You Have More Than You Think

August 27, 2014 - John Osbon (2 mins to read)

Where, you might ask?  Look at the Social Security website and online benefits calculator from an asset point of view.  Since the Social Security administration stopped sending out paper statements to you on your birthday, you can now go online and get personal benefit information along with valuable extras.  13 million people have already registered and collected their data.  One key insight may have positive implications for you.

Log in. Find out…
It’s simple.  Go to, follow the steps to register.  Once in, you can see your earnings and contributions (important to check for accuracy), benefits, higher benefits if you delay, disability and survivor benefits.  With this site, the US Government has gone all user-friendly on us!  The information can be quite a pleasant surprise for those who have been working, or expect to keep working. Note that benefits are indexed to increase with cost of living adjustments, like TIPS.puzzle pieces

You are your own bond portfolio.
Here’s where your ‘hidden’ money might be. Investors often overlook the asset value of those SS payments for life.  For example, say you are entitled to $3000/month or $36,000 per year upon retirement.  Nice, but not what most people would call “rich.” Yet, if you had to duplicate that annual payment to yourself you would have to drop at least $1 million into the long term bond market (30 year treasury yield is currently 3.3%).  Now, the $1 million SS portfolio sounds like more than pocket change.  If you believe like I do that SS will make good on its payouts, you may want to consider allocating $1m less to your fixed income allocation, and $1m more to higher risk/higher return investments. It’s something we can talk about. The point is, all assets count!

Ignore the naysayers
Social Security is a contract between generations. Doomsayers like to treat it as a balance sheet with emphasis on the liability – the right side of the balance sheet – that it represents for the US government. What the doomsters often neglect to point out is that SS is a “pay as you go” system – an income statement account. Lots of money is coming in, and going out.  Social Security is not perfect, but it’s been running successfully now for 80 years, and there is tremendous popular will to keep it going, backed up by those SS deductions that come out of your paycheck all year long. Personally, I have faith in my kids and their friends to keep me funded deep into old age.

Take control
I encourage you to register at the site and retrieve your information.  It’s one of the many steps you can take – along with saving, index investing, and planning – to control your financial destiny.

(Thanks to Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post for alerting me to this website!)

Michelle’s article on checking your social security statement

John Osbon –



Weekly Insights

delivered to your inbox


This communication may include forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements (including words such as “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “may,” “will,” “should,” and “expect”). Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Various factors could cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements.”

“Historical performance is not indicative of future results. The investment return will fluctuate with market conditions.

Past performance is not indicative of any specific investment or future results. Views regarding the economy, securities markets or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor.

Investment strategies, philosophies, allocations and holdings are subject to change without prior notice.

This communication is intended to provide general information only and should not be construed as an offer of specifically tailored individualized advice.

While the Adviser believes the outside data sources cited to be credible, it has not independently verified the correctness of any of their inputs or calculations and, therefore, does not warranty the accuracy of any third-party sources or information.

Adviser does not endorse the statements, services or performance of any third-party vendor.

Unless stated otherwise, any mention of specific securities or investments is for hypothetical and illustrative purposes only. Adviser’s clients may or may not hold the securities discussed in their portfolios. Adviser makes no representations that any of the securities discussed have been or will be profitable.

Any IPO alerts are purely informational and should not be construed as recommendations to invest.

Adviser is not licensed to provide and does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice to clients. Advice of qualified counsel or accountant should be sought to address any specific situation requiring assistance from such licensed individuals.

Any case studies or hypothetical client profiles are for demonstration purposes only. They illustrate the breadth and depth of the many clients we represent at various life stages. Any similarities to actual Adviser’s clients past or present are strictly coincidental. Individual advice and results will vary based on each client’s circumstances, objectives and prevailing economic conditions.

Weekly Articles by Osbon Capital Management: