Some speculation on the possibility of retirement, from Vent #276, around the beginning of 2002:

[A]ssuming Social Security survives in something resembling its present form, the most recent SSA statement says that in 2019 I can draw a monthly sum equal to approximately 76 percent of my current take-home pay, which says to me that either the system is in better shape than I think it is, or I am grossly underpaid. Maybe both.

This, of course, presumes that my Official Retirement Age remains at sixty-six, which strikes me as extremely unlikely: while actual reform of the Social Security system seems to be beyond the capacity of the government at this time, it's a fairly sure bet that there will be tinkering with the parameters in the hopes of warding off Impending Collapse.

For workers younger than I, the Official Retirement Age has already gone up: in 1983, the threshold for those born in 1955 through 1959 was moved to 66 and a fraction, and for those born in 1960 or afterward, it's now 67. Still, this isn't much of a change, and earlier this year, columnist William Saletan called for an increase to somewhere around 73:

Compared to the currently assumed retirement age of 67, an increase to age 73 could cut the government's obligations by as much as 40 percent.... [T]he projected Social Security deficit would disappear and with it, the Democratic objection to personal retirement accounts, which could be funded out of the new payroll tax surplus.

As I see them, the advantages of working until 2026:

  • More time to build up a nest egg.
  • Assuming I don't move, my house will be very nearly paid for. (I stuff a few extra bucks into the mortgage payment each month.)
  • Possibly better protection against brain deterioration, if I have to use it on occasion.

And, of course, the disadvantages:

  • Good God, another twenty years of this?
  • And suppose I drop dead between now and then?

With the latter possibility, at least, I won't have to worry about Social Security: I won't get a cent out of it. (Which is, of course, a good argument for privatizing the system; there are beneficiaries to be designated for things one actually owns.) And I really don't expect to make it to 73. Then again, at various times in my life, I didn't expect to make it to the following:

  • 21.
  • 30.
  • 46.
  • 50.

As far as this prediction goes, I'm 0 for 4. Which means, I suppose, that if Saletan gets his way and I manage to dodge the undertaker, I'll be writing about my retirement in Vent #1470.

Maybe I ought to buy a couple of lottery tickets between now and then, just in case.

The Vent

  25 December 2005

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 Copyright © 2005 by Charles G. Hill