Social Security: visionary retirement for boomers

By Paul Cross

Annuity National Brokerage Co.


Baby boomers are in need and in search of a guiding light, with an exit strategy from the work place into retirement and secure retirement income they cannot outlive with surviving spousal income. Visionary retirement income — not illusory retirement income.

Millions of baby boomers had the vision and foresight to prepare wisely for the future and their Social Security incomes will accumulate a legacy for their family heirs.

Many feel Social Security is a visionary illusion, a deceptive, imaginary retirement. After all, Social Security is underfunded by more than $16 trillion.

The more you think you see, the easier it is to fool you. Have working Americans and their employers been hoodwinked by the world’s greatest illusion?

Today, measures are being taken to stretch Social Security income over an increasing number of retirees by increasing Social Security tax, increasing the maximum wages subject to Social Security tax, increasing the full retirement age and offering a substantial increase by delaying the start-up of benefits beyond age 66.

Eight percent per year — that’s the magical number. For each year you delay the start of Social Security income, your income benefit will be increased 8 percent. That’s the roll-up of Social Security income per year, up to age 70.

The million-dollar question: Should I start Social Security income at age 62, 66, 70 or at some point in between age 66 and age 70? Should I lock down Social Security income, take an early buyout or go for the long haul?

There are so many factors to consider, and don’t overlook the opportunity cost.

In the beginning

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visionary work-relief program employed more than 8.5 million people. For an average salary of $41.57 a month, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) employees built bridges, roads, public buildings, public parks and airports.
FDR put people to work. Today, we put people on welfare and food stamps while we ignore the needed repair for bridges, roads and airports.

The WPA paid $11 million in employment relief before it was cancelled in 1943. Harry Hopkins, the administrator of the WPA, said, “Give a man a dole and you save his body and destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both his body and his spirit."

Roosevelt converted a retreat into an advance through his New Deal programs, addressing poverty, unemployment andthe floundering economy. He proudly implemented Social Security with disability benefits, unemployment compensation, lifetime retirement income with inflation–adjusted increases, and survivor benefits.

An anonymous poem reads:
    I think we shall never see
    a president like unto thee ...
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    but God, I think, made Franklin D.
Fifty million citizens — that was the total population when Social Security was first implemented. Today we have 58 million people receiving Social Security benefits.

In December 2012, 57 million people were receiving Social Security income. In 2013, 58 miillion Americans will receive $821 billion in Social Security benefits. Each day, 10,000 people are signing up for Social Security income. Today, many people are being forced into early retirement before becoming eligible for Social Security, so many are spending down IRAs and 401(k)s.

Most state pension plans are underfunded by billions; federal pension plans are underfunded by billions; and Social Security is underfunded by $16 trillion. All at a time when record numbers are retiring and so many are being forced into early retirement. And, people are living so much longer in retirement than ever before.

Baby boomers are in need and in search of a guiding light, with an exit strategy from the workplace into retirement and secure retirement income they cannot outlive with surviving spousal income. Visionary retirement income — not illusory retirement income.