There are many points to argue about what is right and wrong when it comes to Social Security and other age based entitled programs. But one point I think we can all agree on without beating the point to death is that Social Security is in serious trouble as we currently use it.
I am not interested in placing blame or running through all the statistical data why it won't last. Simply put, we borrow from the future to pay for the present but sooner or later the future shows up. Anyone that borrowed against their homes in the last few years knows all to well how that statement rings true.
But what will Obama of McCain or other politicians going to do about it? How about get real!
According to the American Academy of Actuaries, raising the retirement age to 70 will cut the projected Social Security deficit in half. The statistics back up this age as a base age to use to start benefits with incremental increases built in. The current system increases the social security age one month at a time to age 67 but that is not enough.
The fact of the matter is that people are living longer. In 1935 the retirement age was 65 and you could expect to collect for 12 years. Now that number is closer to 19 years. That's the type of inflation we can live with, “age inflation". But that puts pressure on the social programs geared to help seniors with their expenses including Medicare.
According to the National Bureau of Economics the retirement age that is more realistic is closer to 73-74. That might be pushing it a bit and probably impossible to get through politically. The American Academy of Actuaries concludes that long after all the baby boomers are gone the demographics tell us that social security will only cover 75% of its costs. Women will be affected even more since they live longer than men.
But will this be a blow to current generations regarding their expectations for retirement? The answer is no, at least not for those that have given it any thought. Many baby boomers have simply not saved enough for retirement and a large percentage of them do expect to earn some type of income through work during their retirement years.
Financial advisors are also not optimistic about their client's chances of retiring at the current young age of 65 and having their money last. Inflation and modest investment returns over the last decade have pushed an even greater number of workers into that work longer, save more demographic that will come to dominate those tapping age based social programs.
Raise the retirement age and acknowledge the simple fact that were living longer and we need to make some adjustments to age based entitlement programs.
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