Money cash Shekels currency 521.
(photo credit: Reuters)
‘But when it comes to economic freedom, we
are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of
failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life
itself. Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic
freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated
regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We
see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we
demand it be saved. Each time, we demand “Do something... anything.”’ – former
Florida governor Jeb Bush
Where’s the salt? If this past week’s snow storm that
paralyzed Jerusalem wasn’t enough proof of the ineptitude of government, I don’t
know what is. Readers of this column know that I am no big fan of government,
but it continues to baffle me why every time there is some kind of “event” they
look to government for salvation... and time after time they come away
Amazing that it was teenage kids, community councils and
good Samaritans who were shoveling snow to clear streets and providing warm
meals for homebound elderly people who were without electricity. When the storm
first hit it was anyone with a four-wheel-drive truck who was shuttling stuck
travelers from one end of the city to the other. People in my neighborhood are
still asking, “Where is the salt?” Then we have certain City Council women who
were pushing to open schools when getting there was treacherous – doing so not
in the name of education, but rather almost as a babysitting service for
(Although if you look at how Israeli kids are testing on
standardized tests, maybe that’s what school has turned into.) On Tuesday there
was a headline about a principal who fell on the ice on her way to school. Then
the aforementioned politician took to Facebook to report that fewer children
were hurt on the ice Tuesday than on Monday – and the conclusion was that it was
because schools were open.
So now apparently school is some kind of
injury free zone: Not safe to keep your kids home; they may get hurt. Then we
had some parents calling for the city to provide entertainment for the kids.
Huh? Ever hear of having your kids read a book, play a game or have them wrestle
with each other for hours on end? Have we been so trained that we are unable to
solve our own problems, and we need to turn to politicians to solve them for us?
Why on earth would one think that someone sitting in Safra Square or in the
Knesset knows better how to take care of oneself than the specific individual?
Retirement What, you ask, does this have to do with your retirement? You can’t
imagine how many people’s retirement plan is “the government will take care of
me.” I will get Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute payments), and
that’s what I need. No, it’s not what you need. Bituach Leumi will not provide
you with a comfortable retirement.
In Israel, government pensions were
created with the purpose of preventing elderly retirees from being thrown out in
the streets. While there were never any promises that these pensions would make
you rich, there was the assumption that the payments would pay for the living
expenses of the elderly. After decades of mismanagement and skyrocketing
deficits, there is a real possibility that the government will not be able to
meet its long-term obligations.
Throughout the rest of the world,
governmental fiscal irresponsibility has left social security and other similar
programs on the cusp of insolvency. In certain respects, social security is like
a Ponzi scheme. Workers pay in now so that retirees can take out their
You need to take control of your retirement because it’s not
realistic to rely on others to do it for you. Start taking responsibility and
begin a savings/investment plan. As financial planners like to say, “Pay
This means that when you set up your budget, include
savings as part of your expenses. Try and save 10 percent of each paycheck and
have it go directly into an investment account. Then speak with a financial
adviser. He will help you work out a long-term personal financial plan and
determine how much money needs to be saved, monthly and annually, and at what
rate of interest, to help you achieve your goals.
If you haven’t started
to plan for retirement yet, or you think that you are short-changing your
savings, speak to your adviser and put in place a plan that will help you
retire, comfortably, without having to rely on the government.
information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not
necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., or its
Aaron Katsman is a licensed
financial professional in Israel and the United States who helps people with US
investment accounts. He is the author of the book Retirement GPS: How to
Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.