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Old 02-13-2017, 09:03 AM   #41
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32 total years full time work paying SS.
Hit the maximum 26 of those 32.


I only hit the max during the early years when I was young with a SAHM because when she stopped working, I started working two jobs and did consulting on the side to keep total family income high enough to pay the mortgage.....Still, I am looking forward to nice size SS check at 70 if things work out.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:10 AM   #42
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It's a good system from my perspective. Even though I only hit the max threshold five times in the first decade of my career and never even close after that, when I started taking SS I got around 80% of the max benefit.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:18 AM   #43
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I have 40 years of history, starting at the age of 16. The 1st 10 years my earnings were rather sparse. I worked part time through college and then part time when I had my 2 kids. But I have hit the max the last 12 years and will hit it in 2017 which will be my final full year of employment.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:26 AM   #44
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It's a good system from my perspective. Even though I only hit the max threshold five times in the first decade of my career and never even close after that, when I started taking SS I got around 80% of the max benefit.
It will not look that good if you compare it with what you would get from other non-SS pension systems, whose benefits are more proportional to the contributions.

SS has a welfare component to subsidize for low wage earners. Everybody should contribute to this, and non-SS pensions should not be exempt. Reagan did the right thing to change the FERS.

After learning about the Australian pension, I like it a lot. Their SS system separates out what is an individual unalienable benefit, like a 401k that a person takes from job to job, and what is the support for people with low income. The latter is means tested, and more generous than our SSI.

Another thing I like about the Australian pension is that if the economy goes bad, all retirees take a pay cut. Nobody gets a guarantee of a juicy pension if the country goes down the tube. They are all in it together.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:01 AM   #45
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I won't go back and check, but I am guessing the last 6-7 years I have hit the limit toward the last 4, maybe 5 months of the year. I will now still hit it, but maybe just for a month or two (depending on Bonus $$'s).

I am all for raising the limit, or having a donut hole approach that starts it back up at say, $250k or something if that keeps the system from changing while they look at getting it back in control (fraud, waste, using it for what was not intended, etc).

Like it or not, it is a part of my retirement plan...
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:16 AM   #46
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Never. Haven't even broken six figures yet. A good portion of our gross isn't FICA taxable income. May never make the second bend point at this rate!
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:24 AM   #47
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my dad was a career max earner - he retired in 1992 (at age 64) and is still getting SS

I think he got a really good return on his contributions.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:48 AM   #48
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At age 44, this will be the first year as an adult I don't have reported earned income. I have 29 years of reported income of which 16 I maxed out. Total (my employer and me) have paid in $225K already to the system. I don't expect I'll get a good return on that.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:11 AM   #49
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At age 44, this will be the first year as an adult I don't have reported earned income. I have 29 years of reported income of which 16 I maxed out. Total (my employer and me) have paid in $225K already to the system. I don't expect I'll get a good return on that.
It will probably depend on whether or not you have other sources of income and where your average wage falls in the formula. As NW Bound noted, there's a "welfare component" that gets re-distributed to lower-income folks, who get more than a fair return on their contributions. Under the current formula, your benefit is 90% of the first $856 of the average indexed monthly earnings, plus 32% of the next $5,157, plus 15% of the remainder. You can see that lower-income people get a proportionately higher benefit. If you have other sources of income, such as pensions or investments, your SS can be taxed, too.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:31 AM   #50
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I have 42 years of earnings and 32 years of those are max'ed. I plan to work another 3 years (retire at 61), if I can stand it, which will bring me to 35 years max'ed (a max'ed max). Just a coincidence I'll make 35 years SS max though, the payback calculation is so regressive it in no way is an incentive to work for SS benefits. I paid max SS contributions on 10 years I was 100% self employed, which is a double insult.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
It will not look that good if you compare it with what you would get from other non-SS pension systems, whose benefits are more proportional to the contributions.

SS has a welfare component to subsidize for low wage earners. Everybody should contribute to this, and non-SS pensions should not be exempt. Reagan did the right thing to change the FERS.

After learning about the Australian pension, I like it a lot. Their SS system separates out what is an individual unalienable benefit, like a 401k that a person takes from job to job, and what is the support for people with low income. The latter is means tested, and more generous than our SSI.

Another thing I like about the Australian pension is that if the economy goes bad, all retirees take a pay cut. Nobody gets a guarantee of a juicy pension if the country goes down the tube. They are all in it together.
I have read up on the Aussie system, and it seems so vastly superior to the USA SS system it is almost unreal. I like everything about it, the discreet & transparent separation of compassionate support, the visible investment of everybody in the country in the financial success of their markets and the portability of the benefit you earn for yourself.

Just the influence on the national psyche by having everyone visibly invested must be a huge political benefit quite apart from the fiduciary aspects of the plan.

If our politicians would ever demonstrate the cajones to really "fix" our broken SS system, they couldn't do much better than adopt the Aussie plan.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:47 AM   #51
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It will probably depend on whether or not you have other sources of income and where your average wage falls in the formula. As NW Bound noted, there's a "welfare component" that gets re-distributed to lower-income folks, who get more than a fair return on their contributions. Under the current formula, your benefit is 90% of the first $856 of the average indexed monthly earnings, plus 32% of the next $5,157, plus 15% of the remainder. You can see that lower-income people get a proportionately higher benefit. If you have other sources of income, such as pensions or investments, your SS can be taxed, too.
Right and I've already hit that 2nd bend point. The inflation adjustment on my early earnings actually boost several of those years higher than later years which is an interesting look into how the calculation is actually done. So no, I won't be seeing a very good return on my money which is fine as long as the rules don't change significantly before I can collect. At this point a minimum wage job would change my SS by a few dollars.. not exactly incentive to go find a part time job.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:08 PM   #52
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A system that does not reward people for working harder or longer will get more slackers early retirees.

People are not stupid, ya know?
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:23 PM   #53
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almost hit it last year... should hit it this year. Things are looking up. Not FIRE yet though....15more years to go. if I hit the limit the next 15years straight I think its safe to say i will be good.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:26 PM   #54
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almost hit it last year... should hit it this year. Things are looking up. Not FIRE yet though....15more years to go. if I hit the limit the next 15years straight I think its safe to say i will be good.
Must have a big increase in income this year! limit is raised the most since I can remember (or have followed it). Good Job!
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:42 PM   #55
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Wow. I didn't realize there were so many people that made such a large income. The most I have ever made in a year is $49K and that was big money to me. I saved over 50% of it.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:48 PM   #56
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In reading the responses posted here, it is interesting how many people DID NOT, or rarely made the top limit during their working years. More proof of the "not how much you make, but how much you save/invest" and LBYM arguments.
We also have to remember how many of us had earnings which may not have been subject to FICA. Those would include the company match from a 401k plan, and an ESOP. For me, the company match was a slow, steady tax-deferred income source I have yet to tap into. But the ESOP was a very fast growing source which took place in the last 12 years I worked. On average, it added about $25k per year although it started off small and grew exponentially. Because most of it was NUA, I didn't get slammed on taxes when I cashed it out as I left the company 8 years ago. None of the income was subject to FICA, of course.
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:33 PM   #57
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I have hit it every year since 1983 (when the earnings max was around $35.7K). I was fortunate to get into Information Technology right out of college and then ride the salary growth wave in the industry.
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:48 PM   #58
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:12 PM   #59
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I never hit it. DH hit it 9 years.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:51 AM   #60
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I only hit it once. When I changed jobs, got a signing bonus, and had a gross up for the Relo package.
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