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Making a Secure Retirement Possible with Jason Fichtner

According to Alliance for Lifetime Income research, The Peak 65 Generation: Creating a New Retirement Security Framework, “With the U.S. experiencing the greatest retirement surge in its history, the country’s public and private sector retirement systems have become obsolete. The old metaphor of the three-legged stool of retirement planning — employer pensions, personal savings, and Social Security — no longer holds. These demographic changes will have major implications for the country’s fiscal finances and the retirement security for the boomer generation and the generations that follow.”

In this episode, Jack talks with Jason Fichtner, Vice President and Chief Economist at Bipartisan Policy Center and Senior Research Fellow at Alliance for Lifetime Income. Jason’s research focuses on Social Security, federal tax policy, federal budget policy, retirement security, and policy proposals to increase savings and investment.

Jason talks with Jack about the Alliance for Lifetime Income research, The Peak 65 Generation: Creating a New Retirement Security Framework, how the demographic trends impact the retirement industry, and why now is the time to adopt a new retirement security framework.

What Jason has to say

“Social Security is technically OASI, the Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance program. It is an insurance program. It is not designed to be a retirement program. It was designed to insure you against old age.”

– Jason Fichtner, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Bipartisan Policy Center

Read the full transcript

Jack Sharry: Welcome, friends, thanks for joining us on WealthTech on Deck. Like many of you, I follow the industry news closely. And I’m especially interested when there’s some new and interesting research, particularly around demographic trends. As the pandemic unfolded, our guest today, Jason Fichtner, conducted research of retirement demographic trends that made a big splash when they that research came out. And of course, like everything else, these days, things changed. And then they changed again, and they keep on changing. So I’m very pleased to have Jason back with us on our show, when his research that he did with the ALA, and I’ll describe that in a moment came out, confirmed a lot of things that we had talked about for a long time. And then everything changed and changed again. So we’ll get into all that detail and all that research about what was found then, and I’m particularly interested to hear what Jason has to say about where we are now and where he sees things going from here. So Jason, welcome to WealthTech on Deck.

Jason Fichtner: Thanks, Jack, it’s good to be back. Appreciate you having me on the show

Jack Sharry: Our pleasure. So Jason, you’ve accomplished a great deal over the course of your career, you’re much more than just a research guy, you’re all that and much, much more. So let’s start with a high level view of the work that you’ve done over time and some of the interesting projects you’re working on now.

Jason Fichtner: Thanks, I’ll try to make this sort of short, even though it’s been kind of a long career. But I started out at the Internal Revenue Service for the Department of Treasury, my first job out of graduate school, doing compliance research, and that’s sort of where I got into tax and retirement policy. And I, you know, realized no one grows up wanting to be a tax economist. But when I got into it, I was really excited about it and really got into tax and then savings, incentives, retirement and how we could use tax policy to appeal, save and invest in the incentives around that. And that led to various other future careers and jobs. I spent eight years with the Joint Economic Committee, the United States Congress, right in research on savings, investment, mutual fund policies, and again, obviously, tax policy. And then sort of more related to what we’re talking about today, I took a job at the Social Security Administration, and it was under Commissioner Mike Astrue who hired me to head up their research office. And you know, the old adage, no good deed goes unpunished. I was a guy who kept opening my big fat mouth. And someone said, Well, if you think you can do it better, maybe you should. And the next thing I knew, I was nominated by President Bush to be the deputy commissioner of Social Security, which is the number two position for the agency. And I also became the chief economist. So I got to be heavily involved in just the part the day to day operations of the agency, but also seeing really what it meant for retirees, many who are living on Social Security as their primary means of support, but also how the agency was doing things in a way that was behaviorally different, and was forcing people in some ways to make different claiming decisions like claiming earlier than was optimal for them. And we went on a mission then to start changing how we talked about the claiming decision with beneficiaries, the nomenclature we were using, we can talk about that as well today. And then just getting into protected income in general and annuities, and how we’ve seen the change in the defined benefit plan environment, which of course, in some ways sort of security is to defined contribution world, and how that DB plan system was sort of feeling for many, the DC system has come in and help but it’s not ideal either. Now we’re going to a new stage retirement, we’re both the DB and DC plans need to come together and think about holistically how that works with Social Security, to create a new framework for retirement for people as you move into the modern era. And that’s what my research has been focusing on with the Alliance for lifetime income, where I also head up the retirement income Institute for them.

