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Social Security-The Word On The Street!

Social Security- two words viewed by the young as a moniker for the old, and by the older (note: not old!) as money to help with their income. It's a marker used for moving from the working class to the retired, and comes around the time our grandchildren come into this world, some before, some after, and some during! It's not free money- we've contributed for decades, and it's really just a very poor return on our investment. Non-the-less, it will help pay the bills in retirement, regardless of how much you will get. Probably the most often question that I get asked at client meeting is this:"do you think Social Security will be there when I will need it?" Now, I've got crystal balls on my desk, a Ouija Board in the closet, and get fortune cookies every time we get Chinese take-out and none of these fine financial sources will give me a definitive answer, so here's my best guess on the subject. In other words, here's my take on the subject...

Social Security was created in 1935 to provide an income source for Americans who have worked a minimum of 10 years and presumably will need income supplement at their retirement, with varying age commensurate with their payments. Currently, there are about 167 million Americans who pay into the system (currently working) and almost 60 million Americans receiving payments. Not all are retired- some may be in addition, disable, survivors of deceased workers, children or dependents as beneficiaries, or widows and/or widowers. The Social Security Administration reports that 61% of American rely on their benefits for at least half of their income. For retirees over 80 years of age, 72% rely on it for more than half of their income. See where I'm going with this? Picture for a minute, if you will, if they all stopped receiving their payments...I believe we would see a depression the likes of we have never seen before. If payments ceased, most recipients would not have the money to pay their rent. Down the chain, the landlords would now default on their mortgages...and so on. No, I don't believe that it will cease. However, they may make changes to stretch out the Social Security Fund, as they did in the past. Raising the ages to qualify, lowering or stopping raises- leave it to our government to find a way to reduce payments- but I don't believe they will stop payments. Now, this is a two-paragraph opinion on a thousand page subject- but the long and short of it, is I don't believe they can stop the program without severe consequences. So, relax, keep working and gritting your teeth when you see the deduction coming out of your' come back to you when you need it most.

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