COMMENTARY | If the Social Security trust fund really does run dry in 2033, I'm blaming the baby boomers. Baby boomers know there isn't enough money to support their large population numbers. Still, they expect a Social Security raise while making sure the future generations receive less entitlement funds in the form of Social Security benefits.
It seems ridiculous to suggest raising the Social Security age again to preserve the wealth of the current retirees. According to a recent MarketWatch article, the projection for when Social Security reserves are depleted is unchanged from one year ago. However, officials say the Medicare program won't run out until 2026, which is two years later than previously expected. According to the article, the average Social Security benefit is $1,270 a month.
Living on Social Security
I'm sure most Gen-Xers could live on the current Social Security benefits alone simply because they have lived on lower incomes at some point in their lives. However, by 2033, Gen-Xers would be receiving at least a 30 percent benefit cut if they retired. Meanwhile, baby boomers have the attitude of "What do I care? I'll be dead."
Most Gen-Xers entered the job market when all of the higher-paying jobs were already filled by baby boomers. Some workers make less than the average Social Security benefit. Instead of giving current retirees a cost-of-living adjustment, lawmakers should increase minimum wage so workers make at least as much as retirees.
Raising the retirement age
Lawmakers have raised the retirement age in the past to bolster Social Security. At this point, Gen-Xers can't receive full retirement until they are 67 years old. I would not want my children or grandchildren to have to wait until they are even older to collect Social Security. Retirees had their entire working lives to save into retirement accounts. They shouldn't expect the entire country to make economic sacrifices to supplement their retirement income.
Increasing my retirement number
Because I can't depend on retirees today to take some responsibility for the problems with Social Security, I have to save more for my retirement in another 25 years. I'm anticipating higher expenses in the future. I can't count on a pension, or the kind of Social Security benefits retirees enjoy today. Experts with Fidelity say I need to have at least three times my salary saved by age 45. I plan to save at least four times my salary by age 45. It won't be easy but I don't want my well-being in retirement to rest on a Social Security deposit that may be so small it makes the average Social Security check today seem like a jackpot winning.
Retiring in place
I also think baby boomers had a lot to do with the housing crisis. Many of the flippers I knew were baby boomers who wanted to make a quick profit on their homes. My husband and I couldn't afford to purchase a home until we were in our 30s. Like many Gen-Xers we purchased a home during the top of the housing bubble. We didn't buy your home with the intention to dupe the next buyer. We just wanted a buy a home that we could live in. Now we are inclined to retire in place to save on the costs of moving.
Ultimately, my husband and I are planning for a simple retirement. We are saving more money for retirement so that we don't have to depend on Social Security benefits. I have no doubt Social Security benefits will be wiped out years before I retire, especially if baby boomers don't give back.
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- Investing Education
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