Jack Sharry: So thanks for that. If I may summarize in very geek like language, you’re a geek that understands taxation, your who understands all the different retirement systems past, present, and hopefully future. So you really look at really how the consumer traffics in this thing called retirement. And that leads us to the research you did with a Li, looking at the demographic trends and what they mean, currently, and going forward. So maybe why don’t we go back a little bit when you came out? And the research really was I thought groundbreaking in that it affirmed, but so many people understood, but you really put a sort of a fine point what it was what it means. What are you go back if you would JSON and describe the research when it was what you found. And then we’re going to talk about and now what is your view of what you researched at that point. So why don’t you just take us back if you would, when that are initially ally research came out?

Jason Fichtner: Thanks. So we put out a paper March of last year called the peak 65 generation and creating a new retirement security framework. And what this sort of went through is talking about how our entire model of retirement, the demographics have sort of changed. People are living longer. We’re also seeing that retirement is not a one size fits all model. I mean, the the idea that my parents and my grandparents who work primarily for one job that one company, their entire life turned 65 got the gold watch. And retired isn’t necessarily the standard model anymore. You have people who continue to work well into their 70s and 80s. They have partial work careers, or they do volunteer work. But the idea of retirement has now changed for so many. And for some people, they also can’t work, say past 62, because they’ve had more hard jobs on their bodies, and they haven’t lived in an air-conditioned environment where they had jobs like mine. And so for them, retirement is also different. And so we’re seeing these changing demographics. And then we looked at the retirement security framework, for example, Social Security. Social Security, technically is OASI, the Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance program, it is an insurance program, it is not designed to be a retirement program. It was designed to insure you against old age, retirement, many people they live to 65 didn’t live much longer, and it was around again as insurance to make sure you didn’t outlive your savings. Now that whole program is trying to think of it as their retirement savings account. But it hasn’t kept pace with that. And so that whole model was based on the idea of a three-legged stool, you’ll remember, Social Security, you had an employer provided pension, and you have your own personal savings, that three-legged stool is now wobbly. The social security trust funds are protected, be insolvent, somewhere around the mid 2030s 2034, four OASI. And if you include DI the disability program, it’s 2035. So that’s kind of shaky. If we don’t do any supported, benefits could get cut by 25%. The defined benefit plans for employers have mainly gone away some state and local plans still exist, but a lot of them are underfunded. And now we have personal savings rates, which also they went up during the pandemic but have since been declining. So now we build in this defined contribution plan system, which in one ways I think is great, it works really well for me, it gives people access to the market, they get growth, they get equity, but we tell people Jax for so long, save, save, save, and then they get towards retirement and we kind of like say you’re on your own, we don’t tell them how then turn that defined contribution nest egg into a stream of income that will last the rest of their life. And that’s where a defined benefit plan did for that. So we now need to do it. So the research is showing what the demographics is we need to change our entire thinking about what it means to have protected income in retirement and how we use Social Security as a basically a foundation. But are we also using people’s defined contribution plan assets to help them bridge me to delay claiming Social Security so they can get a higher monthly benefit for the rest of your life? Or how to take some a defined contribution assets and turn it into a stream of income on top of Social Security. So people can have a more secure retirement, and as well as add personal savings. And that’s kind of where showing with the research. And then the policy leads into how do we do that? How do we get both the private sector, the public sector and of course Congress in the White House to get involved in better policies to make it easier to facilitate people to save and also to accumulate and help transfer some of those assets into protected income and retirement.

Jack Sharry: So what does that look like? It sounds good. We all watch the government operate as it does doesn’t always fulfill on the opportunity, shall we say? So it’s one thing to say what ought to happen? How do you influence public policy? How do you get Congress to do the right thing? This is a fraught topic, obviously. So what does that look like? What is that public private partnership? Or at least cooperation? What does that look like? What are you advocating for?

