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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 02:51 PM   #21
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by donheff
I still think the fears are overblown. The vast majority of voters rely on SS for a substantial portion of their retirement. And as we boomers retire, we will become a very significant portion of the voting population. Congress won't gut SS because we would gut them.
Exactly. Still, it seems wise to allow for some form of means based benefit cuts for those under 55. I'd rather plan for a 25% cut in my personal SS benefits and a doubling of Medicare costs...then be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't happen.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 03:48 PM   #22
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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SS will be there for every reader of this board
but at what $ level?
Quote:
I doubt that we would ever see means-testing on SS
in essense it is already means-tested by it's treatment in the income tax
Quote:
it would be wise to assume a healthy discount on your "expected" social security.
ditto
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 03:52 PM   #23
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat

Never said there was a trust fund! - The program is running surplus currently. Medicare is the real crisis! Since it all comes out of the same pot, doesn't it make sense to fix the current problem?

Cuts are inevitable for those under age 45!

Because it all comes out of the same pot, and because SS & Medicare are the largest and fastest growing expenditure items, fixing them is necessary to ever hope of balancing the books over the long-term. The idea that the SS trust fund doesn't go "broke" for another 40 odd years won't prevent increased SS spending from busting the budget long before that.

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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 04:10 PM   #24
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Many opinions here about which age groups will be spared cuts: Nobody older than 45 needs to worry. Wait, make that 54. I wonder if the cutoff we imagine for "sanctuary" is in any way related to our own present age. "Okay, I'm on board now--pull up the ladder, let's go. Too bad about those young 'unz"


Likewise with discussions of who will pay higher taxes to shore up SS--somehow the "filthy rich who need to pay more" generally are a few bucks higher on the scale than the person doing the talking.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 05:07 PM   #25
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Can I count on Social Security. Twice a month, hers and mine. You, OTOH, should work until you're 70 or 75, so I can keep counting on it.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 05:44 PM   #26
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Re: Can you count on SS?

If someone knows, please explain to me this: If you stop working at age 51 say (, how does that affect the calculation of the SS benfit you might get at 62 or if I wait, 67+?

Thanksf ro the info.
OH josh
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:11 PM   #27
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Just for fun...

If there were means testing, how do you think it would work? Would they just look at your net worth? Would they include the value of your home? Would they treat retirement accounts the same as taxable? Would they look at pensions?
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:11 PM   #28
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OHjosh
If someone knows, please explain to me this: If you stop working at age 51 say (, how does that affect the calculation of the SS benfit you might get at 62 or if I wait, 67+?
I believe the calculation uses your highest 35 years of income. Letting it slide for a few years generally wouldn't have a large impact if you have nearly 35 years behind you. But they do count as zeros in the calculation. Being at my peak earnings now, I don't mind a bit when each year replaces a year of $11,000 back in the 70s.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:14 PM   #29
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
If there were means testing, how do you think it would work? Would they just look at your net worth? Would they include the value of your home? Would they treat retirement accounts the same as taxable? Would they look at pensions?
Take a look at medicaid, which is means tested. They basically evaluate everything other than your home, as I understand it.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:18 PM   #30
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Just for fun...

If there were means testing, how do you think it would work? Would they just look at your net worth? Would they include the value of your home? Would they treat retirement accounts the same as taxable? Would they look at pensions?
Can you imagine how much work it would take to report and have the bureaucracy look at all those things? I don't know how government could get their arms around it. The only easy means test would be based on your income reported for tax purposes. And we know how misleading that could be.

EDIT: With reference to Wab's comment on medicaid means testing, people have tried for years to do medicaid planning to divest themselves of assets to be eligible. I can see it now for SS.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:26 PM   #31
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by Martha
Can you imagine how much work it would take to report and have the bureaucracy look at all those things? I don't know how government could get their arms around it. The only easy means test would be based on your income reported for tax purposes. And we know how misleading that could be.
Why would the gov need to get their arms around anything? Tell us your "means." If we later find out that you lied to us, you'll owe us a bunch of money and perhaps go to jail. In Texas, I understand they take this one step further. If you receive LTC benefits from the state, they will look for repayment from your estate once you're dead. Even if you were entitled to those benefits. Personally, I like the idea.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 06:35 PM   #32
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Fraud, waste and abuse.

I see lots of employment opportunities in the SSA.

