Social Security: Past, Present, and Future

Throughout human history, economic security has taken many forms. For the ancient Greeks, it was stockpiling olive oil. Olive oil could be stored for long periods of time; it could also help with nutrition during times of famine. During the Middle Ages, security took the form of guilds and societies that began to pay life insurance benefits to their members.1

Here, we will explore the history and future development of the Social Security program in the United States: the historical background, the current state, and future projections.

The History of Social Security

The US Social Security program was born out of one of the gravest economic crises in the world: the Great Depression. While the Great Depression affected virtually every country in the world, the United States was hit the hardest. The Great Depression came on the heels of the stock market crash of 1929, also called the Great Crash, and it was the third economic collapse the United States had experienced in less than 100 years (the first in the 1840s and the second in the 1890s).

The previous economic crises had given rise to the development of Civil War pensions and company pensions, but neither of them was comprehensive enough to deal with the strife caused by the Great Depression. Following the Great Crash, unemployment rose to above 25%, about 10,000 banks failed, and the GDP fell by almost half, from $105 billion to $55 billion. These economic strains continued in the 1930s, with over millions of people unemployed and most of the elderly population being dependent on someone to care for them.1

After several years of continued economic turmoil, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his plan to create a Social Security program, and the Social Security Act was officially signed into law on August 14, 1935. The main goal of the Act was to pay retired workers (aged 65 and older) a continuing income and establish several other welfare provisions.1

How Social Security Works Today

Today, Social Security is considered an integral part of most Americans’ retirement strategies. In 2020 alone, 69.8 million Americans received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), with 5.8 million new people receiving some form of Social Security in that year alone.2

Social Security is funded largely through payroll taxes on a “pay-as-you-go” model, with the current workforce’s contributions being used to fund the benefits. The plan, as well as the hope, is that by the time today’s workforce is set to retire, the younger generations will still be contributing to the program to fund Social Security for the next generation of retirees.2

The Future of Social Security The 2021 annual report of the Social Security Board of Trustees announced that funds for Social Security would be exhausted by 2034. This was a year ahead of the projections made in the previous year’s report. While this announcement may seem catastrophic, what this actually means is that cash reserves for the program will be exhausted, and retirees in 2034 could see their benefits reduced to 78%.3,4

It is difficult to say for certain what the future of Social Security will be. The hope is that Congress will act in time to resolve this shortage of funds problem. Regardless of what happens to this program, it is important to make sure that you have other strategies in place for your retirement so that, irrespective of the developments in Washington concerning Social Security, you can enjoy your golden years.


This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Retirement Strategy: Planning Your Retirement Lifestyle

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want; others don’t.

Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of investment decisions that make the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.

Retire financially literate.

Some retirees don’t know how much they don’t know. They end their careers with inadequate financial knowledge yet feel they can prepare for retirement on their own. They mistake creating a retirement income strategy with the whole of preparing for retirement, and they gloss over longevity risk, risks to their estate, and potential health care expenses. The more you know, the more your retirement readiness improves.

Is the goal to retire debt-free – or close to debt-free?

Even if your retirement savings are substantial, you may want to consider reviewing your overall debt situation.

Retire with purpose.

There’s a difference between retiring and quitting. Some people can’t wait to quit their job at 62 or 65. If only they could escape and just relax and do nothing for a few years – wouldn’t that be a nice reward? Relaxation can lead to inertia, however – and inertia can lead to restlessness, even depression. You want to retire to a dream, not away from a problem.

The bottom line? Retirees who know what they want to do – and go out and do it – are positively contributing to their mental health and possibly their physical health as well. If they do something that is not only vital to them but also important to others, their community can benefit as well.

Retire healthy.

Smoking, drinking, overeating, a dearth of physical activity – all these can take a toll on your capacity to live life fully and enjoy retirement. It is never too late to change habits that may lead to poor health.

Retire where you feel at home.

It could be where you live now; it could be a nearby place where the scenery and people are uplifting. If you find yourself lonely in retirement, then look for ways to connect with people who share your experiences, interests, and passions, those who encourage you and welcome you. This social interaction is one of the great, intangible retirement benefits.

A successful retirement is not merely measured in financial terms.

Even those who retire with small fortunes can face boredom or depression and the fear of drawing down their savings too fast. How can new retirees try to calm these worries?

Two factors may help: a gradual retirement transition and some guidance from a financial professional.

An abrupt break from the workplace may be unsettling.