Jason Fichtner: So this is really one is, you know, I call myself an educator, right? I’m a researcher, I’m an educator, I don’t lobby. So I don’t go out there and say do X, Y, and Z. But I try to promote and show people where there are gaps and how policy can help influence and change those gaps. So let me give you a good example. Right now, the modal age, which is you know what age most people claim Social Security benefits is age 62. And it’s not the majority, but you can claim between 62 and 70. And more people claim at 62 than any other ages. So it’s called the modal age. And what we find a course is we talk to people about Social Security claiming they go in and say, Oh, of course, it’s the early eligibility age 862 is the early eligibility age. That’s what we call it. No one likes to be late, Jack, they all want to be early. But when you go ask people do you realize that by claiming at age 62, you’re getting a reduced benefit for the rest of your life. Like I don’t understand that. And to give your your listeners an idea, assume that for the call the full retirement age, which I also think is a horrible word, because what is full mean anymore. But right now it’s 66 and round, 10 months, imagine if you are eligible for $1,000 a month of a benefit at your full retirement age. If you got it at age 62, you’ll be getting a little over $700 That’s a huge reduction. So get 30% reduction in benefits. If you wait till age 70 You get tougher on 48 hours, that’s a 24% increase in your monthly benefits that lasts for the rest of your life. The gap between age 62 and 70. That gap is a 77% difference. You go and tell somebody, Hey, you’re losing 77% of your money. They’re gonna start thinking differently about claiming. So what can we do in the public private partnership? One is the government can change how they talk about Social Security claiming we could talk about early minimum or minimum benefit age at age 62. And maximum benefit age. That way, if someone goes into Social Security and says, I’m thinking about taking Social Security, I’m 62. The claim chef could say, oh, so you want your minimum benefit? And so we’ll just say, Wait, what do you mean minute, that means I can get more. And that starts a conversation. So what is changing that sort of framing? And that’s just language that’s not changing the benefit structure. It’s not forcing anyone to do anything. It’s just changing how we talk and present the information. So that’s one. The second is how can we help facilitate people who are able to delay claiming, how do we make it easier for it? So if someone comes in and says, Jack, I’m sorry, I’ve had a hard life. I’ve worked hard. I don’t think I can work past 62. I understand that I’m going to have to take early social security, and that’s reduced benefit for life. I wish I could delay I just can’t afford it. How do we make it easier for those some disabled me you’ve got a defined contribution plan, you’ve got a DC plan assets, we can take that DC plan and turn that into a stream of protected income and annuity that will last you five years, seven years and allow you to delay claiming so if you’re more social security’s me $700, we can buy you an annuity for $7 a month that pays out that benefit and lets you delay and then transitions that annuity ends and you’ve paid for security. And now you’ve got a higher protected monthly benefit. That’s inflation adjustment for the rest of your life. Why don’t we do something in public policy that gives some tax benefits for doing that, where someone gets a bridge annuity to delay claiming Social Security, we don’t tax an income stream, or we don’t do it for middle income or lower income workers. That’s some way that public policy can help and encourage people to delay claiming and how we think about this whole new sort of ecosystem of retirement and how to facilitate that retirement security delay claiming Social Security without even changing the benefit formula or tax rates.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, actually, we have a security tool like many. And we highlight that the way we characterize it is that Gene 62 and 70. If you wait, it’s a percent per year bonus in terms of income down the road. And as people see that, then that it changes their mindset around when did file and then how to use an annuity or use an investment account, or however they might do it. But the idea is that to improve outcome by waiting, so there is an education process to be had. There’s nothing that I’m observing, and this is more on roads, behavioral or it’s just what people seem to be doing out there. And at first people were in a rush to retire just because they were sick of it and they were sick of the pandemic and they were scared or whatever the reasons were. There were many reasons I read over the over the course of a couple of years with people trying to figure that all out, talk us through a little bit of just that demographic shift as people confronted retirement you research happen to coincide with when people are making those a lot of those decisions as a record number of people are retiring. Talk us through what happened. Did people seem to call to the great resignation, they seem to decide to retire? reading more and more people are talking about coming back, but they’re coming back on their own terms, talk us through that demographics that we’ll get to kind of get into. So what do you do about that given people seem to have their own individual way of retiring these days? So talk about that purely as a starting point, from a demographic standpoint.

