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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, 09:08 PM   #61
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I paid for it and expect it to be there. Any "means test" should consider the hours i put in to earn my contribution privelage.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:20 PM   #62
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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...
+1
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:22 PM   #63
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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.

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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.
Yes, and I think we are the exception to the norm. That's why I like this forum so much. Oh, that, and the silly jokes...
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:26 PM   #64
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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.
This is the kind of scare tactic statement that I hear all the time. If you are in your 30s or early 40s, no way should you count on SS.

Huh? If we are paying for it too, then why should't we also get it? What makes a person who is 60 today special over someone who is 40? Why should the 60 yr old get full SS and the 40 yr old get squat when he is 62?

Oh, but you say "the 40 yr old has time to plan for not getting SS, while the 60 yr old wasted all of his money on hookers and coke because he *knew* he was getting it, so it is not fair to take it away from him".

How does the 40 yr old modify his plans to save more when the government still taxes him 12.4% for this retirement plan he will never get? (well, ok, there is the reduction *this* year...I guess if you invest that 2% extra this year in an account earning around 400% annual yield then you might not need SS at 62).
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:27 PM   #65
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I run my calculations without Social Security. Although I do think it will be there when I go to claim it several years from now. I tend to be more positive about SS I think then most people but I don't count on it.

But it will make things a lot easier if/when it is there. SS will give us the freedom to live beyond my means rather then living below my means for a change.

However I just can't count on it since it is so political in nature. Any number of things can happen and although I do think it will be there, I just can't count on it in my calculations.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:29 PM   #66
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NW, while I did not know this, it does not change my mind that SS is not an entitlement as things like the unearned tax credit, or several other things Congress has decided people are entitled to just because they breath air.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:31 PM   #67
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This is the kind of scare tactic statement that I hear all the time. If you are in your 30s or early 40s, no way should you count on SS.

Huh? If we are paying for it too, then why should't we also get it? What makes a person who is 60 today special over someone who is 40? Why should the 60 yr old get full SS and the 40 yr old get squat when he is 62?

Oh, but you say "the 40 yr old has time to plan for not getting SS, while the 60 yr old wasted all of his money on hookers and coke because he *knew* he was getting it, so it is not fair to take it away from him".

How does the 40 yr old modify his plans to save more when the government still taxes him 12.4% for this retirement plan he will never get? (well, ok, there is the reduction *this* year...I guess if you invest that 2% extra this year in an account earning around 400% annual yield then you might not need SS at 62).
So, you're saying that you don't like the way things are shaping up and that you don't think it's fair. Okay. But what makes you think that the cuts won't happen, that those who think they will are using "scare tactics"? Whatever happens will be based on hard accounting and politics, fairness and what you or I might want have little to do with it. Right?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:32 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by 79protons View Post
This is the kind of scare tactic statement that I hear all the time. If you are in your 30s or early 40s, no way should you count on SS.

Huh? If we are paying for it too, then why should't we also get it? What makes a person who is 60 today special over someone who is 40? Why should the 60 yr old get full SS and the 40 yr old get squat when he is 62?

Oh, but you say "the 40 yr old has time to plan for not getting SS, while the 60 yr old wasted all of his money on hookers and coke because he *knew* he was getting it, so it is not fair to take it away from him".

How does the 40 yr old modify his plans to save more when the government still taxes him 12.4% for this retirement plan he will never get? (well, ok, there is the reduction *this* year...I guess if you invest that 2% extra this year in an account earning around 400% annual yield then you might not need SS at 62).

Wait a second, I didn't spend it all on hookers and coke, I drank Pepsi.
Come April when I turn 62 I'm really going to go nuts. I'm going to surprise DW with a divorce, and go for lunch at Hooters.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:33 PM   #69
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As someone who has paid into SS with the expectation of a benefit in return, the question is moot. It's my money, the feds have just been borrowing it from me every two weeks for nearly 40 years... and it's getting closer to payback time.
Exactly how I see this. Our anchors are being dragged my constant references here and elsewhere about how "social security must be trimmed". I see very little mention of similarly drastic trimming to benfits for current beneficiaries/ members of other federal and state retirement programs that are far more generous than SS.

We might also consider doing away with stupid war-making that anyone with clear vision could see would cost us a fortune and make Americans' security poorer rather than greater. But then Eisenhower warned about that, but how powerful is that compared to the profit opportunies in the cozy relationship between defense contractors, politicians, and active military?

We could also stop the "carried interest" tax break that is a very big payment to the masters of the universe on Wall Street from their benficiaries in Washington.

People say "it's nothing but welfare". Some politicians are promoting this changed perception, but even a cursory examination of the debate around its passage and during subsequent looks at modifications show that lawmakers were very careful to not give this spin, as the program needed broad support from every wage earner, and it was not going to get it if it could be cast as welfare, as America at that time was much less friendly to taking from working Peter and giving to non-working Paul.

Ha
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:35 PM   #70
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So, you're saying that you don't like the way things are shaping up and that you don't think it's fair. Okay. But what makes you think that the cuts won't happen, that those who think they will are using "scare tactics? Whatever happens will be based on hard accounting and politics, fairness and what you or I might want have little to do with it. Right?
It actually has alot to do with it. Perception always precedes action.

This may not be much of a democracy, but if voters don't just roll over we still have some power.

