In 2013 we saw the first of the baby boomer generation reach the magical 70 1/2 age which began a new trend where these retirees will have to start liquidating their tax deferred assets to pay Uncle Sam his due. And while that first year saw only around $9 billion sold off from 401Ks, IRAs, and other tax deferred accounts, the Law of Compounding will begin to work against the markets in 2017 as an estimated 100,000 will be taking more distributions from their retirements than they will be contributing to them.
In aggregate, per the Wall Street Journal, Boomers have saved $10 trillion in various tax-deferred saving accounts. While that sounds like an impressive figure, with 75 million Boomers, it equates to an average of $133,000 per person which, needless to say, is insufficient to fund ~20 years of retirement.
But while the Boomers, and by extension taxpayers, are facing a harsh future, Wall Street has made a killing in fees off of managing the ever growing balance of retirement accounts as Baby Boomers have come of age. But that all looks set to change as America's aging population is forced by IRS regulations to take retirement withdrawals once they hit 70 1/2 years of age.
As illustrated by the chart above, over the past 2 decades Americans have consistently contributed more than they've withdrawn from tax deferred accounts, excluding recessionary periods. But that all changed in 2013 and 2014 as the first wave of Boomers hit the magical age of 70.5 with a total of $25 billion of net withdrawals in 2014 alone.
Contributions to tax-deferred retirement plans outnumbered withdrawals through much of the 1990s and 2000s. That flow began to reverse as boomers entered their retirement years earlier this decade.
Investors pulled a net $9 billion from workplace retirement-savings plans in 2013, according to the Labor Department. In 2014 the withdrawals jumped to net $24.9 billion. Full-year information for 2015 from the Labor Department isn’t yet available, but large mutual-fund companies that manage the bulk of U.S. retirement assets say outflows continue to rise. Fidelity Investments expects 100,000 customers to take their first required distributions in 2017, up from 91,000 in 2016.
Still, distributions are expected to grow exponentially over the next two decades because of a 1986 change to federal law designed to prevent the loss of tax revenue. Congress said savers who turn 70 ½ have to start taking withdrawals from tax-deferred savings plans or face a penalty. Specifically, retirees who turn 70 ½ have until April of the following calendar year to pull roughly 3.65% from their IRA and 401(k) funds, subject to slight differences in the way the funds are treated by the Internal Revenue Service. - Zerohedge
It has reached that time when Paul must pay back Peter for the years baby boomers spent deferring their taxes to save for their retirements, and Uncle Sam will not care how it affects the overall markets in the short and long runs. And like the fact that Social Security no longer has enough workers paying in to support the benefits being taken out by these same boomer recipients, the retirement programs of 40 and 50 years ago will have to redone for a different world, and where the younger generation will need to rely more upon themselves than in being able to use Wall Street as their retirement vehicle.