On the enormous exhibit floor at the AARP’s Orlando@50+ event, our federal government is dominant. My unscientific assessment is that the government presence is second only to the AARP itself. No other entity is even close.
Most of the government booths are financial in nature: IRS, Treasury, SEC, FINRA, SSA, the list goes on. All of them seem concerned that we are going to mess up our financial lives. That concern is legitimate because a lot of the damage has already occurred.
I’m not sure the message is being received here in Orlando. Sadly, the reason for low attendance at the government booths may be swag, as in not enough of it to attract the swag collectors.
Still, it’s a big showing by the USA. The delivery of content? Not so good.
My evaluation is purely anecdotal so judge for yourself from these two examples:
Yesterday I stopped at the U.S. Treasury booth. The graphics and literature were focused on TreasuryDirect accounts and purchasing Treasury bills, notes, and bonds. I asked the nice ladies at the booth if they were employees of the Treasury Dept. When they said they were, I had my opening. I moved directly to the question of I-Bonds, and why the annual purchase limit was lowered from $30k per year to $5k per year.
They didn’t know. Instead they wanted to talk about other Treasury products that, in my opinion, are far less desirable for retirement savers.
So then I asked if the rumors were true: Would the Treasury be introducing any new products particularly helpful for retirement savers?
They didn’t know and oh by the way, how about our other products?
Forget it, I thought. I will move to my plan B, which was asking Anna Cabral these questions. Cabral is an AARP family finance ambassador, a conference speaker, and was U.S. Treasurer when the I Bond purchase limits were lowered.
Plan B didn’t work either. I asked Cabral I Bond questions at her press conference today. She 100% dodged all of them. You can take the politician out of politics but ………
Let’s briefly discuss my stop at the IRS booth. While there, a gentlemen approached and asked for literature about Required Minimum Distributions from retirement plans. Here’s Mr. IRS: Uh…… well….. that’s an excellent question but ….. I don’t have that material ready yet.
The questioner walked away shaking his head.
Exactly why is the IRS at an AARP convention without literature explaining RMDs?
A lot of taxpayer dollars were used to populate these USA booths. Not sure it was money well-spent.
At least I was able to see the NOAA Hurricane Simulator.