For the sliver of retirees who are far behind in paying their own or their children’s student loans, Social Security can withhold part of their benefits to pay the loans back. But college has gotten much more expensive since the Baby Boomers attended, and loan delinquencies are higher among working people and especially Black Americans. When today’s Black workers retire, their estimated household delinquency rate will be 5.4 percent – well more than double the rate for White and Hispanic retirees. The question is how withholding Social Security benefits will impact the financial security of these future retirees. In cases where the federal government withholds some benefits, it garnishees the lesser of 15 percent of a delinquent borrower’s monthly Retirement benefit or the amount of the benefit that exceeds $750 per month. Social Security’s average monthly benefit is currently $1,827. The withholding practice would reduce working households’ Retirement income in…
Originally Published on https://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/
I’m a veteran financial and economics reporter, most recently for The Boston Globe, who has also written for The Economist and other publications. I uncovered scandals during the savings and loan crisis in Texas back in the late 1980s, trekked around the world to cover finance and economics in the 1990s, and ventured into Boston neighborhoods to cover the recent subprime mortgage crisis.
While covering subprime mortgages, I began to see the importance of financial behavior and literacy. Wall Street excesses certainly fueled the crisis, but a poor understanding of complex financial products also played a major role. I interviewed dozens of homeowners in the grip of foreclosure who had agreed to home loans that they did not understand and that their brokers did not or could not explain to them. The consequences for these individuals – and the country – were disastrous.
I use the same dogged reporting skills to cover financial issues of growing importance today, including the personal crisis that concerns millions of baby boomers: Retirement.