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Old 07-13-2011, 07:40 PM   #81
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Determining disability is a slippery slope. It's subjective and individual. If someone has a doctor and/or attorney that can convince the SSA or other benefit granting authority, that they are disabled, more power to them.

I find 3rd parties that obsess over their co-worker, neighbor, etc., getting disability under the guise "that's my tax dollars", are nothing more than busy body's that should mind their own business. If the same individuals spent hours on the internet looking for defense contractor, farm subsidy fraud etc., I might lend the passion for disability abuse a little more credibility. But I see a lot more concern for disability fraud than I do other areas of tax money waste. Not just on this forum, but just about any internet board.

Short of the military activating 58 year old retirees, and getting injured on active duty, I'm not in a position to ever receive any sort of government disability. But if I was, I would just tell people I had won a lottery or received an unexpected inheritance. No need for people to meddle in my business, disability checks or otherwise.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:16 PM   #82
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I am of the opinion that if you receive a "tax free" pension on average of say 5500 dollars from a city or state you should not receive social security disability. SOCIAL security should be means tested. You are entitled to receive social security at the proper age. Many people receive tax free benefits under the guise of religion, agricultural & so on & on & on & on & on. I say fix some of these loop holes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:17 PM   #83
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OPPS, " SS Disability" should be means tested
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:35 PM   #84
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After seeing the job the federal government has done managing our economy and budget over the past several decades, I think it's just a ludicrous idea that anybody would want the federal government to manage either their personal retirement account or their healthcare. Who disagrees and thinks the federal government is the best place for our retirement savings to go?
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:39 PM   #85
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Also, if I understand history correctly, wasn't FDR's version of Social Security supposed to be only a safety net for those in dire need? I am pretty sure it was never intended to be the nation's retirement program. Could we ever get back to this? Maybe those with comfortable personal savings shouldn't get social security payments at all (means testing)? Bottom line is that these programs have been mis-managed and won't be solvent for much longer..who has a better solution besides taxing the rich?
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:53 PM   #86
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Who disagrees and thinks the federal government is the best place for our retirement savings to go?
I do. The ideal retirement account is an annuity, so we can average out our lifespans, and not be faced with the uncertainty of our death date. At present, the only way we have to approximate this retirement system is dealing with insurance companies whose main purpose is to gouge out as much profit from us as possible. I understand that, since they are for-profit enterprises, but as an individual, I have little bargaining power. I don't like it. This is something we need government to do for us.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:54 PM   #87
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After seeing the job the federal government has done managing our economy and budget over the past several decades, I think it's just a ludicrous idea that anybody would want the federal government to manage either their personal retirement account or their healthcare. Who disagrees and thinks the federal government is the best place for our retirement savings to go?
Well, I realize I'm in the minority on this board, but some of us don't have a choice at this point in our lives. When I started my adult life, pursuing federal pensions and Social Security was seen as an honorable endeavor. Those benefits weren't seen as "welfare" as the well heeled investor class seems to view them now.

As for trust. I've watched people loose private pensions, I've seen the Enron's and Madoff's wreck their havoc, and various other meltdowns of private "I saved the money myself" investment schemes. Meanwhile I've never missed a pension check, and fully expect to get SS in 3 1/2 years. And I make no apologies for it.

If the U.S. government fails, it will take everybody with it. So the fact that you saved a lot of money, and don't get your retirement income from Uncle Sam, will have little relevance. I suppose you could go travel around Thailand in an RV, or some other alternate lifestyle discussed on this board, but for most, life will be over as they know it.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:14 PM   #88
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OPPS, " SS Disability" should be means tested
It is means tested, in a way. You can only get a benefit as related to your SS contributions before becoming disabled. The higher your contribution, the higher your benefit. Also, if you are able to return to work, or have part-time work, you lose SSD if you established monthly income (which is currently $1K/month).

BTW, SSD converts to regular SS at your FRA age. The payment remains the same (of course adjusted for any annual inflation).

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Many people receive tax free benefits under the guise of religion, agricultural & so on & on & on & on & on. I say fix some of these loop holes.
They do? Please share some info on your statement; I don't understand.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:29 PM   #89
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After seeing the job the federal government has done managing our economy and budget over the past several decades, I think it's just a ludicrous idea that anybody would want the federal government to manage either their personal retirement account or their healthcare. Who disagrees and thinks the federal government is the best place for our retirement savings to go?

I guess I disagree.

The vast majority of Americans, IMHO, are not equiped to manage their retirement assets; and so, I would fear that having done a poor job the multitudes would end up being even more of a burden/drain on those of us that have saved.

This is in no way suggesting Congress gets it right, but I think the alternative would cost the taxpayer twice in this instance.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:46 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by LARS

I guess I disagree.

The vast majority of Americans, IMHO, are not equiped to manage their retirement assets; and so, I would fear that having done a poor job the multitudes would end up being even more of a burden/drain on those of us that have saved.

This is in no way suggesting Congress gets it right, but I think the alternative would cost the taxpayer twice in this instance.
Unfortunately, LARS I have to agree with you. Being involved with the general public for many years, they do not resemble the population on this site. I hate to say it, but the government has to be involved or many many people would be penniless. Then our taxes would really sky rocket to take care of them, unless we just say "to bad you should have saved". That doesn't seem likely based on the pattern of government the past 50 years.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:44 AM   #91
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Unfortunately, LARS I have to agree with you. Being involved with the general public for many years, they do not resemble the population on this site. I hate to say it, but the government has to be involved or many many people would be penniless.
I also agree.

Could I have done better by investing my contributions to SS vs. what I will actually get? The actual numbers say yes.