Jason Fichtner: Sure. So when I was doing the peak 65 research, the reason we sort of titled at peak 65 Is that in 2024, we hit our peak 65 moment, or about 12,000 people a day, we’ll turn 65 Right now it’s 10,000 a day. So again, the demographics are showing we’re two years away from when then 12,000 people a day will start turning 65. That’s our peak 65 moment. Gotcha. And that those folks are looking into your product retirements. And generally speaking, there’s a trendline. We know accurate accounts and social security. We know people’s ages. We know how many there are certain ages, so we can sort of guess when they’re supposed to retire based on previous history. And you can see a trend about the number of retirements you have per year, when COVID hit all of a sudden, we saw between two and 4 million more retirements, people leaving the workforce that were aged 50 and older than were projected to have happened. And this is that great resignation you’re talking about? And the question was, why are people doing it and they just like they’re fed up with working, they see that they don’t want it to go back to the office and COVID sort of made them realize that there was more to life than work, what was going on. But we saw again, between two and 4 million people leave the workforce. Now the great resignation is changing the what I’m calling the great reset. And we are now seeing a reset of those expectations. And that just is not for retirement, but it’s also for the labor market. We’re seeing people who know where employees had the upper hand and syrup moving around because of jobs being short, they can actually command more wages. If we’re going into a recession that might change. We are seeing now potentially a recession we have had two quarters of consecutive negative GDP growth, which is the sort of the layman’s term for recession a shallow one. And we’re starting to see really high inflation. So people that retired early are now looking at their income stream and saying well maybe I don’t have enough to support myself if inflation is going to stay at 8% a year and some are coming back into labor market. Now they’re going to come back fully, completely partially, that’s a question that remains to be seen. And this gets into the demographics as well as what is happening with retirement. Again, it’s not one size fits all. It’s a transition. And part of the education with this. And Social Security is, you know, there are mutually exclusive decisions, right? You can claim Social Security and still work. You can stop work and not claim Social Security, right? They’re independent. They don’t have to go together. And some people say why stop broke? I must claim Social Security, right? Financial security, I have to stop working. That’s not it at all we get we need to think more holistically about what does it mean, now for quote, unquote, retirement? Maybe that’s a bad word. Maybe we need a new word in retirement, Jacques, to talk about the next phase of life for people, because some people now are looking at again, how do they have a fulfilling life after age 5560 6570? Again, this find a new term for that describes our ability to have meaning, purpose, and financial support. And that could be a mix of work. So security and volunteer work. But how do we do that? And how do we use public policy and out of the financial markets, and folks like, you know, Prudential and fidelity and Vanguard and our employers who helped us with our defined contribution plans? How do they help us with financial wellness, so that we can see we get to that point so that when we do hit, quote, unquote, retirement, we can have that fulfilling and satisfying life? And again, be financially secure? What does that mean for income streams? And we’ve got to stop talking about this whole idea of what is your retirement number? Do you need 1 million, 2 million? I think we got to talk about what is it you need for an income stream in retirement? Do you need to maintain the $1,000 a month, $5,000 a month? What is your license to spend how you feel comfortable, and then back in that stream into an asset base that allows him to purchase that annuity stream? I think that’s had to start talking about this, because that’s the entire changing nature of retirement these days.

Jack Sharry: So talk about this is a little bit of I guess, crystal ball stuff, but you’re studying sort of the numbers, you’re studying behavior, you’re studying what people are doing. And in my observation, I have been hanging out with a crowd that is either in or near retirement. So I’m quite familiar with this conversation, I have it seemingly daily. Certainly income stream is an important part of that. But really what they’re looking for is something to have an interesting life. So how would you say the industry is doing in terms of supporting that effort? We hear a lot of talk about financial wellness, I have to be honest with you, every time I hear it, i It seems like a BS term, it would be blunt, it’s a nice term. I’m not sure what it means because I always ask whoever I’m speaking with, what does financial wellness mean to you? But as an economist, as a researcher, as someone that studies this sort of stuff, how are we doing? How is our industry doing and supporting this? Because we can look to the government, but I think it’s less it starts with the industry, it’s not going to happen in a way that’s going to be constructive for all. So give us your assessment, if you would, of what’s going on. And where you see that going?

