Key economic issues in the 2020 presidential election and beyond

As the candidates get going for 2020, there are a number of important themes that need to be discussed in this campaign and, indeed, that will remain significant for the foreseeable future. Three of these crucial concerns are:

  1. Healthcare
  2. College costs and debt
  3. Retirement savings

These are the ‘big 3’ items for which people need substantial savings. While the personal savings in the U.S. is much higher than its low levels of the mid 2000’s, it remains low by historical standards. Equally important, people rely far more on personal savings today than in the last couple of generations, when college was cheaper, employer-provided healthcare was more generous, and when far more people had employer-sponsored pensions rather than relying on their own savings.

With skyrocketing college debt and low balances in self-directed retirement accounts, we clearly need some serious discussion of these issues, along with healthcare. Relating to retirement, we also need to address how to shore up Social Security and Medicare.

Over several decades, the United States has seen a major transition in how American’s pay for these big ticket expenses. While college costs are getting quite a bit of attention in the lead-up to 2019, and healthcare costs remain a big theme, retirement plans have not seen much discussion so far.