Do you think your retirement savings are safe? Don’t be so sure. Megan McArdle thinks that Congress will likely go after your Roth IRA piggybank, among other hoards.
When I look at the budget problems we face, I’m skeptical that Congress is going to live up to its promise to keep its hands off that money. At the very least, I’d bet that high earners are going to see some sort of surtax on their Roth withdrawals.
Of course, I think this is true of non-Roth retirement savings as well. Ultimately, Congress is going to be faced with penalizing people who didn’t save adequately for retirement by cutting their benefits, or penalizing people who did save, by raising taxes on their savings. For a lot of reasons, I expect them to err on the side of penalizing savings.
She’s adjusting her savings accordingly.
I’ve started thinking about saving in ways that Uncle Sam won’t be tempted to touch–like paying off your house early, maybe buying a vacation home (for cash) if you know where you’re likely to want to spend a lot of time, and doing the kind of renovations that save you money in the long run–better insulation, higher-end energy-efficient appliances, etc. Paying now to lower your monthly costs later may have a better after-tax return than that “tax free” account.
But, of course, Rep. Paul Ryan finally opened the serious debate about our long-term budget, and President Obama is going to follow with a (hopefully) serious response later this. With this debate underway, maybe future Congress won’t feel the need to touch our piggybanks.