Jason Fichtner: Yeah, I think we’re doing about a c plus b minus right now, Jack, but we’re getting better. If you’d asked me five years ago, I would have said c minus d plus. And I was good progress. But this is the work that you’re doing with this podcast that the alliance really to men come is doing with education and research that others are doing are trying to be more innovative and products and get on the behavioral side. And again, you know, employee wellness might be, you know, hokey term overall. But I think it’s important, we start thinking about what that means and try to define it more. Because it really does go into, you know, talking to someone about retirement, when they’re 65, you’re talking about it too late. You just start talking to people by when they get their first job. And people don’t like to think that far in the future. If you’ve met someone coming out of college, they’re 22. And you sit down with them and say, let’s talk about your retirement. They’re like what I still gotta pay off student loans, I want to buy a house, they want to get married. Sure. But financial wellness incorporates all of those financial issues that someone has to deal with student loans, marriage, housing, kids, and start thinking about that as a plan. I think that’s where one financial professionals can be very helpful to people and start talking through what are sort of the stages of life you might go through? And how do we start preparing people for that, because the earlier you start saving for any sort of goal, the better off you are. And then employers have a role in helping do this to, you know, my employer here, you know, but my other job is the Vice President, Chief Economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center. You know, we have a defined contribution plan, and we have a service that we pay for employees to have when they want to talk to somebody about financial wellness. When I do my investments for my defined contribution plan, can you help me figure out what to do with my health care during loans, there’s someone there we pay to help give advice or it’s not the employer giving it but we provide that as a benefit, employee benefit. That’s part employee wellness. So that’s kind of where I’m thinking this goes and then what the industry needs to do is now be more creative about delivering products. So one of the things we find Jack and this is some of the research I’ve done for the alliance with Michael Finca is we went out and interviewed people who are you know, getting a 50 plus and you know, talking about the defined contribution plans, and we asked them whether or not they wanted to have in their plan annuity options. And there are two things we found one, we can’t use the word annuity and which is a fascinating So I’m sure you’re aware of, if you go out to the street and you ask people, would you like to get a paycheck for life? They say, Oh, Jack, I would love a paycheck for life. Would you say you’d like to have, you know, a monthly paycheck from your employer? I would love to have that. I like to have your own personal pension. I love my own personal pension. Do you want an annuity? No. So the annuity word, it’s not. It’s not resonate with them. But if we use phrases like protected income or guaranteed income, no guarantee has issues with compliance, we start talking about a guarantee of protected income people pick up like, I would love that. So we survey people said, Would you like to have in your like target date fund or in your plan, some allocation of your assets to protected income? And half of them said they would? And then more start saying depending how US freezing so they start asking them to reallocate? Like, what percentage do you want towards equities, bonds or fixed income, what would you want as a mix, they do want some protected income. So we need to do a better job as the industry, one of educating what protected income is guaranteed, even if we don’t use the annuity word of the a word, but also start giving people the products they need. So people are afraid. That’s how this lump sum fallacy problem, the paradox, where someone says, Hey, I’ve saved say, a million dollars, my DC plan, and someone says, Great, you give me your million dollars, and I’ll give you $1,000 a month for life or whatever the number is. And you’ll say, No, I don’t want to give that up. There are some innovative products, Tia has one, they call it an income test drive, I call it a trial annuity. And what that means is they basically have a product says, We want to sell you an annuity, we’ll do a two year trial, you pay upfront will start giving you a paycheck, a monthly paycheck for life, and you have two years to change your mind. If you don’t like within two years, you can get the rest of your money back, they’ll feed you like it will just continue. And the idea was if you start giving people that income stream, they’re gonna like it want to keep it. But that’s an innovative new product. We’ve got to get more sort of companies out there to start offering these innovations. The next thing to think about and I know Blackrock is doing this is how do you now put a nude contracts in, say, for example, target date funds, we’ve been really good about keeping and making defined contribution plans simple for people. And I’m not saying the target date funds are the best thing in the world. And there are some problems with them. But for 99% of people who invest in DC plans, target date funds make sense? Can we now make them simpler? So they have some D cumulation portion to it when people actually retired? So they get protected income stream from that? What does that look like? How do we innovate? What can those products be? We’re moving along those lines. And that’s why I say we’re doing better. And hopefully we know in a year or two, when I come back on your show, I’ll give the industry a B plus A minus rating.

