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Raising The Retirement Age Should Not Be An Option

Updated on September 15, 2012

The New Truth About Social Security

Recently, the news about Social Security centered around the fact that for the for first time more and more people are receiving less retirement benefits then they pay into the system.

If that's not bad enough for the individual, we now have a candidate running for president that has publicly stated that he favors raising the retirement age to collect retirement benefits. Let's call Social security what it really is, a tax.

If the retirement age is raised then we can safely assume that individuals will be paying even more money into a program, or the better term tax, that they will never see back in benefits. This is just one problem with raising the retirement age.

Another major problem concerns the type of job a person works in. Let me explain. As an example, let's take a look at two different segments of the workforce. Manufacturing and service industries such as retail.

I have worked in heavy manufacturing for over 23 years and I can attest to the fact that very, very few workers in this type of industry can work much past sixty-three or sixty-four.

These type of jobs are very hard on the body. I also have noticed many workers have died prematurely. Most have only been in their fifties. I see that as a combination of factors.

Through the years ten and twelve hour days, seven days a week were not all that uncommon while working in a hot, dirty environment with questionable air quality. Massive overtime is a reality in many factories.

Compare that to someone working in a clean, air-conditioned environment such as retail or sitting at a desk in an office. I think working past the present retirement age would be much easier for the latter group.

How Other Countries Manage The Retirement Question

It may also be worth taking a look on how a few other countries handle the question of what is a good retirement age.

There is at least one country that bases your retirement age on when you first started working. If you started working full-time at the age of eighteen or nineteen then your eligible to retirement at an earlier age then someone that didn't start working until later in life.

The other method that a few countries use is by basing your retirement age on the industry you have worked in during the majority of your life.

Of course I realize that the Social Security program needs to be reformed. Right now it's a giant ponzi scheme that can't be maintained the way it's being run now.

The idea of raising the retirement age isn't new but the candidate now running for president is a very wealthy individual worth hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm sure he wouldn't be put out off if the retirement age was raised to triple digits, after all social security wouldn't be a factor in his retirement plans.

I have some ideas to reform social security that use basic, common sensethat I discuss in another hub.


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    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California


      I agree with somethings here.

      The real problem with SS is that the people that created this TAX system are not feeling the pain that they created.

      The democrats FDR created the system, but both parties raped and pillaged it. At the same time, government employees have a real pension program FERS, and they don't need SS.

      SS applies to wages, so the tax is avoided by those people making an income other than wages. SS needs to be terminated, as well as the defined benefits pensions of the government employees.

      Pick a cutoff age, and let these people continue on with SS. The people below that cutoff age would partake of a new system, that would be a vested pension, and these pensions would be the choice for all wage earners. That means it would be the same choice whether you are in the private sector or the public sector.

      So the new pension would start while the existing SS, and FERS would play out.

      My point is that SS is not vested, it requires contributions into it as long as you earn a wage, the retirement age is too high, and the death benefit is only $255.

      The government mandated this wage tax, and then drained it, so why should the contributors have to pay for its current condition. There is also no reason why government employees should feed off the taxpayers, who don't have their benefits in the private sector.

      Under no view is SS is good system, however it is a needed system for those people that have contributed into it, at gun point, and now are going to retire.

      Any system that doesn't include all wage earners is not a fair system.

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 5 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      When I was 20, back in 1971, many workers died before drawing their pensions at 65. Or they died not long after. A man of 75 was thought old.

      So if you worked 45 years you normally died within 10 years.

      Now for those who get to 65 we are looking at probably a median age of 85 for death for a man. So you might work 45 years and live a further 20+ years.

      Unless something gives any pension scheme would be in difficulty. As you say many workers are unable to work longer. The answer has to be higher contributions during your working life.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      You are quite right, Redwhiskeypete. It is grossly unfair and inhumane to raise the retirement age for all the reasons you gave. The income threshold for withholding social security wages is $106,800. Once you hit this for a year, no more withholding is done. This level has been in effect for 25 years thus not taking into account for inflation. A small rise in this level would go a long way to making this system solvent. This way we do not penalize seniors who have worked very hard their whole lives.

    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 5 years ago from Indiana

      I think you have a plan. I go to Puerto Vallart each year and some parts of Mexico are very safe and your dollars go alot father there. I kno I can't stay where I am at now and live on what social security pays me.

    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 5 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      You raise a lot of good points. My father worked in a factory, and he died at age 54 (of course smoking three packs of cigarettes a day may have contributed to this too), I work in an air conditioned facility, and most of the time don't need to do any excessively heavy lifting. I am currently 60, and planning on retiring when I'm 65. A lot of my friends who have already retired are working part-time jobs to make ends meet. I don't want to have to do that, but the reality of it is, I will either have to work part-time or will have to sell my house, and find other living accomodations. Maybe that's not a bad choice, as I was thinking maybe sell the house, buy an RV and me and the Mrs. spend 2 years on the road visiting people we know around the perimeter of the country and in Canada.