As a hypothetical example, imagine a well-paid finance manager at an auto dealership whose personal identity is closely tied to his job. His best friends are all at the dealership. He retires, and suddenly his friends and sense of purpose are absent. He finds that he has no compelling reason to leave the house, nothing to look forward to when he gets up in the morning. Guess what? He hates being retired.

On the other hand, if he prepares for his retirement years in advance of his farewell party by exploring an encore career, engaging in varieties of self employment, or volunteering, he can retire with something promising ahead of him. If he broadens the scope of his social life so that he can see friends and family regularly and interact with both older and younger people in different settings, his retirement may also become more enjoyable.

The interests and needs of a retiree can change with age or as they disengage from the working world. Retired households may need to adjust their lifestyles in response to this evolution.

Practically all retirees have some financial anxiety.

It relates to the fact of no longer earning a conventional paycheck. You see it in couples who have $60,000 saved for retirement; you see it in couples who have $6 million saved for retirement. Their retirement strategies are about to be tested, in real-time. All that careful preparation is ready to come to fruition, but there are always unknowns.

Some retirees are afraid to spend.

They fear spending too much too soon. With help from a financial professional, they can create a strategy.

Retirement challenges people in two ways.

The obvious challenge is financial; the less obvious challenge is mental. Both tests may be met with sufficient foresight and dedication.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin Basics

Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard—and read—more and more about cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, and many others. A surprising 13% of Americans traded in cryptocurrency in 2020, compared with 24% who traded in stocks. And the number of people trading in crypto is only expected to increase.1

But what exactly is cryptocurrency? In this article, we will cover some crypto and bitcoin basics to help you better understand this new asset and economy.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cryptocurrency is “a type of digital currency that generally only exists electronically.”2 When we talk about currency, we’re usually talking about a system of money used by a particular country. We may even think about the physical currency that we can carry in our wallets. Cryptocurrency operates similarly, but there is no physical currency to touch and hold. Instead, you exchange it online and keep it stored in a digital wallet (more on that later).

New forms of crypto are always being created, but Bitcoin is one of the most popular.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that most people are familiar with. It was created in 2009 and was one of the first digital currencies to gain popularity. Like with other cryptocurrencies, there are no physical bitcoins. Instead, your balance is kept on a public ledger that everyone can access, although each specific record is encrypted.3

Bitcoin isn’t traded on any stock exchange, which also means it isn’t regulated or secured the way other investment types are.

There are currently hundreds of different types of cryptocurrency traded, but, along with Bitcoin, a few other big players have come to the forefront, including Ethereum, XRP, Tether, Cardano, and Dogecoin.

How Do You Use Cryptocurrency?

As previously mentioned, rather than keep your cryptocurrency in the bank, you instead keep it in a digital wallet that can be stored online, on your computer, or on an external hard drive. To make purchases using cryptocurrency, you exchange the crypto in your wallet for payment.

In some cases, you may also be able to load cryptocurrency on your debit card to pay for purchases. According to Kiplinger, major debit card processors like Visa and Mastercard offer crypto-linked debit cards.4

One important thing to remember is that cryptocurrencies aren’t protected by banks or financial institutions and don’t come with the same legal protections as credit and debit cards. If something happens to your currency—for example, you get locked out of your digital wallet or someone steals your computer—it will be difficult to find a solution.

In addition, most crypto purchases aren’t reversible, and you won’t be able to dispute the purchase with your credit card company like you can with traditional exchanges. The FTC warns that if you store your crypto with a third-party company and that company goes out of business or is hacked, the government has no obligation to step in and help as it would with FDIC-insured assets.2

As our economy continues to evolve, more people are looking to make cryptocurrency part of their overall investment strategy. Right now, crypto is seen as a speculative investment—interesting, volatile, and risky. There’s still much we don’t know about crypto’s stability or longevity, but it’s worth learning about to understand how currencies are changing around us.


This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Retirement Strategy: How Retirement Strategy Has Changed

There was a time when you’d have a pension at the end of your working years.

Now, of course, pensions are not as common, though you can certainly analyze your own retirement strategy.

Not all retirement strategies are the same.

In fact, there is such a wide variety of retirement strategies that it is worth reading up on your choices. Here’s a brief look at the different strategies and what they have to offer.

The traditional 401(k).

Most people have this type of retirement savings strategy, and it works like this. The strategy is funded with pre-tax dollars taken out of your paycheck (through payroll deductions). If you’re lucky, your company will match your level of contribution or even make contributions on your behalf – after all, the employer contributions are tax deductible.