Jack Sharry: So let me give you my two cents on the matter. I’m gonna add an element in this discussion around technology. And one of the things that we observe, we’ve had in depth conversations with companies like Morgan Stanley invest well and empower and many of the other folks that are in the defined contribution world. And they’re all working on financial wellness, there’s many more beyond that we’re both talking to and are working on this. The good news is my observation is that what’s happening and in the defined contribution space around financial wellness is that really, it’s the starting point for savers and investors. That’s where they get started in, hopefully, in their 20s and 30s. With company matches, it’s a great way to get a leg up to get started to get into the habit. And it’s somewhat painless in that it comes out of your paycheck before you actually see it. So it’s, you’re building up your defined contribution plan. And increasingly, what we’re seeing and largely driven by technology, is you’re able to make better decisions, because it’s being teed up. So that you’re, whether you’re looking at healthcare, whether you’re looking at savings rates, whether you’re looking at all the different ways that you might look at accumulating assets and setting yourself up for a robust retirement, increasingly, what’s happening and there’s fierce competition, the firms are working hard to create a better experience, not only the experience in and of itself, but rather guidance around doing a better job in terms of having more of an accumulated nest egg and what have you. And then of course, as you get closer to that moment making informing around issues of social security optimization, looking at tax issues, in terms as you bring in taxable accounts, in addition to your qualified accounts, increasingly, what’s being put in place, it’s still early days, but it’s really across the board, you’re seeing more and more firms are putting it all together in such a way so that you actually have more money, basically, you’ve accumulated more money you’ve accumulated in a smart way. And then the product design, as you described a moment ago, is coming in to say, Okay, well, now we’re going to start to convert those assets to income and what’s the appropriate timing around there. There’s also some guidance around planning and what have you. I could keep going but you’re quite familiar with all that’s going on. But it’s largely driven by technology. And the good news is and really what the firms are competing for, from what I can tell I use Morgan Stanley as the most vocal and outspoken in this regard. They ultimately want to win your nest egg. It’s not just the higher net worth folks among the 401k participants, but it’s also everybody and as they can convert them and are really building systems so they can convert that so that they become I’m full-fledged clients. So that’s sort of the path that I see unfolding. It’s really early stage still. But I’d love your comments on that. I just laid out a whole bunch of stuff that takes place over time. But it gives me great hope and great, great solace, that really the private side of the marketplace is stepping up in a way, in a competitive way to come up with a better offering. So I’d love your comments on that, though.

Jason Fichtner: So Jack, luckily, you and I are looking at the same crystal ball. And I see the same thing you do. And there are people out there who will come back to you and I and say, but you know, there’s fees involved, and there’s high costs. I’m an economist, the one thing I love by economics is competition. Competition is a wonderful thing. It drives innovation, and it drives cost down. And we you can see this, and again, I tell us as an example, you know, I’m almost 51 years old, when I was in high school, my dad got me involved in stock investing in high school. And we had a Merrill Lynch brokerage account that he put it set me up where he was the you know, the primary account, I was the minor, but you know, I was on the account. And I remember back then this is the mid to late 80s. One, it was 75 to $100 Commission to buy or sell any stock transaction, and you had to buy in round locks, right of 100, you couldn’t buy 10 shares or partial shares, it had to be 100, your best thing you could do is to have the dividend reinvestment plan the drips, to reinvest in your income stream from the dividends are paid out. Now you have quote, unquote, zero cost trading, nothing’s for you. But the zero cost, it’s all built into the fees and driven down the cost. And you have, you can buy partial shares, fractional shares, there’s so many things that innovation has done and competition to drive it down to democratize savings and investment for everyday Americans. That has happened over the last 30 years. Right To your point, we are now building the next generation of what this looks like, Morgan Stanley is doing it, others are doing it. And I see this being one where competition again will make me FinTech and basically being able to have automaticity, drive down costs, move people into an area where competition will make it not vanilla for everybody. But there’ll be areas in which for most people, a default will work. And so you know, people still want to have the ability to reach out to a person. But imagine we have a system like you laid out Jack, where the you know, the computers and the innovation, the FinTech and the algorithms are all going through and saying, we’ve created basically some sort of target date type fund system for you, that is going to reallocate based on your age. And you’ve told us at some risk profiling and preferences, and the market, what goes into equities, what goes into bonds, what goes International. And as you get older, we’re going to start converting that into some stream of income, not all of it, but part because people still are gonna need access to the market and equity because to check for inflation, and they’re gonna want some growth and request amount. That’s all gonna start happening. That’s not gonna be done automatic, but there are gonna be times when someone’s gonna say, wait a minute, I have a question, I need to talk to a person, you still need to have that option to talk to somebody. So imagine that 95% of things can be done automatically, but for 5% of people or 5% of the time for everybody doesn’t want a person, make that still available. That way, there’s still that human connection needed when necessary. And I think that’s where we’re going. And I think this is going to happen a lot quicker than we think. I think we’re going to see this happen, Jack in 10 years. I think the industry is changing so much now and we’re seeing it and you’re smiling me laughing.

