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Reply #17: You're assuming that people who live to be 80 will [View All]

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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-03 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. You're assuming that people who live to be 80 will

"use up" Social Security but their "extra" years are offset by the people who die before they reach retirement age or after drawing benefits for only a year or two (or whatever the actuaries "allowed" for.) Is it a statistically perfect offset? Probably not but I think we can adjust for any problems by putting more money into Social Security by taxing all the income that's currently exempt from FICA.

I know that at 33 you feel like you'll never draw any Social Security but I think it's the children of your generation who'll run into a problem and that's only if we don't stop politicians from taking money out of it. The real danger is not longer life expectancies but privatization and other schemes to rob the system. Someday the average life expectancy may go up enough that the retirement age will need to be raised. On the other hand, pollution and both old and new diseases will work against an increased life expectancy. People who believed the EPA assertions that the air in NYC was OK after 9-11 may have a diminished life expectancy. Many chronic diseases are increasing, especially those related to the immune system. Asthma, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis and others are increasing. Alzheimers. Then there's West Nile, Lyme disease, malaria, dengue fever, AIDS, ebola. Remember the SARS epidemic? Mad cow disease is associated with CJ in humans. And terrorism may start being a more routine cause of death here. Tuberculosis was a big problem in FDR's time and it's been making a comeback. Bottom line: nobody gets out of here alive.

The Social Security system makes money off people who die before retiring unless they have a surviving spouse and/or children who draw benefits. Many people don't realize how the system works. Someone I know has been counting on her husband's Social Security for her retirement and thinking that whenever he died, she'd collect. When a friend pointed out to her that she would not collect unless he was over retirement age when he died, she developed a great interest in preserving her husband's health!

Another woman I know has had to go back to work following her husband's death last year. He was older than she, had been ill for years, and they had been living on his Social Security since his retirement. She quit working when he retired in order to spend time with him and care for him because doctors had told him that his heart was so bad there was nothing more to be done for him. When his heart finally gave out, so did his Social Security benefits because she's not old enough to collect.

When she does reach 65, she will probably draw his benefits rather than her own (most men draw more because of higher salaries and not being out of the workforce due to having children) but in any case, she's had to go back to work after fifteen or twenty years out of it. He had no life insurance because no one would insure him with his bad heart. For nearly a year after his death, her daughter and other family and friends were supporting her because she was distraught about her husband's death and not able to go back to work. In a lot of places, this woman wouldn't be able to find work. She's a neat person and a good worker but her age and years out of the job market would go against her with many employers. I think she was able to find employment because she knows so many people in this area.

Think of all the women not as fortunate. If she hadn't found work, I expect she would have soon had to sell her house (a simple, small house bought many years ago, probably more cheaply than renting.) Her car's fifteen years old if it's a day and has no air conditioning so it's not much of an asset. The neocons would say he should have had life insurance but the man had a bad heart when he was young so he could never get insurance. (Lesson: Get life insurance and medical insurance as soon as you can, before you develop any "pre-existing conditions" that will make you uninsurable!) Savings? How do you save when all your money goes to medical expenses and food?

Her family should take care of her? Well, she only has one child. And she has an elderly mother of her own to look after! Many of us baby boomers have only one child, or none at all. My parents had four children who lived to adulthood but only two of us had children and we each have only one. Sometimes that scares me and makes me think I should have had more kids, so they could share the burden of looking after me when I'm old. I'd have really liked having more kids but it didn't seem like a responsible choice, financially or environmentally. When you're 20 and 30 you make the best choices you can, trying to anticipate what the situation will be when you're 40, 50, 60, 70. It helps a lot if you inherit millions to start with.

Enough rambling. If anyone reads this, thanks!
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