A recent article by Bertha Coombs of CNBC debated the idea of working until we are 70. According to the article, "Executives of the Business Roundtable are urging Congress to raise the Social Security and Medicare age eligibility to 70, from the current 67, and to adopt means testing for wealthier retirees, in order to keep the entitlement programs solvent longer-term."
Some might balk at the idea of working longer in an effort to bolster such programs, but it really doesn't bother me that much. Would I rather have my benefits earlier? Sure. Do I think we're being wasteful with the programs' money and think current expenditures could be tightened and used more effectively? Definitely! However, I'm still okay working until I'm 70 if I have to. Here's why.
Not Counting Solely on the Government
Even as a child, I like doing things for myself. This trend has continued into adulthood as I find that I don't like to depend upon others for much of anything. I work for myself, think for myself, and tend not to conform to the norm when it comes to things like trends, technology, and style.
So it would make sense that when it comes to my retirement planning, I don't like to depend solely upon the government for my finances. Sure, it's my money that I've paid into the Social Security and Medicare funds; however, the government is managing it, so technically I would have to depend upon them to retrieve said funds. By taking the view that I might not retrieve all or even any of these funds, then I take some of my future dependence upon the government out of the retirement equation. While I hope to get some of that money back, I'm certainly not making it my only source of retirement income, and therefore am looking to other income streams like retirement accounts, continued part-time work, and similar options to help fund my retirement.
And of course, just because the government might decide to raise the retirement age, I'm willing to bet that they still leave options open for taking early retirement. Like the current system, early drawing retirement from Social Security would likely be a bad financial move since it would significantly reduce the payment amounts, but like I said, it's an option, albeit one I might not take unless I had to or it appeared that the trust fund was in danger of imminent demise or I was facing serious health issues of some sort. Otherwise, I think I'd be content to continue working and/or relying on other retirement funding options until I could take full retirement -- as long as it remained at around age 70.
There are downsides to my working longer though. I love my work and enjoying being productive, so those aren't reasons. However, while we keep hearing about how healthy people are becoming these days, and how long the boomers are going to live, I am beginning to have my doubts.
In 2012, there was a flux of people I know in their early to mid-60s that died suddenly rather suddenly. I'm not trying to sound morbid here, but it's a fact. At least five people I either know well (and I don't know that many) or know through a family member died -- all baby boomers and all in their 60s. It tends to make me wonder about the statistics of people living longer, healthier lives, and if this begins to become a trend, then it's certainly something to consider when it comes to my retirement. I don't want to push off taking Social Security benefits to full retirement age only to die before reaching that point. What a waste.
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