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Social Security Alone Will Not Support Your Retirement

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Social Security Checks

(credit: Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The reality is Social Security was designed to replace about 40% of your current paycheck and less if you are a high wage earner. Many experts think that number will drop to about 30% by 2030 adjusting for higher Medicare premiums, taxation of benefits and increasing retirement age.

Currently for 26% of retirees Social Security is their only source of income. Social Security was never meant to be your only source of income in retirement. Think about this, the average monthly benefit for a current retiree is $1,229. It is very difficult to survive on that in Massachusetts. And yet many do. Over 13 million seniors survive on less than $22,000 a year.

The maximum benefit for someone who has reached their full benefit age, which is 66 for this year, is $2,513. To get the maximum benefit you would have had to earn the maximum Social Security wage for at least 35 of your working years. That amount for this year is $110,100.

Social Security benefits are indexed for inflation but there were 2 years, 2010 & 2011, where there was no increase in benefits because inflation was so low. But the cost of basic things like medical care, gas and groceries somehow went up even with low inflation.

And before you even get your Social Security benefit check Uncle Sam will deduct your share of Medicare payments for part B and part D that you need to make each month. Oops, I forgot to mention that you may owe taxes on your Social Security benefits as well.

Now I do think Social Security will be around for the Boomers, not so sure though about what will be left for our grandkids. As it stands right now, the deficit we are creating reached over $15.7 trillion last week.

The Social Security Administration has enough dollars in their trust fund to last until 2033. After that they will have about 75% of what they will need to pay benefits. Something needs to be done to fix the system.

Congress needs to act but no one wants to be the bad guy here. It probably will take increasing FICA taxes, increasing the age to collect full benefits and making benefits fully taxable for Social Security to survive for our grandkids.

Calculate what your fixed expenses will be in retirement and what sources of income you may have. Social Security is one source of income and you should look to have at least two more income streams. Maybe a pension and your retirement plan from work. Treat Social Security benefits as a bonus.

You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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