Jack Sharry: I think it’s 10 years, I  think it’s two or three, I think it’s gonna happen quicker.

Jason Fichtner: Oh, god, you’re optimistic than I am good. All right. I thought you were laughing cuz I was being too early than an hour at all. Not at all. Good. Why do you think it’s earlier, but this is where public policy can help. So what I’d like to get Congress more involved in is to have the industry come in and say it’s in everyone’s best interest that people save, invest and have retirement security and do something that helps change their defined contribution assets into a stream of passive income in some capacity. How do we facilitate that? Is it regulatory barriers? Indigo, is it liability issues? Is it tax preferences? Is it all the above? That’s where Congress can help. And that’s where again, the public and private need to come in and work together and changing things. And we’re trying to do that with secure act 2.0. And then we’ll see what secure act 3.0 Looks like what it needs to what needs to happen?

Jack Sharry: Well, I can assure you, we are in great hands having an advocate like you for on this topic, because it’s complex, as you will know. And the good news is the marketplace is responding already. And as we align around really helping people lead better retirements. It’s a win for all so I really applaud the work you’re doing Jason and the work you’re doing with ALA and many other organizations around this. So thanks for that good work. Our time grows Nice. So this has been as always, and as expected a fascinating conversation. So as we wrap up, Jason, what are three key takeaways you’d like to share with our audience in terms of what they might leave with our conversation today?

Jason Fichtner: I think what I’d like for people to take away is one, there is no such thing as a normal retirement, right? Not one size fits all. So talk to somebody about your plans and plan for the future. Right? People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. So let’s plan that’s the first thing. The second one is really started thinking about security claiming if you can delay delay, right, you can always go secure tomorrow and After benefits reduced 62 and 70. But one of the best financial decisions you can make for secure retirement is to delay it until you actually need it. That would be the second. And then the third, make sure you find purpose when thinking about retirement because way too often we see people in submissives. Anecdotally, you also see it in the research, when people lose the connection to humans, right, whether it’s to the workplace, through family or friends, they start getting more mental the depression and physical depression signs go, make sure there’s something they’re doing to have purpose in your life, you’re having fun, whether it’s grandkids, traveling, reading, whatever it is, make sure that becomes part of your wellness plan. Because that’s how this fits together. So you can have a really meaningful, fun, happy, financially secure life, when you do decide to retire, whatever retirement means for the individual.

Jack Sharry: That’s terrific. Thank you, Jason. As always, real pleasure speaking with you. I’ve enjoyed our conversation very much. Thank you. And as we do each week on our podcasts, my favorite question, What is something you do outside of work that you were excited or passionate about? People might find interesting or surprising.

Jason Fichtner: So while I am someone who believes in managing risk very well, I don’t do that. When it comes to my hobby. I ride motorcycles. I have a really nice BMW S 1000 arm motorcycle, which is not a motorcycle for a 50 plus year old. It’s probably a motorcycle for late 20 or 30 year-old. And at some point, I should probably grow up and get a touring bike.

Jack Sharry: But that’s good for you to have Do you got to have some fun, right? So for our audience, if you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please rate review, subscribe and share what we’re doing here at wealth tech on deck. We’re available wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you again, Jason. It’s been a real pleasure. I really enjoyed it.

Jason Fichtner: Thanks for having me, Jack. Always a pleasure talking to you. And thanks for all the work you’re doing and helping educate people. I really appreciate that as well and all the kind words you’ve had for me today.