Why the Social Security Disability System Is Broken

Social Security isn't just about retiree benefits, but the way the disabled get support needs to be fixed. Find out how here.

Mar 15, 2014 at 9:06AM

Most people think of Social Security as being a retirement-income program, but it also helps those with disabilities make ends meet. Unfortunately, controversy and allegations of abuse have plagued the Social Security Disability Income system for years, and proposed fixes haven't been enough to resolve the real problem.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the way decisions about disability benefits are made. Dan notes that new Social Security Administration rules would clamp down on the requirement of those seeking benefits to provide all relevant information, even if it goes against their own interest. Lawyers for applicants, however, note that they have a duty to help their clients win. Dan suggests that the better answer is to have the court appoint an impartial third party, similar to a trustee in bankruptcy, to gather information impartially and let the adversarial system work. Otherwise, the ethical quandries are too difficult to navigate.

Learn everything you need about Social Security
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Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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