First Person: I Do Not Expect Social Security

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Apparently, Social Security is not necessarily a great investment these days. According to a new study , retirees in the future may be faced with a scenario where they get less money out than what they put in over their lifetime. This is hardly a big surprise given the challenges of funding governmental programs. I can't say that I am optimistic that this will change in the future. When the Social Security program was started in 1935, government leaders could not have anticipated how the financing would unfold in the future. Because of that, I do not expect Social Security to exist when I am ready to retire. Maybe it will look different, and perhaps it will not be there at all.

Skipping that box

When I calculate for retirement, I do not include Social Security in my numbers. For me, this is part of a conservative approach to retirement planning. It certainly changes my equations, but I have to deal with a few realities that are more on the negative side if I am going to forecast scenarios that include various possibilities. Life is hard to predict. Every month I have money put into a 401k through my work, and I also put monthly contributions into other retirement funds. Those are elements that I can control to a certain extent. I can't really control Social Security or how it is administered.

Curious to watch the battle

Granted, it isn't like I am thrilled about the prospect of losing Social Security. I am not necessarily close to retirement, but I have paid a decent amount of money into the fund over my years of work. Will all that money end up going to others? Perhaps. At the moment, plenty of Americans rely on that money. This includes friends and family that need those monthly checks. I will be curious to see what sort of governmental battle might erupt if someone suggests that the fund needs to be phased out. I have a lot of friends who share my mindset and do not plan on Social Security, but that doesn't mean it will just disappear without a little arguing.

A little bonus

For now, let's call Social Security my bonus plan for retirement. I don't know if I will have enough for retirement at this point. It is hard to forecast how my investments will go in the future and what will happen with jobs, housing and other life events. I work hard to save for retirement on my own. Every year I get those statements from the government that give me an estimated value of my Social Security when I retire. However, I take that with a grain of salt. If it happens, then great. If not, I won't be shocked.

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