How Your Retirement Compares to Congress'

Retiring Younger, Contributing the Least, Pocketing the Most

Written by Brittany Stepniak
Posted June 28, 2013

No matter what you do for a living, if you're not a member of Congress, I guarantee there's a massive monetary gap between you and them.

This week, we've talked to you about government opulence despite sequestration and how your retirement plan fees are preventing you from seeing the wealth-results you deserve.

Today, I want to show you how your retirement package compares to Congress'...

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Recently, when members of Congress were instructed to receive their medical coverage through the new exchange system set up by the Obamacare provisional bill, Rep. John Larson (D., Conn.) was quoted saying, "This is simply not fair."

This in and of itself didn't surprise me one bit. I can think of a dozen bills that may have sounded good (even great!) when spoken by a confident, charismatic man of power after some of his most brilliant speech-writers manipulated the context just enough for public approval.

What did surprise me is that a member of Congress had the gall to complain about anything being unfair.

A.) Welcome to the real world. (His mother should have taught him life wasn't fair 30+ years ago.)

B.) If life were fair, Rep. Larson would actually have to contribute a reasonable amount of money to his retirement plan instead of rewarding himself with our taxpayer dollars to fund his undoubtedly lavish benefits package.

If he really wants to talk about "fairness," he should probably compare the benefits and contributions he's receiving with those received by anyone else in America working in the private sector...

I think he'd get over his health care woes in no time.

Past, Present, Future

Amidst the ongoing payroll tax cuts and sequestration, Congress bumped up the rate at which federal employees must contribute to their pension plan – a motion that will save approximately $15 billion over the next 11 years.

However, (breathe easy, Congressional readers) the current members of Congress made sure those contribution increases would NOT apply to them – only to other federal employees and new members. Those employed prior to the new law would be permitted to pay into their pension plans at the old miserly rate.

Obviously they deserve that, right? Clearly all their hard work in the past paid off for their constituents, so they must be entitled to financial protection from present pension-contribution rates, ensuring a bountiful future, indeed.

Private vs. Federal

Times are tough. Pensions are disappearing, and Americans are raiding their accounts years before they retire to pay off debt, mortgages, and medical emergencies. Saving for retirement feels nearly impossible for many workers. Meanwhile, the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS), an old-school defined benefit pension program, pays 215 former Congressmen and women an average of $39,576 for an average of 16 years of service, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report.

The number equates to nearly the same amount an average private-sector worker makes in retirement from all sources after an entire lifetime of service, according to the Employees Benefits Research Institute.

CNBC reports:

The average income that worker gets from a pension is about $8,800 — if they have one. In 2010, fewer than 15 percent of private sector employees were enrolled in a defined-benefit pension.

"It's not keeping pace with what's happening in the private sector," said Veronique de Rugy, a senior researcher with George Mason University's Mercatus Center. "It's not sustainable."

To get a better idea of what we're saying, take a look at the chart below:

Federal vs. Private

If the rest of the country has committed to plans similar to the 401(k) contribution system, it's ludicrous for Congress members to fund their own retirements in the manner in which they do; relying largely on a benefit program instead, funded with our tax dollars.

I know I sound like a broken record, but if Congress doesn't shape up and demand of itself what it's demanding from us, the entire system will collapse. Unsustainable trends like these lavish pension plans are hurting the foundation of our country.

This ongoing Insider greed and selfishness is a cancer that has already spread to all corners of our nation. As individuals, we are only able to overcome it using self-reliance and educated insight.

Don't Get Mad, Get Even

If you can't beat them, one-up them. Find the loopholes and opportunities they're not exposing to you so you can pad your retirement on par with retired members of Congress.

We'll keep offering you ways to do this, including investing in silver and gold, dividends, graphene and more. Don't settle for a doomed future – keep your eyes open to the massive gold and silver sell-off going on right now (gold fell to its lowest point in three years Wednesday).

If you're smart, you'll buy on the dips before the precious metals rally heats back up in the next few months.

If you play this market right, you can still retire well despite the continued chaos and economic crises. 

Farewell for now,

Brittany Stepniak Signature

Brittany Stepniak

Brittany Stepniak is the Project Manager and Editor for the Outsider Club. Her “big picture” insights have helped guide thousands of investors towards achieving and maintaining personal and financial liberties while pursuing their individual dreams in lieu of all the modern-day chaos.

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