Ha
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:39 PM   #71
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Exactly how I see this. Our anchors are being dragged my constant references here and elsewhere about how "social security must be trimmed". I see very little mention of similarly drastic trimming to benfits for current plan payers other federal and state retirement programs that are far more generous than SS.
*this* is exactly what I think will eventually happen if it starts to look like SS is in immediate danger. Broad cuts on federal and state pensions, taxes on private pensions (the 2 or 3 people who have one), an increased tax on 401K benefits and IRA benefits, and a small tax on Roth withdrawals. So probably the real thing to worry about is not if SS will be there when you retire, but worry that it WILL be there when you retire, and if you have saved a lot of money elsewhere, they are going to want some of it to keep SS afloat.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:41 PM   #72
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It actually has alot to do with it. Perception always precedes action.
Exactly. And you can do your part like I am, by lowering the expectations of these whippersnappers so they get used to the idea of paying more and getting less. That leaves more for those who got to the trough first. Now, scoot over, you're on my hoof!
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:43 PM   #73
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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."
I attempted to read the entire Wikipedia article and failed - it's very long. But what I found seems to be contradictory. In addition to what is quoted above, it says:

"Social Security payroll taxes are collected under authority of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), and are sometimes referred to as "FICA taxes."

"In the original 1935 law the benefit provisions were in Title II of the Act (which is why Social Security is sometimes referred to as the "Title II" program.) The taxing provisions were in a separate title, Title VIII. There is a deep reason for this, having to do with the constitutionality of the law (see discussion of the Constitutionality of the 1935 Act).

"As part of the 1939 Amendments, the Title VIII taxing provisions were taken out of the Social Security Act and placed in the Internal Revenue Code and renamed the "Federal Insurance Contributions Act."

"Confusion, or misrepresentation of the nature of Social Security has often muddied debate over the program. The payroll taxes collected for Social Security are neither simply "taxes" nor do they create "retirement accounts" analogous to investment accounts such as IRAs. Social Security is an insurance program funded through payroll taxes. The FICA taxes constitute insurance premiums protecting workers and covered family members against loss of income from the wage earner's retirement, loss of income from the wage earner's disability, as well as survivor benefits in the event of the wage earners death. Hence it is incorrect to compare the return on Social Security contributions with the return on private investment instruments. It is, however, legitimate to compare the return on the "risk pool of funds" garnered by this government-run insurance program with the return on the "risk pool of funds" garnered by a for-profit commercial insurance company. Like any insurance program, Social Security "spreads risk". For example, a worker who becomes disabled in their thirties or forties could receive a huge return for the relatively small amount they contributed in FICA before becoming disabled, since disability benefits can continue for life. Likewise, the surviving family of a worker who dies in mid-life may receive substantial benefits even though the worker has only contributed for a relatively short time. This is similar to any other insurance program, public or private, whether the risk is against illness, car wrecks, or house fires. Everyone in the particular insurance pool is insured against the same risks, but not everyone will benefit to the same extent."

If it's not a tax but it's insurance, sort of, well it still seems we should be entitled to a benefit for our payments, which were not voluntary. Other types of life insurance are voluntary... Don't want to start a war here!
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:48 PM   #74
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I said yes, I need it. DH and I are retired and have 10 and 9 years until we begin collecting. We are living on pension and investments, but will need to take very little out of investments once we start collecting SS. If we weren't getting SS, we would have needed to work longer to build investments further.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:50 PM   #75
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SS is in my planning worksheet. It's hard to say how important it will be 10 yrs out when I start collecting. Whether or not people need it sort of goes to the issue of means testing. I would think that means testing would be a rational strategy to keep SS solvent. However, if there were income limits to receipt of SS then I would also want to remove the income cap for wages subject to SS taxes.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:56 PM   #76
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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....
+1

I have discovered there is a generational difference on the "spend less than you earn" philosophy. Most of my generation looks at the total purchase price while the younger generation looks at the monthly payment.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:01 PM   #77
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+1

I have discovered there is a generational difference on the "spend less than you earn" philosophy. Most of my generation looks at the total purchase price while the younger generation looks at the monthly payment.
This would tend to indicate that we should actually cut SS now for people near or at retirement so that it can be increased (instead of decreased) for this younger generation who are going to need it more.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:11 PM   #78
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+1

I have discovered there is a generational difference on the "spend less than you earn" philosophy. Most of my generation looks at the total purchase price while the younger generation looks at the monthly payment.
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This would tend to indicate that we should actually cut SS now for people near or at retirement so that it can be increased (instead of decreased) for this younger generation who are going to need it more.
Need in this case is not "due to no fault of their own". Need, or deserve...? A big issue, IMO.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:14 PM   #79
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One big unknown is what will be the impact of the future generations of births and immigration of the next 60+ years who will be funding of those much younger currently in the workforce, when they retire.

While the boomers did (and continue) to work and contribute to SS for their parents/grandparents (if still alive) and today's early boomer retirees, we can work the "real" numbers, based upon today’s accumulated (disregarding raiding of accumulated reserves) SS fund, along with anticipated additions based upon today's workforce. However, we can only estimate the sources of SS inflows (e.g. FICA) for the long term.

SS is not an investment scheme, IMHO but simply the transfer of assets from those working to an older generation who is not. Those numbers must include the expected workforce of the future, along with realizing the bulk of the early boomers will be gone in the next few decades, when benefits will no longer be paid. That "lump in the snake" will eventually be eliminated. Unfortunately, that "lump" supplied SS benefits for many years, to many people. Now the reversal of that situation will exist until future (unknown) funding sources come "on-line", along with that "lump" dying off.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:26 PM   #80
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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.
Well. back in the Old Days, when words pretty much meant what the dictionary said and Humpty Dumpty wasn't in charge, entitlement had a fairly specific meaning:
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An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits based on established rights or by legislation. A "right" is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an "entitlement" is a provision made in accordance with legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are laws based on concepts of principle ("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.
The more casual current usage is often as a perjorative. See also Baby Boomers...
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