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View Poll Results: Can you retire without social security?
I count on some social security in my household, or I would not be able to retire as planned. 77 38.12%
I have sufficient assets/income, and could/can retire without any social security in our/my budget. 125 61.88%
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #41
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Thanks to the boomers it will not be a choice for me.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:28 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
Well, since you asked so politely , I'll give you my answer. I have much more control of my money than I do of SS. I don't trust the gov't to follow through, and can't really see how they can, given the financial situation. Since they probably can't fulfill their promise as stated, they'll be looking for someone to steal from. I'm well off, and have a big bullseye on my back. I have no doubt they'll give me something, but I don't know what. So I don't count on it.

As far as pensions, I doubt most people in private industry would consider them rock solid. But the money in my personal accounts is as safe as I can make it. Even if the gov't adds a VAT, I can play various tax games to minimize the bite. I guess it comes down to being a bird in the hand type. I don't have it yet, so I'm not counting on it. As others have said, whatever I get will be icing, and I'll use it to shrink my SWR and leave some money to DD when I die.
Other than money you hide from them, I could see a situation where they take the bird out of your hand or at least get a good chunk of breast and wing. If things got really bad where 50% of joe public needed SS income to eat, then I wouldn't put it past the government to tax Roths or something else we now consider unthinkable.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:33 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by saluki9 View Post
Thanks to the boomers it will not be a choice for me.
You know, most boomers paid a lot of money into SS. It probably will still be there for you.

What is this boomer hate that is becoming so vocal? I really don't understand it (it's not just in this post - I see this more and more). I don't mean it as a criticism of this poster, because it's being said a lot.

My experience of the 30 - 40 somethings is that they spend a hell of a lot more than I ever did if they make a lot of money, and save very little. I don't mean to generalize but this IS my experience.

I retired by bringing my lunch to work, not getting coffee at Starbucks, eating at home, maxing out all savings plans, and living below my means. I don't see that happening a lot outside this forum.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:35 PM   #44
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Other than money you hide from them, I could see a situation where they take the bird out of your hand or at least get a good chunk of breast and wing. If things got really bad where 50% of joe public needed SS income to eat, then I wouldn't put it past the government to tax Roths or something else we now consider unthinkable.
I'd have cashed out and run off to Costa Rica before that happened. I wouldn't be able to take SS with me. Another reason to not count on it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:52 PM   #45
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You know, most boomers paid a lot of money into SS. It probably will still be there for you.

What is this boomer hate that is becoming so vocal? I really don't understand it (it's not just in this post - I see this more and more). I don't mean it as a criticism of this poster, because it's being said a lot.
Guess what group of people is being set up as the villain for the coming federal budget battles involving entitlements. I sense a semantic disturbance in the language...
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:53 PM   #46
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I have never counted on receiving social security. Given that it is by no means impossible to fix the problems facing the system, I suspect that I will receive something eventually, but it seems the more conservative planning assumption would be zero. If and when I do get anything, I can use it as "mad money".

While it is not the case for me, the only downside to assuming zero SS would be that it could cause you to delay your retirement.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:56 PM   #47
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Guess what group of people is being set up as the villain for the coming federal budget battles involving entitlements. I sense a semantic disturbance in the language...
The naives are restless....
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:03 PM   #48
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I retired by bringing my lunch to work, not getting coffee at Starbucks, eating at home, maxing out all savings plans, and living below my means. I don't see that happening a lot outside this forum.
That is one of the great things about this forum. Some, though not all, of us got to retirement just like you did and we have that in common.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:04 PM   #49
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Not counting SS in your retirement could cause you to delay doing some of the things that are a bit easier when you are young.

If we count on SS, then we can probably ER at age 45 and do the sail around the world thing along with some extensive hiking and roughing it (would like to spend some time in Australia too). If we have to save an additional amount to invest in an anuity with a return equal to SS, then we probably couldn't retire until 49 or 50. Is it worth missing those "young" years when your health (may) be a bit stronger just because you are scared that SS will not be around? The bird in the hand strategy could also apply to your youth and health...retire early and count on SS being there while you still have the ability to do some of the things that are much harder when you are in your 60s and 70s.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:45 PM   #50
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SS is 40% of our retirement income. Doing without it would be possible, but quite uncomfortable.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #51
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Regardless of the age you choose to retire, and regardless of whether you plan receiving on the projected amount of social security, or have budgeted something less for social secuirty (but you are still counting on sonething), could you/can you retire without any social security?
We are retired and would be ok without SS.