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Originally Posted by wab
In Texas, I understand they take this one step further. If you receive LTC benefits from the state, they will look for repayment from your estate once you're dead. Even if you were entitled to those benefits. Personally, I like the idea.
True in a lot of other states as well. My father got medicaid legitimately and his assets were used to pay medicaid after he died.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 07:44 PM   #33
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OHjosh
If someone knows, please explain to me this: If you stop working at age 51 say (, how does that affect the calculation of the SS benfit you might get at 62 or if I wait, 67+?

Thanksf ro the info.
OH josh
The best way to understand and learn is to go to the SS web site and use one of the calculators. You can plug in whatever hypothetical scenario you want and see the outcome. Really helps you understand..........
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 07:49 PM   #34
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by Martha
Can you imagine how much work it would take to report and have the bureaucracy look at all those things? I don't know how government could get their arms around it. The only easy means test would be based on your income reported for tax purposes. And we know how misleading that could be.
Determining the formula and enforcing compliance will be tough, no doubt. But I think the political pressure to stop "wealthy" folks from receiving full SS will be very high. Politicians will buckle.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 07:52 PM   #35
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by REWahoo!

I really liked this advice...not for me of course, but for everyone else : "...keep working—if possible—until you are age 70 or 75. This boosts eventual retirement income because your assets are saved and invested longer."
I can't imagine a more awful fate, depending on the kind of job of course. But I have seen 65+ people trying to work the checkout lanes and they look pretty tired. People are OLD in their seventies, they can't keep working full time. And who will hire them anyway? Working until 70+ is a real good way to cut short your retirement permanently. This SS delimma will be the biggest social issue of the next decades, IMHO.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 08:15 PM   #36
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Just for fun...

If there were means testing, how do you think it would work? Would they just look at your net worth? Would they include the value of your home? Would they treat retirement accounts the same as taxable? Would they look at pensions?
I think they would (and will) base it on taxable income. That would include most of pensions, all of RMDs, and capital gains. Anything else gets too complicated.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 08:46 PM   #37
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Congress..........fiscally sound......
Isn't that like an oxymoron
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-02-2006, 09:12 PM   #38
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Just for fun...

If there were means testing, how do you think it would work? Would they just look at your net worth? Would they include the value of your home? Would they treat retirement accounts the same as taxable? Would they look at pensions?
Social Security is already means tested. Up to 85% of your Social Security income is now taxed, depending on how high your income is. Also, the top earners receive a lower proportion of their lifetime earnings as a benefit than the low earners.

So, will Social Security be means tested?? Yes, because it already is and Congress will continue to erode the benefits in ways that aren't immediately obvious to most of the voters.
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-03-2006, 12:33 AM   #39
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Re: Can you count on SS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
Many opinions here about which age groups will be spared cuts: Nobody older than 45 needs to worry. Wait, make that 54. I wonder if the cutoff we imagine for "sanctuary" is in any way related to our own present age. "Okay, I'm on board now--pull up the ladder, let's go. Too bad about those young 'unz"


Likewise with discussions of who will pay higher taxes to shore up SS--somehow the "filthy rich who need to pay more" generally are a few bucks higher on the scale than the person doing the talking.
Most of the proposals I've seen to "fix" social security pretty much exempt those over 55 from sharing much of the pain, so I think it's reasonable for that group to presume things will remain largely unchanged for them.

You might have noticed that Bush didn't make much headway recently wrt to SS reform. I don't expect to see any meaningful reform occur during the next administration in it's first term either out of fear of losing a shot at a second term by "touching the third rail". If that's the case, we might see meaningful reform in ~2012 or later. Because of that, I think it's reasonable for folks currently over 50 to assume they'll see very little of the pain either.

My guess is they'll dole the pain out on a sliding scale, with the young bearing the brunt of the bad news, and those nearing retirement age will be largely spared as they will not have had "ample warning" to make other arrangements...

I'm 47 now, and reduce my current SSA projections by 25% in my FIRE analysis, but I really think that's probably a bit more conservative than I really need to be due to the above.

Cb
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Re: Can you count on SS?
Old 11-03-2006, 01:23 AM   #40
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Re: Can you count on SS?

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Originally Posted by Oldbabe
I can't imagine a more awful fate, depending on the kind of job of course. But I have seen 65+ people trying to work the checkout lanes and they look pretty tired. People are OLD in their seventies, they can't keep working full time. And who will hire them anyway? Working until 70+ is a real good way to cut short your retirement permanently. This SS delimma will be the biggest social issue of the next decades, IMHO.
I agree. A fate worse than death.

JG
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