> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Lisa, are you one of those people still
> laboring under the delusion that Social Security is still going to be
> around and financially healthy when these younger guys start retiring
> in 2050 and 2060? Bush, in a rare moment of honesty, has already
> started breaking the news to us: Make your own plans for the future.
1) Social security was never meant to be a total pension, but rather a
supplement so a senior at least had something coming in. In most
cases, it wouldn't be enough for anyone to live on.
I'm nervous for the baby boomers who will retire with little savings
or pensions and debt. One still has to pay rent, eat, get around, pay
for health care, have some entertainment.
2) The NYT Magazine just had a major article discussing the SS issue.
They felt things are much healthier than suggested. At present, the
fund takes in more from taxes than it pays out, and they suggest that
will continue for some time. Once that ends, the surplus Trust Fund
can last for a very long time (remember, taxes are still coming in).
The article isn't hot reading, but I recommend it.
They do agree some tightening is in order, such as raising the tax
threshhold (so more taxes come in) or raising the retirement age
(which in effect lowers benefits).
I am not thrilled about Bush's plan to allow stock market investments
as a alternative.
What really concerns about about the future is the continuing
skyrocketing cost of healthcare. Seniors need lots of expensive care
-- where will that money come from, esp as people live longer? What
about the rest of us?
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I would agree with you on your first
point. Social Security is very skimpy, and I am sure is not enough
for most recipients to live on. My case is sort of 'special' in one
way. I am technically on SSD or 'disability'. Social Security's doctor
put me down as 'permanently disabled' due to the brain aneurysm. To
Social Security's way of thinking, 'permanently disabled' means seven
years from onset of the disability which in my case is 2006 (less
seven years since November, 1999). But SS has a 'special rule' which
says if the recipient is older than (or becomes older than) 63 years
of age at some time during their disability, SS gives that person a
'paper retirement' to what they would otherwise be entitled to if they
had retired at full retirement age. In other words, I do not get a
full pension at ordinary retirement age. If I were younger, it would
be necessary for the SS doctor to come examine me again during the 7th
year, and certify me again or deny me. Because of my age, SS simply
presumes "if I could have, I would have worked until age 67 and taken
full pension." I'll not have to see the doctor on this again, SS
will simply 'on paper' change my status from 'disabled' to 'retired'.
They may have already done it, although technically I will not be
65 for another 2 years. I am getting paid by SS now at the rate I
would have been paid at full retirement. Believe me, Lisa, it is very
pitiful for sure.
I could *never* afford to live in a large city, even if I wanted to.
Rent in Chicago or New York (anywhere decent, that is) would use up
my entire check! As a 'retiree' on a _very_ fixed income, the only
place I can afford to live in (a decent place) is a house that
**someone else** struggled and paid for, in my case, my father and
mother. My father passed more than a decade ago; my mother lives in
the old people's home here in Independence, and I took over her old
house and am paying off the couple years left on the mortgage. But a
crummy, tiny, roach-ridden hole in a large city would cost more than
this entire house costs me! My Social Security payment each month is
_larger_ than my mother's; she is getting by on what was allowed her
being married to my father and drawing on his retirement pay.
My brother Dan and his wife and Mike Sandman have all suggested I
should go back to Chicago to live; no way! Aside from other consid-
erations, I would really live hand to mouth if I moved there. PAT]