Monday, September 28, 2009

More From the Social Security Administration

I'm not one of the doomsayers who believes in the imminent or eventual collapse of Social Security. Nor is this story from Wallet Pop intended to panic anyone.

There IS money to cover the deficit, and no eligible retiree will go unserved or unpaid. Not for the first time, Social Security's income will be exceeded by its outgo--a rerun from the '80's. As happened then, the current shortage will be covered within a year or two.

But in the meantime, the Social Security Administration is doublely hammered--job losses equal less money from FICA while increased early retirements mean more demand for their funds.

What saddens me the most are the human stories behind the surge of early retirements.

It's one thing to retire by choice.

Another to have to retire due to disability or the need to care for a loved one.

By far the worst is to be capable mentally and physically of working, to WANT to work, and yet to have nothing available.

I suppose that folks 62 and over are lucky to have the choice to retire, given the large numbers of youthful and middle-aged jobseekers out there. But I doubt it feels very lucky to those taking their retirement years before they needed to, wanted to or ever intended to do so.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace,

I was 53 when my job was downsized and was forced to retire. I did get termination pay and decided to take a year off and relax a bit. After 35 years in the workforce I thought I deserved it. My house was paid for, I had no debt and I received a monthly pension. My 401K was healthy and then everything changed. I lost a bunch of money, and even though I'm looking for a job, I've not been hired. In the long run I am still in better shape than most but I am one who would still be working if I could have. Maybe something will come my way!

Patti

Linda said...

My husband lost his job in 2007 at the age of 60. He had previously been the general counsel of a multinational corporation--but not one that offered a pension plan--but it had been bought a couple of years earlier by another corporation with its own general counsel. At the height of his knowledge and experience level, still wanting and needing to work since we have a granddaughter with life-threatening health challenges which means our daughter can't work a regular job, he eventually went the way of every other executive from the acquired company. At first, he was able to find some contract work but even that has dried up. My oldest daughter's mother-in-law, also an attorney, had the same experience. Neither has worked in more than a year. When some article writers describe Boomers who will bankrupt the social security system, I think with sadness of these people who did not want to leave their work. We saved, but who is to pay for a surgery or other medical procedure that my granddaughter's insurance won't authorize, if not us? Who is to pay for the physical therapy her older sister, with a milder form of her illness, needs and which costs $2,000 a month? The private health insurance that we pay for, for our daughter and her oldest child, is certainly not going to pay for it. Yet I know we're the lucky ones. Our granddaughter is alive when she wasn't supposed to be. I have work, even if it's low paying. We do have savings, at least for now.

The Chocolate Bunny said...

My grandparents are 67 and although they are very lucky to have Social Security, I always see them filling out forms or calling Social Security because Social Security has decided to lower their checks again. So although they are lucky, that must be a pain in the butt.

And although I agree with you about the death of Social Security, it does worry me and make me wonder if I will have Social Security by the time I retire (I'm in my 20s). Needless to say I've learned to prepare in case Social Security is extinct by the time I need it.

And yes, it must suck to be forced to take security when you don't want it.

Sharon said...

Grace,
PBS has a series of specials called the Retirement Revolution. In its' latest one, they believe that social security is as important as ever, and that with a bit of tweaking, it will run on forever. Let's hope.

I would hate to be forced into retirement...no fun in that.

John DeFlumeri Jr said...

Finding a worthwhile job at any age is tough with almost 15 million people unemployed in the US