Friday, July 16, 2010

Social Security at 70? Maybe.

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There are discussions about deficit reduction, entitlements, saving Social Security and Medicare.  One of the ideas floated recently is raising the Social Security retirement age to 70.

From this side of 70—72—I can see a benefit to this, with some qualifications.

When I retired at 60 in 1998, I figured to start an “early” Social Security withdrawal at 62, and that’s what I finally did.

At the time I had an option of starting an early withdrawal at a considerable reduction in benefits.  I don’t remember the exact amount, but I’d say it was in the 50% range. 

My needs are small.  My teaching pension is small-ish, but doable.  The extra couple of hundred bucks was very helpful, and I saw no benefit to wait three years for plus five hundred dollars.  I’ve been lucky, got a break in housing five years ago.  And now, at 72, with a bit of Depression Era mind set from my parents, I’m not in trouble unless California truly succumbs to the Republican mantra of “starve the beast.”  (!)

If the retirement age for Social Security were to be enacted, along with a similar draw-down for “early” withdrawal pensioners, and some good luck along the way, surely there would be enough who would decide to take a smaller payment, and, thereby, the system would be a bit more sustainable.

With enough education, and enough time to develop private pensions, the system will be OK.

Let’s begin a discussion.  Speak with Social Security recipients.  Maybe we can help.

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