March 16, 2020

In some tremendous news, last year the average 401(k) balance rose to $112,300, an increase of 17 percent from the prior year. Similarly, the average individual retirement account (IRA) balance rose 17 percent to $115,400. Both are new records.

Surging markets worldwide were responsible for the growth. Just last year alone, the S&P 500 booked a 31.5 percent gain.

In even better news, worker savings rates increased to 8.9 percent of pay, according to Fidelity, setting a record. And when combined with employer matches, the average savings rate rose to 13.5 percent per quarter, matching a record.

But there is some stunning news too.

That is, nearly half of all Americans age 55 and older have no retirement savings, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. None! These folks will have to work past their expected retirement age, if they ever stop working at all.

Given that last statistic, it’s becoming clearer why Americans want socialism. The vast amount of support going towards Bernie Sanders should tell us something.

I don’t think people want socialism as much as they want change.

Many folks see little hope for improvement in their situation, no matter their sacrifice or extra effort. After all, half of all U.S. workers got no pay raise in the past year. Plus, an unexpected $400 expense is a potential financial problem for 40 percent of Americans.

Nobody in authority is helping. So, when people hear easy answers, they’re all in.

In many ways, Sanders’ rise is like President Trump’s ascent. People feel neglected and want things to change. Both candidates capitalized on that fact.

Trump won. Sanders may too.

Swinging from Trump to Sanders in four years shows something bigger is happening. People are desperate and making desperate choices.