On Tuesday Congress held a hearing on “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Workers’ Retirement Security” (see Congress Considers Market Impact on Retirement Security ). This week I asked readers how they felt about that , and discovered that, for a significant plurality, the answer was – it depends.
More specifically, just over 27% said it depended on what Congress decides to do about it – while just under 17% said it depended on IF they decided to do anything about it.
Just over 11% said they were ambivalent about the matter, while roughly 5% were “happy” about the focus, noting it was “about time someone did.”
On the other hand, 7% said they were nervous about that involvement, and more than 8% described themselves as “ill” over the matter. Nearly one-in-seven ( 14.02% ) agreed with the following sentiment; “Oh, great – here comes another $700 billion bailout.”
The remaining 11% – well, they chose to express themselves in different ways:
“I certainly hope that’s not the only testimony they will hear prior to taking any knee-jerk, tax-increasing, average-man debilitating actions,” noted one. Another said that the involvement was “Good news – only if they do nothing.”
“Aren’t they already taking 6.2% of our paychecks for a “government sponsored retirement plan”?
Or, as another observed, “If Congress cared about American’s retirement security, they would have fixed social security by now.”
Finances were on lots of folks minds:
"Seriously?! They need to hold a hearing to determine the market has impacted retirement accounts?! So the plan will be what? We can't bail out EVERYTHING!"
"Take a look at the US balance sheet and tell me if you want Congress to give us instructions in how to manage our finances."
"Unfortunately, in Congress, as in some companies, when in doubt, have a meeting."
And, as one reader reminded us, "These are, after all, the same folks who gave us the "same desk rule" and the multiple use test."
But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who said they were "Irritated, really irritated. Hearings, hah!! The question is are they holding any listening sessions?"
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!
|Aren't they already taking 6.2% of our paychecks for a "goverment sponsored retirement plan"?|
|As for Congress -- the ponies all ran out of that corral when they (R's and D's) worked so hard in recent years to facilitate the demise of DB plans. Too many in the current workforce have only been working during an up market and assumed they would retire millionaires on their 409(k) returns. No one thought about the really down market. Trent Lott's saying "We've just got to get rid of those DB plans" is still ringing in my ears ....|
|I certainly hope that's not the only testimony they will hear prior to taking any knee-jerk, tax-increasing, average-man debilitating actions.|
|Its a little late for them to meet about something that's been brewing for several months. And what can they possibly do to change the global market?|
|If Congress cared about American's retirement security, they would have fixed social security by now. This is for show and nothing will come of it.|
|I am not sure that they are really making any difference. I don't think anyone really knows what to do at this point.|
|The more they get involved, the worse it gets for all of us. It is time for a new revolution. We have a new King George (Miller).|
|It's just an opportunity for congressmen to grand stand in front of the news cameras, a month before the election.|
|They ought to be thinking about why they didn't pay attention to what was going on, their negligence in this crisis, and the resulting impact on a crisis world wide.|
|If Congress is holding hearings and a wants to "fix the system" then it surely will be broken when they get done.|
|Congress likes to give the illusion that they are doing something when it's really a platform for their next election.|
|Good news - only if they do nothing|
|Once Congress starts playing around with retirement legislation we're all in (more) trouble|
|The impact? Bad! End of meeting. Do they really need a hearing to figure this out? Once again, Congress will hold a public hearing about an issue they have little control over but makes them look good. Remember the steroid hearings? Next week: Hearings to find out if eating less and exercising more leads to healthier Americans!|
|Seriously?! They need to hold a hearing to determine the market has impacted retirement accounts?! So the plan will be what? We can't bail out EVERYTHING - there is a finite pool of money with which to bail (until the government just prints more money, which really doesn't help anything). Seems like an attempt to look useful and sympathetic to constituents. Congress should watch reruns of their hearings where they denied a problem with mortgage lending at Freddie and Fannie. Could we perhaps pass a performance based salary plan for congress? On that basis we'd save a lot of money on congressional wages! Diversification? What fund should we run to? Not sure there's anything NOT dropping value like a stone.|
|I've heard more than one person say it was time to start saving their retirement money under their mattress.|
|These are, after all, the same folks who gave us the "same desk rule" and the multiple use test.|
|I am sad to see the continual bailout of industries and companies because of their inability to use or understand sound financial decisions. I have been due diligent for 45 years in being a model investor and worker. No one is bailing me out from the market crisis and I am still being asked for more of my income for bail outs. My retirement which was to start 1-1-09 is now on hold as I have watched 45 years of investments disappear because I wasn't smart enough to get over my head in debt and take advantage of a bail out. When will our legislatures smarten up. The government is trying everything to turn America into a Socialistic country. I am sadden for our youth as they will not know freedom of choice.|
|It seems to me that congressional hearings very seldom lead to anything except excerpts being over played on the cable news networks causing my husband to yell, yet again, at the TV about the veracity of particular senators and representatives.|
|Unfortunately, in Congress, as in some companies, when in doubt, have a meeting.|
|It will depend on how in depth the investigation gets. If it stays at the obvious level of "the stock market went way down, so everybody better look out", who needs a hearing? If it spurs some type of regulatory reform that actually means something, then maybe some good will come of it.|
|Nothing will come of it. It is just an election year stunt.|
|Unless they listen to Dr. Ghilarducci, it will just be more of the same. The investment people will keep getting their fat commissions while participants will continue to try to save and hope that the market won't take a dive as they reach retirement age. The 401(k) experiment is a failure. Most people do not and cannot put in anywhere near the amount they should and do not have the investment expertise to fund their retirement on their own. All the ads from the investment companies show the happy retirees. What a load.|
|What good are hearings? They don't accomplish anything but waste time and money. We had hearings on the gas companies overcharging the American people. What did we learn? They only made billions of dollars in profits and we (American taxpayers) need to give them money to repair, upgrade and build better, more efficient refineries. We had hearings on Lehman Brothers. What happened? We learned that while the ship was sinking the top executives were stuffing their pockets with cash. We had hearings on AIG. What happened? Nothing. AIG executives don't want to talk. We gave them 80 billion dollars so they could go to the spa for 1 million. Enough hearings.|
|So where have they been all these years? Oh, right, lining their pockets and deregulating industries. Does anyone remember the S&L bailout, helped along by John McCain?|
|I have next to no confidence that they will do anything that will help anyone except big business.|
|Take a look at the US balance sheet and tell me if you want Congress to give us instructions in how to manage our finances.|
|I don't think Congress can do much except say"Shame on you" to the greedy CEO"s.|
|Nervous because they will sum it up and spin it some way to either panic people or say there is nothing to worry about in the long run. Either option scares me because I don't think they have any more of a clue as to what will happen than the average joe on the street.|
|Irritated, really irritated. Hearings, hah!! The question is are they holding any listening sessions?|
|The Government has done enough to muck things up!|
|Congress is too short-TERM focused to make sound economic decisions. Let the free market sort this out. This is not the first financial crisis and it will not be the last. I certainly feel for those individuals who are near retirement or are already there watching their savings shrink, but Congress is not going to fix it.|