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<Why not do away with the social security system as we know it and instead have mandatory self directed retirement accounts? Instead of paying to SS, we pay the same amount to a self directed investment account. Isn't the government supposedly trying to help us help ourselves with the whole SS system?>

One trouble with having everyone in a self-directed retirement account is that some will invest poorly and end up with an insufficient retirement. Some will earn so little that they CANNOT contribute a sufficient (if anything) amount to such a plan. I do not know if filing for bankruptcy will cause you to lose the contents of your IRA (I suppose someone does), but it would be to bad to lose your entire retirement account because of that. So the government will, in fact, have to help them even if they lost all their retirement money. (Would you want your mother to starve when she worked for 50 years with a self-directed plan and retired in November 1929? She would have had to wait until the mid 1950's or so to get her money back and she might not have lived that long. What would she eat in the meantime? Where would she live? What would she wear?)
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