Social Security Is Unfair. Here Are 3 Reasons Why

Millions rely on Social Security benefits, but there are several things that aren't entirely fair about the program.

Jul 19, 2014 at 9:05AM

Ss Card
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Social Security is a key part of how millions of retirees make ends meet financially. But there are several things about the Social Security program that just aren't fair, and those shortcomings make many people critical of whether Social Security reform is necessary.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at three ways that Social Security is unfair. He notes that the amount of Social Security benefits you get isn't always directly proportional to the taxes you pay, with higher-income workers getting a smaller percentage of the taxes they pay back in benefits. Second, Social Security favors married couples, giving spousal and survivors' benefits that most single people don't take advantage of. Finally, for some people, Social Security benefits are subject to income tax, which many retirees see as double taxation on their career earnings. Social Security might not be fair, but it's still a lifeline for millions of retirees in America, and it's unlikely to go away.

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Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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