But I'm sure that I (and most of the folks on this board) are the exception to what would normally occur while looking at the population, in general.

Even though the "return" is less, you need to save folks from themselves - or we (even us "smarties") would have a worse condition overall in this country - related to retirement income, and in turn may even promote the increased taxability to we "non-grasshoppers" . I have no problm (along with my DW) as playing the "role" of the ant...
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:32 AM   #92
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Me too. Eliminating or privatizing SS would not be a positive development.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:48 AM   #93
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I do. The ideal retirement account is an annuity, so we can average out our lifespans, and not be faced with the uncertainty of our death date. At present, the only way we have to approximate this retirement system is dealing with insurance companies whose main purpose is to gouge out as much profit from us as possible. I understand that, since they are for-profit enterprises, but as an individual, I have little bargaining power. I don't like it. This is something we need government to do for us.
I can see the point that the govt might be in the best position to annuitize our retirement money. But when you mention having little bargaining power, well, I also feel that way about the Govt.


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The vast majority of Americans, IMHO, are not equiped to manage their retirement assets; and so, I would fear that having done a poor job the multitudes would end up being even more of a burden/drain on those of us that have saved.

This is in no way suggesting Congress gets it right, but I think the alternative would cost the taxpayer twice in this instance.
We don't need to swing the pendulum so far as to leave everything up to the individual. I think there is some middle ground here. I could see a 401K-like system, with some/all of it converted to an annuity at retirement.

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Old 07-17-2011, 09:51 AM   #94
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I think there is some middle ground here. I could see a 401K-like system, with some/all of it converted to an annuity at retirement.

-ERD50
Gee, that's what I did (with 10% of DW/my's joint retirement portfolio - and I didn't need the government to make that decision for me )...

But again, being an "ant" (rather than a grasshopper), it just comes naturally, don't U know ...
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #95
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Gee, that's what I did (with 10% of DW/my's joint retirement portfolio - and I didn't need the government to make that decision for me )...

But again, being an "ant" (rather than a grasshopper), it just comes naturally, don't U know ...
The difference is the Govt kept pulling money from my paycheck under a line item labeled "FICA". I had no choice, no decision to make. All I'm saying is I'd rather have that in a private account (like my 401K), and have some choices with it.

I might annuitize some of my portfolio at some point, but since my pension and SS are already annuities, that will play into the decision. I'm not anti-annuity in any way, or anti the idea of someone doing this on their own if that's what you were getting at. I do think there are risks and issues, and those need to be considered, like any investment.

But I agree with others, some kind of 'forced' savings plan can help save the ants from the grasshoppers. It would be nice if we could count on people to do it, but that's wishful thinking.

-ERD50
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:11 AM   #96
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I might annuitize some of my portfolio at some point, but since my pension and SS are already annuities, that will play into the decision.
True, in your specific case the idea of an "annuity" (more specifically, an SPIA which I/DW hold) has to be based upon your specific situation, and may not apply to you.

In our case, with me retiring at age 59 (no pension, 11 years till SS at age 70) it was the perferred solution to form a "pension". For others (such as you), it must be investigated.

Again, these types of decisions for the general public are much beyond their thoughts of "living for today" (grasshopper).

Just a question to consider; how many of currrent retirees (not government) actually have a pension? I would think the numbers are low - as in my case, in the private sector.

In that case (regardless of the "returns" on SS "investments"), it's better than not having a "fallback plan" to count on. Is it perfect? Nope. Is it better than nothing? Yes (IMHO)...

BTW, I consider an annuity (e.g. SPIA) as a "private pension" plan. Just a way to convert your existing assets into a lifetime revenue stream - such as a DB (pension) was designed to do in the past.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:47 AM   #97
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Just a question to consider; how many of currrent retirees (not government) actually have a pension? I would think the numbers are low - as in my case, in the private sector.

A recent thread from another person, showed a graph that had private workforce with a pension is 7%, down from near 70% thirty years ago.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:08 PM   #98
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We don't need to swing the pendulum so far as to leave everything up to the individual. I think there is some middle ground here. I could see a 401K-like system, with some/all of it converted to an annuity at retirement.

-ERD50
The UK has had something like this since the 80's. Taxpayers can choose to cut their FICA contributions by 50% and invest the money into a private savings plan, investing it themselves. By age 70(?) they have to convert the savings into an annuity unless they can show they have sufficient other income streams, in which they can keep it invested or draw cash from it etc.

BIL opted out in '89 and so far it seems to be working for him.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:10 PM   #99
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The UK has had something like this since the 80's. Taxpayers can choose to cut their FICA contributions by 50% and invest the money into a private savings plan, investing it themselves. By age 70(?) they have to convert the savings into an annuity unless they can show they have sufficient other income streams, in which they can keep it invested or draw cash from it etc.

BIL opted out in '89 and so far it seems to be working for him.
Thank you, I was unaware of that. It's great to have international input on this forum.

It sounds very reasonable to me. So much of what bugs me about the way our US Congress does things is the one-size-fits-all approach. As I understand it, high deductible policies are 'out' in the US Healthcare bill. Shame - as in the above example, if I can prove I am 'good' for the deductible, why not give me a choice?

-ERD50
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:44 PM   #100
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Thank you, I was unaware of that. It's great to have international input on this forum.

It sounds very reasonable to me. So much of what bugs me about the way our US Congress does things is the one-size-fits-all approach. As I understand it, high deductible policies are 'out' in the US Healthcare bill. Shame - as in the above example, if I can prove I am 'good' for the deductible, why not give me a choice?

-ERD50
this does sound reasonsble. The rrquirement for an annuity absent a skowing of FI protects society.
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