. Farrell’s, New Thinking on When to File Social Security – his latest syndicated piece, promoting Financial Engines:
“Here’s the thing: Social Security is immensely complicated. The program has been revised ever since it was signed into law in 1935. For example, married couples have an estimated 8,000 permutations for deciding when and how to file for their Social Security benefits, according to Christopher Jones, chief investment officer at Financial Engines, the online 401(k) adviser.
The U.S. retirement system is like a pyramid. The base is Social Security. Additional layers are homeownership, employer-sponsored retirement plans (private and government, defined benefit and defined contribution plans), IRAs, and other assets such as bank deposits and savings accounts. In an interview, Jones emphasized the importance of understanding how all these assets affect each other during retirement.”
Mr. Farrell, as Minnesota Public Radio’s economics editor, we would expect more. (Star Tribune, lets label articles “paid advertising”, when it should be labeled such). Tell the average American how they can analyze their social security statement on their own to make this determination. It is possible without a computer and without going to an Advisor. Don’t push the already stretched middle class American to pay more intermediary fees, that they simply cannot afford on stagnant wages, as you are well aware.
Let us know if you would like Not On My Nickel to do a follow-up education on the five easy steps to determine when to take social security, without paying onerous fees to do so. That adds value, not another Wall Street wolves’ scheme to extract more …from a turnip.