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Old 08-09-2013, 07:18 AM   #21
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...some may say taking Social Security when you don't even need it presents a moral dilemma. ....
Considering the huge increases in food stamp participation and the increasing number of people claiming & getting disability payments, I suspect the percentage of the population experiencing moral dilemmas is declining.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:40 AM   #22
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Almost all members of this board watch their expenditures very carefully. Therefore, we really have no excess. We are much more careful with budgeting that the federal government is, therefore we are much better stewards of the money than the government ever could be.

If OP feels a dilemma, I hope he will follow his conscience. If I were to feels dilemma, I would have a whisky and let that inexplicable feeling pass.

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Old 08-09-2013, 07:59 AM   #23
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I will take it even if I didn't need it. I would rather have me decide where that money goes rather than some bozos in Washington. If I don't need it I can be more generous with charity or helping out friends and family and local organizations in need.

If I was uber-rich a la Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or even "just" over $100 million NW then I think I probably would pass on it but I'm not any where close to that league.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:03 AM   #24
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I can think of several reasons I would not consider doing this:

- It would enable the politicians to continue putting off fixing the problem

- It would enable non-LBYMers to continue living that way

- As others have pointed out, lower income earners get proportionally more of what they paid in than higher earners, so a lot of what I contributed is already being transferred to others

- Just about everyone with high net worth and a high social security payment has paid a lot of income taxes along the way

- The government is near the bottom of my list of charities, right down there with the scam charities. I plan to give away a lot of my money, but I will give it to those who I trust will use it wisely
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:13 AM   #25
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You can extend this post to all things from the government. I can't imagine not accepting what is "mine." I can't imagine sending extra money to the IRS "because I can afford it."

Many years ago, I was on food stamps. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gone hungry if I didn't take them but I qualified so I took them. Soon things turned around. I no longer qualified and they went away.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:22 AM   #26
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I couldn't agree more with all the other posters. This trend of "taking" rather than emphasizing "making" is troubling. Plus, with all the uncertainty of finanicial markets and individual circumstances over many years, who's to say what's needed? I definitely don't know what life will be like 40 years from now but safe to say my needs won't be exactly as I've imagined them today.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:23 AM   #27
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We have many posters on this board who say that they have achieved FIRE, and do not actually need SS. Given the next generation will have to pay more to benefit less, some may say taking Social Security when you don't even need it presents a moral dilemma. We all have the choice not to file for benefits, but I do not hear about very many taking turning it down. (other than by dying younger than expected).

Anyone here considering not filing for benefits? I know many will reply they ""earned" the benefits, but that is not my point.
Given the next generation will have to pay more to benefit less, I say retiring while you are still able to work presents a moral dilemma. We all have the choice to continue working and continue paying FICA taxes, but I do not hear very many on this board talking about working into their 90s to benefit future social security beneficiaries. It is 50% better for you high earners to contribute $15k in social sec taxes rather than just opt out of collecting their $30k benefit. Anyone here considering working so they can give the government more money?
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #28
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Like others, I'd take it and, if I wanted to I'd give it away.

You could make a moral argument that it is wrong NOT to take it even if you don't "need it." If everyone takes the money they are due and it causes stress on SS, then we'll have to come up with an institutional fix to the problem. If good, well-meaning altruistic people don't take the money while greedy, selfish people DO take the money, then we've got a situation in which "bad" people prosper and "good" people are relatively worse off. "Good" shouldn't equal "sucker." Anyone failing to take the money is actually undermining public support for Social Security, and we shouldn't stand for it!