The Safe Harbor 401(k).

A byproduct of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, the Safe Harbor strategy combines the best features of the traditional 401(k) and the SIMPLE IRA, making it very attractive to a business owner. With a Safe Harbor plan, an owner-operator can avoid the big administrative expenses of a traditional 401(k)
and enjoy higher contribution limits.

The SIMPLE 401(k).

Designed for small business owners who don’t want to deal with retirement plan administration or nondiscrimination tests, the SIMPLE 401(k) is available for businesses with less than 100 employees. Like a Safe Harbor plan, the business owner must make fully vested contributions (a dollar-for-dollar match of
up to 3% of an employee’s income or a non-elective contribution of 2% of pay for each eligible employee).

The Solo 401(k).

Combine a profit-sharing plan with a regular 401(k), and you have the Solo 401(k) plan, a retirement savings vehicle designed for sole proprietors with no employees other than their spouses.

The Roth 401(k).

Imagine a traditional 401(k) fused with a Roth IRA. Here’s the big difference: you contribute after-tax income to a Roth 401(k), and when you reach age 59½, your withdrawals will be tax free (provided you’ve had your plan for more than five years).

You can roll Roth 401(k) assets into a Roth IRA when you retire – and you don’t have to make mandatory withdrawals from a Roth IRA when you turn 70½.


This employer-funded plan gives businesses a simplified vehicle to make contributions toward workers’ retirements (and optionally, their own). The employer contributions are 100% vested from the start, and the employer can supplement the SEP-IRA with another retirement plan.


This is like a SIMPLE 401(k) – a small business retirement plan with mandatory employer. But in this plan, there is one big difference for the business owner. If the business is not doing well, the owner can temporarily reduce plan contributions.

The Keogh Plan.

The Keogh is designed for small, unincorporated businesses. There are defined benefit, money purchase, and profit-sharing variations; the defined benefit variation is a qualified pension plan offering a fixed benefit amount.

Did you know you had so many choices?

If you are an employer, you may not have realized you have such an array of choices in retirement plans. But you do, and asking the right questions may represent the first step toward implementing the right plan for your future or your company. Be sure to ask a qualified financial advisor or business retirement
plan consultant about your options today.

Across the country, people are saving for that “someday” called retirement.

Someday, their careers will end. Someday, they may live off their savings or investments, plus Social Security. They know this, but many of them do not know when, or how, it will happen. What is missing is a strategy – and a good strategy might make a great difference.

A retirement strategy directly addresses the “when,” “why,” and “how” of retiring.

It can even address the “where.” It breaks the whole process of getting ready for retirement into actionable steps.

This is so important. Too many people retire with doubts, unsure if they have enough retirement money, and uncertain of what their tomorrows will look like. In contrast, you can save, invest, and act on your vision of retirement now to chart a path toward your goals and the future you want to create for yourself.

Some people dismiss having a long-range retirement strategy since no one can predict the future. Indeed, there are things about the future you cannot control: how the stock market will perform, how the economy might do, and so on. That said, you have partial or full control over other things: the way you save and invest, your spending and borrowing, the length and arc of your career, and your health. You also have the chance to be proactive and to prepare for the future.

A good retirement strategy has many elements.

It sets financial objectives. It addresses your retirement income: how much you may need, the sequence of account withdrawals, and the age at which you claim Social Security. It establishes (or refines) an investment approach. It examines tax implications and potential tax advantages. It takes possible health care costs into consideration and even the transfer of assets to heirs.

A prudent retirement strategy also entertains different consequences.

Financial advisors often use multiple-probability simulations to try to assess the degree of financial risk to a retirement strategy in case of an unexpected outcome. These simulations can help to inform the advisor and the retiree or pre-retiree about the “what ifs” that may affect a strategy. They also consider
sequence-of-returns risk, which refers to the uncertainty of the order of returns an investor may receive over an extended period.

Let a retirement strategy guide you.

Ask a financial professional to collaborate with you to create a retirement strategy, personalized for your goals and dreams. When you have this strategy, you will know what steps to take in pursuit of the future you want.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

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MOKAN Wealth Management is an Investment Advisor registered with the State of Kansas. This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold, or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy, or completeness of, any description of securities, markets, or developments mentioned. Please contact us at (913) 257-3991 if there is any change in your financial situation, needs, goals or objectives, or if you wish to initiate any restrictions on the management of the account or modify existing restrictions. Our current disclosure brochure, Form ADV Part 2, is available for your review upon request, and on the SEC’s website at