An article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal highlighted http://on.wsj.com/hW9aGd something I (and many people like me) have been thinking for a long time. Although we’ve been paying into the Social Security program for more than 30 years (hey we were working in our teenage years!), there is a real possibility that Social Security will not be available for today’s fifty year olds until their mid or late seventies – if at all.
Recently I checked on my own projected SSA benefit at the .gov website http://1.usa.gov/fC1VlM that shows what one would take out on a monthly basis. For me the amount would not be insubstantial but it’s still a very long time before I could qualify to take the maximum benefit (most people will defer to that number in the hope they won’t need to reduce their ‘benefit’ by taking it earlier with penalties).
I realize that the minimum age for social security will continue to increase. The intellectual part of me knows that this has to happen in order for the system to remain solvent as long as possible. But that does very little for those people who are counting on Social Security as a substantial part of their ‘retirement’ income.
My particular generation may well have the distinction of paying into the Social Security system longer than any previous generation (since the minimum age is continually rising) and then have nothing left to take out when our time comes.
United States politicians are ‘aware’ of the problems and issues. President Obama and all of his recent predecessors have talked about problems with the future of the Social Security program. All would like you to believe that they will figure out a way for Social Security to be there for Americans. Given the current national debt problems I don’t see how Social Security can last twenty years without dramatic changes – changes that heretofore have been deemed anathema.
I don’t wish to be the dark cloud of doom on a spring Monday morning. But being a realist, has me thinking that my wife and I had best not plan for Social Security to ‘supplement’ (wasn’t that the original idea behind it in the first place?), our retirement income.
Of course I’m not even thinking about retirement. And while that does not bother me it’s a good thing since I think we’ll be working for many years to come. It’s also a good thing that I like what I do and generally enjoy working. But that’s hardly the case for many other people and there is bound to be some serious resentment on the part of people counting on Social Security when they realize it either is not going to be there until age 77+ if at all.
We’ve all been paying into the Social Security system. Are you counting on Social Security to be there when your turn comes?