We'd have less 'sin' money...but that's ok.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:50 PM   #52
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Been retired since 2002 and have yet to tap my SS so I guess I can retire w/o it. Plan on pulling the cord in about 4 years at age 70 to reap the extended benefits, unless I need the $ before that time to live on.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:50 PM   #53
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I could manage without it, yes.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:54 PM   #54
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Not to get too far a field, but why is SS and entitlement? When I order something from Amazon and pay for it, Amazon owing me a product is not in entitlement. SS is a contract between government and citizen. For me, the un-earned income tax credit is a pure entitlement. Milk, cheese, etc. subsidies are entitlements. But something we paid for is not an entitlement. IMHO.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:05 PM   #55
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It seems stupid and silly to not count SS in your retirement plans.
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I have never counted on receiving social security. Given that it is by no means impossible to fix the problems facing the system, I suspect that I will receive something eventually, but it seems the more conservative planning assumption would be zero. If and when I do get anything, I can use it as "mad money".
While it is not the case for me, the only downside to assuming zero SS would be that it could cause you to delay your retirement.
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Not counting SS in your retirement could cause you to delay doing some of the things that are a bit easier when you are young.
The quality of your commentary improved greatly from one post to the next, perhaps with the observation that Gumby is not wont to "stupid" or "silly".

How to Disagree
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:16 PM   #56
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The quality of your commentary improved greatly from one post to the next, perhaps with the observation that Gumby is not wont to "stupid" or "silly".

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I actually did not read Gumby's post before writing mine, but it was quite an obvious conclusion anyway.

I did not really mean to imply that anyone on ER was stupid or silly, but rather the general opinion that social security is a very unreliable source of future income is stupid and silly. I am sorry if it came across that I was calling everyone dumb.

SS isn't going anywhere as long as they keep the handrails and ramps to the voting booths in good repair.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:11 PM   #57
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If I can trust that future market returns are like those of the past and that FIRECalc can be trusted, then yes, I can live on my savings alone.

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Not to get too far a field, but why is SS an entitlement? When I order something from Amazon and pay for it, Amazon owing me a product is not in entitlement. SS is a contract between government and citizen. For me, the un-earned income tax credit is a pure entitlement. Milk, cheese, etc. subsidies are entitlements. But something we paid for is not an entitlement. IMHO.
Sorry to disillusion you, but "The Supreme Court has established that no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits. The Court decided, in Flemming v. Nestor (1960), that "entitlement to Social Security benefits is not a contractual right"."

For more info, see Social Security (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), from which I cited the above excerpt.

Specifically, the Court said that SS is not at all like an annuity contract. It said that "A person covered by the Social Security Act has not such a right in old-age benefit payments as would make every defeasance of "accrued" interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment." The government, or actually Congress, "expressly reserved the right to alter, amend or repeal any provision of the (Social Security) Act."
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:32 PM   #58
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If I can trust that future market returns are like those of the past and that FIRECalc can be trusted, then yes, I can live on my savings alone.


Sorry to disillusion you, but "The Supreme Court has established that no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits. The Court decided, in Flemming v. Nestor (1960), that "entitlement to Social Security benefits is not a contractual right"."

For more info, see Social Security (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), from which I cited the above excerpt.

Specifically, the Court said that SS is not at all like an annuity contract. It said that "A person covered by the Social Security Act has not such a right in old-age benefit payments as would make every defeasance of "accrued" interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment." The government, or actually Congress, "expressly reserved the right to alter, amend or repeal any provision of the (Social Security) Act."
So, it's more of a handshake agreement with fingers crossed behind the back?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:05 PM   #59
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I'm still accumulating, so I could just accumulate more before I retire if there was no SS. Likewise, if my company eliminated their pension plan and replaced it with a much less valuable defined contribution plan (happened), or if another company changed the computation of contributions in their favor by a significant amount (happened), or if a lifestyle change like divorce took away most of the assets (happened) or some overly aggressive investing lead to losing half my savings (happened) I could accommodate my plans and still retire. I don't expect the current rules of taxation to change in my favor anytime soon, but I do expect they will likely change against me, not to mention other possible setbacks like health issues. If my retirement plans could not adjust to deal with these, then yes I would end up dependent on SS.

That doesn't mean I will lightly give it up (especially after having sunk so much cost into paying into it) nor would I be happy about any of the other possible things that can go wrong with my plan. When something does go wrong, I will adapt. Once retired, I do not plan to return to work unless something truly awful happens. Loss of SS isn't that.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:07 PM   #60
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I retired by bringing my lunch to work, not getting coffee at Starbucks, eating at home, maxing out all savings plans, and living below my means. I don't see that happening a lot outside this forum.


exactly what i did too. when i decided to retire ss was not really a factor. however, at age 62 my pension is cut by 22% to account for the fact that i COULD start collecting ss! so with ss and the reduction in my pension i will have more income than i do now. if you are 45 or younger i would not count on getting ss, for those of us with a couple of years to go i think we will be ok.

a couple of years ago i looked at my contributions to ss and what they are going to pay me and it is amazing that it won't take more than a few years (4, 5 maybe 6 i forget) to get back every cent i paid into ss. this does not count my employer's contributions.

and as far as delaying it, no way. take it at 62, the break even point for me is almost 18 years.
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