Would anyone consider not taking any tax deductions? Mailing extra dough to the Treasury? Same thing. I know a lot of causes more worthy than the federal government.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:40 AM   #29
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I see participation by everyone in programs like SS and Medicare as vital to their continuation. Once the well off either choose not to participate or are excluded by means testing it opens up the way for politicians to further restrict and reduce the programs for the middle class and poor using the libertarian and deficit arguments that the powerful and wealthy use to enrich themselves at the expense of most of society.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:50 AM   #30
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after watching the federal gov't fritter away all of the tax money I paid to them over the years I don't believe that opting not to take SS and letting them keep the money is the prudent course of action. I will take it and decide who or what charity/cause will receive it.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #31
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If I die with leftover cash (not that I want to do the former, but do want the latter), I would rather decide in my will where these funds go and not leave it to the govt to choose.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #32
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The whole idea of "means testing" SS makes me angry. So the reward for anybody who is prudent and lives below their means for their whole lives, works hard, saves, and invests and pays into 401(k) programs and IRAs is to be "means tested" into lower SS benefits than someone else who may have earned the same and paid just as much into the system but who spent their take home pay away by living to the max?

Plus, in reality, "means testing" already exists in the form of higher tax brackets against the higher combined income from the SS, retirement programs and pensions from the hard workers and savers. I did the math. Most of my SS benefits will go to pay taxes on my IRA RMDs. Makes me wonder why I bothered to save so much on those accounts.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:32 AM   #33
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I have great difficulty rounding up any altruistic goodwill when it comes to SS. I had no option in "contributing" to SS, it was confiscated from each and every paycheck of mine. And my employers were, under penalty of pain, required to to contribute as well.

Collecting it I am and would, out of spite even if I was better off than the Oracle of Omaha.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:32 AM   #34
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Seeing the other thread on LTC also raises the issue that unless you can be certain that you can afford all the end of life care that you may need, then taking SS at age 70 or earlier makes sense.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:58 AM   #35
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This was my money to start with.

The Government has taken enough of my money. I would like some back. I am entitled to it.

After that, it is my decision where to spend it. I would much rather increase my financial support to our local food bank in the knowledge that just under 97 percent goes where it should...to buy food. Can the Government come even close that that level of efficiency?
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:59 AM   #36
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No moral issues here. Being self-employed is a real eye-opener.........I will be taking SS if it is still there..........
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:21 AM   #37
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Interesting post Shanky, and very thought provoking. I'm probably going to regret making this statement but WTH. If I knew that I had enough for me and my spouse to live out our lives in our current manner, then yes, I could see doing without SS and leaving it for others. What prevents me from doing that is that I don't know of a way to calculate with certainty how much we're going to need.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:31 AM   #38
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If I die at a "normal" age, I won't need it, true. This is a common goal - - to be independently FI first, and then retire.

But given that I have no predilection towards suicide, what if I don't die at a normal age?

Wikipedia says that Jeanne Calment of France lived to 122. If I lived anywhere near that long surely I would need it.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:53 AM   #39
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Strictly speaking, I don't need it, as I am currently getting by comfortably on ~17K/yr. However, I'd really like to have a bit more, and the difference that SS will make to my budget will be considerable. The promise of SS, as it gets closer, will allow me to increase my WR a little, and then the relatively large extra influx of income when I turn 62 will feel like a shot of adrenaline - or perhaps more accurately, a mug of hot, rich cocoa with a shot of whiskey

I will definitely be claiming SS.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:11 AM   #40
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There are social benefits that I never thought of claiming in the past, even if I might be eligible.

1) Unemployment benefits.

My wife left her work in disgust due to job pressure. She never intended to work ever again. The last time I worked full-time was in 2003. Since then until 2012, I only worked sporadically when my sources needed me. Because we did not actively seek work, we did not think of claiming for unemployment.

2) College benefits

I have never seen a FAFSA form. I paid for all my children college costs. No subsidized loans either. When I went to college, I did need assistance, but not now. When I filed my taxes, I was surprised to see I got all kinds of educational tax credits already. At first, I even felt a bit guilty about it. Then, I figured that my children would be getting better jobs, and would become productive workers to pay that back to society, so I felt better.

SS is not a freebie to me, so I will claim it.
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